Tuesday May 18, 2010

Now Appearing in Gypsy!

Sorry for the long delay since my last post - I've been busy rehearsing for my opening of Gypsy at Hillbarn Theater in Foster City!

I'm playing the role of Miss Cratchitt in Act I and Renee in Act II, and having a blast! I haven't been on stage at Hillbarn since I appeared as Minnie Fae in Hello Dolly several years ago.  It's a great production with an amazing cast and crew!

Annmarie Martin is amazing as Mama Rose and inspiring to me as an actress. When I have my scenes with her, I feel a passion and character connection that forces me to be perfectly on my game and in the scene.  She's a total pro - literally! Not to mention an incredibly nice person who does some amazing knitting and crochette. Oh, and she's an avid Sharks fan - check her out singing the Canadian and American national anthems in the Shark tank!

Every actor I'm sharing the Hillbarn stage with are taking the production very seriously - always in character, hair & makeup always done as designed, costumes kept nice, and engaged in the scene - even if they don't even have any lines.

And the crew.... first of all, it's the first time I've ever been on a show with an entirely female run crew! [1] Yay, women techies! They are super organized - everything just runs smoothly. Sets are where they need to be and props are always in the right place.  Thank you, Joey, Rosie, Haley, Aya, and Andrea!

Beyond the run crew, the orchestra is spot on; the sound guy, Steven, monitors the levels perfectly throughout the show; sets are repaired as needed by our fantastic set designer/builder, Lee Basham; gorgeous costumes from Shannon & Mae; lovely hair-dos from Dee & Kathleen; and things run smoothly thanks to producer Lee Foster!

If you get a chance, please come see the show - we've been selling out nearly every night, so buy your tickets sooner than later! Let them know you're coming to see me. It's a wonderful production - you won't be disappointed!

[1] Nick, our fill-in techie, is not a woman and still really awesome!

Friday Jan 15, 2010

TADA Presents Godspell!

We were lucky enough to catch one of the final dress rehearsals for TADA!'s musical, Godspell! TADA!'s group of "Blue Plaid Players" put on an annual production to raise money for the performing arts at Presentation High School in San Jose.  This year's cast is full of teachers and alums from the school, along with a few parents and just happy actors. With such a motley collection, you might think the performance would be subpar - but it wasn't!

I had originally thought they had brought in ringers for Jesus and John the Baptist/Judas, but Chris Cozart (Jesus) and Eric Buell (John the Baptist/Judas) are both teachers from Presentation! Who knew the halls of this Catholic girl's school was holding so much talent!

I loved the costumes, by Diana DieBold, which were very eclectic and reminiscent of the Original production of Godspell in 1970.  Director Jim Houle took the usual liberties with the script by updating a few scenes. One demonstrates the pitfalls of greed with a recent flash back to the housing debacle, and the prodigal son was retold with ... Star Wars characters!  Great lighting from Heather Kenyon, too.

Other standout performers included Kristen Gradwohl, Kris Heiser, Dave Coldren, Scott King... well, and everyone else in the cast! If you get a chance to catch this show, it opens on January 16th and runs through January 24th.

Sunday Jul 12, 2009

WVLO's My Fair Lady was Fantastic!

A group of us went to Saratoga to check out West Valley Light Opera's most recent production of My Fair Lady, written by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner, based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion.

Doug Baird did an outstanding  job with direction, as even with the minimalist sets, I was brought back to turn of the 20th century England.  While I expected to be jarred by the dreadful English accents, instead I found myself delighted at how I could really imagine all of these actors being from England.  Okay, my husband, who is actually English, said they weren't perfect, but on the other hand he did not find them jarring (and his father was born within the sound of Bow bells, so he knows a Cockney accent when he hears one).

Without even looking at the program, I could tell the wigs were the wonderful work of Ms Rande Harris, as the styles were spot on for the period.  Most impressive were the costumes and hats for the day at the races (Ascot), a fantastic job from Carol Clever and her long list of assistants (I'm pretty sure I recognized the handy work of Linda McKee and Richard Gaetono in there somewhere).

While there wasn't a ton of dancing, Jillian Toby-Cummings, as choreographer, did a good job getting everyone to go from street buskers from London, to Lords and Ladies at the ball.

Jade Shoejaee was fantastic and believable as Eliza Doolittle, changing her accent from a thick Cockney to a very intelligible East End lilt.  Linda McKee, as Mrs. Pearce, delighted us with her varied expressions, humorous dialog and constant costume changes.  Chris Blake had me laughing, uncontrollably, as Professor Zoltan Karpathy (the only actual English bloke in the cast... playing the Hungarian).

The Cockney quartet, (Chris Blake, Earl Masuda, Matt Tipton, and Peter Vigil) were lovely (or should I say, loverly?), and the ensemble was perfectly in tune for each scene, effortlessly taking the audience from the streets of London to the races at Ascot.  Speaking of Ascot, Kady Blake's delightful "slow walk" during that scene had me in stitches.

TJ Paganini, along with the other servants at the Higgins Estate, were top notch.  I also really enjoyed the leading gentleman, Kevin Kirby as Henry Higgins, and John Musgrave as Colonel Pickering.  Really, the entire cast was wonderful.

The show was essentially sold out on Friday night, and all of the matinees are as well, so I highly recommend you buy your tickets in advance (though I understand there are often no-shows, so you can always take a chance and show up at the theater directly).

The show is three hours long, but you would never notice, as it just keeps you laughing and humming along the entire time.


Valerie's former weblog. The new one can be found at http://bubbva.blogspot.com/


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