Category Archives: Shakespeare

Happy Birthday Will! Celebrate Shakespeare in Long Beach, CA

Shakespeare

William Shakespeare will officially be 450 years old on April 23rd, 2014.  The man who brought us “To be or not to be,” “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo,” “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes,” and so many other phrases that live on the tips of our tongues, is someone to celebrate! 

He coined over 1,700 new words — among them: majestic, champion, amazement, discontent, premeditated, bedroom, advertising, compromise, impartial, laughable, excitement, and so on…and on… and on! He created immortal lovers who fill us with passion, inspiring heroes who urge us to action or warn us against haste, and clowns that show us our own follies.

In 2000, he was voted The Man of the Millennium!

For the rest of the month here are a few events presented by the Long Beach Theatre Company that you can attend to celebrate the spirit of the bard.

lbsc-logoApril 18 and 19— Two half-hour old-time radio shows, both performed with live music and sound effects. 

Gunsmoke episode: “Shakespeare”—From 1952, a good story about a crazed Shakespearean actor who commits murder during a Kansas heat wave. 

“Mister Shakespeare”—From 1948, a story about what MIGHT happen if the greatest of all playwrights could come out of the past to work for a modern motion picture studio.

The Bard 450 years April 23— The Official Birthday. In partnership with World Book Night U.S., LBSC will give away a FREE copy of the Shakespeare Sonnets to each person in attendance. The actors will perform selected sonnets, followed by a reception with cake and beverages to celebrate Shakespeare’s birth!

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April 25 and 26— Richard Armour’s Twisted Tales From Shakespeare. A parody of serious lectures on the Bard. 

April 27 —LBSC presents the final event of Shakespeare Month. FREE! Louis Fantasia, Director of Shakespeare at the Huntington Library and former Director of the Shakespeare Globe Centre’s Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance Institute from 1997 to 2002, presents “King Lear or Survivor—Tragedy in The Age of Oprah.” 

At the Richard Goad Theatre, 4250 Atlantic Ave. in Long Beach.

Sunday performances at 2 pm; all others at 8 pm.

Tickets and info at LBShakespeare.org or 562-997-1494.

Hollywood Fringe Is Here!

 

Get Your Tickets Today!

Hollywood Fringe 2013

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

You won’t want to miss this…  June 13-30.

Since it’s inception, The Hollywood Fringe Festival has just gotten bigger and better every year.  A brilliant undertaking that has not only brought so much more attention to small theatre in Los Angeles, but has, re-vitalized theatre altogether in this city.

New and existing playwrights, outstanding scripts and performances, from musicals to drama, comedy improv and one man/woman shows to dance, (there’s film too!) that would not normally make it to the stage at all, are showcased here to audiences desperate for edge, art, entertainment and roller coaster ride experiences.

And one of the most fun aspects of this endeavor is that The Hollywood Fringe has successfully brought people back to Theatre Row and got them walking – YES WALKING in LOS ANGLES!, curious, adventurous and enjoying the urban life of Santa Monica Blvd and it’s partnering streets, vendors, theatres and more.

I’ve got a ton of tickets already and am trying to cram in more.  But if I had one recommendation to give anyone all year round, it would be to come for the authenticity!  

In the meantime, because of the enormous expansion of the festival, they could use a little help.

Our friend Colin Mitchell at Bitter Lemons, posted a letter today by Hollywood Fringe Festival Director, Ben Hill, talking about what it takes to, in just three years, become the largest performing arts festival West of the Mississippi. And, why an extra donation helps the artists who participate to receive 100% of the box office from their shows.  It’s a win win all around.

READ THE ARTICLE HERE

GO OUT AND GET SOME CULTURE!

Theatricum Botanicaum Gives The “Izzy” to Playwright Michael Gene Sullivan

Botanicum Seedlings,” Theatricum Botanicum’s development series for playwrights, announced yesterday, the recipient of its 4th Annual “Izzy” Award. The winning play is Recipe by Michael Gene Sullivan.

