Friday, February 27, 2009

Heart-A-Rama 09 First Look, and Some Artsy Moments

Here you go...your first look at the cast of Heart-A-Rama's musical, "Give Peas a Chance." Aren't they somethin'? If you're new to HAR, here's a little info. The show features many short skits, and musical bits all written, performed and directed by local volunteers. We have a fun directing team. Ellen directs the opening number. She re-works a popular, rocky number with new lyrics to fit the year's theme. This year the show focuses on fairy tales. Rick, Brad, and Fritz each direct what we call "tweeners." These are throwbacks to the HAR days when we had three longer skits, and we needed quick, little acts in front of the curtain to give the stage crew time to change the set, and actors time to change costumes. They have since evolved into longer skits with bigger casts, giving more people a chance to strut their stuff on stage.

For a long time now, I have been directing the musical, and recently, have been happily granted custody of two tweeners and the finale. It's all great fun. I had tons of creative help writing the musical - Karen, Chris, and Connie worked hard to develop a plot and characters. They wrote dialogue and song parodies. Now I get to bring it all to life. Our musical is call "Give Peas a Chance"; it blends the stories of the "Princess and the Pea,' and "The Frog Prince" with a Bachelor TV show type plot.

Let me introduce our cast of zanies. (L to R) Scott...each year Scott tells me how happy he is not to be in the musical! If he was using reverse psychology on me, then it worked. If not...well, I am still very happy to have a chance to direct him. He's playing "Just Jack," the jester. He is the advice giver, confidant, and all around buddy to the Prince. Snow White will be played by Jen. Our Snow White is a little psycho, travelling everywhere with her pet budgie, Mr.Happy Peeper, on her finger. With Happy, her true self comes out in snappy, Linda Blair style quips. Chris is Gretel, desperate to find a man to love and to share her goodies. We're hoping for a good German accent for Gretel, just to add to her menacing nature. Chuck is Wart, our Frog Prince, looking for the right woman. He's a little bit hyper-active, and has zero self-confidence. All he needs to make him happy is a wife with a penchant for all things green. Finally, there's Lily Pond, played by HAR newcomer, Corie. Lily got herself caught in that torrential rain we had last year here in the Lakeshore. The rushing waters swept her away to Wart's kingdom where, lured by the inviting scent of pea soup, she snuck into the castle hoping to find a place to warm-up, and to sleep. Little did she dream that she would find herself engaged, against her will, to a frog.


On Friday night, I travelled all the way to Sheboy-gan with Terri and Chris to see our pal Kevin's art exhibit. Four other Heart-A-Rama folks were already there when we arrived, so we had some fun visiting. Kevin is one of HAR's top worker bees, driving from Sheboygan for rehearsals, meetings, and to deliver the many huge set pieces he constructs, and paints for us each year. Here he is beside a cool, wintery self- portrait.

Dan was among the artists featured at the exhibit. He gave me a detailed explanation of how he does his paintings, which involves multiple layers of a concoction made of eggs and pigment. You can't tell from this picture how complex Dan's works are. The brush strokes are so fine, they are nearly invisible. Dan's color choice is stunning, and moody, and the whole look is that of old world, Byzantine art. Very impressive. I wish I had taken a close-up of it for you.

I also regret not taking a picture of Kevin's office. It's like a min-museum of iconic toys, mixed with some cowboy decor, and Kevin's personal fab and funky touches. The "ToDo" list next to his desk reminds Kevin to pay off his credit card debt, and to win a Pulitzer. The best and worst part of his office is that is is tidy. The first time I saw his office so great was the inspiration, that I came back to work and began tearing, shredding, moving, and generally turning my office upside down to emulate his. Emulation did not happen as planned! My office, which is in what once housed the walk-in cooler for Mahlik's grocery store, remains (and shall evermore remain, I fear) a total disaster....with a few creative undertones to remind me that art and tidiness are best left to others...talents that I should be satisfied observing.
Once again, I have to say how wonderful life is when surrounded by quality people with art surging through their bodies. Why I'm drawn to them, and not to dull, no-talent individuals who more closely mirror me, I'll never know. But I am happy for it.
What am I reading? Just finished The Lace Reader, and Change of Heart and I have a lot to say on both. However, "Change" is our book group selection for March, so my rant (later this week?) won't be too detailed. OOPS! Did I just give away my feeling about it? Now, it's palate cleansing time. This morning I started a young adult novel called The Hunger far, so good.
*****Speaking of super talented friends...I just got an email from Mike Perry. He wants everyone to know that if you want to eamil him, it is best to do it through his newly designed website. He also has a facebook page. That address is Check it out for all the latest Mike Perry news.