TheatreKAT

TheatreKAT has the latest in Syracuse, NY and New York City Theater News!

It’s Official…I’m a GLEEk! December 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — khessman @ 2:18 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Glee cast

The cast of the new FOX hit series, "Glee" !!

Hi Friends!

I know, it has certainly been awhile since I’ve posted. I apologize, as a lot has been going on! I recently graduated college (well, 6 months ago, but still recent!). I’ve been traveling a lot as well! But I’m happy to say I’m starting this up again, because theater and blogging are very important to me, and I hope to hear from you bloggers soon!

Now onto my post, which is something very exciting:

MUSICAL THEATER HAS MADE ITS MARK ON NATIONAL TELEVISION!

Thanks to FOX.

The name of this show? “GLEE“.

Glee logo

Glee,” a new “dramedy” (as people are calling it) premiered officially in September (the pilot aired in May), and I can say I have watched EVERY episode to the end of the Fall Finale where they compete in Sectionals.

So you’re wondering…what do I think about this show?

I LOVE IT!

Now why you ask? Several reasons.

Now I’ve written a lot about musical theater on this blog. I’ve been involved in several musical theater productions and have been involved in several “glee clubs.” The things that happen in the first episode for instance, well those things do happen in real life. Not necessarily the breaking-out-into-singing part at the end of the episode (which was still REALLY awesome), but the drama between the several “cliques” and how the drama and glee clubs are looked at by other high school “groups.”

It truly is.

I’ll admit, my high school chorus was BIG. I started out in my freshman chorus with people from the different “groups”…Sophomore year as well. But when junior year came around, we needed to audition. If you didn’t get in, you couldn’t register for the “A Cappella Choir.” If you didn’t get in you could still be in the Chorale that I was in sophomore year.

I remember the audition well.  Several of us standing in a line, different voice parts, having to sing this one song…I’m forgetting the name of the song. But then we had to hear three chords and pick out the top, middle and bottom parts. We also had to do Solfege (Do , Re, Mi, etc) and go up the whole scale , alternating.  It wasn’t necessarily easy, but I enjoyed it. I got in, and I loved my two years in the A Cappella Choir. And yes, there were people from all different “groups” in the choir and there was no shame. People seem to overcome these differences when working towards a similar goal, especially with music.

Choirs are the BEST!

Now speaking of auditions, there was a select A Cappella group at my high school that I wanted to be in, but did not get in the first time I tried out…I did try again my senior year and got in it. It was truly an amazing experience. A lot of a cappella music, some with music in the background.  One of my fondest memories was caroling with my fellow a cappella mates in downtown Westport around Christmas time. Another memory was singing downtown again, this time in the tunnel, singing Billy Joel‘s “The Longest Time.”  Another was the final concert: the seniors got to choose a solo to do for the audience. I chose “One Flight Down”, by Norah Jones. I remember being attached to this song when I heard it on my “Come Away With Me” album I had. The lyrics so simple, yet so meaningful. I was nervous singing in front of the audience, I was afraid of forgetting the words, so I brought the lyrics with me just in case…Well, I didn’t need them. It went well.

These memories come to mind when I think of this new show “Glee.”

Memories I miss so very much, but will always keep in my heart.

Bloggers: If you’ve been watching “Glee“,  has it brought back any memories for you in the “Glee” club?

I originally had intended on writing this post back in September when the show started, but now the Fall Finale has come and gone and I truly feel I can comment on the series as a whole.

The things America is going through right now are not necessarily “easy”. The news can explain to you about the recession, about the possibilities of war, etc. But something that has taken me back, especially with this show, is the whole idea of “escapism.” I remember reading a review about the show, I’m forgetting where it was from, but it was talking about how the show is quite frankly a way to “escape” from your problems, if you will. I couldn’t agree more. In a time of unemployment, in a time of insecurity, shows like this bring hope and a smile. Which I love and I truly appreciate.

