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A blistering version of a€?Stagger Leea€? occurs seven tracks deep into Danielle Miragliaa€™s most recent album, Box of Troubles. So it is that Danielle Miraglia puts her own stamp on a€?Stagger Lee.a€? Of course, ita€™s not her own composition, but surely a cornerstone of her repertoire. An interview with this refreshingly affable, down-to-earth performer reveals how she became the player and writer she is today.
While her musical aspirations took a back seat during her college career, there was still some dabbling.
When Danielle left Emerson, she felt lost for a while, describing herself as a€?unfocused.a€? She wasna€™t able to translate a degree in writing into meaningful employment.
Danielle had a fantasy about moving to Arizona and starting a whole new life out there, getting a fresh start.
Her first songs, coming off the dissolution of a relationship were (again) a€?cheesy breakup songs,a€? she said. At that point, she was a€?writing a ton,a€? and within about six months she enlarged her repertoire to six decent songs and another six months to beginning her first recording.
In addition to the strong, steady thumb beat on the bass strings, Danielle also uses a hollow foot stomp, sometimes amplified. I asked her about the guitars shea€™s favored and she mentioned that the Yamaha her boyfriend got her in high school was a nice beginnera€™s guitar (he took it back when they broke up a€” song opportunity!). Danielle feels that her first two CDs were of little consequence a€” a part of the learning process a€” and that her recording career started in earnest with the album, Nothing Romantic. In a€?You dona€™t Know Nothin,a€™a€? a reaction to some right-wing radio talk shows, Danielle flashes metaphoric sharpness.
The a€?eight oa€™clock shadowa€? then displays his own ignorance, condemning abortion rights marchers on the bara€™s television. Although I first got cold-cocked by a€?Stagger Leea€? and a€?Loud Talkera€? from Daniellea€™s latest CD, Box of Troubles, there are other standouts. Wea€™re ecstatic that wea€™ve caught up to this supremely intelligent and talented performer. Danielle has had purists disagree with her about not following original styles note-for-note.
A major jump forward on the path to folk music was the discovery in the late 1980s of the existence of Godfrey Daniels folk club in Bethlehem, PA. When Chris announced to the songwriters at Jack's that he'd joined the Army, they all shuddered in disbelief. Although the lead character is a female, Chris says that she's partially his alter ego in the. When Chris was finally discharged from the Army in 1995, he got back to the business of being a folksinger.
Anyone who's ever strapped on a hollow-body in Jack's vicinity has heard that howl of protest. Through all the violence of the military novels and the stumbling forward of Thatcher in Hoboken, Chris describes all three novels as love stories. Chris has made a number of appearances on NPR, as a guest on Terry Gross's Fresh Air and as a semi-regular commentator on All Things Considered, and links to his ATC radio essays are available through his site. The above descriptive passage encapsulates why my reaction to Chris's work is so strong.A  You look down and you read and it's all there. At yet another Tuesday night at the Living Room on New York Citya€™s Lower East Side, a performer in John Platta€™s monthly On Your Radar series mesmerized an audience.
The notes rained steady like a metronome, the bass strings rock-solid and the treble, bell-like. He finished his set, and the audience rose to its feet, giving him an ovation that seemed longer and more fervent than the usual appreciative applause regularly awarded by monthly On Your Radar attendees. Ia€™d made a brief acquaintance with his work back in the mid-a€™90s, when his song a€?Irelanda€? hit the airwaves. A phone conversation a week later would reveal that what Greg called a€?boringa€? turned out to be quite a roller coaster ride as he was pursuing his craft. Although he had a band, he wanted to go to school, so he enrolled at the University of Kansas.
In 1980, a a€?benchmarka€? year, Greg moved to New York City, to make or break it as a performing songwriter. Although he played solo, he was a€?looking for a banda€? and sought out guys who were a€?fun to play with.a€? After about two years of different lineups, he certainly found one. Grega€™s solo and co-written work form a treasure-trove of great listening a€” a desert-island collection, which, in my case, according to iTunes, amounts to about five-and-a-half hours. Once people dig into Grega€™s body of recorded work, the reaction usually is, a€?Why isna€™t this guy (take your pick) bigger a€¦ more well-known a€¦ hugea€¦?a€? While we mention a variety of lyrics and instrumental effects, the anchor for everything is Grega€™s voice, a dense baritone that reaches high notes with ease and packs emotion into every line.
