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So Easy to Love: Valentine's Day & Musical Theater

Posted by: Kaitlin Davis (February 12, 2010)

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This weekend, lovebirds of all shapes and sizes will celebrate their affections with chocolates, flowers and diamonds (wishful thinking?!...just kidding!). For my darling and I, Valentine's Day has always been the perfect excuse to squeeze a show into our frequently crowded schedules. A few years ago, we caught the enchanting Maria Friedman in one of the last Broadway performances of "The Woman in White." More recently, I absolutely adored Christine Ebersole in "Grey Gardens." (Yes, we have questionable taste in musicals where romance is concerned!) Even our first Valentine's Day together was steeped in theatrics, as we were performing in a production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" over the holiday. Thus begs the question: what should we see this year?! Just kidding! I'm more interested in how the magical world of theater has played a role in your Valentine's Day celebrations. Cute stories? I'd love to hear them! Post them here, or e-mail me: kaitlind@mtishows.com and I'll compile the best results in an upcoming blog. Oh...and Happy Valentine's Day! Kiss

into the woods

Posted by: Anna Howard (February 11, 2010)

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i actually ended up doing into the woods and i got jack sooo thanks for the great adviseKiss

"Today My Name is Astrid."

Posted by: Rodney Robbins (February 9, 2010)

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So, I'm working a new play about a man with multiple personality disorder, and I'm writing a book of seriously silly poems for kids. This morning, a cool title pops into my head. Here is th poem that goes with it. I think it's a good poem for actors and playwrights.

Today My Name is Astrid
(C) 2010 by Rodney Robbins

Today my name is Astrid
I am queen of all I see.
From the foot lights to the balcony,
Everyone’s watching me.

Today my name is Astrid,
But yesterday was just fine:
I was Ace the race car driver,
Passing on an inside line.

Today my name is Astrid.
Before I was Jamal:
A camel driver from Cairo.
I was black and thin and tall.

Today my name is Astrid,
But my mother calls me Jane.
I asked her, "Where’s your ticket?"
She doesn’t need me to explain.

Today my name is Astrid,
And my mother is Tim Bucktoo.
Tim’s the symphony conductor,
And gives me my opening cue.

Today my name is Astrid.
I sing like an angel and then ...
When the concert’s over,
It’s just me and mom again.

 

Playwrighting Milestones

Posted by: Rodney Robbins (February 7, 2010)

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This morning I finished act one of "In the House with Many Rooms." I'm  writing this one-set small-cast show by writing one scene at a time. It feels good to make progress most every day. Since I'm working with scene cards and know right where the story is going, all I need to do is get a few minutes of alone time and start typing. A scene takes a day or two so I can move the story along pretty quickly and feel a sense of accomplishment every time I work on the story.

Now, some people can't stand working with an outline or scene cards. Novelist Steven King certainly doesn't use an outline. Many novelist don't, but with the ti 90-120 minute time limit of a stage play, I almost think you HAVE to use an outline.

A play is not a novel, but like a novelist, when you work on a story every day, the pages pile up and pretty soon you have something cool to brag about. "Hey--Look what I made!" Milestones make playwrighting fun.

There She Is... Miss (Musical) America!

Posted by: Kaitlin Davis (February 3, 2010)

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Perhaps it's not a connection you'd naturally make, but while sitting in the audience at the Miss America Pageant last weekend, I couldn't help but notice how well-represented Music Theatre International was! While watching these young women-- some of the finest America has to offer-- I was stunned not only by their intelligence, but by their theatrical talents, as well. Some of my favorite MTI shows were represented, and I'm sure some of yours were, too! Read on to find out who was "so much better" and who refused to "show off no more!"

 

Miss Kentucky Mallory Ervin performs "On My Own"

Miss Kentucky, Mallory Ervin, placed 4th runner-up at the 2010 Miss America Pageant. For her talent, she performed "On My Own" from Les Miserables.

 

Miss Nebraska 2009 Brittany Jeffers preforms "So Much Better" from Legally Blonde.

Miss Nebraska, Brittany Jeffers, was a Top Ten finalist at the pageant and performed a jazz dance to "So Much Better" from Legally Blonde.

 

Miss New Mexico Nicole Miner performs "Somewhere" from West Side Story.

Miss New Mexico, Nicole Miner, was also a Top Ten finalist and performed "Somewhere" from West Side Story during the talent portion of the competition.

Miss Massachusetts Amanda Kelly performs "Show Off" from The Drowsy Chaperone.

Miss Massachusetts, Amanda Kelly, performed a vocal/musical theatre dance to "Show Off" from one of our favorites, The Drowsy Chaperone.

 

Miss Alabama Liz Cochran dances to "He Lives in Me" from The Lion King.

Miss Alabama, Liz Cochran, did a beautiful lyrical/modern dance to "He Lives in You" from the Disney Broadway classic, The Lion King.

