Saturday, October 22, 2005

"Victor/Victoria" Premiere

Well, THAT was interesting, wasn't it?
Wilma Update

The model forecasts are beginning to converge regarding the speed at which Hurricane Wilma will move, which apparently will consist of a very rapid movement towards and across Florida. Rapid movement suggests a more-northerly trajectory. The storm will likely not dither as much as originally thought in the Yucatan (the storm side-swiped the coast and didn't pass that far on-land).

The NOGAPS model now suggests a Monday morning landfall, probably about 8 a.m., in the vicinity of Fort Myers, FL, taking about 6 hours to cross the Florida peninsula. The GFS model also suggests a Monday morning landfall, probably about 5 a.m., in the vicinity of Punta Gorda, FL, also taking only about 6 hours to cross the Florida peninsula.

That means Monday is likely to be quite interesting, with about a 12-hour window in Tampa of heavy rain and winds. If the storm is a Category 2 storm, my guess is the sustained winds will be in the 40 mph range in Tampa. As mentioned before, the rains will be quite intense. But fortunately the storm won't linger - it will come in fast and furious, and then be gone.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tunnel Vision

Pretty tune:
Glaucoma Hymn
Glaucoma, Glaucoma, Glaucoma
Constricting vision slowly
Halted by progress of science
Vision of a world united
Beyond all science knowing

Lyrics and Composition: Erik Greve
Arrangement: Tom Löwenthal
Production: Joachim Vermeulen Windsant
Soprano: Melanie Greve
June 2005
Big Box Mart

Outsourcers beware! N. suggests:
Go to Jib Jab and turn on your computer's speakers. This parody about big box stores is sung to 'Oh Susanna'!
Melody Davi Update

Or, 'How Rumors Start On The Internet.' It's strange that two sisters end up being the lead of the same touring show, and that can lead to confusion......

I sent Tony Davi the following message:
This morning, I noticed that someone from Aubrey, Texas checked my Web Log while doing a Google search on the phrase "Melody Davi Replacement." I thought that was an odd search to make unless there was some news of which I was unaware, like an illness or an injury, and so I thought to check with you first and see if she's all right.
Tony responded:
Hi Marc,

Thanks for your concern.

No, Mel is doing well and is heading west. They are in Texas at the moment and my guess is that a theatre goer was confused by the playbill (that lists Melody) and the souvenir program. They still are selling the program the (souvenir program) that has Mara plastered all over it until they run out and reprint with the pictures of this years cast. Mel has had a couple of emails from people confused by that. Some have figured it out when they have gone to Mel's website and seen the link to Mara's website and realize that Mara did the same role last year.

In fact, here are a couple of reviews that came out last week. The show is going well:

From RadioPalmBeach

WOW, those dancing feet! Dozens of pairs stirring up enough energy to power West Palm Beach, home of the revival of "42nd Street." A bunch of chorus gypsies count on one last chance to save the play. This chance comes in the form of Peggy Swayer (Melody Davi) who not only shows her stuff as her character, but as a performer she dominated the stage. Her dancing and singing kept the audience on the edge of their seats. I interviewed Melody Davi prior to the opening and was impressed with her interview, but never expected to see her perform with such timing and charisma as I witnessed tonight.

I would be remiss not to send out thumbs up to the whole cast, but I want to take a minute to single out a few of the members that make this show a exceptionally wonderful performance. Julian Marsh (Ron Smith) came off as the hard nosed director with a soft spot for Peggy, and it was believable. Maggie Jones (Maureen Veronica Illmensee) set the bar for the rest of the cast, she was a show stopper and proved it each time she entered the stage. Last but not least was Dorothy Brock (Natalie Buster) funny thing is she was cast, as having little talent, which only shows her real talent. She was believable till you heard her sing, I am sure that part was very difficult and she played it to a tee!!!

The show, directed with mach speed by Valerie Gardner Rives, sets out to do nothing but overwhelm, all unattainable without the rest of the off stage help. To put on such a performance takes so much talent and here at the Kravis Center they corralled what it takes to do just that. I must say "I couldn't imagine Broadway any Better" ...