RECIPE-smFirst presented as part of last year’s spring playreadings, Sullivan’s comedy is about members of a vigilantly progressive baking circle who raise funds for revolutionary causes.

After its June playreading (directed by Jen Bloom and featuring company actors including Ellen Geer), Recipe was performed at Theatricum as a celebrity benefit. The August, 2012 staged reading was directed by Geer and starred Cloris Leachman, Amy Madigan, Wendie Malick, Jean Smart and Lisa Bonet.

The Izzy is named for Theatricum’s late dramaturg, Israel Baran, who passed away in 2007. To honor Israel’s keen mind, sharp tongue, and ear for language (despite the fact that he was frustratingly deaf), the Izzy was established to recognize the Seedlings play that “speaks to us the loudest.”

“This is quite an honor!” says Sullivan, a critically acclaimed playwright based in San Francisco. “First it was super-cool to have the script read and directed by such a talented group of women at a socially aware theater, but now winning this award is unexpected, and wonderful icing on the cake. Which is appropriate for a show called Recipe!”

Since its inception in 2002, Botanicum Seedlings has established itself as a vital resource for writers across the country. The series has been instrumental in the development of over 100 new plays, at least 25 of which have gone on to be published, win awards and receive major productions.

In addition to its public playreadings (scheduled later in the summer), now produced by John Maidman, Seedlings recently added new programs for playwrights: writing workshops and dramaturgy led by Theatricum playwright-in-residence Jennie Webb: The Seedlings Playwrights Workshop (the next session begins June 8; deadline is May 1 for playwrights to submit materials), Private Dramaturgy and Family Story Workshop.

13newloWill Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is celebrating its 40th Anniversary with a year full of events.  For more information on Botanicum Seedlings and new programs for playwrights call (310) 455-2322 or visit www.theatricum.com. Visit them on facebook:www.facebook.com/theatricum. Follow them on twitter: @theatricum.

The Independent Shakespeare Company Presents…

The World Premiere of:

Solemn Mockeries 

WHI_25c7985Meet William-Henry Ireland, the original slacker.
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He’s unassuming, unpromising, and deemed “too stupid to educate” by his father. Yet somehow, this undistinguished 1790’s teenager manages to pull off London’s literary crime of the century.

In a stab at winning his father’s admiration, William-Henry forges a note signed “William Shakespeare,” his father’s favorite author. By some miracle, this note is accepted as genuine, and William-Henry is inspired to new heights of deceit.  His masterwork is a forgery of a “lost” Shakespeare play called Vortigern, which debuts at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane.

In Solemn Mockeries, William-Henry looks back over twenty years, making a confession with an ironic wit that is trained on himself as well as the inflated egos of those who believed in him.

mockeriesSmThis one-person performance features David Melville, an actor the LA Times calls “simply riveting.”

By Richard Creese – Directed by Jeffrey Wienckowski – Starring David Melville

February 16 – March 10 – Saturdays and Sundays at 5:00

At Independent Studio
3191 Casitas Ave. #168
Los Angeles 90039

Tickets $20 (students $15)
Purchase tickets here or call (818) 710-6306.

Kickstart the 2012 Hollywood Fringe Festival and Support Your Local Arts Community

Watch the video hosted by Hollywood Fringe Festival Director, Ben Hill, by clicking here. This link will also take you directly to the Kickstarter page.

