Showing posts from July, 2010

Seeing Carol Channing.

Carol Channing is so consistently herself -- dizzy, hilarious, talented, relentless -- and, yesterday, at the Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble, host Richard Skipper basically just let her go, which was great, because being in her presence is really enough.

Her husband, Harry Kuligian, a man who was her childhood sweetheart -- and with whom she got back together only a few years ago -- is a perfect match for her. When she would do one of her frequent meandering down rabbit trails, he was there with a ready punchline to pull her back. And she would break out into this huge guffaw.

She was there to promote her new Gospel CD. Yes, Gospel CD. (Mom, I got one for you).

Oh, why not. Ethel did a disco album. Channing can do Gospel.

But she wasn't there merely to sell product. She and Harry, who was a bandleader back in the day, are both passionate about the tragedy of how arts programs are being excised from school curriculum. And they were blunt: To take the arts out of the schools is to…

Two Very Nice People. Coulter and Siegel.

Everyone is praising Scott Coulter's direction of Scott Seigel's showcase concert, Broadway's Rising Stars. So, I'm showin' a little blog love to them here. I'm glad Scott is exercising his directing muscles, but not at the expense of hearing him sing. He completely mesmerizes audiences.

Scott Siegel (Creator, Writer and Host) and Scott Coulter (Director) shake on a terrific show!

From Broadway World. Photo Credit: Genevieve Rafter Keddy

Create Peace Through Inception?

"Inception" is a movie based on the premise that if you plant an idea deep enough in someone, it will change or alter their behavior.

Yesterday, I posted about this study showing how facts don't alter anyone's opinion about anything.

Recently, I asserted that music is an ultimate way to create peace. What is my evidence? How did this whole line of thought begin?

It began on a ship in the dead of night.

A Ray Bradbury dead of night. (In "Something Wicked This Way Comes," the description of 1am. Not so bad. 2am. Getting later. 3am. The dead of the night. 4am! I don't remember the details, but there was always something so delicious about the progression of the dead of night.)

So, I, having retired early, was now up and wide-eyed at 3am, dressed in black casual slacks and shirt, creeping down the corridor, saying hello to the night crew with their mops and vacuums.

Peeking into the night club, I looked around to see if the partiers had gone to bed. They ha…

Facts Backfire.

Great story today about how facts backfire in most people. That they don't come to their political (or religious) beliefs through a series of facts. People have beliefs.

This is why, as artists, we have to create peace and community and justice. People won't be swayed by someone doing a lecture.

I've been discussing a possible new, and very exciting, evolution for New World Waking.

Stay tuned.

Dying Online.

When I saw this NY Time article this morning about how Facebook is coping with the issue of what to do with people's accounts after they die, it reminded me of a diary entry I wrote long ago back when I was an "Internet pioneer." It also set me to thinking about levels of society in our culture.

Since I was under a "death diagnosis" at the time, I was ruminating on my own death and it hit me that my words, here in the last moments of my life, would actually live on forever because of new Internet thingie. None of us who were early adopters, who weren't computer experts, really knew where the Internet was. It seemed more like a wonder of nature, newly uncovered. Like gravity (which, apparently, might also be an illusion).

For the first time in history, a peasant, non-royal life is sitting in the class of Everything That Is and raising its hand saying, "Here."

Coming from Buna, Texas, it was my first chance at having a voice.

From this moment on, an…

Mark Evanier Tells About Auditioning Jim.

In this wonderful blog entry by Mark Evanier, he tells about meeting Jim and auditioning him as a writer for a TV show back in the 70s -- and what got Jim the job.
He came in to "audition" (chat) and as I was walking him out, he joked, "I live to grovel." That's a line from my favorite musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. I responded with another line from the show and he did another line...and pretty soon, we'd done about half the show in the outer office there, stopping just short of singing a few choruses of "Everyone Ought to Have a Maid."

Jim Brochu is Special Guest at Mark Janas' Salon, Aug. 1st at Etc. Etc.

I just want to alert everyone in the New York area who care about such things that Jim and I will be making an appearance at the Salon on August 1st at a club called Etc. Etc. on 44th Street.

Jim will be guesting. Co-hosts Booth & Pat. Mark Janas, one of the greatest pianists I've ever met, will be on piano. There will be an open mic. So, you have to show up early and sign up at 7pm. You know I'm gonna be there.

And you! Yes, you reader. Sing my damn songs!

Musical Insurrection!

Growing Up Without Theatre.

