It’s just an expression.

I generally have the chance to attend a big, splashy, over-the-top Broadway musical — i.e., the ones where tickets start at $100 and climb swiftly upward — about once a lifetime, if that. I find ticket prices like that a little hostile. In fact, now that I think about it, the only show like that I’ve seen, if you rule out a few also-rans, is probably “Miss Saigon,” which I didn’t even like. I thought the helicopter stunt was showoffy, and, well. Give me a night of Eugene O’Neill and I’m happy. I think theater should be all about talking and minimally dressed stages, but your mileage may vary. No judgment. Life is a cabaret, old chum.

So it may be that I’m looking at the ongoing train wreck of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” with unsympathetic eyes. You tell me:

An actor performing in the Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” was injured during a performance Monday night, according to the police and several witnesses.

Theatergoers who attended Monday’s performance of “Spider-Man,” a $65 million musical featuring complicated aerial stunts, said that they saw a performer playing the title hero fall about 8 to 10 feet into a pit during the closing minutes of the show, and that some equipment fell into the audience when this occurred. A video of the performance showed a line holding the performer apparently snap.

The story goes on to reveal some remarkable facts. I caught the tail end of a public-radio segment about the problems the show is having getting up to speed, but it sounded far more routine than this — the accident described above is only the latest and most serious in a string of mishaps that have included concussions and some sort of injury suffered by actors in “a sling-shot technique meant to propel them across the stage.” Oh.

The show’s budget is at $65 million. I wonder what they’re paying for insurance.

I know this production — it seems wrong to call it a “play,” somehow — is directed by Julie Taymor, the MacArthur-branded genius of the Disney musicals. Since her branding, her work has been a tetch uneven, at least if you accept the critical consensus that “Across the Universe” was a disorienting p.o.s. Roger Ebert gave it four stars, but just one paragraph of his review gave me a headache:

Julie Taymor, famous as the director of “The Lion King” on Broadway, is a generously inventive choreographer, such as in a basic-training scene where all the drill sergeants look like G.I. Joe; a sequence where inductees in Jockey shorts carry the Statue of Liberty through a Vietnam field, and cross-cutting between dancing to Beatles clone bands at an American high school prom and in a Liverpool dive bar. There are underwater sequences which approach ballet, a stage performance that turns into musical warfare, strawberries that bleed, rooftop concerts and a montage combining crashing waves with the Detroit riots.

A swift recovery to the fallen actor, whose injuries we don’t even know the extent of, yet. Best of luck to this production; the world needs all the art it can take. I’d say “break a leg,” but somehow I think that would be in bad taste.

Tuesday of Christmas week — time to check the list a third time and run around buying last-minute stuff I should have gotten weeks ago. Also, groceries. Apparently there are two other people living in this house, and they expect to be fed from time to time. So I’d best be doing that soon. Any bloggage? Sure.

Via 4dbirds, PolitiFact takes on a meme circulating through the right/left/crazy blogosphere: No, Virginia, the government does not want to regulate your backyard garden. These people will believe anything.

Stop laughing. This isn’t funny. It’s NOT funny when someone shoots himself in his sleep. In a car. On the Ohio Turnpike. Well, the guy is from Detroit; he had his reasons.

MMJeff wanted to draw attention to this story, so consider it drawn. A plan to make homelessness history? Good luck with that. How to address the voluntary homeless, the street kids and other spare-changers who make street navigation in places like San Francisco and Seattle so irritating? Not much mention made of those. The plan is ambitious, however, and I wish its executors well. Like the producers of “Spider-Man.” But we shall see.

Posted at 10:39 am in Current events, Popculch |

67 responses to “It’s just an expression.”

  1. Connie said on December 21, 2010 at 11:07 am

    In 1996 I spent $90 for a sixth row seat to see Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria on Broadway. In 2003 I spent $90 for a front row seat at Lion King in Toronto. In both cases the most I ever spent on a ticket to anything. And in both cases well worth it. Not sure I would spend the same amount for Spider Man. I see Mary Poppins is currently in Detroit, wonder how much those tickets are?

