Sunday, March 27, 2005

Opening Weekend at The Pear

Well we did it. No one fell down, no one got hurt. Pear Slices 2005 is selling well even though it's Easter weekend. The show is really quite good. The audience on opening night seemed to be fully enjoying themselves. I am really happy with the finished product and for having the chance to work with Jane and all the actors and technical people. Ron's set is fantastic as his sets always are and the lighting is great thanks to Jossie and her husband.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Friday is the Day for The Pear

Come and see Pear Slices II at, fittingly, The Pear.
It's going to be a very fun show. I promise.

The Pear Avenue Theatre Presents
Pear Slices 2005

Written by Bill D'Agostino (Class of '94), Elyce Melmon (Happy Birthday), Paul Braverman (Pete's Place),Ross Peter Nelson (The Myth of Fingerprints), Sharmon Hilfinger (Best Laid Plans), Neva Marie (A Day at the Beach), Becky Schenone (Eclipse) & Margy Kahn (Packrat Gene)

Directed by Jane Geesman & Ray Renati

Performed by Liz Barbour, Katie Chaidez, Kevin Kennedy,
Meredith Hagedorn*, Fred Sharkey & John Sousa

Opening March 25, performances through April 10, 2005. (calendar)

Building on the success of 2004's Pear Slices, this potpourri of of short plays showcases
brand-new works by members of the Pear Playwrights Guild, performed by a talented acting ensemble.

*Member, Actor's Equity Association

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Tech Week Haiku

Light and sound changing again
With commands from all sides
Making something from nothing
Precision timing
You do that with a Boom Box?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Sight Gags!

So, I am directing four short plays at The Pear Avenue Theatre and one of them requires squirting bullet holes in the actor's chest/stomach area. I've come up with a way to do it (I think). It involves one of these and some of this . But I just now realized that if we use colored liquid it will stain the heck out of his entire costume each night! Also, I am worried that the actor who happens to run around a lot on stage will slip in the aforementioned liquid and break his neck. Maybe I should write to the smartest dude on the planet, Dr. Bill Wattenburg, about this problem. I am sure he will have a solution.


The Smartest Dude on the Planet: Dr. Bill

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Two shows - one day- I am bushed. Who every thought of that idea? I always get confused in the second performance. I have this constant feeling like I'm missing an entrance. It quite strange - just old age I guess.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Pear Slices 2005

I am directing four short plays at The Pear Avenue Theatre. At the Pear we have a playwright's group that submits short plays to be performed as a regular part of the season. The night will consist of eight plays in total ranging in length from ten minutes to eighteen minutes. All the plays are directed by me and on other director and will be performed by 6 actors.

The Pear Avenue Theatre Presents
Pear Slices 2005

Written by Bill D'Agostino, Elyce Melmon, Paul Braverman,
Ross Peter Nelson, Sharmon Hilfinger, Neva Marie,
Becky Schenone & Margy Kahn

Directed by Jane Geesman & Ray Renati

Performed by Liz Barbour, Katie Chaidez, Kevin Kennedy,
Meredith Hagedorn*, Fred Sharkey & John Sousa

Opening March 25, performances through April 10, 2005. (calendar)

Building on the success of 2004's Pear Slices, this potpourri of of short plays showcases
brand-new works by members of the Pear Playwrights Guild, performed by a talented acting ensemble.

*Member, Actor's Equity Association


Saturday, March 05, 2005

Me as Fogg

This is me as Mr. Fogg. The photographer (me) took the photo using a Palm Treo 600 with a standard lens. The style is novo-toilet with enhanced with a yellowized digital filterizer. The photo was taken in the men's room just moments before my entrance. (All Rights Reserved. Any use or reproduction of this fine piece of art must be approved by the artist himself. Violators will be persecuted.)


Friday, March 04, 2005

Talkin' Broadway Regional News & Reviews: San Francisco - "Sweeney Todd" - 3/3/05

Talkin' Broadway's review of Sweeney Todd

Talkin' Broadway Regional News & Reviews: San Francisco - "Sweeney Todd" - 3/3/05

Four AWARDS for Foothill's RAGTIME!!!!

Foothill's Ragtime wins 4 Bay Areat Theatre Critics Circle Awards!!

