Earlier this month, Indiana University presented four workshop performances of Joe Schmoe Saves the World. The piece was provocative, empowering, and very well-received by a diverse audience of different ages and backgrounds.
Sometimes a piece of art enters your life at the exact right moment. The experience brings your life and your place in the world into focus. Brett Ryback’s musical Joe Schmoe Saves the World is just such a piece. The mirror it holds up to modern American culture reflects back an all too real image that is at once critical and hopeful. With relatable characters, hard-hitting imagery, and a soundtrack I’ve been listening to on repeat for almost a week now, Joe Schmoe Saves the World transforms and inspires.
It’s a roughly polished workshop production with imaginative direction and a talented and committed cast…Music is central to the play’s plot and “Listen to the Music” comes in two parts. The first champions the space, the respite that music — lyrical moments, dance club beats, word rap and pop-rock — can offer. It returns with new fervor mixed with the chant of “no more silence” as an energizing and rallying cry for all, a call to say something.
The live music and rap-rock vocals are fluid and natural. In some instances, the songs have a feeling similar to spoken verse and can even take on a conversational air.
Additionally, in the middle of our very short run, the head of The Center for the Study of the Middle East at IU came to the show and asked if they could buy a late sponsorship to be mentioned in the curtain speech the next two performances. It was a priceless endorsement of the show, and we were grateful to have brought extra funding to the program.
Catch me thisWednesday, December 10th, at 9/8c on ABCfor an appearance on Modern Family.
It’s Haley’s 21st birthday, and the family takes her out to a bar to celebrate. While there, Mitch and Cam encounter a younger gay couple – me and my friend Sterling Sulieman – who make them feel a lot less cool. (Mostly it’s Sterling who makes them feel less cool. If it was just me, they’d definitely feel more cool.)
Here’s how he works. When the doll arrives, he is eye-less. You first decide on a goal or a wish, and then color in the left eye. Then you place him in a visible place so while he works on your goal, you remember to do the same.
Here’s this guy still at work on his goal.
Once the goal is achieved, you fill in the other eye as a means of giving thanks.
And then, according to my friends, the doll is burned or buried as an offering. My Daruma dolls final resting place will be under this tree in my garden.
I received this doll for Christmas last year and set my goal, which I achieved this past month, so this morning I buried him.
Or so says Tony-Award Broadway composer/lyricist William Finn. As Artistic Producer of the Barington Stage Company’s Musical Theatre Lab, Finn hosts an annual concert called “Songs by Ridiculously Talented Composers and Lyricists You Probably Don’t Know But Should,” and this year he has chosen a song composed by me with lyrics by Brian Pugach.
I first encountered Brian Pugach’s work at the Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles, who produced his show The Next Fairy Tale. We’ve since collaborated on two songs (his lyrics, my music) and have another on the way.
The song is called SAM TAKES PICTURES, and was performed this past weekend by Broadway actress Elizabeth Stanley.
Stay tuned for video of the concert, and recorded audio of the song.
From June 14-June 29th, DARLING will be performed by American Conservatory Theatre’s (A.C.T.) Young Conservatory (YC) at The Theater at the Children’s Creativity Museum (221 4th Street, San Francisco).
At A.C.T.’s Tony Award–winningYC, students ages 8 to 19 develop their talents, perform in professional-caliber productions, and gain the confidence to succeed—all in a creative, fun, and encouraging environment. The ten sessions of classes and eight public productions offered throughout the year are designed to develop talent and creativity, as well as communication and cooperation skills, for young people with all levels of theater background. Working professional actors and directors lead students in a spectrum of classes, including acting, directing, voice and speech, musical theater, audition, and improvisation.
Directed by YC Director Craig Slaight and Domenique Lozano, DARLING features a talented young cast from across the San Francisco Bay Area.
If you’re in the Bay Area, please take this opportunity to see DARLING!
Tickets are $20 and available by calling the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or going online to www.act-sf.org/ycshows.
Great news from Burbank! Falling for Make Believeis a critical and audience success and so the show is extending by popular demand!
“[Playwright Mark] Saltzman illuminates the self-loathing Hart (Ben D. Goldberg, marvelously invested, if too handsome by half), pulling vintage items from his output with Rodgers (ever-stalwart Brett Ryback) into commentary.” – LA Times
“What Brett Ryback as Rodgers and Ben D. Goldberg as Hart lack in comparable vocal power they make up for in melodic, resonant stylings. And Ryback is so convincing at the onstage piano, that it’s nearly impossible to tell if he’s faking it.” – Burbank Leader
“The singing all by itself is worth the price of admission…It falls to the cast, as brilliant in their character portrayals as they are in their singing, to show us what the party line has withheld.” – My Burbank
The play is set to continue to run through the end of June…however, I will only be in it through June 9th! So before I step out of Richard Rodgers’s shoes, come see Falling for Make Believe at the Colony Theatre!
For tickets call 818-558-7000 ext.15 or visit www.colonytheatre.org. But Hurry – they are seriously going fast!