    EDIT: Main floor tickets are $345 and $408. Cheapest back row balcony tickets are $100. Majority of tickets seem to be in the $118 and $135 levels.

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  2. John G. Wallace said on December 21, 2010 at 11:12 am

    A Spiderman musical baffles me. Is this an attempt to seperate semi-literate masses of 30-50 year old men from their money? I have a high school friend wh saw it early last week. She and her bladder lived in fear after an usher told her she could not get up during the performance as “spiderman will be landing on the back of your seat.”

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  3. LAMary said on December 21, 2010 at 11:13 am

    We had prop 23 on the ballot in the last election. It basically wanted to do away with a law Ahnuld had signed which required changes be made to return to the level of clean air we had 20 years ago. The oil companies poured millions into getting this bill passed and we were inundated with scare commercials about killing jobs etc. The blogs and talk show guys were telling folks that the state was going to regulate how far you could live from your workplace. Seriously. Two people in my office believed that. They thought the state of California was going to either require people to relocate or change jobs. Prop 23 was defeated anyway.

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  4. Sue said on December 21, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Shortest day of the year! Woo hoo! The days, they will get longer!

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  5. LAMary said on December 21, 2010 at 11:19 am

    See? This sort of thing can work out.

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  6. coozledad said on December 21, 2010 at 11:27 am

    We were overrun with a neighbor’s marauding dogs a few years back, losing livestock on a near daily basis, and several people suggested we get a pistol. I already had a shotgun, but the idea was to kill the animals, not maim them.
    We got as far as visiting a gunsmith, who cheerfully showed us a few .22 pistols. One of the side benefits of the smaller guns, he told us, was “You can sleep with them under your pillow, and you’ll hardly notice them.”

    This country has gone apeshit.

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  7. paddyo' said on December 21, 2010 at 11:28 am

    “Backyard gardening” . . . hmm, ain’t that a Coozle-ism for something personally hygienic?

    Thought I’d missed the eclipse last night. I’m normally night-owlish but was beat and went to bed half an hour before it started here in Mountain Time. Three hours later, I happened to awake to subdued light out the window and caught a glimpse of our solar shadow leaving what looked more like a crescent moon than a full one. Quite nice.

    Happy solstice, fellow pagans and non-pagans alike!

    If “Spidey The Musical” has legs (hey, eight of ’em — rimshot!), I s’pose anything’s possible. “Rush: The Big Fat Musical,” anyone?

    Once upon a Christmas, I spent the week in NYC and caught two Broadway plays — Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park With George” (Bernadette Peters) for maybe $25 and “The Real Thing” (Jeremy Irons) for something similar. ‘Course, it WAS way back in 1984 . . .
    But our real Christmas bonus that year was riding the subway downtown to dinner two or three days before the holiday and marveling at how safe the subway system appeared to be. There seemed to be at least one uniformed cop on every station platform as we made our way to Greenwich Village from Midtown.

    Only later that night, flipping on the TV back at our hotel for the late news, did we learn that a few hours before our ride, Bernie Goetz had fired on those guys he said had “tried to rob me” on the same route.

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  8. brian stouder said on December 21, 2010 at 11:39 am

    “Rush: The Big Fat Musical,” anyone?

    Paddyo’, that looks like a thread-winner to me!

    As for the backyard garden thing, I started skimming once I read:

    “Senate Bill 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, has been called ‘the most dangerous bill in the history of the United States of America.’

    What number of folks will read that ridiculous sentence, and believe it? How young would one have to be, to assign any credibility to that?

    More interestingly, I wonder what bill really IS “the most dangerous bill in the history of the United States of America”.

    Maybe the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution? The Alien and Sedition Act? The Patriot Act?

