Artie to Geoff, “How is it that two untrained actors like us got these parts?”
Archives for July 2011
Here’s a little piece of history. It’s Frank Rich’s original review of the Broadway debut of Falsettos. Mr. Rich is now well-known as a cultural commentator for the New York Times, but in 1992, he was a passionate advocate of forward-thinking shows like this one.
It’s a fine piece of writing, but more importantly it really helps to bring to mind the context in which the play was created. It wasn’t that long ago, but in many ways, it was a very different world.
Falsettos; Broadway Boundary Falls Amid Reunions
By FRANK RICH
Published: April 30, 1992, Thursday
Last night’s opening of William Finn’s exhilarating and heartbreaking musical “Falsettos” at the John Golden Theater marked the official end of the Broadway season, and what more perfect end to this season could there be? In a theater year marked by signs of an American musical renaissance on Broadway and an explosion of American playwriting off Broadway, “Falsettos” is a show in which the boundary separating Off Broadway and Broadway is obliterated, a show in which the most stylish avatars of the new American musical embrace the same thorny urban landscape of embattled men and women to be found in so many new American plays.
The evening also brings this highly charged season to a close with the charged emotions of an eagerly awaited reunion. “Falsettos” is the seamless merging of two one-act musicals, “March of the Falsettos” and “Falsettoland,” that were produced individually in 1981 and 1990. All three original leading men — Michael Rupert, Stephen Bogardus and Chip Zien — are back, as is the original director, James Lapine (who is also co-author of the book). A lot has happened to them since they and “Falsettos” first came together. A lot has happened to the audience. Like any reunion worth attending, this one tempers its feelings of joy with those of deep loss. The wave of euphoria “Falsettos” evokes is inseparable from the wave of tears that rises audibly through the house once Mr. Finn raises the ghosts of those Falsettoland loved ones no longer here to join the party.
DREW EBERLY reclaims a friend in Skyscrapers of the Midwest (2011) .
We are thrilled and privileged to announce that we’ve recently invited (And he accepted!) our friend and colleague Drew Eberly to become an official Company Member of Available Light Theatre. You’ll certainly recognize him from his fine performances in our shows (pictured here) and many others. Drew’s been performing with us since 2007, and he’s been a good friend since the BlueForms days. Here’s a little bit more about him…
Drew Eberly began his career in Philadelphia, where he was awarded the Haas Acting Fellowship at the Walnut Street Theatre and continued to work in numerous regional and touring productions. In Columbus, he has acted, directed, and taught with numerous companies and schools. Recent favorites include The Thugs (AVLT), Parade (Gallery Players), The Little Dog Laughed (Evolution Theatre Company), Tartuffe (Actors Theatre), and The Life and Death of Richard the Third (AVLT). Drew also performs solo as a singer/songwriter at various venues around town.
Next time you see Drew, give him a punch in the shoulder and give him some well-deserved props.
DREW EBERLY plots and plans in The Thugs (2007).
DREW EBERLY doing something glammy and sexy in Richard the Third (2010).
DREW EBERLY as young Jeffrey Cotter in Skyscrapers of the Midwest (2011).
DREW EBERLY about to murder a fellow Company Member in Richard the Third (2010).
Available Light initiates its season-long Right Now Readings Series on August 20 in Studio One with a staged reading of Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation, winner of the 2010 Obie Award for Best New American Play. The reading will feature Columbus theatre luminaries Geoffrey Nelson (founding Artistic Director of CATCO), Jeanine Thompson (Associate Professor in the OSU Department of Theatre), and Artie Isaac (local rapscallion, last seen in ConAm’s Xmas Spectacular) , along with AVLT Company Members Elena Perantoni and Acacia Duncan. The play will be directed by well-loved actor Ian Short, also known for his direction of Available Light’s productions of Our Town and To Kill a Mockingbird.
In Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation, a handful of small town residents gather for a “creative drama” class. As they share life stories and confessions, their acting games blossom into a diorama of common dramas.
About the play, the NY Times says:
“Annie Baker’s play is an absolute feast. Circle Mirror Transformation is the kind of unheralded gem that sends people into the streets babbling and bright-eyed with the desire to spread the word. The play traces the lives of a handful of small-town Vermont residents who gather each week for an acting class taught at the local community center. By the play’s end we seem to see to the very bottom of these souls, and feel how the artificial intimacy of the acting class has shaped their lives in substantial ways.”
Ticket sales for Circle Mirror Transformation will support the Right Now Reading Series, which will present 8 readings of recent, forward-thinking plays at the OSU Urban Arts Space, downtown in the Historic Lazarus Building. Other than this first, fundraising event, admission for the Right Now Reading Series will always be free.
Theatre blogger (and actor/playwright) Zack Calhoun recently interviewed David Ian Lee on his Visible Soul blog. You should stop by there to read all of it, but here’s a highlight. (And there’s David with his son, Beckett, over to the left.)
How did you get started in theatre? What made you decide it was time to start writing plays?
When I was six years old, I visited New York, where my uncle was stage managing Cats at the Winter Garden; I remember sitting in the booth, touring the backstage area, and visiting the chorus girls’ dressing room… I grew up in Southern California, and started acting in community theatre and school plays, and at some point segued to semi-pro work and film and television. Assuming an actor’s lifestyle to be impractical – yet unable to imagine what I’d otherwise enjoy – I turned down several theatre scholarships and instead enrolled at a community college, only to later transfer to the University of Arizona’s Professional Actor Training Program. I thought I’d land back in L.A., yet when it came time to showcase I had leads in New York, and made the big move after an internship with the Milwaukee Rep in 2001.
