Musical

Music Monday … High

Happy Monday! I’m super blown away by the return of my own discipline to post on here again regularly – anyway, it’s a new week, it’s a new Monday and this is why it’s time for a new #MusicMonday! Recently I re-discovered a song by Scott Alan from his own musical-project formerly named “Home”, just now it had been renamed “Fly Away, Home” (as fas as I understood).

This song is actually one of the songs I literally cannot WAIT to translate in German one day….#daydreaming

See yourselves, folks, I have two different versions of this song for you:

a) Allie Trimm – who made here Broadway debut back in 2008 in Jason Robert Brown’s “13” (from which, fun fact about me as a nerd, “A little more homework” was played at my high school graduation when I walked up to get my diploma) – back when she sung that song she probably was the age of the character, as we can learn during the song….

b) And Cyntha Erivo, who is going to be Celie in the Broadway Revival of “The Color Purple” this season. I mean: HELL YEAH!

I hope with these videos your week is off to a …. relaxed …. start. 🙂

What are you listening to today?

International Women’s Day

People who know me personally or are just familiar with me talking about what and how I (would) like to work usually know how much I am into everything ‘gender’ (this sounds so weird. SO WEIRD!). I’m getting a lot of my (academic) inspiration from what Judith Butler wrote, especially from Gender Trouble‘s second to last chapter. Basically 80% of my undergrad classes in my major dealt with gender and how we see bodies (on stages and I’m trying hard to keep in that way in grad school. While I am usually primarily thinking about how gender might be constructed in certain theatrical productions, in certain moments through music, action, dance, language….basically whatever you could think of.

A big part of my private personality is about being a feminist which (to me) means: I am all in for equality of all people. And if that means rooting for women for a while in order to get us (women, society) as far as we can get in equality – so be it. That certainly doesn’t mean I don’t like men or the work of men. In fact some of my very dear collaborators are male and I will continue to work together well with men. Why shouldn’t I?

But – and there is a big, big B-U-T!

If you have been following this blog you might remember my post about two major competitions held in (musical theatre) Germany these days I posted a while ago (if you don’t: check it our here!) and if you – aditionally or alternatively follow me on twitter you might have guess that I’ve recently jumped on the gender parity waggon, mostly because of the amazing (journalistic) work the ladies at The Interval do.

Actually this has – especially in musical theatre in Germany – bothered me for a while. While in most other genres of theatre women tend to become more and more likely to cover high(ish) positions – it isn’t the case with musicals.

What I wanted to leave here in order to celebrate international women’s day today is: The men in our community are doing good work.

But – and here it finally comes, the big B-U-T – let’s just raise awareness for now. May I ask you to – every time you go and see a show, will you read the names of creative teams and just take a moment? If there aren’t any women in it or if there are, it doesn’t matter. Let’s just think about gender parity in German musicals, okay?

And for those you are making the decisions: I would love to see women and girls encouraged to do work in our business.

I have a hard time starting out myself and I would LOVE to see and meet other young professionals working in/with musicals! But just for now I wish us all (women AND men) to have a fantastic women’s day which I will celebrate by going to Leipzig and see my college’s production of Songs For a New World.

 

Just in case you were just thinking I was making things up here or you need some kick to start thinking about gender parity in theatre, Frank Wesner took this impressive shot last Monday during the first preselection of works at the CREATORS contest I mentioned earlier and in the other post liked above. Pictured are the creators of the five new musicals featured in this preselection. Do I need to say more? 😉

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Music Monday … Fly into the Future

I wanted to put a new Music Monday up this week and I went through my old installments and realized I haven’t featured it yet? I mean: Really?

I’ve been full-on obesessed with this song for a good month now or longer. Anyway, I think it’s a great song about female empowerment coming around the corner all so sweetly, school-girly. I like that. A lot.

Listen, and repeat.

I actually am obessed enough to have started thinking about how to translate it into German – it really makes a good song in German. I swear.

 

Have an amazing Monday (night) and if you are on the East coast of the US, please stay safe.

What are you listenting to today? This week?