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  9. Catherine said on December 21, 2010 at 11:54 am

    It does seem that there are chronically homeless people who wish to remain so, but it feels weird to me to include “street kids” under that banner. I was surprised and appalled to read that as many as 40% of homeless youth are LGBT kids who were kicked out or ran away from home. Seems like they’d probably accept help finding housing.

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  10. Peter said on December 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Connie are they serious about those ticket prices? I pay about $160 per for Lyric Opera tickets, and that’s fourth row first balcony. Yipes.

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  11. Julie Robinson said on December 21, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Spider-Man is just the latest juke box musical, which seem to be taking over Broadway along with the Disney musicals. Original stories and music are becoming rare, and traditional musicals are not faring well. I have liked much of Taymor’s work, including the much maligned Across the Universe, because she takes some big creative risks. Like most women cartoon superheroes leave me cold but I have been following the development of the show. The actor playing Spidey (not the one injured) is also in Taymor’s film The Tempest which is coming out soon.

    And paddyo’, I am jealous that you got to see Sunday in the Park with George on Broadway, my all time favorite show. In my world Stephen Sondheim is a god and Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters are his perfect interpreters.

    It looks like shows in Detroit are double to triple what we pay in Chicago.

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  12. brian stouder said on December 21, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    That is definitely counterintuitive

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  13. Jolene said on December 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Not just counterintuitive, but bizarre. Something must be amiss w/ that comparison.

    Between the food safety act and their effort to “improve” school lunches, I guess the Obamas would have us eating tofu and kale pretty much all the time–or so I’ve heard. Luckily, we have Sarah Palin around to save us from dietary totalitarianism by encouraging the consumption of smores.

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  14. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 21, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Catherine — a persistent problem in the non-“Housing First” model is self-medication. If you are experiencing severe emotional pain, such as would reasonably come from working the streets, you’re a very likely candidate for self-medication which leads to/is identical to addiction. It sounds, on the outside, very simple: “stop drinking/drugging and I’ll give you housing, which means you won’t need to sell yourself, which means you won’t need to self-medicate, and you’ll have a secure, warm place to sleep!” It’s so linear and straightforward, unless you’re in the middle of it, and all you hear is “stop doing the one thing that you think gets you through the day.”

    That’s where “Housing First” comes in — let’s get you securely housed first, then address the addicition . . . which not infrequently effectively ends before treatment begins once the housing issue is resolved. It becomes about maintenance and stability and resilience from that point forward.

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  15. paddyo' said on December 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Julie @ 11:
    My then-wife, herself an artist, alternately laughed and wept with quiet joy through most of “Sunday in the Park With George.” An amazing show, and the cast had little gems like Charles Kimbrough, a Tony winner who went on to be anchorman Jim Dial on “Murphy Brown,” and I think Brent Spiner, later the earnest android Data in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

    Mandy P. had moved on by the time we saw it, but his understudy, Robert Westenberg, who played the unnamed “A Soldier” in the original B-way cast, had taken over as George and was very good.
    Glenn Close had left her starring role with Irons in Stoppard’s “The Real Thing” by then, but it was still a dynamite play, before “play” — vs. “musical!” — became kind of a dirty word.

    Ah, Broadway before the ’90s, where two tickets didn’t cost a car payment . . .

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  16. Julie Robinson said on December 21, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    We go to one or two musicals every year in Chicago and we usually pay $100-150 for tickets including all the fees, which run as much as $20 or so for each ticket. Those are in the middle of the price range; it’s just not worth going if you sit up too high. This summer we got floor seats for Billy Eliott for $95 including fees since they were running a special over July 4th. I am totally stumped as to why prices are that much higher in Detroit.

    Yes, yes, yes paddyo’. I watched the video of “Sunday” almost every day while on pregnancy bed rest for three months, and it always moved me to tears. Finishing The Hat is a masterpiece on the life of an artist, musician, writer or any creative endeavor. Come to think of it, the baby who heard that show repeatedly in utero loves musicals himself and was just cast in Rent.

