Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Treat

If you don't have a New Year's Party to go to tonight, you'll have something better to do...

PBS Broadcasts Audra McDonald's New York Philharmonic Concert Dec. 31

By Andrew Gans
31 Dec 2006

Audra McDonald

photo by Eddie Malluk

"Live From Lincoln Center," which recently broadcast Audra McDonald's American Songbook concert, televises the four-time Tony Award winner's New Year's Eve concert Dec. 31.

McDonald headlines the New York Philharmonic's annual New Year's Eve gala. The evening, titled "Audra McDonald Sings the Movies for New Year's Eve," will feature tunes from such films as "The Wizard of Oz," "A Star Is Born," "Cabin in the Sky," "A Little Night Music," "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "My Fair Lady." Tony Award winner Ted Sperling conducts the New York Philharmonic orchestra.

PBS stations will broadcast the event live at 8 PM ET; check local listings.

A four-time Tony Award winner for her work in A Raisin in the Sun, Master Class, Carousel and Ragtime, Audra McDonald was also seen on Broadway in Henry IV. The singer-actress made her solo Carnegie Hall concert debut in an evening of songs scored for big bands, performing several tunes from her Nonesuch CD "Happy Songs." McDonald's other solo recordings, "Way Back to Paradise" and "How Glory Goes," are also on the Nonesuch label. The acclaimed actress also co-starred in the NBC series "Mister Sterling” and was recently seen in the WB series "Bedford Diaries." McDonald also made her Houston Grand Opera with a double bill of Send (who are you? I love you) and La Voix Humaine.

McDonald will return to Broadway later this season in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of 110 in the Shade.

Beverly Sills hosts "Live From Lincoln Center," which is now in its 31st broadcast season.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My Next Show

I will be performing in A Midsummer Night's Dream at Bus Barn Stage Company in Los Altos.

Bus Barn Stage Company


I wish everyone a wonderful New Year. It's been a tough one for the country. Lets hope that next year we can get out of the war and find some peace as a nation.

The older I get the less I enjoy Christmas in the way we seem to be programmed to celebrate it. Thanksgiving is quickly becoming my favorite holiday - no gifts, just togetherness.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Mahagonny at L.A. Opera

This is show I would love to see - Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at the Los Angeles Opera. It's starring two of my favorite actresses and singers, Patty LuPone and Audra McDonald.

I performed in a local production of the show at West Bay Opera a few years ago. It's one of those operas that are almost musical theatre. That's why performers like LuPone and McDonald get the roles. One of the cool things about the show is that The Doors actually took a couple of the numbers and turned them into rock songs including "Alabama Song".

The opera company provides a nice synopsis of the play here.


What:Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
Four-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald stars in a new production of Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, one of the great 20th-century operas. From composer Kurt Weill and playwright Bertolt Brecht, the creators of The Threepenny Opera, comes a savage and lyrical satire told in a highly entertaining blend of opera and raucous music hall songs, conducted by Music Director James Conlon. Tony Award winners Patti LuPone and John Doyle, star and director of this season's hugely acclaimed Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd, reteam for their Company debuts, joined by acclaimed tenor Anthony Dean Griffey. It's every man for himself in the newly founded city of Mahagonny, devoted to life's illicit pleasures, where anything goes and the only crime is to run out of money. The brilliant score, featuring the classic song "Moon of Alabama," masterfully creates a vivid picture of determination, desperation and debauchery.
When:Saturday, February 10, 2007 3:00 PM to Sunday, March 4, 2007 4:00 PM
Where:Los Angeles Opera
135 North Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90012




February 10, 2007
7:30 p.m.

February 14, 2007
7:30 p.m.

February 17, 2007
7:30 p.m.

February 22, 2007
7:30 p.m.

February 25, 2007
2:00 p.m.

March 1, 2007
7:30 p.m.

March 4, 2007
2:00 p.m.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Last Waltz

Our little play has ended. It was a magical ride that I will remember always. Thanks to everyone and thanks to Paula and Carl for sharing their souls with us.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Palo Alto Daily News review of The Baltimore Waltz

Palo Alto Daily News

It's so great to have had such wonderful success with this play. It's something that I will always remember..

Waltz' dances around bizarre circumstance A zany comedy about dying from AIDS was how playwright Paula Vogel processed her grief and paid tribute to her brother's death from that disease in 1988. A solid production of the show, "The Baltimore Waltz," is currently running at the cozy, 45-seat Pear Avenue Theater in Mountain View.

Playwright Vogel is best known for her 1998 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "How I Learned to Drive," a play about pedophilia. That play's sympathetic portrait of an older married man's sexual affair with his teenage niece was unsettling.

So, Vogel makes unusual choices as a playwright.

Although "Baltimore Waltz" opens with a brother being fired from his San Francisco library job for wearing a pink triangle, he suddenly finds himself back home in Baltimore visiting his sick sister, a first-grade schoolteacher.

In one of the play's unexpected twists, it turns out that the sister is the one who has AIDS, not the brother. Although it's not that simple.

A confused physician, flummoxed by the symptoms, speculates that the sister has ATD, or Acquired Toilet Disease, and that she caught it from sharing toilet seats with her students. Brother and sister then decide that since she's dying, they will head off on a tour of Europe together and seize life in its last moments.

"The Baltimore Waltz" is a mix of fantasy and reality, and it's not always clear which is which.

Early on the script threatens to degenerate into a pedestrian political rant. A later sequential sexual rampage is redundant almost to the point of numbingnesss.

Director Ray Renati and his cast, however, get good mileage out of the odd characters and situations. Actors Alexandra Matthew and John Romano sell a close and touching relationship between brother and sister.

Their high energy and zany farce performances serve the comedy well, but they also stay focused inside honest emotional characters, in carefully punctuated performances. Romano brings mystery to the San Francisco librarian who was fired for wearing a pink triangle.

Matthew is wrapped tightly and effectively as sister Anna, doomed by Acquired Toilet Disease, and compulsively sleeping with European waiters and bellhops in her last hurrah. The apparent absence of safe sex practices is unsettling. Basically, this is a world turned upside down, in which grown sister and brother share the same bed.

As the play's third actor, Jeff Clarke is amusing in a dozen smaller, over-the-top roles. In Holland, Clarke appears as the little Dutch boy who put his thumb in a dike, and who now makes a living sleeping with female tourists who regard him as something of a celebrity.

Elsewhere, Clarke functions as a government health official promoting Operation Squat, which encourages the use of home toilets. Later, he goes way over the top as a German physician specializing in esoteric urine-drinking cures.

Director Renati, who has been nurtured at the Pear and is one of their emerging success stories, handles the comedy well, then ends this story of compulsive comic excess with a touching emotional shift.

Designer Ron Gasparinetti's effectively resentful set features a mostly bare stage with two rolling toilet bowl consoles, a well-used bed, and a patch of grim, white-tiled bathroom wall up center stage.

This is a bizarre production of a bizarre play that makes for an unsettling evening in the theater. It reminds us that humor is often an indicator of pain.

Rating: Three stars

E-mail John Angell Grant at

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

San Jose Metro Review for "The Baltimore Waltz"

We received a very thoughtful review from Marianne Messina today in The Metro. You can read it hear.


