Something very dangerous happened this week. By Gregory Jacobs-Roseman (Composer-Lyricist)
It’s the official final day of the year here at Crazytown. While there will be some special posts over the holidays, today we pack up shop and take a little Christmas break before we return on January 12th. It’s traditional for us during this last week to recap the year that was, making top 10 lists, or simply writing a post looking back. Yet I find myself unable to do so this week, as an issue about which I am extremely passionate has been at the top of the headlines: censorship. So instead, I’ll send you off into the new year with my thoughts on the Sony hack and the censoring of the film The Interview.
For those living under a rock, I’ll try to recap in a few sentences: on Christmas Day Sony pictures was set to release The Interview, a comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogen about two journalists who score an interview with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and then are asked by the CIA to assassinate him. North Korea, a country where the concept of humor doesn’t exist, denounced the film, then in late November mysterious hackers (whom we now know were/are working for the North Korean government) took down Sony’s computer network, first releasing sensitive information online and then threatening the bombing of American movie theaters showing the movie. After all the major theater chains opted not to show the film, Sony cancelled the release of the movie. They have no future plans to release it anywhere.
James Franco, Lizzy Caplan (sidenote: I love Lizzy!), and Seth Rogen in The Interview.
First of all, let’s call this what it is: terrorism. It’s not the threat of terrorism, it’s terrorism plain and simple. This hacker group working for the North Korean government violated international and domestic law and threatened you, me, and the American people with acts of violence unless their demands were met. I wasn’t planning on seeing The Interview on Christmas (doesn’t seem like my kind of movie to be totally honest – I'd rent it on iTunes but it's not the kind of thing I'd rush to the movie theater for), but like a good musical theatre nerd I was planning on seeing Into The Woods a second time. I was and still am planning on being in a movie theater on the very day this group said they would commit 9/11-type attacks. But I have friends who posted on Facebook saying they would be staying away from any movie theaters on Christmas. That’s terrorism. The use of terror for political gain. And that’s exactly why Sony should not have pulled the film from theatrical release.
My bestie did something real cool for me the other day. Here's the story. By Geoffrey Kidwell (actor)
I've got a wonderful best friend.
I've known her for fourteen years now and in that time, we've done all of the things you expect best friends to do:
Shared bottles upon bottles of red wine
Slept with each other's boyfriends
Grand theft auto
Just your typical bestie stuff.
I'm a lucky guy to have somone like her in my life and to be totally sincere, I think about how grateful I am to her just about every day.
It occured to me recently that what actually defines a truly terrific best friend is not her ability to stand strong when the police try to get her to rat you out, but rather her willingness to call you out on your bullshit.
My best friend does that for me.
Just the other night, in fact, she and I were having dinner and I, in true Geoffrey fashion, said something disparaging about my talent and my career.
I've been working on this project for a while and I'm so happy to launch it this month. The Set List is a comprehensive collection of the best cabaret performances in New York City, including the works of Musical Theater composers, classical favorites, and new musical readings.The Set List features live recordings of Off Broadway concerts as well as behind the scenes interviews and conversations with select artists.
Episode 1 (22 min): Kailey Marshall (Confirmed in Concert)
The Set List sits down with Composer/lyricist Kailey Marshall to talk about her concert solo debut at 54 Below. The episode features songs from CONFIRMED in concert sung by Cortney Wolfson (Kinky Boots), Daniel Quadrino (Newsies, Peter Pan LIVE), Jeff Heimbrock (Newsies, The Book of Mormon), Emily Rogers (Jasper In Deadland), Ethan Carlson, Adam Levy, Tatiana Lofton, Mary Claire Miskell and Chaz Williams-Ali.
Live Recording #1: Putting the Pieces Together Vol 2 (81 min)
After a sold-out first edition, Broadway’s best writers and performers team together again to help raise funds for children with special needs in New York City and around the world. Victor Legrá, Anthony Crouchelli & M.O.V.E for Autism present Putting the Pieces Together: Volume 2 featuring the music of Carner and Gregor, Rosser and Sohne, Maglione and Ruiz, Joey Contreras, David Dabbon, Joanna Burns, Jonathan Lee, Justin Anthony Long and Will Van Dyke. The concert will feature show-stopping performances by Robin de Jesus (In the Heights), Natalie Weiss (Everyday Rapture), Teal Wicks (Jekyll & Hyde), Marla Mindelle (Sister Act, Cinderella), Eric Michael Krop (Godspell), Dana Costello (Finding Neverland, Jekyll & Hyde), Will Ray (Little House on the Prairie national tour), Jessica Hendy (Cats, Aida), Allison Strong (Mamma Mia!, Bye Bye Birdie) and more. Recorded April 24, 2014 at 9:30pm at 54 Below.
Episode #2: Blake Pfeil
The Set List chats with Singer/Songwriter Blake Pfeil to talk about his debut album 'Wallpaper'. The episode features 3 exclusive performances; selections from his new album as well as Blake's musical "The Year of The Scorpion". Singer Jessica Kahkoska joins Blake for two songs. Blake discusses growing up in Colorado, the YoungArts foundation, the influence of pop/folk in musicals, and even spills his Broadway crush. All eight tracks of 'Wallpaper' serve as chronological travelogue about Blake’s first year of sobriety. The album is now released worldwide and available on iTunes, Amazon.com, Google Music, and http://www.BlakePfeil.com.
VICTOR LEGRA is a NYC based theater and concert Producer.
