Posts Tagged ‘musical’

“Rent,” Jonathon Larson’s Hit Musical opens at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre

June 6, 2011

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

“Rent,” by Jonathan Larson opens at CTC on June 17th and runs through July 16th, 2011.   The show will be performed in the round in this Circle Theatre production.    Show Director and Designer, Scott Dunlap works to create the world of the Lower East Side of Manhattan of complete with scaffold platforms, graffiti covered walls and period attire, hello 1996 rock opera!     Dunlap says that the cast of over 20 is onstage throughout most of the show which is 95% sung.    The song “Musetta” from Puccini is a running theme in “Rent,” described by Dunlap as recognizable as an accompaniment for pasta commercials on TV.

CTC says of this production:

 The ever popular rock opera, with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera La bohème. It tells a story of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York’s Lower East Side in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. The musical was first seen in a limited three-week workshop production at New York Theatre Workshop in 1994. This same New York City off-Broadway theatre was also the musical’s initial home following its official January 25, 1996, opening.

The show’s creator, Jonathan Larson, died suddenly the night before the off-Broadway premiere. The show won a Pulitzer Prize, and the production was a hit. The musical moved to Broadway in April 1996. On Broadway, RENT gained critical acclaim and won a Tony Award for Best Musical among other awards. The Broadway production closed after a 12-year run and 5,124 performances, making it the eighth-longest-running Broadway show by that time. The success of the show led to several national tours and numerous foreign productions, and in 2005, it was also adapted into a motion picture.

The above theatre poster published on wikipedia is of the original production of “La Boheme.”     The 1996 musical, “Rent” is loosely based on this classic opera by Puccini written 100 years before.      Here’s more about the two  from WiseGeek:

Rent and La Boheme are both set in cities considered as havens for artists, New York and Paris. The reality behind the romantic tourist images of both cities are clearly proved false by the two stories. In early scenes in Rent and La Boheme, characters are forced to burn manuscript pages in order to stay warm, not being able to afford firewood, or in the modern version, the heating bills.

Both Rent and La Boheme describe the devastation of a disease considered a feature of lower-class or artistic existence. In La Boheme one of the main characters, Mimi, is afflicted with tuberculosis, a deadly and highly infective disease still common throughout the world today. In Rent the plague is AIDS, and has spread to many of the characters, half of whom are infected with the illness.

“Rent” was made into a movie in 2005.   Here’s one of the very popular songs from this musical performed by the cast of the movie:

Listen to the Story with Director Scott Dunlap:

The Nutcracker Christmas Carol

December 10, 2010

Reporting:  Rabbit Zielke

The Nutcracker Christmas Carol is one of those holiday musicals that has it all – literally.  Author Rex Knowles mixed together classic holiday stories, songs, and ballet to produce a heart warming Christmas musical comedy ballet.  The show opens Friday, December 10th, at the Chattanooga State Community College Humanities Theater.  Performances are scheduled for December 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 7:30 pm and matinée performances December 12 and 19 at 2:30 pm.  The final performance on the 19th will feature real-time captioning for the deaf and hearing impaired.

The Nutcracker Christmas Carol was written by Rex Knowles with music by Sherry Landrum, Allan Ledford, and Knowles. Directed by Sherry Landrum and choreographed by Lindsay Fussell. Allan Ledford is Musical Director.  The

Bob Cratchit (John Thomas Cecil), Tiny Tim (Eric Phillips), and Caroline Cratchit (Maria Sager)

cast includes Jeffrey Parker as Charles Dickens, Rex Knowles as Ebenezer Scrooge, John Thomas Cecil in the dual roles of Bob Cratchit and the wealthy Dr. Stahlbaum, Maria Sager in the dual roles of Caroline Cratchit and Clara Stahlbaum, and Eric Phillips as both Tiny-Tim and Fritz Stahlbaum. Other cast members include: Fionna Battersby, Jared Bice, Maggie Bradshaw, Chris Defore, Stan Furlow, Lindsay Fussell, Jennelle Gilreath, Amy Henrichs, Karley Moon, Roman Penney, Brenda Schwab, and Jeremy Wilkins.

Listen to the story. 

“The Producers” by Mel Brooks to open on Theatre Centre’s Main stage

August 9, 2010

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

“The Producers” opens Friday, August 13th, 2010 at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre.     Magge Hudgins directs this classic Brook’s musical comedy starring Chattanoogan’s, Allan Ledford in the role of Max Bialystock and Zach Cavan as Leo Bloom.      Here’s the write up from the Theatre Centre webpage:

The Mel Brooks Musical Adapted by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan. Lyrics by Mel Brooks; Music by Mel Brooks and Glen Kelly.

Adapted from the 1968 Mel Brooks movie by the same name, The Producers is the story of two theatrical producers who scheme to get rich quick by overselling interests in a Broadway show sure to be a flop. But when the show turns out to be a rousing success, things get complicated. The original production opened in 2001 on Broadway starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick and received a record 12 Tony Awards.

Nancy Shute wrote about “The Producers” for US News & World Report in 2001 in an article entitled, “20 Mel Brooks, His Humor Brings Down Hitler and the House.” Here’s an excerpt:

When the movie of The Producers debuted in 1968, many critics panned it as crude. But the film is now considered a classic, and when the stage version opened on Broadway earlier this year, it was an instant hit, sweeping the Tony Awards. It also sparked fresh complaints about its gleeful mockery of Nazis, Jews, and homosexuals.

Mel Brooks was well aware of Hitler’s tragic follies, Shute’s article continues:

Brooks, who is Jewish, saw the results of Hitler’s handiwork firsthand, while serving in the Army in Europe in World War II. “I didn’t see the camps, but I saw streams of refugees. They were starving. It was horrible.” Brooks attacked that horror with the only weapon he had–his wit.

Mel Brooks

Listen to interview with Magge Hudgins, Zack Cavan and Allan Ledford:


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