Foreign Hop

A brother and sister seek a European cure in the Pear's 'Baltimore Waltz'

By Marianne Messina

SIT FRONT and center at Pear Avenue Theater's production of The Baltimore Waltz, and you'll find, at very close proximity, two toilet commodes staring you down. No need to get up and move; it's just a glimpse of the play's potty humor and part of Ron Gasparinetti's clever set for episodic scenes that follow Anna (Alexandra Matthew) and her brother, Carl (John Romano), on their trip through Europe. Equipped with wheels, the toilet seats quickly become seats on a German train or at a Paris cafe, with only a little help from the actors in the dark-of-scene changes.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Nice review for "The Baltimore Waltz"

Here is the link from the San Mateo County Times.



Pear Avenue Theatre's unusual 'Baltimore Waltz' eases grief with laughs
By Keith Kreitman, CONTRIBUTOR
Article Last Updated:11/21/2006 02:40:10 AM PST

SOME plays, on first viewing, are bewildering but so entertaining that only after they are completed, do you reflect upon them and get the point.

The point in "The Baltimore Waltz," now at the Pear Avenue Theatre in Mountain View, is that there are multiple ways of dealing with the loss of loved ones.

Why Baltimore and why waltz, you ask? Well, Baltimore is playwright Vogel's hometown, where the action takes place, and the waltz represents the "dance of death," she, an elementary school teacher, and her beloved, AIDS-stricken librarian brother, Carl, dance it to the very end.

But this isn't a sad memorial to Vogel's lost brother. It is as quirky as you can get, very funny, erotic and upbeat.

read more.....

Talk Back for "The Baltimore Waltz"

We had a talk-back after the show on Sunday. This is when some of the audience stays after the performance for a discussion of the play. The actors and director answer questions and talk about the rehearsal process. I found myself talking a lot more than usual. I am usually very quiet during these things. One of the questions that really struck me was from an audience member that felt we embellished the play to the point that we perhaps should have asked for special permission from the author. For some reason that question really stuck with me for a couple of days. I know for sure that we didn't do what he suggested but, nonetheless, I kept wondering what would have motivated a person to ask such a question. Maybe he was a playwright himself and is very sensitive about his own work being corrupted. Who knows?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Waltzing Mathilda

The show has opened and I am thrilled. We had two reviewers come for preview. That was somewhat unfortunate because we had a couple of technical glitches to work out. But at least they came. Opening was just about sold out and the whole production from the acting to the lights to the sound and even a few changes on the set, came together and were nearly flawless. It's a little sad. I have been traveling this journey with Alex and John and Jeff and Leslie for weeks now and for me it's pretty much finished. I poured my heart into this show. I will be there for every performance that my schedule allows. No matter how many times I see this show, I am always awed by the work that the actors are doing. They are the best.


The Baltimore Waltz

Pear Avenue Theatre
November 17-December 3, 2006

This funny/rueful exploration of brotherly (and sisterly) love fancifully re-imagines the real-life story of Paula Vogel and her late brother. This wonderfully inventive play shows how love triumphs over such foes as Acquired Toilet Syndrome, bigotry, mortality and other things that go bump in the night.

Monday, November 13, 2006

My Director's Notes

When Paula Vogel wrote “The Baltimore Waltz,” A.I.D.S. was an enormous social crisis and George Bush was President. Now, sixteen years later, A.I.D.S. is still damaging lives, and another George Bush is President. Only the middle initial has changed. And although this might be a sad commentary on social progress, it has kept the play fresh and relevant. Nothing in it feels dated and none of the words had to be changed. But this play is not really about any specific disease or political situation. This play is about love and lust and laughter. It’s how one woman chose to remember her brother who meant so much to her.

Paula Vogel encourages theatres that bring The Baltimore Waltz to life, to publish her brother Carl’s letter to her. He wrote the letter after his first bout with pneumonia in 1987. By this time she knew he was H.I.V. positive, and she also knew that they would probably never get visit Europe together. It was something they had talked about, but that Paula had turned down because of time and money. She had no idea, at the time, that Carl’s life was coming to an end.

Usually we only talk about the sad part of grieving - the sense of loss, the feeling of despair and the emptiness. But there is often another side of grief. It’s the remembrance of our most precious moments, the times we laughed and cried together and how, if we are lucky, those memories can make us smile and give us comfort for the rest of our lives.


The Letter


March 1987

Dear Paula:

I thought I would jot down some of my thoughts about the (shall we say) production values of my ceremony. Oh God . - I can hear you groaning - everybody wants to direct. Well, I want a good show, even though my role has been re­duced involuntarily from player to prop.

First, concerning the choice between a religious ceremony and a memorial service. I know the family considers my An­glican observances as irrelevant as Shinto. However, I wish prayers in some recognizably traditional form to be said, prayers that give thanks to the Creator for the gift of life and the hope of reunion. For reasons which you appreciate, I pre­fer a woman cleric, if possible, to lead the prayers. Here are two names: Phebe Coe, Epiphany Church; the Rev. Doris Mote, Holy Evangelists. Be sure to make a generous contribu­tion from the estate for the cleric.

As for the piece of me I leave behind, here are your op­tions:

1) Open casket, full drag.

2) Open casket, bum up (you’ll know where to place the

calla lillies, won’t you?).

3) Closed casket, interment with the grandparents.

4) Cremation and burial of my ashes.

5) Cremation and dispersion of my ashes in some sylvan


I would really like good music. My tastes in these matters run to the highbrow: Faure’s “Pie Jesu” from his Requiem, Gluck’s “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” from Orfeo, “La Vergine degli Angeli” from Verdi’s Forza. But my favorite song is “I Dream of Jeannie,” and 1 wouldn’t mind a spiritual like “Steal Away.” Also perhaps “Nearer My God to Thee.” Didn’t Jeannette MacDonald sing that di-vinely in San Francisco?

Finally, would you read or have read A.E. Housman’s

“Loveliest of Trees”?

Well, my dear, that’s that. Should I be lain with Grandma and Papa Ben, do stop by for a visit from year to year. And feel free to chat. You’ll find me a good listener.



Sunday, November 12, 2006


Take a look at this moving video that some talented person put together. It really makes you see what we've been through as a country over the last couple of years.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Cherry Jones in DOUBT

Two days ago I sat in the eighth row of the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco and watched Cherry Jones in John Patrick Shanley's Pulitzer Prize winning play - Doubt.  Her portrayal of Sister Aloysius is stunning. Images of my years of Catholic training came flooding back to me.

What a wonderful play Doubt is. The ambiguity of the characters is very thought provoking. It humanizes everyone, even those that we tend to dehumanize lately, namely priests who for some strange reason are attracted to children.

Like in Albee's The Goat, the play leaves you feeling a little disoriented because it challenges your feelings about those we like to demonize in order to assuage our own fears.

If you get a chance, go see this play.


The upshot: A taut 90-minute thriller on the shadowy nature of truth.

