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Archive for February, 2010

Broadway Grill

Dinner with Frank was a success! So nice to just sit and chat with a friend about all sorts of stuff (theater, movies, tv, friends). We were there for about two hours. And hey, the chop salad at the Broadway Grill is great (I liked the look of the lights in the pic at left).

Danielle in "Seussical"

Friday was a fun adventure with the lovely Danielle Barnum. I’ve worked with her twice as an actress (the pic to the right is Danielle in “Seussical” and she was also the lead in the aforementioned “Jane Eyre”), but only recently discovered she is a freelance photographer. Since it’s been almost ten years since I last had some headshots, I figured it was time. We met in Fremont near Theo’s Chocolates, and even though it was raining, she knew all sorts of great places (coffee shops, doorways) to take some pics. Now comes the process of picking out the new shot. She does good stuff, check it out at Danielle Barnum Photography.

Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher

On to TV. The new season of “Survivor” is a ton of fun. The cast is comprised of villains and heroes from previous seasons. It’s fun seeing Jerri, Colby, Boston Rob, Coach (and yes, even Russell) back playing the game. I’ve recently discovered the series, “Weeds” on DVD. Mary Louise Parker is wonderful. She makes the show for me. I’m deep into season four now. Just watched the season finale of a new favorite, “Men of a Certain Age.” Great work from the three leads, Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher. It seems like an odd trio, but they work very well together and the writing is just superb.

I’m off to check out the new location of Forza Coffee near the Seattle Center. They opened today at 8:14 a.m. in memory of the police officers killed in Tacoma last Nov. Caffeine-ahoy!

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Eric (center) and David Roby (right) in "Footlight Frenzy"

I went to the preview of “Footlight Frenzy” at Renton Civic Theater last week. A capable (if maybe a bit too manic) backstage farce in the mold of “Noises Off.” My buddy Alan Wilkie directed, and friend-since-college-days Eric Hartley did a nice work, but the hands-down best part of the show was David Roby as the meek stage manager of the show-within-the-show. He did some of the most amazing physical comedy I’ve seen in a long time. David was in “The Producers” last fall and was the ASM for “1776” at SMT a couple years back. Excellent stuff, Mr. Roby.

Sharry O'Hare and Micheal O'Hara in "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks"

Over the weekend I went down to Tacoma Little Theatre and saw “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks.” Nicely directed by Frank Kohel, and performed by Sharry O’Hare and Micheal O’Hara. All three are good friends and the script was clever. After the matinee I headed over to Mom’s for quick bite and came back to the theater for a roast/tribute to Sharry. Funny, funny stuff (and in all honesty some great moving moments too) with a lot of Seattle/Tacoma-area theater folks there.

I worked with Sharry in the musical “Two by Two” back in 2000 at RCT, and first worked with Micheal many years ago at the Performance Circle in Gig Harbor while doing “Chicago.”

Was supposed to meet Frank twice over the past week for lunch. He missed this first time because he was sick, I missed the most recent time because I simply forgot. We’re attempting to meet for dinner Thursday. Fingers-crossed.

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What a nice day. I found a lovely alternative to the way I usually want to spend this holiday (Hint, it involves cowering in a corner cut off from all communication).

I drove down to Mom’s in Tacoma and helped her out with household stuff, then we drove up to Jenny and Kirk’s place for what has become a lovely tradition, a Valentine’s dinner. All the kids were there (Kira made a brief appearance before heading out with some friends), some of Kayla’s friends and Kirk’s Mom, Shirley.

Nice chat, some poetry reading and storytelling, exchanging of cards…and food. Sister Jenny always does such a great job with the dinner.

Then the drive back to Tacoma (with a quick phone call from Mom’s brother, Dick and his wife Betty) where we watched the last part of the “The Amazing Race” premiere on tv. Good stuff.

Nice day. Good food. Lots of Love.

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Dawn Brazel, Bill Hamer and Ryan Demerick in SMT's "Company"

I’m not currently doing a show (what??), so it’s time to go see friends in their shows. Of course I had to go to “Company” at Seattle Musical Theatre. I know practically the entire cast and was disappointed last fall when I realized that because of my commitment to “Trial” that I couldn’t even audition.

Full disclosure. I’ve worked (a lot) for SMT. I really enjoy the folks there, so this “review” will have a bias.

In a word, brilliant. SMT has mounted an excellent production of the 1970 Stephen Sondheim/George Furth meditation on marriage and coupling.

Musical director Paul Linnes leads an amazing group of musicians in bringing the great score to life (I especially love “Sorry-Grateful” and “Side by Side”). Great work from friends Danielle Barnum, Bill Hamer, Ben Derby, Krista Erickson and Julia Beers.

Dawn Brazel simply tore it up as Joanne (loved her “Ladies Who Lunch”), Kat Schroeder brought great controlled nervousness to “Getting Married Today” and Julie Drummond was hilarious in the role of Jenny. I also enjoyed Allison Standley as feisty Marta (she did great things with “Another Hundred People”). And the girl can rock a pair of hot pants (all the costumes in the show were fabulous in their “Groovy ’70s” way).

And the center of the show, Bobby, was performed with understated charisma by Ryan Demerick. He sang the role well (especially the great “Being Alive”), but it was when he was silent, watching everyone else, that his Bobby spoke volumes.

Bravo director Vicki Webb and Seattle Musical Theatre. This show deserves to be a big fat hit.

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Cast photo for "The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge"

It all began last October. Seriously. I was working on a production of “Guys and Dolls” in Federal Way and getting ready for my Canada trip when I got a call from Renton Civic Theatre asking if I wanted a part in “The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge” that they were opening in December. Sure, I thought. A dramatic role. Good pay. Why not?

Because of “G&D” and my trip I came a couple weeks late to rehearsals and really felt like I was playing catch up. That finally disappeared around week two of our run in Renton.

The show takes place one year after the events of “A Christmas Carol.” Scrooge is taking Marley and the three ghosts to court. It’s a very clever script with lines from the original story woven throughout. I especially loved playing this character. Grumpy, angry and loud (“Now. Sit. Down”).

The Renton run was good. There’s always something so fulfilling about doing a Christmas show during the holiday season. After a two week break we moved the show to the Kirkland Performance Center. Lighter houses, but the show went fairly well (my car got egged one night, but whatever). Then another break and two weeks in Bellevue at the Meydenbayer.

The cast were a delight to work with. Bob Barnett was a fascinating to watch as Scrooge. Totally in character all the time. Loved Nathaniel Jones as Rothchild (“Look a the naked blind man”), Keith Remon was a great put-upon bailff, and Sean Mauer, Jason Pead, Heather McRobbie and Elizabeth Adkisson all excelled in multiple roles. And of course Ellen Zabrowsky-Huls in her cameo as Mrs. Cratchit.

Thanks also to director Bill Huls, and Curt and Will for all the help backstage.

20 performances. 9 actors. 4 months. 3 theaters. 1 knee injury. A Christmas-themed show in Feb.? I can now say I’ve done it and survived.

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