The Majak Mixtape - This Mixtape Does it With Feeling

Curtains up Mixtapers! Welcome to another stunning, flawless, amazing, STEALING THE SCENE FROM YOUR FAVORITE edition of the Majak Mixtape, where pop culture goes when it wants to run lines before callbacks. It's Thirsty Thursday and normally this is the day of the week when we dive into the deep end of the nostalgic pool and swim swim swim with our memories being our floatation devices. We've backstroked with Daria, belly flopped with "Teen Witch," and freestyled with the ladies of Jem and the Hologram.

But this week, our THROWBACK THURSDAY-ness is taking a distinctly theatrical turn this week as we, in honor of the Second Supper theatre awards aka the Suppies, take a look back at the 2010-2011 theatre season here in the La Crosse area so we're dishing all the backstage dirt, reliving some of our favorite music numbers from the season and highlighting the scores of hilarious quotes, both from our interviews with members of the theatre community as well as our own reviews of shows. Oh yeah, consider your script SNATCHED today!

But before we deliver a stirring monologue of epic emotional proportions, it's first time for us to what?

Oh you know us so well, don't you? In our first bit of tea, Newt Gingrich recently got assaulted with a hail of glitter. You laugh, but we've known at least three drag queens and one go-go dancer who died from complications related to glitter-oriented injuries. Anyway, the former speaker of the House has been making waves of late with his announcement of throwing his hat in the pool for the Republican nomination. And since he doesn't have a show on NBC to promote, at least not that we're aware of, we can actually say that there is a large amount of validity to his announcement. Anyway, Newt Gingrich was in the Twin Cities signing books when a prankster come up and threw a whole bunch of glitter while proclaiming, "Taste the rainbow!" Oh, nothing like getting your protest inspirations from both M&Ms and Rip Taylor.

In other news, Jeff Conaway, the star of films like "Grease" as well as the classic TV series, has been hospitalized after an apparent overdose. When reached for comment, all Rizzo could say is that are worse things that he could do.

Also, remember that story about the lady who allegedly injected her eight-year-old with Botox and went on "Good Morning America" to declare said fact? Well, she's now claiming that she made all of this up! According to TMZ, the woman claims that she was paid some money from the British tabloid "The Sun" to tell this story. She went on "Inside Edition" as well as "Good Morning America" and allegedly received money from both appearances. There is not enough SIDE EYE in the world for a) the woman for going through with a story that was faked and made her look like a shit parent and briefly had her child taken away from her and b) for the media to do little-to-no factchecking on the story. Shake my damn head at all of y'all.

In other cray cray star news, we follow-up the screwy story of former "Real Housewives of New Jersey" Danielle Staub signing up to be a stripper for the Scores franchise. We'll let you vomit in your mouth all over again. (Pause) Back? Good? Wash that mouth out. Anyway, Danielle Staub has now upped the ante according to "People Magazine,"  and now has quit stripping and has checked herself into therapy in order to deal with her multitude of issues stemming from what "childhood sexual abuse." And you know who she has sought out treatment from? Dr. Drew Pinsky. Of course she did. Why wouldn't she and why wouldn't he totally be on board with it potentially? We have a love/hate with Dr. Drew. Love his muscular arms and his grey hair and pretty much hate everything else about him. But does that mean we're totally going to set our DV-R to record a season's worth of Celeb Rehab if Danielle is on? ABSO-PROSTITUTION-WHORE-LUTELY.

Now kick, twirl and spin yourself into the rest of the Mixtape as we look back at the 2010-2011 theatre season!

“From an instance of truth, you can derive a whole scenario of What-Ifs.”
---Adam Petchel on "Becky's New Car."
Oh theatre season of 2010-2011, it's been quite a whirlwind, hasn't it? From UW-L and Viterbo to The Muse Theatre, The Pump House, and the La Crosse Community Theatre, it's been a dazzling season that has taken us from the mean streets of New York City to the meaner seat of a menacing barber in London to the sunny shores of the French Rivera and the dankness of purgatory. We've have had our razzle dazzled, held hostage, and been riddled with doubt. Over seeing some 31 shows over the course of some 10 months, it all now comes down to this: The Suppies, the Second Supper's salute to the theatre community. Think of The Suppies as our version of the Tonys except Bret Michaels doesn't have to fear nearly been decapitated by any moving scenery. And now that the awards are out, we here thought that before we paper-mached all of our programs onto a lamp because we watched way too much HGTV in our formative years, we would look back at the scenes, the songs and the assorted scandals that made up the season.

So sit back, relax and enjoy this Mixtape!