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  17. Sue said on December 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Catherine, I agree that maybe street kids shouldn’t be lumped under ‘voluntary’ homeless, gay or not.
    Here’s one of the LGBT initiatives going on in Milwaukee. This group also operates a temporary homeless shelter for youths and a drop in shelter for slightly older young adults. Usually full houses in both locations.

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  18. moe99 said on December 21, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Steve Landesberg, of Barney Miller fame, has died of cancer at 65. I liked him.

    Jeff (tmmo) there was a New Yorker piece a number of years ago about a housing initiative that did not require you to be clean and sober before you were given a home. Can’t find the article but did find this:

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  19. adrianne said on December 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks to my library pals and their fund-raising prowess, we’re going to be able to take all the Books Alive kids to see “Wicked” on Broadway for free in March. Adults (I’m going) only had to pay $32 for tickets. That’s the kind of Broadway bargain I can go for!

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  20. Connie said on December 21, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Peter, I found those prices by searching “mary poppins” and detroit on google.

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  21. Deborah said on December 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Moe, I know this is going to sound weird but I had a crush on the character Steve Landesberg played on Barney Miller. He played an intellectual detective or something like that. It was the intellectual part that attracted me I guess, because he wasn’t much to look at.

    I used to be truly enamored with musicals, then I lost interest. I thought that the ones I was going to got more and more lame (Disney). I think there was a period of time where things went down the tubes but it sounds like they’re getting better again.

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  22. brian stouder said on December 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Moe – everytime he did his Gregory Peck imitation, it broke me up!

    I remember – probably 25 years ago or more, when cars were becoming a lot more black-box whizz-bang, I caught his stand-up act on TV, and he was on a riff about talking cars; “please fasten your seatbelts” and the like. He said he test drove a Toyota, and when he shut it off, a pleasant voice said “You reft your rights on”, the memory of which – I confess – still makes me laugh!.

    Speaking of that, I stopped for a soda pop at the gas station on the way back from lunch (I’m backsliding, a little) and the young lady behind the counter there made a phone call, and was speaking a language that I didn’t recognize. When she was done, I asked what language that was, and she said “Punjabi” (which reminded me of Vice President Biden). So I can attest that Punjabi is a perfectly lovely, smooth language

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  23. Kirk said on December 21, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    As I’m not a fan of musicals, my wife found a non-musical to take me to on Broadway during my one and only visit to New York City, I think in 1994. It was “The Sisters Rosensweig,” starring Linda Lavin, Michael Learned and Hal Linden (Barney Miller himself). It was OK, though it dragged on kind of long.

    In 2002, when we were in Toronto, she got us eighth-row center seats for “The Lion King,” and I have to admit that I enjoyed it very much.

    I have no idea what she paid for either set of tickets.

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  24. ROgirl said on December 21, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    I liked “Across the Universe.” Yeah, it was over the top, but it did justice to the music, and it’s a movie, so presumably no people were harmed. As for Spider Man, I’m sure the pressure is building to pull the plug before it opens. It’s hard to compete with Cirque du Soleil.

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  25. Julie Robinson said on December 21, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    According to, S-M is on hold until they find the cause of the accident. The actor is in stable condition in the hospital.

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  26. Suzanne said on December 21, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    “What number of folks will read that ridiculous sentence, and believe it? How young would one have to be, to assign any credibility to that?” Sadly, I live in middle America, and I can tell you, plenty of the good God fearing folks here would believe it without qualms. If I was paid for every time one of my neighbors or fellow church goers has told me that Obama is not even a American citizen or that Michelle Obama wants to send goon squads to raid our cupboards (that and the gov’t funded healthcare death panels), I would have enough money to retire. It’s scary out there.

