ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
Chanukah's early this year - first candles will be lit on December 1 - so no point in waiting til after Thanksgiving to let you know that my readaloud/chapter book, The Golden Dreydl, gorgeously illustrated by Ilene Winn-Lederer - is now available in paperback!

I happen to think the original hardcover, with its - deckled paper edges and gold-stamped cover, is a stunning little box of bonbons; but the PB price is right, and latke-stained fingers will do no harm to the paperback. If you do want the HC, though, the publisher tells me they only have a couple hundred left in the warehouse, so grab it now! The next time I see you, I'll autograph it - or you can send me a SASE and I'll sign a bookplate.

The Man with the Knives is also down to about 50 copies left - this is the limited edition chapbook from Temporary Culture, and when it's gone, it's gone. The story will be reprinted online at Tor.com the first week of December, with a link to the chapbook, which may mean that lots more people will see it & want it. Just sayin'. (And, yes, you still can buy it only by mail from Henry Wessell's basement - unless you nip down to St Marks' Books in NYC's East Village, where they have a small cache.)

May all your holiday shopping be painless, and all your candles be bright!
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
Hilariously weird new KlezNut review up on Show Business Weekly: the reviewer & the entire audience clearly loved the show, but she lambastes it (right at the top, too, so we know she was not seduced by the dancing & the story, no, not she!) for being too "over-thought in a very public-radio way."

Actual content is a crime in children's theatre - who knew? Maybe she just needed a nap.
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
OK, this is pretty hilarious: Vital ordered 2 boxes of The Golden Dreydl from Charlesbridge Publishing to sell at the play (The Klezmer Nutcracker is based on the book - which is based on the CD, which is . . . long story). Boxes came. Unfortunately, nobody opened them before we began setting up the first performance, yesterday - so all were suprised to see that we were in possession of 2 boxes of The Golden Bull. Our creative team immediately started thinking of ways we could alter the show to fit the Bull in hand - have Queen of Sheba ride in on Bull instead of camel? Have Chanukah party be a lasso contest instead? (What's yours?)

In the end, we found 2 copies in the office, and Delia sweetly & heroically brought 7 from home, arriving by the end of the the 11:00 show, so we had a nice little pile to sell by the time show #1 ended at noon, and for the 1:00 show, too.

I'd better run down to the basement now and bring up some more for today's shows!
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
I am ridiculously way behind in my Dreydl Diaries this year. I've been writing them in my head for you: the rehearsals, the script-revisions, the joy of working with a new cast (like the joy of working with the old cast, only different) . . . . But living life has a way of getting in the way of writing about it. The best I've been able to do is Tweet during rehearsals & post a bunch of blurry photos there, thanks to the magic of iPhone.

Delia's gone to bed, as she has to get up at 3 a.m. to wake up in time to do Hour of the Wolf at WBAI downtown at 5:00 for Interfictions. So here I sit, trying to get sleepy, or at least to write something.

This was tech week. It kicked off with a post-Thanksgiving rehearsal on Sunday night - yep, we work'em hard. The director knew she needed to ease everyone back in - and besides, we couldn't get onstage because they were still hammering away at the set. (Yeah, I've got photos. Somewhere.) So first they did a speed-through, where everyone just delivers their lines as fast as they can, to show they know them and their cues cold. Then came the improv: We ran the show, complete with blocking (but not toe-dancing), in the lobby, and every few minutes the director, Linda Ames Key, would shout out a different style for them to act it in. It started with Greek Tragedy, which went very well with the Family Party where no one is really getting along. I can't even remember all of them, but I don't think I've laughed so hard in ages. One highlight was "Lord of the Rings!" - they fumbled for a bit, and then Sarah turned into Smeagol, hunkered over her Precious with lines like, "But how do we find the Dreydl Princess?" and it was actually a scene in which the Fool is asking her riddles - priceless! This actor is so great to watch: her focus is so strong, and she's so flexible - she also delivered a Trailer Trash finale with a shirt stuffed down her belly, and a side-splitting E.R. & Film Noir with others. The exercise stretched our young actors in all sorts of ways - when the guy playing a comic old man who can't plant his Carob Tree did it as "Western!", he suddenly developed a sombre gravitas that actually will serve him in the part. A very delicate little ballerina suddenly turned out a huge, brawling "Housewives of New Jersey" in a voice we'd never heard before, which was actually perfect for her role! That was the Magic: it wasn't just hilarious and fun, but it loosened everyone up, slipping under their guard to give useful tools for the show.

