Saturday, December 31, 2005
First it was Sweeney Todd at Foothill Music Theatre.
Then it was the One Act Festival at Foothill.
Directing Pear Slices at the Pear, that was great.
Then Brigadoon where I got to play Jeff.
And finally, the theatrical experience of my life so far, West Side Story at AMTSJ.
I feel very fortunate.
I hope you have a wonderful 2006.
Friday, December 30, 2005
I can't believe it's almost the year 2006. The older I get, the faster the years just whip by. It's quite surreal.
I really wanted to be in Gypsy at AMTSJ but I didn't get cast. It's one of my favorite shows.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Ray will play role of Chet Pazinski in the play, OVER THE TAVERN, by Tom Dudzick.
This intelligently irreverent comedy about growing up Catholic in 1950’s America was written by the same author who brought GREETINGS! to the Bus Barn stage in 1999. OVER THE TAVERN is a beguiling and hilarious tale as seen through the eyes of Rudy Pazinski, a precocious 12-year-old boy who’s starting to question family values and the Roman Catholic Church.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
What a great experience this has been to be a part of this rendition of Westside Story. I will always remember the people I met and the hard work that we all committed ourselves to.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Review of Westside Story by Elisa Camahort
AMTSJ's West Side Story (starring Diana De Garmo)
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
MercuryNews.com | 11/01/2005 | We just met a girl named DeGarmo
Friday, October 21, 2005
I'm so excited about this show. If you can, come and see it. I really think you'll have a great experience. It runs from November 1 to November 13, Tuesday through Sunday.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Playbill News: "American Idol" Finalist To Star in West Side Story in California
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
I went to opening night of Ragtime at Broadway by the Bay last week. It was great to see a bunch old friends perform my favorite musical of all time with such passion. Tim Reynolds was amazing as Tateh. I just finished working with him for months in Brigadoon and he transformed himself so much I barely recognized him.
It's a spectacular show. Go see it!
Friday, September 23, 2005
When Aida opened on Broadway, despite its enormous success, and the Tony Award for Best Musical, it was generally panned by most of the critics. I didn't see the show on Broadway, but I suspect that the reason it was so hated by the critics is that it was "Disneyfied". From what I've read it seems that the Aida was staged as a replica of the majority of the Disney animated films: silly, slapstick, and shallow.
Barbara Cannon and her creative team including Michael Spector (co-director), Michael Langham (musical director) and Shannon Stowe (choreographer), have created the Aida that I suspect Sir Elton John and Mr. Tim Rice intended. The directors cast the lead roles perfectly. Aida the Nubian princess, played by Jennifer Oku, is magnificent. Her vocal range, purity of sound, coupled with her ability to switch from operatic grandiosity to sweeping rock vocals sent chills down my spine. Robert Brewer plays the role of Radames, the Egyptian warrior-prince. Mr. Brewer exudes the power and virility required in the role and his singing and acting are flawless. Together, Brewer and Oku show a touching multi-layered understanding of love, responsibility and personal sacrifice. Jason Arias' as Mereb will make you laugh out loud. His comic timing and vocal artistry are excellent. Keite Davis as Amneris, displays her comic witt, her beautiful voice, and the depth of character required for the role.
Shannon Stowe has staged some truly sublime moments through intriguing dance and movement. She uses the talents of her dancers, particularly Michael Saenz and Lori Martinez, very well. Mr Saenz is a very gifted dancer. I hope he doesn't up and move to New York.
The rest of the cast is magnificent as well. Tomas Theriot as Zoser deftly plays the power and Machiavellian intent of his character. Shane Osbourne as Amonosro is a commanding presence in his short but very memorable scenes. John Aney as Pharaoh combines the fact that he is dieing and his diminishing power as king with excellent acting agility.
Aida runs through October 1. Don't miss it.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Al-Qaida and its philosophy is beyond anything I am able to comprehend. How on earth do they think that they are justified in their actions? Today's happenings have filled me with a simmering anger. Today they suicide bombed like never before. This particular one makes me exceptionally sick:
In this particular incident we have a couple of hundred guys looking for a way to make a little money so that maybe they can afford to buy enough food for their families this week. One may have been hoping to make a dollar or two moving a pile of gravel, or putting on a mud roof. He may have already been waiting for a couple of hours that morning almost ready to give up, ready to return home penniless once again. He may have secretly longed for the days when Saddam ruled the country, at least then he had steady work.
