musical theatre

Music Monday … with no music?

Late night #MusicMonday?

Yes, please!

After a weekend full of talking, meeting and sitting on trains travelling across the country (Berlin – Stuttgart – Hanau – Leipzig – Berlin in four days) I’m back home and thinking about music. (no, that’s wrong: I’m thinking about my MA thesis and about stuff.)

Anyways – I really don’t have to share a song with you today. I listened to Hamilton A LOT this past weekend plus whenever the wifi on trains was working I took advantage of my iTunes music subscription to listen to the Jasper in Deadland album that was just released last week.

 

So today I ask you: What are you listenting to these days? What’s your favourite musical theatre associated song theses days? What’s something you return to over and over and over again?

Music Monday … Sorrow Done

The other day Ryan Scott Oliver – and people know I value his work BIG TIME! – uploaded a number of videos from the We Foxes / Rope concert at 54below back in March. This concert actually happened the very same day German versions of two of his songs from 35MM premiered at schreib:maschine in Berlin – total conincidence, right?

 

Anyway – I never knew many of the songs really well before, but these videos changed EVERYTHING. It’s just real good music (and cool orchestrations!) played by amazing instrumentalists (that violinist!) and sung by amazing singers. Over the last couple of days I became totally obsessed with the performance of Kerstin Anderson as Willa – seriously, she’s AMAZING. And while Sorrow Done is a real good example of that I definitely suggest that you check out the whole playlist RSO has created for the We Foxes part of the concert, because it’s just….ah….I have to repeat myself….really cool. 🙂

 

 

and here’s the complete playlist:

5 favourite musical theatre things in 2014

1) Bridges of Madison County – I know, I mentioned that A TON on here! You don’t remember? Are you kiddin’ me? Check out this and that and that….More than 7 months after my visit at the Schoenfeld theatre it still wows me. Just last week I had a major re-listen of the score and it is as beautiful as always. I mean: Of course it is, I listen to it on CD. CDs usually don’t change….Boy, honestly I’m doubting I’ve felt something more beautiful in 2014 that this solo cello in the opening, Steven Pasquale’s “It all fades away” (which is great to hysterically cry along, by the way) or the things “Look at me” tells us about Francesca? This music and the memories of the performances I was #blessed enough to see are treasures of my (professional) theatre memory and it re-assures me that theatre and music might be the biggest love of my life.

2) my travels – I like to go on trains and I really like to go places. This year my (musical) theatre obsession has brought me to serveral countries and cities including St. Gallen and Zurich (Switzerland), a couple of German cities and of course the all mighty New York City. I like exploring new grounds and still know there’s something in each of my destinations I genuinely love: Theatre. I’ve began to believe that theatre connects people from all kind of countries and it’s hard for me to believe otherwise.

3) the internet – some of you might remember this – earlier this year I was a guest blogger for newmusicaltheatre.com’s blog. In my 8 part series I wrote about (contemprary) musical theatre in Germany. Literally I was so proud to be featured on there, since English isn’t my first language and I love the American musical so much I was over the moon to (potentially) bring my thoughts on German theatre to American and international readers. I deeply adore this website anyway, the articles feautred reflect our business in a way I’d love to read it from German folks as well….Another find this year definitely is the-interval.com, a online magazine reminding us that there aren’t enough women on Broadway or in theatre for that matter and that theatre still is mostly for men, workingwise. (I’ve written about this, too, a while back….read it here). Other than that they do amazing interviews with amazing women in theatre. 😉

4) books – this year I read serveral books and atricles dealing with theatre. Two of them are sticking out. Really. One of them of course being “The Untold Stories of Broadway” by the phenomenal Jennifer Ahsley Tepper (check out her twitter for more awesomeness!) which I already wrote about. I loved it and can’t wait until all my other reading is finally done to take my turn with the second installement. The other one is a very crucial one for me as a professional, as a researcher – I spent a week of my summer with Stacy Wolf’s “Changed for Good. A feminist history of the Broadway musical”. Although it in deed is feminist, sometimes more than a only a little polemic the books gives an overview what women on stages can tell or can’t and how men (most of the shows she writes about are written my men with the exception of Caroline, or change and even that only partly) have presented women in their stories throughtout the years.

5) friends – I’ve said that before: I love the community sense of theatre. And this year I’ve made new friends in theatres, around theatres and in the world just meeting people from the community: My classmates from Leipzig, especially my lovely H with whom I spent so much time around the ‘little’ production of Barcode, and so many enthusiastic people I again met this year while working with Bundeswettbewerb Gesang, and – of course, how could I forget you?! – my lovely friend D who a) sung a translation of mine to people, twice and b) is simply amazing! ❤
Plus: I’m very, very happy that old friends of mine are still there or back again in my life.

Is Theatre a Male Thing?

In Germany we have loads of theatres. Governmental funded, state supported theatres – Staatstheater, Landestheater and mixtures of both plus other forms of theatre being funded more or less. Germany has a very vivid theatre scene – as I keep stressing in my posts over at newmusicaltheatre.com – but most of the people in charge are men.