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  27. MarkH said on December 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I went to see Hal Linden in Kismet in the late ’70s at Vets Memorial in Columbus. He had quite the good singing voice.

    moe, I read today that Landesberg’s actual age is indispute, by his own doing, mostly. He would never reveal or confirm it, so that it would not ace him out of acting jobs. But a source in one report today said he was born in 1936, making him 74(!).

    And, yes, Brian, his Gregory Peck was spot on!

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  28. Sue said on December 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    When my daughter was in high school we sat through several schmaltzy musicals because the director was inclined towards vanilla romances. I decided that in a perfect world, schools would have two musicals on 4 year rotations so all the kids could have a chance to do them:
    “Fiddler on the Roof” (fun to do but with a message that kids respond to)
    “Grease” (just flat-out fun to do)
    The director at our high school did Fiddler but would never, ever consider Grease. We went to see Grease at a neighboring school and it was obvious that everyone was having a good time.
    Maybe it’s just my area, or permission fees are too high, but no one does any recent or semi-recent musicals at the schools around here.

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  29. Connie said on December 21, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Sue, one of my best high school experiences was being in “Fiddler on the Roof”. We did one musical, one drama and one comedy a year.

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  30. brian stouder said on December 21, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I played Teddy Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace, 31 years ago (when I had hair); great fun, plus that character gets every opportunity to steal the show. Later, I had a non-singing part in South Pacific (Harbison? something like that).

    In one scene, we’re standing near a radio operator, as he scrawls down a message; it’s a serious moment in the musical. Earlier, though, someone put a picture of a naked woman in the radioman’s pad of paper, with the caption “YOUR MOMMA!!” – which made us want to laugh very much. We fought our way through that, and then it was a loose cannon out there for others who came into the area (I believe this did not impress our faculty director)

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  31. Sue said on December 21, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Connie, of course it was fun with things like “To Life!”, but you could see performers crying at the end of every show. A powerful history lesson.

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  32. Kirk said on December 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    I played a sportswriter (I think I had 2 or 3 lines) in our high school production of “Damn Yankees.” Of course, no one was allowed to say “damn” Yankees onstage; it had to be “darn.”

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  33. Julie Robinson said on December 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Sue, what is your definition of a vanilla romance?

    A few years ago a local school was rehearsing Bat Boy, which is about the search for acceptance of a half-boy, half-bat. Parents who considered it too controversial put up a big stink and it was replaced by Godspell. Godspell was originally considered controversial for its hippie take on the life of Jesus, but it’s fairly tame and has pretty music.

    I’ve been in lots of shows but my favorites were Annie Sullivan in Miracle Worker and Lucy in Your’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. Many considered the latter role a bit of typecasting.

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  34. Dorothy said on December 21, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    We’re doing Godspell for our summer musical in Mount Vernon this coming summer. The high school I went to had some issues that got in the way of doing any plays for several years and I felt sorely deprived because of that! Mike and I were dating from our junior year on, and he went to an all male Catholic school. He got to be the captain of the ship in Anything Goes when we were seniors. He was supposed to be the murderer in Ten Little Indians but we were in a car accident and he hurt his back. He had to drop out of the play.

    Oh – we saw “August: Osage County” in Cleveland last March and LOVED it. It starred Estelle Parsons. I’d give anything to play that part! She was amazing in her role as the matriarch in an extremely disfunctional family.

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  35. Sue said on December 21, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Julie, I remember the kids cringing when Brigadoon was announced. It didn’t stop them from trying out, because a musical is a musical, but generally this director preferred musicals on the sweet side and of course no one would complain or request or suggest because that would lose them a chance at even a minor part. I recall most musicals having really feminine heroines. Sassy didn’t seem to cut it.

