Thursday, December 5, 2013

listen carefully to the band during Fagin's numbers

A delightful surprise for me: Dr Miriam Burstein, Associate Professor of English at the College at Brockport, SUNY, has listed The Astrologer in her Year In Books roundup on her blog. Look under "Favorite reworking of Shakespeare." I would be thrilled if Dr Burstein actually teaches the text. Quietly thrilled, I promise. Restrainedly thrilled. Etc.

In non-Shakespeare news, Mighty Reader and I saw the 5th Avenue Theater production of Oliver! last night. It was pretty good. If you are in Seattle and have the time, you should go. The house was packed, so buy your tickets today while there is still time. If there is still time. The performance was colorful, energetic, well-danced, well-acted, well-cast and well-sung. Just don't have the sparkling wine during the intermission. Headache inducing stuff.

I would like to point out that the orchestra has a fine violinist (there are some very good violin parts in the score to Oliver!); if you go, listen carefully to the band during Fagin's numbers. I don't know why none of the musicians' names are listed on the 5th Avenue Theater website. That's not right, kids.


  1. Oliver! is one of those great musicals from a great book. You are fortunate to live in a city where you can see first-class productions. I'm envious. I languish on the redneck Rivera where only hardly any roadshow productions come to town. On the other hand, I teach in a university theater department, which has its own sparkling moments on stage. But let me tell you an anecdote: During a recent production of Brigadoon, the director had a dust up with the music department; that led to the music department withdrawing its support, and the musical production being reduced to a bagpipe and pianist. That was one ugly production!

  2. Please forgive my bad syntax and keyboarding in my previous posting (i.e., delete "only" before "hardly"). Shame on me! I earn an "F" for the posting.

  3. Well, how nifty is that about The Astrologer! And you said you hate that book, hah. Maybe you still do. ;)

    I've never seen any production of Oliver! Sounds fun, but nobody seems to do it around here.

  4. Bagpipe and piano! I would like to have seen that production. We are, yes, very fortunate in Seattle to have access to great performances. The last couple of seasons at the opera and symphony have been sort of lackluster, but I have hopes for next year. The theater and chamber music in Seattle is always excellent. The Seattle Art Museum runs a couple of great film series each year, too. I should see what's on offer for this winter; it's time to buy tickets.

    And for gosh sakes, Tim, you have to stop apologizing after every comment you make! Nobody's handing out grades in blogland!

    Michelle, this was my first time seeing Oliver! It was swell. They have a great Bill Sykes and a pretty good Fagan.

    Also, I might do something with The Astrologer. I think I emailed you about soliciting your help, because you're such an experienced badass now.

  5. No grades? I appreciate the license to be sloppy. But it does irk me when I send something out with errors. Imagine how I feel when I send flawed emails or distribute handouts with errors to students. I am sometimes careless. It is a bad trait.

    I remember seeing a great production of Boris Goudonov (sp?) in Seattle in the mid 70s. I was then doing "hard-time" with the Navy on the USS RANGER in the shipyard in Bremerton. Believe me when I tell you that Seattle was a pleasant escape from Bremerton and Port Orchard. Those towns were scenic, but there was nothing to do there (except eat good food). Even the ferry rides were fun. And the boat ride from Seattle to Victoria was very memorable. I had a great weekend up there, and--of course--I did the obligatory tourist thing: tea at the hotel. As for Seattle, I could have skipped the Space Needle and the monorail ride. Of course, the market was splendid. The weather, though, especially the "black ice" in the winter, put me off a bit.

  6. Excellent! I like the quirky professor. What fun if she uses your book... She once mentioned liking one of my stories, but I haven't had the honor of being anointed that way!

  7. Yes, I like her blog. It would be very cool indeed if she taught the book. We'll see.

    Tim, we love the ferries. A couple of years ago we were at the Bremerton ferry terminal well after dark. While we waited for the boat to dock, the citizens of Bremerton put on a pretty spectacular fireworks display. Just because they felt like it. So I have fond memories of Bremerton. I've never been up the Space Needle but I like that we have it. The Monorail is however something I dearly love. Pracically useless but I always enjoy riding over the streets above the treetops. You have to sit right up front beside the driver to really appreciate it.

  8. "Bagpipe and piano! I would like to have seen that production." Trust me when I say this: you would not have liked seeing that production. Lerner and Lowe, had they been there, would have been confused that the mythical Brigadoon looked and sounded so much like Hell. I felt very sorry for the performers who were working as hard as they could against some horrible odds.