The live album Between a House and a Hard Place (2002) will give listeners a sample of Grega€™s sense of humor. On The Williamsburg Affair (2009), Greg covers Neil Younga€™s a€?Wrecking Balla€? that Emmy Lou Harris had success with on her Daniel Lanois-produced album of that name. Her adopted father worked for a chemical corporation and they moved around a lota€¦ New Jersey, then Rhode Islanda€¦ When Diana was 15, she left her foster family. Exhibiting her independence early, she joined a Baptist choir when she was 11 because their songs were more interesting.
While she was still playing music during her school years, after graduation, she became a serious painter.
After college, still in her early 20's, during a post graduation stay in England, Diana got badly hurt in a car accident. When she was feeling better, she went to the library and got all the American music she could find -- Elvis Presley, the blues, some kind of history of American music and then she taped it. In 1996 she went to Ireland for a month with a friend who was a great musician and who knew many people there.
She recorded her first album Imagine Me in 1996 and in 1998, her second The One That Got Away. The best chance in the NY area to see Diana in the immediate future is when she opens for Alejandro Escovedo at The Outpost in the Burbs on April 13th. Diana's mother had moved to New York when she was 17, then went to airline school in Hartford, Conn. Yahoo , Facebook , Facebook , Twitter , Twitter , Google+ , Google+ , Myspace , Myspace , Linkedin , Linkedin , Odnoklassniki , Odnoklassniki , Vkontakte , Vkontakte , Google , Google , Yahoo , Yahoo , Rambler , Rambler , Yandex , Yandex , Gmail , Gmail , Yahoo! Designers Manufacturers , ??????? ????????? - ?????????? ???????????? , Gorgian Wikipedia - Free Encyclopedia , ????????? ?????? ????????? , Cambridje Dictionary Online , ????????? ???????? ????????? ?????? ????????? , Oxford Advenced Learner's Online Dictionar? , ??????????? ?????? - moazrovne,net, ???
Tom Bianchi, her husband and producer on this album, uses an electric violin, a blues harp and a sinuous lead electric guitar with a wah-wah pedal to sustain the cloud of doom that hangs over this historic piece.
Her family lived in Everett until she was 8, then moved to nearby Revere, where she grew up. As kids will, she and some friends tried to form a band, even though no one actually played an instrument. She took a couple of lessons from the aforementioned frienda€™s father who was going to teach her friends to play their instruments. Using an acoustic guitar, shea€™d get together with a friend back home to play and write songs. Her first stop was the open mic at The Kendall Cafe in Cambridge (now closed), just to a€?check it out.a€? She saw people who were very advanced and some raw beginners. However, a€?They had grit to them.a€? Although she cringes when she looks back on her early writing, she still feels that the songs werena€™t all that bad considering her level of development. She was a fan of the late Janis Joplin and would belt her songs out, Janis-style,without giving thought to vocal dynamics or microphone control. Additionally, she studied the Stefan Grossman transcriptions (written and audio) of the guitar of Mississippi John Hurt.
Shea€™s been told, a€?If youa€™re not doing it exactly the way they did it, youa€™re not doing it.a€? For Danielle, ita€™s all about enjoying it and getting into the a€?feela€? of it [we agree].
Although shea€™d seen performers like Chris Smither use this sort of device, she never intended to copy it. She later got an Ovation, then a Guild and then found her first love in a Gibson [lots of blues in those Gibsons].
Thata€™s about when we made her acquaintance (as well as taking note of her impact at the 2009 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference). She uses a nimble Mississippi John Hurt-style fingerpicking pattern for this philosophical gem. Tongue-in-cheek, she asks for a drum machine, and, in a reference to Robert Johnson, Tell me where the roads cross, Ia€™m ready to sell my soul. Ita€™s a plus that finding out how good a writer she is now reinforces our first impression of a highly energetic blues artist.
