"George Spelvin" (I had to giggle at that) writes to ask why I let the Theatre Lobby's Mary Goldwater Awards pass without mention: "They were fun -- so much more laid-back and enjoyable than other, um, 'bigger' awards in town."
Well, not to be peevish, but theaterboy wasn't invited to the May 19 fete at the Writer's Center. Not even in his guise as a mild-mannered ... whoops, almost gave that away. Let's just say theaterboy's alter ego didn't get an invite, either. But then he's only been involved with D.C. theater for a decade or thereabouts, and that's probably not long enough to make an impression on the Theatre Lobby folks. (You perplexed young-'uns can find very nice capsule history of the group at the bottom of Jane Horwitz's May 13 column.)
And it sounds like I missed some good fun: "It was a great evening," writes our friend "George." "The old dears gave awards to Tim Getman (goateed), Mike Glenn, Jose Carasquillo (with dog!), Laura Giannarelli, ACTCO, Charter Theater, and Tracie Duncan.
"The crowd was stellar-- Marty Lodge (spiky hair), Larry Redmond (very slender these days), the ever-delightful Delia Taylor, Conrad Feininger, Chris Henley, Kathleen Coons, Kenyatta Rogers (with infant!), Richard Mancini, and oh, a host of others."
Emcee Bill Largess "was very charming, and best of all he kept the more teetery members of the Theatre Lobby group from falling off the stage."
Yes, but did he bring the hedgehog? It's not a party without Privet...
Random occasional reminder: If you haven't already, go on and sign up for the e-mail list. It's not like it's gonna hurt you, and sometimes it's actual fun. The sign-up box is over there in the left-hand column, in the blue bit...
So I'm digging through a stack of accumulated mail, and what do I find in the Clarice Smith/UMD season announcement? This glorious little bit of info: The school's theater department is staging the James Magruder/Susan Birkenhead/Jeffrey Stock musical of The Triumph of Love next year.
This just makes me wiggle. I was there for the October 1997 opening night of the (criminally short-lived) Broadway production, which means I got to see Roger Bart> in tights, as Harlequin, plus Susan Egan, F. Murray I'm-a-ham and oh, joy, Betty Buckley -- who literally stopped things dead with a song called "Serenity," which would be a towering 11-o'clock number if it didn't occur at roughly half past nine. (It's toward the end of Act I, if I remember.) Anyway, this song was one of the loveliest things I'd heard on a stage in forever; it knocked me silly, to the point that I thought maybe I was just being a diva fool. Kept asking myself later that week if it had really been that good, or if it was just the jewel-box setting of the Royale, which made the whole business feel impossibly intimate, or if I just couldn't see past the Buckley glamour.
Happily, my first impression has since been borne out; "Serenity" became one of the standards in Buckley's act, and it always kills 'em. (And yes, if you're wondering, there's a Triumph cast album.)
Which local director/administrator is starting a family -- with help from his boss's secretary? Hint: It wasn't your garden-variety conception, 'cause from what tboy hears, neither the director nor his boyfriend would've been too thrilled about that. And where's the little one going to do daycare? Tboy doesn't remember many options in the Logan Circle area...
[Giggle.] Take a look at the cover of the Nightlife section in this week's MetroWeekly. If theaterboy isn't very much mistaken, "Coverboy Paul" is our stage-manager friend Paul Sieveking (Carmen Jones at the Kennedy Center, Aida at Washington Opera), all glammed up and looking come-hither. The online version of the photo doesn't do him justice, so check out the print edition, which also includes the interview. Woo-hoo!
I suppose it was inevitable: There's a Lord of the Rings musical being talked about for the West End. Budget $13 million, casting in 2004 for a 2005 opening. See today's Variety and this AP story, and start bulking up in the below-the-ankle area...
Got a note this morning from R. Scott Williams, one of the good-sport guys I teased in that prop-pistol item last week. "Everyone has dozens of stories about performances where props go haywire and hijinks ensue," he writes. "You mentioned the missing pistol in Thief River, for example, but in that instance, at least no one on stage was at risk. Not so at Studio Theatre's A Class Act last night."
At risk? Well, yeah, as it turns out: Director Serge Seiden decided to use honest-to-god glass champagne flutes for one scene, and the inevitable finally happened Tuesday night. As the serving cart was wheeled onstage, Williams says, "one of the glasses toppled to the floor and shattered into a thousand pieces.
"The scene downstage continued, while three or four supporting players attempted to scoop up the shards of glass with their bare hands. A quick-thinking actress slipped backstage to grab a broom to help with the cleanup, only to discover that the backstage crew had no idea anything unexpected had happened."
('Scuse me? sez theaterboy: You'd think the crew, on headset, should have been alerted by the booth, but apparently no one there was paying attention to what was happening on stage either. Maybe there was no cue coming up, so they were all taking a wee nap...)
Meanwhile, our correspondent sez, the actors downstage continued the scene as others found rags and mopped up the mess -- only seconds before a big dance number began. Naturally, the audience was paying more attention to the upstage cleanup than to the scene the actors were still gamely playing downstage -- except for Williams and the other performers in the house who "were wondering why in the world Studio was using real glass in the first place."
"Inanimate objects have the uncanny ability to suddenly come to life and wreak havoc onstage, and everybody knows it," Williams sez. "It's one of the oldest maxims in the book: If something breakable is brought onstage, it will break."
Indeed. Theaterboy says cheers for the quick-thinking cast, who seem to have averted a potential disaster without much help -- and jeers for both the backstage slowpokes and the decision that put everybody in such a risky position.
Is anybody else confused by the cover story in the new Advocate? I thought B.D. Wong had come out of the closet years ago. Guess not.
Funny, though, that he says the priest he played on Oz was straight. Sure didn't read that way to me. And check out the articulate explanation for why it's okay to insist on an Asian actor for a part written as Asian, but not okay to insist on a Caucasian actor for a part written as Caucasian. (It's in the print edition, but not in the online excerpt.) Don't get me wrong -- I can think of a couple of coherent arguments to make that case. It's just that Wong apparently can't; he's all but sputtering...
That the subject of one of theaterboy's recent comments, who got rather unattractively exercised about the lighthearted remark, has since been shopping one particular bit of his business around town. Fair enough, you might think. But when said party got grumpy with theaterboy, he withdrew the offending item to demonstrate that he hadn't intended any harm. And he had thought the matter was going to rest there...