Good friend Beth Marshall asked me to Sound Design for Crimes of the Heart at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden. I had a great time studying and learning about Delta Blues and remembering great country songs from the 1970′s. Below you’ll find the review from the Orlando Sentinel’s Elizabeth Maupin.
Here’s my review of Beth Marshall Presents’ Crimes of the Heart, at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden:
The temptation is to go all southern gothic with Crimes of the Heart, Beth Henley’s dark 1979 comedy about the three MaGrath sisters of Hazlehurst, Miss., whose mother hanged herself some years earlier because she was having “a real bad day.”
But director Aradhana Tiwari has resisted the urge to turn the MaGraths into caricatures, and her take on Crimes of the Heart is all the better for it.
Photo: Jennifer Bonner as Meg, Meggin Weaver as Lenny and Britni Leslie Babe. Photo by Kristen Hanshaw Wheeler/Garden Theatre.
Certainly Henley’s three sisters have their idiosyncrasies. Lenny has turned herself into an old maid because of what she calls a shrunken ovary. Meg has gone off seeking fame and fortune in Hollywood and wound up clerking in a dog-food factory. Babe has just shot her fancy-lawyer husband in the stomach, and the only reason she’ll give is she “just didn’t like his looks.”
Still, Henley’s play is more than southern gothic because her MaGrath sisters are real people, with real foibles and real fears. And it’s when producer Beth Marshall’s revival gets to the heart of those characters that it comes off the best.
The play gets a handsome setting at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden, where Tom Mangieri’s kitchen set is just homely enough and John Valines’ country music has just the right touch of brass. That brass may have seeped into Marshall’s performance as the MaGraths’ shameless cousin Chick, a woman who talks about her high-toned upbringing while she’s adjusting her underwear.
But Chick is the only larger-than-life character in a household where sadness rules — in Jennifer Bonner’s frank, sexy, disappointed Meg; in Britni Leslie’s dim, pretty Babe, a woman who’s all at sea; and most of all in Meggin Weaver’s anxious, endearing Lenny, a tender woman whose every emotion flickers across her face.
Leslie can be shrill, and not as quirky or otherworldly as others who have played that part. But the sorrow that has shaped the MaGraths shows itself in the minor characters, too — in Jason Horne’s sweetly serious Barnette Lloyd, Babe’s adoring lawyer, and in William Hagaman’s down-home Doc Porter, a onetime suitor of Meg’s with quiet mischief in his eye.
The show’s accents are all over the place, and the two intermissions are one too many. But Tawari and her cast members show a lovely sensitivity to a story that would be heartbreaking if it weren’t very, very funny. You don’t have to be having a real bad day to see the MaGrath women as sisters under the skin.
‘Crimes of the Heart’
What: Beth Marshall Presents production of Beth Henley comedy.
Where: Garden Theatre, 160 W. Plant St., Winter Garden.
When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 29.
Cost: $$18 and $22 general, $18 seniors and students.
Recently I was fortunate enough to be asked to handle sound design for John Kolvenbach’s Love Song playing through October 25th 2009 at Mad Cow Theatre. Below you’ll find the review by Elizabeth Maupin [source] for the Orlando Sentinel.
By Elizabeth Maupin
Sentinel Theater Critic
John Kolvenbach’s drama, first performed at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2006, is an insubstantial thing — an hour and 45 minutes or so, but feeling much slighter. Still, the emotions it brings forth are enormous, from pity and pain to euphoria and the most appealingly amorous marital bliss I’ve ever seen onstage.
That’s a lot to fit into a little play, and at Mad Cow Theatre Love Song sometimes shows the strain. But its gentle nature draws you to its side.
In Love Song, a disturbed young man named Beane lives alone in a nearly empty room, where he imagines, all too clearly, the walls closing in. His sister Joan, a brittle executive, has problems of her own — employee woes, an edgy relationship with her sardonic husband Harry.
Then an intruder bursts into Beane’s life, and everything turns upside down. She’s a burglar, it seems, but also a gorgeous young woman, and suddenly Beane is giddy, beside himself, as wound up in ecstasy as he was a day earlier in hurt.
Not all is as it seems, but the set-up grabs you. Joshua Geoghagan’s Beane is a head case but an engaging one: His mind is always racing, but there’s a sweetness about him that makes you take him to your heart. He shares his wired nature with Joan (Lauren Maleski), and Maleski beautifully plays the transition from thick-skinned exec to concerned big sis.
In turn, she has a terrific rapport with Christian Kelty’s Harry, a laid-back guy with a big heart and a crafty humor: His lovemaking scene with Maleski is a stitch. And Alexis Jackson is nicely fierce as Molly, the intruder, although she becomes less provocative after she falls for her victim.
Director Michael Marinaccio allows the play to falter a bit when things get precious midway through. But there’s real pain here, and real gladness, and the kind of familial love that theater often ignores. Some may think that Love Song could use a reality check. In fact, there’s more reality here than meets the eye.