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  36. brian stouder said on December 21, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I liked Estelle in Bonnie and Clyde! She and Gene Hackman stole that show, until their demise (was it Slim Pickins? Or Denver-somebody – saying “BLANCHE BARROW!!” after the big shoot out, when her eyes are bandaged shut and she has gone to pieces?)

    edit: a great little interview with Ms Parsons, which underlines everything Dorothy said:

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  37. Julie Robinson said on December 21, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Brigadoon is pretty, pretty, but I was thinking about shows that are often considered to be saccharine, like Sound of Music. There are some amazingly heavy themes in most Rodgers & Hammerstein shows. Sound of Music: standing up to Nazis, South Pacific: war & interracial relationships, Carousel: domestic abuse, leading man is a thief and suicide.

    Female leads are usually short, blonde, sweet sopranos. The tale, brunette altos like myself know that the real fun is in the supporting characters.

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  38. Connie said on December 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    My brother has a deep bass voice, which he says means he can only be the bad guy in community theater musicals. Most recently Caiaphas in Jesus Christ Superstar and Bill Sykes in Oliver, and multiple times as Jud in Oklahoma. He enjoyed playing Eddie in Pump Boys and Dinettes as Eddie never says a word onstage but is still a great character.

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    The NYT “Vows” story just keeps metastasizing:

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  40. Catherine said on December 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I was in Cabaret in high school… what can I say, California in the 70s.

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  41. Harrison said on December 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Note to Brain Sounder: It was Denver Pyle who played the sheriff who yelled at Blanche Barrow. The sheriff also was the leader of the posse who finally tracked down and ambushed Bonnie and Clyde.

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  42. moe99 said on December 21, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    a fun detour:

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  43. MarkH said on December 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    The real-life character as Frank Hamer, famed Texas Ranger. Chased B & C all over before he finally ambushed them.

    Brian “Sounder”?

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  44. paddyo' said on December 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    OK, Brian S. @ 30, since we’re all going into high school thespianism (I’m told there’s an over-the-counter cure for that):

    I, too, played in a production of “Arsenic and Old Lace,” except, being in an all-boys’ Roman Catholic seminary, we did things a little differently.
    Voila! “Pen Pals and Poison,” a totally ripped-off all-male rewrite by one of the priests (I don’t think the theatrical licensing folks ever caught on) with Teddy’s Uncles Henry and Walter Brewster in place of his Aunts Martha and Abby.
    It still had all the hijinks and madcap insanity and fake elderberry wine of the original, but we wore fake-baldhead caps and makeup and lots of itchy stage whiskers, painstakingly glued onto our peach-fuzzy upper lips and cheeks.

    Schoolmate Joe and I (he Henry, me Walter; or was it the other way around?) aped the old-man mannerisms (sneezes, hacking coughs, etc.) practiced by one of the seminary’s old retired priests, Father Henry Feirera, who memorably once said from the altar, upon concluding his 50th or 60th anniversary-of-ordination Mass, “The Mass is ended — go in pieces.”
    And we sure did . . .

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  45. beb said on December 21, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    My daughter was in a school version of “Guys and Dolls” which has a lot of nice songs. I’d like to see a stage version of “His Girl Friday.” Not a lot of woman’s parts but I love a play with lots of smart dialog.

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  46. brian stouder said on December 21, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    MarkH, if Harrison wants to call me Sounder – that’s OK, too; yet another movie that made me cry, when I was a little feller (Lassie made me cry every week, so Sounder was shoo-in). Gotta love Cicely Tyson.

    The main character in Arsenic and Old Lace was Mortimer Brewster, and in our class, a very funny and talented fellow named Ralph Prindle played that role. I’ve heard he went on to become a comedian/actor, but if you Google that name, what you find is this and that, but no photos. (but while I was searching for that, I did go gaga for this photo of Lady Ga Ga:

    I think it stays on the right side of Nance’s “F-U dress” standard, while still being suitably titillating; but I defer to Mary’s judgement in these things)

    Anyway – and despite my bad attitude toward the Coen brothers, I think I’m due to watch Bonnie and Clyde again

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  47. LAMary said on December 21, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Lady Gaga is beyond any fashion criticism. That outfit isn’t that shocking as long as she’s got the two sided tape in place.