Suddenly, down the drive appeared a small van. It stopped. A smiling Iraqi man rolled down his window and said something to the nearest worker. He became very animated and called everyone to the van. "He says he can keep us all working for a week, digging a foundation for a new refinery." Filled with joy, our Iraqi man quickly makes his way over to the van along with the 111 other hopefuls.
As they all gather, perhaps the man driving the van starts explaining to them how much they will be paid per day and exactly what it will involve. Stragglers inch closer to the van window to hear the details. The driver speaks very quietly, so that to hear they must get very close to the open window. Then mid-sentence, the Iraqi driver reaches in his pocket, pulls out a cigarette and pulls the lighter from the dashboard. None of the men realize that the lighter is attached to a wire which is attached to a detonating device. This device, within milliseconds of the tiny electrical charge initiated by the removal of the cigarette lighter, sends 100 watts of power surging through 500 lbs. of crude explosive strapped to 10 old Soviet artillery shells. All these explosives are in the back of the van covered by an old blanket. Our Iraqi worker hears a sizzling noise, a deafening explosion, and he realizes that he no longer has limbs. He sees blood flowing out of the area where his left leg used be attached to his torso. He rolls on the ground for a few seconds. He's gone.
At Least 160 Die in Iraq al-Qaida Bombings - Yahoo! News
Friday, September 09, 2005
"She sure didn't want to give me any dang help," I said, with as much of a country boy twang as I could muster. "It's always best to try and sound like a local," I thought.
"Oh, you had to deal with Pig Lady," he said with a Texas twang. Clamperlanders have Texas twangs even though most of them have never left California. It must be because their ancestors came from Texas or Kansas or one of them thar places. Or maybe they just listen to lots of country music.
His name was Fred. He looked like a computer nerd from Silicon Valley, but I had the distinct impression that he never ventured out of Clamperland. His desk was in the back of a real estate office occupied by two bleach blond women who both looked at me like I was a Martian when I barged into the office.
Fred was a piler. He had piles of papers and books everywhere. He had little horn-rimmed glasses and a hair cut that made him look like Bill Gate's younger brother. He handed me his card. His title read, Assistant Paralegal. "Assistant to who? " I wondered. Why would two underworked real estate agents need an Assistant Paralegal. My intuition told me that he must have earned his "degree" through a correspondence course.
"Pig Lady?" I said.
"Yep, that's what we call her - Pig Lady, because she looks like a pig and she acts like a pig."
"Oh," I mused. "I guess when you mention it, she did look sort of like a pig, and she was kind of grumpy."
"Yehhp," he said. "You know, I'll tell you something." He leaned forward from his desk, his eyes looking both embarrassed and naughty. Looking around, first right, then left, he made sure that no one was listening. "Last year, she-," hesitating he made one more check around the office. He seemed downright chagrined to tell me what he was about to tell me, but he just couldn't help himself.
"Wo," I thought. She must have been an axe murderer or at least she was having an affair with the mayor.
Whispering, "Last year, they put her on what they call them - ," silence, "them ANTI-Depressants. It's the only time I ever seen her smile."
Stunned, I had the look of a surprised raccoon. "That's it!" I thought. Then the laughter came. I couldn't stop. "Well," I said, "they should have kept her on 'em, I guess."
"They sure should have," he said. "They sure should have."
About three hours later, after wading my way through the intricacies of real estate law in Clamperland, I returned to the County Records Office, the domicile of the fabled Pig Lady. As I waited at the counter, the same middle-aged woman that treated me like a buzzard on a shit wagon that very morning, suddenly appeared before me - twelve inches from my face. When I first heard the name Pig Lady, I kind of thought it was mean. But now as she stared at me with those steely blue eyes, I realized that she truly did look like a pig. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against pigs. I think they're kind of cute - that cute upturned little snout, those doe eyes, those perky ears.
Monday, September 05, 2005
What happened in New Orleans is nothing more than sad. I am not in the mood to criticize or place blame. It's just sad.
