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Showing posts from August, 2010

I've Almost Stopped Crying.

Finally, having arrived back HOME in New York. (I felt completely different, walking around the City yesterday; the first time I didn't feel like a visitor. Something happens to you when you realize you have no apartment waiting for you, elsewhere).

The first thing I did was meet J.R. Stuart, an actor, director and playwright from Louisville, KY, with whom I've been cyberfriends with for a long time. We had breakfast at the Brooklyn Diner in Times Square. (They don't serve "breakfast potatoes." Instead, they make polenta thingies that look like orange fried cubes.)

I feel like an idiot for not bringing my camera.

The truth is that I can tell I'm still not completely "present." I found myself crying, randomly, during the day "just like a woman." The tears weren't connected to anything specific. They just would appear in my suddenly-burning eyes.

And I forgot things. My pill tray, for one. Left it at Chris and Ernie's. I think. I me…

Jim to appear at Philip Loeb Event, Sept. 1.

An Evening in Honor of Actor Philip Loeb
Featuring, among others, Jim Brochu

With Aviva Kempner, director, Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg; Anna Berger, actress on The Goldbergs; Peter Friedman, actor who is writing a play about Loeb; Dr. Steve Loeb, Loeb’s grandnephew; Dr. Glenn Smith, Loeb biographer; Jim Brochu, actor and playwright Zero Hero; and other special guests
 
Philip Loeb, accomplished actor and teacher, was one of the organizers and founders of the Actors’ Equity Association.

At the height of his career in 1949 Loeb was blacklisted for his union activities as he was playing Jake Goldberg on the very popular Goldbergs show. Producer and co-star Gertrude Berg (Molly Goldberg) fought in vain to keep him on the show by attempting to get new sponsors.

The demise of his career is featured in the film Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, a captivating, eye-opening documentary, excerpts of which will be shown along with other clips related to Loeb’s career.
 
Loeb committed suicide on September 1, 1…

Jim & Steve Interviewed by BroadwayBlogspot.com

Last Night at Kulak's.

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Michael Sugar took this photo of my last night with Kulak's (for now). That's my buddy and co-writer of the song, "Rescue," Val (Valerie Kuhns). I'm holding the rescue puppy which she recently adopted. That's Julie Chadwick on piano. We're singing one of Julie's songs, which she wrote when a beloved dog of hers died. It's called "They Say" and it's ACHINGLY beautiful.
When I began my set, I sang the original "Lazarus" from the Bonus Round Sessions CD. It's a song that I wrote shortly after I discovered I was going to live. I haven't sung that song in ages, but, alone in the apartment, I found myself singing over and over. In fact, it took me two days to remember the words. 
I, then, said how much Kulak's has meant to me, especially in giving me two incredible gifts, the songs "He's Coming Back" and "Rescue," both emanating from the songwriter workshop I helped facilitate with Marc Platt. (I…

28 Boxes.

I edited our lives down to 28 boxes.

Loyola researchers discover proteins that inhibit HIV.

Loyola researchers discover proteins that inhibit HIV.


    MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Using a $225,000 microscope, researchers have identified the key components of a protein called TRIM5a that destroys HIV in rhesus monkeys.


The finding could lead to new TRIM5a-based treatments that would knock out HIV in humans, said senior researcher Edward M. Campbell, PhD, of Loyola University Health System.


Campbell and colleagues report their findings in an article featured on the cover of the Sept. 15, 2010 issue of the journal Virology, now available online.


In 2004, other researchers reported that TRIM5a protects rhesus monkeys from HIV. The TRIM5a protein first latches on to a HIV virus, then other TRIM5a proteins gang up and destroy the virus.

Humans also have TRIM5a, but while the human version of TRIM5a protects against some viruses, it does not protect against HIV.


Researchers hope to turn TRIM5a into an effective therapeutic agent. But first they need to identify the components in TRI…

The Lion of Songwriters Sleeps Tonight.

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George David Weiss, who wrote a number of standards, including "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," (adapted from a Zulu song) has died. I knew him from having met him a few times through National Academy of Songwriters. George was the President of the Songwriters Guild until 2000. So, usually we were discussing copyright issues or other industry stuff. Since he was based in NY while I was in LA, we didn't meet that often.

But, once, we were tapped to do a songwriter presentation at some meeting. He did his thing -- "Lion," plus "What A Wonderful World" and Elvis' "Can't Help Falling In Love," -- and when it was my turn, since I didn't have any hits, I sat down and sang my first song (included in "The Big Voice"), "I Want To Make Music."



