It's been a long time since I've been to a performance where the standing ovation started before the last song finished. Last night, we were on our feet for the last line or two of the song.
The touring performance of "Rent" (at UNC-Chapel Hill's Memorial Hall) was fantastic. Daughter said it was the stage performance she liked most. I can't quite say that since I have Broadway memories of seeing Yul Brynner in the "King and I" and Rex Harrison in "My Fair Lady," but I will say that last night's performance was in the top three.
The stage performance of "Rent" was grittier, simpler - scenery-wise, and more vivid (particularly in the choreography) than the movie. I'm glad I saw the movie first - otherwise I would probably have been disappointed in the movie. As daughter said, the movie "conservatised" (or was it "conservativised"? I'll have to ask her in the morning) the play; it took off the rough edges and toned sections down.
The stage scenery was very simple - two balcony sections (one over the on-stage band and one with stairs to the stage), chairs, tables, and various props. With its minimal staging and ensemble cast (rather than stand-out stars), it felt like the anti-Phantom (of the Opera - which focuses on three characters and has very complicated scenery).
That doesn't mean that the cast is second rate! The cast was excellent - probably the best touring cast I've seen. I wasn't sure how I would like someone else playing "Angel" since I liked the movie one so much. Melvin Bell III did a wonderful job as "Angel," playing her in a much more girlish way (which worked well). Chante Frierson played Joanne as a more sultry character than in the movie - which makes Maureen's attraction to her more vivid.
Speaking of vivid, the choreography for the stage musical is much more vivid than that in the movie - meaning it's definitely PG-13 (or 14...). I probably wouldn't have taken daughter to it a year ago (and she was one of the youngest people there).
After the standing ovation and the bows, the house lights went up, and the audience started leaving. The on-stage band was still playing (jamming is probably more the word to use). They were great too so we stayed, listened, and applauded them again when they finished. There weren't many people left by that time, and I think we clapped the longest (We got a wave from the pianist/leader).
Daughter got an early birthday present of a Rent t-shirt, and we also bought little "Moo with me" (pictured).
Video links (of course!)(not with the cast we saw, however):
The 1996 Tony performance of "Seasons of Love/La Vie Boheme" (PG-13) The lady who sang the gospel solo in "Seasons of Love" last night also did a great job!
Rent preview which gives a good feel for the play (Krystal Brown, who played Mimi last night, is also this flexible a dancer).
Since the start of the regular January schedule, we've been disciplined - gotten all our homeschooling and work (my part time job is busy) done while dear husband has been travelling for part of each week, and through illnesses, wisdom teeth removal, etc. I had cleaning and organizing projects planned for Saturday.
Two things interrupted. I was looking for a picture of the rolling hills of Southern Virginia for an upcoming blog post and had a difficult time finding ones that showed what I was picturing. And, dear husband posted his picturesfrom his Kentucky trip on his new weblog (Okay, I haven't mentioned the new weblog. I didn't say that I was totally organized!). Both these things started me daydreaming about a road trip - pack some food and good music, get in the car, and decide which way to turn when we leave the neighborhood. Let whim/the universe/the Travel Agent/luck/whatever take it from there.
It's been a while since we had done a road trip - as our lives get busier, we have fewer free days. Everyone was in favor so we took off yesterday morning and headed left (north) out of the neighborhood.
The historic (1868) United Methodist church on Main St. in Danville. The lower building is connected to the church to the left.
Me: "That building (below, left) looks like a factory." Daughter (reading the sign): "It's for Sunday School." Me: "So, it is a factory." Daughter: "What do you really think?!"
Maple leaf impression in the sidewalk on Main St., Danville, VA.
The rolling hills of Southern Virginia.
If you've ever lived in Winston-Salem, you are familiar with the Reynolds family. Richard Joshua Reynolds built the tobacco company in W-S, and also had the Reynolda House (now an art museum) built for his family. This is the Reynolds Homestead in Critz, VA where he grew up - with his 15 brothers and sisters. One of R.J. Reynold's nephew's founded Reynolds Metals (makers of Reynolds Wrap).
