Showing posts from October, 2010

Angels In America

I posted my "review" of this on Facebook and All That Chat. Here is what I wrote:


First, I've never seen Angels before, so I cannot compare this to past productions. Secondly, I have AIDS and was almost as sick as the character of Prior, in and out of hospitals -- and I remember the fever dreams and the cold sweats and the rage. The rage that actor Christian Borle drags up from the depths of his soul. It's so real. My eyes begin to tear up even as I write this.

I could go through the rest of this incredible cast, one by one, because every performance is now seared into my soul.

But let me tell you just how great Zachary Quinto is. Like most, I know him only as the evil Sylar or Spock. His stage presence is electrifying and grounded, all at the same time. Not a single false moment. This man commands a stage with subtle body movements, at once masculine and then feminine and then masculine again, as the character tries to find his own soul, even as he abandons…

It Gets Better: GMCLA & Oral Roberts' Grandson.

Oral Roberts' oldest son was gay. He committed suicide. This is his grandson.

This is the LA Gay Men's Chorus singing "True Colors." When the family members join in on this song, it's chilling and wonderful.

It's A Miracle.

You may remember a posting I did during the Iranian green uprising, called "The Religious Ones." I spoke about how, after I came out to myself and left my band, I got a job working as a cook at a Mexican food restaurant in Jacksonville, Texas, where I met a group of Iranian students working their way through school.
It was 1978 - 1980 that we knew each other. In fact, when they moved to Denton, Texas to continue their studies, I piled up my Ford Maverick and followed them -- and that's where I found the gay community and finally started to live openly and freely.
In that posting, I mentioned having a friend named Koorush -- he called me "Astiv," which was the closest he could get to "Steve." Koorush, who was straight as an arrow, was my very best friend during those Jacksonville/Denton years. And even after I came out of the closet, he was the one who protected me, and fought for me, and loved me when I felt very much alone.
At the end of that diary entr…

Is that a sad face?

Taylor was part of the Zero Hour stage management crew at St. Clement's, coming in for Jeramiah.
We got a Skype call from Jim, and he was telling us about all the people who have been coming back to see him. Not just friends or family of Zero, but also Jim's.

I have to say this about Jim. He's a very loyal man.

Long before Zero Hour landed in New York, Jim did a "tab" version of Zero Hour for the Crystal Cruise lines. It was kind of a daring experiment for Crystal, because the usual fare on a ship is light entertainment or classical music -- which is not a criticism, by the way. Just a statement of fact. He even included a particularly potent comedic line containing a few f-words, gracious me. (The fear, for the line, is that people on holiday don't need to walk into an adult theatrical piece accidentally. The emails! The complaints!)

After the cruise, we were contacted by a Mister Andrew Kato from the Maltz Jupiter Theater (formerly, the Burt Reynolds Theater)…

The Wars, The Wars.

I have now spent this entire week, trapped on the couch, keeping my arm in ice. I didn't know until two days ago, though, that the problem was in my shoulder, not my wrist (because the pain seemed to be more focused on the lower arm and wrist area -- I thought the shoulder pain was coming from "favoring" my arm.

I'm still in pain, so I can't do much, include type, but I thought I'd just put down a few thoughts.

I probably shouldn't have gone to Columbus and done those two shows, but at the time, after I fell, mere steps away from my front door on a Sunday morning at 5am, all I could think of was, "I gotta get to the plane!" What can I say?  I'm dense.
Anyway, since I couldn't use my right hand much -- still can't -- it has given me a chance to slow down and just think, even as I have all the media I can eat.
I saw on the news the other night a story about making some kids spend a week, or something, away from all electronic devices -- an…

My X-Ray Results.

The good news is that I don't have a fracture. However, I do have a separated shoulder. Not Dislocated. I also traumatized muscles in my elbow and wrist, but there's no break.

So, the prescription is that I need to keep it as immobilized as possible, and it will heal after few weeks.

I was going to attend the Afterglow tonight at the University Glee Club, just to see what Dec. 2 is all about, but I'm still in a lot of pain. I can't use my left arm. But I have food for a few meals more, friends volunteering to help me, and my usual stubborn refusal to stay down.

And Jim gets home on Sunday. (Horray!)

He's been having a blast down in Florida. I'm so glad for him. Zero Hour is really starting to become more and more well known in theater circles. Already he has had several theaters contact him for inclusion the post- New York international tour. It's all very exciting.

Here he is on the radio with Jo Anne Pflug.

Steve Schalchlin Free Concert Dec. 2, NYC

9:00 PM. ARRIVE 8:45 PM

New York Ethical Culture Society Building
West 64th & Central Park West, 4th floor

I've been asked to sing an "Afterglow" for the University Glee Club of New York City, and I couldn't feel more honored and scared. It's one thing to sing for "civilians." It's quite another to sing for people who really know music. It's a free event for the public, also. So, anyone who would like to attend, get there at 8:45pm.

I know 9pm is a late start for a show, but I promise I won't be doing a 2-hour presentation. I believe Afterglow lasts only about 45 minutes.

I know I'm going to sing "Gabi's Song" and "William's Song" (unless I invite a special guest soloist to do so -- hmmmm) because of all the gay bullying/suicide stuff in the news.

For me, these are my entries in the "It gets better" meme that's been going around, where older gay people tell younger gay people that, no matter …


Saw doc. Possible wrist fracture. Not serious, but painful.


I'm staying still. Ice packs. Hot packs.

Right-handed typing.

Many friends said they'd help.

Am finishing up two arrangements for Miami. Adam West Hemming came over to give me an opinion. He arranges and sings for the Marquee Five, a terrific vocal group here in the City. Adam never withholds his opinion, and he makes me laugh.