This June hundreds of artists from all over the world converge on Hollywood for two weeks of shows, laughter and merriment at the third annual Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Countless mysteries lurk around every corner; shows that tickle, entertain, challenge, enlighten and overwhelm. Simply put, the biggest arts celebration in the West.
As we strive to improve the Fringe year over year, the expense of spectacle, mirth, and promotion weigh heavily on our financial resources. With costs rising and avenues for institutional funding shrinking, the sad truth is that the Fringe could disappear without your help.  And so we ask you – humbly, earnestly, and urgently – to reach into your pocket to support the Hollywood Fringe.  We need you more than ever. We have partnered with Kickstarter.com to raise an ambitious $20,000 for this year’s festival. If we reach that goal, the funds are released. If we don’t reach it, we get nothing (and you pay nothing).  CLICK HERE to sponsor the Hollywood Fringe Festival (make sure to check out the video on that page for more details).
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When the founders began this venture over 5 years ago, we had no idea this artistic movement would generate so much excitement in the global arts community. Our first year alone attracted over 170 artistic groups. We were blown away when our second year brought more than 200.
This year, our sights are set even higher.  We are launching new programs for standup comedy, music, students, internships, and environmental sustainability. Our central gathering point is a beautiful (some might say ‘epic’) two-storied complex with multiple stages, a concierge station, student and family events and lots of space for the community to gather, plan and converse.  It goes without saying that these initiatives come at great expense and sometimes the breadth of our ambition overtakes the availability of our resources.
We are a nonprofit which means we seek a percentage of our operating money from good people like you; those that understand that access to culture is critically important to our society and our community.  We know times are tight and all of us are counting our pennies; truly any amount, large or small, can make a huge difference.
Please consider helping a cause that matters to all of us.  A world without art is a cold place.  For a few weeks a year, the Fringe warms us up.  We want to keep it that way.
Kindest Regards,
Ben Hill, Executive Director
Hollywood Fringe 2012
Visit our Kickstarter Campaign to sponsor us today
Learn more about the Fringe at www.HollywoodFringe.org
Send any questions to support@hollywoodfringe.org

Happy 448th Will! The Black Women’s Playwrights Group Celebrates the Bard’s Birthday with 12Tweets@12Noon

12Tweets@12NoonOn Monday (today) April 23, in honor of William Shakespeare’s 448th birthday, the Black Women Playwrights’ Group (BWPG) of Washington, DC, will launch a new series of play excerpts called 12Tweets@12Noon.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from April 23 until May 18, the writers of BWPG will deliver thought-provoking, spicy scenes via Twitter, each in twelve consecutive lines.

Follow 12Tweets@12Noon 

@BLKWMPLYWRIGHTS

The Twitter community is invited to comment on characters and plot, and to add their own twist to the 12Tweets@12Noon series — in 140 characters or less, of course — at @BLKWMPLYWRIGHTS.  Their followers can also suggest a theme song to fit each espresso shot of a scene!

The series is created by the Black Women Playwrights’ Group; a service and advocacy group for women writers of color nationwide. BWPG Executive Director Karen Evans observed, “We are looking for a way to share our members’ work with a wider audience, while creating stories that would maintain our presence in the cyber world, and that’s how 12Tweets@12Noon was born. When we thought about Twitter as a platform, the challenge was on. Not only are we able to hit the 140 character mark, but also tell rich stories from the soul that hold together, even in this succinct form.”

12Tweets@12Noon is not the first cyber adventure from BWPG.

In February 2012 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, DC, BWPG officially launched the BWPG Cyber Narrative Project, a project that partners technology students at Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center – Global with playwrights of color. This is the first comprehensive project in which regional theaters nationwide explore how the dynamic of live performance can be extended to online audiences.

For this project, BWPG gathered theaters around the country, which, in turn, chose top-notch playwrights for productions in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. Playwrights include Pulitzer Prize and McArthur award-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, and Kristoffer Diaz, The New York Times Playwright of the Year. The playwrights are creating digital bonus materials for the theater productions. Online, theatergoers will interact with the plays’ characters and themes before, during, and after the performance. Content developed so far includes a video game, text messages from the characters during the performance, and interactive web sites on which the audience can continue the conversation with the characters.

There are ten partners in the BWPG Cyber Narrative Project: Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center – Global, Pittsburgh; About Face Theatre, Chicago; Dallas Theater Center, Dallas; The Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles; The Goodman Theatre, Chicago; Hip Hop Theater Festival, New York; Intersectin for the Arts, San Francisco; The Movement Theatre Company, New York; Penumbra Theatre, Minneapolis; Victory Gardens, Chicago; and Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Washington, DC. The project is made possible by the generous support of Bloomberg BNA, The Dreyfus Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Bill and Louisa Newlin, and Nick Olcott.