My top 5 things that moved me in 2014

…as an audience member.

I like lists and I cannot lie. I’m sorry, but the last weeks of a year just make me want to write lists. So here they come, the top 5 moments I experienced as a theatre-goer in 2014. In no particular order. And most of them involved crying and – funnily enough – other people.

1) My Mama just before seeing Anything Goes in St. Gallen: “Uh…I don’t like comedies like that!” Me: “Well, just sit and listen and watch and if you decide to like it eventually it’ll be worth much more, right?” Mama as intermission is about to start, smiling: “What you said just happenend!”

2) During a short trip to Dresden with my classmates from Leipzig, most of them wanted to go and see a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. As you might or might not know I usually don’t chose Shakespeare if I have a choice. And I had and to I took my classmate H to see the smaller scale production Weiße Flecken of the Bürgerbühne in Dresden (a phenomenon I mentioned in one of my newmusicaltheatre.com blogposts) by a director I know very well. Sensing her excitement and seeing how touched she was by what happenend on stage and talking to her afterwards about what we just had seen, which obviously a first for her, was great and made me not regret my decision to not have joined the others.

3) the very small production of Exit Paradise at Neuköllner Oper Berlin which I saw this fall. It was not so much about being moved or touched in a Bridges of Madison County kind of way, but it definitely was one of the most dense theatrical experiences I ever had. It was a small venue, the cast was highly energetic and acted/sung their bottoms off…

4) the closing performance of Barcode, a new chamber opera my mentioned classmate H and I were the dramaturgs for. After we had seen this production a lot, both of us probably didn’t expect this performance to be much different, but it blew us away. I guess we still are pretty proud of our singer-actors and what they accomplished.

5)
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This. Note the conductor. And I mean: This show as a whole. Whom am I kidding, right? (Who doesn’t know what I’m hinting at here, check out this post!)

My Week #46, Oct 12th – 19th

what I saw
over the last couple of weeks when I took a break from these weekly recaps I didn’t see all too much (the German production of Bonnie and Clyde will get a special blogpost hopefully up next week…), but this past week I’ve seen plenty of things.

I attended the first installement of the ‘new’ schreib:maschine an open-stage-kinda-thing for musical theatre writers.

On Thursday some of my new class mates from Leipzig came over to Berlin for a litte visit and we went to see Tee im Harem des Archimedes, a play at Deutsches Theater.

On Friday we went to see Christoph Marthaler’s latest project at Volksbühne Berlin: Tessa Blomstedt gibt nicht auf. Featuring a lot of cheesy songs and being hilarious and out-going and very quiet at the same time, but attracting a weird audience.

And yesterday I went on a little adventure to Düsseldorf to see the last preview of the German production of the Shrek musical.

what I read
sadly reading and I took a little break, I read parts of of a book called “Oper als Aufführung” and magazines.

what I listened to
Because I saw Bonnie and Clyde late last month I went through a massive phase of listening to the Broadway recording of that. I got a little into listening to Andrew Lippa’s Little Princess and, of course, I listen to everything I can find from Jasper in Deadland.

what I did
For the first three days of this week I worked with the very first call for participants of this year’s Bundeswettbewerb Gesang in Berlin. Then: Working, finally some working out again and as mentioned earlier yesterday we jumped into the strike to hop on our train to across the country to Düsseldorf. Before that I spend enormous amounts of time on trains to and from Leipzig, but to be honest I really enjoy commuting. 🙂


What did you do?

The Theaterkind facebook page is only 6 away from 100 likes! Can we make it? That’d be AWESOME. 🙂

Have a great new week starting tomorrow!

Anything Goes – Literally

IMG_2174After I have posted all my Broadway-thoughts and my thoughts on Sarg Niemals Nie I can (finally) move on to the three musicals I have seen in St. Gallen, Switzerland, in the end of May when the theatre of St. Gallen showed all three of their currently running musicals in a row. I went there by train with my mother and we had a great time (her first time in Switzerland), after three nights in St. Gallen we went to Zurich and stayed another two nights (which is so expensive the two nights there did cost roughly the same as the three nights in St. Gallen – and the hotel wasn’t that good, actually). Anyways…right now we’re here to talk productions.

