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Archive for the ‘Theatre’ Category

Okay, so I am a Messiah dork. A scratchy LP recording of Handel’s oratorio with Eugene Ormandy, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was played over and over again in our house every December. That was the beginning of my dorkdom, but it wasn’t the end of it. Not by a long shot.

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Nearly a hundred years ago the practitioners of a trade that had traditionally been regarded as barely a step above prostitution formed a union.

The growing resentment of the men and women of the legitimate stage towards the conditions under which they were employed eventually found institutional expression in the founding of the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) in 1913. But it was not until 1919—by which time it had become abundantly clear that the producing managers had no intention of yielding any of their control over the terms under which actors were employed—that its members voted to affiliate with the American Federation of Labor (AFL).

~ “All Work or No Play: Key Themes in the History of the American Stage Actor as Worker”

I have never been a member of Actors’ Equity, but I was for a time a non-union actor with paying gigs. And in the early 1980s I went on strike. Twice.

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A poet dies

A poet is born
A poet dies
And all that lies between
is us
and the world

~ Lawrence Ferlinghetti

That’s how Mr. Ferlinghetti began “An Elegy on the Death of Kenneth Patchen.” Today’s New York Times brings the sad news of another poet’s passing: Fran Landesman, whose lyrics are revered by theatre dorks and jazz lovers alike.

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I just finished listening to the original cast recording of the new smash-hit Broadway musical The Book of Mormon (thanks to Rolling Stone magazine). Loved it. Lots of “ridiculously catchy” tunes, which I expected (by Robert Lopez, who composed the songs for Avenue Q), and some Very Bad Language (also expected); but I wasn’t prepared to be so touched by so much of the show — particularly by one song, “Sal Tlay Ka Siti” (say it out loud, fast).

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