Saturday, October 01, 2005

New Theater Progress Report

My understanding is that electricity will be turned on this week at the new Hoblit Performing Arts Center, and the "Into the Woods" and "Charlotte's Web" cast memebers will be rehearsing there, starting this week. Telephone installation, scheduled for this week, has been postponed (until October 19th), however, since the sheet-rocking has to be completed for that process to start, and we're not quite there at the moment.
Living La Vida Loca

Spent a nice Saturday afternoon stage-fighting with the rest of the "Victor/Victoria" cast at Runaway Stage Productions rehearsal space at Sierra Two (Pow! Zap!) I'm a little anxious because we're only three weeks from opening, we've lost several rehearsal days, and the musical and dancing style is subtle and exacting.

Saturday night, at DMTC, we had the seventh performance of the "Cabaret" run. Generally good show (but the opening had problems). Responsive house, filled with now-off-duty "Grease" cast members from Runaway Stage. Sunday afternoon was good too, with a very responsive audience.

On Saturday, I missed Victoria's ballet class. Also missed aerobics class at Step One. Missed "Fiddler on the Roof, Jr." at DMTC (but caught it Sunday evening). Missed reinstalling the security light on the back of my house. Missed sleep (that's the hardest!)

I soundly (stage) thrashed Bill Trainor (and he reciprocated with enthusiasm, for 15 full minutes) at Runaway Stage's Saturday afternoon's "Victor/Victoria" rehearsal. Instead of summoning an ambulance, however, Bill chose instead to enjoy the pleasant Saturday afternoon and bicycle home.

Sunday afternoon's "Cabaret" performance at the Varsity Theater. 'Sitting Pretty': backstage with Jonathan Rothman and the DMTC Orchestra.

Urban life in the new millenium. New York City woman sits on park bench, gets ticket.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Hurricane Otis

Hey, Bruce, check it out, a hurricane named after you!

Hurricane Otis is moving in an Arizona direction. Rainfall in SE AZ is forecast to be heavy, but very narrowly focused, and won't last very long (starting Sunday night, and through Monday: Tucson, AZ and Gallup, NM will see rain, but Phoenix, AZ probably won't see much, if any).

Meanwhile, the Caribbean is active. The current forecast shows a tropical storm developing from thunderstorms from Columbia/Panama, and heading almost straight north, passing over Cuba, and finding itself in the Bahamas, about six days from now (when the model runs ends). The forecast also shows a split flow developing in the westerlies over the Great Plains about that time, which means that the future direction of the storm becomes increasingly uncertain (as if the path wasn't uncertain enough, six days out). It will be awkward if there's a tropical storm just east of Florida, uncertain about which way to go. It will be important to keep an eye on this.

Plus, it will be quite rainy along the coast of the Carolinas early next week....

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Evacuation From Hurricane Rita

I was surprised the evacuation in advance of Hurricane Rita went as badly as it did. Houston is not as isolated as New Orleans is from the U.S. highway network, and people were even more energized to bolt from Hurricane Rita than they were for Hurricane Katrina. I guess it goes to show that when EVERYONE tries to flee at once, no city's traffic network can cope! I'm just glad these evacuations are scarce (and may they remain so!)

I think the chaotic evacuation from Houston and vicinity helps illustrate why Mayor Nagin of New Orleans hesitated before ordering a mandatory evacuation from his city. Accidents happen, and people get killed, like this horrible Texas bus fire filled with elderly Hurricane Rita evacuees. You've got to be dead sure that more people will die if they stay in place than if they flee before you order such an extreme measure!
Weird Pets of the Presidents

Selections from the hard copy issue of East Sacramento News (their Pet Talk feature, Sept. 15, 2005, page 9):
John Quincy Adams - Alligator
James Buchanan - Elephant
Theodore Roosevelt - Bear
Calvin Coolidge - Antelope, Hippo

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Kneel Before The Meteorologist!

I'm not worthy! (But the data is!)
Arizona Flooding?

Today's forecast shows the Caribbean quieting down a bit, but still remaining rather active. We'll have to keep our eyes on that area. One possibility is that a thunderstorm complex from northern Columbia might fire things up there in about a week's time (I haven't seen that before - usually the storms come in from the Antilles - but it's certainly plausible).

The western Atlantic is less active, but should also be watched.

The most interesting possibility is that a Hurricane (currently called Tropical Depression 15-E, currently SW of Manzanillo, Colima) is making a lunge towards Arizona, the outliers of which would arrive about Tuesday morning, and the rest about a day later. This could be exciting, because disintegrating hurricanes occasionally cause stupendous flooding there (I was in Tucson around October 1, 1983, when Hurricane Octave broke up, and it was AMAZING!) In any event, we need to start watching for that!
Dramatic Board Replacement

I didn't realize how much attention Cheryl Bly-Chester's appointment would gather. The replacement of the entire state reclamation board was today's LEAD story in the Sacramento Bee!

Courtesy of former 2003 gubernatorial candidate Diana Foss, here is the story, from the LA Times.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Appointment of Cheryl Bly-Chester to the State of California Reclamation Board

Since the 2003 Gubernatorial Recall Election, former candidate Cheryl Bly-Chester has been working patiently with the Schwarzenegger Administration to find an appropriate place within state government for her many skills. She was determined, at first, to get an appointment within the Department of Conservation, but her efforts there ultimately came to naught. Nevertheless, she didn't give up her ambition to serve the State of California.

