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2004-03-20 @ 7:27 p.m.
a former critic fesses up

Ok, you probably have to be a theatre geek like me, to get a laugh out of that one. I made it for my gay friend down in Manhattan. He likes kitties and once directed a production of "Evita" when we still lived in California.

Think a high school can pull off a production of "Evita"? Well, these kids certainly did under G's brilliant direction. The girl playing Evita, who was this little blonde spitfire, could really act (she ended up in show business in L.A.) The guy who played Che had never done a play in his whole life was absolutely dazzling and could sing the pants off the music.

G had worked at a major theatre in San Francisco, where a touring company of "Evita" played for several weeks, and he had a photographic memory where choreography is concerned. He had also directed a great production of "A Chorus Line" the year before. And to make a bunch of high school students with two left feet into a smooth running ensemble, is quite a feat.

I sort of worked on the sidelines. I went to almost every rehearsal and would give G notes about what was right and wrong. Fortunately he never took offense since he trusted me and knew that theatre was a collaborative effort.

I also helped promote it locally. I was working as an entertainment writer for the local newspaper, so I was able to easily get blurbs in the paper about it.

I also photographed it extensively and did the publicity pictures. I had hoped to find one of them and throw it on, but I can't find my "Evita" stuff. I've moved about 23 times since then, so God knows where they are.

But being involved with theatre was always pleasurable to me. I've done virtually every aspect of it, except lighting.

I did make-up for "He Who Gets Slapped", costumes for another show I can't recall, I acted in "The Visit", and "Cabaret", I photographed a Goth version of "A Midsummer's Night Dream, I did props for "Blithe Spirit".

That was really fun, because I also got to do "special effects". The show, of course, is a Noel Coward comedy about calling up spirits from the great beyond, so we had to make things on stage appear to be thrown about by a ghost, like books falling out of bookcases and couches moving.

I even got to make a big puff of smoke explode in a fireplace. I was always scared I was going to catch the theatre on fire because we poured this flammable powder onto this metallic strip behind some fake logs, and then on cue I would throw a tiny switch and send an electrical zap into it and poooof! Sparks and smoke. Eek!

I was mostly involved in the music end of theatre though. I've worked as music director for such shows as "George M", "Once in a Lifetime", "Godspell", "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" to name a few. My first paid job was at a repertory theatre for two summers.

Oh, and I almost forgot, I was a critic for a newspaper, so I got to see and write about many different shows, both where I lived and also down in San Francisco.

Married Guy's kids are now involved with theatre, especially kidlet. He's a little hambone, but he's very good and I'm glad to see that M.G. sees theatre and music as a good thing. I enjoy going to see their shows and concerts.

My parents didn't do much to support my love of theatre. I never even saw a play until I was involved with one in high school. And then when my mom did come to see one of my shows, she thought it was her duty to totally pick it apart afterwards. Like "Oh that person couldn't act. And boy, that costume looked stupid."

Hey maybe I got my ability to criticize (i.e., be a critic)... from her. The only difference is that I would pick out the GOOD things about the production and write about them rather than the bad. Because what young actor in a high school play or local community theatre production, wants to hear that they suck in print?

Sure I saw some crappy stuff. We had this one particular theatre company in town that was consistently bad. I mean really bad. G and I still joke about it, like "Hey let's go see "Hamlet" at the **** Players. hahahahah!"

But I never ever gave them a bad review. They tried hard. But when telling G about one of their shows, I would always say: "Well, at least the shoes in the second act were good" and he would know what I meant.

He, of course, went onto Broadway. I went onto total obscurity just south of Canada. And the *** Players? Well, they're probably doing an all-dancing, all-singing version of "Antigone" as seen through the eyes of Elvis tonight.

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Lyrics by Lennon/McCartney. All angst copyright by awittykitty