Where: Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St. at Market Street, San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays; through Dec. 3

Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission

Tickets: $40-$80: (415) 551-2000 or

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Directing Journal Vol. 7

Our production of The Baltimore Waltz heads into tech week on Friday. The show is in great shape at this point. Last night we did a run through and I timed it. We were thinking of splitting what is normally a one act play into two acts. But now that we are up to speed on the lines, and have the actual set, the show is only running 80 minutes. I think this is too short to do in two acts. The first act would last 45 minute and the second would only last 35 minutes. So, we'll probably do it in one act as Paula Vogel has written it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Set - Directing Journal Vol. 6

To my utter amazement our incredible set designer built the whole set today. I can't imagine how he did it, but he did. It was so fantastic to have the actual set pieces to work with rather than the makeshift one's we've been using for the last few weeks.

We made huge strides tonight in really nailing down some nuances that will really make the show special. We also had the lighting and sound designer present and we tried some music out. I have built in some dancing between a few of the scenes and I wanted the actors to have a chance to actually move to real sounds, not just the sounds we inanely tried to hum for them during rehearsal.

We open in ten days and we're in great shape.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

"The Baltimore Waltz" at The Pear

Rehearsals are going extremely well. Tickets will sell fast, so get them while you can! Posted by Picasa



I took this picture at rehearsal the other night with my cell phone. I thought the angles were interesting.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

BusFest - Annual Bus Barn Independent Film Festival

BusFest - Annual Bus Barn Independent Film Festival

Are you a film maker in the San Francisco Bay Area? Enter your work in this brand new local film festival.

Welcome To BusFest


BusFest! is a film festival for independent filmmakers who are residents of the 9 counties of the San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Cruz County, designed to support the local film community and to join hands to participate with and support the local live theatre community.


In its first year of inception (2007) BusFest! is aimed towards two goals -- to provide a venue and give more exposure to independent filmmakers in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as to create a shared audience of live theatre goers and independent film attendees.

Bus Barn Theater in Los Altos, CA, is an old school bus building that has been used for live theatre since 1977 and is the home of Bus Barn Stage Company, a not-for-profit theatre company. The theater holds 100 seats, a perfect venue for an intimate film experience.

  • Submissions are being accepted for consideration now through December 15, 2006
  • Format is DVD only
  • BusFest! is open to film makers in the 9 Bay Area counties and Santa Cruz County
  • BusFest! will be an adjudicated event with prizes awarded in each category and a BEST OF FEST prize of $1000.
  • Submission fee is $25.

For more information, call 650-941-5070 or go to


Barbara Cannon (Director)


BusFest! is an independent film festival designed for San Francisco Bay Area film makers. Only films from the 9 Bay Area counties and Santa Cruz County are accepted.

Learning the Part - Directing Journal Vol. 5

I have always been intrigued by the different ways that actors learn their parts. Some just seem to set their script down one day and know everything perfectly. Others paraphrase up until tech week, and others seem to just effortlessly absorb them. Right now we are at the point in rehearsal where the actors are struggling to run through the show and also to remember lines, blocking and scene changes. It's an interesting process to observe as a director. It has informed my own understanding of the process as an actor.

Our set has changed somewhat in order to create more playing space. This I am very happy about because we had a couple of things that looked good on paper, but were just getting in the way during rehearsal.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

30 Scenes and 30 Changes - Directing Journal Vol. 4

One of the most challenging aspects of this play are the scene changes. The play is comprised of 30 very short scenes. This requires that set pieces and actors move about quite often. The actors and one stage hand will be doing all the work. For our last rehearsal we practiced the scene transitions for three hours. Normally, you wouldn't do this until later in the rehearsal process, but as it's such a big part of the show, I decided to get it all down early.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Horizontal Waltz - Directing Journal Vol. 3

The Baltimore Waltz is a very funny play and a very touching play and it also has a soft porn scene. In reading it the first time, the scene just seemed funny and amusing, but having to choreograph all the moves involved was something I wasn't quite ready for. I got a taste of what blue move director must consider run of the mill. I found it difficult to tell the actors such things as, "could you please thrust more with your hips, rather than your shoulders?" It's very hard work for the actors. Both of them finished the blocking sequence looking like they had just run a few miles.

One of my biggest challenges right now is that the set designer is out of town, on a cruise, and I am having some blocking problems because of the positions of the flats. We only have them marked with tape right now, and it's difficult to see where the actual playing space will be in the upstage area.

Overall, I am very pleased with the rehearsals. Tonight we have our designer run through which means that the people involved with providing lights, sound, costumes and props will be there. It's always a nervous time for actors, because it 's usually the first time that strangers see them perform a show that's only half finished.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Moment to Moment Work - Directing Journal Vol. 2

The Baltimore Waltz is a play done in thirty very short scenes. I really think it's important for the actors to be able to work at the play in sections, with intensive notes from me after each short run through. As an actor I know that it really helps to be able to repeat a short section numerous times with specific adjustments from the director. Doing this allow the scene to get further into the actor's psyche and body.

Often directors will just have actors run an entire act once or twice during a given rehearsal, and often they never stray from this routine. In my view this is usually an mistake. The actors never get a chance to do work on difficult sequences several times. For guidance, I turn to the French word - répétition. which is the word the French use for rehearsal. I think that repetition is really the key for an actor in feeling free and comfortable on opening night. It's such a simple concept, but often neglected. There is really something to be said about doing things over an over in order to perfect them.

It could be that in our acting world, which has been so effected in good ways and bad by The Method, we sometimes believe that repeating something too many times will make it stale. To some extent that may be true for film, but on stage, I don't believe it's true. On stage you want the performers to be so grounded and confident in all of their moments, so that it frees them to really be present.

Fortuneatly, I have a group of actors who take direction and my requests for subtle changes so easily.  I also have a stage manager that remembers every minute detail of blocking that I have mumbled over the last number of days.

Tonight we worked on the first twelve scenes. The last being an hilarious bedroom scene combined with a tour through the Louvre. It's kind of hard to explain. You'll have to come and see the show.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thoughts on Directing - Vol. 1

Directing The Baltimore Waltz has been a very enlightening experience so far. Because I cast three excellent actors I am relaxed about the outcome. This has freed me up to really watch them rehearse and let my imagination just flow. I have always suspected, but now am certain, that many of my ideas come from that part of the brain that is purely unconscious. The observations that are most striking to me are two: first as I watch a scene I often don't worry about the content, I only pay attention to whether or not my mind is being stimulated and brought alive by what is happening on stage. If I pay attention to that, I can pinpoint problems in scenes just by asking myself, "what were the actors missing in this moment that caused my mind to become bored?", usually there is something very specific that is required to make the moment work and I look for that. I do my best to describe my impression to the actors and then ask them to do it again. Inevitably the moment that was bland or misguided comes to life. It's quite an astonishing process. The second thing I do often, is just let the scene unfold and pay attention to my associations. For instance yesterday, there was a scene that I had staged in a very static way. Initially this seemed adequate and would have been a fine way to set it. But as I watched them rehearse it again, the image of Rod Serling from the Twilight Zone, kept coming to my head. I quickly realized that what my unconscious was telling me was that this moment would be much more interesting, if I had one of the characters walk among the other two characters as he talked about their past lives. Often, Rod Serling would do something like this. He would saunter across the screen recounting the lives of one of his characters and asking questions about how things could have been different for them. I asked the actor to try it this way, and the outcome for all of us was astonishing. The feel of the whole scene changed and it was much more exciting and interesting to watch.