We both sing in Mark Janas' Christchurch choir in Brooklyn every Sunday morning, making some ridiculously good music, I might add.

I saw John Fischer, too, who helped me change a Finale file. I've gotten so used to Sibelius, I needed some coaching.

Jim and I are video chatting. He is raving about the crew and staff at the Maltz Jupiter.

Okay, now my right arm is tired.

I'll check back in later.

Joel Burns tells gay teens "it gets better"

This is one of the most moving videos testimonials I've ever seen. Watch it all the way through as he begins revealing things he's kept hidden his entire life.

New Images of Jim Brochu as Zero Mostel.

Jim opened "Zero Hour" down at the Maltz Jupiter Theater last night and posted these fabulous new photos. This is my favorite. It looks like a movie still. We have been approached by people who think Zero Hour would make a good movie. 

He wears, for the record, almost no make-up. He uses a pencil and draws "Hirschfeld lines" on his eyebrows after plastering his hair down to look like a combover. I wonder how many make-up artists have used Al Hirschfeld's caricatures as a basis for celebrity make-up? At MGM, I'm told the iconic actresses would come to a photo shoot with zero make-up, and that artists add that later, to the photograph.

Jim did a great job of condensing the testimony. It's funny and scary all at the same time, as you realize how easy it is to go from having an opinion, to being blacklisted and an object of suspicion and fear. Zero admits he was a Marxist, but it was because he felt, during the 30s, as did many, that only the commies were opp…

Escorting Piper Laurie to the GE Theater Celebration.

I met Piper at the Paley Center for Media to celebrate the ongoing restoration of the General Electric Theater, a classy TV show from the 50s which featured great scripts and great actors doing an original drama every week. Hosted by Ronald Reagan, it gave him the national exposure, combined with his visits to GE factories, that, according to the panelists, was the start of his political career, as he honed his speeches before the workers..

I can't say that I was prepared for so much Reagan worship. He was not my favorite president.
But, the clips from the GE Theater were spectacular. I particularly loved Zsa Zsa Gabor dressed in jewels, as an actress who refuses to dress down for a maid's role.
This photo of Piper comes  from the episode she was in, where she played a child bride of a mountain man.
Brian Williams was witty and asked good questions.
Jeffrey Immelt, of course, is Brian's boss. GE owns NBC/Universal.

Cliff told us in the green room that when he and Piper appeared …

A Tearful Visit to Columbus.

"Don't run."

That's what Dr. Anthony told me just as I was leaving his office. So, on Sunday morning, at 4:50am, as I ran to the Newark/Manhattan bus, departing Port Authority at 5am, my back heel hit the carry-on bag, rolling behind me, and I hurtled through the air, hitting the ground hard, my left arm finally hanging useless at my side. 
I determined it wasn't broken, but it hurt like hell. I almost decided to not go. But I couldn't miss this.
Though I wasn't getting paid, people were depending on me, having raised the money to pay for the plane ticket. So, I forged ahead, got to the station just in time, and took off for Columbus to play two concerts for the health care workers at a hospice, and then, later at a hospital.
Getting from Newark was another adventure. Just as we got on the plane, it has a "mechanical," and I had to stand in line, change carriers, go to a different terminal and go through security again. The first time was difficult …

Filichia: Jim Brochu A Generous Actor.

From today's theatremania column by Peter Filichia.

After Grisetti finished “The Joker” to tumultuous applause, Jim Brochu (Sir) came on to deliver his next line. But Brochu realized that the audience was in no mood to stop applauding, and far be it from him to prematurely take away even a second of it. He waited patiently, looking off into the wings, still in character, acting as if Sir were searching for something he’d misplaced. I love generous actors!Brochu was equally marvelous, not going over-the-top, which is so easy to do with Sir. He trusted his material, and I trust that everyone enjoyed him as much as I. And, my, for a staged reading, did Brochu know every word of his songs! I surmised that he, like I, listened to the cast album incessantly when it came out in 1965. I asked him about it at the closing night party. “Yes,” he said, “but the reason I really remember it is because during the run I sold orange juice at the back of the Shubert.” Nice to have you out front, Jim…

Random photos in New York.


Scottsboro Boys is a Storytelling Triumph.

Why, it's just a hat and cane show, isn't it? The kind that is usually built on corny jokes and silly routines? Isn't rock supposed to be more honest than Vaudeville?

Thrilling, exhilarating, scary, uncomfortable, innovative, with not a wasted moment on stage, Scottsboro Boys is the kind of incisive and uncomfortable storytelling that leaves all the "entertainments" that have been passing for musicals behind in the dust.

This is how you tell a story.

Toward the end, there's a costume change that I read as a big F-U to the society that pretends to care about justice, but who is really just wanting another diversion until the next one comes along.

Kander and Ebb have never shied away from exposing hypocrisy and shame in our culture, and they don't shy away here.

 You also won't see better performances, nor hear better singing. What a cast!! It's hard to know who to single out, because each performer has his moment to shine -- and just the S…

Don't Stop The Greasepaint.

"It's a relationship show," said Sacha Newley, son of Anthony Newley and Joan Collins. It was also his first time to even see his father's show, "The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd."

And it is. And as you can tell from the photograph, Jim Brochu and Josh Grisetti love each other -- and it shows.

Which is why everyone who saw this show, over the weekend, loved the experience, whether they liked "the show itself" or not. I say that because the show has a famously "difficult" book.

At the audience talkback after the afternoon performance of "Roar of the Greasepaint," I asked Marcia Milgrom Dodge, the director, the question, "Why does Cocky come back for Sir at the end, when Sir has done such horrible things to him?"

Jim had said, earlier, to me, "In the play, I make him starve, I rape the girl he falls in love with and I accuse him of murder. What's to come back for? More abuse?"