Glee Cast again.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is a TON of drama in this show like I said earlier in the post. On Fox 5 News the other day the entertainment reporter was saying how girls are either “Team Puck” or “Team Finn!” There’s the whole Rachel-Finn-Quinn scenario, there’s the scenario between Sue Sylvester and Mr. Shue. And as my friends and I have really discussed, the whole Mr. Shue and his WIFE scenario. If you watch the show , Bloggers, what did you think about that plotline (If you watch the show, you KNOW what I’m talking about)? How about when Artie and Tina kissed and then Tina admitted she was faking her stutter? How hurtful was that to Artie, who is in a wheelchair and thought they were similar because of their differences? There were a lot of things going on in the lives of these Glee Club kids and the teachers at the school they go to.

But whatever these kids went through, they got through their problems through song. Take the very powerful scene when Finn sings The Pretenders‘ “I’ll Stand By You” to his “baby” (I put baby in quotes because of what happened in the last episode). He’s singing to a sonogram on a computer because he doesn’t know how else to get out his emotions. Then he ends up crying in the arms of his mother and lets Quinn stay at his house when Quinn’s parents kick her out in the same episode. At the end of that episode the Glee Club puts together a song for the two “parents-to-be”. Watch the video of Finn’s singing to the “baby” here:

This goes to my next point: it’s amazing how much power a song can have over you, and truly impact your life. I can say that I put on certain songs when I’m feeling a certain way and really get lost in the words.  Bloggers, do you do that too? Songs are therapeutic; especially in times of sadness.

This show brings forth all kinds of emotions to me; but the most powerful one is happiness. This show moves me. I was told by Kelly Morgan, my former theater professor, in class, that “theater is supposed to move you.” I’m going to take that comment a step further today: the arts move you, impact your life. This is what this show does for me, and if it doesn’t for you, then I am positive there is a TV show that has impacted you the same way.

If not a TV show, then a song, a dance, some form of the arts. The arts are important, especially right now. A quote that comes to mind about this show truly is, “When words fail, music speaks.” That’s true. I stand by that completely.

If you haven’t watched this show already, I suggest watching it. The entire series.  I truly believe you can relate to at least one of the characters on the show. I believe you’ll be just as moved as I am.

Bloggers: Let me know what you’re thinking about “Glee!

Thank you FOX for a very golden gem in my book.

—-

((pictures courtesy of thezaz.nationallampoon.com, brettberk.com, jpschoir.org, stbarbarasearlsdon.org.uk, photobucket.com))

 

Time to get a little Philosophical … May 13, 2008

The semester has winded down and my blog posts required for my class have been ceased. However, this does NOT mean that this blog will die, no! I am happy to say that I will be continuing this blog because it truly has opened my eyes to more about the theater world, and I hope it has for all of you. I hope so far from this blog you all appreciate theater a little more.

Now I write that I am going to be philosophical right now, because in a way, I am, but this theory is partially not mine. I owe a lot of this theory to Kelly Morgan, my professor.

In one of our lectures recently in our Theatre History class, we discussed the whole idea of Theatre being truth. Theater is indeed truth. It shows how us as humans truly feel towards others…We have conflicts, and through different obstacles and tactics, we try to hurdle over these obstacles.

Morgan said in this lecture that he doesn’t understand why people “mask” their truths. I frankly don’t understand it either, yet I too am guilty of it myself.

When one masks, one is putting on a facade in a way. They are hiding their real emotions about something or someone. They hide.

We as humans face these conflicts every day. And Morgan sent us out in our theatre history class to observe people who wear these “masks” and to make observations in class about any “unmasking” we may have experienced.

Everyone had a story. Whether it was a roommate issue, revealing to someone how they romantically felt for someone, or revealing something secret to a friend, there were issues all around. When the mask is off, shouldn’t it be easier?

“You don’t hide behind the mask, you don’t decieve them, you don’t put on heirs. You have to be truthful and make them understand. You can’t hide behind the mask,” says Bridgette G., junior media studies major.

Bridgette has a point. If you mask what you really have to say, you get nowhere. I have learned this in several instances.