John told them that, if they really wanted to take songwriting seriously, they should get themselves to Greenwich Village in New York City to Jack Hardy's song circle. It contains some of the most harrowing scenes of what fatigue and nerves can do to a human being from boot camp onward into the battle zone. Again he pulls the reader underneath the skin of the characters to bring a more complete understanding of what it is to be soldier. Although he was basically a Pennsylvanian, he spent enough time in Hoboken with friends, crashing on couches, that he was easily assimilated into the cadre that would become Camp Hoboken. Those of us who knew Chris and the Hoboken crew back then are having a field day connecting the characters with their real-life counterparts. Chris could've stopped there, but, of course he would need to describe Geoff's small apartment with the pictures of the wall of a€?Geoffa€? and other icons of folk music, the imbibing of wine and sharing of songs. There are entries for reviews, interviews and some stories of day-to-day experiences that are infused with humor. There are entries for reviews, interviews and someA  stories of day-to-day experiences that are infused with humor. His father worked in the design department of WOR Radio, one of the sponsors of the Beatlesa€™ shows at Shea Stadium. Jim and Tom Paschetto, two other extremely talented friends, joined them to form a band, which they called The Ravioli Brothers.
His material included songs by Townes Van Zant, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker and Happy and Artie Traum.
The Greg Trooper band that evolved consisted of Greg on lead vocals and guitar, Larry Campbell on guitar, fiddle and mandolin, Greg Shirley on bass harmony vocals and Walter Thompson on drums. Although he moved back to New York in 2008, most of his recorded output has been from Nashville.



He can shift, mid-note, into a higher range for greater emphasis or break into a yodel if a Hank Williams cover demands it. Its blistering attack of chiming guitar chords and steady tom-tom beat take me back to 1957.
It kicks off with a€?Nothina€™ But You.a€? This one chugs through with the urgency it needs to express a guya€™s return to the woman he regrets leaving behind. During the intro strumming of a€?Ia€™m So French,a€? we can only wonder whata€™s happening when the audience laughs as he says, a€?Ia€™m recording here! Ita€™s also not possible to convey the warmth and self-effacing humor of his live performances. Although she listened to James Taylor and such on the radio and liked it, she felt more drawn to the more rootsy sounds of performers like Cash and Harris. At 16-17 years old, she attended support groups for adopted persons and other people who were searching and met some birth mothers and found it to be an amazing experience.
She came back after four weeks of being steeped in Celtic music She says that over the years, at times she's had to paint a portrait or paint a room in somebody's house, but other than that it's been all music. That tour has ended, but hopefully, they'll reprise this partnership so we can see more of this masterful pairing.
Although sheA  listened to James Taylor and such on the radio and liked it, she felt more drawn to the more rootsy sounds of performers like Cash and Harris.
For the bargain price of $10, you can treat yourself to two hours of Vegas-wattage, Broadway-bound rising stars hitting it out of the park. It is difficult to point out one outstanding performance when everybody was so darned good. Danielle had a Casio keyboard; a frienda€™s father played guitar, so it was assumed that hea€™d show others in the group how to play their instruments. There were writing courses of every kind, including journalism, childrena€™s writing and poetry. She figured, a€?OK, I can fit into this mixa€¦ I can pull this off.a€? She signed up to play the following week and found that others were very polite, offering encouragement. It wasna€™t until she got to the open mic of blues master Geoff Bartley at the Cantab Lounge that her mistakes were pointed out.
The practice really evolved from using a foot stomp on stage to keep rhythm and provide percussion. It actually took another year for her to digest and learn what Geoff had taught her.A  a€?It was like I got all the food and then I processed it,a€? she told me.
In his late teens, Chris began to read more about Woody Guthrie and take a deeper interest the music of Woody, Pete Seeger and traditional folk. Chris made sure to take his notebook and his memory of events was till fresh enough in the late 90's to build evocative scenes and crisp dialogue.
Chris spent the next few years traveling around the country singing in coffeehouses and clubs.
The one about editing a book about chefs, then taking a trip to a restaurant in California is sidesplitting (figuratively, and for Chris, almost literally). Chris madeA  sure to take his notebook and his memory of events was till fresh enough in the late 90's to build evocative scenes and crisp dialogue.
After nearly a year, Greg moved back to New Jersey for a short while and then went to Lawrence, Kan. Around 1979, Jim Paschetto moved to Lawrence and joined Grega€™s band and the idea of writing original material took serious hold.
Campbell, whoa€™s played with Dylan, gets our attention, but anyone in that kind of company would need to be good. One article states that he was writing for Nashville publishers even while living in New York his first time around. The first two albums, Everywhere (1992) and Noises In The Hallway (1996), are out of print and can only be bought as used CDs from Amazon at this point. Ia€™m skipping ahead of a few favorites to get to the track that ends the album, a€?Ia€™ll Keep It With Mine,a€? a Dylan cover that makes a wonderful honky-tonk slow dance. After a couple of listens, I shared it with my wife and she identified it as a perfect Cajun two-step. Critics are saying that this album is yet another wonder in the series of great Trooper releases.