No More Underpants

Thanks to everyone in the cast of The Underpants. I will always remember the fun time we had. Kalon, Mary Lou, Shannon, Bob and Blake, you're the best. I can't ever remember getting along so well with a group of people.

Next up is The Baltimore Waltz at The Pear Avenue Theatre. I am directing this wonderful show written by Paula Vogel. It's the story of a woman's personal tribute to her brother. The play is very funny and also very touching. You can learn more at The Pear's web site.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


John Stewart's take on Clinton's "meltdown". I think that Clinton was awesome in this thing. He just nailed that Fox Network right wing bullshit and they could do nothing. That's one for the Gipper!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Laugh Please

People!! You have to laugh if you feel like it! If you go to a play and it's in a small house and if they play is funny and you feel like laughing, For the Love 'O Pete, DO IT! This is a purely selfish request on my part. I get so tired of doing comedies in small theatres where most people are afraid to let out a laugh. I don't blame them in a way. I am a loud laugher myself, and I can't tell you how many times I have been on the receiving end of a nasty "mal occhio" from a quiet Politically Correct seat neighbor. But do it for the actors, please. We are a very insecure bunch. We need to know, we must know that you love us. If we don't get it, well, who knows what we might do. It could be awful. So, for the love of God, man, laugh. If it's not funny, laugh anyway! You might get the actors charged up and then they will actually become funny just because you said "I love you" with a goofaw.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Backstage Goofiness

  Posted by Picasa
Kalon Thibodeaux and I making our next album cover.

Clinton Interviewed on Fox News Sunday

This is awesome. Clinton beats FOX at their own game when they try to set him up with a question about bin Laden. Clinton is just way too smart for them.

This is the first 20 minutes of Bill Clinton’s interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. In this clip, Wallace asks Clinton why he didn’t do more to capture or kill Osama bin Laden while he was in office. Clinton clearly feels like he has been set up and doesn’t hold back in telling Wallace just how he feels.

full transcript here:

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Underpants at Dragon Productions

The Underpants at Dragon Productions

The Underpants
by Steve Martin
(Sept. 25 - Oct. 15, 2006)

Comic genius Steve Martin, author of the Arden's smash hit Picasso at the Lapin Agile, concocted this hilarious adaptation about a housewife who becomes an overnight celebrity when she accidentally loses her underpants in public. Chaos follows in this witty comedy that explores fidelity, sexuality, and hidden desire. This cheeky satire exposes the bewildering misfortune of love... and other unmentionables.

Call Dragon Productions at 650-493-2006 for tickets.
Tickets: $10-$21.50
Dragon Theatre
535 Alma Palo Alto, CA 94301


Thursday, September 14, 2006


Originally uploaded by Master and Commander.

What one does, when one is home sick. One sets up strange photographyic poses with action figures.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

"The Underpants" by Steve Martin in Palo Alto

This is picture is me (center) as Theo,
Blake Maxam as Cohen and Shannon Stowe as Louise in a production photo for THE UNDERPANTS.

Steve Martin, the famous comic, actor and writher, adapted and transformed the Sternheim play of 1911 called "Die Hose." He gave it a modern sensibility and enhanced the woman's place in the household as a sexual being.
Since its New York premiere, it has been produced all over the world. Martin has transformed a play originally about the the decline of the bourgeois, into a play about our American obsession with fame.

It plays from Sept. 21 – Oct. 15, 2006 at Dragon Productions in Palo Alto. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 08, 2006

Mr. Fogg in the W.C.

Mr. Fogg in the W.C.
Originally uploaded by Master and Commander.

I was playing the role of Fogg in a production of "Sweeney Todd" and took this photo while in the can during the show.

The Kill

The Kill
Originally uploaded by Master and Commander.
We went to Acapulco for vacation. Having watched many bullfights on TV as a child, I decided to go see one in person. I can see now why they are on longer on television in the U.S. This is great stuff for animal cruelty people to get very upset about. What you are seeing here as the Matador getting ready to impale the bull with a sword. He puts it in between the animal's front shoulder blades. It then cuts some artery I think. The bull hobbles around for another minute or so and then drops dead. As he is going to his knees the matador puts out his hand as if he were directing the animal to kneel before him. If the bull doesn't die instantly at this point, another guy runs up with a little knife and stabs it into the spinal column at the back of the skull. The these keystone cop kind of guys run out with a couple of donkeys and drag the dead bull away. They do this with much energy and yelping.

Uploaded by Master and Commander o

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Bountiful Actors Theatre of San Francisco

Last night I sat in the second row of the tiny Actor’s Theatre in San Francisco attending a performance of “The Trip to Bountiful” by Horton Foote. Jean Shelton, the person who has taught me more about acting than any other teacher , plays the lead role. I had been looking forward to seeing this show for weeks. Jean hadn’t been on the stage for over thirty years and yet she decided to take on this challenging role.

It turned out to be a challenging experience for me. The acting and direction were excellent in a way that you rarely see on stage today. There was very little pretense going on. The interactions for the most part were so organic and real. The only downside of this was that the show sometimes seemed to lack energy, although it was never boring. Even in the second act, during a very long scene between mother and son when both Jean and her real life son Christian Phillips spoke in hushed tones, seemingly with out a point other than to try to enjoy their last few moments in the soon to be gone forever, Bountiful, Texas, I found myself clinging to every word.

Now about the challenging part. Jean is getting a little up in years and like most actors I know of her age, they often have line trouble. Jean obviously was having that. It might not have been obvious to the casual theatre patron, but to those who have been up on the stage before, it was quite obvious. Normally as an audience member I would just watch with some empathy. But when this happened to Jean, I found my entire body going into a state of complete tension. I wanted to save her. I wanted to do something to prevent her any embarrassment. Being the pro she is, though, she always had a deep understanding of the scene and was able to work her way out of the line problems with more ease than most. It was my reaction that surprised me. It really made me see that when at some point in your life you care about a person, even if you don’t talk to them or see them anymore, there is always a part of you that wants to help, to console, to love, to reach out.

I take my hat off to Jean and to the entire cast. To see this woman who has completely dedicated her life to teaching others and helping others realize their artistic dreams, actually get the opportunity after so many years to go back to what started it all for her in the first place - being up on stage - was a sublime experience that I will never forget.

Actors Theatre of San Francisco:

"The Trip to Bountiful"
by Horton Foote
Through Sept. 9, 2006

Directed by Jennifer Welch and Rachel Klyce
The Trip To Bountiful tells the story of Carrie Watts, an elderly woman who flees the stifling confinement of the city apartment she shares with her son and daughter-in-law to revisit her hometown in the low farmland of the Texas coast. Amid ruin and decay wrought by the passage of time, she discovers a renewed connection to her past, and the satisfaction of a life well lived.