For more information, contact Karen James Cody of the Allyson Group

(301) 452-4469.


My Brooklyn Hamlet Comes to Hollywood

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO REALITY.  IT’S FINE WITH ME.                                                                                                                                                                                ~ Pre-Show Music, Billy Joel, New York State of Mind

How do you deal with your father murdering your mother, then marrying your mother’s sister – your aunt, suddenly becoming estranged from your half brother – your mother’s son, for not wanting to believe any of it actually happened, losing your entire inheritance – stolen from your father who originally willed it to you, breaking up with your fiancé in the interim, discovering you are no longer daddy’s little girl and switching gears from relationships with men to women – Shakespeare of course!

In a shabby room housed in green carpeting, old, slightly worn furniture, Elizabethan stained-glass windows, a painting or photograph of each of her parents and a whole lot of outrageous memories, playwright and star performer, Brenda Adelman, along with director John Coppola, both New York natives, present an almost unbelievable, insanely twisted, one-woman, modern ‘Bronx Tale’ filled with happy memories and tragic outcomes in My Brooklyn Hamlet, now playing at Studio C Artists on Theatre Row in Hollywood, CA.

Part family comedy, part Greek tragedy, My Brooklyn Hamlet is Brenda’s very true story about loyalty, sex, obsession, love, betrayal, murder and most of all, the awesome power of forgiveness.

Right from the start with the portentous, mood-setting music of Carmina Burana playing as she enters the stage wearing a symbolically, blood-red, farthingaled gown, corseted, ruffed, purled & partletted, jeweled and filled with the power of words, Ms. Adelman breaks her tale in the bard’s iambic pentameter, which is fully a direct parallel to the doomed Prince of Denmark.  It is everything dramatic.  She is numbed and scarred.  Having been torn and caught in the confusing line of fire throughout her entire life, even sometimes a continent away, between two manipulators who emotionally push her to one extreme level of guilt to another.  She must decide in the end, how she will find the strength to no longer stay silent, and either act upon her desire for revenge and throw herself fully onto a path that will surely lead to a Hamlet-like destruction or to find compassion and become the heroine of her own life with love and exculpation.

One can only begin at the beginning with this tale and Ms. Adelman takes us, quite squarely and without trepidation, in typical ‘shoot from the hip’ East Coast style, through the sometimes absurd, sometimes traumatizing events of the comical tragedy, that only a nice Jewish princess growing up in the endowed fortune of her father’s lucrative Brooklyn car business, could relate.  From practically birth to her adult life she recounts the special and important moments spent with and witness to her mother, a world traveling, obsessive fulfillment seeking, bohemian photo artist (al la Diane Arbus with more of a penchant for S&M – “I wouldn’t be an artist if I didn’t piss off somebody”) and her father, a simple, chain cigar smoking, somewhat cruder, self-made, auto industry ‘savant’ with an insatiable need for deception and attention from other women.

Although often shocking, much of it is quite funny actually filled with the characterizations and mimes of her parents, posturing, tantrums and general milieu of melodrama that envelopes her.  Ms. Adelman keeps the dialog raw and surprisingly on the lighter side, given the heaviness of the subject matter which she herself, has actually lived through.  It is not a heart-wrenching auto-biography but rather an expressive and fascinating recitation. There are a few not-quite-so-well crafted transitions during this performance and a moment or two feels a bit skipped over.  However, Ms. Adelman’s style is so refreshingly natural and forthright as a story teller that the chronicle is well paced and moves quickly without any truly awkward pauses.  Growing up daddy’s little girl has so many advantages, world travel, foreign living, theatre, art, popularity, best friends, Brooklyn-Italians boyfriends and being the great love of her father’s life “Brenda pretenda, my little defenda!”  Any why oh why can’t I have a healthy relationship with a man is not so hard to figure out for Ms. Adelman.  It is however almost impossible to break the cycle of insanity, not for the lack of trying.

