Theatre is life on A Good Reed Review
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A Theatre Near U is presenting another Tony Kienitz world premiere, this time taking a farcical trip down memory lane back to the all-important crises of high school. His latest work, Like, Like, Like?, presents a unique view of high school to which audience members of all ages can relate. For those whose high school years are viewed from a distance through the rear-view mirror of their life, this presentation will likely trigger a bit of nostalgia. For those in the midst of their high school years, these young actors may embody a view of their friends with a level of familiarity. And for those eagerly awaiting to start high school, the characterizations may show them that they have nothing to fear and plenty to savor. [Continue reading]
We have all heard his music. Ludwig van Beethoven, famous for his nine symphonies along with his ubiquitous piano compositions and other chamber works, is more than just the sum of his music. Hershey Felder is back on the TheatreWorks stage telling the fascinating story of Beethoven’s life from the perspectives of both Gerhard von Breuning and the maestro himself. Hershey Felder, Beethoven, with text by Hershey Felder, is based on Dr. Gerhard von Breuning’s personal recollections published in 1874 in “Aus dem Schwarzspanierhaus.” Felder’s presentation, punctuated by his piano virtuosity, is absolutely stunning. [Continue reading]
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari, was first published in the U.S. in 2015, and it took the country by storm. It quickly became a New York Times best seller and is used in numerous history courses around the country. Great Britain saw its English language release a year earlier in 2014, but the author’s countrymen saw it first published in his native Hebrew a few years before that in 2011. Beyond that, the book has been translated into over thirty languages worldwide, and at least the American English version is credited as being translated by Harari, with help from John Purcell and Haim Watzman. Why did Sapiens:… make such a splash around the world? It tells a fascinating story. Harari is an Israeli born historian and a tenured history professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a passion for how every human endeavor affects history and the world. [Continue reading]
J.K. Rowling discovered gold when her first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (renamed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone outside of the U.K.), hit the presses in 1997. Intended as the first installment of a seven-part children’s book series, it fortuitously (though unexpectedly) appealed to readers of all ages. Rowling released the subsequent books over the next decade with the final installment reaching the shelves in July 2007 with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The reception was phenomenal. Not only did readers clamber for each new book, the movie industry embraced the stories and released blockbuster adaptations of each one, the last taking two films to fully explore.
In 2015, a new story synopsis in the Harry Potter oeuvre surfaced. The story was written by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne, and Thorne went on to put this story into the form of a play. The full rehearsal script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released on 31 July 2016, one day after the maiden voyage of the play opened in London. This review discusses only the script as a book, not as commentary on any performance of the material. [Continue reading]
Have you ever watched an animated film and while watching the film thought, “This is great music!” Have you then wondered how that music came to be, and which came first, the animation, or the music? After all, something had to come first. [Continue reading]
As I mentioned in my previous commentary discussing the role of a theatre reviewer, I’ve often been asked if I review professional and amateur productions differently. My short answer then and now remains no, but I started thinking about what defines a professional production. Perhaps my refusal to treat them differently should have been a clue that there is a fuzzy line separating professional from amateur theatre in many circles. For instance, in theatre-rich areas such as the San Francisco Bay Area, one can find high quality productions without regard to whether the company is professional or not. Still, I was curious, so I started digging a little deeper. [Continue reading]
In the fall of 2012, A Good Reed Review published a commentary entitled “The role of the pit musician in musical theatre”. The article discussed the unique role pit musicians play along with some of the challenges they face. Part of that discussion focused on some of the differences between being a pit musician versus a cast member. While I am a pit musician and musical director (normally the reason for periodic breaks from publishing theatre reviews), last fall, a different opportunity presented itself. For a change of pace, I climbed out of the pit and onto the stage as a cast member in West Valley Light Opera’s production of Fiddler on the Roof, an experience which confirmed, amplified and expanded upon much of the discussion in my previous commentary. [Continue reading]
In REMEMBERING MOM AND DAD, I make the jump from analyzing the stories to telling them. The book is a collection of essays and short stories written over time remembering Bayla and Jerry Jacobson. The stories include personal recollections from my experience along with the retelling of numerous events related to me in conversations over the years. Some of the stories included are: “Music in the House”, “The Parenthood Plunge”, “The Jacobson Pet Parade”, “Disney Days of Summer”, and many more. Interested?
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