We all face objectives in life..We all have goals. To achieve these goals, we have to unmask ourselves and be a little vulnerable every once in awhile… If we can’t fail, then how can we succeed?

The point I am trying to get at is that Theater, what you see, read and hear on this blog, takes place in our daily lives. If one can appreciate the obstacles and hardships we face and the successes we face from conquering these hardships, one can learn to appreciate the work that goes behind theater: revealing truth.

Take any happy or sad play and you will find confrontation.. And if there is any masking, there will be times of vulnerability.

Vulnerability is powerful, especially in scenes. I myself have had several monologues performed in front of my acting class where I really had to unmask myself to let the true feelings come out in the monologue…This is what brings strength, power, and the will to succeed and accomplish anything.

A most recent play that uncovers truth that I talked about is “Whitewashed: A Rough Draft” performed and written by Quinnipiac students and even staff. Through this play they reveal the truths one has in their life. This project is continuing forth for the next few years, and I look forward to see what new stories are brought to the table.

I know this post isn’t “news,” but I’m writing it to reveal that what you’re reading in this blog may or may not exist in your own life. And hey, it’s okay to reveal truths… As the saying goes, “the truth shall set you free”!

I heard this great song on the radio today by John Mayer having to do with this topic, and I think you all may enjoy it! Here it is :


And next post, more Theatre news for you all! =)

 

Disney: Are you going to keep going at it until there’s College Musical?! April 12, 2008

OK.

This is starting to bother me.

When High School Musical” came out during my freshman year in college, I was SO excited because as you all can clearly tell, I am a theater person. I was wondering how Disney would take this subject on. Amazingly enough, they pulled off the topics of high school theatre and the DRAMA that revolves in the drama club well.

I have experienced similar events like what happened in High School Musical.” The drama club, I sadly must admit, can be somewhat of a clique. They have their certain “stars” and then there are people that are involved that are “outcasts” and then there are people…Like in this movie…That want to try new things, and want to break out of their shell of things such as playing sports, dance, etc. I’ve seen this first hand, so I must commend them for their efforts.

I think High School Musical” was my favorite one thus far. I’ll admit, I was excited when they were making a “High School Musical 2″.…But it just wasn’t the same. A lot of people singing in the movie sounded extra wonderful (which made me think they were enhanced by the magic of computers)… But the story really wasn’t as good.

Now they’re coming out with “High School Musical 2″ as a stage production. They’ve already had a stage production of the first one…Which I actually got to see at my middle school, which actually, went very well. Heck, they’ve even had an Ice Show which very well too.

But a second stage production. NO, NO NO! This movie’s story line is simply too rediculous to be put on stage… It takes place at a country club and some of the songs are by the pool and stuff…Rediculous! I’m starting to think Disney’s efforts are a little superfluous.

Bloggers: What do you think? Is Disney going too far?

So now I have other news…If you didn’t know yet, the full cast is coming back for High School Musical 3: Senior Year.This movie, unlike the others, will be a feature film…in movie theatres. It is slated to arrive in movie theaters this fall.

And NOW…now I find an article on Playbill the other day that says they’re “in the works” with creating a 4th, I repeat 4TH HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL.

DISNEY…Come on. What’s next, “College Musical”? Let’s be real here…you can only go so far.

They need to start thinking about their demographics, I feel. A LARGE age range watches these movies…goes to the stage shows, etc. Now if they keep going at this rate, they’re obviously going to make an X dollar amount of a TON of money… At this point, they really don’t need to make extra movies. These shows are good as they are… And they’re certainly not going away/fading away any time soon.

If you feel or don’t feel the same…Feel free to comment.

Here are some clips from “High School Musical” and ” High School Musical 2″ !

