Talk about the theater. : LUSENET : Xeney : One Thread

We may have done this one before, but what the hell. Are you like Jeremy used to be -- you have to be beaten with a tire iron before you'll sit in a theater (or a park, I guess) for several hours watching a bunch of people in tights on a stage? (Actually I'm unfairly maligning Jeremy; he likes Shakespeare, he just hates musicals.) Are you a theater snob? A theater junkie?

And has anyone actually seen the Madonna version of Evita? I'm so afraid of that, although except for her singing and acting (in)ability, I suppose she's perfect for the role.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2000


Whenever I actually manage to motivate and get my ass to the theater I love it, but I don't do it nearly enough. I'm afraid I don't know much about staging and theater techniques and such, but I can appreciate all sorts of different productions, from Shakespeare to "The Lion King".

I've lived in New York most of my life, and it's a summer tradition to make at least one trip to Central Park for the "Shakespeare in the Park" series. Some productions have been better than others, but the experience is always enjoyable, due in large amount to the ubiquitous bottles of wine which are also part of the tradition.

This year I've seen a handful of Broadway stuff - "True West" (amazing), "Jesus Christ Superstar" (embarassing, but I love the music) and an off- Broadway show called "Fully Committed" (which I loved, and which I highly reccommend to anyone who can get tickets). There are tons of smaller theaters and theater groups in my neighborhood, and I should be seeing alot more stuff, but I never seem to get around to it.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2000

I love the stuff, but I'm so much not a snob I think I'm probably a theatre hick. On my last visit to London (several years ago), my first chance to see a Real Show in a Real Show City, I had all these shows to choose from, and I picked Phantom of the Opera just 'cause I like that sort of thing. Hey, it could have been Cats.

I'm kind of an Andrew Lloyd Webber junkie, it seems so pedestrian.

I have seen the Madonna Evita, and yes, her singing and acting were the weakest points, although she did manage to pull off "gravely ill and unaware" enough to be pretty moving. All the songs are *so* not in her range, though (given the generous assumption that she *has* a range). Antonio Banderas was good as Che Guevara, in his beefcakey way (the anti-Che, basically), and his singing voice always makes me happy because you just don't quite expect it to come from him, and those songs *are* in his range. The film as a whole sort of suffers from heavy-handed directing and some of the stars' limitations, but as long as you have a good recording somewhere on hand as an antidote, it is watchable, if you have a coupon for a rental or can find it on TV for free.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2000

This is just too spooky. My friend Louise had her birthday on Friday; on Saturday night we went to see A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare by the Sea.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2000

I love plays, but I'm not a big musicals fan. I always mean to go to more plays - London is fairly good for this! But we seldom get round to it, which is a pity. Reading your entry today made me want to go to something really soon, Beth!

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2000

Whenever I actually manage to motivate and get my ass to the theater I love it, but I don't do it nearly enough.

That sums up my current relationship to the theater. I used to see a lot more plays, particularly when I was in England. I saw all sorts of things while there, from adaptations of Kafka stories in a tiny theater above a pub to Cats.

And, Beth, I remember the Music Circus. When I was a kid growing up in Placerville, my mom went several times. The only thing I ever saw there was The Wizard of Oz, which was a lot of fun.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2000

I used to hate all theater, based on community theaters here in Texas and on the Music Circus where my wife was a performer for a while when we lived in Sacramento. I've never seen a show on Broadway, but I never enjoyed the various traveling Broadway shows that I've seen, mostly because invariably my seats were so far away that the actors looked like fleas.

For example, I went to see "Phantom of the Opera" in Houston. I had purchased the tickets nine months in advance and was assured they were good seats. When I showed them to the usher he started laughing and pointed to the roof and said "up up up". He was right, we on the 97th balcony, about 300 feet from the stage. They were renting binoculars up there. Not your dainty little opera glasses, but huge field glasses such as you might see on the bridge of a submarine. I could neither see nor hear the performance, and to this day have no idea what the show was even about.

When I moved to England I got to see theater as It Was Meant To Be. The London Theater is fantastically great. I became a junkie, going to London every weekend for two and half years to see whatever was showing, big and small productions. Even the largest London theaters are on a human scale and have only a few really bad seats, and they warn you about them before they will sell an undesirable seat.

It is amazing to me that those sour, humorless, whining Brits can put on such good shows, but they do it better than anyone. If you like theater, do what I do. Get a cheap ticket in November, go to London, and see five plays in 3 days. You'll never regret it.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2000

I occasionally go to shows -- I have lived in New York for 4 1/2 of the past 6 years, after all. Sometimes I have been dragged along by force -- for example, to Showboat, Phantom of the Opera, and Patrick Stewart's performance in The Tempest -- and sometimes I wanted to go -- to Tommy and Steve Martin's off-Broadway production, Picasso at the Lapin Agile.