The Homestead is on a hill overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's a beautiful, peaceful spot, and we wandered around for a while. The house is open for tours from April through October, but the caretaker asked us if we'd like to see the inside. We took a brief peek, and it's beautiful inside also (slide show here).
View from the front porch.
The view from "Lover's Leap" overlook on Route 58.
She's returning to star again (this time as Roxie rather than Velma) in
Chicago on Broadway. Here are some highlights from an interesting interview at Broadway.com:
...Did you see the original production of Chicago?
I saw the show when I was 15. I thought —and still do—that [original
Billy Flynn] Jerry Orbach was the sexiest man I'd ever seen on stage.
Chita [Rivera] and Gwen [Verdon] were amazing, along with every other
woman on the stage. I couldn't wait to grow up so I could hopefully
take my place among them.
... Honoring a choreographer's or director's original intent is something you hear dancers talk about more than, say, actors.
I suppose it's because I am a dancer. Show me the choreography, and
I'll do it. As an actress, I work from the outside in. If I know how a
person walks, moves and stands, that tells me something about them. The
steps she does tell you a great deal about Roxie. The steps Velma does
tell you a lot about her, too, and that's why Velma always cracks me up
so much. Her choreography told me a lot about her level of
sophistication—which is not exactly very high [laughs]. And the same for Roxie, when she fantasizes about the act she's going to do with her boys.
I happen to think that people in musical theater are probably the best
suited to Shakespeare. Shakespeare is physical, there's music in it and
a lot of it is poetry. We're comfortable in that heightened reality.
Shakespeare was putting on a show for the folks, not involved in some
academic, intellectual exercise. Well, putting on a show for the folks
is what musical-theater people do, especially dancers. I can get a
little bored doing regular plays. Maybe I've done the wrong ones,
although I've done some lovely ones. Anyway, doing Shakespeare was the
one theatrical experience that was similar in feeling to when I was a
kid doing classical ballet.
The first president Bush took office when older son was learning to walk. Older son will turn 19 in a few weeks, and we've had either a Bush or a Clinton in the White House for his entire life. I don't have any favorites so far in the upcoming presidential race, but I liked the title of James Burkee's opinion column, "Just give me a candidate who's not a Bush or a Clinton," from Wednesday's Raleigh News & Observer:
Having refused a third term as president, George Washington offered the
nation a farewell address in 1796, urging Americans to cherish the
Union and to avoid the "baneful effects" of political partisanship.
Successors such as Thomas Jefferson warned against the formation of an
"unnatural" aristocracy of men who inherited great fortunes and
warnings have been overlooked in the debate over Hillary Rodham
Clinton's 2008 presidential run. But if she secures the Democratic
nomination, wins and serves two terms, by 2017 the United States would
have been governed by either a Bush or a Clinton for 28 years.
three decades governed not just by the same two families but much of
the same supporting staff. As Dick Cheney is a name familiar to both
Bush presidencies (as George H.W. Bush's secretary of defense and his
son's vice president), so too may a Hillary Clinton presidency
resuscitate familiar names such as Harold Ickes, Paul Begala and James
And it might not end there. Former Florida Gov. Jeb
Bush, encouraged by Republican leaders and the current president (who
said, "I would like to see Jeb run at some point"), has not ruled out a
White House bid or a vice presidential slot on the ticket in 2012 or
2016. [Aaaack!!!][Comment mine]
If Washington's caustic, partisan atmosphere is to change, the era of Bushes and Clintons needs to end in 2008.
From the time of John Quincy Adams -- whose term in office marked the
end of the Era of Good Feelings -- the children and grandchildren of
presidents engender exceptional hostility when they seek office
themselves. For all their personal capacities, the latter Adams,
Harrison and Bush -- like Hillary Clinton -- inherited their claims to
the presidency. George W. Bush would not be president today were his
name not George Bush, nor Hillary a senator from New York absent the
Clinton name. This nation's traditional commitment to meritocracy
inclines many to reject these "unnatural" aristocrats, who never garner
(I don't care if she put up with her husband's infidelities, has actually served a whole term as U.S. Senator for a state she bought a house in (but hardly lived in), and supposedly now deserves the presidency. It's time for a change!)
