Showing posts with label san jose rep. Show all posts
Showing posts with label san jose rep. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Doctor Faustus is Playing at The Rep

The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus

A World Premiere Adaptation of Marlowe's Classic

Experience the fantastical world of "Medieval punk" (think Steampunk, but Medieval instead of Victorian) in this re-imagined adaptation of The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus.

This world premiere adaptation of Marlowe's Faust conjures a darkly bawdy, delightfully mischievous world using stylized, state-of-the art stagecraft, and leading-edge light and sound gadgetry to spirit the viewer right out of this world – projections, shadow puppets, life-size cage puppets, and actors playing multiple roles, sometimes simultaneously. All of the normally hidden aspects of a play will take place on stage – you'll see the stagehands and wardrobe folks, costumes changed, and props provided, making this not just the telling of a great story, but of how the story is told. If you love theatre that tells bvc a great story while pushing boundaries and demonstrating how theatrical theatre can be, this is one you will want to see.

Bold, ambitious, and stirring... Brandt has become a disciplined and inventive theatrical storyteller. -- San Diego Union-Tribune

Click here for tickets.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review: The Death of the Novel @ The San Jose Rep

The 2012-2013 show season at the San Jose Repertory Theatre has begun! And what a great show to start it off with!

I attended opening night of The Death of the Novel by Jonathan Marc Feldman and directed by the Rep's Rick Lombardo and for me, it was quite the treat. 

The play is about a young author who has experienced several heartbreaking losses throughout his life. Set shortly post-9/11 (with references within the play) New York, this man, Sebastian Justice, suffers from agoraphobia - he doesn't leave his New York apartment. Despite not leaving, thanks to his long time friend, he is able to meet an exotic and seemingly interesting woman, Sheba. Mixed in with words of sound logical advice (he chooses not to take, stubborn one that he is) from his psychologist, Samantha Cray, the story takes an interesting turn. 

My husband and I talked more about this show than we have over the last handful we've seen together. We're in our thirties and can relate to some of the topics brought up. I for one, felt a strong connection to the feelings Justice discussed as he reflected on the losses he had, one after another. A quote stuck in my head… "a clown car of tragedies". I'm sure many can relate… 

The Set: 
I love the set; design was a sleek furnished New York apartment with stylish modern furniture. Technically speaking - once again the Rep added their flair - the set rotated! Perfect way to bring you into another room. One of the other technical aspects (perhaps more along the lines of the sound department) that stood out for me was when someone opened the sliding glass door to the balcony, you'd hear the sounds of the New York streets below. Light horns honking, people talking, a whispy breeze -- great touches, Rep. They didn't go unnoticed!

The Music:
The music?! Wait this wasn't a musical - however, in a surprising moment, it played a lot like a music video or a montage in the middle of a film or television show. I don't want to give it all way, but it was an interesting touch and got the message across perfectly. 

The Actors:
Saving the best for last! The entire cast consisted of just five actors; and they were all captivating and moving in their own way. Vincent Kartheiser and Vaishnavi Sharma wowed the audience with their energy and outstanding ability to deliver lines upon lines of fast moving dialogue. There was a scene right after intermission that literally had me holding my breath because Sharma was talking so fast!

My husband and I lingered about during the Afters! party in hopes to meet some of the actors in the show. Fangirl confession: I'm a huge Buffy/Angel fan, and Vincent portrayed Angel's son in a couple of seasons. I was determined to meet him and hopefully get a photo. Another fangirl confession: Amy Pietz! I was so excited to find out she was going to be part of this production. Why? Because back in the day, I used to watch Caroline in the City. It was an adorable and hilarious little sitcom in the 90s. Anyway.. silliness aside, I really wanted to meet her too.

We chatted for a bit with an older couple about the show, about the topics of death and our shared enthusiasm for the powerful acting. They noted that often the audience is a little older group, but they've been seeing a change. I agree -- I think the topical shows that The San Jose Repertory are choosing have started to attract new, younger audiences. 

I think the mix of the Hollywood ties (Kartheiser and Pietz) along with the topics explored in this show, a younger crowd would definitely find themselves being entertained. That of course, applies to those that don't normally attend this avenue of entertainment.

Well after a few minutes my inner fangirl was pleased! I got to meet Amy Pietz and Vincent Kartheiser, chat with them a smidge and get some photos. 

Adam (hubby) and I with Amy Pietz
Vincent Kartheiser and me

Now it's your turn - go see the show!

Runs through September 22, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Catch Vincent Kartheiser in "The Death of the Novel" at the San Jose Rep!

The Death of the Novel

By Jonathan Marc Feldman
Directed by Rick Lombardo

Hollywood is coming to the San Jose Rep! Vincent Kartheiser, (currently on AMC's Mad Men as Pete Campbell) stars along with Vaishnavi Sharma, Patrick Jones, Zarah Mahler and Amy Pietz. 