Can't say how grateful I am to be allowed to witness all this. I never studied drama formally, always wanted to, and now I feel I'm getting a crash course in practical theatre by keeping my mouth shut (mostly). I am occasionally asked for an opinion, and sometimes for a rewrite, but mostly I just try to stay out of the way. Though I'm also learning how to voice opinions in ways that are useful (always a weakness of mine!).

Today was final dress rehearsal, and it was the traditional trainwreck. I'm not worried; once the Queen of Sheba's Attendants have gone offstage in the middle of a scene premarturely and neglected to come back for their lines (because they can't find the costume change they're supposed to bring on), leaving Sara & the Queen to improvise desperately, it can never happen again . . . right? Bits of the Fool's costume fell off every 5 minutes, and the Peacock's feathers were bent. But a lot went right, too - and a good thing, as we'd invited about 90 local schoolkids (1st & 2nd graders, mostly) to attend for free. They were riveted. But I'd forgotten how nutso I get when I'm observing a show from the back with an actual audience. I lose my focus on the players, and am utterly attuned to the audience reaction: Did that joke get a laugh? Are they "seat-wriggling"? Why aren't they applauding here? Maybe because I'm a performer myself, I just go to That Place automatically, but of course, being at the back of the auditorium rather than the front, there's not a damn thing I can do about it except wonder if I need to revise more, or beg the director not to let that actor ever ever do that bit again. Last year I was on at the beginning & end of the show as Tante Miriam, and stood at the back the rest of the time for nearly every performance, alternately suffering torments and crowing with glee. It's early days yet. This year's is a very very complicated show, and I know we'll all burn into it - even me. I must say that the sets & costumes are gorgeous beyond belief. No complaints there. And our ensemble is superb. Now, if only I could have an audience full of people who do exactly what I tell them!

Hmm. Still not sleepy. Better go to bed anyway. I could just pretend to sleep....
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
Excerpts from The Klezmer Nutcracker Rehearsal Report #13
Wednesday, November 25, 2009

1. At our last run through the show ran 1:03, Linda would like to get it down to 0:55 by opening.
Music & Book Changes:
1. Linda and Ellen made some minor but very effective cuts to the family scene today. The scene is really starting to get up to pace.
Costumes/Wigs & Make-Up:
1. Could Jason wear a bowtie?
1. Are you having any luck finding a flicker bulb for the magic candle?

The show opens on Dec. 5 at Vital Theatre in NYC, and runs through Jan. 3.
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
Back from WFC & the triumphant Interfictions 2 debut week, I've now been to a few of the first rehearsals for the new cast of this year's production of my Golden Dreydl for Vital Theatre, The Klezmer Nutcracker, and done a number of revisions to the script - some during the rehearsal itself: on Saturday, Sara, the Fool and I did improv on their lines until we got something we all liked. Most of the cast are genuine dancers - there will be many entrances on pointe, my friends, with pirouettes galore, this year! The Queen of Sheba will OWN every 9-yr-old in the audience when she does her Arabesque . . . . Sara & the Fool are "merely" tumblers - watching them egg each other on to cartwheels with a "Comaneci Finish" was pure bliss! - they have great chemistry together already, and what's more, they Get the Fantasy . . . When the director asked, "So, how does the Fool know that the Peacock was supposed to be guarding the Demons?" (See? I told you I was revising lots!), one said, "Well, he's mythic - he just does!" and the other, "It's a small Land; all the magical people know each other." Mwa! The ensuing discussion made me pontificate on the fact that Fantasy has to work on 3 levels, all at once: the Mythic, the Metaphoric, and the Real. (As Delia pointed out when I told her: This means that [all together now] Fantasy is Harder!)

I missed this morning's rehearsal, but the Production Manager, Leah, faithfully sends out a Daily Report. To give you some sense of how groovy this year's show will be, I present here the bit on
Costumes/Wigs & Make-Up:

1. [We just lost a cast member, who got a job with a touring production, so] L-- will replace V-- as the Autothith in the riddle scene.

2. Now that we’ll only have one toy in the first scene we’ve decided to ditch the Transformer and just have a dinosaur-type creature.

3. Luke would like to play the Guardian of Flame as a very short person with shoes on his knees, is it possible to get him some knee pads for rehearsals?

4. The Carob Man’s costume will need a pocket for his carrot.

La, la, la (Sing:) . . . There's no business like show business!

And now I really must go type up the revisions I promised for tomorrow.