He came up to me and said, "I have to tell you. That's the first time I've heard death into a pop song and make it work."

He was a tireless advocate for songwriters. S…

Jake and the Boxes.

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Jake Wesley Stewart, posing by the stack of boxes that represents everything we own in the world.


Jake came by to help. And yes, girls, he's straight and single -- and coming to New York in October. I'll get him singing with me at the Salon.

Moving Day 3.

Every muscle and joint in my body aches. My feet hurt. And I'm so tired of carrying bags of junk down to the bin. But I'm getting it all into boxes, and when Michael Sugar came to visit me last night, he was actually amazed at how much has been done. I'm pretty proud of it.

We've cleaned out the living room except for pieces of furniture. The bedroom, filled with DVDs and video cassettes -- our entire lives -- is about half done. That's been a huge job. Ernie did a lot of it.

The kitchen is cleaned out. Our apt. manager, Vicki, is having a garage sale, so I gave him most of our dishes, pots and pans to sell, along with other assorted doo-dads.

Today, friends are coming over to help. I have to tackle the studio and the bathroom. But I feel like I'm slightly ahead of the game. I just never realized how much there was to do. Every time I think I'm on top of it, I find a new bookcase or a new corner filled with just stuff. But, we've been there over 20 year…

First Angel Moment.

Yesterday, Ernie and I began the process of wrapping all the little bitty things Jim and I want to hang onto, including knick-knacks, photos on the walls, paintings, souvenirs from around the world, and awards. (Where and how did we manage to accumulate so much STUFF??).

Everything was going into bubble wrap and stuffed into boxes. Ernie was cleaning the dust off of them and I was wrapping and stuffing. He had told me, earlier, that moving is a very emotional activity, but I wasn't feeling emotional. I was just feeling overwhelmed by how much we had to do.

At one point, he pointed over to a crystal angel and asked, "Is that an award?"

And out of NOWHERE, I just BURST into tears.

That little angel -- and I don't have a picture to show you right now because I didn't bring the camera with me and I don't have a smart phone, not because I don't love technology, but phone plans are so expensive right now, we're just trying to keep our expenses to the very …

Packing It All Up.

Today, after a long flight back to the Left Coast, I've had a good sleep and now I tackle the fun part: Completely taking apart our apartment, getting rid of everything we own, and shipping whatever is left back to NYC.

Normally, Jim and I would have been doing this together, but he's doing Zero and I'm not. :)

So, I've given myself about a week to get all this done.

A week.

Oy.

Jim Brochu, Mary Poppins, Zero Hour and Cate Blanchett? What?

Jim Brochu is nominated in two award categories of the DC Theatre Scene website, Favorite Touring Non-Resident Show, where he's, once again, up against such first class, big budget powerhouses as the Cate Blanchett company of "Streetcar," "Jersey Boys," "Mary Poppins," etc. and Best Performer in a Touring Show where he goes directly up against Cate!

Congrats, Jim!!

Happy Birthday, Jim Brochu.

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I cannot imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn't met Jim Brochu. I wouldn't have two off-Broadway musicals to my credit. I wouldn't have a shelf full of awards to brag about and show off. By the time we met, I was already too old to be a rock star.

I managed to fool him, somehow, into wanting me.

And every morning, when I wake up and make him coffee, I know it's going to be a fantastic day, just because he's in it.


Happy birthday, my friend and comrade and advocate and partner and husband.

Interview at Broadwayblogspot.com

Grisetti & Brochu Do "Roar of the Greasepaint..." for Musicals in Mufti.

We've been holding back the news because we didn't want to get in the way of the York Theater's PR schedule, but Jim is gonna play the role of "Sir" in the Anthony Newley/Leslie Bricusse "Roar of the Greasepaint" with Josh Grisetti, a young singer, dancer and actor who is not only one of the hottest upcoming stars on the Broadway scene, but also, they'll be directed by the equally hot Marsha Milgrom Dodge, who directed and choreographed that incredible Tony nominated production of "Ragtime" last year, and the guy who played Coalhouse Walker in that production, Quinton Earl Darrington. (Even we didn't even know him until the announcement!).

This whole series, "Musicals in Mufti" -- "mufti" being an old fashioned word for street clothes -- is one of the most eagerly anticipated of the entire season. Many terrific musicals are rediscovered through programs like this and the York's is one of the favorite.