Profound in it’s outcome.  Brenda Adelman is able to wield the mighty power of grace and bestow a kind of clemency that allows her to get past the ugliness and pain of tragedy to a love of herself and most of all both her mother and her father.  As in the words her mother would say every evening at her bedtime goodnight, “To Thine Own Self Be True,” Ms. Adelman, finds a way to do what is right for everyone.

My Brooklyn Hamlet is a creatively, candid, self-realized composition.

MY BROOKLYN HAMLET

A real-life Shakespearean tragedy in modern day Brooklyn.
Written by and starring Brenda Adelman

Directed by John Coppola.  Produced by Michael Sonntag

Every Thursday & Saturday @ 8:00PM Until April 28th

General Admission – $22.50

Approximate running time: 70 minutes

Studio C Artists
6448 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

For tickets:  http://mybrooklynhamlet.eventbrite.com/ or http://www.plays411.com/brooklynhamlet

The Allen Theatre – America’s New Broadway Playhouse

Although most individuals envision Broadway as THE place to go to study the arts, NYC isn’t always a viable option. For many aspiring singers, dancers and actors, New York’s high cost and distance prevents them from pursuing their dream.

However, thanks to an unprecedented collaboration between Cleveland State University (CSU), Playhouse Square and the Cleveland Play House, individuals from the Midwest and other parts of the country can now get all the benefits of Broadway closer to home.

After a massive renovation, the Allen Theatre Complex in downtown Cleveland has officially opened as a truly innovative, state-of-the-art center for performing arts and arts education. As part of PlayhouseSquare – the second largest performing arts complex in the United States – this incredible collaboration is able to provide aspiring thespians with a viable and affordable option when choosing where to go to study the arts. 

The Allen Theatre Complex is also the new home of The Cleveland Play House and CSU’s theatre, dance and art departments. Part of what makes this such a unique and progressive project is that CSU’s theatre program has now become the only undergraduate program in the country to be affiliated with a major professional theatre!

Not only does this provide CSU students with the opportunity to work alongside of professionals from the Cleveland Play House and PlayhouseSquare, but it also enables students to stage larger productions of their own. And it’s all part of one of the greatest partnerships of urban revitalization in the country!

Michael L. Mauldin, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair; The Department of Theatre and Dance, Cleveland State University was gracious enough to chat with me about the new project.  Here’s what we had to say: 

(Gia)  How is this partnership already affecting the students and the community at large currently?
(M.M) The students are enjoying new state of the art facilities and there has been an enormous interest from prospective students from throughout the nation who previously never would have considered CSU.  There is also Continue reading

Hollywood Fringe Re-cap

Is it three weeks already?  Seems like the days and night blew by.

Well, even having to compete for a second time in a row with the Los Angeles Film Festival, The 2011 Hollywood Fringe had a damned good turnout and was bursting with talent.  I was fortunate enough to experience some of the truly special offerings for which I feel  satisfied enough to repose in the lush, vivid, haze of my theatrical jubilee for  at least the next few months.  Plus, there are some movies I am dying to catch up on before they leave the theatres.  I will not be culture-free!

So as promised, here is a recap of my own reviews, along with the many others written by fellow journalists during this year’s run.  Thank you to all involved from the players, to the volunteers, to the dedicated mascots who walked Santa Monica Blvd overdressed in temperature elevating (and I don’t mean sexy) costumes, to the audiences who did show and everyone else.

What did I learn?  People everywhere are dying for an “experience.”

So go out and “GET SOME CULTURE!”

