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April 5, 2008:

ATTEND THE TALE

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, attend the tale of these here notes. The tale will be short and sweet because it is late and I have a very early rehearsal in the Heim of Ana. So, to make a long story long, yesterday was a very nice day. I got a good night’s sleep, woke up, wrote an e-mail, got the e-mail I’ve been waiting for and all seems to be well in that regard, so come Monday or Tuesday we’ll have an official announcement to make, at least I hope to heaven we will. I did some errands and whatnot, got a sweet e-mail from a close personal friend who’s involved with the announcement, did some more errands, managed to relax a little and then I finally headed down to the Ahmanson Theater. I arrived at six, picked up my tickets, then went to their little take-out store and got a sandwich and a salad, which I ate whilst sitting at a nice outdoor table. After that, I took a stroll around the complex and whilst doing so I ran into our very own Miss Judy Kaye and her ever-lovin’ David Green on their way to the stage door. We had a nice chat, I wished her break a leg and told her I’d be back after the show. They opened the doors and I went in right away (it had turned quite chilly) and got my seat. I read the program and then it was time for the show to begin.

Last night, I finally saw the John Doyle production of Sweeney Todd. I’d first heard about this production when our very own Pogue raved about it after seeing it at a small theater in London. I heard varying reports when it opened on Broadway, and the few clips I saw did not really lead me to believe that I’d enjoy this take on the show. So, I was very interested to see it. I think the first thing to say is that I have to imagine that with no knowledge of the conceit of the production, and in a very small theater, I think this would be a whole different ballgame. But in the way too large for this show Ahmanson it just seems weird. I understand that it takes place in an asylum but they don’t really do anything with that concept, unless I missed it. I didn’t mind the actors playing their instruments, and again, I imagine it worked in a completely different way in a small space. Of course, being a devotee of the Tunick orchestrations, I missed them, but I got used to what they were doing and thought some of that worked well. I found the staging very odd at times, and at other times I thought it worked okay. I think the conceit of the production does rob the show of some of its visceral power, but that’s probably because I have the original production indelibly printed in my memory banks. But, the one thing that works brilliantly in every way is Miss Judy Kaye. What a treat to see her dig into Mrs. Lovett, and she has a field day with it. She sings it beautifully and her comedy timing is impeccable. Of course, Mr. Doyle doesn’t button any number (I think there are two that actually have endings where you can applaud) so it’s a shame she doesn’t get the applause she so deserves after Worst Pies. The rest of the cast does very well, and David Hess is a fine Sweeney – less ferocious than others I’ve seen, but still fine. The most annoying thing about the show happened when the house lights dimmed and the teenagers in the balcony started screaming and whooping as if they were at a rock concert or watching American Idol – truly nauseating. But, that’s what theatergoing has, unfortunately, become. There is no decorum anymore, like when I attended the theater as a young teenager. It didn’t mean we weren’t vocal in our appreciation of a show well done, but it wasn’t this pre-programmed, idiotic screaming.

After the show, I went backstage and visited with Judy and David for about twenty-five minutes. It was so nice to catch up, and I promised I’d send her a care package of books and CDs for her two-week run in Chicago. Next up for the show is Portland, so maybe some of our hainsies/kimlets can catch the show when it’s there. And if so, go backstage and say hello to Judy and tell her Bruce-O sent you.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I’ve got to get these here notes posted and get my beauty sleep and besides it’s time to attend the tale of the next section.

Attend the tale of part two of the notes. In this section you will learn that today I must be at the theater by 8:45 for our first choreography day. Adam told me he’s got some new things planned for a couple of numbers, so I’m anxious to see them. Assistant Miss Patti will be working on the computer during the rehearsal, entering new Kritzerland purchaser’s e-mail addresses into Constant Contact so that I can reach as many people as possible with Monday or Tuesday’s e-blast. After rehearsal, there is a three-hour build, during which I’ll be working on the computer entering changes to the script and working with Mr. Rothman on his lines.

Tomorrow there will be more choreography, and then I think I’m having a meal with our very own Miss Julieanne Pogue – hopefully she’ll call so we can figure out our meal place. Monday is the third of our choreography sessions, and then we start serious run-throughs – and we have a designer run-through on Thursday evening.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, attend a rehearsal, attend a build, and then attend the tale of my home environment. Today’s topic of discussion: What is the most interesting take on a classic play or musical that you’ve ever seen – one that was perhaps very bold but that you thought worked brilliantly. Conversely, what is the worst take you’ve ever seen on a classic play or musical – one that was perhaps totally inappropriate or stupid or just outrageously wrong. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst we all attend the tale.

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