What: Mad Cow Theatre production of John Kolvenbach drama.
Where: Mad Cow Theatre, 105 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando.
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays, through Oct. 25 (also, 8 p.m. Oct. 21).
Cost: $22 general, $20 seniors and students, $15 (or pay what you will – call box office for details) Oct. 21.
Call: 407-297-8788 Ext. 1.
Photos: Top, Alexis Jackson and Joshua Geoghagan. Bottom, Lauren Maleski and Christian Kelty. Photos by Tom Hurst/Mad Cow Theatre.
Here’s the latest show that I’m proud to be a part of as a sound designer.
October 2nd – October 25th, 2009
a comedy by John Kolvenbach
First produced by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company and subsequently on the West End in London, Love Song has been called a contemporary version of Mary Chase’s Harvey, in which happiness and love can come from the most impossible of places.
A hopelessly reclusive, lonely young man finds passionate love in the most unlikely of places after his apartment is invaded by a violent female burglar. Or does he?
LOVE SONG premiered at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, and enjoyed a successful run on London’s West End. Each of its four main characters – the loner Beane, the menacing Molly, Beane’s uptight sister Joan and her acerbic husband Harry – are seeking a new look at love, and each finds it, with romantic and sometimes hysterical results. The play’s poignant dialogue and surprising situations are sure to delight audiences in Mad Cow’s intimate Stage Right.
Harry – Christian Kelty
This is from my friend Wilson Loria. I designed the sound for this show. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m excited to go!
Yes!!! My third solo ‘The Habit’ opens on September 26 and 27, 2009 at the Catherine Hickman Theatre in Gulfport, St. Petersburg. See address below please. As usual, I’d love to see you in the audience. Tickets are available by calling at 727-656-8053. I will gladly send you tickets (in advance, seniors and studentss at $13 each) by mail. The price is $15 at the door. Let me know if you want them by mail ASAP. Drop me a line or call.
Here’s the link to the description of the show:
See you at the theater.
Written and performed by
Fauré, Brandon Haydon, Berenice Baeder, Daniel Baeder, Kentaro, Piazzolla, Francisco Mignone
Sound effects by
Jaye Sheldon, Beth Marshall, Ciara Carinci, Wilson Loria, Berenice Baeder, Zelia Gouveia
Lighting and graphic design by
A review for a show I did sound design for.
Theater review: ‘Our Town’ at the Garden Theatre
Here’s my review of Our Town, produced by Beth Marshall Presents, which will be in the Sentinel later this week.
By Elizabeth Maupin
Sentinel Theater Critic
When Our Town meets Winter Garden, it may be hard to tell what’s real and what’s theater.
Playwright Thornton Wilder’s description of Grover’s Corners, N.H., sounds an awful lot like Winter Garden, Fla., from the railroad station to the churches to the post office and the row of stores. When somebody speaks of looking up at the stars, you can look up and see the little lights twinkling in the Garden Theatre’s ceiling. And when you hear the sound of the rain on the theater roof, you find yourself wondering: Is it really raining? Or is that just another lifelike theatrical touch?
All of which adds to the feeling of well-being you get from this staging of Our Town, produced by Beth Marshall and directed by David Lee. Performed on the Garden’s high stage, this version is less intimate than others I’ve seen, and every once in a while the acting leans toward the histrionic. Yet the relaxed, genial presence of Christopher Lee Gibson as the Stage Manager sets the tone for an Our Town that reaches out and draws you in.
Nearly everybody of a certain age has seen Our Town, or had to read it in school, and thinks of it as a stale relic of niceness from another time. That’s far from fair to Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, which broke the theater’s metaphorical fourth wall in startling ways and still has more serious things on its mind than sand-lot baseball and strawberry sodas. Despite the color-blind casting, which works perfectly well, Lee’s production doesn’t try to force you to look at Our Town anew. It’s just Our Town, in all its lovely simplicity.
Such simplicity extends to the play’s famous lack of a set, which reads here as a ghost light and a dozen or more mismatched wooden chairs on an empty stage. Recognizable sound effects (by John Valines) alert you to the presence of a horse or a ballgame, and only a malfunctioning center light at one performance last weekend kept you from seeing the play in its elegant plainness.
That’s too bad because the cast is replete with fine actors who couldn’t entirely be seen, and the best of them — Joe Swanberg as Dr. Gibbs, Jamie Middleton as Mrs. Gibbs, Jesse Lenoir as George and Trenell Mooring as Rebecca — find ways to make their characters seem authentic by paring them back. Jennifer Bonner comes across as a little over-dramatic as Emily (who is, granted, pretty over-dramatic), and Lee allows Lenoir a theatrical touch at play’s end that runs counter to the behavior of a stoic New Englander.
