ASK Musings

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Theater Archive



February 2011



Babs the Dodo

Written by , Posted in Reviews

A few weeks ago Renee forwarded an invite to me to the effect of ‘this looks cool. Want to go?’ It involved free theater, so … yes. But I didn’t really look too closely at what it was.

Tonight I found out. It was ‘Babs the Dodo’, put on by Washington Ensemble Theatre. The basic premise is a home shopping channel host is turning 50, and her life is – well, it’s changing. That’s about all I want to give away. Except to say that it is totally worth checking out. I was almost in tears I was laughing so hard. My mother orders many things from QVC, and sometimes when I go home to visit we’ll have to see what ‘the special of the day’ is, which requires listening a bit to their sales pitches. And let me tell you, they are disturbing at times. The writer of this show really captured the bizarreness of it all with an excellent scene involving an extraordinarily ordinary item up for sale. But there’s more to it than picking away at the (admittedly easy) target that is home shopping.

There are loads of small theater companies like this in Seattle, apparently. And apparently I’ve been living under a rock these past few months and have missed this fact. I clearly need to check this out.

As an aside, for fellow dorks out there – Radio Lab is coming to Seattle! I bought tickets today – they’re here March 30.



September 2008



A fitting way to spend 9/11

Written by , Posted in Adventures, Reviews

Tonight, thanks to Eric getting up at 5:30 AM to wait in line for tickets, I got to see an amazing production of Hair. When I was younger I would listen to my parents’ recording (on vinyl) of the soundtrack. I remember thinking then that I was so bummed I’d never get to see a live production of it. Thankfully, the good people at The Public Theatre decided that they should revive it.

I really enjoyed it. And especially tonight, when we’re remembering 9/11 and all of the things that happened that day and following it. We’re fighting a war, sending young people off to die. There isn’t enough love and acceptance of people being different. And that’s something I hope changes soon (go Obama!).

The music was well-done, and the feeling, being outside, with the perfect fall weather, was just amazing. The ending was so powerful.

And after it ended, the curtain call was a reprise both of Hair and Let the Sunshine in, and they invited the audience onstage to dance. I was a bit far up for that, but it was such a fun, loving, peaceful, happy environment to experience.

The show goes to Broadway early next year. I’m not sure if it will translate exactly the same way, but if you get a chance to see it, I hope you take it. It’s beautiful.

Peace. Seriously.



May 2008



Spring Awakening

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Last night I met up with a friend from high school who I hadn’t seen in nearly 10 years. It was great to get caught up. She’s someone who I can not really talk to for years and yet it feels like no time has passed. I love that!

The three of us (her sister was in town as well) saw Spring Awakening. It won a load of Tony Awards a couple of years ago, and the music was written by Duncan Sheik (of “Barely Breathing” fame). The show is based on a play from the 1800s about teenagers discovering their sexuality – which I would like to read, because I think it’s probably better than this show. The music is modern (the lyrics make reference to calling people and listening to the stereo), but it’s set in 1890 and quite good. Nearly everyone was very talented – except the lead. I mean, he can sing, but he was more “best Baritone at his local high school” than “best choice for Broadway,” if that makes any sense. Oh, and everyone was ACTING.  

I didn’t know what to expect from the show, but I have to say some of the scenes made me uncomfortable. Not because of the subject matter (hello, I’ve been 16, I get THAT), but because people who were playing 16-year-olds were simulating sex on stage. Yeah – the fact that a bunch of older men were there, and would probably be adding the breast the young female lead showed to their spank bank just creeped me out a bit.

Some of the story lines were well done, especially in the first act. We got to know the kids, and their back-stories. There were two “adults” who played all adult roles, and they did an excellent job. But the second act seemed too short for what they were trying to accomplish. The ‘downfall’ of the main lead boy’s character wasn’t developed enough. Some serious plot points occurred so quickly that there wasn’t really time to absorb or contextualize them. That might work in a more talented playwright’s hands, but to me, here, it just seemed that they realized they only had an hour to tell a bunch of stories and didn’t adjust it accordingly.

I won’t be recommending the show. But if you get a chance to listen to the original cast recording (I’m assuming the original male lead was better), do it.