'The Trip To Bountiful ... is the rarest of theater experiences, an evening which will prove an indelible memory. .. Horton Foote has done, and done beautifully, the one thing it is important for a playwright to do. That is, provide the disciplined material for expert actors to completely capture an audience and hold it through the evening.' -NY World-Telegram

Featuring: James Baldock, Keith Burkland, Scott Agar Jaicks, John Krause, Tim Meehan, Virginia Dare Paulin, Christian Phillips, Duncan Phillips, Jean Shelton, Niki Yapo"

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Jesus Christ has been Nailed to His Aluminum Cross for the Last Time

As they say, "all things must end". It was quite an experience to be part of such a magical production. This is the first time I have ever been in the cast of a show in which audiences lined up to get their names on the waiting list. Seats were sold out weeks in advance. Nightly, I would see people leave the theatre stunned, in tears or with looks of shock on there faces or just as often smiling in joy. If I were one to believe in such things, I might believe that our show was divinely inspired. But I'm not, so I guess it was just the love and dedication of every single person in the cast and crew that made this production of Jesus Christ Superstar the memory of a lifetime. From Lisa's inspired direction, to Gus' wild rock band to Shannon's seamless choreography and to all twenty eight performers total commitment, this show was as perfect and as raw as theatre can be. I am forever grateful for having been given the chance to be a part of it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mr. Show - Jeepers Creepers, Semi-Star

Here is the same video as below, but without the Director's commentary. Watch this one first.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Jeepers Creepers ( Mr Show)

Fans of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' will bust a gut at this hillarious parody from the HBO series MR. SHOW. Jack Black plays the Jesus role (aka.. Jeepers Creepers). The segment is titled 'The Biggest Failure in Broadway History'. Not only do I love this video, because it's just damn funny, but also because of the fact that they produced it knowing that only a relative handful of viewers would even get it. If you know the movie, you just have to take a few minutes to watch this.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Bea & Rock Turnin' On - Sniff, Swig, Puff...

This is both strange and hillarious. Boy, how times have changed in thirty years. Rock and Bea, singing nostalgically about getting high, you gotta love it.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Merc Loves J C Superstar | 07/19/2006 | Little City Lights pulls off big `Superstar'

Little City Lights pulls off big `Superstar'


By Colin Seymour
Mercury News

Kit Wilder brings charisma and a big voice to the role of Jesus in City Lights' excellent production of "Jesus Christ Superstar."


Kit Wilder brings charisma and a big voice to the role of Jesus in City
Lights' excellent production of "Jesus Christ Superstar."

The City Lights Theater Company is billing the rock opera ``Jesus
Christ Superstar'' as ``the most ambitious effort that the company has
ever undertaken.'' But some skepticism might surround the production.
For one thing, the image of the show as a cast-of-thousands
extravaganza might seem beyond the means of the tiny San Jose troupe.
Beyond that, would success mean sacrificing the City Light-ness of the
company's being?

O, ye of little faith: Suspend that disbelief.

With a cast of 28 and a five-man rock combo often surrounding the
audience at the 108-seat theater, City Lights artistic director Lisa
Mallette has filled the relatively small 2,000-square-foot space with a
multitude of sights and sounds in every direction, creating illusions
of grandeur worthy of the show's fabled music team, Andrew Lloyd Webber
(``Phantom of the Opera'') and Tim Rice (``The Lion King''). Yet the
set itself is as humble as a rural church.

The show -- which brought round-the-block lines to South Second
Street for previews last week -- even refutes a third cause for
skepticism: the sense that ``Superstar'' is mired in its early '70s
origins and is not worth producing anymore.

The score alone creates ecstasy, especially if you heard it back in
the day but haven't in a while. There's the title song. And ``What's
the Buzz?'' ``Everything's Alright,'' ``I Don't Know How to Love Him,''
``Hosanna,'' ``Jesus Must Die.'' And all those juicy licks for right-on
guitarist brothers Bill and Tim Rupel.

Talk about a revival! This audacious stretch by City Lights does not
deviate from its mission to aim high and have fun, with the gambling
and gamboling lacking in many of today's movies and television shows
but still present in good theater.

The two sure things going in -- probably the impetus -- were that
Kit Wilder, Mallette's husband and company co-leader, could deliver a
world-class performance in the title role, and that he could do it with
a City Lights sensibility.

His undeniable charisma has a diabolical element that rides that
edge. City Lights is clubby, and there's an air of a sly wink to this
whole thing that is faithful to rock 'n' roll. Yet it's a good-faith
performance. Wilder is an earnest, volatile, human Jesus throughout
those seven final days among mankind. And, zounds, he can hit a high C

Although there are other praiseworthy principals, the voices that
really carry this production are in the chorus. Everyone is miked,
despite the intimate venue. The surround sound and Lloyd Webber's
adventurous harmonies are so sensational they vastly outweighed any
scattered sound-system glitches that still were being ironed out at
Friday's preview. (The choral depth was not a given going in.)

Standing out among the principals is burly, tattooed Adam Campbell
as Judas Iscariot. The vocal role is nearly as juicy as the lead, and
Campbell is big enough for the job. Jay Steele and Michael Johnson are
perfect counterparts as even-more-burly priests. Tim Reynolds as
Pontius Pilate and Tomas Theriot as King Herod are slick and suitably

As a very soothing Mary Magdalene, Jeanne Batacan-Harper has more
than enough heart. Her lack of oomph as a lead rock vocalist creates a
weak impression, however -- at least until her miraculous turnaround, a
tearjerking rendition of ``I Don't Know How to Love Him.'' She redeems
a song that many consider a mawkish cliche epitomizing a mawkish era.

In that era, ``Hair'' was the quintessential rock opera, with
``Jesus Christ Superstar'' seeming a bit of a rip-off, aside from Lloyd
Webber's inventive score. But that ``tribal musical'' truly is a relic now.

In a production that seems more to be set in AD 2006 than in AD 30,
the relevance of this show is palpable for the audience. John might
step on front-row feet accidentally. Jesus' backdraft might muss
patrons' hair. And don't step in his ``blood'' as you're crossing the
stage on your way out. But the spirit takes hold and, for two hours
anyway, it doesn't let go.

`Jesus Christ Superstar' By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice

The upshotSmall company aims high, connects big-time

WhereCity Lights Theater Company, 529 S. Second St., San Jose

When8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays; 7 p.m. July 23 and 30; 2 p.m. Aug. 6, 13 and 20

Through Aug. 20

Running time: 2 hours with one 15-minute intermission

Tickets: $15-$35; (408) 295-4200,

Contact Colin Seymour at or (408) 920-5857.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Theater & Performance in San Jose, CA | 'Jesus Christ Superstar' at City Lights

Theater & Performance in San Jose, CA | 'Jesus Christ Superstar' at City Lights

A Superstar Is Born

City Lights brings a big 'Jesus Christ Superstar' to a small stage

By Marianne Messina

DIRECTING the City Lights Theater Company production of Jesus Christ Superstar, artistic director Lisa Mallette's collaborative style goes well with jazz-minded musical director Gus Kambeitz. He and Mallette have updated parts of Andrew Lloyd Webber's funky rock opera with the occasional hip-hop beat, a smattering of rap and a dynamic range that goes from big production to "unplugged." Both directors wanted the feel of a rock concert while highlighting a very human drama (as opposed to pyrotechnics). Since Kambeitz plays bass through most of the show, he is not there to cue performers in and out of his layered vocal arrangements and Webber's complex time signatures. On the one hand, that has unsettled a few performers who like every cue scripted. On the other, as Kambeitz points out, characters won't have to keep looking up for musical direction. "We've freed them up to just act. ... There's a little more flexibility."