Having the opportunity to see the pageant live and in person was an incredible treat. These are women of style and substance... and their taste in musicals certainly doesn't hurt! For more on the pageant, visit missamerica.org.

(A special "thank you" to Julius Tolentino, a volunteer for the Miss Virginia Organization, for his beautiful photography.)

Magic to Do!

Posted by: Jason Broussard (February 2, 2010)

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Well I have officially finished my "Magic to Do" contest entry. It didn't turn out as good as i had envisioned but I'm still proud of it regardless. You can check it out here.

Opening night for wizard of oz went pretty well. The show has been getting really good reviews. Tomorrow we perform during school for the intermediate school kids. Thursday night starts the second weekend of shows. The Tommy Tune judges also come that weekend. We are still adding and working on things. In fact, I've got to head off to rehearsals!

 

Until later!

~JBjr

Week off, well at least for the guys

Posted by: Matt Spencer (February 2, 2010)

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Welcome back to another week at Guys & Dolls.

 This week is our schools Choir trip to Disney for a music performance(Band, orchestra, and Choir). So, we're taking a hiatus for the weekend.

The girls have rehearsal this week, between a vocal rehearsal, a spitzprobe with the orchestra, and then a blocking rehearsal in MINK. So the girls have a short week.

Meanwhile, the guys have off. Lets see how many of the freshman boys either A) Loose their scripts B) Forget their dance moves or C) Disapear into a black hole.
We'd love for C to happen.

In other news, our school has had its 7th or 8th (I stopped counting after 3) bomb scare. Our principal has said that school activities will be cancled.

We hope that our New York adventure will not be cancled.

The cast members going to Disney will be having a rehearsal in the Magic Kingdom (RANDOM DANCING!)

Updates after the Disney trip and on a fun rehearsal process when we return!

MUlan or MUsic Man

Posted by: Anna Howard (January 31, 2010)

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Surprised

I am either doing mulan or Music man this semester and i would like to know whinch one you think is more fun because im not really familiar with music man and im kind of fimiliar with mulan but not Wink

Wizard of Oz Craziness!

Posted by: Jason Broussard (January 28, 2010)

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So tomorrow is opening night for our schools 3rd musical production, THE WIZARD OF OZ. It will be our second entry into the Tommy Tune awards. Everyone is going crazy! The show is really coming along but there are a lot of little things that still need to get done before we open.

Personally, I'm most worried about my quick change at the end coming from Scarecrow to Hunk. We cut quite a bit of the music for the cyclone scene so I REALLY have to hurry. We even made a chart so that the costume is removed in a certain order.

Opening night is always crazy for every show I've been in but this one takes the cake. I'm also going to be filming an opening night blog video to enter into the MAGIC TO DO video contest.

Well wish my [sluck]!
~JBjr

Efficient Play Writing

Posted by: Rodney Robbins (January 27, 2010)

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I believe that one way to make more money as a playwright, is to write more plays. I also believe that acting workshops and playwriting classes soak up fresh material like sponges. So, how to get your plays out of your head FAST?

 

In my experience, straight plays are a LOT easier to write than musicals. The flip side of that coin is that based on Broadway sales figures, musicals make a LOT more money than straight plays. In general. Either way, you still want to get those ideas out of your head and onto the page efficiently.

 

My suggestion? Scene cards.

 

"Scene cards" are 3x5 index cards with a scene location, characters, action and maybe a BIT of dialog.For example:

  • Bowling Alley.
  • Jim and Dana.
  • They fight about nothing because they are mad about everything.
  • Dana says, "I never should have LET you buy that ball!"

If you find yourself wishing for 5x8 chard, you are putting too much information on there.

 

I think scene cards are used more in film writing, but they work great for stage plays as well. Who says you need 75 scenes to tell a good story? Not at all. You need enough scenes to tell the story you need to tell. For my new stage play, "In the House of Many Rooms," I found I could tell the whole story in 20 scenes.

 

To help me get the story out of my head FAST, I'll write down all the scenes I know, then I'll write any scenes I need to fill in the gaps. Next, I read through the scene cards and see if I can tell a complete story from start to finish--just from my scene cards. When the story is working in my head, and on my scene cards, THEN I'll start writing. It's pretty easy to do a scene every day or two. Even a long, complicated scene shouldn't take more than a week. Then you just keep rolling.

 

I don't stop to worry about the story, the value, the theme, if I can really set a scene at a waterfall, or how I'll sell the play--I just write it all down quick as I can. Don't stop to dream up the subplot, if you didn't already do that with your scene cards, you can easily do it LATER, after you've finished writing the main story line. Don't second guess your choice of material, or your place in the universe, just write!

 

I'll do a quick read of yesterdays work, but basically I don't edit till I'm done writing. Then I go back, read and edit and start thinking about what kind of pizza to bring to the table reading.