MUSICAL REVIEW: The Drowsy Chaperone

When I was away visiting my mother in Charlotte this month, my parents-in-law came up to Albany over the weekend to help paint Lydia’s (still unoccupied) bedroom. I came back that Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Then Wednesday, they took Lydia to their house in Oneonta, and Carol and I were able to go to the rapidly-expanding Proctor’s Theater in Schenectady to see The Drowsy Chaperone.

One of the reasons I watch the Tonys every year is to see what’s on Broadway, because I’d otherwise have little idea. Unless it’s a retread from anotheer medium (The Producers, Mamma Mia), it doesn’t get that much coverage. Here’s the
broadcast segment for TDS, a little scratchy, I’m afraid:

It was entertaining enough for us to want to see it when it came to town.

I agree with most aspects of this local review, except that I would have picked Show Off, the song in the above segment, as the highlight. In fact, unlike some of the songs that wouldn’t cut it on their own if it wasn’t part of the farcical faux musical, it would stand up on its own in any production.

Still, as the review suggests, the success of the production is largely on the shoulders of the Man in Chair, the narrator of the piece. The role was originated by Bob Martin, and he was replaced by Jonathan Crombie, who played the role in Schenectady. The Broadway role, interrupted by a now-resolved strike, is now being played by Bob Saget – yeah, the guy from Full House and 1 Vs. 100; I’m having difficulty imagining him in the role. Though not entirely comparable, I think of the Man in Chair as pivotal as the Stage Manager in Thorton Wilder’s play Our Town.

Another performer reprising her role from Broadway was Georgia Engel, probably best known as Ted Baxter’s wife on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. She talks about going on the road here:

I really like the truthiness of this commercial that suggests that we’re not likely to be swayed by the testimonials of “real people”:

So, when I saw THIS one, I laughed out loud:

I don’t know why this winner of five Tonys was was not very successful in its London run; a different sensibility, I suppose. All I know is that The Drowsy Chaperone made me laugh out loud many times. The best recommendation for a musical comedy I can think of.
ROG

Irony


The Friends of Cuban Libraries PRESS RELEASE

Laura Bush Meets Cuban Librarians in Video Conference

NEW YORK, Nov. 28, 2007 (Friends of Cuban Libraries) – On November 27 Laura Bush held a video conference with members of Cuba’s independent library movement…. [in Havana]
…. According to a White House statement, during the conversation Mrs. Bush “spoke of her admiration for the work of the independent librarians in Cuba who provide a source of uncensored information to their countrymen at great personal risk, and expressed solidarity with them and their cause.”

As a professor wrote on a listserv I monitor: “Great, maybe she could follow this meeting up with a meeting with her husband to talk about the overclassification of US gov’t information and the FBI monitoring computer records of library users!”
ROG

My My, Hey Hey

What female superhero are you???

Jean Grey

You have a tendency to be the interest of many men. You’re beautiful, intelligent, extremely powerful, but also extremely caring. The perfect woman!

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

“You have a tendency to be the interest of many men. You’re beautiful, intelligent, extremely powerful, but also extremely caring. The perfect woman!” Well, that IS me. And Jean Gray, a superhero I’ve actually heard of!
***

You Are 83% Burned Out

You are extremely burned out.
You work too hard, and you’re not getting the results you deserve.
It’s time for a life change, as soon as you can manage it.
You’re giving away most of your energy to something you don’t even enjoy.

I’m reminded, of course, of that Neil Young lyric: “It’s better to burn out than fade away.” (Neil’s birthday was earlier this month.)

ROG

Half A Ton

My mother really didn’t want anything for her 80th birthday. So we didn’t give her anything. Instead we took things away. My sister Leslie flew in from San Diego to Charlotte on Tuesday the 13th and I from Albany on Thursday the 15th. The mission: to get rid of stuff, specifically from the shed, which is the size of a small trailer home, that’s in the back yard.

Part of the task was to ascertain just what was there, so there was a lot of sorting of papers. But we were able to put all those canceled checks from 1983 in the “to be shredded” pile, and Avon catalogs for the last decade of the 20th century in the recycle pile, except for the back page stamped with Mom’s name and phone number, to the shred pile.

We also had to deal with a nasty little infestation of ants, hundreds of these large black insects eating away at everything in one corner of the structure.