Gas is at $3.00 a gallon now, but I don't think it stopped anyone from driving today, at least not in the Bay Area. I drove from Palo Alto to Angels Camp this afternoon. Normally leaving at 3 P.M. relegates one to driving at a snail's pace until you hit Escalon. But being that it was Labor Day, heading east in the afternoon meant free sailing all the way. But heading west, from Manteca to the Livermore, there was a line of cars that appeared to be moving no faster than 2 mph. As I rambled down the highway, screaming to my Hedwig CD, I rejoiced in my freedom to cruise along at 80 mph. Watching the other cars in the opposite lane plod along, gave me a crazy sort of joy. "Six inches forward, and five inches back, I got... I got my angry inch..."
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Donate to the RED CROSS and Help The Victims of the Hurricane
Hurricanes need to be named more accurately. Katrina somehow makes me think of a Russian ballerina flitting prettily across the meadow. They should have names like "Bone Crusher" or "Clubber".
For the last couple of days I find myself having sudden sensations of breathlessness. I have to consciously take a breath to alleviate the feeling. I thought that it cold be asthma, so I took a couple of puffs on my inhaler. But the feeling didn't go away. I realize now that it's a case of post-hurricane stress syndrome. Watching on TV the images of all those poor, sick, suffering people with no one coming to their rescue has really taken a toll on me. You see them on your screen, you want to help, you want our government to help, but nothing happens. You think, "this is the United States, where are the helicopters? "
I read this morning that the people at the Civic Center are starting finally to be rescued. I hope that we take good care of them when this is all over. I really fear that we won't. It's the United States, we are capitalists, and the poor must fend for themselves.
I remember watching a documentary about Chernobyl. The Soviet Union ordered every bus within in the region to the city to evacuate the people. The whole place was emptied within a matter of hours. In New Orleans, one had to have a working automobile and money for gas to get out. That means one had to be a member of the middle class. Once again the poor were left behind.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Lots More Cast Party Pictures - CLICK HERE!!!!!
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Today I am thinking about Iraq and Afghanistan and what we are doing over there. At some point someone is going to have to say "enough." This so reminds me of Viet Nam and we all know how that turned out. One of the things that I learned as Political Science/History major is that countries never learn from their mistakes. They always repeat them. It's really sad. We humans are so stupid in so many ways.
It's ironic that the U.S., the leader of the free world, is also the most destructive and war driven society that exists on our planet. With one hand we can feed the poor, aid psunami victims, and fight for civil rights and with the other hand we can drop nuclear bombs, fire bombs, and cluster bombs that maim and kill children. It's so strange, so confusing. And we always believe that God is behind our actions. God help us.
No wonder most ancient cultures have some form of their own Brigadoon. We need a place to dream of where people are united toward a common cause of love and peace. Maybe if we only believe enough, one day the world will become like Brigadoon. We can only hope.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Monday, July 25, 2005
|N TERMS of musical theater history, Lerner and Loewe's first Broadway success, the 1947 "Brigadoon," doesn't rate too high. But in the hands of director Jay Manley and his Foothill Music Theatre, it is a fun revival of a sugar-sweet fantasy love story. |
A lot of this is because of the supercharged choreography by Tyler Risk and the talented dancers who execute it. Add to this an inspired casting of singing actors and the show that opened last weekend at the Smithwick Theatre at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills is another Jay Manley winner.
The plot is taken from an old German fantasy about a village that falls under a spell and comes to life only one day every 100 years. Two New Yorkers happen to blunder onto the scene at the most recent appearance of the village.
The culture and the clothing (costume design by Janis Bergmann) have not changed in the intervening centuries and Tommy Albright (Tim Reynolds) and Jeff Douglas (Ray Renati) soon realize they are in a time out of joint.
Of course, complications set in: Tommy falls madly in love with Fiona MacLaren (Michele C. Johnston), whose sister Jean (Lisa Schwebke) is being married that very day to dashing Charlie Dalrymple.
Meanwhile, Meg Brockie (Karen DeHart) has set her cap for Jeff and Jean's ex-boyfriend Harry Beaton (Steve Edlund) is jealously threatening to leave the village and, thereby, destroy the magic charm that keeps it suspended in time.