Wayne Filowitz

Excerpts from review Review: 42ND STREET-Sizzling-Scintillating-Spectacular

October 12, 2005 - by Beau Higgins

Were I a religious man, I would consider taking a moment to thank the gods of musical comedy. What the heck! I want you dear reader, to join me in thanking the musical comedy gods for sending us Natalie Buster, Maureen Veronica Illmensee, Melody Davi and Cody Walker. While we're at it, let's roll out a lush red carpet for Randi Kaye's achievement in making the part of Annie in 42nd STREET, sparkle and shine as it never has before. Sparkle and shine are certainly apt words for this production of the 2001 revival of Gower Champion's 1980 Broadway classic, 42ND STREET. Thankfully, glitz, glitter and garlands of talent are not truly blinding. As visually assaulting (in the best sense of the word) and bursting with talent as this 42ND STREET is, I do suspect I will regain full use of my eyesight by morning. This show looks and feels dazzling and darn it, it's good to feel dazzled! A glorious ensemble has been assembled to bring us the fabulous fable of the fired chorus girl who gets to "go on" for the injured star, in the simple backstage story that is 42ND STREET. .......................

Tom Frye is daffy and 'right on' as Bert and Ron Smith is fine as Julian Marsh. Hold onto your armrests when Melody Davi comes onstage. This beauty taps like a champion and sings with a brassy and bubbly belt. Her youthful exuberance is highly infectious. She is at once charming and sassy and simply splendid. The part of Maggie Jones doesn't always attract a lot of attention (although Mary Testa did reap a Tony nomination for the 2001 Broadway revival.) Maureen Veronica Illmensee is wonderful in the role. Her raw talent and sense of joy come through as loud and clear as her exciting singing performances, making this audience favorite's solo moments all too brief for this listener's ears. The gifted and dangerously handsome Cody Walker makes the part of Billy Lawler a star turn. He acts. He charms. He dances, he sings and he commands the stage. Mr. Walker is, at the very least, a triple threat performer, giving an award caliber performance here. Cody Walker is fabulous in 42ND STREET. I suspect this young man will be wowing audiences for many, many years to come. Natalie Buster, where have you been or where have I been? Do you realize how your performance tonight, highlighted by your enchanting and entrancing singing , enveloped and swept away your audience? This writer has never before seen a Dorothy Brock sumptuously and seductively owning the stage every time she appears. In 2001 Christine Ebersole won the Tony award for playing Dorothy Brock. Suffice is to say, had Natalie Buster, Dorothy Brocked on Broadway in 2001, she would currently be maintaining a bottle of Tony award polish in her residence. Bravo, Ms. Buster! 42ND STREET's last performance at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach is October 16. Do not miss it.
Above: Leading Man and Set Designer for "Victor/Victoria", Dave Lack (right), rehearses Wednesday night with the RSP Orchestra, led by Joseph Velez (left).

Below: Sparky recounts his haircutting adventure at Canine Cottage Wednesday afternoon.

"Victor/Victoria" Rehearsals End

Well, we've gotten all the rehearsals we'll get! I hope we do well!

The injuries are beginning to mount. Last night, Stage Manager Kari Pruitt twisted an ankle, and Dian Hoel fell over a dark crate that was hard to see in the stage gloaming. I felt guilty because I had just hurriedly placed the crate in her path while substituting for someone else in the set change: I garnered no blame, since the crate was about where it should have been, but STILL! People are fragile!

Stubbed toes are a problem. A doctor drilled a hole in Scott Griffith's big toe toenail, to release a little geyser of blood from the pool that had gathered underneath, allowing him to walk again. Monica and Angela both have stubbed toes, and I know there are others. If I hear "break a leg!" again, I'll kick them (no I won't: that would mean just another stubbed toe).

Alas! Sparky was cut from the show! Sparky was supposed to have a walk-on part, and, in anticipation, I took him for a visit to the dog groomers (Canine Cottage: Castro & Riverside). He was supposed to look like a pampered Parisian dog, with ribbons and bows, but basically he looked like a shorter-haired Sparky. He seemed to be adjusting to the stage, but I'm sure he had no earthly idea what it was all about, and the frantic energy of the backstage area sometimes unnerved him. As mentioned, people are getting hurt falling over objects on stage, and as nice as Sparky is, he posed another hazard. Plus, they are trying to simplify the show, and Sparky's feeling weren't particularly hurt by being left out.

I'm still in some pain from when I collided head-on with Scott Griffith. There is no evident bruise, but I must have damaged the pleural lining in some way. I wonder if I cracked a rib after all?
Farewell, Paradise!

The eye of Hurricane Wilma has just reached Cozumel, and Cancun may be next!
Slow Down, Wilma!