When I started my undergrad studies in theatre studies almost four years ago 90% of the freshmen were actually freshwomen (see what I did here?) and from then on I have kept asking myself what happens to all these girls on their way through their studies? They are probably not becoming theatre scholars because that’s mostly male as well…directors? Maybe, but most of them still are men. Theatre/company managers? – Nope. Dramaturgs….maybe, chances are higher at least.

The reason why I decided to write a post about the male/female ratio in theatre business (in Germany) is that in the last couple of days two voter committees were presented. Both of them will vote in competitions in contemporary (German) musical theatre. The first one I came across is a contest called CREATORS – Neue Musicals braucht das Land (which roughly translates to “Creators – New Musicals for Germany” and you can find a German website of it by clicking here...). It basically is to encourage young musical theatre writer/composer-teams to present their work – which is a nice idea, I’m not questioning that. And I am all in for new original German musicals and I am the first one to complain about a lack of said original German musicals.
But when I clicked my way through the pictures of the press conference they held (the pictures can be found on their facebook page) I couldn’t help but recognize that out of the eight people in the picture seven are men. Reading the website of the contest you’ll find that the commitee consists of 12 people. 3 of them are women.

Another committee presented was the voters of the 2015 (and first ever) edition of Deutscher Musical Theater Preis (Award for German Musical Theatre) presented by Deutsche Musicalakademie. There are six voters, two of them women. A slightly better ratio than the earlier one, but still….
I feel that we in Germany (and especially theatre people….) are quite gender-sensitive and we know that there still are issues. When Karin Beier first became successful artistically managing the Schauspiel Köln there were suddenly a lot of articles in (online) newspapers about how she manages to be a mom and a successful director and how seriously she takes her afternoons with her kid(s). The questions asked there probably wouldn’t have been asked while interviewing a man.

Just let’s be honest here.

Recently I came across a discussion on twitter regarding the small festival Marstallplan hosted by Resedenz Theater München. This festival showcasing works of young directors was focused on Goethe’s Faust II and all of the shown productions were directed by men. One of the invited productions was directed by a woman, Magali Tosato, but apparently she decided to have her work not shown. This is an unfortunate event, but one production out of 7 directed by a woman is also rather unfortunate…Another “only one woman!”-discussion happened on nachtkritik.de when the new committee for the Theatertreffen, a very prestigious theatre festival for mainly straight plays, was presented earlier this spring and out of seven voters there will be only one woman for the next year.

I’m a not saying “Yeah, women!” or “Just let women vote for awards and contests just because they are women” – choosing people because of their sex and/or gender is just as bad as not choosing someone because of his/her gender. What we should do is think about what that means for theatre.

Especially when it comes to contests and awards it is much about representation of the genre, the business, the works for other people and to the public. With men being the main part of committees there is a legit chance of the works presented seeing the world or whatever they’ll be about through a very male gaze – while audiences (especially in musical theatre) are mostly female.

There might be some people around saying: Yeah, maybe they just found not enough women being ‘good enough’/educated enough/professional enough to be a voter on this!
Really? Please!

What do you think? Where are the women in (musical) theatre? And especially to my readers from other countries – how’s the situation over there?

P.S.: This post does not mean I’m not happy for the men on those committees. Congrats to those of our German theatre creators to be able to encourage young talent in the first place. Regardless of sex and gender. (because not having to think in terms of male, female, sex and gender is probably the ultimative goal, right? At least it’s mine.)

newmusicaltheatre.com

Who remebers the post about my top 10 websites for musical theatre lovers?

One of the websites I included there was newmusicaltheatre.com – more specifically their blog which can be reached by clicking this link. In early April, around the time I was in new York, they posted on there that they were looking for a new bunch of guest bloggers, so after I returned, I quickly typed up some things and – boom! – Lisanne is blogging for a American (!) website about musical theatre. Those of you who follow my facebook-page or my twitter already know that, but in my opinion that’s still very exciting, because I am the only continental European blogger (there are two from Britian I guess) and after all English is not my mother tongue.

Last Sunday my first deadline came around and Hannah, the editor of the blog, informed me, that my first post will go up this coming Friday! This post (as well of most of the following) will mostly be about how I think about how contemporary musical theatre is done in Germany.

Until then, I just leave you a link to my bio as a current blogger on newmusicaltheatre.com to enjoy and this Friday I’ll probably freak out about my first post over there. 🙂

My Week #34, Apr 21st – 27th

what I saw

two (dance/movement) performances during the IN ZUCHT Festival by HZT Berlin. And tonight I’m gonna see a third one as well as Gob Squad’s Western Society at HAU 2.

what I read    

Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the first three interviews from Lyn Cramer’s book Creating Musical Theatre: Conversations with Broadway Directors and Choreographers.

what I listened to
The recording of The Bridges of Madison County – what else?

what I did

not too much exciting things. Met a couple of friends and spend the Monday after Easter Day on a bike ride with my Mom.

And I finally had another Krimidinner performance to manage yesterday. Yay!

What did you do?