When she was 6, a nun in her Catholic school came into her class and picked her out to sing in the 12-year-old chorus. She found later, when she discovered her birth family, that her grandfather had been a picker and singer. A place called Cades Cove, a settlement that got bought out by the government in the 30's during the whole WPA thing. During the festival, they'd drive out after the mainstage acts had played, get there at midnight, play at the campfires until 4am, then drive home. They recently went in to the studio and will self release that special project later this month both online and at shows.
The Santa Barbara High School Theater is staging Spamalot, lovingly ripped off (as they put it) from Monty Pythona€™s Holy Grail, totally amped up, dressed up and repackaged into a raucous show with something on offer for everyone.As with all things Python, no sacred cows are left unmolested.
The comic timing, the duo dancing and singing, the snappy dialogue, the sets, the jazz ensemble headed up by the talented Richard Weiss, all were funny, polished, and professional.
She credits two older boys, her upstairs neighbors, in helping to add to her musical knowledge. She went back again and again and found a€?a whole new crew of friends.a€? They were a€?on the same wavelength,a€? she said. On a gig where she needed to use a box for added height, she found herself rhythmically tapping on the box and liking the sound. Although she told me that her husband Tom hosts it now, shea€™s still listed as the host on The Burren website.
Danielle developed a a€?roguea€? mixture of what Geoff taught her and the Grossman transcriptions.
An intensified interest in acoustic music was sparked by hearing James Taylor, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Bob Dylan and the band America. First, he said, "Make sure you bring a notebook And your guitar if you can, but if you can't, take your notebook. His sharp-witted humor came across in his performances and would serve him well in the career to come.
But sure, that was him, Stephen Foster all shacked up at 601 Bloomfield in the cold year of our Lord 1854. I bring this up because it's not an easy thing to do and many writers seem clumsy in that area. I was starting to develop a direction and I liked lyric-based folk-rock.a€? Bob Dylana€™s influence crept higher. The track is so amazingly strong that you might cut in on somebody with his girlfriend at the roadhouse, plead temporary insanity and not get your head stove in. Youa€™ll get a taste if you go to YouTube and type in a€?Greg Trooper,a€? but thata€™s only a taste. Texas barbeque, Ia€™m so French!A  We also get to hear him do a€?Ireland,a€? in the only version I have at the moment until I can pick up a copy of Everywhere.
After the near death experience, she wanted to do something, that if she died tomorrow, she would've wanted to have accomplished in her lifetime. The material, with its old-timey feel, was so honest and authentic, it put one in mind of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings or Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer.
Danielle and another friend, Brenda, who Danielle said, a€?has a twisted sense of humor,a€? would write songs with ridiculous lyrics. For Danielle, they included John Irving (for his humor as well as his dramatic flair), Tim Oa€™Brien (Vietnam War novelist, not the bluegrass performer), satirist David Sedaris and Lorrie Moore (a€?humorous and poignant short storiesa€? a€” Wikipedia). There was an epiphany of sorts in that they both realized life is too short to waste on doing things you have no love for. Later, she asked a friend to follow her design to make a hollow device like a footrest that she could attach to her stool.
Also, she mentioned that it seemed less desperate than standing when playing in a noisy bar. For Danielle, they includedA  John Irving (for his humor as well as his dramatic flair), Tim Oa€™Brien (Vietnam War novelist, not the bluegrass performer), satirist David Sedaris and Lorrie Moore (a€?humorous and poignant short storiesa€? a€” Wikipedia). She finds it fundamentally impossible to repeat someone elsea€™s stylings note-for-note a€” shea€™ll develop her own version instead. He married his high-school sweetheart and his first daughter, Kristina, was born the day before he graduated high school. Second, when you pull the pin, don't forget to throw the grenade!" Chris found both pieces of advice very useful.
His brother, two years older, had been instrumental in turning Greg on to the major rock acts of the day.