Kambeitz enjoys the idea that every performance will be somewhat different. He offers performers the safety net of a cohesive, synergistic band unit, having just released a jazz album with two of the five-member orchestra. What—Superstar with no string section, no horn section?...more...

Great Review for J.C. Superstar in the Merc | 07/19/2006 | Little City Lights pulls off big `Superstar'

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

JC the Superest of Stars at City Lights

We open on Saturday, which is sold out. You can come to a pay what you can night tonight, Thursday July 13, and I think that if you call the box office you can get a ticket for $5.00 for tomorrow's preview.
Theater & Performance in San Jose, CA | 'Jesus Christ Superstar' at City Lights

'Jesus Christ Superstar'

Jesus Christ Superstar plays
Thursday-Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2 or 7pm through Aug. 20 at City
Lights, 529 S. Second St., San Jose. Gala opening July 15. Tickets are
$15-$25/gala $35. (408.295.4200)

Monday, July 10, 2006

DEUCE a World Premiere by Sharmon Hilfinger at The Pear

What a wonderful rich and multi-layered play this is. Rarely have I seen a new play that is so well written. The acting and directing are superb. You have one more weekend to see this thoufhtful and toouching new play.

The Pear Avenue Theatre - Current Show

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Friday, June 30, 2006

dance monkeys, dance

Here's a great video about monkeys. Watch and learn.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

'The Tempest' is one of Shakespeare's most incredible works. If you love Shakespeare, you owe it to yourself to go see this wonderful production. Kenneth Kelleher's concept is unique and captivating and the acting is exrtraordinary.

This summer, family and friends are sure to enjoy seeing Prospero's mysterious island in Bay Area parks, when the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival presents The Tempest free of charge in Pleasanton, Cupertino, San Mateo, Oakland and San Francisco. Kenneth Kelleher (2003's Love's Labour's Lost, 2004's Twelfth Night, and 2005's Much Ado About Nothing), returns to direct this compelling tale of the banished Duke Prospero, who, after 12 years of exile, shipwrecks his betrayers and reclaims his rightful place in the world.

The play is probably best remembered for the spirit Ariel and monster Caliban, who both serve Prospero and his daughter Miranda on the island. Ariel creates the "tempest" of the title and, in the storm's resulting shipwreck, four nobles are thrown up on shore: Prospero's treacherous brother Antonio, King Alonso of Naples, the king's brother Sebastian, and the loyal counselor Gonzalo.

Political intrigue and magical manipulations join with comedy and romance as the steward Stephano and jester Trinculo, drunk on the ship's store of ale, plot with Caliban to overthrow Prospero. The king's son Ferdinand falls in love with Miranda. In the end, Prospero forgives the traitors, frees his loyal servant Ariel and destroys his magical book and staff.

The shows are FREE, and lawn seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Bring your family, friends, a blanket, and a picnic to enjoy this professional theater production! There are no tickets necessary for Free Shakespeare in the Park.

The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

'The Tempest' is one of Shakespeare's most incredible works. If you love Shakespeare, you owe it to yourself to go see this wonderful production. Kenneth Kelleher's concept is unique and captivating and the acting is exrtraordinary.

This summer, family and friends are sure to enjoy seeing Prospero's mysterious island in Bay Area parks, when the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival presents The Tempest free of charge in Pleasanton, Cupertino, San Mateo, Oakland and San Francisco. Kenneth Kelleher (2003's Love's Labour's Lost, 2004's Twelfth Night, and 2005's Much Ado About Nothing), returns to direct this compelling tale of the banished Duke Prospero, who, after 12 years of exile, shipwrecks his betrayers and reclaims his rightful place in the world.

The play is probably best remembered for the spirit Ariel and monster Caliban, who both serve Prospero and his daughter Miranda on the island. Ariel creates the "tempest" of the title and, in the storm's resulting shipwreck, four nobles are thrown up on shore: Prospero's treacherous brother Antonio, King Alonso of Naples, the king's brother Sebastian, and the loyal counselor Gonzalo.

Political intrigue and magical manipulations join with comedy and romance as the steward Stephano and jester Trinculo, drunk on the ship's store of ale, plot with Caliban to overthrow Prospero. The king's son Ferdinand falls in love with Miranda. In the end, Prospero forgives the traitors, frees his loyal servant Ariel and destroys his magical book and staff.

The shows are FREE, and lawn seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Bring your family, friends, a blanket, and a picnic to enjoy this professional theater production! There are no tickets necessary for Free Shakespeare in the Park.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

RUBICON Behind the scenes Part 1

RUBICON Behind the scenes Part 1

I am very excited abou this project. It's called RUBICON. It's a web based TV series that's sort of an X-Files/24 mix. It's really cool science fiction and it's going to be incredible. I get to play a character that's sort of like the Cirgarette Smoking Man from the X-Files. The first two episodes are almost finished. Check it out!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Hen and Bunny Do The Sopranos

Sopranos fans have to watch this - it's a couple of puppets playing a scene from this season's Paris episode . It's very funny stuff.

Paris Holiday

Filming on location in gay
Paris was certainly a treat for noted thespians Hen and Bunny, but more
inspiring than the wine, food, and local culture was this very poignant
material from "The Sopranos." "I strained to bring Carmela's
existential curiosity to the small screen," offers Bunny. "She only
wants to taste the pain and suffering of others. We're alike in that
way." But Hen admits to being distracted by the surroundings. "One of
the waiters kept telling me how good I would taste, fried in goose
fat," Hen tells us. "I don't think he was just trying to be sexy,

Click on photo below to watch the video.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Auditions for New Works Festival at Foothill

I acted in this last year. It was a fantastic experience.


years' Foothill New Works Festival includes six short plays ranging in
style from realism to farce to surrealism both comedic and dramatic.
These works address technological innovations ranging from developing
remarkable building materials to instant HIV test results. The Foothill
New Works Festival is dedicated to developing and promoting the world
premiere work of upcoming playwrights as well as providing
opportunities for developing directors, actors and designers to further
their advance their experiences.

The featured new works are:
Anansi and Chameleon by Rebecca Royce - Director: Linda Christensen
Community Property by David Schreiber - Director: Manuel Zaefferer
I Dream of Nadia by David Hartig - Director: Judith Ogus
Single Line Please by Robert Clem - Director: Jacqueline Powers
Strings by Dennis Carter - Director: Jezebel Barraza
Widowed to Hope by Jennifer Ebrahimi - Director: Shane Olbourne

Audition Details:

When: Monday, June 19th OR Tuesday, June 20th at 7pm. Please plan to arrive by 7pm.
Prepare: Cold readings from the script.
Appointment: No appointment necessary. Please arrive at indicated time (7pm) and be prepared to stay up to three hours.
Location: Foothill College Playhouse, Rm #1301,
Directions: Junction of Interstate 280 and El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills. See parking notice below.