I used to be not that much into old musicals, I’m all for innovation and new stuff (hence my contributing to the Greenroom-blog over on newmusicaltheatre.com) – so I was the least excited about the first show of the three which was Anything Goes. When we were sitting in the theatre’s lobby (which is lovely and quite special architectural) after our over-night-travel and my mom was flipping through the pages of the programme she was like: “Oh…it’s one of these comedies in which someone is mistaken for someone and it’s supposed to be funny. I’m not really up to this right now!”

A couple of minutes later a woman joined us where we sat (apparently she is reviewing shows for German musical news-page thatsmusical.de) and she was all like: “I don’t know what this is about and frankly I don’t care. I am tired and I only bought it because it was cheap, more by accident. I really only wanted to see actor X this afternoon! And look, I’ve seen show Y in Stuttgart 40 times!” Sorry if I’m offending some people know, but this attitude pisses me off. Like really! Then my mother repeated her statement before I said: “Well – let’s try to see it this way. If you really don’t want to see something because you don’t feel in the mood and in the end you happen to have enjoyed yourself and it finds its way to your heart, that’d make the production amazing, right?”

Later, when the lights went on for intermission, my mom turned to me, beaming and said: “It was exactly like you said before! It totally found its way to my heart!” And for myself I can definetely say that this evening was not only when I fell in love with Cole Porter’s music (am I late to the party?), but also with this kind of old-ish musical where the narrated story is kind of draped around hit-songs, not in the hideous compilation-musical-Mamma-Mia-kind-of-way (or for more German reference: Hinterm Horizont and its brothers and sisters…), but in a slightly better working one. And eventually: Bettina Mönch.

Let’s start in reverse order. I have the feeling that in almost every post with thoughts on a German production of anything which I remotly liked I state that one of the performers has given a great performance, the “best performance on a German stage I’ve seen in a long while when it comes to musicals”. But after Pia Douwes’ performance as Diana in Next to Normal last fall Bettina Mönch gives a very different (of course, because they are playing different characters) but equally amazing performance as Reno Sweeney. She is tall which stresses her being different from the others just because she is so much taller than all the other (female and even most of the male) actors on that stage and has a very captivating appearance on stage. And boy, she is a dancer! And she can sing. And act. Basically she is this tripple threat we always are talking about, but as I feel not getting to see that much on German (speaking) stages. She owns the stage as Reno’s got to own it.

The thing with Anything Goes seems to be: anything goes. The title already gives a hit of what I think was quite ‘ahead of its time back then’, throughout the story the women – especially Reno, but eventually all the other female characters, too – are winners. They own the (their) men and in the end everyone of them gets what she wants. For me worshipping the female narrative that’s quite a nice thing to have. I remember talking about it when I went to my admission interview in Leipzig only a couple of days after we’d returned from our trip – I just didn’t really expect a female narrative to happen in a musical from the 1930ies. Written by men.

The directing by Josef E. Köpplinger is sometimes very, very silly (the opening of the show, is almost embarrassingly silly), but then it somewhat ‘returns’ to the narrative and gives it a fitting vibe – full of doors opening and closing at the right time. Most of the times it comes to terms very charmingly with the good ol’ Staatstheater-situation: having people that can’t (and don’t have to) dance in big scenes, because they are members of the opera choir – I have seen a lot more embarrassing situations on this department.

In my latest post over on newmusicaltheatre.com I adressed the translating-issue we are faced in German speaking countries when producing shows originally written in another language, mostly English. In this production of Anything Goes they decided to have the dialogue in German and the songs sung in English – which is a weird feeling. Directing-wise you don’t only have to justify your characters breaking into a song, but also breaking into a song in a language different from the one they just spoke – and I can’t deny that it cracks up the narrative. And it causes more than one awkward moment – with only very few songs you can really tell when it starts, there are mixutres of talking and singing, changing from phrase to phrase. Where do you draw the line? But then, I was really glad they didn’t force awkward German translations of these very English (down to their DNA if lyrics had one) lyrics on us – although I’m pretty sure not everybody in the audience was able to understand these (beautiful and if nor beautiful at least funny) lyrics, which is sad.