You didn't think I was blogging because I didn't have something more important to do, did you?
ellenkushner: (EK:  Twelfth Night)
This morning was the first rehearsal for the new production of my Klezmer Nutcracker. I blush to say I've been Tweeting it, including a rehearsal photo, over at:

I should say more here, but I have to go finish packing for World Fantasy Con in San Jose & SF/CA (you'll find my schedule in an earlier post), and then do my best to get to tonight's Interstitial Arts Salon run by the mad bad [livejournal.com profile] ktempest, who also has to pack for WFC but somehow manages to do it all, not excluding a wonderful page previewing the Auction. Some people.
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
[Friday] Saw some amazing talent at Vital's KlezNut auditions today. Now, because of various schedule conflicts, the director, choreographer & I won't meet up until 8pm to make final choices ... at a mutually (in)convenient anonymous midtown Starbuck's. The Glamorous Life!

[Followup]: Most of our first picks have said yes! It's going to be a glorious, glamorous cast - all the women (except Sara) are also ballet dancers, so this year's production will feature some major toe shoe action. Swoon. The woman playing the Dreydl Princess did her kind of like a pantomime boy, very cheeky & swaggering - I'm in love! The Peacock is an amazing combo of Marilyn Monroe & Rosalind Russell, and moves like a dream - hilarious! As my director muttered to me: "She gets what you put in every line of that speech" -- "And a little extra!" I added.

First rehearsal is this Weds., and last night I turned in what I profoundly hope but greatly doubt will be my last set of revision. Performances will run Dec. 5- Jan. 3, all daytime this year, I think.
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
Spent today doing revisions on KLEZMER NUTCRACKER, while a golden NYC autumn day unrolled outside my window. Have I mentioned that [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman is the most brilliant script doctor who ever lived? Insights, that girl has! She shared them with me before sloping off to enjoy the Medieval Fair at the Cloisters.

Some people can write for 3-6 hours every day. I seem to be more of the "write all day every 3-6 days (or weeks)" school.

I have, however, cracked most of Act 2, I believe.

Here are two scenes from last year's performance: Tante Miriam's entrance' (played by yr obdt in a swoopy cloak) and the Glorious Peacock scene.

The show will be mounted again by NYC's Vital Theatre Co., running from 5 Dec - 3 Jan. The script will be somewhat improved - and I'm told there will be more dancing (some possibly involving small children from Harlem). Auditions are at the end of this month.

To Do Done

Aug. 27th, 2009 07:15 pm
ellenkushner: (EK:  Twelfth Night)
First off, apologies to everyone to whom I owe a letter, a response, a thank you note, etc. (esp. Adrienne Martini - I love the scarf you made & gave me at Worldcon! I have a great photo of all of us wrapped in it! I should post it! Oh, hey - you've written about our dinner at Little Sheep! Cool photos.). In addition to getting ready for our 3-week UK jaunt, I've suddenly had - and hit - a bunch of deadlines. Here's my crossed-off To Do list. Give me your love!

* Revise "The Duke of Riverside" story for Ellen Datlow's urban fantasy anthology (coming in 2010, titled NAKED CITY, St. Martin's Press). Yeah, I sold it to her, got the contract, and then went, "Mmm...I don't think this story really works." She said if I could get it done before we left for England, she'd try to fit it in - assuming she agrees with me. Got it in last night. Phew!!! (But if none of my clothes match when we get there, that's why.)

* Draft "Dear Bordertown Authors" letter. Send to [livejournal.com profile] blackholly & [livejournal.com profile] bgliterary & Terri' for fussing over details. Worry about who has time to reconstruct map of Bordertown from existing stories. Realize in bolt of genius that Fan Sites have already done exhaustive lists! Bless you, fans. We loves you. Have long phone meeting with Barry & Holly & figure out I don't really know how Googlegroups work, but am willing to learn. Letter sent. Awesome authors' awesome replies mostly responded to. It's magic!

* Type in all the performance changes from last year's Klezmer Nutcracker that were penciled in my script but never actually typed up, for reading (yesterday) at Vital. Which I don't have time to tell you about, but it was great. Lots of rewrites ahead, however.

* Figure out which shoes will not exacerbate exciting new foot condition (cuboid syndrome, anyone?) for next 3 weeks by trying on & wearing (w/different sock combinations) for an hour each. I'm almost there....

* Get tix for complicated multi-leg trip to WFC.

*Leave letter for doorman explaining which peripatetic musician friends will be crashing here while we're not.