Of course, Tommy is faced with a dilemma or there wouldn't be a play. Should he remain in this neverland throughout eternity with the greatest love of his life or return to his fiance and the modern day world of New York City? Come to Foothill College and find out.
This is the fantasy upon which is hung some great Scottish dance steps and memorable tunes such as "Heather on the Hill," "Come to Me, Bend to Me," the catchy "My Mother's Weddin' Day," the beautiful "There But For You Go I" and the immortal "Almost Like Being in Love."
There is excellent singing in this show. As the two lovers, Johnston has a beautifully lyrical musical theater voice that is very well matched by a powerful Reynolds. And DeHart is impossibly cute as irrepressible Meg Brockie.
Matthew Brandon Hutchens, as the macho bridegroom Charlie Dalrymple, has matured from his enthusiastic teenage chorus dancing days to a level of acting and singing that, combined with his athletic dancing, lights up the stage whenever he appears. We may some day be saying, "We knew him when..."
John Musgrave, as the highly respected village elder Mr. Lundie, reinforces my opinion that he is among the most professional of the Bay Area's character actors, with an astonishing range of stage personalities.
"Brigadoon" doesn't come around too often, so this is your chance to catch it while you can.
Keith Kreitman is a freelance writer. You can reach him by calling (650) 348-4327 or by e-mail at Rainykeith@aol.com.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Artsopolis Weekly eSavers: "Brigadoon
Foothill Music Theatre
The masters of musical theatre, Lerner and Loewe My Fair Lady, created one of the world's most beloved musicals in Brigadoon. Set in the Scottish Highlands, Brigadoon is a magical tale of time travel and the enduring power of love. Its memorable score includes classics, such as The Heather on the Hill and Almost Like Being in Love. Award-winning Foothill Music Theatre has assembled a stellar cast of 50 singers, dancers and actors for this full-scale production, which will be accompanied by a full, live orchestra and all new settings and costumes.
Location: Smithwick Theater - Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
Parking: Free parking in lots 1 and 5.
Offer Date(s) & Time(s):
Thursday, July 28, 2005, 8pm
Regular Price = $24
Your eSavers Price = 2 for 1
Ticket Contact Info:
Call: 650-949-7414. Advance orders only, please. No Walkups.
Use Promotion Code:
Monday, July 18, 2005
Sunday, July 17, 2005
ESPN.com - OLY/TDF2005 - Lance retains lead as mate Hincapie wins stage: "Hincapie wins hardest stage of Tour in Pyrenees
SAINT-LARY-SOULAN, France -- Lance Armstrong kept his overall lead and teammate George Hincapie won the 15th stage of the Tour de France on Sunday, the hardest day of climbing in the Pyrenees.
The two friends beamed as they hugged each other after Armstrong finished more than five minutes behind his teammate. Armstrong gave a thumbs-up in reaction to the first stage win by one of his teammates since 1999.
'This is a dream for me,' Hincapie said.
Armstrong called it a 'perfect day.'
'He is my biggest guy, my biggest friend on the team,' the Texan said of Hincapie, the only teammate to be with Armstrong for all six of his Tour victories. They have known each other since they were teenagers.
Armstrong finished with Italian Ivan Basso, who jumped to second in the overall standings, but still trails the American by 2 minutes and 46 seconds. Mickael Rasmussen of Denmark fell back to third overall, now 3:09 behind Armstrong.
Jan Ullrich of Germany struggled on the final climb and now trails Armstrong by 5:58.
Hincapie was part of a group of riders that broke away from the main pack early in the sun-baked 127.7-mile stage from Lezat-sur-Leze to the ski station of Saint-Lary Soulan.
Hincapie and Oscar Pereiro fought for the victory alone on the final climb. The tall, genial New Yorker beat the Spaniard with a sprint finish, shaking his head in disbelief as he crossed the line."
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Last night we sat in the front row at the Geary and watched THE GOAT, OR WHO IS SYLVIA?. Albee is at his best here. He challenges our assumptions about who we are and what we choose. He makes us realize that at any moment chaos can strike in our lives. How we deal with it, in Albee's world, makes for riveting, disturbing and ultimately enlightening theatre. The play is a modern day heroic study. It is a MUST SEE, but not for the squeamish.
American Conservatory Theater - ACT San Francisco