Archive for May, 2003


Sunday, May 18th, 2003

“Where have all the monsters gone?”, wonders David Patrick Stearns of the Phila Inquirer in a provocative thought piece comparing Gypsy (then and now) with Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. This piece was published the same day as my lecture at the Philly Pops, which was about the musical Gypsy and the song Everything’s Coming Up Roses. Seems to be on the public’s mind these days.


Thursday, May 15th, 2003

According to NYPOST.COM Reporter MICHAEL RIEDEL, Bernadette has missed six of 39 performances as of May 7, prompting this little parody ditty which showed up in my email box today:


If Momma was healthy, we’d have a full house,
As sold out as sold out can be:
But Momma calls out very often, the louse,
So people get mad and get refunds, you see…
When Momma’s not healthy.
If Momma was healthy, there’d be no despair,
And no one would give us a “Boo!”
She’d get all those nay sayers out of her hair,
And once and for all She’d get Reidel out, too…
If Momma was healthy.
Mau – reen gets out her spare dress!
She’s done it before –
With equal success.
Maureen, God speed and God bless;
She knows the whole score,
And doesn’t need rest!
Oh, Momma, be smart
And go see a doctor today.
I’ll gladly support you,
I’ll even escort you —
And I’ll gladly show you the way!
Oh, Momma, get healthy today!

If Momma was healthy, there wouldn’t be any more
“Let me reimburse you,”
“She’s been out a while.”
“Do they think we’re rich?”
“She is such a bitch.”
“She’s out, Louise!”
“What a baby!”
Momma, please take our advice:
They hate diva runts
When paying full price.
Momma, this habit ain’t nice,
You’re in the show once,
Then miss the show twice!
It could be so nice
If Momma got healthy to stay.
But, Momma gets sickly –
And –
Sickly –
And –
Sickly –
And still gets the part, anyway.
Oh, Momma,
Oh, Momma,
Oh, Momma, get healthy today!


Wednesday, May 14th, 2003

Obituary: H. Wesley Balk, who helped develop American style of operatic performance – and, I might add, had an immeasurable impact on my own teaching. I read Wesley’s “The Complete Singer-Actor” before going to teach at Syracuse in 1985, and found it profoundly insightful. Later, while at SU, I had a chance to meet Wes and observe him teach at the Manhattan School of Music. Still more recently, in 1998, Wesley came to U Arts with Ben Krywosz and Karen Miller, two of his colleagues at the Nautilus Music Theater. At the time, the physical effort of teaching was seriously compromised by his Parkinson’s disease, but his mind was vibrant and alive, and the weekend was an unforgettable one for many of our students. His soul and his spirit live on in the many performers and directors he touched. I count myself lucky to be one of them.


Tuesday, May 13th, 2003

Just a few thoughts on Elaine Stritch at Liberty, which opened at the Academy of Music tonight. First, the good news: it’s totally terrific from start to finish. By turns entertaining and deeply moving, it is a powerful and uplifting evening in the theater, one that can be enjoyed on many levels. The piece is well-constructed and paced, creating a remarkable variety of moods on a (practically) bare stage with nothing but lights and music to enhance the moments. Miss Stritch’s stage technique is impeccable: she can deliver a dense lyric by Noel Coward or Lorenz Hart in a way that makes every syllable land clearly on the ear. Her use of gesture and voice is masterful, delineating the material adroitly phrase by phrase. (Did someone say SAVI technique?) And the subject matter – a remarkable life lived in the world of theater and film for the past half a century – is consistently engaging, at least for me. Anecdotes about Marlon Brando, Noel Coward, Judy Garland, Gloria Swanson and a host of other demigods are strewn about like glittering gems. When it comes time to look in the mirror and assess herself, however, Stritch does not flinch at her flaws. She shows us her anguish as well as her joy, and we leave the theatre enriched and enlivened by the experience. An unforgettable experience. Oh, here is a recording of the performance, and here are some photos, if you’re interested.


Saturday, May 10th, 2003

This review of a new book about Rudolph Valentino called ‘Dark Lover’: Rudolph Valentino and the Deflowering of America caught my interest. I was particular intrigued by Valentino’s role as a hinge in the changing nature of sexual desire in America. It’s one more example of the ways in which the 1920’s were an era of remarkable social change in all aspects of American life.


Tuesday, May 6th, 2003

This article in the New York Times is a fascinating look at how elaborate musical productions have become at some high schools.


Monday, May 5th, 2003

New Momma Takes Charge, says Ben Brantley of the Times. Sounds like Miss Peters may have pulled it off. The saga continues here: New ‘Gypsy’ Struts, Silencing Naysayers tells of the transformations that went on during previews. ‘Gypsy’: Then, Now and Always is Frank Rich’s historical overview of the rich, complex, entertaining musical that has opened once more on Broadway.


Saturday, May 3rd, 2003

Powered by audblogAn audio greeting from Mister Tunes hisself!


Saturday, May 3rd, 2003

Pacific Overtures is the next production of the Arden Theatre Company. I spent a couple days there playing for rehearsals and couldn’t help getting excited. This was a musical that rocked my world when I first saw it on Broadway over 20 years ago. There are parts of it that are breathtaking and brilliant. This particular production includes a couple of my students in the cast and is conducted by my colleague and friend, Eric Ebbenga. Just watching the director, Terry Nolen, blocking scenes was enough to get my juices flowing.


Saturday, May 3rd, 2003

This is the handiwork of my son, the coder. I’m in awe! And here’s a site which is the creation of my son’s friend and collaborator.