Rehearsal Info:

Rehearsals begin July 5, 2006 weeknights (M-T-W-TH).
Specific schedule set based on actor and director availability.

Performances: August 11 to 20, 2006.

There are 19 roles available. Some gender flexibility. Some
multi-character casting is likely. Ages 16 and up. All roles open.
Actors of all ethnicities encourage to audition. This production has a
particular need for female actors of East Indian decent as well as a
few roles for male actors over 40.

Participation: Non-equity. No pay. No Fees.

Information: (650) 949-7268 or

Please note: Parking regulations require a $2 parking permit at all times.
Please avoid costly tickets and purchase a permit; If you are cast in the
show you will receive a free permit for all rehearsals and performances.
For closest parking to auditions, park in student lot 1 immediately to your
right as you enter the campus. Walk up the stairs to the Playhouse (Room
1301) which is on your right at the top of the second flight of stairs.
Foothill Drama Dept enthusiastically endorses "non-traditional" casting,
and is open to actors of all races in any of the roles in these productions.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Another Must See! JOHN & JEN at the Bus Barn

Last night I saw a rarely performed musical by Broadway's latest boy wonder, Andrew Lippa. David Curley and Kristin Stokes bring this wonderful two person musical to life. Their voices are pure and wonderful and the acting is personal and touching. The chemistry between them is electrifying.

The musical direction was flawless. What a great orchestra they've assembled!

Barbara Cannon's direction added so many subtle touches to the performances. For instance, there is one moment when John(David Curley) reaches out to touch his uncle's tombstone that really moved me. It was a very small movement and very fleeting, but for me it was poignent moment. This is the kind of detail that I really love to see. It's the type of added touch that transports a play from the usual to the transcendent.

David Curley (John)

DAVID CURLEY returns to BusBarn after appearing in THE GOODBYE GIRL in 2004. So far this year, David was seen in URINETOWN (Foothill Music Theatre), GYPSY (American Musical Theatre of San Jose) and the staged reading of Andrew Lippa’s ASPHALT BEACH (TheatreWorks’ New Works Festival). Past appearances include the world premiers of MEMPHIS (TheatreWorks) and THE HAUNTING OF WINCHESTER (San Jose Rep) and the regional premier of BAT BOY (TheatreWorks). Other credits: RAGTIME (TheatreWorks), CABARET (Theatre on San Pedro Square), SHE LOVES ME and ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (Foothill Music Theatre), AND THE WORLD GOES ROUND (Pear Avenue Theatre) and HOORAY FOR WHAT, MINNIE’S BOYS and MISS LIBERTY (42nd Street Moon). His performance in MISS LIBERTY earned him a 2005 Bay Area Theatre Critic’s Circle award. David is also a voiceover and commercial actor and was seen on The Discovery Channel in “30 Roller Coasters in 24 Hours”, which documented his successful attempt at a Guinness World Record. For contact and upcoming performance info please visit:

Kristin Stokes (Jen)

Kristin Stokes is delighted to be making her Bus Barn debut in John and Jen. She recently finished up another Andrew Lippa project called ASPHALT BEACH; a part of Theatreworks New Works festival. Her most recent Bay Area credits include: GYPSY at AMT , CABARET at the Willows (Sally), and INTO THE WOODS at Theatreworks (Snow White/Harp/ Lil‚ Red u/s- performed). Other credits include; Lilly St. Regis in ANNIE (PCPA), Rachel in TO GILLIAN ON HER 37TH BIRTHDAY (Broadway West), Bonnie Jean in BRIGADOON (PCPA), and Helen Keller in THE MIRACLE WORKER (Universal Performers). Ms. Stokes is a recent graduate of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and wishes the best of luck to the graduating class of 2006.

Bus Barn Stage Company

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Go See STRING OF PEARLS at City Lights Theater Company

City Lights Theater Company

This show you must see. Kit Wilder(Direction), the four wonderful actresses, and the lighting and sound experts, have created a very human, heartfelt show at City Lights. Four women play multiple roles in this amazing story of love and hope. Each of their characters are distinct and so interesting. It's truly riveting theatre. The acting, lighting, sound and direction are superb. The performances are layered and subtle and wonderful all around. I happen to know most of the people involved in this production, but it has nothing to do with my enthusiasm. You really have to go see this if you want to see some superb acting in an intimate venue.

Bay Area Premiere!

Written by
Michele Lowe

Directed by
Kit Wilder

Lisa Mallette*,
Raegena Raymond,
Nancy Sauder
Shannon Stowe
Appears courtesy of Actors Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

May 18-June 18, 2006
Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 pm
Select Sundays at 2 pm or 7 pm

Friday Preview: $20
Gala Opening:
All Other Shows:
$25 GN, $20 SR, $15 ST/ED
Group discounts are available; please call the Box Office for details.

In this funny, moving story, the journey of one necklace links the lives of 23 women. Four actresses play wildly varied characters who covet, steal, bestow and misplace a lustrous string of pearls. With gentle comedy and surprising candor, the play reveals the twists and turns in relationships between husband and wife, mother and daughter, sisters, friends and memories, intricately threading love, loss and destiny together into a radiant and heart-warming tale.
For mature audiences.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

America's New Idol - The King of the Soul Patrol

Well, I was wrong. Katherine McPhee didn't get the votes. I guess America likes the underdog so Taylor is your new Idol winner. I kind of like the idea that a guy with gray hair, a little ponch who's pushing thirty years old won. But, Katharine's the money girl. She's going to have a big career in front of her. Like my friend Diana DeGarmo. I predict she'll become a Broadway star.

The highlight of the show was most certainly Dionne Warwick's appearance with
Burt Bacharach - two living legends of American popular music.

For me, American Idol comes close to bringing back one of the genres of TV that I grew up with and watched constantly - the Variety Show. Programs like the Carol Burnett Show, Jackie Gleason, Andy Williams, Donny and Marie, Flip Wilson, and on and on.. were programs that helped me escape for hours and hours as a kid. That's probably why I really like this crazy piece of fluff so much. It kind of brings me back to those days of innocence - to a time, when for the hour that the program was on, you could forget the world and just laugh and listen and watch nice people singing nice songs.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

This Will Be Your Next American Idol - Katharine McPhee

American Idol: Contestants - Katharine McPhee

With her rendition tonight of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" she has certainly clinched it. No one will top that performance, and America won't be able to resist voting for this extremely talented and beautiful young woman.

If you really want to hear and see how good she is, watch and listen to her sing when she's not being judged. She's way more relaxed and sounds great.