The models are beginning to diverge again, mostly regarding the speed at which Hurricane Wilma will move. The NOGAPS model suggests a Monday evening landfall, probably about 6 p.m., in the vicinity of Naples, FL, taking about 8 hours to cross the Florida peninsula. The GFS model suggests a Monday mid-morning landfall, probably about 10 a.m., in the vicinity of Punta Gorda, FL, taking only about 4 hours to cross the Florida peninsula.

I'm skeptical that a hurricane can whip across Florida that fast, so I support the NOGAPS interpretation.

A slower storm movement benefits Tampa, because the big trough in the U.S. mid-section has more time to sweep east before bringing the storm north. Anything that will delay the storm will be a help.

The rainfall pattern will be unusually lop-sided, with heavy rains on the north side of the storm. Tampa is bound to get some heavy rain, but, once again, the slower the storm moves, the briefer the period of heavy rain will be in Tampa.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

"The World Is A Stage"

Hey! Andrea St. Clair has a brand-new, theater-oriented blog! Let's all wish her the best on her new endeavor!

As a blogger with a little experience (since 2002!), my main advice to Andrea and any other newcomers is to exercise a little care. In blogging, most of hard stuff actually isn't technical at all, it's mostly finding the right words, or the right tone, especially when trying to criticize a performance or an actor. Actors are more-than-able to accept criticism, but more than most people, they don't like being blind-sided by unfounded criticism. So, if I have a critical remark, I ground it in detail about the background leading to the critical remark. So, say "it was a dumb choice of set color, a choice that led the leading actresses' blonde bouffant to disappear into the yellow background" rather than "the dumb blonde's bouffant disappeared in a yellow haze." (and maybe that isn't good enough either - some words, like "dumb" are loaded!)

The nice thing about blogging is that it is facile enough to keep up with the fast pace of the day, and, like theater, it can be a moment-by-moment art. Andrea's signature line, borrowed from "Rent", says it all about theater and blogging: "No Day But Today."
Modern Media

Best quote of the month, maybe the year:
If politics is show business for ugly people, then I guess corporate journalism is intelligence work for stupid people.
Paranoid Chavez?

Is Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez paranoid for believing the U.S. wants to conquer Venezuela, or just realistic?

Remember, the Bush Administration was sympathetic to the April, 2002 coup attempt, and was diplomatically unprepared when the coup attempt failed. Given the U.S. invasion of Iraq a year later, what else could Chavez think?

Wilma Update

The forecast has changed a little bit....landfall in Florida is likely to be Monday night, rather than Saturday night.

The steering currents in the western Caribbean are weak at the moment, and so Wilma is likely to dither a long time on the Yucatan Peninsula, wrecking resorts like Cancun and Cozumel, but also losing some strength. The steering currents won't remain weak, though: the trough that is moving in from the western U.S., and digging southwards as it goes, is forecast to be the largest of the autumn season so far, and it will certainly grab Wilma and push it, hard, NE towards Florida.

The computer models, good and bad alike, continue to point the storm, laser-like, towards Punta Gorda, Florida. My thought is that Wilma will come into Florida as a Category 3 hurricane (the storm will weaken over the Yucatan, strengthen again over the Gulf, but won't be able to attain current strength because of too much wind shear along the frontal boundary of the trough).

South of the eye, storm surge is a big danger (particularly Key Largo, at the pointy end of Florida Bay).

North of the eye, where Tampa is, rainfall is the big danger. The cold front will be in the vicinity of Tampa when the storm comes through, which, when combined with a hurricane, means rains of Biblical proportion. The only saving grace is that Wilma will move across Florida rather quickly, so the heavy rains won't persist. In the Tampa area, sustained winds are likely to be in the 40-50 mph range, probably for about 10 hours.

Wilma will race up the Atlantic seaboard. Very heavy rains will parallel the coast, but are likely to intrude onto land significantly only in the Outer Banks of NC, at least until the storm becomes part of the trough itself, eventually wreaking damage on New England and Newfoundland.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Jumbo Jet

Have you ever watched a truly large plane, like a C5-A military transport, which can haul tanks around, take off, and wondered how it was even possible? 'Victor/Victoria' is a bit like that. It's going to pay off - the 'cat and mouse' comedy sketch went off brilliantly last night in rehearsal - but boy! what an effort! Zeroing in on the details is daunting.