The production, as described on the San Jose Repertory's website:

Brilliant young novelist Sebastian Justice claims to be the most well-adjusted, depressed agoraphobic in Manhattan. While he rants about anything from global warming to tennis, his publisher-ordered psychologist (a “writer’s block-whisperer”) tries to get to the bottom of his grief. But when a stunning and mysterious Saudi woman intrudes into his self-contained world his emotional descent takes a sudden turn, for the raving beauty may not be the person she says she is. Will this stranger be the one to help him find his way back, and at what cost? Identities blur in this enthralling and evocative story that takes a look at the modern world through the eyes of a brilliant and tragically wounded artist.

I'm really looking forward to checking out this show. The story sounds intriguing, but I must admit my inner fangirl is squeeing. While I do watch Mad Men, my first exposure to Vincent was his portrayal of Connor in television show, Angel. It will no doubt be a treat to see him in this production. Additionally, I've been a fan of Amy Pietz from back in the day when she starred with Lea Thompson in Caroline in the City. Another favorite show of my back in the 90s. (What can I say, I was a TV nut.)

How Vincent Kartheiser Found the Lead Role

The production runs from August 30th - September 22nd.
Pay What You Will Night: August 30th

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review: Bill W. and Dr Bob @ the San Jose Rep

Bill W. and Dr. Bob 6: (l to r) Bill Wilson (Ray Chambers) and Dr. Bob Smith (Robert Sicular) meet and talk for the first time in what is now known as the first A.A. meeting in San Jose Rep’s West Coast premiere of Bill W. and Dr. Bob.

Last week I attended Opening Night for the San Jose Repertory's last show of the 2011-2012 season, Bill W. and Dr. Bob. It is based on the true story of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and their wives. Usually I lean toward musicals however, the subject matter was intriguing and ultimately drew me in. 

When I arrived at the press desk I chatted a bit about the show with Laura (Marketing Manager for the Rep) and Elisabeth (PR contact). Laura mentioned the set design and that there was an interesting element to it. Now, set design is one of the things I really like to focus on at any kind of show, so I was already intrigued. Then she added, with a smile, that I should try to count the number of bottles the set designers put in the scenes.

After my guest and I found our seats, I glanced up at the set and immediately understood what Laura was hinting at. Let's just say there were quite a few bottles to count. You really should see it. I'm sure you could just check out the media photos on the Rep's website (the one I used above for example) … but it's better to just see it in person, mmkay?

The show… wow. Literally as the show ended, I turned to my friend and after a moment, blinked and slightly shook my head and said "wow." The show is moving and holds your interest all the way through. It deals the battle with alcohol the two men have in their lives, the wear and tear it does to their relationships, and the struggles they have internally about their disease and the deep-down honest want for healing they both seek. I've never been to a show with such a powerful and moving story. And to know it's a true story makes it all the more amazing, really.

A quick breakdown of elements:

The actors portraying Bill W. and Dr. Bob are fantastic. I was particularly mesmerized by the acting of Ray Chambers (Bill W.) -- from the powerful anger-fueled outbursts to the sly, humorous moments, glances and comedic timing - he was fantastic.

Two of the actors, Cindy Goldfield and Mike Ryan, were amazing! They'd run off stage to dress up as yet again another character. Mike Ryan played about 11 different characters throughout the show. Insane!

Set Design:
Like I mentioned earlier in my post, the main set features some bottles, of which you just have to see it in person. It's a unique way to decorate the set. The rest of it involved moving pieces, a dining room table, or living room chairs float out from the sides of the stage when needed. Since storyline and acting is the main focus, the set design helps to remind you the setting without overpowering the scene.

Costume Design:
In general the costumes for the men were pretty typical of the era. Stylish suits and even an argyle sweater (think old-school golfing style) were nice, but the one thing that stood out the most to me…. the women's SHOES.

I want to own all of them. The blue and white heels Lois wears in a few scenes were so adorable! Another pair, worn by Hen, were off-white with periwinkle blue tips. I have always loved the clothing of that era and while the dresses were not necessarily great in terms of the fabric patterns, they felt very true to life. Espeically for the Wilsons, they did not have a lot of money so fabric wasn't going to be super fancy designs. Anyway, that's my take on it at least.


If you've ever been curious about what Alcohol Anonymous is and how it came to be, this is a show for you. Get a little history lesson in. There's some humor, some sadness, and hope throughout the entire show. If you or someone you know has battled alcohol addiction, I'm sure you'll find it just as interesting and accurate. 

