Theatre is life on A Good Reed Review
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The Redwood Symphony is opening its 2016-2017 season by going into new musical territory (for this orchestra anyway). Saturday night’s season opener will be a partially staged, fully orchestrated performance of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s satirical, political operatic assault – Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. Mahagonny was first presented in its entirety in 1930, though a smaller concert work featuring a subset of the songs debuted a few years before. The full work, which will be sung in English, lampoons both opera and politics, the latter being particularly relevant today. Maestro Kujawsky had the privilege of playing in the orchestra for a production of this opera while in graduate school and has looked forward to someday conducting it himself. He carefully selected this program slot as the perfect time to realize his dream. [Continue reading]
Who doesn’t love a tangled murder mystery? SBMT has one in City of Angels, complete with a full orchestra highlighting all the twists and turns in the story of a 1940s detective novel being transformed into a Golden Age Hollywood movie. This show (with book by Larry Gelbart, music by Cy Coleman, and lyrics by David Zippel) captures the film noir feel of the period, embellishes it with witty dialogue and a classy jazz score, and neatly packages it into an evening of exquisite theatre. [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?
Purchase the print edition online on CreateSpace or Amazon or in person at Leigh’s Favorite Books in Sunnyvale, CA or at Village House of Books in Los Gatos.
Purchase a digital copy in Kindle or Nook formats.
Read the full Introduction.