Playing at light speed – the music behind “Driven”

titleBy Ande Jacobson

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.

If the music came first, then the animators would have a timeline to fill, perhaps forcing the story to stretch, or to shrink, to match the music. On the other hand, if the animation came first, then the music would have to fit like a glove, leaving no room for error. Continue reading

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The fuzzy line between amateur and professional theatre

Orpheum_Theatre_Vancouver_View_Of_StageBy Ande Jacobson

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

A theatre reviewer’s role

By Ande Jacobson

There are many approaches to writing theatre (or any arts) reviews, and there is significant debate over the role a critic should assume. The varied opinions don’t seem to be unique to a particular sector of readers, be they performers, theatre owners and staff, or potential audience members from all walks of life.

Many readers look to reviews to provide them with some insight into a production, in part to determine whether or not to spend their hard-earned money to attend a performance. Within this group, some are specifically looking for ratings, while others are looking to understand what to expect to gauge whether they’d enjoy a particular show. Continue reading

Climbing out of the pit

Fiddler_0332By Ande Jacobson

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

Book: REMEMBERING MOM AND DAD

Remembering_Mom_and__Cover_for_KindleBy Ande Jacobson

In REMEMBERING MOM AND DAD, I make the jump from analyzing the stories to telling them.  The book is a collection of nonfiction 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:

Purchase a digital copy in Kindle or Nook formats.

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The role of the pit musician in musical theatre

OUaMWatchingWithOrchBy Ande Jacobson

Imagine that you have gone to the theatre to see a performance of that Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, The King and I. You’ve been sitting in the auditorium for a few minutes before curtain reading through the program, and you take note of some of the cast members you may know as you read their biographies. Continue reading

Inside “Chicago”

By Ande Jacobson

This isn’t a review as that would be rather inappropriate given the author is part of the band.  This is instead a view from behind the wall of City Lights’ current production of “Chicago” – behind the wall because that’s where the clarinet player sits.  The experience is quite different “working” at City Lights than it is attending the opening gala intent on writing a review of the production. Continue reading