We did keep photos and references to my father’s 39 (or more) businesses. And there were things we kept of sentimental value. But lots of stuff went, including, unfortunately, a box of FantaCo publications that had gone to mold.

All told 562 pounds went to the shredder. I’ve discovered that there are companies that will come to your house and for about $90 for the first 500 pounds, shred the stuff right there. Some of the companies even have cameras inside the vehicles where you can see the shredding take place. We opted to go with a company that was a member of the NAID®, the National Association for Information Destruction. This process beats the heck out of doing it yourself with some $30 shredder from Office Max, since the cuts are more precise, and the time savings is ENORMOUS.

Additionally, 14 Avon boxes of recycling went to the recycling place and 13 contractor bags went to the garbage. My sister Marcia held a garage sale for some other items, and while not much of it sold, not much of it returned either, since Leslie found some medical charity to pick up the unsold items after the event. Marcia also took a few things to Goodwill.

So, I think it is not a reach to think that we got rid of 1000 pounds of stuff before Leslie and I left a week ago Tuesday. And Mom’s happier with things going off her property than coming onto it.

If you’re tackling such a project, consider latex gloves; we occasionally used hospital masks as well, though not as often as we should have. Also, drink PLENTY of water to wash out whatever toxins you might come in contact with.

November Miscellany

Politics, Race, Comics, Music, Sports, Weather – we do it all

U.S. Thanksgiving Day, we drove from Albany to Oneonta, and saw the temperature rise from 44 and fog to 52 to 68F in a little more than an hour. Then that afternoon, the temperature plummeted, where it’s been ever since.
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I received this question, as did a number of other bloggers: “I’d be interested in your reaction to this: An effort underway to remove Pelosi as Speaker, and make way for impeachment. Details. What flaws do you see with this plan; and is there a way to block this?”

As I’ve made abundantly clear, I favor the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. But the idea of impeaching Pelosi for her “high crimes and misdemeanors” of NOT impeaching them in order to impeaching them seems a bit surreal. Actually, it reminds me of a maneuver of my former church whereby the associate pastor was removed in order to make way for removing the senior pastor, except that it took 10 years to actually remove the senior pastor.

Regardless, the impeachment of Nancy Pelosi is highly unlikely to happen. And even if it did, impeachment of Bush/Cheney won’t happen. The Democrats are too risk averse. And oddly, from everything I’ve read, impeachment might very well STRENGTHEN the Democrats as it did in 1974, and as it did for the Republicans in 1868.
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The current TV Guide lists the current Presidential candidates’ favorite television programs. Will Fred Hembeck support Barack Obama, now that Obama’s come out in favor of SponngeBob Squarepants? And speaking of Fred, read Hembeck: Court Jester of Comics, an interview by Peter Sanderson in Publishers’ Weekly.
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A couple things I learned from ADD, one directly, one indirectly:
Tom Spurgeon’s Holiday Shopping Guide and
an interview with David Michaelis, biographer of Charles Schulz. Oh, and Gordon says nice things about the book about the creator of the Peanuts comic strip.
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I don’t really follow college football, and don’t like how the polls determine rankings; I’m more of an NFL fan. Still, I prefer the way cthe college game settles ties, with each team getting a chance or two (or three, in the case of Arkansas’ upset of LSU last week) to the randomness of the coin toss to determine who’ll get the ball first, and quite possibly, score and win.
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Cracked.com shows video clips of 8 of The 9 Most Racist Disney Characters:
#9. The Merchant from Aladdin
#8. Sebastian from The Little Mermaid
#7. The Crows from Dumbo
#6. King Louie from The Jungle Book
#5. The Siamese Twin Gang from Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers
#4. Sunflower the Centaur from Fantasia
#3. The Indians from Peter Pan
#2. Uncle Remus from Song of the South
#1. Thursday from Mickey Mouse and the Boy Thursday (Book)
The Little Mermaid clip surprised me, but I see its validity on the list.
Even though I feel uncomfortable with Song of the South – I do remember it in re-release c. 1960, I think, the movement to get Song of the South released on video doesn’t bother me. Not to say that I’ll buy it.
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Also from Cracked.com: Ridiculous Overseas Rip-Offs of American Films, including a hysterical “Thriller” from India, a cheesy “Star Wars” from Turkey, and this Beatles Indian riff featuring, of all people, Mark Cuban:

ROG