Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'm Done RENTing

Last night Ken and I saw the 473rd national tour of Rent. Ok, I'm kidding about the 473rd tour...but it has been playing on Broadway and touring for 10+ years.

I first fell in love with Rent strictly by listening to the cast CD, which I had been given for Christmas. The CD became a permanent fixture in my car. I loved the music, I loved the play (at least what I read about it from the CD booklet), and I loved the story behind the play.

The show came to Greensboro in December 1997, and I was there. In the balcony, singing my heart out. The show was absolutely wonderful! I bought a program and a "Seasons of Love" ornament. I was a true Renthead!

In October 2003, my best friend scored free tickets when Rent returned to Greensboro. He had never seen the show, but he was very familiar with the music. He loved the show, I was lukewarm. I hated the actor who played Roger. He was whimpy and a bit effaminate, and well, he just didn't "Light My Candle".

I've seen the movie several times; twice at the theater and several times on DVD with Mallorie. I loved that the original cast did the movie. I loved Traci as the new Maureen. I hated Rosario as the new Mimi. She just wasn't gritty enough.

When Ken and I were planning our "culture" for this year, I asked him to include tickets to see Rent. So, off we went to the Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte. I hate to admit this, but I was really bored with the production. I don't know whether it was because I've seen it so many times, or whether I just wasn't keen on the cast. Again, I didn't like the actor playing Roger. He was from the London cast and I just couldn't get past Roger sounding British.

The production was good. I just realized that I wasn't into it. I still love the music, I just don't have any desire to see the show anymore. There are too many other shows that I'd like to see.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Unknown Day, 1965

My dad emailed this picture to me this morning. The guys are from the USS Hawkins, taking a break from duty at a bar in the Philippines. Dave Roberts, my dad, is the one sitting on the left. The three guys seated beside him worked on his crew. The other two guys were shipmates. Dad is 19 in this photo. He's a very handsome teenager, isn't he? (I'm told I look a lot like him.)

Dad and his crew were all Torpedomen's Mates, which meant they maintained the weapons and the launchers. They fired torpedoes at submarines when found by sonar. When at sea, Dad stood on sonar watches just to have something to do.

Dad was also the auto weapons man when they had to go ashore. He manned the machine gun when the landing party was close to shore or when going up a river. When needed, he was also backup pointer for the number one gun mount. He pointed the big gun at the target and pulled the firing trigger.

As I look at my dad in this picture, I can't help but wonder what he was thinking or talking about before the photo was snapped. He looks so darn young! At 19 years old you have your whole life ahead of you. Serving in the military certainly puts life in perspective, which might explain why they all look a bit somber. They certainly didn't go to the bar for a boisterous celebration. Maybe they became more lively later in the evening?

Though I don't say it nearly enough, I am very proud of my dad. I post this photo to honor him, and to thank him for sharing it with me.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Vagina Monologues

(Yes I said Vagina. Vagina, vagina, vagina. Okay? Are you over it now?)

The Vagina Monologues will be presented at 8pm on March 10. The show is a V-Day Campaign fundraiser sponsored by Family Services. Proceeds from ticket sales will also go toward Family Services' programs for battered women.

I post this now for several reasons. The first reason is the most important one. Please go ahead and mark this date on your calendars. Please plan on purchasing tickets to see this empowering show. Leave husbands and boyfriends at home (unless they are open-minded to lots of vagina talk) and bring your girlfriends, your mothers, your sisters, your cousins, your co-workers and your neighbors. Money raised is used to help stop violence against women. All women.

The second reason I post now is because I want you to have plenty of time to get prepared for the power of The Vagina Monologues. Yes, the word vagina is referenced frequently throughout the show. No, there aren't naked women onstage showing off their vaginas. There is no nudity; only shades of black, red and pink. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will get angry as you listen to each of the pieces various women present. You will leave the theater with a renewed appreciation of womanhood. My mom, my manager, my supervisor and one of my best (male) friends have attended previous performances. Each of them left the theater in awe.

