Man of La Mancha: New Rep Theater

Though I go to the theater often, I’ve not reviewed any theatrical productions on this site,  but a couple weeks ago I saw the New Rep’s production of Man of La Mancha, and really want to laud the production here.  Man of La Mancha was the first musical I remember seeing performed live.  It was a production at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA. I don’t remember very much about that performance except that it was completely enthralling. The idealistic young man I was found himself identifying in with the madman trying to change the world. I was also enamored with the idea that a writer can be a force for good in the world, simply by inspiring others.

I’ve been obsessed with the musical ever since. I was so fascinated by the story that I read the original novel by Cervantes.  But it’s really the musical I’m obsessed with. I’ve seen several productions, including the film adaptation, and I own the cast recordings of most productions that I haven’t seen.  Each version has it’s merits, but the New Rep’s production is really something special. Everything about this production works, from the effective use of the performance space and the integration of the musicians into the ensemble, to the lighting and set design. Continue reading

Live Art: Tree of Life-The Most Heartwarming Show I’ve Seen This (or Any) Holiday Season Isn’t Actually a Christmas Show

LiveArt2013logo-webThe performance of The Live Art: Tree of Life at the Landmark Theater on December 22 had a few problems. Among other issues, a smoke machine set of a fire alarm, more than a few dancers missed their marks, and a pianist was slightly off tempo. Yet the show left me completely spellbound from beginning to end! The problems, with the possible exception of the fire alarm, only enhanced the charm of a truly magical evening that celebrated all forms of the arts, and the joy of participation in them, regardless of skill level or ability. Continue reading

Offbeat Holiday Music

a1023094489_2On Friday at Rockwood Music Hall Delcan Bennet played a new single, “Father Christmas Knows,” that comes from the perspective of the black sheep of the family, the one too often left out of the celebrations. The song has bells and is dark, but optimistic at the same time.

Now I have to admit, I have warm and fuzzy feelings toward Christmas, and I like Christmas music, especially the traditional stuff. Continue reading

An Interview with Caravan of Thieves

Here’s a good song for Halloween, “Raise the Dead” by Caravan of Thieves.

Caravan of Thieves are a fun band to play at your Halloween party because of songs like Monster, Ghostwriter and Butcher’s Wife that treat appropriately macabre Halloween type themes, but that’s not the only reason.  They’re also a band that celebrates the things that really make a holiday like Halloween fun, dressing up in costume, and letting it bring out your wild side.  To be sure they do their fair share of songs about kind of creepy, macabre themes, but there’s a playfulness to it.  Think more Dia de los Muertos or even CarnivalMardi Gras or a Gypsy Fair, than crass commercialism, blood and gore!  It’s a party for one and all!  Continue reading

Concert Scrapbook: July 27, 28 at the Newport Folk Festival


This gallery contains 68 photos.

This is just a collection of randomly selected and arranged photos from Saturday and Sunday, July 27 and J8 at the Newport Folk Festival at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI.  The Newport Jazz Festival was this weekend.  I … Continue reading

Grassroots Organizing with the Music Community and Fans: An Interview with HeadCount Director Andy Bernstein

HighRes_Logo_20120814_94734Ask someone who goes to a lot of concerts what the organization HeadCount is, or what it does, and they’ll probably say it’s a voter registration organization. Ask HeadCount co-Founder and Executive Director Andy Bernstein the same question, and you’ll get a very different answer.  He’ll also tell you about voter registration, of course, but in almost in the same breath he’ll make sure you understand that’s not all they do.

He’s understandably very proud of HeadCount’s success with voter registration, registering over 250,000 people in their short history. That’s an incredible accomplishment, but it is only part of their mission.  He’s equally very proud of the organization’s role as the “grassroots organizing arm of the live music community.”  He believes passionately in the potential of music to affect positive change through grassroots efforts and effective use of the political system.  That, to my mind, is the new and innovative aspect of HeadCount’s vision.

Continue reading