Friday, April 22, 2011

Opera Delaware and UD REP Ensemble

The time and energy expended for 3 performances. The professional casts, the orchestra, the sets, the costumes, the lighting, the rehearsals, the EGOS, the DIVAS!
More than a job, staging these impressive productions year in year out is a labor of love for those at Opera Delaware. In decades past, when Aisle Say was actively involved with community theatre, I never auditioned for a show that did not run a minimum of two weekends. All that effort for a couple shows? No thanks. Yet Opera Delaware continues to achieve superb reviews, not only locally but from national publications.
Lee Kimball has a visionary eye, a talent as mysterious as the hairline of Donald Trump. He sees and hears qualities in people who will go on to even greater heights internationally. Laura Pederson, the very wealthy and ergo, very merry widow, has performed in various divertisements at Carnegie Hall. Kimball picked her out as Musetta in OD's La Boheme. Now yet another stepping stone in the soprano's career.
So many operas end with unrequited love, sturm und drang and yes, daggers plunging into assorted beating breasts. In 'The Merry Widow', there are more sanguine expectations.
The government needs Hanna's money to stay in their impoverished country. The politicians wish her to marry Danilo to ensure the same. Aha! It emerges that the two were in love before her marriage, but his uncle interrupted their romance because Hanna had absolutely nothing to her name. Circumstances have changed. Although they still love each other, Danilo refuses to court Hanna because of her fortune and Hanna vows she will not marry him until he says "I love you". Let's get this straight...three little words and the country remains solvent? Get with the program, Danilo!
Long time friend Joan Goodfellow plays Olga. In the '70's Joan was in a movie with Jan Michael Vincent and Robert Ryan entitled 'Buster and Billie'. Jan Michael was Buster, before “Airwolf”.Joan was Billie. Check it on You Tube.
(Rely on Aisle Say for institutional theatrical knowledge!) May 1, 6 and 7. 800.37-GRAND

U of D REP Ensemble premieres “O Beautiful”. An Aisle Say Exclusive!

The REP Ensemble -sans doubt the best theatre in Delaware – is diverging from its norm of classics from the Masters: Shakespeare, Shaw, Miller, Moliere, et al.
Three years in existence, Producer/Director Sandy Robbins mounts a new show, “O Beautiful” by Theresa Rebeck. Aisle Say has missed but a few of their offerings and has become friends with some of the passionately committed actors.
This will be an interesting piece for the audience and a watershed for the Ensemble. Not only must the piece reach the classically high standards of Sandy Robbins, but the play was written exclusively for them and their talents. A wonderfully intriguing challenge to succeed.
The production has been in a one year evolution. The author worked with the Ensemble actors over this time and asked for their input. It was re-written 7 times before rehearsals began. As a writer who has been there, that is a mix of both omniscient opportunity and unadulterated drudgery.
Robbins knows this show will be controversial. (But, then, what else is theatre about?) Quotes Robbins,” is comic, it is dramatic. It is thought provoking. In this era of divisiveness, it is a call for compassion and debate. The resolve is working together.”
Through May 15. 831.2204

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