Frankly, I can take or leave profesional stage productions. My one true theatrical love is the high school show -- preferably Shakespeare or a musical. Something about a completely green cast that has been rehearsing for six months adds to the fun. I'm not sure why I like amateur musicals so much. With the Shakespearian production, I like the way the young actors recite the lines -- as if they were brand new discoveries only now being revealed to the world, instead of layered with hommages to productions they once saw. Professional Shakespeare is always too precious for me.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2000

Well, let's see, I just got back from Ashland, Oregon (home of the famed Oregon Shakespeare Festival) a few weeks ago, and just saw Camelot Saturday night...I'd say I like playgoing. Most of the time I like shows, unless the plot stinks or there is no plot (like in Ain't Misbehavin'. Tomfoolery is the only non-plot show I've seen that works happily). Camelot, for example, lacks a lot of the interesting details and characters of the plot (dumbed down, big time), Arthur's a big wimp, and Guenivere's a bloodthirsty bimbo. Whee... My apologies to Jim Howard- Phantom's just like that, unfortunately. I was in the very last row when I saw it in SF, but at least I could see the people on the stage and hearing was fine. (And a cool top view of the chandelier.)

As for Evita: I saw it. It was ok. Not hugely memorable. I can't comment on Madonna's range, though, as I'm vocally tone deaf and can't tell for shit if someone's hitting the right note.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2000

I'm not crazy about theater. I'm not crazy about movies, either, so I guess that tells you something.

I'm interested in going to see shows if they're something interesting and inventive and different, plus well done. I'm not asking for much, am I? However, on Thursday we actually did go see something that fit that bill: Shockheaded Peter, an English production that was playing at ACT. It was a strange, funny dramatization of 19th century German stories for kids. The stories are all gruesome, like the little boy who wouldn't stop sucking his thumb so the scissor man comes and cuts it off.

Some time ago we saw the play Oleanna which was so talky and annoying that I think it turned me off plays for a while. I'd much rather see anything musical.

I haven't seen any version of Evita.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2000

I like theatre, but I don't usually go see much. I go to more now, since I have friends who are in them. Sometimes I love the play, other times I hate it, but I have always enjoyed the experience. If I could just get myself inspired to go more often. (and I don't think wanting to go see HMS Pinafore, Tempest, and Midsummer again count)

And I've only been to Music Circus once, long long ago when we went to see Annie.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2000

Oooh you went and saw Shockheaded Peter, Lizzie? I saw it on Wednesday. I'm a sucker for dark musicals, I'm a sucker for puppetry, I'm a sucker for an accordion. I actually picked up the CD soundtrack to it a few months ago in anticipation of the stage show, which dampened the surprises a bit, but certainly aided in comprehension.
All I can say to you Sacramento people is this: Come see H.M.S. Pinafore in Old Fair Oaks sometime in the next two weekends, then in September go see The Elephant Man at the Geery Theater downtown.
Yes, I'm without shame. Come anyways.

-- Anonymous, July 18, 2000

I actually worked once on a semi-amateur production of a Lloyd-Webber musical, Tell Me On A Sunday, as production manager. That was a great experience (shame about events that followed, but I won't go into those). Otherwise I'm a dead-set anti-theatre snob, which my degree in Film Studies obliges me to be. (Well, it doesn't really, but that's my excuse.) Live theatre doesn't interest me in the least, with the last play I saw being The Mousetrap in London back in 1996 (saw Phantom on the same day, too)

-- Anonymous, July 18, 2000

Yeah, I was sorry I saw Shockheaded Peter so late in its run because I wanted to make all my friends go. It was just great. I love that kind of weird, scary puppetry.

-- Anonymous, July 19, 2000

Evita was my 15th play so far this year. Yes, we have Music Circus season tix, and also I go to all the Davis Musical Theater shows. (The one before last was Evita, and I've had my quota for the next many years!) This weekend we're going to Fair Oaks to see what they did to HMS Pinafore (they always do fun things to their plays!)

Of course, some of those 15 are kiddie plays. I think it's good for "Sam" to learn how to sit and watch something and not talk through it.

My youngest went to a GATE class and they did a lot of plays, went to Ashland (where a guide asked if any of them had been to a play before) and many other plays. I really like the way the actors and the audience work together to create a play.

-- Anonymous, July 20, 2000

Jan, what did you think of Pinafore?

-- Anonymous, July 26, 2000

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