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September 16, 2017:

WHEN IS AN OPENING NIGHT NOT AN OPENING NIGHT

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, when is an opening night not an opening night? That was the question on everyone’s lips last evening, for all that were attending Matthew Bourne’s thing of The Red Shoes at the Ahmanson. In fact, I purchased my ticket because the run stated September 15 to October 2, which led me to believe that September 15 was opening night – and why wouldn’t I and others think that, since there is no other evening stated as opening night and the word preview does not appear. And yet that is exactly what last night’s performance was – a preview. Not designated in any way, but we finally heard from one of the ushers that opening night is actually next Tuesday. And I could have purchased my ticket for that night and yet I couldn’t because I had no idea it WAS opening night. I gather that this is now SOP for theaters to do this and I, for one, do not think it is right. So I and others in fact did NOT attend the opening night of The Red Shoes.

So, last night I saw not the opening night but the first preview of Matthew Bourne’s thing of The Red Shoes. Now, for some reason I thought this was literally going to be the movie onstage – you know, dialogue and everything, with The Red Shoes Ballet at some point, but I was, of course, completely wrong. What this is is the movie onstage as a BALLET. Yes, they tell the film story as a ballet and then have a ballet within the ballet. A little convoluted, frankly. And if you haven’t seen the film I’d have to imagine act one might be a little confusing as to who is who and what is what, but I suppose it all becomes clear at some point. It’s all scored to the music of Bernard Herrmann, most specifically The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Citizen Kane, and the Red Shoes ballet is mostly Fahrenheit 451. The music works very well (pre-recorded) but a simple note to the sound person – you are pumping so much bass into the theater along with it begin crushingly loud that the music is distorting. Go sit in the eighth row and tell me what you hear – you won’t like it if you have any ears at all.

I don’t know all the much from ballet, but I thought everything was done very well and some of it was quite lovely. The highlights were The Red Shoes ballet, which is very different from the film, but it was beautifully done – that closes act one. And the other highlight is kind of a music hall number with two male dancers – very clever and it’s always interesting when dance actually gets laughs, which this number does. Of course there was an instant standing ovation and much cheering in that ballet audience way. Some roles are triple and double cast so I have no idea if the other casts are better or not but I can’t imagine better than this cast. All in all, I rather enjoyed it – I wouldn’t assign “great” to it, but it’s very pretty to look at and much of it is very clever and the dancers are wonderful – and all that incredible Bernard Herrmann music is the icing on the cake. I wonder if audiences will take to it or be confused by it. The good news is that WITH the intermission the show comes down at exactly two hours.

After, I joined friends at the Coral Café – I hadn’t liked my dinner very much and it wasn’t very filling, actually, so I had their excellent wedge salad with too much 1000-Island dressing. We all had fun.

Prior to all that I’d gotten eight hours of sleep, got up, answered e-mails, had telephonic conversations, and just about wrapped up casting and began assigning songs. I’m still waiting to hear about one guy but if he doesn’t do it we’re fine and if he does do it he’ll only do two songs. So, hoping that works out. Then I was on my way to LACC for our little workshop, which was basically for me to reacquaint myself with our cast and hear the voices. I did make a few of the casting decisions that were obvious to me, and the rest I’ll assign as we rehearse, since everyone will be playing multiple roles save for seven or eight people who only play one role. The kids were much more comfortable today than at the first workshop, so that was really good. And they all have really good energy. We were missing three people, so I will see them next Wednesday. But one thing became clear – I don’t have anyone for two of the roles, both male roles, so I’m going to have to bring in people for those, and I’ve got one person who is struggling to hear pitches – actually she’s on pitch, but she can’t tell the difference when she’s singing the actual pitch or an octave below, and that’s a problem – I can chance the ensemble for this person, but not the role I had for them, so I may have to bring someone in for that. Other than that, I think we’re in very good shape, casting-wise.

Then I went to the Music Center – I got there in fifteen minutes so that was nice. I parked in their lot but because it was early I got a place right next to the ramp that leads right to the street. Then Kay had to wait for the valet parking to open so I told her I’d go get us a table at the California Pizza Kitchen. Well, the California Pizza Kitchen is no more – I don’t ever recall a CPK closing anywhere, but there literally not a trace that it ever existed. So, instead we met at a little jernt calle Ocho, basically a Subway type place but healthy Mexican. Kay liked it pretty well, me not so much. We both had tacos, but they were so tiny that it wasn’t enough to eat – we also had some chips and guacamole, and that filled me up a bit. Then we walked back to the theater. We ran into a few folks we knew, saw the show, and the rest you know.

Today, I shall just do Kritzerland stuff, maybe jog now that our heat wave is over, eat something light but fun, and relax a bit and watch something.

Tomorrow I may be having a visit with Richard and Elizabeth Sherman. I’ll know today. Other than that, I will absolutely relax and also figure out the Kritzerland show order, as well as get us up on Facebook so people can reserve their seats. Then next week is very busy – I choose our costume designer, I’ll get our Indiegogo campaign up, hopefully by Friday, we’ll ship Fuller at Fox, I’ll visit our very own Nick Redman towards the end of the week, and I have a work session for the Kritzerland show.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do Kritzerland stuff, maybe jog, eat, hopefully pick up packages, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite movies and shows about the dance – any kind of dance? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to now know the fairly annoying answer to when is an opening night not an opening night.

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