Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want

PC: Aron Van de Pol

I saw a couple new plays over the last few weeks, and it got me thinking about structure.

There seems to be a trend with young playwrights that rejects the “restraints” of traditional structure. With nothing worthwhile to replace it, however, rejecting traditional structure feels like a rejection of any structure at all. The resulting play feels like a meditation on a theme at best and a plot with no climax or catharsis at worst.

There are two general kinds of structure that I’d like to distinguish: Flow and Story. Continue reading Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want

The Drugstoppers – a new DARE-ody

DAREleadRemember the DARE program from the 90’s? Remember how it stopped y’all from drinking and smoking pot?

Probably not.

The DARE program was part of a wildly ineffective craze in the 80’s and 90’s to get kids to “just say no” to drugs, which included over-the-top PSA’s including this turkey from 1993:

Well, now there is a brand new stage parody celebrating the nostalgic anti-drug hysteria of our childhood, and you can help us produce it in New York City!

Introducing The Drugstoppers – a new DARE-ody.

Druggstoppers_Final

The Drugstoppers is a new comedy, written by Gili Malinsky, wherein the audience plays the role of classroom, and the play itself is an over-the-top anti-drug program (complete with our own hilarious PSA’s.) Continue reading The Drugstoppers – a new DARE-ody

The Most Underutilized Resource in Theater

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PC: Caitlin McNaney

Rajiv Joseph is one of my favorite contemporary playwrights. I remember seeing his play A Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo in Los Angeles and being blown away. It was political, yet personal. Surreal, yet plainspoken. It captured a place and a wonderment that I seek to find in my own writing.

In this Broadway.com interview on the occasion of his latest play Guards at the Taj, he describes a lesson he learned about collaboration: Continue reading The Most Underutilized Resource in Theater

Post-Apocalypse Now

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A cloud of smoke rises following an airstrike by Syrian government forces in the rebel-held area of Douma, northeast of Damascus, on February 5, 2015 (AFP Photo / Abd Doumany)

There’s an ad I often hear on NPR featuring a film critic saying, “I can’t wait for the real post-apocalyptic dystopia to arrive so we can finally stop seeing films about it.”

Every time I hear it I think:hodgins-yes

I so often see synopses for new films or tv shows or plays that take place in this post-apocalyptic landscape, particularly written by younger, (I’m just guessing here, but…) white, male writers.

I totally get the impulse. It’s hugely dramatic after all. What do you do after the worse possible thing has happened? You fight the man and reclaim the day! Does matter how vague, contrived, or illogical the details. Hell yeah! Tune in! Continue reading Post-Apocalypse Now

Extended!

Great news from Burbank!  Falling for Make Believe is a critical and audience success and so the show is extending by popular demand!

Falling Extension

“[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!

Falling Video

Rodgers And Me

Richard RodgersThis April I am stepping into the skin of one of the founding fathers of the musical theatre genre – my genre.  The Colony Theatre in Burbank presents the world premiere of Falling For Make Believe, about Lorenz Hart.  I will play Richard Rodgers.

As iconic as the man’s music is, the man himself almost disappears behind his work – and it certainly was his intention to do so.  He and his estate did (until very recently) their very best to fiercely protect the “Rodgers and…” legacy.

Exactly what he may have been protecting it from is the subject of the play, which opens up a fascinating window to the relationship between two partners who created magic, loved each other dearly, but ultimately couldn’t help the other in the ways they needed.

Come see Falling for Make Believe, by Emmy-Winner Mark Saltzman, directed by Jim Fall (Trick), at the Colony Theatre in BurbankApril 27 – May19th.  For more information and tickets, call (818) 558-7000 ext. 15 or visit ColonyTheatre.org

UPRIGHT in the Press

Mark Kitaoka/TheatreWorks

“Brett Ryback as the accompanist…almost steals the show with the variety of his piano playing. His turn on stage as Kiddo’s Russian instructor at Juilliard is a gem and you will not recognize him in the denouement scene.” ~Theatreworld

The Upright Grand reviews are in from San Francisco Examiner,  San Jose Mercury News,  the San Francisco Chronicle, and Stark Insider!

And writer John Orr wrote a lovely feature on me for Triviana.com.

Take a look below – or click here for the page.