"Somewhere in the midst of the Second Act carnage that takes place in 'Sweeney Todd,' when the demon barber is slicing and dicing some unfortunate patrons, the woman next to me let out an audible gasp. Her daughter next to her calmly, and rather hilariously, said in a reassuring tone, 'Don’t worry Mom, it isn’t real.'"
---Excerpt from review of The Muse Theatre's production of "Sweeney Todd."
We kick off this Mixtape with the Second Act opener from "Sweeney Todd," the tune "God That's Good" because that's what we found ourselves saying frequently over the season.

It's been a ridiculously strong season all the way around as the assorted theatre venues all took on big challenges in the form of hugely iconic shows like "West Side Story," "Chicago," "Sweeney Todd," and "Rent." All of these shows succeeded in being great productions, some working when they really did not have the right to given the limited space they were being performed on. But through grit, fate, tight choreography and a prayer to the acting gods, things managed to come together in truly amazing form.

As a theatre reporter, you get to experience a lot of the backstage highs and lows while interviewing folks and sitting in on rehearsals and just generally being a part of the community. A lot of the most fascinating things never end up in articles due to space issues as well as relevancy to the entire thing. But now that the season is over, we can spill a little bit of the theatre tea and share some of the stories we've been dying to tell y'all all season long.

"Boozing, dancing, mayhem, jail stints, but enough about an average weekend in Lindsay Lohan’s life, I’m here to write a review about La Crosse Community Theatre’s sparkling production of the classic Kander/Ebb musical 'Chicago.'"
---Excerpt from review of LCT's production of "Chicago"
There are a lot of ways that actors and actresses get into their roles. Some heavily research their roles. Others practically live the role on and off stage while in the midst of a production. And others? They just show up drunk to rehearsals and let the chips fall where they may. At one point in the season yours truly was off to interview a cast of a show and a particular member of the cast, who shall remain nameless, showed up to the rehearsal completely intoxicated.

"Are you drunk?" I asked this thespian.

"Of course I am," this particular thespian responded.

It is a testament to this actor's ability to deliver an assortment of lines that yours truly briefly questioned if a) I was being weird for thinking that showing up to a rehearsal blitzed was an odd thing and b) was I in the wrong for not being tanked while interviewing. That's the magic of theatre, always making you question your own life decisions like the big sassy gay friend that it is.

In honor of this boozy actor, our next song is "All That Jazz" from the show "Chicago," because both Velma and Roxie appreciated a nice stiff drink almost as much as they did a nice big headline on the front page.

But drunk actors is the least of the dramatic things we encountered this season. As part of our duties as a theatre reporter for the Second Supper, we sort of attended everything. Plays. Musicals. Cabarets. We're pretty the only reason why we didn't review the street performers on the corners of downtown was because of space. During our run as a reporter, we also attended several senior shows. They are great little BEST OF things that seniors in college put on when they are preparing to graduate. It makes you appreciate the talent of folks in different ways than just seeing them in a big play or musical on the main stage.

We've seen a lot of different things on the stage. We've seen two actors make out with each other while in the midst of a parody of Charlie Brown. We saw another actor strip down to just his underwear and pull a flower out his crotch to hand to his mother. We've heard numbers done in the native tongue of grandparents, drumming across the stage and heard the song "Freedom" countless times. But it's not very often when you get to see a wedding proposal happen right before your eyes.

This leads us to our next song, The Platters tune "With This Ring," a song used in the fabulous jukebox musical "The Marvelous Wonderettes."

It is was during Garrett Flood's senior show that the proposal happen as he surprised his scene partner/girlfriend Jillian Kuhl with a ring hidden inside of a snowball that was a part of the scene they were doing from the play "Almost, Maine." Theatre people love feelings and especially feeling feelings so you can just imagine the high tide of tears that happened in the small theatre when Flood proposed to Kuhl. Thankfully, Flood was the last show of the night. Can you imagine trying to follow that up? "Well, I'm pregnant. By a prop." Just doesn't have the same emotional impact, you know?

But both of these things pale in comparison to the Howie's Live melee. Leave it to four little ladies in 1950s frocks to be the cause of fisticuffs at a drag show. I know. There are too many awesome things all put together in that one sentence for you to process. Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Ready? This moment leads us to the song "Pandemonium" from the musical "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."

The four lovely ladies had just finished doing one of their numbers from "Marvelous Wonderettes," much to the delight of most of the crowd. Illusions MC John Unnasch was praising the actresses when a disgruntled former employee of the Muse Theatre decided to stand up and torpedo his career prospects in this time with one quick yell about how he had seen better. Sitting just behind the young gentleman was a couple in the midst of celebrating their wedding anniversary. They had apparently very much enjoyed the performance. And maybe a cocktail or three. That's pretty much how we can explain why the wife, in an instant flash of anger after the young man booed the ladies of "Wonderettes," had the unmitigated balls to punch him in the back of the head. Oh don't let the love of showtunes fool you. Theatre patrons can fuck you the hell up if they have to.