What I have been trying to tell you in more than 1000 words by now: If you have the opportunity to go or just really want to get to know Anything Goes as a musical or have been thinking about it, but never quite made the decision – I encourage you to do so. You (probably) won’t regret it.

(for more information you can either visit musicalzentrale.de or the theatre’s website)

Music Monday … Breathe

I mentioned reading a quite special book the last week – a book basically explaining diffrent concepts of womanhood and femininity on Broadway over the last six decades. Anyway this is called Music Monday and not Book Monday – so while reading this book I was inspired to dig back into my iTunes library to return to a very loved recording from only a couple of years ago.

I’m talking about In the Heights, winner of multiple Tony Awards in 2008, which is mentioned in the third to last chapter of “Changed for Good. A Feminist History of the Broadway Musical” with a number of other musicals focussing on women of color – reading about it I remembered how much I used to love the very narrative score.

My all time favourite song is ‘Breathe’ (and always was), the first solo of the (female) protagonist Nina. I’ve spent afternoons listening to various versions of it and crying my eyes out on them (one of them being a very mature and distinct performance by then 13-year-old Mallory Bechtel last year) – however when I thought about featuring it here I found a very moving version of it by the original (Broadway) Nina, Mandy Gonzales, sung at a five year reunion concert in 2013.

In addition to the song being Nina’s ‘I want’-number, it opens out up a lot of Nina’s character to the audiences, it’s very emotional and it presents the kind of community the characters and then we as audiences are in right now (or, better: putting even more color into the picture of community drawn in the opening).

 

What are you listening to today?

I’d love to hear!

What’s Next?

This is the name of a fun song from the Big Fish score (and for me it’s a VERY important song describing the change of Will’s and Edward’s relationship) – but it’s also the name today’s blogpost! Who would’ve thought so, right? Okay, after this crappy introduction I can now tell what this is about. I thought I’d take a minute writing down the things I am up to over the next couple of weeks/months theatre-wise and we can all be happy for me or just shake our heads about how nerdy/weird Lisanne is.
Sounds like fun?
Let’s go!I’ll be able to see two productions that are invited to Theatertreffen 2014 a festival held in Berlin honouring 10 of the most recognizable theatre productions of the past season BEFORE the actual festival – which in fact is great because I you probably might know: festival tickets are expensive and then don’t really offer student discounts and so I’m happy I’ll get to see at least two of them. That will be Tauberbach by Alain Platel (dance/thank you very much, my dear friend F., to think of getting us tickets!) and Ohne Titel Nr. 1 which is some kind of musical theatre project thingy (I have no idea, but that’s what I like…no genres and stuff). In addition to that I’ll be seeing the students’ preview of Einstein on the Beach and a performance of Jeremy Wade’s Together Forever (with tickets saying ‘including dinner’ which kind of creeps me and my friend out. like a lot.). No off the pure musical theatre in a musical kind of way. I’ll be seeing a production of Gypsy (in an actual night burlesque club), the next original musical of the UdK graduates Schwestern im Geiste (just as the production of Stimmen im Kopf I saw last year…) and hopefully a Berlin-ish off-production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch if I’ll make it. Originally I planned to see it tonight but I’m not feeling that well and I’ve got a packed weekend ahead.
And after that I’m off to NYC where I’ve planned to most intense theatre-watching-time I’ve EVER had (and I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff….). Over the past months I already bought tickets for well selling shows (and ones I’m very excited about) so know we have tickets for The Bridges of Madison County which I honestly can’t wait to see….because Jason Robert Brown is my all time favourite composer and how exciting is it to see one of his works on Broadway? Back when I bought the tickets to If/Then I was so happy that we were going to see the first regular performance after opening night, but now they re-scheduled opening night and so we are seeing the second to last preview. Hmpf. But I’m happy I got us the tickets we have now. For the evening show that same day we’ll be seeing the revival of Les Miserables on Broadway and that’s actually exciting because (and I know that’s kind of embarrassing) I’ve NEVER seen it before. I didn’t even catch the movie – of course I know the plot and most of the songs by heart, but I’ve never seen it. On the next day I’ll go uptown and see Ryan Scott Oliver and Hunter Foster’s Jasper in Deadland which I’m also uber excited to see since I love RSO’s music, while my girls will see Matilda (it was my present to my sister for her birthday in december that I’ll pay for the tickets). After that we’ll (probably) head over to the American Airlines Theatre to catch one of the first previews of the Broadway production of Violet starring Sutton Foster. Other than that we are planning to see Beautiful (which my mom first described as “the one with these songs I know from my youth. playing at this downstairs theatre!”), Bullets over Broadway and re-watch Once cause that’s kind of the living version of my idea of musical theatre (and we just so want my sister to see it, too). And we’ll hopefully get to spend another night at 54below and we are saving the last night so that everyone of us can go and see the show again she liked the most. On top of that I’m tempted to try my luck at either the Rocky or Kinky Boots lottery….