See you next year…

     Beneath the Rippling Water at Theatre of NOTE

     A Horse
      Blood Fruit at The Lounge Theater
     A Mess of Things at Fringe Central
     Lost Moon Radio at Fringe Central
     Honor and Fidelity:  The Ballad of a Borinqueneer
     American Addict
     N’afia at Fringe Central
(I got the lead review on this day!)
     The Audition at Fringe Central
     Deity Clutch at the Complex
     Sister Mary Liar at Fringe Central
    The Next Best Thing

Giving Is No Small Challenge for the Little Theater LA

It’s December 2010 and Mr. Ross Canton, owner of The Little Theater LA, coincidentally just renamed from The Black Box Theater, has holiday giving on the brain.   How do we give great performances?  How do we give affordable deals to the parents?  How do we give fun to our West Los Angeles children’s audiences?  How do we get them to know we are here?  How do we pay our actors?  How do we make this all work on no budget?

You see, it’s hard.  Mr. Canton has been a one man show for just about a year having re-opened a defunct theater with a former not so good reputation.  So far he has worn too many hats as season producer, director, production rental agent, light board operator, casting director, costume designer, prop master, set builder, box office handler, community liaison, and the list goes on.

“It’s challenging.  Every day I wake up to a small disaster that I have to get under control and then move on to the next task.” And yet, he seems to make it work.

And there is definitely a lot of giving from the actors.  Time mostly.  Especially during the holidays when everyone is juggling travel, side jobs, school, family and general Los Angeles traffic conditions enhanced by the shopping season.

Even still, for a brand new theater owner taking on a season full time, putting up shows year round in a house that has been constantly under construction, the challenges are apparent – decision after decision, organizing, finances, ticket sales, casting, good will, advertising, overhead, in other words, money, money, money.

This December the landlord of the property agreed to re-wire the entire facility which was not up to code.   Normally this would be cause for celebration.  However, The Little Theater was also rehearsing two separate shows that were opening in less than two weeks from the start of construction, making the scheduling even more hectic.  With a costume designer out sick, casting difficulties, erratic cast schedules, and lights not properly working, it all seemed like one complete disaster.

The Velveteen Rabbit was a hit last year and as part of the holiday tradition, Mr. Canton decided to re-mount the warm and fuzzy bunny tale, for children’s audiences who gushed over it last year.  But the real stroke of accidental genius was to offer an adaptation of Shel Silverstein’s, The Giving Tree.  What happened from there was magic.

An advertising inquiry to Los Angeles Family Magazine marketing director Traci Bradbury, produced an offer to help co-sponsor the magazine’s 15th anniversary issue.  Its December theme was “giving back” to the community.  The publisher loved the idea of Shel Silverstein’s, The Giving Tree, also running to sold out houses so far this season, as a perfect match.  Angel tickets were specifically created for the magazine’s sweepstakes offered in the December issue online and in print.

So far Mr. Canton’s duties have not been alleviated and he is hoping that will change soon.  “I would like to finally get back to doing what I set out to do when I took over the theater – spend my time, writing and producing quality children’s shows; running the theater and not having to do everything all the time.”

Ticket sales for The Giving Tree and its opening act, The Missing Piece, a mostly unknown short play, also by Silverstein, are nearly sold out completely.  The Velveteen Rabbit, with a longer run and larger cast is still selling and hoping to entertain kids and parents alike well into the new year.  And in January The Little Theater has more to offer adults.   Shel’s (Silverstein) Shorts will be opening on January 14th, 2011.

Adding to this little gem of a West LA venue, the theater is a beautifully intact house with 49 seats and aisles on each side to make it easy for patrons to walk up and down graduated levels to raked seating and a well lit street front window. It has onsite parking in the back and is handicapped friendly.   One draw-back – an old working marquis with the former theater name which needs to be replaced.  2011 will be partially spent raising funds to upgrade the street front signage of promising little venue.

The Little Theater LA is a 49 seat theater located in West Los Angeles at 12420 Santa Monica Blvd @ Centinela, Los Angeles, CA 90025. It is home to the Los Angeles Children’s Theater as well as the Performing Arts Collective. The venue produces children’s and adult shows year round and is also rentable for visiting companies and other local performances. Suitable for theater, castings and rehearsals, standup comedy, play readings, poetry slams, music, classes, art showings, and more.