Growing up, I wrote lots of short stories, and in junior high I made the local paper after I penned a novel. I briefly considered a career in journalism, but for one reason or another I stopped writing in my teens, and didn’t come back to it for almost a decade. Then, in 2007, after living abroad for many months, I returned to the U.S. to find acting work even harder to come by than it already had been; I couldn’t get arrested! Frustrated, I met in the spring with combat guru Rick Sordelet – a friend and mentor – who suggested I write my own material. At the same time, I found myself increasingly aggravated with what I viewed as our country’s astounding sense of apathy, misapplied rage, and willful ignorance post-9/11. After meeting with Rick, I booked a venue, then went home and began work on The Latchkey Pool, which was staged a month later. I then collaborated with a friend who had worked on the 19th floor of WTC 2, and we put up our play Liberty & Joe DiMaggio that September. In the five years since, I’ve just kept on plunkin’; in his very kind preface to the anthologized version of my play Sleeper, Mac Rogers described this phenomenon as the “unbottling” of stories I’d not told for so long.
PLEASE NOTE: In the interview, David mentions visiting Columbus in August, but we have since moved the show to February.
Here’s a small excerpt from the music that is at the center of the drama of 33 Variations.
Our annual Feed Your Soul event is a celebration of Available Light’s mission to deliver our brand of incredible theatre to everyone who wants it. We raise funds to support Pay What You Want, one of the most crucial components of our success, and give more than a few shout-outs to some of our favorite people.
This year, we wanted to finally make that recognition official, and honor just a few of the many people who regularly go far above and beyond the call of duty to help us achieve our goals.
The award (The 2011 Weber Award for Extraordinary Efforts on Behalf of Available Light) is named after the Weber family. Led by Ron & Melissa Weber and flanked by a bevy of incredible offspring, the Weber clan has time and again demonstrated the truth of Margaret Mead’s famous quotation, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Without the Webers, there’s utterly no chance that Available Light would now be celebrating five years of great theatre and passionate service to the community. We owe them everything.
Thus we’ve named this award to recognize the Weber family’s commitment to our cause, and to honor those who have given their time, their talent, and, indeed, their treasure to fortify our endeavors and feed our spirits.
JIM COE is one of Available Light’s biggest fans. We know that because he’s told us so, on several occasions. He’s also our favorite kind of fan. He comes to almost every show, and always brings friends. He sticks around for the talkbacks, and really talks back, honest and unafraid. He shares his passionate and emotional responses with us, and he’s open and straightforward about what leaves him cold. He’s a friend, not just to our company, but to us, as fellow human beings, and he asks little in return for his kindness. Jim gives monetarily, yes, and more importantly he’s connected us with with wonderful partners with simpatico beliefs, like Simply Living and WCBE. And if you thank him for his efforts on our behalf, or on behalf of the many local organizations he serves, Jim is known to utter the most wonderful words, “Don’t thank me. I have to help. It’s my community.”
EMILY RHODES has had more job titles with Available Light than anyone who every has or ever will volunteer or work for us. Box Office Manager, Board Member, Development Director, Patron Services, Membership Concierge, and several really extravagant names we made up that were very long and usually included one of the following words: queen; ninja; or mistress. She is one of the few and brave who have been with us since the very, very beginning of the BlueForms Theatre Group and we knew even before that in the glory days of the Red Herring Theatre company. We must be very lucky, for it seems that our untamed organizational spirit matches well with her fiery entrepreneurial ambitions, and that our inquisitive nature is bested only by her tireless, analytical mind. There are not words enough to list her contributions of labor, lucre, and love, so let’s just say this: her influence on our company’s mission and culture has been essential, is beloved, and always will be indelible.
DIANE WARREN is the owner of Katzinger’s Delicatessen and she is, as Artie Isaac would say, the Matt Slaybaugh of sandwiches. Her passionate belief in the power and importance of good food is moving to behold and even more inspiring to taste. Certainly we all remember the superlative Toast Bars she hosted before and after our shows in the Riffe Center. Diane and her crew would show up with breads and spreads to share with our patrons, and she sent any left-overs home with our starving artists. Sometimes Katzinger’s even opened their German Village doors for us, after hours, to dazzle our cast and crew with their amazing catering. And of course, along the way, Diane has always welcomed us into the shop with open arms, feeding our stomachs, and even employing one of our young company members while he pursued compensation from his muse. Jordan still wears his Katzinger’s t-shirts with pride. Most importantly, though, Diane put her faith in us. Her support bolstered our vigor, and she had our backs long before most of Columbus had even heard our name. It’s for that faith that we honor her efforts.
Wherever and whenever you are, please rise to your feet right now, and applaud these kindred spirits.
Then, go get your tickets to Feed Your Soul ’11, so you can honor these award-winners in person. August 27, we’ll see you there.
Over at Cory Doctorow’s website, he’s got a few pages devoted to his book Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom.
Whattaya want? Download and read the book for free in more than 35 different file-types? It’s there!
Bulgarian translation? You got it!
Alternate book covers? Sure thing!
Free podcasts of the book? Right here!
This is a really fascinating book. We encourage everyone who’s interested in the play to buy a copy today.