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Happy’s Old Globe Theatre Reviews

HAPPYS OLD GLOBE THEATRE REVIEWS:

http://www.oldglobe.org

THEATRE REVIEW: Opus
At The Old Globe Theatre
4 Happy Faces (Out Of 4 Possible)

This play is about a fictional string quartet and the inner drama inside. It’s kind of like a Behind The Music episode for Classical Music except that nobody is on illegal drugs. It’s an extremely dense production emotionally: the only actors in the entire play are the actual members of the quartet. The entire play is about their inner workings and their quest for fame and immortality.
The play begins with a mystery: one of the members has left and we don’t know why. We find out through flashbacks why as the story unfolds. Like so many plays, the difference between this and most TV shows and movies is that you really have no idea where it is going, and yet the twists in the story are not cheap plot devices that are designed to keep you hooked, but are the realistic twists that life can take.
The acting was truly amazing. My favorite actor was Jim Abele – he’s one of those actors you’ve seen in perhaps a dozen TV shows but you can’t quite place which ones.
As someone who has been a dedicated musician for years, this play really reminded me of the stuff that I have experiences with musicians and clashing egos. I decided to get seriously into music the same month I saw the play I Just Stopped By To See The Man. Once again a play at the Old Globe plays an important role for me: this play is a validation that so much of what I’ve experienced is in many ways universal.
Another “must see” at The Old Globe.

HAPPY’S THEATRE REVIEW – THE GLASS MENAGERIE
At The Old Globe Theater http://www.oldglobe.org
4 Happy Faces (Out Of Four Possible)

One of the things that makes the theatre so unique is that – unlike movies and TV – you oftentimes have no idea where a play is heading till it gets there (an important lesson for all artists and entertainers). I often don’t even know what a play is really about until I start watching it, again unlike movies and TV shows which are usually previewed in such a way that you know everything about them.
People often think of the theatre as “stuffy” or hard to understand and I have found (if you avoid the Shakespeare stuff) that just the opposite is true, that it gives much of a sense of real life and what people are really like then much of the more popular stuff.
This particular play is about some very lonely people and their search for love. I won’t go into it any further for the reasons listed above, but I found it profoundly moving.

IN THIS CORNER
At The Old Globe Theater http://www.oldglobe.org
Three Bruised But Happy Faces (Out Of Four Possible)

This is a play about the boxing great Joe Louis. My favorite part of the play was it was at the Cassisus Carter Center Stage at The Old Globe Theatre, which is a small square stage with the audience on all four sides. They put up some ropes and suddenly it was exactly like a boxing ring.
Having recently taken up boxing, The Happy Man was fascinated by this play. The ending was particularly moving with Joe broke and bankrupt and yet dying ultimately happy with the mark he has made on the world.

SEA OF TRANQUILITY
At The Old Globe Theater http://www.oldglobe.org
Three Happy Faces (Out Of Four Possible).

This is a show about therapist and his life, and the trouble he gets into after he has a run-in with The Church Of Scientology who frame him for hanky panky with a client, which then uncovers some evils from his past. The play goes through some of the typical issues with personal growth work in a way that was interesting, but not fascinating to me.

HAPPY’S THEATRE REVIEW: George Gershwin Alone
At The Old Globe Theater http://www.oldglobe.org
4 Happy Faces (Out of 4 possible)

Going to this play is like going to a workshop on songwriting technique, as well on what the life of songwriter is like. Being a songwriter himself, the Happy Man found this to be quite a profound experience. A memorable moment came right at the beginning when he laid out the theory behind one song and said the normal thing would be to go to certain thing during the song, but that since he didn’t do the “normal thing” he did something else. The whole play was filled with songwriting tidbits like that; I can’t remember any work of art that delved more deeply into the art of songwriting and music since the play and movie Amadeus. I wanted to take notes and ended up buying a copy of the CD so that I could hear some of the insights into music again.
When Gershwin talked about his life it was generally comical material about his hypercritical Jewish parents. Perhaps the most moving part of the play was how he seemed genuinely confused by why his girlfriend left him, “she said I didn’t need her anymore, I have no idea why.”
The entire play was simply the one actor sitting at and in front of a piano talking about Gershwin life, up to and including his death, as well as playing and singing many of Gershwin’s songs. Afterwards the actor broke character and asked the audience what songs they would like to hear. He then memorably lead the audience in the singing of several songs, expertly feeding us the lines as he went – not an easy task to teach people a song as they are singing it. At one point he warned that a song was somewhat “inappropriate” and I said “yeah inappropriate!!!” and the whole audience laughed, probably the largest crowd to laugh at something the Happy Man did.
It’s an indication of how much this show impacted me that my newest song, Pitter Patter, has a definite Gershwin type sound, and I didn’t even do that intentionally.

HAPPYRON REVIEWS AVENUE Q – THE MUSICAL
4 Happy Muppet Faces (Out of 4 Possible!)

Avenue Q is the story of what happens when the Muppets grow up (not really the Muppets due to copy write considerations, but everyone knows that’s who they are). If you’re heard the music of Happy Ron imagine that music combined with the Muppets and you’d have a great idea of what this is like.
I’ve seen a few dozen shows in the last couple of years and this is in the top 5 for sure. The songs offer something you rarely hear, music that is somewhat shocking, yet acceptable to most audiences, as well as songs that truly give you something to think about things in a different way.
There was an interesting quote about the making of this musical, which was that the producers realized that people generally role their eyes when people break into song during a play nowadays, but that with the Muppets people expect them to sing. Got me thinking about different ways of bringing music to people then the traditional band route.

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