In Ken Davenport's essential (for any performer or producer) blog, he makes a list called "Five Things Theatre Can Learn From the World Cup." Here's number three:

2. PARTICIPATION IS THE KEY TO LONG-TERM GROWTHDo you think it's a coincidence that 25 years ago there was no girls' team in my hometown, and no one gave a crap that Argentina beat Germany in a 3-2 squeaker? Soccer became a bigger part of American life just a couple of decades ago . . . and now those kids are grown up, and are loving watching what they participated in. The arts are no different. If it were mandatory that every kid out there performed in at least one play during their high school career (and I'm not saying that it should be), Broadway would have a bigger fan base. Today's participants are tomorrow's audience.
My first participation, that I remember, in theater, was in the Buna High School junior play.

Buna, being a tiny little town where we moved when I was a sophomore,…

Musical Insurrection.

I posted a logo on Facebook. I told everyone that more information was coming.
So, I suppose I can supply a few clues. It can all be found in the manifesto for New World Waking.
Political leaders are not providing role models of peace.Religious leaders are not providing role models of peace.Music [art] can cross all boundaries. Therefore, creating peace becomes mandatory for the artist.I was telling this to Amy Coleman as we were starting to rehearse, and both of us kind of, unexpectedly, got tears in our eyes. It's embarrassing to admit, of course, because we're all supposed to be immune to pretentious kitsch and sentimentality, but the fact is that music actually does have this power. It can reach across cultures and nations. It has no boundaries.
She punched me on the shoulder and said, "Look, whatever you're doing, this troupe you're putting together, I'm in. I'll do whatever you ask." All of the other singers, one by one, told me the same thing.
I to…

New Video Interview with Jim from

"Zero Hour" is now the longest running Off-Broadway play of the 2009-2010 season. To mark the occasion, a new interview...

The Empathic Civilization.

A Genius Bit from Zero Mostel.

From Frank Rizzo's column via Broadway Stars.

In searching for a "Funny Thing" clip of Zero Mostel I came across this outstanding piece of comic brilliance, a rare clip from a 1961 show produced by David Susskind. Mostel's piece is "An Actor Prepares."

The Magic of Being There. Pt.3.

I began meeting with Tom to go over his songs, the primary one being, of course, "Going It Alone." It's his big number. It closes Act One. In fact, I got so fixated on it, that when the entire cast met for the first time to read through the show, I realized I had totally forgotten to teach him "Friendly Fire."


Working with Tom was a dream. He is calm and cool, and confident. He also takes direction and plays everything from the heart. I knew when he finally met the rest of the cast, he would fit right in.

Remember I said how, when auditioning Tom, it felt like we were replaying his entrance in The Last Session? Well, the similarities kept piling up, and it almost felt like an out-of-body experience.

For one thing, in TLS, the cast of five consists of four people who all know each other, and who last sang together probably about 10 years ago, and one outsider. And all of them have to sound like a single unit by the end of the night. Amy, Maisey and …

The Magic of Being There. Pt.2.

[Cont. from Part 1, where a young, handsome limo driver in New York is on the phone with his manager because he has been invited to a private apartment to audition for a leading role in an Off-Broadway revival concert of a cult hit musical. The manager replies...]

"Where is it?"

Tom Rhoads answered with the address.

His manager replied, "You don't mean Jim and Steve?"

It was Bob Callely, who used to run the American Theatre Wing, which hands out the Tonys. He was just in our home a couple of months ago, escorting Angela Lansbury when she showed up to see Bob Osborne.

Bob Callely was a HUGE fan of the original Off-Broadway production of TLS 12 years ago. He had even, at the time, invited Jim and me up to his office, and gave us both little Tonys -- key chains, "This is the only Tony I can give you now, but someday..."

Tom Rhoads worked for an agency where he was usually assigned as Angela's driver, but because of illness, she was off, so he was driving R…

The Magic of Being There. Pt.1.

It all started when we met "John-Boy Walton" Richard Thomas and his really sweet wife, Georgiana, at the Players Club Founders banquet. They were honoring several members that night, including Richard, who has been in theatre all his life -- and who has worked with most of the legends.

Since he's currently here in New York in the cast of RACE, a David Mamet play, he invited us out after one of the performances.
That night, we were on the prowl for a young actor who could play the role of Buddy in a benefit concert of The Last Session at the Theatre at St. Clement's (on the set of the Peccadillo's Theatre's impeccable production of "Another Part of the Forest," a Lillian Hellman play set in the post-civil war South. Stephen Bienskie had become unavailable).
After RACE, we got into the car. Jim got in the front seat and noticed the driver fit the description of Buddy. Realizing that everyone in this town is probably in show biz, he asked him if he sung.…