The third reason is that for the second consecutive year, I will be in the show. (I also did the show back in 2004 for the Community Theatre of Greensboro.) Once again, I will be performing the "Reclaiming Cunt" monologue. (Yes I said cunt. And if you find that word a bit harder to get over, well, that's exactly the point of my piece.)

We started rehearsals with a read-through yesterday and let me just tell you how honored I am to be included in this cast of absolutely amazing women. Even though I am familiar with the show, I found myself laughing and crying to the new voices presenting standard monologues. There are two new monologues this year, and both brought tears to everyone's eyes.

Please mark your calendars now. I can't wait for you to meet my wonderful castmates in this incredible show.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

An Evening at the Theatre

Last night Ken and I drove to Greensboro to see Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy. It was less a theatre production and more of an evening at the circus. A very colorful and talented circus.

The show was 90-minutes of floor and aerial acrobats (which I love!), contortionists, jugglers, balancers, dancers, a very tall drummer and a singing lady bug. I think there was supposed to be a storyline, but I couldn't understand the singing lady bug who acted as a narrator. She had a nice voice; I just couldn't understand what she was singing.

It was a neat show, but I kept thinking that Cade might have had more fun. After the first act the impressiveness of the colorful costumes and skills of the contortionists and jugglers began to wear off and I became slightly bored. I've seen similar talent on TV.

Still, if you haven't seen a show like this, it's cool to experience. Just bring along the little kids who can help you maintain your excitement.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Edward Scissorhands

Have you ever been to a musical without any singing or dialogue and with just dancing? That's the concept behind the new stage adaptation of Edward Scissorhands, which Ken and I saw last night at the Belk Theater in Charlotte.

I actually remember seeing the movie. It was January 1991, and Mickey Carroll took me to see it at the Hanes Mall Cinema. I loved the theatricalness (is that a new word?) of the movie and was very impressed with Johnny Depp as Edward. So, when we were in Charlotte for NCTC, and I saw the brochures for the show, I asked Ken if he wanted to see it with me. (I tossed in quite a few please, please, pleases as well.)

While we had good seats (row D, seats 1/2) to begin with, they became even better seats when the couple in front of us left during intermission. Ken and I then had an unobstructed view of the whole stage. The show was impressive before the intermission, but after intermission, it was breathtaking.

I watched in awe as every dancer brought the movie characters to life. Some even brought to life Edward's garden shrub creations. I wanted to go backstage just to see how those costumes were made! I was not as impressed with the dancer who played Kim, the Winona Ryder role in the movie, though she and Edward had some nice "duets". One of two dancers plays Edward and I'm not sure which one we saw. But whichever it was, he was phenomenal! (And had really nice dancer's buns to boot!) He conveyed such wonderful innocence and humanity for Edward. Many in the audience connected with him as evidenced by the sniffles that could be heard during the final scene. A lump was in my own throat.

My favorite part of the production was the curtain call, specifically Edward's bow. Sam or Richard (damn, I wish I knew which one it was!) tottered out, in character, to the end of the stage. He stood there, soaking in the well-deserved applause and standing ovation. He titled his head to one side as if "Edward" was curious about the thunderous noise, raised his scissorhands over his head, and opened his arms. And then it started to snow. All over the entire audience.

Two words: breathtaking and unforgettable.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I'll Tell You Who's Got the Will

It's a Divorce Southern Style, Sordid Lives and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest cast reunion!

Dana Benson is Sara Lee Turnover, Mimi Cunningham is Evalita, and I'm playing Lurlene Sue Turnover Rogers. Ken Ashford is Orville Turnover and Ally Macaulay is his wife, Marlene. Mark March plays Buford, our Daddy, and Betsy Pugh is (grand)Mama Wheelis. Zack Brown rounds out the cast as Harmony.

Tonight was our first rehearsal. Jamie doesn't do a read thru; he just jumps right in with blocking. As he was explaining what "business" he wanted Lurlene to do, I couldn't help but smile. He noticed and immediately read my thoughts. I'm sitting in the chair fanning myself with a magazine, just like I did in Sordid Lives.