However, a€?WOR was the first New York album-oriented rock-and-roll FM station,a€? he said. In the early a€?70s, Greg was in his late teens when the work of John Prine and Steve Goodman made an impact. On their way out west, Greg and Richard stopped in Emporia, Kan., to visit a friend and wound up playing gigs in the area for about a year. Then, after two years, although he was doing well at school, he felt antsy to move forward in his desire to a€?make records,a€? so he quit. Also during this time, Greg wrote a€?The Hearta€? with Tom Russell, who was living in New York then.
If great writing, perfect recording and stellar performances are your thing, this is the guy for you. However, a€?WOR was the first New York album-oriented rock-and-roll FM station,a€? he said.A  a€?We still have some psychedelic posters from WOR that my father did the lettering for,a€? he stated.
She spent weeks alone in a cabin in the woods writing the material, something she had never done before. However the world views her as a blues singer, shea€™s well-prepared for original songwriting. Danielle also studied from an instructional DVD of Mississippi John Hurta€™s guitar style by Happy Traum and John Sebastian that combined video and tablature transcription. When Chris heard this, he didn't believe it at first, thinking that way of life had ended around 1942. Some of the songs played in that circle would go on to be included in the recordings of the Fast Folk Musical Magazine, founded by Hardy.


And Mr Marconi, ladies and gentlemen, with his transmitters and wireless signals You might ask where would Francis Albert be without Mr. Others who got early exposure that way included Dolly Parton, The Everly Brothers and Jim Nabors (TV's Gomer Pyle).
Betty Jean Lifton, a well-known adoption counselor and author, helped lead Diana to her family. When she returned home, Danielle began attending open mics, kick-starting what would become her career. I would be putting together help desk manuals, and then Ia€™d write a song about how miserable I was. Along with Jack, Chris was hanging out with Frank Tedesso, David Massengill, Richard Shindell, Richard Julian and Hugh Blumenfeld. He also played guitar and sang around the local circuit.A  Although he would realize later, that a number of elements in his life were leading up to the next chapter in his life, there was one catalyst that sealed the deal. She also met two women there who, as she found out later, were from the same town that her family had settled in. Who better than the Monty Python crew to turn the lens of irreverence and spoof on theatrical elements from within an actual play performance?A Theya€™ve crafted a special part for a brilliant Diva, played by Mary Cusimano, who starts off as the Lady of the Lake, and then morphs into other leading lady roles. The male of the species got off easy this time, but that doesna€™t mean she hasna€™t been watching. Then Ia€™d tell someone to re-boot their computer, which is usually the solution to every problem. There are a few similar characteristics to the main figure in Suttree, but otherwise, ita€™s all Greg.
In addition, a€?Ireland,a€? included on his 1992 album Everywhere, according to a quote we saw somewhere, was written as a tribute to his wife. And when I met him, he made such sense to me, because he had been the person I had been missing in some way. We just start to notice shea€™s been missing a bit in the second half when she strides out on stage in a flouncy robe and laments a hilarious number a€?What Happened To My Part?!?a€™Talking with Andrew Gutierrez, one of the main leads in the second half, the students didna€™t change the script as written, especially since the script is difficult to obtain, and Santa Barbara is one of the first high schools to perform it. She tinkered around with some acoustic fingerstyle guitar while in high school, copying selected songs by Randy Rhodes and the band, Heart. Bauman began regularly attending Hardy's weekly workshops at age 19 and continued coming into the city for Jack's song circle for almost 3 years.
Down to her last options, she says that she had a dream on a Monday night that she was in a post office and that a woman in the dream told her that her mother was from Tennessee. But they did add twists to make it more exciting, and the choreographer, Christina McCarthy took the dance numbers and ran with them.
The song captured the spirit of Ireland so well that Irish folk diva Maura Oa€™Connell covered it, and the song subsequently saw heavy rotation on Fordham Universitya€™s (WFUV) radio playlist a€” back then, this authora€™s only source of preferred music. She followed that up and by the following Thursday, she was talking to her birth mother on the phone. He always said, 'This family has never met a stranger.' People just lit up around him, because he made them feel so good about themselves. I was born in June and my birthstone is pearl, so my grandmother had a pearl necklace for me and a rose. The campus has been swept with a sort of awestruck pride that the show is actually incredible, really.The costumes, the accents (yes, they nailed them), the songs, and wit are all brilliantly done.
Observing that music could be personal, something you could write yourself and tell your own story in ita€¦ that's when it all clicked. In an online interview, Greg is quoted: a€?I was desperate back then a€¦ I was living in a trailer park a€¦ We were just desperadoes with shitty jobs.