Having been born at the end of the Baby Boom (1961), I don't have the experiences that the stereotypical "baby boomer" is supposed to have had. Newsweek has been pandering to gain subscribers doing a series of articles for the last year about the Baby Boomers. One of the first had a cover with pictures of Baby Boomers who were turning 60 last year (I just turned 45 a few months ago). One thing that I noticed that the pictured Boomers had in common was that almost all of them had starred in, or appeared on, TV shows that I was too young to watch in the 60's and 70's. So why am I supposed to be in the same generation?! - which is why the whole thing irritates me. My supposed "generation" feels like it has little to do with my life and experience - or the lives and experiences of others born in the late 50's and early 60's.
During the "Summer of Love," I think I was learning how to ride my bike.
Somehow I do not think that Barack Obama gets up in the morning,
brushes his teeth, looks in the mirror and says, "Wow! A fresh face!"
It doesn't happen at 45. At 45, you count the crow's feet and measure
the circles under your eyes... [We'll skip the part about how Mozart & others didn't even live to be this age]
I say this to add a dose of reality to the chatter about the man
slated to announce his candidacy for president on Feb. 10. Obama is
indeed this year's designated "fresh face." But on the flip side, those
who are not questioning whether the Illinois senator is too black to be
president are asking whether he is too green.
That's not green as
in tree-hugging. That's green as in inexperienced and/or young. Even
his little daughter once asked, "Are you going to try to be president?
Shouldn't you be the vice president first?"
But I find it bewildering to hear so many Americans worrying that a
man who is middle-aged, by any demographic measure, might be too young.
The question -- "how green is Obama?" -- may say less about the
senator's youth than the country's age. Or the baby boomers aging.
1960, the average age of Americans was 29. Today it's 36 and climbing.
In 1960, the life expectancy was 69. Now it's 77. More to the point,
the baby boomer generation that is forever setting the agenda has begun
Most of the green-talk is indeed from boomers, a
generation that was just coming of age -- teenage -- when Jack Kennedy
was killed at 46. Is it possible that the same generation that famously
didn't trust anybody over 30 when they were 20 doesn't trust anybody
under 50 now that they are turning 60? [emphasis mine]
One of the charms of the boomers, the watermelon in the demographic
python, is how they are managing to age without getting old. My
favorite factoid comes from a Yankelovich study showing that boomers
define "old age" as starting three years after the average American is
dead. It's a new wrinkle on the 1965 song by "The Who": "I hope I die
before I get old."
But the side effect of feeling forever young
is that boomers may regard their juniors as perennially too young. It's
seen in the generational lament about the adult children who can't get
launched. It's also seen in the boomers' defense of their (primary)
place in the pecking order.
Obama was technically born at the
tail end of the boom, but places himself politically outside the
"psychodrama of the baby boom generation" which he describes as "a tale
rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college
campuses long ago." [I'm outside that psychodrama too]
Well, it's a shock when the people you went to high school with
start ruling the world. It's another rite of passage to acknowledge
juniors as your superiors. But boomers are now turning 60 with a life
expectancy of 82. It's an early sign of memory loss to forget that at
45 you were wise or foolish, or both -- but you weren't young. [sigh]
master of the last word, Oscar Wilde, said, "Experience is the name
everyone gives to their mistakes." He figured that out at 39.
