Monday, September 28, 2009

May I play my cross hand piece?

I just had this blinding flash.
Imagine a 12 year old sick to death of The Sound of Music but so thoroughly caught up in performing in it she actually choice to play a song from it for her piano lessons. But not a song she could find in the the easy piano book. Oh no! She wanted to play the Landler (aka the song that Maria teaches Kurt to dance until the Captain comes in and makes Maria blush). It was fun it was catchy it was in 3/4 time! So when said insane 12 year old went to her all knowing musical theatre loving piano teacher she replied "Well it's not in the book all it is is "The Lonely Goatherd" in 3/4 time and with the left hand parts can do that youself!"
Did anyone else just catch what happened? I recreated a Trude Rittman arrangment at the age of 12. Sure it wasn't as good as hers (which coincidentally she wasn't credited for in the original production but was given credit for as orginal dance arranger in the revival which Jeanine Tesori also worked on as arranger wow that was a long parenthetical). I just had this incredibly epiphany moment that I had to share. Everyday I feel closer to Trude. It's incredible.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Why Can't a Woman be more like a man?

So I am now immersed in Suskin's The Sound of Broadway Music and I highly recommend it (even though I am still upset about the "and a few women too" parenthetical) I'm still reading through the biographies of the 12 major orchestrators (all men of course) but I couldn't help but flip through the listing of more recent work to just check the genders of the orchestrators/arrangers who are working today. Right away I spotting Jeanine Tesori, who is responsible for a few dance arrangments (making her a great connection to Trude). I took careful note to look at The Secret Garden (since the majority of the creative team being women was a major historic point of the show). Here Jeanine is created as dance arranger which is super but the musical direction, vocal arrangement and orchestrations are all credited to men. Directly above The Secret Garden is a show that is a great weakness of mine, The Scarlet Pimpernell. Not a historic piece of art by any means but tons of fun and it had Douglas Sills so shoot me. I look up at the Orchestration credit: Kim Scharnberg. I am floored. I check all the other Wildhorn shows. All orchestration credit goes to Kim Scharnberg. Huzzah I think! What a find! 99.9% of the time Kim is going to be a women right? Well welcome when you're in the music business the percentage much change significantly. Kim Scharnberg is a man. I feel betrayed and bewildered...but unsurprised. The uncover Trude's contributions on a greater scale becomes more important everyday.
And now I'm thinking I have to talk to Ms. Tesori too...because she's awesome and a dance arranger...go her!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Somebody's Gotta Do Something

So the theatre that made me the person I am today is finacially in the pits so much so that they are making a desperate plea for help. Here is my letter to the editor if anyone wants to read it:

The Willows Theatre Company is a Contra Costa County institution that deserves to be saved. Besides the statistical numbers of patrons it has served and how many awards it has won it has grown alongside our community. I have certainly grown alongside it and it has made me the person I am today. When I was eleven I made my first acting appearance with professional actors there. When I was twelve the Willows Theatre Conservatory program taught me fundamentals in acting, professionalism, and confidence that helped me succeed through middle school and high school. When I was involved in the workshop production of Mountain Days The John Muir Musical and observed the process of creating a new musical I decided that developing theatre would be my life mission. When I graduated from college my first job working in theatre came from the Willows, working for the youth program that helped me become who I am. This past summer, after my first year as a graduate student in drama, I directed the summer camp with kids who were the age I was when the Willows began to nurture not just my artistic soul, but also made me the successful, confident person I am, dedicated to giving back what I learned growing up at the Willows Theatre. Please help this theatre to continue to create dedicated passionate artists and citizens. Thank you.