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  48. Holly said on December 21, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    I never did any plays in High School. I remember being so upset in grade school because I had to be a cow. My costume was a cut out of a cow and I had to dance around on the stage. I was so embarrassed.

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  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 21, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    What was everyone in their Christmas pageants? I never made it beyond shepherd after starting as a sheep, junior grade.

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  50. JayZ(the original) said on December 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Brian at 30
    Something similar to the “your momma” naked lady incident happened during our high school’s production of the Mikado. (Or maybe it was HMS Pinafore. We did a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta every year.) One scene has three male leads unrolling scrolls and singing as if reading from them. Someone had painted naked pin ups on each scroll. What the perpetrator didn’t realize was that the spotlights illuminated the drawings so the audience was able to see them too.

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  51. LAMary said on December 21, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    I was not in any plays; I was the costume person or the program cover designer.

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  52. Little Bird said on December 21, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    I am not a huge fan of musicals, BUT, I would LOVE to see Les Miserables very very much. Once, about 11 years ago Deborah and I were in New York and it was playing RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from our hotel. And I couldn’t persuade her that it was worth going to. I practically hung out the window trying to catch bits of the singing. I still haven’t seen it, and it’s the only one I have a desire to watch.
    One of these days I’ll get to see it.

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  53. coozledad said on December 21, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    I got to be the narrator of our fourth grade Christmas pageant. We had just moved into the old black high school building after desegregation, and the black community, with some small assistance from the Watts-Hills, had built a pretty slick auditorium. I had to be strenuously coached out of the Boris Karloff accent that sounded really good in that space. To me.

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  54. brian stouder said on December 21, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Mary, I never did any of that stuff until my senior year. I did fool around at the school newspaper but, in all honesty, it suddenly occurred to me that there wouldn’t be anything much next to my senior picture in the yearbook, if I didn’t do a thing or two – so I went out for the play and the musical, etc, at the end. (do they still do yearbooks?)

    It was great fun, and I should have jumped in sooner. Nowadays, Grant (our 15 year old) is an involved freshman at the same high school. He definitely (and thankfully!) has more of his mom in him, than his dad

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  55. Dexter said on December 21, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I’ve always liked plays but have seen only a few in big-time venues. Martha Raye as Dolly Levi in “Hello Dolly” at the St. James Theater in NYC was the first, and I got to see Art Carney in “Prisoner of Second Avenue” in 1973 at Chicago’s Blackstone Theater, and later , in the late 1980s we had a great day, riding the Amtrak to Chicago and seeing Richard Harris in “Camelot”.

    This was after Harris had bought the production, lock, stock and barrel. In between acts, Harris startled us by appearing center stage with a Chicago newspaper, mad as a hornet, reading a disparaging review of this production, and punctuating it with “Who IS this Richard Christensen?”

    Good old Richard Harris. I have seen a lot of my favorite old plays performed by high school ensembles and local theater clubs or groups or guilds, plays like Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” and of course the obsequious
    “My Fair Lady”, which is my favorite—I wore the grooves out of my first LP feat. the London cast. I never cared for plays that kids attempt but the sets just can’t provide the backdrop for the energy to take hold; I mean “Grease” and “West Side Story”.

    So the man had a gun is his hand, locked and loaded, with kids in the car…and he had pulled into the rest stop to sleep in the first place…and the gun discharges into his leg…and he does not get arrested for child endangerment? Just wait until the county social workers read this. This is an outrage…a totally incompetent gun-toter who needs to learn a lesson.

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  56. DellaDash said on December 21, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    LA isn’t really respected for theatre, but back in the day, I confess, I was enthralled with ntozake shange’s ‘For Colored Girls Who’ve…” when it was first running. Yes, some of the pieces are grim, and I can see where it would make certain men squirm, but it was all about the rhythm and poetry. My favorite was “Somebody just about ran off with all a my stuff!” It couldn’t have been too expensive because I went to see it at least 3 times.