* OK, you're bored now, aren't you? Go do something else! I am so glad the weather's broken. Trying to pack for 50-62F when it's 90 was a bit of a challenge.

I also want to give a special thank you shout to all my Interstitial Arts Foundation committee heads & members, & my IAF Executive Board pals - knowing you're out there doing great work makes it all so much easier!
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
GREAT NEWS! Vital Theatre has decided to produce THE KLEZMER NUTCRACKER again this year! Maybe even with more dancing & higher production values! Dates are Dec. 5 - Jan. 3. I don't know whether I'll perform in it or not, but my beloved director, Linda Ames Key, and I will be revising big chunks of the script before we start casting in late October. We met last week to talk about it, and we're doing a read-through of the old script today at Vital to hear how it sounds & to brainstorm further.

What a year. The Cosmic Tide . . . is in.
ellenkushner: (Default)
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind.

We did our final show today. Our final two shows, really - 11 & 1. The 1pm show was so sold out that not only were kids sitting on laps, they were sitting in the aisle, where Solomon, Sheba & I, who all made entrances down it, did our best not to step on them.

I knew it was going to be hard to say good-bye to the cast, the crew, and the whole experience. And it was. As soon as the audience had gone, we actually broke down the entire set, taking down lights & curtains & the big painted backdrop; putting away costumes & props, . . . and I stayed to the bitter end, when nothing was left, and the people who'd been patiently waiting - lighting & set plots in hand - to start setting up the next show ("The Princess of Riverside Drive" - I kid you not!) were told, "We're done. It's all yours!"

In a way, I needed to be there to hear that.

I really hadn't wanted to take my silly big grey cloak off, either. And when I did, I insisted that Delia stand by to receive it, while I recited what I could remember of Prospero's speech from Tempest (above) - not much, unfortunately; I wish I'd written it down beforehand! but of course, I hadn't even thought of it til then - and although she said, "You're a nut," she patiently listened, and folded the cloak, and took it away I know not where.

Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
And what strength I have's mine own....

And so, farewell. A new year dawns for us all.
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
Returned Jan. 1 after 3 days off to find the cast strangely decimated: Lindsay, who plays Cousin Rachel/Peacock, collapsed (before her first show) with flu, and so Cadien from the Vital office (who's a terrific actress) has rushed in to play Rachel & one of the Demons' deceptive dancing dreydls; Bethany, a dancer who was also my cover (and one of the peacock's tailfeathers), has taken over as the Peacock, and is very good. The rest of the tailfeathers are working extra-hard as a result; their focus is terrific. Without Lindsay we are also now down one Queen of Sheba Attendant, but the other 2 are seamlessly picking up her lines. (Oh, and my Golden Dreydl had sprung a leak: when I whipped it out from under my cloak, the handle nearly pulled right out of the thing! Spinning it was....interesting. Poor wee thing; it's had a hard life. All fixed today, though.) But what I pardonably thought (and everyone else hoped) was merely hangovers from a bunch of hard-partying 20-something turns out today to be rampaging flu. I came into the Green Room this morning and found grey-faced folks lying on the couches with blankets, waiting for the assistant to return with the Thera-flu - "Welcome to Klezmer I.C.U." said our witty lad, Alan (who claims he sweated his fever out last night, and is now "85% well;" he got to improvise a solo Demon Dance, replacing Bethany & Lindsay's duet. It involves butt-shaking, and is very popular with the kids). Bethany is wretched, and Danielle, who plays Sara and is onstage pretty much the entire hour, could barely speak or get into her costume before the show. The amazing thing is how well she did once she got onstage: her voice was strong, her energy was a little less then normal, but not so an audience would notice - and the other actors did their best to cover for her in little ways. It is really interesting to watch how shaking everyone up can change the energy - keeps reminding me of Henry Breedlove in Slings & Arrows Season 2 - some of it's rocky, some of it's brilliant - but it's all interesting.

Tomorrow are our last 2 performances. I think I will be quite sad when it is over. And all the little routines & survival practices I've developed over the last 4 weeks: timing my walk to the theatre, what to eat between shows, toting my silly bag with makeup and emergency rations and the fantastic "bling" Anne Bobby gave me to wear onstage, the 2 shirts I alternate keeping clean as they fit under the red dress . . . all will be over and useless - like European travel, for me, where one minute you're lost without your Euros and Metro Cards and Maps, and the next you're on a plane paying for drinks in dollars, with that other stuff useless at the bottom of your bag . . . . Not only am I used to travel, but I never stick at any routine for long. No one month is ever like another for me. So it won't be a terrible wrench. But of course, it will be hard to lose the collegiality of the show. I hate the thought that my beloved director will be having intense script meetings with Another Girl. HOWEVER, there are many more projects awaiting me - and some even have to do with Theatre! I will be focused. I will not be lazy. I will start another novel. I will set up a reading for Elizabeth's revisions on "Witches of Lublin." I will get back to "Bone Chandelier." I will, I will, I will.