Last night, I collided head-on with Scott Griffith, and his fist went into my ribs (I was attempting a new way to cross the stage in a hurry, and I took Scott by surprise). I don't think I broke a rib, but it was close!

Sparky is going to have a walk-on part. Today he's over at the dog groomers. He's supposed to look like a pampered Parisian dog, with ribbons and bows. The dog groomer wasn't certain regarding my wishes, and so I told her to be creative!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Just Asking....

At 'Victor/Victoria' set change rehearsal yesterday, Bob Baxter assigned Set Designer Dave Lack and myself to move a bed during a blackout, but Dave was momentarily unavailable: he was screwing a panel onto a mobile base. So, I asked, "Does Dave finish screwing before or after he joins me on the bed?"
"Daddy, I Want Another Pony!"

Poorman, meet Veruca Salt:
Republican woes have been a boon for the pony markets, which have seen prices soar to historic highs due to increased demand from ecstatic liberals. This spike in demand has led many experts to warn of a near-term pony shortage, and led to fears that the world may be approaching “Peak Pony”, the point at which nations are no longer able to meet their vital pony needs.

For most of the 20th century, ponies were primarily used as imaginary companions for giggling pre-teen girls. However, the market base for ponies has expanded considerably in recent weeks and months, as liberal euphoria has reached such giddy heights that only brightly-colored, silken-maned, magical sparkly friendly talking flying ponies are capable of expressing.

“The problem is two-fold,” explains Goldman-Sachs senior pony analyst Holden. “A combination of irrational Bush-hatred among liberals and irrational exuberance among pony speculators has led to this spike in demand for what is, after all, a finite resource. At the same time, decades of complacency on the part of the world governments has let a manageable problem evolve into a full-blown crisis. Now the Congress wants to open the Strategic Pony Reserve to try to bring prices under control. It’s too little, too late.”
For The Daring

The AM/PM convenience store at the intersection of 21st and Broadway in Sacramento is looking for counter help. Must be 21 or older.
Cloudy, The Lop-Eared Rabbit, Visits The Vet

Her conjunctivitis has gotten pretty bad. The folks at Midtown Animal Center in Davis recommended more powerful medications than I got last May at the other vet, and hopefully we can get this under control. I need to crush antibiotic tablets into a banana paste and inject the glop into her mouth with a converted syringe. Fortunately, she's a big fan of bananas.

On the way back to Sacramento, she picked the lock on her pet carrier, which was sitting on the back seat, and escaped into the passenger compartment, coming to rest on the floor behind the driver's seat. All she really wanted was a head scratch and a nice quiet corner where the car's soothing vibration could put her asleep. So cute!

Reviewing Cloudy's records, I now recall her birthdate: July 22, 2000. She's five years old now!
A View From The Bridge

Chloe sent out an E-Mail regarding the latest offering at Natomas Charter School - help support the folks over there at Natomas:
Hey everyone!

Just sending out an email to everyone letting you know the dates for A View From the Bridge.. the show is coming along really well, and I'm sooo excited to be a part of it! Hope you can come.. miss you all! -Chloe

As some of you may already know, the NCS Drama Department was chosen by the American High School Theater Festival to represent the United States in Scotland at the Fringe Festival. This event is the LARGEST theater festival in the world, and to be chosen is quite an honor. At the Festival, we have the extraoridinary opportunity to perform our major production, Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge".

Your chance to see this great play is coming soon! Performances open in the NCS Black Box Theatre on Thursday, November 3rd. This stunning story about betrayal, revenge, and the human spirit will transport you back in time to Brooklyn in the 1950's. For ticket information, call 928-5353.

Performances: November 3-19. 7:30 curtain thurs, fri, sat. No performance November 11th (due to holiday). Instead, matinee Nov 12, 1:30 curtain (as well as 7:30 that night).
And I Thought Fred Was The Neanderthal

Forecast thinking is pretty much unchanged this morning regarding Hurricane Wilma....landfall after sunset on Saturday in the Fort Myers, FL area. It is interesting how quickly the forecast thinking coalesced, going from scattered to lockstep in less than a day.

In the Tampa area, it will mean a lot of wind (I'm thinking 40 mph sustained winds, with 50 mph gusts), and a lot of rain, from sunset Saturday till at least sunrise Sunday. Power outages are likely, so stock up on batteries, flashlights, ice, water, fuel, etc. The situation doesn't demand that Tampans flee (not yet anyway), but they should at least mentally-prepare where to go (right now, going south seems to be a bad idea).