But it’s a pleasure to see George and Emily call to each other from the Garden’s Romeo-and-Juliet balconies, and it’s a pleasure to make this journey with the charismatic Gibson, who brings both authority and a kind of low-key wisdom to his role. There’s little New Hampshire shtick here, and no old-timey sweetness. With Our Town, it’s enough that it’s Our Town. Doing it in Winter Garden is just the cherry on the sundae.
Elizabeth Maupin may be reached at email@example.com or 407-420-5426.
What: Beth Marshall Presents production of Thornton Wilder comic drama.
Where: Garden Theatre, 160 W. Plant St., Winter Garden.
When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through March 29.
Cost: $22 general, $18 seniors and students.
Photos: Top, Christopher Lee Gibson. Middle: Jennifer Bonner and Jesse Lenoir. Bottom: Mike Lane and Christopher Lee Gibson. Photos by Kristen Hanshaw Wheeler.
I’m working as Sound Designer for My Favorite Things in Colorado Springs. I’ve been having a great time and learning a bunch about dealing with orchestras. Below is an article about the show.
Shirley Jones savoring salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein
By Lisa Bornstein, Rocky Mountain News (Contact)
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
More than any others, two women were most closely associated with composers Rodgers and Hammerstein.
There was Mary Martin, indelible in South Pacific and The Sound of Music.
Then there was Shirley Jones. The 19-year-old recent arrival to New York was in the chorus of South Pacific when she was chosen by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II for the movie adaptation of Oklahoma!
Jones and her son, Patrick Cassidy, along with Broadway stars (and real-life couple) Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley, will perform My Favorite Things: A Tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein this weekend at the Colorado Festival of World Theatre in Colorado Springs.
Most actors of the time were signed to a movie studio; Jones was put under contract to two men.
“I was the one and only, first and last person under personal contract to Rod gers and Hammerstein,” she said recently by phone from her home in Los Angeles.
“I was never under contract to a studio, ever. This all happened within a year, less than a year of my very first audition for them. I guess from that time, they were just preparing for the film ofOklahoma!”
Her memories make a snapshot of theater and Hollywood history, particularly of Rodgers, known for coming on to his actresses.
“Richard Rodgers was very sort of anti-Hollywood. He didn’t like films. He was afraid of what they would do with their (work).
“Dick was kind of a ladies’ man, a well-known one. I’m not telling tales out of school. His daughter, Mary Rodgers, she says the same thing. But he was a super-talented man. His music was the most important thing in his life.
“Every week that man would come in backstage, play the piano and call the entire cast in to go through his show, once a week. And any time a show went out on the road, he would rehearse the orchestra at least for a week.
“What he didn’t want a singer to do, he didn’t want their own phrasing. He wanted it phrased the way he had written it.”
Over seven years, Jones starred in three classic movie musicals: Oklahoma! in 1955, Carousel in 1956 and The Music Man in 1962. The roles were so indelible that for a time no one would hire her.
“They stopped making musical motion pictures, and as far as Hollywood was concerned, my career was over,” she said. “They always thought if you were a singer, you couldn’t act, which I never understood. Naturally, you’re acting in a musical as well.
“So my career was finished, and after I did Carousel, I decided I was going to have to do something if I was going to have a career.”
She went into television, doing such theater-based shows as Playhouse 90. Her agent was against it.
“The agent said, ‘You’re a movie star.’ Well, I wasn’t working, let’s face it.”
What saved her career (shortly before The Music Man) was her Oscar-winning role as a prostitute in 1960′sElmer Gantry.
“I did 20 motion pictures after the Oscar. I had a whole new career.”
For one generation, that career consisted of The Partridge Family, on which she starred for four years with her stepson, David Cassidy.
Now, Jones, 74, is coming to Colorado Springs with her younger son, Patrick, for the Rodgers and Hammerstein tribute. They first performed together four years ago on Broadway in 42nd Street.
“I do a lot of the introductions of the things that we’re going to sing,” she said of the tribute. “But this dialogue with the four of us, it’s hysterical. It’s a husband and a wife arguing with each other and a mother and a son arguing with each other.”
And more than 50 years after her Oklahoma! debut, Shirley Jones can still hit the high notes.
“I was just vocalizing when you called,” she said.
“The only problem I ever have now is the middle range. I can sing low great, I can sing high still great, but the middle range is weaker because I am a soprano and apparently this is what happens with a soprano.”
bornsteinl@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-954-5101
My Favorite Things A Tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein
* When and where: 8 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday, Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs
* Cost: $20 to $67
* Conversation with the cast of My Favorite Things: 10 a.m. brunch, 11:30 a.m. presentation Sunday, Pikes Peak Center, $20 (no brunch) to $50 (brunch).
* Information: 866-464-2626
* Above, from top, Shirley Jones in Oklahoma, The Music Man, Carousel and The Partridge Family.
Here’s some video from the Lanier Family Reunion (Mom’s side) in Jekyll Island, GA 2008. Had a great time, wish I had more footage.