FMT presents a breathtaking new look at ‘Cinderella’

By Ande Jacobson

This summer, Foothill Music Theatre (FMT) is presenting the South Bay premiere of an exciting, fresh look at an old rags-to-riches story with its production of Cinderella. It’s still a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical adaptation of the French story, Cendrillon, ou la Petite Pantoufle de Verre, with all of the beloved songs. This 2013 revision finally took the show to Broadway for the first time and includes a modernized book by Douglas Carter Beane to go along with an updated orchestration. The show retains all of the charm and family-friendliness of the original television and Disney animated presentations while the latest changes make it more relevant to 21st century audiences. Continue reading

‘The Sound of Music’ is enthralling audiences at FMT this summer

By Ande Jacobson

This year, Foothill Music Theatre (FMT) is presenting that long-time family favorite, The Sound of Music. The show, with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, made its Broadway debut in 1959 with Mary Martin heading the cast as Maria. Today, far more people are familiar with the 1965 film version of the show as they picture Julie Andrews singing at the top of her lungs while running around an enchanting Alpine meadow. There’s a lot to love about The Sound of Music, and it has made the stage rounds in regional, community, and scholastic theaters for decades. The music is familiar to theater-goers young and old, and the story is touching with more than a hint of danger, a danger that has recently become all too recognizable. Long time standards from the show (and the movie) include “Edelweiss”, “My Favorite Things”, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”, “Do-Re-Mi”, and the title song, “The Sound of Music”. There are a number of lesser known songs as well. The stage version has a few songs that were not in the movie and vice versa. FMT’s production keeps the best songs unique to the stage version, and adds a couple written for the movie to make the show more familiar to newer audiences. Continue reading

FMT lets its Freak Flag fly!

By Ande Jacobson

This summer, Foothill Music Theatre (FMT) shows its heart with its rendition of Shrek The Musical. The show is based on the animated DreamWorks film, Shrek, and it puts all of the magic and message of the film live on stage. The musical version (with book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire and music by Jeanine Tesori) debuted on Broadway in 2008 and in London in 2011. Since then, the show continues to be a family-friendly audience favorite as it now makes the rounds in regional and community theatres.

The story is, in broad strokes, a sassy mashup of traditional fairy tales mixed with some current events. Its well-known Freak Flag anthem packs a powerful, positive message about celebrating one’s uniqueness. The lively story turns the traditional boy meets girl theme on its head with a clever twist and sends audiences home in high spirits. Continue reading

Georges captures the many colors of life

Sunday in the Park Production 5_David AllenBy Ande Jacobson

Foothill Music Theatre just opened their production of a rarely done, but arguably the most ethereal show in the Sondheim canon, Sunday in the Park with George – a musical based on the Georges Seurat painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. The painting is surreal, an example of Seurat’s Pointillism technique that was a vivid departure from the approach used by the impressionists of his time. Pointillism is essentially a mosaic of complementary colors that, when viewed at a distance, causes the brain to fuse the colors and register a complex color, such as seeing violet emerge when only blue and red are actually painted. Likewise, this first collaboration between composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and playwright and director James Lapine whisks the audience members into a surreal world of color and light worthy of Seurat. Continue reading

The Devil is in the details

Damn Yankees 8_DavidAllenBy Ande Jacobson

The boys of summer keep the balls flying and the bats swinging, and Foothill Music Theatre combines with Foothill College Theatre Arts to capture the spirit of baseball in their energetic production of a longtime Broadway favorite, Damn Yankees. Director Tom Gough has large shoes to fill as he grabs the reins after Foothill Music Theatre thrived under its originator, Jay Manley, for over 30 years. This year for the first summer production under his guidance, Gough states in his program notes that he gravitated toward a show that combined three of his favorite things: baseball, live theatre, and the Faust legend. Gough’s drive and love of the theatre program have kept the FMT summer tradition alive for audiences to enjoy. Continue reading

Ignorance is not bliss

Spring_Awakening_2_Karen_SantosBy Ande Jacobson

Foothill Music Theatre has taken on a German impressionist masterpiece presenting Spring Awakening, a musical based on Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play, Frühlings Erwachen.  The musical keeps much of the intensity of the play, although it softens a few scenes and deletes others, but the message is clear as noted in the title of this review.  Ignorance is not bliss, and parents don’t do their children any favors by keeping them in the dark about human nature and sexuality. Continue reading