Here is what the National Hurricane Center says:


Monday, October 17, 2005

Only Nine?

Nine cases of brain-wasting disease in Idaho. 'You're living in your own private Idaho' indeed!
Ralph Reed

Publius takes on Ralph Reed:
There is more than one level of absurdity here. First, you have Reed taking steps to protect gambling interests because he was paid to do so. Second, Reed’s strategy for protecting gambling was to attack opponents who supported an anti-gambling bill as being soft on gambling (thus exploiting sincere opposition to gambling by lying). That’s truly amazing – his entire strategy was to lie to anti-gambling activists and assume that they would be completely ignorant about the content of the bill. Third, he was willing to undermine elected (though vulnerable) social conservatives – his supposed comrades-in-arms – in order to protect gamblers. That’s truly amazing stuff.

The big losers here are the social conservatives who have once again been treated like fools. Reed was apparently convinced that these people were so stupid that they could be rallied under the banner of anti-gambling even though their efforts were being used to protect gambling interests.
A Place I Spend Far Too Little Time

"Borderland", by Deborah McMillion-Nering
Here We Go Again!

Last night, I wasn't worried about Tropical Storm Wilma's path, but today is a different story. The original forecast track showed the storm hitting the coastline of Belize (and fading away there), but today's forecast shows the storm clipping the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula instead, making an abrupt 90-degree change in course, and crashing into the southwestern Florida coast, somewhere along the Naples - Fort Myers - Punta Gorda coastline, around sunset Saturday October 22nd. The model guidance is still not very good yet, this far out, but I'm worried that both NOGAPS and GFS models are telling essentially the same story, and this Florida landfall location is uncomfortably close to Tampa.

If this works out as forecast, one helpful feature is that the winds in the Tampa area would be principally from the east, and thus there wouldn't be a storm surge along the coast, and flooding would occur entirely from rainfall.

Keep an eye out (and I'll keep an eye out): this storm could easily make a run for Tampa instead!
The 'Victor/Victoria' Set

When I was a kid, about age 7 or 8, we'd often play next door, where there was plenty of spare, scrap lumber. We assembled cabins from bark-covered planks out behind the main house. The cabins were small, even by kid standards. Sometimes we made two-story cabins. Some were furnished with bookshelves, scraps of carpet, and makeshift chimneys, where we'd cook white-bread toast over open flames. We organized the cabins into a township we called Farmsville. Nighttime fires of mysterious origins destroyed many of the small cabins, but nevertheless, we had a lot of fun!

When I first heard of Dave Lack's vision for Runaway Stage Production's 'Victor/Victoria' set, it all seemed rather abstract - actually, totally abstract - but the set apparently had two levels, with the upper level dedicated to the bedrooms. I was reminded of the cozy, rough-hewn two-story cabins of my childhood. I grew nostalgic for Farmsville.

After this weekend, helping the RSP crew bring Dave Lack's vision into existence on the stage at the 24th Street Theater, it is clear that Dave has never heard of the cozy Farmsville-scale of community development. Instead, the scale of the architectural work taking shape is Brobdignagian. The question now is whether there is enough room left to dance......

Maybe the decor will help with the coziness - bookshelves, scraps of carpet, and makeshift chimneys....

Sunday, October 16, 2005

New York Times Explains Judith Miller

While working today with the rest of the RSP crew on the 'Victoria/Victoria' set, I'd sneak looks at today's New York Times' Hail Mary extravaganza effort to explain it's side of the Valerie Plame affair (before the indictments start rolling).

I can say that I haven't heard such a convincing story since O.J. Simpson pointed his gloveless fingers at shadowy drug dealers, the 'real killers' of his wife and Ron Goldman.

Does The New York Times think we're all just a bunch of chumps, or what? Salon and Daily Kos and Greg Mitchell and innumerable others are hot on the story. I'm not nearly as charitable as Billmon is regarding The New York Times' truthfulness:
But Sunday's little game of charades did pretty much blow away the New Pravda's propaganda campaign on behalf of Judy Miller, First Amendment martyr. And it certainly made a circus clown out of Bill Keller, who promised to give his readers the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about Miller's involvement in Plamegate, just as soon as the lawyers would let him. At the moment, though, it looks like Gray Lady wouldn't recognize the truth if it came up and slapped her right in her five o'clock shadow.