Some observations about the audience reactions; when Bill, after a short sober period, opts to take a shot in celebration of Armistice Day, the audience gasped with exasperation. He was clearly fighting the idea, but couldn't resist temptation. Toward the end, during a few particularly moving scenes (I've never seen an actor on stage really cry, but I suppose sitting so close to the stage helped), during the quiet moments you can hear the audience sniffling. No doubt there were many people in attendance that have gone through similar situations - whether as the one who has/is battling such a disease or a loved one who has been on the other side.

I've only read one other review so far. That particular reviewer said the show wasn't "life-changing", and while yes everyone has different experiences... I just can't help but feel that because of so many eye-opening, dramatic, and emotional moments this story has that one can walk away not feeling moved.


June 21 - July 15, 2012
by Samuel Shem & Janet Surrey
directed by Richard Seer

This quick-witted and honest docu-drama follows two dynamic and dedicated men who, in the midst of their battle with acute and debilitating alcoholism, formed a formidable and historic alliance to help others combat the same addiction. Bill Wilson, a stockbroker who crashed with the stock market, finds himself in a bar. He could have pursued any number of distractions–a game of solitaire, reading a book–instead he chose to make a phone call. Through an astonishing series of events and bitter humor comes the inspiring, true story of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and their wives.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

San Jose Repertory: A Christmas Carol

Hope everyone is feeling the holiday spirit! Downtown is full of festive events and shows -- one in particular is A Christmas Carol playing at the San Jose Repertory Theatre until December 24th!

Now, the earliest memory I have of A Christmas Carol is the Walt Disney version; Mickey, Scrooge McDuck, Goofy... you know, the whole gang. Here I am, 31 years old and that’s my frame of reference for this story. Granted, I know in either middle school or high school we read the actual story. That said, it’s a classic story - if you don’t know it then maybe you live under a rock. (And living under rocks just isn’t comfortable, so get your bum out from under there!)

The other day I attended Opening Night and immediately felt the holiday spirit upon entering the Rep. Garland, bells, Christmas wreaths and trees greet you and really begin to set the tone.

CarolersJust before the show is to start, the actors arrive on the steps of the Rep and begin to sing classic Christmas carols. While I have heard some before, others I have not - they’re very old fashioned (then again, what Christmas carols are ‘new’? Hmm...) and while generally not my cup of tea, the caroling really helps bring you into the show you’re about to see. You’re going to be sucked into the Victorian era!

Before watching the show I had read a tweet from the Rep saying that the production featured 18 actors playing more than 50 roles. This above all intrigued me. First off - AWESOME memories these actors must have (I have a hard time remembering things I did last week, let alone lines for multiple characters!) but also, that must be some great organization behind the scenes for the costume designers.

Ok since I’m not a professional theatre critic I’m going to break this down by category - again, I am what I’ll define as a casual theatre-goer; I enjoy plays and musicals and theatre in general. So maybe I’m more like you, random reader - hope my review helps you decide if you’ll see the show or not.

ActingLike I said before there, there are 18 actors who collectively played more than 50 roles. To bounce between a few different characters and often times providing the part of narrators is a feat unto itself. Everyone did a great job and I was never once confused as to what character was talking or what was happening.

I must say right now, sorry to the adults in the play, but the children simply stole the show - as often they do! Making her first professional stage performance, little Alison Lubeins had my full attention. She’s just darling as Alice Cratchit and did a great job with all the lines and actions she had to perform.

Everett Meckler - Photo by Kevin BerneAnother one of the child actors that stood out, and importantly so as his character is vital to the story, Everett Meckler as Tiny Tim. When he sang (while Marvin Greene as Bob Cratchit played acoustic guitar beautifully) the audience was silent. I don’t even think people were breathing. He has a soft voice and sang with the victorian-style accent as well. Wonderfully done and I think I heard a few sniffles in the audience after the song.

I’m a details person. I love to dissect costumes and the accessories used. From the lacy gloves, scarves, and even the ratted clothing - everything felt, to this untrained eye, that it was spot on Victorian-era clothing (and A Christmas Carol-themed.)

There was a lot more singing then I had anticipated. And while I am a fan of musicals, it’s the old-fashioned carols and songs that *personally* can get on my nerves after awhile -- but do not let this sway you. I’m a blogger, I am personally giving my opinion here. All songs are really appropriate and help traditionally tell the story.

Set Design
Very interesting and I am not surprised as The Rep often has such a unique approach for its set design. The actors were often the ones, as narration goes on, to physically adjust the scene. Set change came off as a seamless, choreographed dance and never once confused me as a viewer.

Stand-Out Moments
In relation to set design - there were a few surprise moments that stood out to me.

When Marley’s spirit shows itself to Scrooge in his chambers and how the Rep did it was a fun and unique way. Lots of lighting and dry ice to set the eerie, scary moment alive. That said, I think in this ONE case, there seems to be something missing, perhaps a mixture of the actor’s movements or delivery and audio effects something just didn’t feel spooky enough to me.

