Friday, September 20, 2013

Disgusted at the lack of recognition in the nominations for Ovations this year, especially the omission of Tracie Bennett and Anne Gee Byrd...also Valerie Perri for her luscious re-entry to the theatre scene as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. Thrilled for David Burnham as Joe Gillis in Sunset and Burt Grinstead for the two twins in Dying City, both very deserving for their fine work.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Few Comments About Theatre Criticism in LA

I call myself a reviewer, not a critic. I look for the positive in a show, not the negative. If  I truly feel from experience that there are some changes to be made in the script, in the acting or direction, I point them out constructively. I believe, as an actor, that the work is under-appreciated, and the difficult process is not fully understood by many. Sometimes there's jealousy, as a reviewer may also be an actor or writer or director and thinks he (she) can act the role better or direct/choreograph better or write a more smooth sailing version of what they're seeing.

In critiquing a musical some of the music may seem pedestrian and not up to what one believes it should be, melodically or otherwise. There's no reason  not to state that in the review, but don't let that complaint destroy one's vision of the entire show. Or, on the other hand, the book may be at fault, not the music. When films are adapted into Broadway musicals, which seems to be a trend these days, due to a lack of creativity and stimulation among playwrights, it is wise to remember that presenting said material onstage is not the same as on film. Closeups  are a natural part of a film, but onstage there are no closeups. Some stories are better suited to the technique of film and should be left as they are. Adaptations that try to make scenes bigger and broader onstage ruin the simple, inherent, heartfelt quality of the intended message. So sometimes the book, or sometimes the music may be at fault, but not necessarily the whole picture. There may be some or many redeeming qualities that deserve to be recognized and praised. Critics tend to forget the actors; if they hate a piece for either its music or book, they pan it altogether, leaving the actors' hard work in the gutter. It's a shame!

Anyway, most recently, I enjoyed the splendid efforts of the cast and creative team of Sleepless in Seattle in Pasadena. It does make a better film than play, without question. The creative team have decided to give it a frenetic pace, and for the most part it works, even the music, in spite of the fact that there is no real memorable song here. The theme onscreen and onstage: life/dating in the city can take its toll on people; true love is not always easy to come by.  The musical's book is a pretty fair effort. even without Nora Ephron's sweet tender emotions, and the potential for the show to grow is real, but many critics panned the show mercilessly. It is sad when critics take away the chance that a show may have to improve by stating its flaws in a purely negative way, keeping audience away and not allowing the show to find itself and eventually blossom. It makes me wonder why I review at all? If I'm in the minority, does my opinion matter, except to me? I do believe that many of our critics are either frustrated, insecure writers or...... selfish, bloomin' id----! You know who you are; sadly, from experience, you will never change!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Evita's Max Von Essen's Open Letter to Romney-Voter Goes Viral

By Kimberly Kaye • Oct 24, 2012 • New York City
Max von Essen
Max von Essen
(© Tristan Fuge)
Evita's Max von Essen is no stranger to social media. As co-creator of #SIP (Saturday Intermission Photos), the beloved viral photo stream for Broadway gypsies goofing off on two-show days, he's used to sharing content with thousands of followers onTwitter every day .
Von Essen was shocked, however, when a Facebook post he wrote went viral.
Written in response to a pro-Romney sentiment left on his wall by an old friend, the open letter went viral in just a few hours, swirling through the Broadway community before crossing over into women's rights and non-political feeds.
Addressed to no one in particular, the letter reads:
" Hey ( ),
Listen, I know you didn't mean any harm commenting on this post and I like you, we had some great times growing up. But Romney and Ryan believe that I am less than you. They believe I am a second class citizen and don't deserve the same rights that you had the privilege of being born into simply by being straight. They want to add a constitutional amendment that will ban gay marriage forever. It will set us back decades and ensure that I never legally have the opportunity to have a family or a partner in my lifetime.
They also believe that being at your partner's side when he/she is dying is a benefit, not a civil right. They could keep me from my partner dying in a hospital. Could you even imagine something like that in your own life? Being separated from your wife on her death bed? Could you imagine your marriage never being recognized and being told that your family is not a family and you do not deserve any federal rights that comes with marriage. Over 1100 rights. Did you know that? 1100.
Ryan doesn't believe in the hate crimes act fought unwaveringly for by Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, murdered for being gay in Wyoming. Murdered for being gay. Could you imagine if I was murdered for being gay? Could you really look my mom in the eye and say 'oh well, we can not prosecute this crime as a hate crime'?
I know there are important issues involved in this campaign. I know people are suffering and the economy has not improved at a rate we all wish it would. Yes, people are suffering but the gay and lesbian community has been suffering for hundreds of years and I am so tired of it. So tired of feeling that I am less than. So tired of knowing I have friends on here who will vote for someone who will keep me a second class citizen for my entire lifetime. I have already spent half a lifetime hiding, half a lifetime conforming. It is exhausting, demeaning and I am worn out. I want to love myself full out. I want a president who can look me in the eye and say 'You are equal!' 'You are equal to everyone else in this country and I will fight for your rights. The time is now and it is long overdue.' Romney and Ryan could not look me in the eye and say that and I feel sorry for every gay and questioning child who might have to listen to a president who believes that he/she is not equal. Children will take their lives. It is the WORST form of trickle down bullying and it absolutely splits my heart in half. When the president says you are less than, it gives permission to every authority figure, every politician, every teacher, every bully on the playground to push you around and bully you and treat you less than. It is dangerous and lives will be lost.
If this is not important to you, please remove me from your friends list. I need people in my life who love me and consider me 100% equal.
Max "
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Saturday, October 13, 2012