    Then there was ‘Zoot Suit’ by Luis Valdez, commissioned, I believe, by the city of Los Angeles. Couldn’t get enough of Edward James Olmos as ‘El Pachuco’…slinking all over the stage, sharp as a diamond. It was fun, being in the minority as a gringa…probably the butt of many of the inside Spanish jokes making the packed Latino audiences roar.

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  57. Rana said on December 21, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    brian, I could not care less about the “shocking” nature of Lady Gaga’s outfit, but the headline “bears her belly” is making me twitch.

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  58. basset said on December 21, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    The Indiana high school where I earned a diploma didn’t have musicals. Or any kind of theater. Or an orchestra. Or a choir. Or a school newspaper. All of those sissy pursuits would have taken valuable resources away from basketball.

    There was, however, a band program – because basketball games are supposed to have bands.

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  59. Denice said on December 21, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Yes, our girl was in ‘Guys and Dolls’. The kids did a fantastic job! My girl was in the Missionary Band. I have been waiting for the perfect play to take her to now that she’s 18. We went to see ‘Blue Man Group’ in Chicago. She loved that show. But how do you top that for a teenager?? The theater should be classy. As for Spiderman, I just keep imagining how much $65 million would help so many people in the streets of New York. Silly me….

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  60. JayZ(the original) said on December 21, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    My first Broadway musical experience was The King and I with Yul Brynner and Patricia Morrison when they appeared in Chicago with the touring company in the 50’s. I’ve been hooked ever since. I have seen some classic presentations in New York, Toronto, and London — three cities that are meccas for musical theatre.

    DellaDash, I too swooned over Edward James Olmos in Zoot Suit.

    Little Bird, Les Miserables is one of the best ever. See it. This coming year is it’s 25th Anniversary. There should be many excellent productions being performed around the country. I know there will be one here in LA. Come to southern California, and if you cannot find anyone to accompany you, I will.

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  61. Little Bird said on December 21, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    I want to go, I DO!!! I hope they do a few shows in Chicago. It sounds lame, but it IS the only musical that I want to see.

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  62. Hattie said on December 21, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    I think most popular entertainment is garbage. And then to charge a bundle for it on top of the insult of having to sit through stuff geared to the mentality of a ten year old…
    Count me out.

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  63. joodyb said on December 22, 2010 at 12:11 am

    as most here can attest, i never do this, but for Jeff TMMO and moe99, one in a recent series:

    (hoping it works)

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  64. brian stouder said on December 22, 2010 at 8:25 am

    joodyb, that was an arresting article. I don’t have any immediate or coherent response, other than to say – wow.

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  65. Connie said on December 22, 2010 at 9:12 am

    When my daughter was in London a couple of years ago they went to the theatre a lot. They had learned that if you showed up at the last minute with a student ID you could get really cheap tickets. I know that they saw Wicked, Billy Elliott and Les Miz, each multiple times.

    In looking up ticket prices in Detroit for Mary Poppins I did learn that Les Miz will be passing through town in the new year.

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  66. brian stouder said on December 22, 2010 at 10:09 am

    And the news flashes that the president just signed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

    Whatever else happens to the Obama administration – if it is obstructed and ultimately defeated by its political opponents, or if it mis-steps and is foresaken and defeated by its onetime political supporters, or whatever else –

    today is a banner day.

    The president could have issued an executive order months ago, and then people would say that that was an undemocratic act, and reflective of political (and moral) weakness rather than strength.

    But instead, the president persevered and pushed and prodded the congress to change the law, and now we have a fundemantal (and unassailable) political (and moral) step forward, that is firmly rooted and not easily undermined or retractable.

    Bravo, President Obama!

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  67. Deborah said on December 22, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Amen, Brian!

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