FROZEN THEATER REVIEW……………….

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OOOPS THEY DID IT AGAIN!! Or should I say, they’re at it again. It is painfully obvious, and I do mean painfully, that the magicians at Disney pulled out all the stops to literally recreate every trick, spin, flake and icicle that was in the animated film. If I wanted that I would go and see the movie. Hey Disney! take a page from Tina Landau’s directing manual and go see Sponge Bob – The Musical, they did not use one costumed character but still created the life and energy of Bikini Bottom on stage.

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t sung well. That it was. Belting to the rafters, and beautifully. But why was Elsa wearing “rock star” ear pieces during her 2 mega hit numbers. Let It Go, which closes act one, and where the audience erupts in applause at the first 3 notes of the song, and then again during her new 11 o’clock number Monster. Could it be she needed constant stage direction as her entire queen costume is tethered to the rafters for the BIG REVEAL into her Victoria Secret Ice Queen prom gown. Or as my husband put it “she has pitch problems” Either way the ear pieces were a HUGE distraction to me. Elsa the pit is right at your feet.
One adaptation that did work were the trolls from the film were now wilding creatures half human half beast, like sexy singing centaurs. And sit in the first few rows because the King of the centaurs was this bare chested beefcake with abs for days (if you like that sort of thing)
Olaf was straight out of the the Lion King with an actor singing and voicing the puppet he controlled via multiple wires and strings attached to his waist and feet. But here’s the thing the actor that brought Olaf to life was SO much more interesting that I never really focused on the puppet. And don’t get me started on the 21st century reindeer that would blink and twitch his ears all controlled by a man inside a reindeer costume painfully contorted on stilts and extensions. I would have rather had Caroline from Gypsy. Moo-moo-moo-moo.
If you do go, be prepared to share the aisles with the multitude of 6 year old girls in their own personal Elsa princess dresses complete with diaphanous sequenced capes. And don’t get me started on the merchandise for sale in the lobby.
Shouldn’t a musical have a book? There wasn’t one. They simply repeated the lyrics from the songs without accompaniment. It’s cold, I get it.
This is not the next Wicked but I think it will run so that every little girl who knows ALL the songs will get their fill.
Oh and thank you Disney for putting that song back in my head, I thought I finally got it out back in 2013. And the next time Broadway comes calling to have you stage another one of your blockbuster animated films, just let it go.

“COMMANDER” – HRC SHOWCASE THEATER

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COMMANDER CAST

 

HRC Showcase Theater has been doing staged reading of new plays for the past 25 years and I have been lucky to be a part of their season for close to 15 of those 25 years! Their season consists of 5 new plays ending with the play that is awarded the W. Keith Hedrick award. Check out their season and past seasons on their website: HRC Season

Under the direction of Artistic Director Barbara Waldinger, they assemble a group of first rate actors for each reading. And what is unique about their process is that most, if not all, of these actors have never worked together before. We all head up to Hudson for the weekend and spend all day Saturday reading, blocking, stumbling and discussing our way through the play and then we’re up on our feet for the evening’s performance. Every reading I’ve done with HRC has been extremely well attended, a bit of a pleasant surprise my first go round. But what is even more astounding is that after the reading there is a lovely reception with the author, actors and director and then a talk back with the audience. And these HRC audiences LISTEN!!! They ask extremely well thought out questions and share how the play made them feel.

“Commander” by Mario Correa explores the idea “Is America ready for its first gay president” NOT a very unlikely question in this political season where we have candidates ranging from the extremely qualified, Hillary, to a billionaire buffoon, Trump! I was cast as the homophobic, foul mouthed campaign manger, Frank Desantis, pulling out all the stops to get his candidate on the ticket. I didn’t count them but I must have had hundreds of F-Bombs and enjoyed every one of them!

What is really at the heart of HRC Showcase Theater is that they are bringing these new works to a willing and wanting audience, in addition to serving the playwright allowing him (her) to hear their play and discover additional nuances in the process. As an actor it gives me the opportunity to stretch my wings, play and work all at the same time.

BRAVO! HRC Showcase Theater, here’s to another 25 years!!

BAKING W/ JACK!!

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Not too sure If I am sharing something new, but I LOVE to bake! And I’ve been told I am pretty good at it.

The holidays are usually the high season for baking, leading with my annual box of assorted Christmas Cookies and ending with my crowning touch my Bouche de Noel. IMG_0253

Well, it was this year’s Christmas cookies that were the inspiration for the above cupcake pic. Our neighbors Upstate recently adopted 2 amazing children, a brother and sister, and when I delivered my Christmas cookies this year one of the Mom’s commented that the kids would love it if I would come over someday and bake with them. Well I was extremely flattered and wanted to do one better. So, I invited the kids over our house for a Bake Date. It was part date, part learning experience and all fun! The cupcakes pictured at the top of this post were the creations from that Bake Date.

I got each of the kids their own set of piping tips and bags and may have gone a bit overboard with the toppings. Peeps, Cadbury Malted Eggs, Jelly Beans, Peanut M&Ms, Easter Candy Corn, and 5 different colors of frosting. They had a blast, got quite a sugar high and hopefully learned something too.

Then that got me to thinking…….why wouldn’t any parent want a Bake Date with Jack? Your kids will be occupied for approximately 4 hours, learn some of the fundamentals about baking, have a blast and you as parents get 4 hours to do whatever you want. A win win!

So I am officially making myself available to the parents of Manhattan as a baker to their kids for a Bake Date w/ Jack!