During my 3 days off, I actually got a lot done (between naps & cups of tea with honey for the cold I really did have): an essay on my friendship & professional relationship with John Bellairs for NESFA Press's forthcoming omnibus on his adult work, and revisions on a new short story I've just sold - more on both of these later. Oh, and really enjoyed the Fanfic discussion that got going from my last post; I'll have more to say on that, soon, too, I hope.

The other thing that's been happening is a huge amount of socializing, which I have not been marking down here - but after almost every show there have been friends to go out for drinks/burgers/coffee with (depending on time of day), or to bring back here for tea. Many friends have come from out of town to visit and to see the show - I thought about listing them all here, but it might give you palpitations; Hotel Chateau Riverside has been a revolving door - our finest hour was last weekend, when (after a dinner for friends on the 25th heroically cooked by Delia - claiming she felt much better and was perfectly up to it, since she'd been in bed all the previous day!) Rosemary & her sister came Friday night (they slept in the guest bed, while Melana, our Dreydl Princess from the show, who had flown in that day from Xmas with her family in Louisiana for the evening show, slept on the couch so that she didn't have to take the hour+ subway ride back to Brooklyn that night to return again at 10 the next morning); 2 shows on Saturday, and our friends the Brombergs - all 5 of them - slept here that night (while we went out with Dan & Pat to see Women Beware Women, which is fabulous!!!); next day 2 more performances & Anne slept here on her way back to Boston.

See why I took Monday off?

And that's enough narrative for now. I have to go and put together presents for the cast. With love.

Isn't it lovely to be in a new year? I hope that all of yours are very happy.
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
ADDED: Blech. I feel awful. I won't be doing shows today, either.

I'm taking a couple of days off this week for various reasons, so I won't be performing at Vital on Tuesday 30th and Weds. 31st. My delightful young "cover" will be playing Tante Miriam, and I'm sure the cast will be on their mettle to make sure the show goes well for her. They have recently instituted a little stuffed bear, which pops up in random scenes: the Queen of Sheba's attendants presented it to Sara (along with her "refreshments") last week, and today it danced while Sara & the Fool sang "Tumbalalaika." Its name, of course, is Rav Bearele Bearenson (a close relation to the celebrated mystic who frequently, according to the Demon Autothith, consumed five times his weight in creamed herring and washed it all down with peppermint schnapps).

Today marked our 21st performance: Klezmer Nutcracker comes of age? Well, I did meet friends afterwards and drink a nice mimosa over at Savann. Saturday, Jan. 3rd will be our 2 final shows. Sigh. It's been grand.

Now all I have to do is get over this stupid cold, so I can get enough brains back to do the writing that's due this week - one must, after all, have something practical to fall back on when the parts are thin on the ground, my dear!
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
Well, it's been a lovely little break (which I spent with a cold - dammit, I told my body to wait til after Jan. 3, but it saw its chance and grabbed it), and tonight begins 9 straight days of Klezmer Nutcracker performances, many with 2 shows/day! I am thinking of taking Monday 12/29 or Tuesday 12/30 off, and letting my "swing," who did such a good job last week, get another chance to play Tante Miriam. So if any of you have already bought tix to one of those shows in hopes of seeing me, please let me know, and I'll choose accordingly. I hate to disappoint.
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
The Upper West Side is honeycombed with great food of all prices & descriptions; it would take pages just to list everywhere within 5 blocks of the theatre (Broadway between W. 76th-77th).

The 2 that have become my post-show Hangouts are:

SAVANN (on Amsterdam between 79th/80th)
Relaxed yet elegant, and never noisy, with pleasant, friendly staff - seems to be a family-run place, with Turkish-inflected food of great deliciousness, a good wine list, and excellent brunch menu. It's become my Comfort Place after shows.

