Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Melo Summer

Some sweet summer memories from 2015.

As I continue on with this play marketing journey I have been on the past two years, I have discovered that melodrama is often synonymous with summertime as many companies tend to believe this is the optimum time of year for these shows, probably since they tend to be more family-friendly than genres.

This year I had three melodramas running in three different states, one more than last year, a number to grow next time around. But this year....I'm no longer regional (in my beloved Calif-orn-I-A) and can be considered national. (Hey, whatever delusions of grandeur I can conjure up is better for my mental well-being than a bottle of Muscatel and a bag of Cheetos.)

LA RUE'S RETURN or HOW'S A BAYOU?, the very first
Avenue Theatre LA RUE cast photo
melodrama I wrote with my best friend Ed Thorpe (aka Max), had two productions this summer, its debut out of state fell in West Plains, Missouri in June. The Avenue is a renovated art deco cinema converted to this community theater playhouse.


One proud papa
Next up. LA RUE had the honor of being the summer attraction at the Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville in Oceano, California in the same exact spot as last year;s SONG OF THE CANYON KID (LONE PRAIRIE-it's complicated). Max had the honor of visiting them in July.

Jacques La Rue and Miss Polly-GAM style

On top of that, the Great American is celebrating its 40th anniversary, so this is a real honor. (As opposed to a fake honor?. What am I babbling about?)

The show runs until Sept. 20


Finally, the Canyon Kid and Thunder rode into Wyoming this July for the Cheyenne Little Theatre Players' production of SONG OF THE LONE PRAIRIE or POEM ON THE RANGE at the historic Atlas Theatre in Cheyenne.
This show had two-count 'em-two separate casts for this show, which kind of makes it two shows in one. That's what I keep telling myself anyway.

They even made Thunder a bigger star than he was already.
(Thanks, Julie Wagner, the actress who brought Thunder to life. Here's a carrot for you.)


It's gratifying to know that community theaters like the Avenue and the CLTP embrace melodrama and consider it to be viable enough to include it in their seasons filled with such shows as SEUSSICAL, OLIVER, SPAMALOT, LEND ME A TENOR and AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. Of course I'm also grateful that theaters that specialize in this form like the Great American Melodrama continue to exist as well. It's certainly good for me as a creator that specializes in this genre, but it's also good for theater in general. I still believe that any type of theater should be supported and not looked down upon from some elitist point of view. It all helps perpetuate the art form as a whole.

Speaking of which, coming this fall...a new murder mystery. Oh, get ready to turn your noses up at this one, you wags.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Emmy Nom-Noms

I've gone on record here (the equivalent of a tree falling in the forest with no one around) concerning my distaste for the Emmy Awards. With the bounty of excellent programming from just about every platform imaginable, the members of Academy of TV Arts and Sciences have attempted to atone for past sins and woken up to smell the K-cups if the recent nominations for this year's awards are any indication. It's still a circle jerk, but at least it's more of an inclusive wank-fest than ever before.It became a matter of "adapt or die". If there's anything Hollywood hates, it's to not be considered hipper than thou instead being the torchbearer of the old guard, that being the major broadcast networks who are about to lose that adjective any day now.

Though one wrong has finally been made right (the inclusion of Tatiana Maslany from ORPHAN BLACK in the Best Actress category), some glaring oversights cannot go unnoticed.

Where the hell is JUSTIFIED? This has been a critics' darling since Day One and its complete shut-out is baffling. While those that agree with me are mostly complaining about the lack of  recognition for stars Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins and Joelle Carter, I myself would have love to have seen an acknowledgment for Nick Searcy. As Raylan Given's boss at the US Marshall Service, Searcy gave a shop-worn character (the firm but fair boss) such a fresh coat of paint it seemed brand new.

Melissa McBride as Carol in THE WALKING DEAD had a stand-out year and should be the poster child.for Actresses of a Certain Age and their obvious potential. McBride brings such a quiet strength to Carol, making her a phoenix rising quietly from the ashes to become the strongest and most fierce member of that pack of post-Apocalyptic survivors, doing so with grace, subtlety and occasional cold-blooded honesty.

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK has only a couple of acting noms this year-Uzo Aduba (Suzanne, the artist formerly known as Crazy Eyes) and Pablo Schreiber (Pornstache). No Taylor Schilling or Kate Mulgrew this go-around, which is unfortunate, but the absolute travesty is no love for the best performance given by any actor on television this last season, Lorraine Toussaint as Vee. Toussaint just ruled the roost as that devious, reptilian, yet seductive inmate of that wacky and tragic women's prison. It was a one season role so Toussaint is out for the count for next year and more's the pity for both the Emmys and the show itself.

BETTER CALL SAUL got plenty o' noms, possibly due to BREAKING BAD fall-out, though it could have come up a goose egg with a lesser show (AfterMash, anybody?) Bob Odenkirk really upped his game and it certainly shows, so good on him for his nod. Better yet is Jonathan Banks, repeating his role from BB, particularly for his character's back story episode Five-Oh, as good as the best of the Walter White saga. Ignored however is Michael McKean in a career defining performance as the agoraphobic (among other maladies) stricken lawyer brother of the main character. His scenes with Odenkirk have been heart-wrenching, occasionally recalling the Michael/Fredo scenes from GODAFATHER II.

There have been other shows that have passed over once again such as THE AMERICANS and RECTIFY, but overall they seem to be moving in the right direction. It was either that or head off the edge of that cliff they've been perched upon for the past decade. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Curses, Spoiled Again!

Recently, I settled in for a free weekend of HBO provided by my cable service, a perfect opportunity to catch up on programs I no longer watch on a regular basis since I dropped the pay network last year. This afforded me the chance to binge on season 5 of GAME OF THRONES. Of course, this meant I had to commit to 10 hours of TV viewing that I could have spent...well, living perhaps? Enjoying the summer? Emerging from the darkness to the sunshine and, perhaps, breathe fresh air?

Nah....... That stuff's overrated.