Thursday, August 25, 2016

Theatrical Life

Stormy Weather

Yet another heavy thunderstorm passed through my area last night. This one left
a calling card...

The tree directly across from my patio,
where many of my avian buddies hang out,
lost a pretty significant limb.

I examined the damage up close, and it does not appear to have been caused by lightning, but by high winds.

Based on my morning walk, last night's storm does not appear to have been as severe as the one that battered Omaha on Tuesday, but that will be cold comfort to my poor tree (and the birds).

"Did they have to close the Omaha airport again like they did on Tuesday?" I said, Tuesday's storm was MUCH worse than last night's...we'll see about the one we're supposed to get later today...

Home Again

My beloved Kansas City Chiefs have broken their training camp at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, and will now practice at their facilities in Kansas City for the remainder of the season.

They play their third exhibition game against the Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago on Saturday afternoon.

"Nice to see Jamaal Charles practicing again. Will he play on Saturday?"

Only if Hell freezes over before game time...

Feast Day

Stained glass at St. Malachy's, New York City

Today is the feast day of St. Genesius of Rome, a martyr whose veneration by the faithful dates back to the 4th century, even though the story of his martyrdom is apocryphal at best.

Genesius is the patron of theatrical folk, especially actors and comedians. There is
a Fraternity of St. Genesius, established in 2007 and approved by the church, which offers spiritual support to those working in the theatrical arts.

Happy Birthday!

As James Bond in Dr. No (1962)
On August 25, 1930 Thomas Sean Connery was born in the working- class Fountainbridge area of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Performing professionally using his middle name, Sean Connery enjoyed an enormously successful career as an actor, winning an Academy Award and being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

The first time I ever saw him in a movie was the Disney production Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959). Not long after that he became an international star for his signature performance as James Bond in Dr. No (1962).

In addition to his Bond movies, Connery has appeared in several of my all-time favorite films, including The Name of the Rose, The Untouchables (his Oscar-winning role),  
The Hunt for Red October, and Finding Forrester.

Welcome to the Real World, Kid

From the droll comic strip Zits, by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

During my years as a high school theatre teacher (and director of 28 full-length productions), I had many occasions to stress to my students (and casts) the venerable theatre maxim "The show must go on." A big part of my teaching method involved the use of real-world stories to emphasize important principles, and my favorite "show must go on" story involved the landmark 1980 musical 42nd Street.

The musical was based on the famous 1933 motion picture, and featured its songs by Harry Warren and Al Dubin. The production was choreographed and directed by the legendary Gower Champion.

Original 1980 promotional poster
On August 25, 1980 42nd Street opened at the Winter Garden Theatre in the Broadway district. The performance received fourteen curtain calls, after which producer David Merrick stepped onto the stage to announce that earlier that day Champion had died at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Champion hadn't wanted the news of his death to spoil the show's opening, so it was kept secret until the conclusion of the show.

42nd Street went on to be the crowning achievement of Champion's career, winning Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Choreography, and running for nine years.
It remains my favorite musical, not only because of the "show must go on" connection but because of the memorable songs and dance numbers, which include "Shuffle Off 
to Buffalo" and the title song (which you can listen to here).

When I dream of myself directing a musical (a wildly unlikely prospect, since I know nothing about singing or choreography), 42nd Street is that show.

Today's send-off is one of my all-time favorite show tunes, Jerry Orbach and the cast performing "Lullaby of Broadway." Enjoy...

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