A friend and I saw Greg play an inspiring set at the Mercury Lounge in the mid a€™90s and stopped to pay our respects afterward. In the second half, an underlying theme begins to emerge, a bit of truth in jest, if you will, where the kids fully embody the script, saunter up to one of the most polarizing social issues at present, and poke it squarely in the eye.
Ita€™s quite brave, and they pull it off with top marks.Spamalot will make you want to dance in the aisles, clap too loudly, guffaw in laughter, and sing at the top of your lungs. Perhaps best of all, with all the youth vibrancy rocking that stage, youa€™ll be totally amped up to go quest for your own grail, and indeed they urge you to do so. This was in February, but Thanksgiving was their biggest holiday of the year, my grandfather's favorite, so they threw Thanksgiving for me and invited the entire extended family. At the end of the night, it was one hell of an exercise in showmanship, great theater, and creative expression. She made some demos, little records that weren't big releases, but it was great experience. It was just different, or maybe it was just different for me, chasing the dream of making music. I tried to think of an excuse, but if I'm going to fight for more funding of the arts in our local schools, I had better be prepared to support them in person as well.A In a time where a large amount of local news coverage of our youth focuses on the negative, this high school program is clearly gathering the talented teenagers who are too busy and too talented to be getting into trouble. The man tells the story of his favorite 1920s musical, while listening to a scratchy vinyl album on his vintage record player. As he reflects on the play and its players, the musical bursts to life in his living room, much to his enjoyment - and ours.The characters are over-the-top, as was typical in many shows of the pre-Depression era, providing a delightful retrospective of the non-PC stereotypes of yesteryear.
Gangsters, flappers, spit-takes, sexual innuendo and martini glasses all make an appearance, but the talent - the youthful talent - is what shines through in this show.A Jordan Lemmond, who plays "Robert Martin," a handsome coed, is a triple-threat in acting, singing and tap dancing. He is a pleasure every time he is on stage, which, fortunately for the audience, is frequently. The "Drowsy Chaperone" is portrayed by Elli Harb, whose comedic face and gestures are well worth the trip to the theater. She transforms herself into the hysterically funny lead character with ease (and a little help from her highball glass!). Perhaps the most memorable number is performed by Emilio Madrid-Kuser as "Aldolpho," the latin-lover who is charged with the task of breaking up the impending nuptials of the lead couple. Aldolpho is described as "the man of a thousand accents - all of them insulting."A "The Drowsy Chaperone" is a campy play that makes fun of, and pays homage to, the campy plays it parodies. The messages "Chaperone" imparts are lessons all of us can appreciate as we shuffle through our own lives. How lovely it is to be reminded of the importance of love, laughter and living by a group of our most talented, local youth. Support high school performing arts and go see "The Drowsy Chaperone."A Santa Barbara High School Theatre700 E.
There has been exactly one such extravaganza, and it was a smash sensation, a runaway Broadway success in 1982. Santa Barbara High School Theatrea€™s production of Little Shop of Horrors hits all the high points of the original and adds some real magic of its own.Directed by longtime (and long celebrated) Santa Barbara High theater director Otto Layman, with mood-establishing sets and lighting by Mike Madden, perfect period costumes by Lise Lange and doo-wop choreography by Christina McCarthy, the show simply steamrolls the audience with a wave of nonstop happy energy, and an expertly administered pinch of authentic melancholy.
Seymour only has eyes for co-worker Audrey, a perky, ever-hopeful dreamer who wants nothing more than the love of a decent guy and escape from the tenements to greener pastures. The short-tempered handcuff enthusiast she is dating, a giddily sadistic dentist by trade, is not fulfilling her, despite her best efforts to soldier on.In short order, Seymour discovers and begins to nurture a potted plant with peculiar qualities, soon realizing that the leafy little fiend needs regular infusions of blood to flourish. Seymour names the burgeoning plant Audrey II, in honor of his hearta€™s desire.Audrey II soon enough grows to be a demanding, toothy tulip the size of a Volkswagen, requiring ever increasing amounts of type-O nourishment even as her monstrous novelty causes the florist shopa€™s celebrity, and that of Seymour himself, to blossom.