However when Marley’s ghost first appears to Scrooge on the door knocker, The Rep used a technical approach that worked wonderfully. I was curious as to how they’d do it and pleasantly pleased how they did.

Overall the show is a great way to spend a holiday evening out with family and friends!

A Christmas Carol
San Jose Repertory Theatre
Nov 23 - Dec 24, 2011
Tickets and Information

Photo of Everett Meckler by Kevin Berne

Monday, June 27, 2011

DRUM! Night Benefit

Enter Music Publishing is sponsoring its 2nd Annual Benefit DRUM! Night on Friday, Aug 12th at the San Jose Rep! All proceeds will be donated to the Performing Arts Music Program at Lincoln High, which has over 40 course offerings in dance, music, and theater. For all the details, read below:

For Immediate Release

Enter Music Publishing Plays In The Community Again With Its 2nd Annual DRUM! Night: A Benefit For The Lincoln High School Music Programs
San Jose, Calif., -- Enter Music Publishing, publishers of hip drumming magazines online and offline, isn’t just obsessed with selling magazines. The company has a strong commitment to the community and drummers in need.

Last year, Enter Music Publishing, in conjunction with the San Jose Jazz Festival, sponsored Rhythm Night, a benefit for the family of deceased Little Feat drummer, Richie Hayward. The night was a tremendous success with more than 500 drummers and fans attending.

This year, Enter Music Publishing is sponsoring its second annual benefit, DRUM! Night, which promises to be an exciting drumming festival with a diverse lineup of drummers and percussionists. On Friday, August 12, drummers will descend on the San Jose Repertory Theatre in the heart of Silicon Valley to witness an evening of amazing drum clinics and performances by Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa, Missing Persons, Jeff Beck), Thomas Lang (Spice Girls, Tina Turner, Stork), and Santana’s fiery percussion section: Karl Perazzo & Raul Rekow, with special guest Armando Perraza (formerly of Santana).

The event will actually be kicked off at 4:30 in the afternoon when Street Drum Corps puts on a street concert outside the venue.

All proceeds generated by 2011 DRUM! Night will be donated to the Performing Arts Music Program at Lincoln High, a San Jose magnet school. With over 40 course offerings in dance, music and theater arts, more than 900 Lincoln High students of all ability levels study and learn to attain the highest levels of achievement.

“We’re really enthused to be sponsoring this event to assist music education in schools,” said Phil Hood, publisher and co-founder of Enter Music Publishing. “San Jose schools have a great reputation when it comes to the performing arts and we’re dedicated to supporting the arts through events like DRUM! Night.”

Doors will open at 5:00, an hour-and-a-half before show time, allowing
attendees to have their stick grips analyzed and tuned-up by local drum teachers, witness music demos, test new drum gear, and get in on a special autograph session featuring Brian “Brain” Mantia (Guns ’N Roses, Primus), Jimmy DeGrasso (Megadeth, Alice Cooper), and other notable Northern California drumming dignitaries.

DRUM! Night raffle tickets will go on sale shortly. Entrants for a chance to win a full custom drum kit featuring Mapex drums and Sabian cymbals, as well as a host of additional prizes from companies like Gretsch, DW, LP, Gibraltar, Vic Firth, Craviotto, Remo, Vater, and more. Winners will be drawn and announced at the close of the show. All proceeds go to Lincoln High.

Like last year’s Rhythm Night, DRUM! Night will help kick off the 22nd Annual AT&T San Jose Jazz Festival, one of the largest open-air jazz festivals in the world. SJJF closes off the entire downtown area, erects multiple outdoor stages, and draws up to 100,000 music lovers who converge from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening to enjoy jazz, blues, salsa, Latin, R&B, electronica, and many other forms of contemporary music.

General admission tickets for DRUM! Magazine Rhythm Night are $20 apiece (each additional ticket is $15). Ticket ten-packs are available for $125. Premium tickets are available for $25. Cosponsors for DRUM! Magazine Rhythm Night include Roland, DW, Sabian, Remo, LP, Mapex, Vater, and Vic Firth.

For additional information, please visit www.drummagazine/drumnight.

About Enter Music Publishing

Founded in San Jose, CA in 1992, Enter Music Publishing, Inc. is a leading publisher of hip, drum/percussion magazines, with distribution in 40 countries. DRUM! is the flagship publication of Enter Music Publishing, Inc. and continues to set the industry standard for editorial quality and innovation. Enter Music Publishing, Inc. also publishes great content on its website, Over the company’s history, Enter Music Publishing has pressed other well-respected publications, such as  How To Play Drums, and TRAPS magazine. The company’s mission is to be the best source of drumming news and info on this planet and others as they become populated.  The company’s founders, Phil Hood and Andy Doerschuk, are well-respected drum industry veterans with more than 50 years of experience in the field.