Here’s to the future and all of the good that is to come our way. By Laura Goehrke
As each year approaches its end, it’s common to reflect on its entirety and see how much progress and growth we’ve had. It’s also obligatory to mentally take note of a few New Year’s resolutions to follow in the year to come. Rather than writing down a bunch of my goals, I wanted to propose a toast to you, the reader…yes, you!
I’d like to acknowledge what I believe will define 2015, and I urge you to add your own at the end.
So please, raise your glass to 2015!
Being yourself, not doing yourself
Sleeping in an hour later on a Saturday
Waking up an hour earlier on a Saturday
Letting your intuition guide you rather than your logic
There's some pretty good theatre in New York sometimes. By S. Dylan Zwickel (Lyricist/Librettist)
Technically this is more of a “favorites” list than a “best of”… I won’t claim that my taste is anywhere near objective. But I saw a lot of shit this year, and there were a few things that really stood above the rest for me, things I really loved, and several of them are still open, so maybe you’ll love them, too.
If you haven’t seen it yet, get your ass out from under the rock you’ve made your home and onto Hiptix immediately. To call Cabaret my favorite thing I saw in 2014 would be the truth, but it wouldn’t be the whole truth. The fact is, it might be my favorite thing I’ve seen ever. I’ve been on this major Kander and Ebb kick ever since I read their brilliant memoir, Colored Lights, this summer, but I’d never actually seen one of their shows live before. Since seeing it, I’ve started referring to it as my favorite musical. Book, music, and lyrics, are all fantastic, and work together seamlessly. Characters I wouldn’t think would be compelling are. The story is riveting, even though you know how it ends (spoiler alert: the Nazis take over Berlin).
In which the story goes on...to Wordpress. By Erica Slutsky (Writer/Singer/Songwriter)
I had to make one last "Voice" reference. Indulge me.
2014 was definitely my year of, “Why write about experiences when I can live them?” Hands down, it wasn’t wasted. To recap: This was the year that I moved, did a 180 on my writing and career aspirations, and sang “Happy” at about a million gigs. I definitely wouldn’t change that for anything! Sure, it wasn't easy. I did face some harsh blows to my writing (in between the victories), and I’m still just as confused now as I was at the beginning of the year. I really can’t thank CrazyTown enough for swooping in at the tail end of it and giving me a second chance to arrive on the page. You made a fifth runner-up at best feel like a veritable winner. I have nothing but nice things to say about this team and, if it wasn’t for this opportunity, I wouldn’t be able to plan the next move.
Age by Age, Stage by Stage, the Circle's Anna Dagmar looks back on all our childhood theatrical inclinations. By Anna Dagmar (of The Circle Songbook)
Looking in my little 5 month old daughter’s eyes makes me so curious! Who will she be? What will she love to do? Reflecting back on my own childhood...what kind of goofy and ridiculous shenanigans will she get herself into?? Let’s face it kids are gonna be kids - whether it’s make-believe radio shows or mini gift card poems. But sometimes those LITTLE childhood games give BIG hints about who they’ll be one day! This week we decided to ask our Circle members when they first dipped their little kiddie toes into the theatre world, and here’s what we discovered:
I got cast as Scrooge in the 6th grade musical, A Christmas Carol. I lived in a small town in Ohio, and I'd never performed before -- nor seen a musical. It was an amazing experience. The kid who was playing the ghost of Christmas future (the scary one) was just entering puberty, so his voice cracked all the time -- adding a unique take on that scary character. I learned how much I loved theatre. Almost 15 years later, the director of that show came and saw me in a professional musical -- not knowing that I'd become an actor (she'd retired and I couldn't ever find her contact information). We met after the show and thought we each looked familiar to the other. When she finally said her name, I immediately told her how important she was to me, and we shared a big hug! We went out for drinks, and we still keep in touch.
Dickens Brought Nathan a Ghost of Theatre Past
As a child, I was OBSESSED with THE WIZARD OF OZ. In particular, the Wicked Witch of the West. In fact, I had my very own broomstick. For reasons none of us understand, I rode it backwards throughout the house (bristles in the front) - cursing my family with, "ba' witch! ba' witch!" - then spontaneously bursting into song. THE WIZARD OF OZ was the first musical I saw (well, movie musical). This was followed by THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW at the age of two. You do the math - and suddenly my personality and sense of humor makes a whole lot of sense.
'Tis the season to record hours and hours of festive television. Come on. You know you want to. By Annissa Omran (Writer/College Student)
We've reached it, everyone! The end of the fall semester for all of us here in college land is a upon us, and with it comes the end of another term for Crazytown. It's insane how quickly a year flies by, but instead of inundating your already holiday-frazzled brains with cliches and platitudes, I'm going to jump right back into the list I promised you last week - the definitive [kinda] list of the best holiday specials out there.
Angela Lansbury is a goddess and I have mentioned my love of her many times on this blog, so you just KNOW that this made-for-tv movie does not disappoint. Lansbury, for me, is the unquestionable owner of the Mrs. Claus role as she lands in 1910 New York and touches the hearts of all she encounters. Throw in a bit of Terrence Mann as the oppressive "bah humbug" Toy factory owner who employs young children and you've got holiday movie gold!
I'm talking about the 1966 animated short here, not the 2000 live action version. No offense to Jim Carrey....but Jim Carrey has never really brought much to adaptations [ahem Series of Unfortunate Events ahem]. This special is short and sweet and to the point. And that killer tune definitely doesn't hurt.