Are you curious and can’t wait for my posts to see what I thoughts of the shows I saw? On the Theaterkind facebook page I posted pics of the ticket stubs with small thoughts for every show I saw – head over there and check it out!

Have a great new week starting tomorrow!

My Week #33, Apr 14th – 20th

what I saw

Common Ground by Yael Ronen and Company at Maxim Gorki. The 30th show/performance I’ve seen this year! Common Ground is – in my opinion – this strongest of the three company-productions I’ve seen under the ‘supervision’ of Yael Ronen.

Sarg Niemals Nie – a rather German performance of contemporary musical theatre. It is funny, a very German sense of humour and I had fun although I had some trouble with my ticket beforehand and I was hungry and had a headache (all these cliché girls stuff…)

what I read    
I actually read the novel The Bridges of Madison County and – oh boy! – weird. But a quick and easy read on a Sunday….

Heiner Müller’s Hamletmaschine which I’ll read again after I read the original Shakespeare Hamlet once again.

what I listened to
The recording of The Bridges of Madison County was released digitally last Tuesday and that was it. I’m literally glued to everything that actually plays music, it’s playing non stop. (exept for working and workign out in fitness classes and stuff) Just for a mere 20 minutes or so it was interrupted by the Beautiful recording.

what I did
I met a lovely friend whom I haven’t seen in a while and we had extravagant hot chocolate and a great talk about (musical) theatre and Germany.

Actually I had a pretty great time with other people in general – I tend to enjoy the company of others more in springtime.

 

What did you do?

Are you curious and can’t wait for my posts to see what I thoughts of the shows I saw? On the Theaterkind facebook page I posted pics of the ticket stubs with small thoughts for every show I saw – head over there and check it out!

Have a great new week starting tomorrow!

Music Monday … Louder Than Words

The last couple of days I thought a lot about politics and politicality of theatre – basically that’s what I think about most of the times, but somehow it became an issue over the last days, not only but also because I found out that a conference called “Dance and Politics” which will be taking place in early May is not so much about dance and politics (like: political issues, discourse and stuff), but about dance and cultural policy (!). This misunderstanding was probably caused by me misunderstanding the German word “Politik” als politics and not so much as policy. Anyway, thinking about politics and theatre and why we do what we do, made me stop my continous listening to snippets of the recording of The Bridges of Madison County and return to Louder Than Words from Jonathan Larson’s show tick, tick…Boom!

Because: Action speaks louder than words.

(while for me it’s more like: words, words, words.)

What are listening to today?

My Week #32, Apr 7th – 13th

what I saw
Martin Nachbar’s reconstruction-reenactment-lecture-performance-mash-up Urheben Aufheben at Sophiensaele – including a pre-show lecture held by the woman who graded my BA thesis last year…

the last performance of Xerxes at Komische Oper Berlin (at least for this and the next season) – although it was marked as sold out we scored great tickets at the box office rush.

She She Pop’s latest performance Frühlingsopfer in which they are performing with their mothers.

what I read    
not as much as I would have liked to be reading, but I bought books I need for my admission exam in May.

what I listened to
the concept recording of Frank Wildhorn’s Artus – Excalibur which I’m going to see in St. Gallen next month, the Beautiful OBCR (especially You’ve Got a Friend, I Feel the Earth Move and Beautiful) and when I found a website where you could get sneak peeks of the gorgeous recording of The Bridges of Madison County – and that was actually the end of a weekend not listening to music. 😉

what I did
I brought home not only the things I bought in NYC and a bunch of playbills, but also a cold – so once the cold got started I was mostly hanging around listening to music. I also took a placement exam for an English class at university and then applied to said class and got into “Advanced English for Academic Professionals 1a” – weird name, but it starts next week and I’m excited, because I kind of enjoy taking language classes with high levels (I really don’t seem to enjoy beginners’ classes – I remember failing miserably in learning Russian….). For the weekend my loveliest of all former co-workers (from university) came to Berlin for a visit. We had a ball seeing Xerxes together! Plus I spend the Saturday with two other very dear friends. (note: as soon as my cold wore off I had a rather good time.)

 

What did you do?

Are you curious and can’t wait for my posts to see what I thoughts of the shows I saw? On the Theaterkind facebook page I posted pics of the ticket stubs with small thoughts for every show I saw – head over there and check it out!

Have a great new week starting tomorrow!

Favourite Friday: Seeing the Joy

During Beautiful (both, the show AND the song!) I was lucky enough to be able to see both Jessie Mueller in her long blue dress at the grand piano AND the conductor Jason Howland. I could also see that the piano wasn’t so much of a piano, it was pretty much castrated (what would the Girl of Once say to that? 😉 ) – but I guess still mostly everyone agrees on Jessie Mueller doing an amazing job mimicking playing the piano.

Anyways, during this impressive piano-part towards the end of the song – I was able to see the joy of making music and the joy of acting as if one is creating music and, most of all, the love for music.

And this, my friends, is an important part of the theatre communities across the globe: We (mostly) love what we do and with some people you are lucky enough to see that!

You can get a sense of Ms. Mueller’s part of loving the music in this video!

What do you love?

Are you able to do what you love most?