Sunday, August 22, 2010

ROBBLOG #129

First off kids, today is “My Tom’s” Birthday. A very, very Happy Birthday to him.

He still has a hop, skip and a jump to go to reach my age. Trouble is, he will never catch up to me. Ever!
I am in my “60th year”. God, I can't believe I typed that!! It looks so old! Actually, I’m still 59 but here I am facing 60- with a stellar heart and more lines on my face than the 401, only eleven short months from now.

Enough about me! It’s Tom’s day and I’ll have him open some gifts and birthday cards- including two from Berlin. He’ll take some phone calls, receive greetings as well as a visit or two from well-wishers.

Yesterday- in advance of Mr. T’s Birthdate we raced to Toronto to see Dancap’s production of Roger’s and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific”. It has been getting rave reviews from all sorts of those in the know within the Toronto media.
We almost missed the curtain, however.
For your information, weekend traffic slowdowns are becoming the norm on Sunday mornings along Hwy 11 and 400 to Toronto. This is the second time this summer we have been caught sitting still on the asphalt before noon!
Several times we were barely moving.

Once on the 401 East, we had planned to drive along Avenue Road, travelling south to University- but being short on time we opted to scoot across the 407 to Yonge Street and park at the Finch TTC Station. We took the Subway to Queen and made a mad dash along Queen West to University. We arrived at the Box Office with 12 minutes to spare.
We remained calm.
We had opted to purchase tickets at the box office instead of buying them before we left Orillia- in case we were delayed.
It was a good thing and took the pressure off having to forfeit a pair of hundred dollar tickets. Our bums were in our Row T, main floor, centre seats at 6 minutes to curtain. There were still tons of people being seated- after us, including a few “Lisa’s” who were shown to their seats as the overture began.
Lisa’s?
A term devised- by us, to salute a friend of ours who is always late- 99% of the time anyway. When we see someone late for the theatre of some other function we say- “Look at the Lisa’s!”

The show was terrific. A few things I would have done differently as a director- but the music from the 26 piece- mostly Toronto based, orchestra would have been enough. Seeing the actors sing and dance was a plus! The sets were sparse but well done. Lighting really helped set the stage. This is the Broadway production that earned 7 Tony’s.

One unusual piece of casting I just couldn’t wrap my heard around was the young man who portrayed Lt. Joe Cable- Anderson Davis. He was so young and fresh. He looked about 14. A terrific voice but his youthful, good looks and trim, pubescent body gave the impression his “love interest” Liat was about 11.
He was very trim, his skin was lily-white and if there was even the suggestion of body hair- I missed it. I’ve never seen a younger Cable in any production of South Pacific. Even both movie versions of this Rogers and Hammerstein classic had a “more butch” Joe Cable.

One surprising bit of choreography saw the male chorus- the SeaBees, dancing hand in hand and arm in arm during “Nothing Like a Dame”.
It was fun.
Well, what else would thosepoor boys do on an island where only the officers were allowed to keep company with the female nurses.

Then actor Chad Jennings- who subbed for the actor usually portraying Luther Billis, got a little “down and cool” and a bit “yo yo yo” with hand and body language which seemed out of place for the 1940’s. Maybe the director- Bartlett Sher, wanted to bring South Pacific into the new millenium. I personally would have nixed it.

The show runs into September. Google “Dancap”- the same company that brought you “Jersey Boys”- which closed Saturday after 2 years, for tickets and information.

One last bit.
I was at Starry Night on Saturday– after we listened to Steph Dunn at 16 Front for an hour or so. We are exceedingly lucky here in Orillia to have an arts district such as Peter Street South and some shops along Mississaga. I would like to see banners hanging from the lampposts that say “The Arts District”. Maybe next year citizens can paint banners specifically for this street with the words “Arts District” on each. For Starry Night I would suggest strings of white mini lights strung everywhere with a bistro in the centre of the street. The gold “star” balloons were a nice touch but when we arrrived they were all hugging the parking meters- not floating in the air.
The rain may have dampened some spirits- and some balloons, however after 6 years I would suggest “tarting” up the street a bit. After all you are all artists! The community would get it!

Oh yes, we bought a sketch by Xavier Fernandes. His quaint studio is on the second floor above what used to be United Cigar. The stairs to the second level are along Peter Street South. Drop by his studio. No appointment necessary but you might just have to try a few times to catch him there in person. Such is the life of an artist!

Have a great day!

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