Soon an emboldened Seymour is openly courting the lovely Audrey I, following the mysterious, happy and botanically inspired disappearance of her dyspeptic former beau. The more Seymour gets what he wants, the more the ever-growing Audrey II is seen to be orchestrating his good fortune, to our heroa€™s growing chagrin.And all of this colorful chaos is set to a live soundtrack that could have been written for The Shirelles. Dylan Fitzgibbons as Seymour invests the role with the wit and energy and effervescent comic timing of a young Bobby Morse.
Mushnik is an unbridled hurricane of uncontrolled emotion, and provides a welcome borscht-belt feel to his portrayal of the variously harried and exultant florist. Geoff Hahn as Orin the angry dentist is truly impulsively scary, and also possessed of a terrific singing voice, evident even when he is performing from within the muffled confines of a gizmo-festooned helmet. The urchins and denizens of Skid Row sing and dance unforgettably, harmonizing beautifully while strutting and shimmying.Emma Robbins is also in fine voice as the conniving Mrs. Luce, one of a litany of entrepreneurs who emerge from the woodwork to exploit the suddenly bankable Seymour, who very nearly loses himself and the love of his gal in the ruinous glow of his and Audrey IIa€™s sudden celebrity.Through it all, musical director John Douglas leads his tightly swinging band through an energetic set of hummable, finger-snapping songs and the occasional breath-stopping ballad. As befits a Skid Row ensemble of musicians, they are safely ensconced behind period chain link just below the stage apron. The puppeteers who bring Audrey II to life are also to be commended, and indeed drew some of the wildest applause at the curtain call.Little Shop of Horrors delivers the goods, and the night I saw the show the audience received the delivery with enthusiastic open arms. Otto Layman, Chris Walas, and the extraordinary cast did a wonderful job deepening and darkening the familiar fairy tale, contributing to an evening of nonstop musical fun and laughter. As Belle, Santa Barbara Higha€™s Jana McIntyre brought a beautiful voice with a warm rich tone along with excellent acting skills to this demanding lead role. Christopher a€?Crittera€? Canfield handled the challenge of the Beast and his considerable costume equally well, and even added a genuinely threatening note to some of his speeches that helped lift the whole production out of the cartoon world of its original incarnation and into the universe of such Broadway standouts as Les Mis.Much of the charm of any production of Beauty and the Beast comes from the excitement of seeing a large cast having fun with great costumes. In this capacity, guest artist Chris Walas created some incredible things that really had to be seen to be believed, and choreographer Christina McCarthy set them all into glorious, full-throttle motion. There were some scenes, like the rousing a€?Be Our Guesta€? that concluded the first act, and the madcap a€?Mob Songa€? near the end, that seemed about to lift the house off its foundations with accumulated energy and mass coordination.Norma Latuchie held the orchestra in the palms of her hands from the overture to the end of the last number, and the presence of such a well-rehearsed ensemble made it much easier to concentrate on and enjoy all the many fine performances. In many ways the best things about this show are the numerous juicy supporting roles, and the SBHS team came through with some great renditions of them. Carlin Traxler was amazing as Babette the Featherduster, performing all kinds of acrobatics on the spectacular multilevel set. While the youth of the a€?60s doused its spirits with love, many of their elders urged them to fight and kill in Vietnam.
HAIR shows an era of revolution where values were redefined as children were sent by their parents to protect them (as in the song a€?I Got Lifea€?), love for the community overwhelmed love for another individual (as in a€?Easy to Be Harda€?), and duty challenged integrity. Now, with the decade of HAIR 40 years past, Santa Barbara High School has brought this beautiful representation of love, war, and hope back to life. This is because he has just been drafted for the war, although his internal struggle is exposed more to the audience than to his friends Berger and Sheila.
In a tangle of bodies and voices, the fight to a€?make love not wara€? unfolds in sonic booms and projected images of burning draft cards, balanced by numerous images of American flags. Although they believe that the draft is a€?white people sending black people to fight yellow people to protect the country they stole from the red people,a€? no matter how many draft cards they burn, reality inevitably hits our hairy tribe.From the strong beginning of a€?Aquariusa€? to Claudea€™s tragic death, the cast moves with complete control, reminding an audience of elders that time has moved on from their free-flowing, hippie childhood days to those of todaya€™s more grounded and somewhat more mature youth. Nonetheless, as Jana McIntyre exemplifies through her excellent rendition of a€?Good Morning Starshine,a€? it wasna€™t just a€?the movementa€? but also the voices of the era that gave hope to the youth of the a€?60s.



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