“High School Musical”:

“High School Musical 2″:

~~~~

((Pictures courtesy of: http://www.soloencostarica.com, http://upload.wikimedia.org, playbill.com, theage.com.au))


 

NEWSFLASH: NEW MUSICAL COMING TO BROADWAY THIS SUMMER..!! April 9, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — khessman @ 7:39 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Yes, what you are reading is correct.

A show made from entirely new material, which had a very successful Off-Broadway run…is coming to Broadway this July.

What is it?

” [ title of show ] “ !

I heard about this play through my brother. He had seen it awhile back and fell in love with it…He got the CD and told me all about it. He played it for me in the car. Frankly, I fell in love too.

One thing i’ll tell you all: it’s one of those “show-within-a-show” plays.

It stars four people (pictured at left: Co-creators Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell , as well as Susan Blackwell and Heidi Blickenstaff.) who are making a musical, with the hopes to take it literally to the top- Broadway.

The press notes on Playbill say the following: “[title of show], according to press notes, “takes a thoroughly unique and comical look at the pleasures and perils of the artistic process as two struggling writers [Bell and Bowen] and two struggling actresses [Blackwell and Bickenstaff] take on the seemingly impossible task of creating a new musical about creating a new musical. Now with Broadway as their destination, the quartet’s saga continues anew as they face mounting pressures and deadlines, and are nearly thrown off-track by disagreements, day jobs and insecurities in this funny and unforgettable look at the birth of a musical as it finally comes to life on the Great White Way.”

The show originally debuted in 2004 at the New York Musical Theatre Festival and then premiered in 2006 at the Vineyard Theatre.

It’ll be directed by Michael Berresse, who’s currently starring in A Chorus Line.”

Tickets will start going on sale for the show April 21st…And if you want to see this, I’d recommend getting them now!

From just listening to the CD alone.. the show is excellent. It is very well written, and it conquers the process of making a musical and the ups and downs behind such a process. The singing is excellent..and I’m so excited to check this show out when it premieres!!

The creators worked very hard to get the show where it is today as well…They created a blog that showed their “process” to getting the show to where it is today. This is SO exciting.

This show is an example of my theory that has won the battle of fighting old material. We need more inspiring stories like this…How people develop a fresh new idea, work hard at it, take the necessary steps and even fallbacks, and then completely succeed.

For more information on this show (if you want to check it out!) , check out their website.

And to end this post, here’s the latest episode of the online video show of ” [title of show] “!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

((Pictures courtesy of blogwaybaby.com, nytimes.com, playbill.com))

 

QU Theater Update…”MEDEA” Opens Tonight! February 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — khessman @ 2:20 am
Tags: , ,

As a student at Quinnipiac University I feel the need to report on theater close to home: our school’s theatre department!

I am a theatre studies minor at Quinnipiac, and I love it very much. The professors are excellent, and the plays put on by the faculty are always wonderful.

I had the pleasure of being in two shows last year, and I loved every minute of it. This year I decided to take a break from doing the plays and be an audience member. While I like being an audience member, I must admit, I miss being on stage!

Today marks the opening night of what I think is a groundbreaking play at Quinnipiac. New professor to campus Kelly Morgan (pictured at left) is directing Euripides“Medea” on the Long Wharf Theatre Mainstage in New Haven, CT.

Now you may ask, why is this so groundbreaking?

Here’s why.

For the past few years I have been at Quinnipiac, I have been to plays QU has produced at the Long Wharf Theatre, and they’ve been amazing. But they’ve always been on Stage II , which is the smaller theatre at Long Wharf. While this theatre is actually gorgeous and cozy enough for a small QU audience, now certain plays will be in a larger theatre space and actors will get to work with bigger audiences. I think this is amazing!

What I have also recently learned through the Quinnipiac website is that Quinnipiac actually made an official five-year agreement with the Long Wharf Theatre this past Monday.

According to the website, Quinnipiac will produce 3-4 productions per year at this prestiged theatre AND the university is allowed to used the technical shops backstage!

With our newly created Theater major, this will also help the theater majors (and well, minors too) to immerse themselves in theater through working on professional stages.

