Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Coming Attractions (and Past ones, too)

I’m slammed all to pieces with work so I’ve been light on the blogging this week. Sorry, peeps. Hello, peeps, are you still out there? Hello? Is this thing on?

Anyway, the Internets are alight with the news that “Thriller the Musical” is officially in the works. Of course, there was scuttlebutt about this back in November so it’s not exactly a surprise. What will be a surprise is if it ever emerges from the development process like previously announced EVENT shows, like those based on the movies “Batman” and “Spiderman,” for instance.

I’ve been intrigued by the ongoing updates about “Cuckoo’s Nest” and in particular appreciate Mr. Tuggle giving out a little bit of behind the scenes info, with honesty and modesty at that. Thanks, Brad!

I have started to write up something on the whole LORT biz model – provocatively titled “Insurgency.” Probably won’t get that into posting shape until Thursday though. Hope you tune back in then!

In the meantime, you can also read Ms. Burruss's review of "Cuckoo's Nest" and my review of "All My Sons," both of which were just posted on the Style website within the past couple of hours.


Jeffrey Cole said...

Updates are right, though I'm not sure if all the attention is entirely what we'd like. Of course, any press is good press!

One thing that keeps popping up are the technical issues that have abounded with this show. It's a fact: from a technical standpoint, some nights are better than others, which can inform some of the action that happens onstage. Brad has been very gracious in explaining and detailing what's gone into the show; he's become quite adept at giving explanations without being an apologist. From a critical standpoint, this can be a difficult balance to maintain.

Speaking for myself (and only myself; I wouldn't dream of commenting on someone else's behalf), the technical problems are part of what make live theatre such an enjoyable experience. Is a production good enough to overcome snafus at the drop of a hat? A missed lighting or sound cue is no different than a flubbed line or a misplaced prop: they require on-the-fly thinking and an actor (or technician) who trusts himself and his fellows. If audience members want something flawless and pristine, perhaps the local cinema would be more palatable.

I don't mean to rub anyone the wrong way, but live performances are just that: live, happening right there. If you get spit on, or can see the threads in a costume coming unraveled, or see the seams in a piece of scenery becoming warped...well, welcome to real life.

I've gone on too long (my students are testing, leaving me lots of time to ruminate and blog my butt off), but only wish to help emphasize the art over the spectacle. Yes, light changes can be effective, and properly maintained sound materials can add to the overall effect, but the actors are what make a show live and breathe.

If you're sitting close enough, you can smell Harding's lotion. You can see the lipstick on Billy's mouth. Even from a distance, you can sense the Chief coming back to reality. That's not done with light and sound, folks.
That's badassery. For the masses, however, I just hope it's enough.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Mr. Tuggle, Mr. Cole, and all related parties on the success of Henley St.'s "Cuckoo's Nest."

And while we're on the subject of Henley St., here's another bit of news featured in Style this week:

Henley Street Re-casts

by Mary Burruss

Change for growth is the buzz at Henley Street Theatre Company. Its president and artistic director, Alex Previtera, will hand over the latter role to James Ricks, effective in June. The change allows Henley Street to continue its rapid growth without compromising its artistic goals, Previtera says: “The company has grown so fast that handling both jobs has become impossible.”

The quality of Henley Street’s productions has improved dramatically since Jacqueline O’Connor took over as managing director last summer, relieving Previtera of considerable business responsibility. Placing Ricks, the director of the company’s “Richard III,” in charge of the creative side should prompt further growth while maintaining a vision of Chicago-style ensemble theater.

What can Ricks bring to the table? “I want to work on expanding on community and education outreach,” he says “aggressively bringing theater to the people by providing exciting and wallet-friendly theater.”