Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Because (The Thing About Men)

So many people have been posting all their pictures from Toronto Pride on Facebook. It looks like fun. I have never been to a Pride event. I've never felt the need to. I don't consider myself a self-loathing gay. I consider myself a regular person. I feel that - and this is not limited to us homos - as long as we continue to celebrate our differences, there will always be minorities. I don't need a week or a parade to be gay. I can be gay all year long and feel great about it. Gay, black, Jewish, what-have-you, we are never going to be one as long as we keep reminding the world that we are not.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I'm Still Here (Follies)

I'd like to apologize for not keeping up with my blogging, but I'm not really sorry. It hasn't actually been that long, and I'm moving in two weeks, am extremely busy with too many commitments, and don't even have time to say a proper goodbye to all my friends here. You get me soon. Just leave me alone for now, I'll blog again when I'm ready. In the meantime watch this video and enjoy.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

She's No Longer A Gypsy (Applause)

Ottawa Citizen Review: Spirit of Orpheus

Packing 100 years of music in one show
Orpheus society incorporates songs from 65-plus musicals

Not fussy on My Fair Lady? Well, The Music Man is tuning up right around the corner. You could live without the cornball Indian Love Call (from Rose Marie)? The snappy Telephone Hour from the teenage saga Bye Bye Birdie will supplant it before you can warble, “When I’m calling you, oo-oo-oo.”

In fact, with its cornucopia of selections from more than 65 past musicals and a clutch of original numbers and tunes from potential future shows, The Spirit of Orpheus — the jubilant song-and-dance celebration of Orpheus Musical Theatre Society’s first 100 years that opened Friday at Centrepointe Theatre — has something for everyone.

The Spirit of Orpheus was commissioned by the society, which prides itself on being “the oldest, continuous performing, amateur musical theatre group in North America.”

Society mainstays Michael Gareau and John McGovern created the work, Mark Ferguson orchestrated it, artistic director Len Boone keeps the show moving at a lickety-split pace, and conductor Marlene Hudson leads the nimble orchestra through the quick-change demands of accompanying the big, brassy Don’t Rain on My Parade from Funny Girl one minute and the wistful A Wand’ring Minstrel I from Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado the next. Phew. Guiding the audience through this engaging dash are the Spirit (Orpheus veteran Sheila Shields) and Neo (the gifted Kara Prost, a relative newcomer).

Neo, in a storyline that’s more a series of hooks on which to hang the songs and dances than a real narrative, is an aspiring Orpheus member. Like us, she learns about the society’s musical energy and remarkable diversity by watching the show unfold. Eventually, she auditions for Orpheus and — it’s hardly giving away the plot — lands a role.

Over the course of the show, the Spirit recounts to Neo the society’s history from its glee club origins through its stints at the plush and now-vanished downtown Russell Theatre and a couple of high school auditoriums to its current incarnation as a mostly Broadway production society playing Centrepointe since 1995.

The narrative, expository and frequently stilted, is the least of The Spirit of Orpheus’ charms. That’s more than compensated for by vocalists like Eugene Oscapella performing The Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera, Monique Cyr as the gospel belter on How Blest We Are from Big River and the hearty chorus on Brigadoon from the show of the same name.

The choreography by Val Keenleyside, Debbie Kaplan and Debbie Millett is strong, especially the showstopping Steam Heat (Skinny Rabbit shines here). David Magladry’s lighting design, smoothly mood-enhancing, also merits praise.

The Spirit of Orpheus is a toast to the past. Its exuberance says that Orpheus is itching to plunge into the future. The Spirit of Orpheus continues at Centrepointe Theatre until June 9. Tickets and times, 613-580-2700.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin' (Oklahoma)

I feel like my last few posts have been dowtrodden, so I'm going to pick things up a little. This is the first morning in over a month that I've had to sleep in. It's awesome. I'm still exhaustsed, but at least I know I was able to sleep in. It was opening night last night. The show went very well for me and the audience effing loved it. I must say I was totally on. Steam Heat got a wild reaction, which we were totally hoping for. I like getting opening night cards. It makes me feel nice when people say nice things to me. Like this one, for example, from someone I've never been in a show with before, but who has been in other shows with the same company: "I've seen you onstage before and you captured my attention. I can see now why everyone loves you - you're so talented: sing, dance and act and you're just a great guy." That's nice.

I'm also feeling very good because I told my bosses at work that I'm leaving them for Toronto. I was very scared to tell them that I'm ditching in the middle of the summer, which is their busiest time of year, but they were fully supportive. They knew it was coming and have been dreading the day. That feels good to know. I also love leaving when people least expect it. Like when I decided to leave Toronto. I definitely left to pay off my debt (only $1000 to go! I can DO this!), but in the back of my mind I was mostly excited to leave because of the shock value. I have the same feeling now, and I tell the friends I have made here "Oh, by the way, I'm moving back to Toronto next month." That's hot.