Give Peace a Chance

One, two, three, four

Everybody's talking about
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism,
Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, That-ism, is-m, is-m, is-m

All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Everybody's talking about Ministers,
Sinister, Banisters
And canisters, Bishops, and Fishops,
And Rabbis, and Pop eyes, Bye, bye, bye byes

All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Let me tell you now
Everybody's talking about
Revolute, evolute, masturbate,
Flagellate, regulate, integrate,

All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Everybody's talking about
John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary,
Tommy Smothers, Bobby Dylan,
Tommy Copper,
Derek Taylor, Norman Mailer,
Allen Ginsberg, Hare Krishna,
Hare, Hare

All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Google Ads

I put these little Google ads on here. You can see them above. Now, I think it's obnoxious. My inner capitalist and inner artist are at war.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Martin Short's New Show

I went and saw this show which is currently running at the Orpheum in San Francisco. Next it's to Chicago and then apparantly to Broadway. It really has some funny moments but they have a lot of work to do before it's ready for the big time. I really hope it does well. Martin Short is a funny man with loads of talent and his cast is fantastic. The show just feels too much like a long Saturday Night Live skit right now. I have a feeling they can pull it off, though. I'll keep my fingers crossed for them.

Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me to Open on Broadway August 10, Buzz

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sopranos - Episode 73 - Johnny Cakes

The highlight of this week's episode was the amazing scene between Tony and A.J. Robert Iler, the actor who plays A.J. is developing some really excellent acting chops. This episode was really his episode and he ran with it. The subtlety of his performance was touching. You can really feel his conflict: a boy loves his distant and dangerous father and wants to gain his love by being more like him but he also hates him. He hates him for the life that he's been forced to live as the son of a kingpin. I hope we see more of him for the rest of the season.

HBO: The Sopranos: Episode Guide: Summary: Season 6: Episode 73

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Colbert Trashes Bush

You have to take about 20 minutes to watch this video. For some reason the White House Correspondents' Association let Stephen Colbert speak at their annual diinner. With his remarkable sarcasma and satire he completely dogs Bush. This guy has some serious testicular fortitude. Bush is sitting just a few feet away and he just nails him over and over again. The press people in the audience don't want to be seen laughing so most pretend to be disgusted as the cameras pan over them. It's fantastic stuff. Take a look.
Video Dog -

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

American Idol - Who's the best??

Who's the best? It's really tough to decide this year. The only one left that should go is Kelly Pickler, the calaaamarrri girl. She can sing, but only country seems to work for her and this is a pop idol contest.

Who do I want to win? Well if I were to judge solely on the fact that when Katharine McPhee is singing steam starts coming out of my ears and the sound of AHHHHOOOGAAAAAH can be heard for miles away, then well..


My ears tell me that Elliot Yamin should win. He's got the most amazing tone and he always sings the most difficult songs. He's just kind of well, non-idol looking. But the stylists seem to be working their magic and each week he magically looks a little better.

I don't know. Any of them but Kelly could win. Chris Daughrty is damn good, but I think Elliot's vocal tone gets the edge. Chris, though, already looks and acts like a star. Taylor Hicks has soul and charisma but I think that ultimately his limited range and gray hair will do him in. Paris is just too good of an actor. She's sixteen or seventeen but when she sings you think you are listening to some old soul. It's too strange for the average viewer. I love her though. Anyway that's my two cents. O yah.. Simon sucks.

Sopranos - Episode 72 - Luxury Lounge

Our mobsters were up to all kinds of nasty stuff this week, but the highlight of this show, hands down was Lauren Bacall saying the 'F' word!!! Bogey is rolling in his grave! You gotta love L.B. She has always been one of my favorite actors from the old days. What a great sense of humor she has, to have the guts in her later years, to do a part like this. My hats off to you Dame Bacall.

Just as awesome was the appearance of Sir Ben Kingsley! He was so damn funny. I love the line at the end when he sees Chrissy on the plane with home. "FAAAAAAAAAAAAAwk" he says. It was priceless.

Another priceless moment was Chris showing his overwhelming intellect referring to Law and Order SUV. He is such an idiot.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Sopranos - Episode 71 - "Live Free or Die"

It's all about Vito now and his secret life. Tony's ability to put the whole thing in perspective was quite surprising. The Captain's aren't going to be able to put up with it though. There's way too much homophobia in that group to tolerate the likes of Vito. So, as I said last week., Vito won't last the season.

Old Mr. Walnuts had quite a reaction to Vito's pufta tendencies. He said he felt betrayed. Hmmm??

I think that Paulie may have had a little action under the table during his prison stay. “The Lady doth Protest Too Much”, as one very smart Brit once said.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Gypsy at AMTSJ

I went to go see GYPSY last night at American Musical Theatre of San Jose. Things really got hot in Act II. The show picked up steam through the second act and the finally was really tremendous as Marya Grandy sung Rose's Turn with such gusto that would have made Ethel Merman proud.. It was great to see so many Bay Area pals up there doing there thing. It's a tribute to AMTSJ that they use as much local talent as they can and still remain a professional theater on a full scale Equity contract. Congrats to David, Jeff, Matt, Gia, Adrea, Joe, Dirk, Diana and all the other S.F. Based performers.

The Sopranos - Episode 70 - Mr. and Mrs. John Sacrimoni Request..

It looks like actor Joe Gannascoli who plays Vito Spatafore better start looking for another acting gig. He's going to lose another 100 lbs. due to starvation if he doesn't start selling more of his line of pasta sauce. Poor Vito was discovered at a gay night club by a couple of wise guys collecting their weekly envelope. So our buddy Vito grabs his pistol and puts himself up in a hotel out in the boondocks somewhere. Looks like he's contemplating giving himself a little lead poisoning. Within the next couple of weeks he's either going to have meet his maker by his own hand, or by one of T's crew. No way in hell they can let a fruity boss stay above ground. It's not in the job profile.

I love the way that every time Dr. Melfi gives T any actual practical advice, he uses it to improve his “business” relationships. This time she told him that if he's afraid of looking weak, to remember that people only see in us, what we let them see. So, T, being the quick study that he is, goes out and beats the holy crap out of his new body guard just to remind the jackals who's boss. If Melfi actually ever found out how many people have been killed and maimed because of her wisdom, she'd have to turn herself in as an accessory to murder and mayhem.

Does Christopher have an I.Q. of a turnip or what? His stupidity is hilarious. Last week it was his logical conclusion that dinosaurs and people could not have coexisted because that means Adam and Eve would have been chased around paradise by wild T Rex-s. This week he tells T that his idea to bring someone in from Naples to perform the hit on the Mayor of Munchkinland, was a pussy ass idea. Then he brings up one of the themes from THE GODFATHER that T must have agreed to doing the hit for Johnny because of the wedding. Only T had to remind Christopher that he had it backward. It was Johny Sack that wouldn't be able to refuse giving the favor. Christopher always has considered himself an expert on THE GODFATHER films. So, this was quite a riot.

One of my favorite little moments in the show was when A.J.s date at the wedding said she doesn't eat fish because of the “toxins”. This she said as she was taking a drag on a cig. Maybe they were those new toxin free organic cigarettes.

The whole fatty theme around Johnny Sacs family is a scream. You know he's a true Italian because even though his wife and daughter both resemble water buffalo he is concerned about them not eating enough. “Mangia, Mangia, Ven Grande!”, as my own grandmother used to say.

Overall, this one of the best episodes in memory and certainly the best this season. Next week, look for Vito to be pushing up more than his share of daisies, and (keep your fingers crossed), maybe the return of the ultimate hit-man Furio to do in the Mayor of Munchkinland.