Metropolitan Diner (on the NE corner of Broadway & 77th)
A classic. One of the last of the great family-run diners, where the Greek guy behind the counter sings out incantations about how many orders of fries he's got with what burgers. Kid friendly; went there last night after the show with Barry & Libba & their little one (who was too tired to get his promised milkshake, so I owe him one) and my 2 cousins. Portions are enormous. Soup is good. And the waitress returned to put her hand on my shoulder and said, "I'm sorry, my lady, we are out of chicken pot pie."

I would go there again just for that. (My chicken souvlaki was delicious, though.)

ADDED: Forgot to say: my choices are based on "I'm suddenly turning up with a largish (5-8) group of people; who can gracefully accommodate us?"

Have your own favorite nearby? (Planet Sushi? The Cottage [Chinese]? . . . ? Let's hear!
ellenkushner: (SWORDSPINT)
Who are my heroes?

The friends & family who slogged through the slush and sleet and puddles and malfunctioning subways to see "KlezNut" tonight at 7:00!

Thank you, guys.

Meanwhile, back in the Women's Dressing Room (where the conversation's always pretty lively), we figured out just how young is Really Young when Julie started singing "Nothing Compares to You" and found our lead (a college student playing Sara) had never even heard of Sinead O'Connor.

I immediately upped the ante by starting "No Guilt" by the Waitresses. Nobody. Nada. However, they all loved it, so I have looked it up and found it online for all to enjoy.

Here. It's the world's greatest post-breakup empowerment song. Even if half the things she's learned to do no longer exist.

If you don't even get what I told them, I don't even KNOW anybody in Toronto means, ask someone who was paying phone bills back before you lost your first tooth to explain.
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
[livejournal.com profile] rosefox asked me where she could sample some of the music for my Klezmer Nutcracker play, and it occurred to me that I should tell everyone here - and also explain its lineage:

Shirim Klezmer Orchestra's brilliant album of klezmer spins on classical tunes from Mahler & Brahms to the Tchaikovsky "Nutcracker Suite," "Klezmer Nutcracker" (sample trax also here)
our 1-woman (me as writer & narrator)/1-band (Shirim) "spoken word" stage show, which was recorded as a radio special and then released as a whole nother CD, "The Golden Dreydl" (also available on Amazon): this is the one with me narrating the entire story I wrote.

Both albums are commercially available for all your gift-giving needs.

(Just to make things interesting - the guys of Shirim also record avant-klezmer-jazz-fusion music as Naftule's Dream on John Zorn's hip Tzaddik label ; their album Search for the Golden Dreydl gave me the idea for the title of our show. [Yeah, they said it would only confuse people - and they were right . . . ])

And then I wrote the book. Which became the play currently running at Vital Theatre (through Jan. 3).

Obsessively detailed FAQ with links on my site.
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
Tonight was our first evening show, and for the first time we played to a half-empty house; I guess parents just aren't out there looking for the perfect evening show for their 4-yr-olds! We did have a front row full of beautifully-dressed little girls there for the birthday party of a, what, 7 yr old? They giggled madly at everything from the beginning, which gave the actors lots of heart - and the rest of the house, which was mostly my friends and all very much older than 7, picked up on all the obscure jokes and choreography. Oddly enough, it was one of our best performances yet. Maybe it was the front row. Maybe we were fighting harder to win over the smaller audience. Maybe it was the absence of intermittent squeakage from querulous 2-yr-olds . . . or absence of Saturday morning hangovers (god knows *I* was a whole lot more conscious and on the ball - so Not a Morning Person...) . . . But it was a very good night.

We're doing it again tomorrow (7 p.m.). There are discount tix for evening shows (except 12/22, which is sold out); use code KLEZPM10 for 12/19 & 12/26.
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
First of all, the ridiculously talented [livejournal.com profile] rm weighs in with an exceptionally "chewy" review, full of crunchy nuggets of insight theatrical and thematic.

Reviewer and playwright Paulanne Simmons begins her CurtainUp review with a thoughtful analysis of how Chanukah fits (not) into the Holiday Season , and pleasingly concludes, "Casting the author as Tante Miriam was a stroke of genius as she gives the entire play a spiritual and essentially Jewish quality that sets it apart from the fluff of the original Nutcracker."

And ShowBusinessWeekly describes my Tante Miriam as "part vagabond part Narnia warlock . . . " -- Mwa ha ha! All my dreams realized at last!

(I meant to tell you earier: Reason #339 of Why I Love My Director is that a couple weeks ago she stopped rehearsal to out that the moment when I rush down the steps as Tante Miriam to embrace little Sara is a perfect meta-theatrical moment of the Author embracing her own Character.

Prospero, c'est moi!)

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