She's four years younger than I am, but she has similar experiences - except, being a folk singer, it probably comes up more often for her:
I was four years old in nineteen-sixty-nine When everybody had their thing and I had mine There were some people smoking weed, there were some others doing speed But I was way big into raisins at the time
And now I'm all grown up and I'm a-writing a-folky songs But there are people telling me that I don't belong These folk music consumers are Birkenstock-ed baby boomers They say, "You're way too young and you dress completely wrong"
They say, "You showed up just in time to miss the boat You slept right through our rendezvous with fate And though we're getting old and grey we still can gloat Must be a thorn to have been born a little late" That's what they say
Yes they were all at Yasgur's farm in 'sixty-nine (right) They all made love to Country Joe and Johnny Prine (uh-huh) And every one of them adored young Bonnie Raitt (they all knew her personally) They love to tell me I was born a little late
And at folk festivals I've seen them a-hanging around I've seen them having sex and sleeping on the ground They'll all be sitting around the campfire singing Beatles and The Byrds And then they laugh at me 'cos I don't know the words...
Don't miss the spoken section where she talks about how people describe driving VW buses around: "And all the owners would wave at each other. It was like this giant club, and it was all ... so ...wonderfully ...different." [?!]
I've been saving this one. When Gordon Lightfoot was popular, back in the 70's, I liked some of his songs ("Sundown," "Carefree Highway"), and didn't care for others ("Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," "If You Could Read My Mind"), but I didn't really notice him as a musician.
That changed years later when I started listening to Tony Rice (bluegrass guitarist/singer and another favorite of mine)(and the subject of a future post). I found out that many of my favorite songs from his CD's had been written by Gordon Lightfoot. Finally, a few years ago and probably 30 years after first hearing his music, I bought a Gordon Lightfoot album, "Gord's Gold."
I've been waiting for appropriately cold weather to go along with putting "Song for a Winter's Night" on my blog. We've got the cold weather (for NC)(though no snow). [Note: When you click on play, it will take you to YouTube and then it will play. I'm not sure why this one turned out this way.]
A few years ago, dear daughter was dealing with migraines and low energy. We talked to the doctor, and eventually got the migraines under control. The low energy went along with puberty, and I used to tell her that, sometime in high school, she would have an energy burst and be amazed at how much energy she has.
The energy burst is here, and I'm amazed at how much energy she has!
I'll write another post (or posts) about her homeschooling in detail, but, suffice to say for now, all the discipline she learned while dealing with migraines and low energy, combined with her current high energy, means that she is getting so much done and looking for more to do.
One thing I mentioned was that, since a lot of my web browsing happens when she isn't around, I could make a new weblog to post links on that she might find interesting - whether they're about books, current events, musicals, etc. She liked that idea, and she may use it to post things back to me also (hers will be signed "Eggnog").
I've been putting together Flitting Through the Internet for the last few weeks. I hope the title is fairly self-explanatory - just flitting through the internet posting whatever strikes me (that she may be interested in).
And, if you check it out, that's my picture in the title! Taken in our side yard last summer (and I also grew the red-flowered Maltese Cross plant from seed). I got a kick out of putting that together, though I want to redo it sometime with a larger title, and shorter banner.
I've been meaning to blog about two current art exhibits in the Durham/Chapel Hill, NC area - an Origami Quilt display and a Chinese Paper Sculptures.
Since the fall, we've been enjoying Helen Wolfson's display of origami quilts, "Beyond Cranes," at the Mad Hatter Bakeshop in Durham, NC. Origami quilts are like fabric quilts, except that, instead of material sewn together, the origami quilts are made of origami shapes joined together. They're lovely! - and, if you're in the area, I encourage you to go and see (The brochure I have says that the exhibit is only supposed to be there through October 29, 2006, but it was still there at the beginning of January).
The Chinese Paper Sculpture exhibit is at the Turning Point Gallery in University Mall in Chapel Hill, NC. You can look at the close-ups on their website, but, unfortunately, the some of the photos seem slightly blurry and don't give the feeling for the three-dimensionality of the sculptures (especially "Happy Family" which is one of my favorites). The best example I can find to view online is "Cranes With Nest" at the Lilliput catalog website (click on the cranes to see them close up). I, of course, recommend seeing them in person also.