Friday, June 24, 2016

Is this the start of the Apocalypse?

England has voted to exit the European Union, David Cameron will be stepping down and I have this terrible terrible feeling that Trump may just be the next President of the United States.

Is this the beginning of the Apocalypse?

If it is, then why are there so many "Good Christains" left, did they miss the Rapture?

Did the Rapture happen but nobody went because no one is a good Christian any longer?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Artists of the Wall Festival - I just can't believe it

We made it to Season 2 for the Artists of the Wall Festival - so few programs actually make it to Season 2 so I'm stoked.

I knew we were going to make Season 2 because we decided at the end of last year that we wanted to do it again.

2016 was the 23rd running of this festival and the theme was "Drawing on the Lake"

"Drawing on the lake" oh boy did we have a tough time coming up with ideas....literal, figurative, allegorical, how do you interpret that?

Here's what we did.

Arms and hands are holding knitting needles which are knitting a tapestry of leaves from the water within the lake.  Those leaves are then filled in with the names of the 49 victims of the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida.  You see what you want to see, you interpret it as you like, the same as when you look at a person and see what you want to see.  The choice is yours.  


I was so honored to find out this morning.....that our team actually won 2nd place!  I know my friend Marcio knew it all along, but  I never think I'm going to win.  

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The SpongeBob Musical Review - playing in Chicago until July 7 2016

The SpongeBob Musical Review - I liked it more than I ever thought I would.  This review is of the pre-Broadway World Premiere showing at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago until July 7, 2016

This show is as close to watching a cartoon as there ever will be!  Bright, loud, colorful, full of inside jokes that I didn't get because I never watched SpongeBob but nonetheless - funny as hell.  Sound effects as the characters walked (Squidward), rapid screen swipes as action moves from character to character and digital projection GALORE!  Costumes were out of this world, since I don't watch SB I don't know who all of the characters are, but the audience sure did and gleefully clapped as each character was revealed.

So much technology in this show it was astounding - digital projections that moved around the stage live, neon everywhere, junk everywhere, exactly what you would think Bikini Bottom would look like.  It's interesting to see how digital projection has grown.  I remember seeing the Lady in White (Andrew Lloyd Webber) in London, which was a big blank stage where they projected everything, and imagining back then how far it would progress - it seems as though you can't go to a show now where there isn't some kind of digital projection - it really helps move this show along.

Flanking the stage are two huge Rube Goldberg machines that spew out lava balls - unfortunately it only got used twice, I would have liked to have seen more of that.  The stage was built out, reaching out into the audience and covering the orchestra pit with ramps connecting each side; surrounding the stage and hanging above were all kinds of floatsam and jetsam that you would expect to see in the ocean.

ALL of the actors had, in my opinion, strong clear voices and they did great justice to all of the different songwriters, including doing the voices of the characters that so many people know so well.  I'd completely forgotten that Gavin Lee was playing Squidward.  Who's Gavin Lee?  He played Bert in the Broadway and then touring production of Mary Poppins.

Songwriters: there were twelve famous songwriters amongst the 15 songs, Plain White T's, Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie, John Legend.  I was concerned that it might sound more like a juke-box musical with so many different styles of songwriters - but there was no concern at all, each song flowed easily to the next and none seemed out of place.

My FAVORITE number was "I'm Not a Loser" which was Squidwards big song written by They Might Be Giants.  A huge production number where it seemed that the entire cast (men included) donned huge Vegas style show girl costumes replete with big feathered head dresses and a big tap number (I'm a sucker for tap).  Several of the songs I was bopping along or tapping along at which point I would catch myself and say "why are you doing that, you never watched this show?"

My favorite song was No Control by David Bowie and Brian Eno, within a few bars of the start of the song you KNEW it was a Bowie song.  Dark, twisty and the perfect way to start off the conflict of the show.

The choreography was really good, especially the tap number - they were ALL in sync for a show that's only been out for a week.  There were skateboarders and roller skaters that used the ramps in front of the stage and there was even a mini-pirate show to kick off each of the acts.  There was so much going on in this show that it really was like being in a cartoon.

I'm definitely not the target audience for this show, but the youngin's sitting around us definitely LOVED IT!  Everytime a character was introduced they'd go wild, when the actors would say or do something, people lauged.  Apparently it really fed right into the appetite of that target because the young ladies sitting next to us couldn't get enough, whereas the older couple sitting next to us never came back after Act One.

I surprised myself how much I liked this, so much so that when intermission came I didn't ask the question: Do you want to stay for Act Two?

I sorta wanna see it again, if it makes it to Broadway it's going to be a big hit with those that love SpongeBob!