Next up, "The Little Things You Do Together" from "Company."
Over the course of the season, we've had a lot of glorious moments but the most fun are the little moments of spending time with people a part of the theatre community. Below is just a small sampling of some of our favorite quotes from the season:
“They should get Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel from 'Wicked' to play Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin in a musical.”

---Aaron White, who played Tony in "West Side Story," on what pop culture event he'd like to see as a musical.
"I think that Lucy should be put on trial for pulling the football out from underneath Charlie Brown. That is just mean that she is able to do it over and over again. I think she should be punished by letting Charlie have a chance and see how she likes it."

---Garrett Flood, Judas in UW-L's "The Last Days of Judas," on which fictional character should stand trial.
"'I'm not asking people to necessarily agree with what they see/hear,' said Bourland, who recently played Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd. 'I personally don't condone killing and cooking people into pies, but at least open yourself up to the overall experience.'"
---Emily Bourland on the characters in Theatre in the Raw's production of "The Shape of Things."
"When asked if she felt the need to match an audience expectation of what a song is going to sound like, [Kendall] Yorkey chuckled and said, 'Well I didn’t until now.'"
---Excerpt from preview piece on The Muse Theatre's "The Marvelous Wonderettes."
"Punchy? You know, that emotional state you have at 4am when it's too late to go to bed, and your brain loses it's ability to censor itself? I think that would make for an interesting night in the theatre."

---Troy Iverson of LCT's production of "Doubt" on what emotion he thinks would make a good show.
“I don’t know, is it too soon for a children’s show about the BP oil spill?”

---Colin Thelen on what news event he would turn into a musical.
But we didn't let the actors and actresses have all the good quote fun. We reviewed countless shows over the season and here is just a brief snippet of some of our favorite lines:
"Well-intentioned as it may be, it all plays like a very socially-conscious episode of "Glee," which I mean every positive and negative connotation of that."
---Excerpt from review of "American Voices: Words and Music For Change."
"Nelson gives the scene the necessary flirtation that makes Seward’s willingness make some sense in spite of Lucy previously being, you know, dead all five seconds prior to it while being menacing enough that you want to scream at Seward for being a moron."

---Excerpt from review of UW-L's production of "Dracula."
"Is there anything that says 'Happy Holidays' more than cross-dressing? We didn’t think so, so that is why we were so thrilled when UW-L announced it was doing Shakespeare’s play 'Twelfth Night.'"
---Excerpt from review of UW-L's production of "Twelfth Night."
We've now coming to our closing numbers of this Mixtape. First up, "Goodbye Until Tomorrow" from "The Last Five Years."

Once upon a time, many years ago, my elementary school class went to see a show at Viterbo. It was the musical version of "The Secret Garden." And from the moment the set was revealed and the first song started, I instantly fell in love with theatre. I never had the strong desire to act and never really did outside of a terrible middle school Renaissance faire where I learned the truth that all bad acting is forgiven by audiences if you throw some special effects at them.

Anyway, theatre has always been a thing I've not just enjoyed but thrived on. When I was a kid, it was my reward. Other kids went for ice cream or had pizza parties. I went to go see "Evita" and "Grease" at the La Crosse Center.

So all these years, to be able to say that I got to be up close and personal with the people that make these shows happen, from the costume designers to the ushers to the actors and actresses and stage managers and directors and everybody else that contributes their little part to the spell that makes up the magic that can be theatre, has been, in a lot of ways, nothing short of a childhood dream coming true.

This is my last theatre season as a theatre reporter for the Second Supper, a decision that was not made lightly whatsoever or easy because of the immense talent that I've seen over the two years. What keeps me from being sad about anything of this is the warm and fuzzy comfort that someday I'll be able to tell folks, "I saw so-and-so back before they were famous. And they were terrible." And really, that just warms my heart ever so much.

So I end this Mixtape with The Angels singing "Thank You and Goodnight" from "The Marvelous Wonderettes' because the words are as close as I feel about this all.

"Baby, it's getting late

And I've gotta go
Here's something that
You ought to know

I've had the time of my life

Thank you and good night
Thank you and goodnight
Thank you and goodnight...
Thank you, baby
I had a wonderful time
Thank you, baby"

And as always, we wish you love, peace and downloads. Now......MAMBO. MAMBO. GO!

1 comment:

a theatre person said...

lol.... this is why you're amazing...