Monday, August 10, 2009

Talent Rodeo Day

Theatre offerings are strong in the Lakeshore this summer, that's for sure! This week, we can catch Tom Drill's "Showtime" in the City Hall parking lot. This is hometown entertainment at it's best. "Showtime" has the feel of an old-fashioned talent show - relaxed, picnic-like atmosphere, and good food and good cheer abound. Lots of talent to be showcased each year; I don't know how Tom and his committee decide who will perform, but they always have a great line-up, proving, once again, that the Lakeshore is bursting with creativity.

We also have two new improv groups that have popped up in the last few weeks - home base for one is Kathie's Stage Door Pub, while the other works out of Manitowoc Coffee. Having organized and coached improv for many years with my pal, Kevin, I know how hard these folks are working, and I understand the risk they are taking. If well prepared, most nights will result in a strong offering, but when an improv show tanks, the cast wants to leave town - fast - or at least find the nearest hole in which to stick their heads. When it works, it's a brilliant, energizing format for cast and audience. I wish them the best, and can't wait to be part of a supportive audience.

Be on the lookout for the game show group, performing for special events, private parties, and at Time Out. Lots of energy from this bunch as well. Don't forget about Peter Quince, all the music in the parks in Manitowoc and Two Rivers, art show, entertainment at the farmers' market....gosh, mother nature needs to give Manitowoc more summer so we can work all of this in.

That's Lindsey Otten-Dramm at the top. She's the evil queen on our production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which you can catch August 21 (7:00) and 22, 23 ( 1:00 and 3:00) at the University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc. Funny thing is, once we got into the script, we realized it was far too violent for young audiences, so we worked to add some fun twists and turns. I wanted to take the script as far from the Disney version as possible, and I think we have succeeded. We wondered if the title was too insensitive, and overtly politically incorrect. In the end, we decided that the story is part of our collective experience with fairy tales, and in that context, it' still OK. We have tickets here if you need them -$5.00 each.

Small shows, in small venues are my favorite. I'd love to put on a show on someone's deck, or basement, just about anywhere non-traditional. This show has tons of audience participation, and so seating will be limited to make sure that we don't miss anyone who want to play along. The audience will be seated on the stage with the cast, and six little attendees will be chosen at random to be the dwarfs! Everyone else gets to be trees, birds, the sun and the rain. Hopefully, they will help cast members as they search for the queen, or try to hide Snow White in the forest.
Corrie Skubal, school psychologist at Riverview School plays our happy, spunky little Snow White. Corrie has performed with Masquers, and I got to know her last year when she auditioned for Heart-A-Rama. Corrie is a big talent, and are we happy to welcome her to our projects at UW-Manitowoc.
Chuck Allger is a Manitowoc native, back after several years in Madison. If there's a show, there's Chuck. He has worked with Masquers, Heart-A-Rama, Capitol Off-Broadway, and is currently training with an improv troupe.
Lyndsey has performed locally with just about every company there is. She is the reigning Supnikfest's Miss Space Debris, and along with her husband, Fritz, co-chairs Heart-A-Rama.
*****Steve, our guest blogger from Nebaska, stopped by last week. He was in town to catch The Happy Schnapps Combo. We had a great visit, catching up on movies, books, theatre, and grousing about micro-communications, such as Twitter. Steve's new job encourages what he calls "a culture of greeting," meaning that people are expected to make eye contact, greet, and perhaps share small talk when they meet as they go about their day to day duties. What a great idea. Ironic, though, isn't it...that we have be be "encouraged" to share niceties?
Steve is on a campaign to bring civility back to his world, and I challenge all of us to find our own ways to do the same. We don't have to make big gestures, start small, and add new ideas over time. Steve has chosen to help people in need of direction. If someone looks lost in a parking lot, or appears to be hunting for something in a department or grocery store, he jumps in to help. That in itself is great, but he goes a step beyond. Steve will actually take the individual to the pots and pans section of the store, or point out a landmark that will help someone remember where the car is parked. How much time does that take? Is that time even measurable? Not in minutes, I would guess, but surely measurable in how good it will make you feel know that you helped. Even better...knowing that you contributed to a revolution of niceness. So, what's your plan?
*****What am I reading? After watching "Lost in Austen" this weekend, It's back to Pride and Prejudice for me. this time, I will finish it, I think.