For more information about the theater please visit:  www.TheLittleTheaterLA.com
or call:  (310) 622-4482.

It’s Never Out of Fashion to Be Fashionable at the Theatre

Last night I attended The Caltech Dance Club recital.  Students of one of my clients were performing in the show so I ended up with the sincerely generous gift of a complimentary ticket. 

Now, I love live theatre.  I am a stage performer myself and I can say, from the bottom of my heart that there is nothing like the absolutely fulfilling thrill of performing in a live show in front of an audience.  Anything can happen.  Spontaneity is king.  Best of all, knowing that you have affected these spectators in some way by the time they leave the theatre is the ultimate payoff.

As an audience member, I get seriously keyed up.  My expectation leaving my house for the evening is that I will see something wonderful.  If I am lucky, something extraordinary.  So I prepare.

For me the preparation of attending a theatrical performance, be it drama, dance, opera, musical theatre, philharmonic etc, is like getting ready for a really hot date or for a walk on the Red Carpet.   Picking out clothing.  Styling my hair and makeup.  Organizing dinner reservations before or after or at least picking a place to move on to later for food, drinks and discussions.   Finding directions in advance so that I can take my time and be leisurely about my arrival. I want to enjoy the setting, the outdoor/indoor environment, especially in the Spring and Summertime when the weather is lovely.  Meeting other people.  Rapping.  Getting their points of view.  Often in New York City, the older crowds have seen literally every show with the original casts and are so knowledgable, it is an experience just to hear the history, the comparisons and the commentary.  And getting coffee or a little snack beforehand which is particularly enjoyable.  I read the program to familiarize myself with  the performers, the presentation, the notes, and the synopsis if there is one.  Then I sit back quietly and let myself be taken over.

Now ok, to younger audiences these days it may seem a bit affected, the whole dressing up thing especially.  After all, companies like American Ballet Theatre, The Metropolitan Opera and the like, have been working so hard to become less formal, relax the dress codes so as not to scare the masses away and make art “for everyone.”

But I have to admit, one of the single most depressing moments of my life was witnessing an opera goer enter the Met one evening in shorts and sandals.  It took so much of the dramatic effect of the evening away.  (Especially when ticket prices did not go down.)  It suddenly felt less special.  Of course,  I myself used to show up in as many gowns I could possibly muster or borrow from my designer friends.  It always gave me the feeling of being fabulous.  I would even take the New York City Subway in them!

But getting back to the point…my making “an evening” out of going to a live performance was and is still not just about me.  It’s about making an offering back to the performers themselves.  Artists spend countless hours dreaming, inventing, creating, organizing, rehearsing and prepping for even as simple as a 30 minutes display for the audience.  I want to let them know that I care, that I took as much time being interested and creating a drama around their event.  The buzz, spin, reverie and accolades off-stage are just as important to an artist as what happens for them on-stage.   A service a am most happy to provide.

So as I looked around at all of the students attending in baggy sweatpants, ripped t-shirts, sneakers and jeans, I couldn’t help but wonder what any of this really meant to them outside of seeing their friends dance for the first and possibly the last time on stage – this is a school which produces scientists after all.

What I do know is if I am correct, that people adore “spectacle”  and are really dying to “break out” themselves, I couldn’t have received a better accolade, when a young man approached myself and  my client.   “Are you professionals?  Are you professional dancers?  I could tell by the way you looked.  And your posture is amazing.  You stand so upright!? ”   (We can save posture for another discussion about what’s degenerated in the modern age.  But what a confirmation. ) 

Perhaps my client and I also influenced in a positive way last night as well.  A rewarding reminder why being fashionable at the theatre will always be fashionable.

Quote of the Day: Hamlet

Doubt thou that the stars are fire;

Doubt thou that the sun doth move;

Doubt truth to be a liar;

But never doubt that I love.

~ William Shakespere – Hamlet

In case this video cannot be view please visit:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9c45pxqK1M