Today, Cheryl Bly-Chester announces her appointment to the State of California Reclamation Board! (I'm looking for the press release, but don't see it yet....)

In 2004, Cheryl worked on issues regarding relief to California National Guard families.

Many, many congratulations to her!
Caribbean Rumblings

Sometime this weekend, we'll see whether a new tropical storm develops in the Caribbean, south of Jamaica. If it develops, it will likely head NW, between the Yucatan peninsula and Cuba, into the Gulf of Mexico, in the vague general direction of Louisiana (but it's still way too early to say anything definite).

Sunday, September 25, 2005

23rd Annual Elly Awards

Autumn has started, which means, 'Elly' time again! (Here is the full list of nominees and the winners, from The Sacramento Bee).

This year, I arrived about 45 minutes late, so I missed the initial musical number and the Supporting Awards part. The second musical number was 'Stop Ladies Pray/Poor Wandering One,' from Runaway Stage's "Pirates of Penzance."

It was a pleasure to see that both Kelly Mustain and Kelly Daniells flew back to town from San Diego to participate in the festivities. Kelly Mustain was featured in the second musical number, along with Tevye Ditter. Kelly Daniells flew in to reprise her 'Cabaret,' from Solano Community College's production of "Cabaret." The number was a showstopper, winning her a standing ovation from many of the assembled actors and actresses.

Since DMTC is doing "Cabaret" (the original version, not Solano's revival version), it was tempting to compare the versions. It was difficult to do so, however. Jessica Hammon's version at DMTC right now seems much more sultry and smoky than Kelly Daniell's bright, brassy version. Kelly was punching for dramatic effect so hard (in her award acceptance speech, she mentioned getting acting training recently from Bob Baxter) that I thought it violated the spirit of the number.

But what, exactly, is the spirit of the number? As the director of the Solano show (presumably George Maguire) pointed out when he was accepting the award for Best Overall Production of a Musical, Kander and Ebb revised "Cabaret" several times. If the Emcee is a much darker character in the revival, then it stands to reason that Sally Bowles might be much brighter, to heighten the contrast between the lead characters. Until I see both versions, however, I will have to suspend judgement on the question.

Some moments from the show (paraphrased as best I can recall........)

The girl sitting next to me (Eldorado Musical Theater?) shouted at the stage several times during the proceedings, "You've got my socks!" At one time, Tyler Milliron, from El Dorado Musical Theater Young People's Theater, was on-stage, but it seemed like she shouted at several other people as well, which made me wonder how many people have her socks, and why she has so much difficulty keeping hold of them.

Katherine Pappa's award acceptance speech started with, "Oh, thanks kids! Stop being bitter now!"

Another award winner: "This music makes me feel like I'm underwater!"

Bob De Lucia, accepting an award for work at Magic Circle Theater: "How many of you have ever worked with Alan Pontes? He's amazing! An actor who thinks. What a concept!" Bob finished his speech by pointing at his fedora-covered head and stating: "It's all about the hat!"

Another award winner: "Go 1980's! That's the foundation of the play. And to all my teachers who said I'll never get anything for fooling around - well, I showed you!"

An African-American actor, accepting an award (I missed the precise context, but the audience thought it was funny): "I'm not a black Russian!"

Jeff Kean, from Woodland Opera House, stated, just before opening an envelope, "the suspense is killing me." An excitable student near me commanded, "Do it!"

Kelly Daniells, in her acceptance speech, began gushing. She named several people to whom she owed so much, then said, "And to my brother, Erik! He's WONDERFUL!" Then she caught herself, turned, and leaned over to Jim Jordan, the accompanist, who was sitting below and beside the stage, and said (to general laughter and amusement), "Oh! And you're wonderful too!"

And the line people will remember most of all.... James Wheatley, peering into the darkness of the Crest Theater in order to locate his stars from "Master Harold and the Boys," asked: "Is my Willy here?"

Here are some lame pictures from the cheap seats.....

'Stop Ladies Pray/Poor Wandering One,' from Runaway Stage's "Pirates of Penzance," with Tevye Ditter's audience-wowing hip thrust.

Tevye Ditter and Kelly Mustain.

'Falcon in the Dive,' from "The Scarlet Pimpernel," Modesto Performing Arts.

'I Really Like Him/Why Do You Do The Things You Do?' "Man of La Mancha," Solano Community College.

Emily Jo Seminoff wins an Elly Award for "The Miracle Worker."

Kelly Daniells, 'Cabaret,' from "Cabaret," Solano Community College.
Busy Bees

Busy bees, they flew to LiveJournal
With tales of the life nocturnal
All would have been well
They really cast spells
Flew instead into the urinal
"Bye-Bye Birdie" Pictures - Cast One

A few photos from the DMTC Summer Workshop, from Dannette Vassar (she apparently has a photos Web Site somewhere, with a variety of DMTC-related photos, but I haven't found it yet). Sorry about using low resolution here: it's a compromise, to allow the Web Page to open easily (drop me a note at, and I can send the higher-quality photos to you).

Julien Biewer-Elstob (Birdie), Hailee Ketchum-Wiggins (Kim MacAfee), plus ensemble

Julia Soto (Mae Peterson) and Ryan Warren (Albert Peterson)

Katherine Vanderford (Rosie Alvarez)

Katherine Vanderford (Rosie Alvarez) and Ryan Warren (Albert Peterson)