Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Chazzy(blo)g has moved!

Dear Readers,

I know you are few but faithful, and my goal is ever to intrigue and delight you with these postings. I hope it won't cause any of you too much distress to learn that you'll have to go to this new location for your occasional dose of random Chazziness. I've moved my blog onto the same server that hosts my personal site, and the new URL is "blog.chasgilbert.com". Click the link, then bookmark the new location and enjoy the new features of my relocated blog!


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Barrymore Nominees announced

Here's a link to the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia site, where the 2006 Barrymore nominees are listed. I was tapped again this year for Outstanding Music Direction. Lots of nods for Forum (including Tony, Jeff and Richie Ruiz as well as Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical). As always, a healthy showing by UArts types, including Ben Dibble, Erin Weaver and Mandy Schoonover, and UArts faculty member Lee Ann Etzold is up for the Haas Award. Should be a fun evening in October!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The World According to Greg Palast

If you haven't read him yet (or lately), check out the website of investigative journalist Greg Palast, whose most recent column asks the musical question: "...if [airport] security’s no joking matter, why does this guy dressed in a high-school marching band outfit tell me to dump my Frappuccino and take off my shoes?" Palast's articles on the Mexican election, the politics of petroleum, and the scary freaks currently governing our country are funny, provocative and completely disquieting.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Doo-Wop Avenue Today!

I'm busting out the camera and heading over to the
Doo-Wop Avenue Claasic Car Show and Street Party, taking place around the corner from our house. Look for pix here.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Mileva Trio

That was so easy (see post below) that I'm posting a second video from "Einstein's Dreams," this one a trio of short original songs I wrote for the character of Mileva Maric, Einstein's wife at the time Lightman's novel takes place (Einstein's "annus mirabilis," 1905). The singers are Abby Grenda, Carleigh Smith and Danielle Westhead; all of them learned these songs overnight and performed them with skill and sang-froid. Thanks, ladies!

Einstein's Dreams

If the magic of YouTube is cooperating, below you will find a video clip from the final performance at the Pre-College Program in Musical Theater at The University of the Arts. The piece being showcased is called Tempus Fugit, and it was created as part of a workshop of ideas for a musical based on Alan Lightman's book "Einstein's Dreams." Whit MacLaughlin was the director, Albert Innaurato was writer in residence, and the music and text for the song was by me (ably realized by the piano duo of Ebbenga and Ertelt).

The 33 Hours Marathon, or Char goes to camp

Leaving for camp
Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

The time: Saturday morning, August 5, 10:45 am. I've loaded up the scooter with a sleeping bag and backpack, and slung my portable Roland keyboard over my shoulder. My destination? The Parlor, at 1170 S. Broad. For the next 33 hours (or so), I'll be locked in with 20 other theater artists in a Marathon event hosted by Whit MacLaughlin and New Paradise Laboratories. I'm indulging in a slight Jack Kerouac fantasie here - travelling light on the scooter, arriving at the event unencumbered by bourgeouis appurtenances. Or something to that effect.

On the way
Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

And here I go, headed up the street. D'Arcy took this picture while wondering whether I'd remembered to sew the nametags in my underwear. If only she knew...

Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

We started out with movement exercises like these (actually snapped during the Sunday AM warmup) - a little yoga, a little Viewpoints, a little Suzuki, all whipped together by Maestro MacLaughlin into a frothy New Paradise blend.

Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

We made two sets of pieces on Saturday afternoon. The first set involved sculpting one another, creating scripts for our sculptures, then weaving the scenarios together; we took these pieces through several iterations. After a break, we made a second set of pieces where we divided into teams of three and were told to create something 90 seconds long. We were given all of 10 minutes for this assignment, and the pressure led to some quick, exhilarating decisions.

By then, it was time for food, beer and fun - the chief agenda items of the evening. We grilled burgers and hotdogs in the courtyard, feasted on a serious lentil and tabbouleh salad, and washed it all down with cases of Yuengling Lager and Lord Chesterfield Ale. This led to drinking games in the pool and (eventually) dancing in the darkened studio, where DJ Jorge Cousineau spun some otherworldly beats and the younger participants indulged in some serious contact improvisation. The photo above was an indecipherable black-ish blur in my Palm camera until the magic of Photoshop revealed the figures you see.

Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

Further nocturnal foolishness included some yoga poses on a tall stool. Being of a more advanced age and a more seemly disposition, I turned in around eleven, but the thumping bass and high-spirited laughter seeped under the door for several more hours.

Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

Next day we were divided into three teams and given assignments for the pieces that would be included in the Sunday evening performance. Here are some of the members of my team, huddled in discussion. We had various items to inspire us, including this Rumi poem:

There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives,
the touch of Spirit on the body.

Seawater begs the pearl
to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild Darling!

At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.

Close the language-door,
and open the love-window

The moon won't use the door,
only the window.

Before the Love Window
Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

We fashioned a piece that included a movement duet in front of the window in the studio, which we imagined as an analogue for the "love window" in Rumi's poem.

Dali sculpture
Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

Another source of inspiration was this print by Salvadore Dali; two members of my group tried to find a way to imitate the pose of Narcissus gazing at his reflection.

Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

Jorge Cousineau whipped up a digital soundscape that included a track of me playing "Linus and Lucy" on a busted upright piano whose bass notes sounded like incredible church bells. Jorge recorded and edited all day non-stop in order to keep up with the creative ideas of the three teams.

Whit MacLaughlin greets the crowd
Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

At 7:30 pm on Sunday, a group of curious friends assembled to see our mad creations. Here's Whit MacLaughlin welcoming the crowd. I hope they had as much fun watching as we did making these pieces!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Coming About

Coming About
Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

The Kalmar Nyckel on the Christina Riverfront, as seen on the Fourth of July. In the background, riverfront condo-mania.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Regional Theater's Glamour Gap

The online ediion of the Wall Street Journal offers these thoughts by Terry Teachout on "Regional Theater's Glamour Gap." As a theater artist working in "the stix," I say "right on!"

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Toby Praises "Forum"

In this morning's Philadelphia Inquirer, Toby Zinman writes that "Arden's 'Forum' is a funny thing." It runs through June 25.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Practice Makes Perfect?

What makes a virtuoso? Is it talent or training? There's food for thought in an article entitled A Star Is Made from The New York Times Magazine. This article points to the statistical connection between "deliberate practice" and "expert performance." SAVI singing actors, take note!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dancing in the Streets

Originally uploaded by Chazzyg.

This is how UArts celebrates after the ceremony - a Brazilian samba band and carnival dancers lead the procession back to Hamilton Hall.