Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Where oh Where

I keep waiting for either a review of "Normal" to show up on the T-D site or any of three theater-related articles to show up on the Style site. But as of about 11:30am Tuesday, nada.

UPDATE: I guess I need to be more patient! It's now 12:30pm and Ms. Burruss's review of "Altar Boyz" and my take on "Normal" can be seen on the Style site. The feature on Patti D'Beck is available here.

One of the Style pieces will be (update: make that, IS) about Patti D'Beck, the director behind the upcoming production of "Chicago" at Theatre VCU and the summer production of "Thoroughly Modern Millie" at the Barksdale. While we wait for the print media to give us some more contant, I'll fill you in on some additional tidbits about Ms. D’Beck. When I spoke to her, she said she has a hard time even getting started on a project until she has some kind of organizational thought about the work, a “hook” that helps her tell the story. For “Chicago,” for instance, in the song “Razzle Dazzle” Billy mentions a three-ring circus. So Patti says she had this image of Billy as a ringmaster at a circus and also as something of a magician. She would like to create almost a “Circe de Soleil” atmosphere with the show. I guess we’ll see if she succeeds.

One thing that I don’t think gets mentioned in my piece is that Theatre VCU is only able to do “Chicago” while there is an active touring version of the show out on the road because of her calls to the Weislers – theater producers and Broadway fixtures for decades. Think Richmond doesn’t benefit from local artists’ and their connections (a la Chase Kniffen bringing new musical “Normal” down from NYC)? Think again!

Patti also gave me a little preview of what Theatre VCU is planning next year in terms of productions. I don’t think I’m supposed to give you details (might have to check on that) but I will say that they’re planning two musicals, something Patti says they haven’t done before.

One last note about the piece on Ms. D’Beck: in talking to Bruce Miller about getting Patti onboard to direct last summer's smash, "Guys and Dolls," he said he Googled Patti as soon as he heard she was coming to VCU. I think this is just another great example of Mr. Miller’s great vision and commitment to staying aware of what’s going on around town. I sense that the wheels are always turning for him, a skill that has served Theatre IV / Barksdale well over the years and hopefully will keep them strong in these challenging times.

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