"Roar…

Lucky People (With a little Judy on the side)

Don't miss the last one:

The New Broadway Spider-Man

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Yes, they've gone and done it. Spider-Man is now a musical. Playbill article by Andrew Gans.

And here he is. Reeve Carney. Music by Bono and The Edge from U2.

The long-awaited Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark will begin previews at Broadway's newly renamed Foxwoods Theatre Nov. 14 at 3 PM with an official opening scheduled for Dec. 21. Directed by Julie Taymor, the cast will be headed by the previously announced Reeve Carney as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He will be joined by Next to Normal Tony nominee Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane Watson and Broadway veteran Patrick Page as Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.Flying and choreography rehearsals for select cast members began July 19, and the full company will begin rehearsals Aug. 16.

The Last Session Audition Call in Indianapolis.

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This morning, having followed Ken Davenport's call to put your shows in your Google Alerts, I discovered an audition call for a new production of The Last Session.

(And I have to say, it was really exciting to see The Last Session score so prominently displayed in the Theatre Circle music rack. (Two below La Cage Aux Folle. I swear I had nothing to do with it, but I think the TLS score is out of print, so I bought one, and if you want one, you should jump now. Here's their website.)

But. Indianapolis. Ruth Hawkins is directing. In fact, Ruth directed TLS when it was there in 2004. I played Gideon, and we had this great bunch of young people to play the other parts. It didn't seem to matter that I was a hundred years older than the rest of the cast.

It's being produced by a church group called "A Theater Within A Church Within" (this is the link to the audition. So, it's a theater company which is part of a non-denominational church. I went to their websit…

Anne Rice's Media Headlines are Sectarian.

"Anne Rice leaves Christianity but keeps Jesus."

To someone raised Baptist, this sentence makes zero sense. It's a sectarian headline, as if directly from the Papal PR office.

The non-sectarian headline would read:

Anne Rice Leaves Catholicism, Retains Christianity.

Or, more accurately, "Anne Rice Leaves Tea Party Christianity and the Catholics who Empower Them."

A Well-Written Review of Zero Hour.

Stu on Broadway, who writes a blog and hosts the radio show, "On Broadway," writes a very smart review of "Zero Hour," which is still running. We came here for a 12-week run and it's still going.

It's also changed. The intermission is gone, as he notes. (Jim didn't change a word; he just cut Zero's first act exit, turning the piece into a 90 minute tour de force.)
Bringing such an iconoclastic, bigger-than-life personality as Zero Mostel to life is no easy feat, but Jim Brochu, in his one man show, Zero Hour, thoroughly captures the essence of Mostel the comedian, actor, and painter.
Now that we've moved to the Actor's Temple, which is like coming home, since it's where we did The Big Voice, Zero really fits the environment. It's Old School Theater. One of the last landmark hold-outs to another generation and history of New York Stage. (Stained glass windows to Sophie Tucker and Joe E. Lewis!).Brochu, a large man himself, just like Mo…

Upon the Passing of Patricia Neal, A Story.

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(The great actress Patricia Neal passed away.)

I might have met her more than once, but one incident stands out in my mind.

Sardi's. A few years ago.

Early afternoon, so the place was between shifts, empty except for us and one other party, Patrician Neal.

Her back was to us, so the first part of our conversation -- I think there were four of us -- was whispering, "is that patricia neal? i think it's her! yes, it's really her. wow. patricia neal? really? And if you don't know who Patricia Neal is, it's okay. Just trust me on this. For theater queens and movie buffs, Patricia Neal is royalty -- and I mean that in the best non-bullshit possible way. The woman was an icon and an artist.

Anyway, her companion left, walking up the stairs to the bathroom, leaving the five of us alone in that big room, with only a few strollers waiters, setting up for the pre-dinner theater shift.

It's at those moments, that rooms can suddenly become VERY QUIET.

Do we say something? We …

Chris Wallace and Ted Olson on the Prop 8 Trial.

This was on Fox News. Ted Olson is a powerhouse CONSERVATIVE constitutional lawyer.

Two Crying Babies.

I love this video and how the crying baby is fascinated by the crying dog, so that he forgets to cry, until the dog stops. It's so wonderfully human.

Christopher Hitchens Writes About His Cancer.

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I keep hearing the lyrics to "Friendly Fire" in my head. His poignant Vanity Fair article.

Photos of NY

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LXD, HULU and Baptists Dancing.