The Foothill Music Theatre Blog: "Congratulations to all the 'Ragtime' winners:

Paul Araquistain for Best Supporting Actor (Role: Tateh)

Cathy Snider for Best Musical Direction

Kurt Landisman for Best Lighting

Fumiko Bielefeldt for Best Costumes

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Another "SweeneyTodd" Review

AISLE SAY San Francisco

SWEENEY TODD

Music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Directed by Jay Manley
Presented by Foothill Music Theatre
At Foothill College Playhouse
Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Alto Hills, CA / (650) 949-7360

Reviewed by Judy Richter

It has been more than a quarter-century since Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd" opened on Broadway to critical acclaim as "a staggering theater spectacle and more fun than a graveyard on the night of the annual skeleton's ball," according to Douglas Watt in the New York Daily News. As originally directed by Harold Prince, it was indeed a spectacle with its massive set, constructed from an old foundry from Rhode Island, and its large cast. It won eight Tonys, including Best Musical.

Over the years, it has seen numerous touring and regional theater productions. The San Francisco Symphony did a memorable 2001 concert version with George Hearn as Sweeney Todd, Patti LuPone as Mrs. Lovett, Lisa Vroman as Johanna, Davis Gaines as Anthony, and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. This production was videotaped for a later TV broadcast.

Now Foothill Music Theatre and its ever-resourceful director, Jay Manley, have taken on the challenges of this masterful musical and have proved once again how great the show is and how amazing this college-community company is. Moreover, FMT is staging it in its intimate Playhouse, which often puts the performers within literal reach of the audience. However, thanks to Joe Ragey's flexible set and Kurt Landisman's lighting design, along with Manley's direction and Joe Duffy's musical staging, the show works in this small space yet seems as grand as earlier versions. Costumes are by Amy Zsadanyi-Yale.

Based on Christopher Bond's adaptation of an old English thriller, which in turn was based on a true story, "Sweeney Todd" takes place in 18th century London. A barber, Sweeney Todd (James Monroe Iglehart), has escaped from a penal colony in Australia, where he was sentenced by the venal Judge Turpin (Mike R. Padilla), who lusted after the barber's wife and took in their infant daughter as his ward. Seeking revenge against the judge, Sweeney sets up shop above the pie shop of his former landlady, Mrs. Lovett (Diana Torres Koss). After missing a chance to kill the judge while shaving him, Sweeney embarks on a murderous spree that finds him slitting the throats of many of his customers and sending them tumbling into Mrs. Lovett's bakehouse, where they're converted into meat pies.

Horrible as this premise may be, Wheeler's book gives it a Dickensian flavor with implicit commentary on the plight of the lower classes during that time, and Sondheim gives it such a brilliant score and complex lyrics that the show takes on operatic proportions. He infuses it with arias that range from the hauntingly beautiful "Johanna," sung by Austin Ku as Anthony Hope, the sailor who befriends Sweeney and falls in love with his daughter, to the soaring "Epiphany," sung by Iglehart as Sweeney.

Then there are duets such as "Pretty Women," sung by Iglehart and Padilla, and "Not While I'm Around," sung by Koss and Sean Patrick O'Connor as Tobias, Mrs. Lovett's young assistant, as well as larger ensembles such as "Quartet," sung by Padilla, Ku, Keite Davis as Johanna and Martin Rojas-Dietrich as Beadle Bamford, the judge's henchman. Choruses include the dramatic "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" and "City on Fire." On a lighter note, there are the pun-filled "Priest," sung by Iglehart and Koss, "By the Sea" and "The Worst Pies in London," both sung by Koss.

The entire ensemble is excellent in the choral numbers, showing careful attention to diction, a credit to musical director-keyboardist Brandon Adams, who also conducts the five-person orchestra. Each person in the ensemble also creates realistic characters who stay fully involved, adding to the show's drama.

Manley has assembled a terrific cast, led by Iglehart as a formidable Sweeney and Koss as the wily Mrs. Lovett. Both are Equity guest artists. Ku as Anthony, Davis as Johanna, Padilla as the judge, Rojas-Dietrich as Beadle and O'Connor as Tobias also sing and act on a professional level. Also noteworthy are Lane McKenna as the crazed Beggar Woman and Joe Colletti as Adolfo Pirelli, barber and seller of a hair potion, extolled and condemned in "Pirelli's Miracle Elixir."

And so with "Sweeney Todd," Manley and his compatriots add to their impressive list of musical theater accomplishments.

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