This was a question that has been percolating in my mind for quite some time and caused a lot of soul searching for a vast multitude of reasons. I go and see shows and support people I know, friends, etc… just like most anyone else, but not everyone writes their thoughts down… so why do it?
I think the better question is “why am I questioning myself?” Afterall I already have a bit of a following on the Pure Dancing with the Stars blog with my predictions and not everyone is going to agree and really opinions shouldn’t have to agree. Take it with a grain of salt and move on that is the constant mantra over there. (You think I’m kidding? There are a lot of passionate fans over there and they get offended by everything big and small… it is getting rather ridiculous if you ask me.)
But predicting who is going to get what score is very different from reviewing a production that your friends and acquaintances are in. There are more (familiar) egos at stake and are much more prone to bruising… everything is so subjective. Over in the Pure TV Network it is a series of media sites with several writers with differing opinions, while this is a blog of my own thoughts.
So how did I get started in reviewing in the first place…?
Just around the holiday season “Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear“ does a radio show and this past year is no different. In fact what was on hand in the repetoire of 2012 was a condensed version of The Cinnamon Bear… from what I understand there were 26 episodes of programming (or approximately five hours) to wade through and trim into a 90 minute live radio show. And did they succeed… Although I am not familiar with the original programming I thoroughly enjoyed what I was able to listen to in what was available.
According to the website:
Since 1938, Chicago families have gathered around the radio and delighted in the holiday adventures of Judy, Jimmy and the lovable Paddy O’Cinnamon as they traveled through the weird and wonderful Maybeland in search of their missing silver star to adorn their Christmas tree–the clock ticking as Christmas Day comes closer and closer. On their magical journey they meet all sorts of exciting characters. Some of them are friendly, like Queen Melissa, while others are not so nice, like the Wintergreen Witch. But all of them are memorable.
So join us as Judy and Jimmy discover their silver start is missing and they embark on their wondrous journey into Maybeland to bring it back. Along the way, we’ll meet the Crazy Quilt Dragon, Nicky Frudle, Jack Frost, and we’ll even head up to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus himself.
Fun for the whole family (perfect for children of all ages) here’s your chance to see and hear this show come to new life, packed with delightful music, wonderful characters, and exciting adventures that every child will enjoy.
Earlier this week, I decided to watch / listen to a group of volunteers recreate the radio program by H.G. Wells: The War of the Worlds. I have always been a fan of old-time radio programs ever since I started to learn how to drive… and as thus would listen to the radio often (particularly late late at night).
So when friends of mine told me about this production that they were all a part of… I figured “why not?” I have been listening to other radio program of a similar notion via 780 WBBM, but to see it live is something else.
[They] are a group of Chicagoland actors and performers who share a common interest—to perform old time radio programs for the community.
The entire company is made up of volunteers who donate their time to recreate these shows from the Golden Age of Radio for the Chicagoland community. It takes quite some effort to browse through the thousands of old time radio episodes, select a favorite, listen and type out the script—many of these are not available in print and have to be painstakingly transcribed—gather sound effects, then rehearse and mount the production.
Although we are only to give these historical programs a new life a few times a year, we strive to make sure that it’s well worth the wait.
It would appear that most (if not all) of their productions take place at the Oak Park Arms in Oak Park, Illinois… and have been doing so since September of 2002. The majority of their eclectic programming come from the Golden Age of Radio.
After my whirlwind weekend getaway up north in Minocqua, Wisconsin… I drove straight south back home and realized that if I pushed it, I would make it to see a few of my theatre friends at their Broadway Ballot. Granted I ended up missing the first Act (which had a few shows that I really wanted to see) but seeing the second act provided songs from shows that I am not typically a fan of, but now I would be kind of curious to see.
Below are all the songs that were featured in the second act of the Broadway Ballot at Wheaton Drama. What Wheaton Drama did was put on a kind of revue of a vast variety of Broadway songs from a variety of musicals and asked the audience to decide which shows they would love to see or not care to see at all. Then these ballots are tabulated and presented to the Wheaton Drama monthly meeting and from there they may use the data to decide what musicals to present for future seasons.
Regardless if the data would be used or not, in the end it was a fun revue / production and it helped bring in donations and dollars to the theatre group for their future productions. So all in all a win-win situation for an outsider looking in (aka myself).
From what I understand from those that were part of the production there were twenty-two performers who were singing twenty-six songs and they only had eleven rehearsals to do it. Now coming from someone that has been thrown into the thick of things a week before Opening weekends (including Shakespeare)… I can honestly say that I was expecting nothing less than fun, laughter, and entertainment and this group definitely delivered.
Taking a look at the official Ballot the revue is comprised of songs taken from a vast variety of shows: traditional and non-traditional, well and lesser known. A nice mixed bag with something for everyone to enjoy. Continue reading →
Being the “music guru” at blogs like PureDWTS or PureAmericasGotTalent, I have become rather immune to new arrangements and renditions of tried and true music, particularly of the movie / showtunes kind. So when my beau brought me to watch his friend in this cabaret show, I was reserved at best and skeptical at worst. What I wasn’t prepared for was the realization that the artist still exists, you just needed to know where to look.
At the Movies is a cabaret show that is comprised of known (and not so known) songs from the stage and screen and breathes new life into them. Presented in the revamped theatre of Stage 773, the show presents two differing vocal styles and melts them together in such a way that balances more than contrasts.
Don’t ask me what shined about this show, it just did. There were a few arrangements of known songs in this show that I would never have thought in a million years would work. Case in point, the song Old Devil Moon from the musical Finian’s Rainbow, mesh that with let’s say the Mission Impossible theme song. Impossible? (no pun intended) That’s what I originally thought too, but I’m eating my words.
I could go on about the arrangements all night, but in all honesty, the music and arrangements is only half the battle. Kevin’s voice delivers the music with such love and conviction that once you get sucked in there is no going back. Such a deep voice, and one that kept me engaged for most of the night (always a good sign). Let’s just say that if my beau were to ask me to go and see another show with his friend in it, I will jump on the opportunity, because to me he is well worth the price of admission.