I'm going to blog this even though I haven't watched the series, but I intend to. Mashable just wrote about the League of Extraordinary Dancers, which is a very high quality web series/dance phenomenon that started with a viral video on YouTube. And, now they've created something fresh and new: a comic book, mystery series that uses dance as its vocabulary.

Only recently have I ever watched any dance. It wasn't a part of our upbringing. Baptists. Do. Not. Dance.

And, forgive me mom and dad, but this is a tragedy. I know there's some obscure verse in the Old Testament about dancing, but geesh. Dancing and movement, romance and physicality, these things are a part of life, I'm discovering. (I also remember taking mom to her first Broadway show, filled with tap dancing. 42nd Street! She cried all the way through it.)

I remember, growing up, that I would see Catholics dancing! (gasp) They even TAUGHT the kids to dance. (horrors)

When I was hired for my first theatr…

My Computer Woes (For My Geek Friends).

You may not understand all of this if you aren't a computer geek, but here is what happened to me this week.

My Dell laptop came with the hard drive partitioned into a C drive (for the OS and all my programs) and a D drive (for my docs, which I wasn't really using, preferring to store my stuff on a external hard drive). However, they didn't allow enough room on the C drive, so I kept getting all these warning signals about space running out, even though I had tons of space on the disk itself.

So, I repartitioned the disk, adding space to C and shrinking D. But I didn't really use the D drive except to copy over all my music, plus some photos and videos.

So, several days ago, I went to the computer, which had been on overnight, and, upon opening it, discovered that the D drive was not being recognized. I opened up the disk management software and found that it had been renamed "unallocated space."

I plugged in my external drive and it wouldn't read that, e…

University Glee Club.

In 1886, John T. Walker, the leader of the Alumni Glee Club of Columbia College, came up with the idea of a male glee club composed of college graduates living in the New York area. It remained no more than an idea till 1892, when Walker’s group began discussions with other founding members from Yale, Princeton, New York University, Rochester, Cornell, and Union College.The result was an informal group called the University Glee Club, which began to recruit worthy singers from other colleges. The club gave its first concert on May 8, 1894, at Mendelssohn Hall for the benefit of the University Settlement Association, an act of generosity that wound up costing the charity $75. (The gallant singers, 44 in number, promptly anted up and refunded the $75.)So goes the history page of the University Glee Club of New York, for whom I'll be doing a special presentation/concert on December 2nd. I'm honored to have been asked, and excited about crafting a special show just for them. Who w…

Prop 8 Overturned.

I'm currently having a major computer malfunction, so I am going to have some problems uploading photos and telling you about this past week, which was great, but here's to the overturning of Prop 8. May it stand forever.

Post Exposure Prophylaxis.

This week I met a great guy, Dr. Anthony Urbina, here in New York, who has been promoting a new weapon against AIDS. It's called PEP, or Post Exposure Prophylaxis. What it does it duplicate the procedures healthcare professionals use if they accidentally expose themselves to HIV. It involves taking anti-viral pills for four weeks, and is 80% effective.

He's created a side called PEP411. It says that if you think you might have been exposed to the virus, through a broken condom, or sharing needles, or just through neglecting to protect yourself, you should get to an ER within two hours, and then take the four week course of drugs.

They warn that it's not a "morning after pill," in the sense that one should feel it's okay to just go out and have unprotected sex. PEP is not 100% effective, and it involves a rigorous regimen of drugs that usually have side effects. (Trust me on that one.)

But it's at least hope for people who make a mistake.

New York, Home & Spider-Man.

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The first time I saw her was on the bus from Newark airport. I saw that skyline and something inside me said, "Home."

In Buna, Texas, where they didn't even have a stoplight (but did have a blinking yellow light where the highway cut through), the day of the week I loved most was the day the comic books arrived at the drug store. Back then, I think it was a Wednesday.

I know this sounds very 30s depression-era, but the truth is that Buna really was that cut off from the rest of the world -- especially in a pre-computer era. Many of the older folks there refused to follow daylight savings time. Many didn't believe we got to the moon.

As that bus got closer and closer, and the towers of lights of the City began to loom over me, I naively felt protected. That this was my city. And, yes, I'm a terrible romantic.


All through high school, I felt lost in piney woods since I didn't grow up there. (As a preacher's kid -- a PK, we moved several times during my chi…

A Genius Marketing Video for Stallone.

I was totally not expecting this, but the geek in me has to give props to Stallone's movie, The Expendables, for this viral ad. I do not know how they did it.

New Video Interview with Jim Brochu.

Catch Jim in a new video interview at BroadwayBlogspot.com.