Well…and when we’re back and the jetlag has worn off (last time it took me forever!) I’ll be going to Switzerland and see three shows in St. Gallen and maybe a production at the opera of Zurich…just as I blogged last week.
And after that…I’m excited what’s next. There will be German productions of Shrek and The Addams Family later this year. And I REALLY should get my act together and return to going to the opera more.

The World’s Most Fancy Tickets

Last week I posted on the Theaterkind facebook page that I didn’t feel like blogging but I was planning a trip for the end of May/beginning of June.
Now the trip is all set and since it will be a theatrical trip, I thought I’d share with you!

We will be going to St. Gallen, Switzerland, for Musicaltage of the Theater St. Gallen, where they will show a three musicals in their repertoire in three days accompanied by concerts and stuff.

So we will be seeing a production of Anyhing Goes (spoken texts in German, songs in English, sadly – because the other day I almost fell off my bike from laughter when I thought about the German translation of “Blow, Gabriel, Blow!”), the brand new Wildhorn musical Artus – Excalibur (although I’m not a HUGE Wildhorn fan, I am interested in the cast and the idea of seeing a new Wildhorn piece come to live. For the first time. In Europe.) and Moses. Die 10 Gebote (Moses. The 10 commandments) – which I suppose will be weird. Since I know the pop oratory that was kind of the model for that – but still, let’s have some fun.

My mother, who will come along with me just because we enjoy travelling together, never has been to Switzerland and that’s why we will leave St. Gallen after three nights and spend two additional nights in Zurich. I visited Zurich more than two years ago and I’m pretty excited to go back for private purposes. And if I find a way to get reasonable priced tickets for the opera I’d LOVE to see Willy Decker’s production of Monteverdi’s Ulysse which will open in March.

Anyways…..since this post is entitled the way it is: Two days ago our tickets for the shows in St. Gallen arrived and they literally are the fanciest tickets over. We only got one ticket each for three shows all together and it looks like a credit card. I can’t get over it. Look at them! Arent’s they pretty?

(the blurry thing is to protect our privacy because it says my mom’s full name and our address.)

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Music Monday … TwentySomething

I LOVE Kerrigan and Lowdermilk’s music and I really wonder why I haven’t featured them in my Music Monday series already! I did feature their album Kerrigan-Lowdermilk Live in my Top 5 (Musical Theatre) Recordings of 2013 though. TwentySomething is a song not included on the album and as you can tell from the publishing date on Youtube it’s a rather ‘old’ song. I know that when I first got hooked by their music it was that song which played on my computer for hours! I remeber (or maybe I just make that up) spending complete Sundays listening to that song. – Yes, as my regular readers already can tell I’m getting quite easily obsessed with some things….

Anyway….I simply LOVE how that the beat suddenly get really intense about halfway through the song.

And I mean: Caissie Levy.

What are you listening to today?