The play opening tonight revolves around the self-titled character, Medea. It is a Greek tragedy about her jealousy and revenge because she was betrayed by her husband.

This sounds exciting! But there are a few other great twists to add to the play too:

Kelly Morgan is taking a different twist on the show by incorporating sign language into the play. According to the Quinnipiac website, this is an “aspect of the cultural clashes between deaf and hearing cultures.”

Another exciting twist is the addition of professional actors in the play to the QU students already in the show.

Mary Vreeland is playing the title role of Medea. She is a professional deaf actress who’s performed in “Children of a Lesser God” on Broadway and a national tour, and has appeared in the CBS TV movie “Have You Tried Talking to Patty?

Here’s when the play will be performing this week:

Wednesday Feb. 27th: 8pm

Thursday Feb. 28th: 8pm

Friday Feb. 29th: 8pm

Saturday March 1: 8pm

Saturday March 2: 2pm

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. If you’d like to reserve tickets to the show you can call (203) 582-3500….or you can buy your tickets at the door.

If you’re in the tri-state area this is definitely a play you don’t want to miss out on!

Fellow Bloggers: Would you be interested in seeing this show?

For more of an understanding on what “Medea” is about, here’s a clip from Virginia Commonwealth University‘s production of the show that actually starred Mary as well…This video is a behind-the-scenes look at THEIR show and how sign language is incorporated.

 

V-DAY 2008 February 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — khessman @ 2:35 pm
Tags: , , ,

Valentine’s Day has come and gone yet again.

Hopefully you all had a great time spending it with people you love, whether it be family, friends or significant others.

But Valentine’s Day isn’t just about the cards, candy and lovey-dovey-ness.

It’s about loving others you don’t necessarily know. It’s also about loving yourself.

This year marks the 10 year anniversary of V-DAY:

V-DAY is a day which revolves around the love of women & their bodies. It’s a day where we reach out to others to help stop women’s and girl’s violence. 10 years ago, it all started with a show created by Eve Ensler called The Vagina Monologues”.

When I first saw the billboard for this play in New York City, it must have been at least 10 years ago when it started. I looked up and remembered thinking to myself, “WHY is there a show, in New York City, about VAGINAS?! What were they doing in there? Who acts in it?” I remember having many questions about it, I was and still am a very curious person.

When I was a freshman here at Quinnipiac, I found a flyer about auditions for this play. So I tried out and lo and behold, I got into a few scenes! I was so excited.

I found out this play is more than just talking about vaginas. It is one of the most empowering, vibrant, quirky, sad yet also hilarious plays I’ve ever been a part of.

Here’s how the play goes down:

There are several monologues obviously. But these monologues range from many different types of women…including old Jewish women…to young British women…to women in the Middle East.

Ensler conducted interviews with TONS of people all around the world, including sex workers! She knows her stuff.

There are also scenes where several girls speak on perspectives such as getting your period for the first time (Ladies- you know when you first got yours QUITE well…!) and ones dealing with pressures such as being transgender.

I was in the play for two years in a row. Freshman year I was only in the scenes, but sophomore year, I had a monologue, called “I Was There In The Room.” This is a monologue that deals with the realities of childbirth. The monologue is so very detailed as the character takes you inside her vagina as her new child pushes through her “tunnel.” It was a beautiful monologue to perform.

I bring this play up today specifically not only because of it’s Valentine’s Day significance, but because this year, as the 10 year mark of this important show has come to pass, Quinnipiac University did not have their own V-DAY this year.

This saddened me. But I KNOW this tradition needs to and WILL live on.

Below is a picture of me and my co-host, Sarah, from last year’s production!

V-DAY needs to be spread to even more colleges that have never heard of it. Colleges all across the US sign up to perform this on or around Valentine’s Day.

So to the bloggers out there- have you seen a production of “The Vagina Monologues?” What’s your favorite monologue?

I say this with pride: I’m proud to have a vagina!

To end this post, I found my favorite monologue from the show, and I KNOW you’ll enjoy it too. Here’s a clip from a Binghamton University production:

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.