Friday, October 12, 2012


1. The Play's The Thing: It ran for three months on Broadway in 2010, after a much longer Off-Broadway run. It's like a live-action "Schoolhouse Rock" about our wild-ass 7th President - with rock and roll, lots of fake blood and F-bombs, and cute dancing girls.  I learn something new each show, but it's damn entertaining, above all. And it works on so many levels - I think it's an incredibly smart, funny and important work. As Tom Alvarez put it in his Examiner review:  "Ultimately, the show succeeds at showing us the parallels between the political process then and now, which relate to the cost of hubris and greed; the fickleness of the electorate, which reflects both the best and the worst of human nature; the need for educating oneself about the issues and exerting due diligence on a candidate; and finally, the critical importance of becoming involved in the public debate." But don't let all that stuff that scare you. It's funny as hell, it rocks, and like I said, there are cute dancing girls...

2. The Director: I'm a little biased because I get to work with him, but Bryan Fonseca is one of the greatest living American Theatre directors out there. His body of work - hundreds of challenging, provocative productions of new plays over 30 years, is unparalleled. He's just SO good at what he does - finding the heart of the story - and figuring out how to translate that to the cast and crew and, ultimately, you. Over the last few years, we've worked on a number of "new" (i.e. non-corny traditional musical theatre-type) musicals - and this one is one hell of a show. Marvel at how smoothly this complex puzzle is put together...

3. The Star: I really didn't know Eric Olson before this. I had enjoyed his performance in "Avenue Q", but damn, man - he showed up ready to rock on this from rehearsal one. This is an incredibly demanding role: you have to sing your ass off, move like a great rock and roll front man, and display a range of acting chops that run from absurdly comic to despairingly honest - and he brings it, people. If only to see somebody kick ass in a big role with "inexhaustible brio" (as Jay Harvey put it in the "Star" yesterday), come see this show. (PS: Turns out Eric and I are both major Who fans. Come watch us bond in a mid-westerly Daltery/Townsend fashion.)

4. Your Own Self-Interest: Tell the Box Office that I sent you when you get your tix (call 317.635-PLAY or visit and you will be entered into a contest to win a Phoenix season pass. And if you save your ticket stub, I will buy you a drink. Or play you a song.

5. The Choreography: It's so good, so fresh, so fun, so completely driven (in a very subtle) way by the narrative. Hats off (coon-skin caps off, actually) off to Dance Kaleidoscope's Mariel Greenlee!

6. The Set, The Lights, The Sound: Gordon Strain's two-level saloon set is awesome. Laura Glover's sublime lighting design is awesome. Nick Hargrove's all-over-the-place sound design is awesome. You may not be able to consciously take it all in at once while you're wrapped up in the story, but trust me, all three are bloody awesome.....

7. The Cast: Man, it's hard work. Man, it's alot of fun when you're around such wonderful, talented folks: Phillip Armstrong, Thomas Cardwell, Abigail Gillan, Scot Greenwell,  Andrea Heiden, Danny J. Kingston, Peter Scarbrough, Lincoln Slentz, Phebe Taylor, Arianne Villareal, Clair Wilcher and Rex Wolfley.

8. The Music: It's not corny. It rocks. The vocal direction (by Kevin Smith) is outstanding.

9. The Band: We're kicking it too: Dave Langfitt on bass, Matt Price on drums, and I sing and play acoustic and electric guitars and piano. (Note the piano - it's the 1908 Lauter concert upright that's normally at the studio, the very same piano my mom and dad bought me in a pawnshop when I was 14, so I could learn. The only place to put it in the house was in their bedroom. It was many years later when I realized how incredible that was of them. Which, of course, led

OK, sorry for the novel. Come see the show, you won't be disappointed. This week: Friday and Saturday at 8PM, Sunday at 2PM. Next week: Thursday at 7PM, Fri/Sat at 8PM and the finale Sunday at 2PM......

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