Showing posts from March, 2011

Toronto Sun reviews "Zero Hour."

John Coulbourn writes:

Jim Brochu tries to get as close as possible to absolute Zero.And he comes so close, it's positively chilling — a madcap theatrical portrait of the legendary Zero Mostel that is absolutely delightful and, ultimately, deeply moving.

Toronto Star reviews: ZERO HOUR

Richard Ouzounian says, "...the moment Mostel suffers a total creative meltdown on the opening night of Fiddler on the Roof, as he suddenly comprehends how the story of the show mirrors his own troubled life too closely, makes for a piece of theatre about as moving as anything you’ll find around today.

I was fortunate enough to see Mostel several times in his prime in New York, and Brochu captures him to perfection. It’s not an imitation, it’s a total immersion in the man that almost defies belief.

This is acting on the grand scale, full of blood and guts and glory and if you care about theatre, or about the evils that people have done (and still continue to do) in the name of politics, then you must see this show.

New Song: Every Day, A New Amen.

At Salon on Sunday night, I brought a bunch of copies of the harmonies for my newest song, "Every Day, A New Amen," written with Mark Janas. Since the fabulous vocal group, Marquee Five, were the guests that night, I think we sounded great. I included the lyrics on the video. If you like the song and want to sing it, you can download the sheet music. If you're not a singer, download it and give to one. :)

A Happy Monday Smile.

I was happy today because one of my friends, Linda, was in town. Her husband was getting recognition for his work in physics, so they were staying in Times Square. I took a few snapshots on the way there of the new production of "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" starring Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter himself. It opened last night and he got generally good reviews, especially for someone who wasn't really a singer or dancer until now.

Linda and I had matzo ball soup at the Polish Tea Room. It was delicious.

A Sunday Morning Sad Face.

But this was the bad part. I got to the Starbucks, where I always sit in the big comfy chairs in the window. But when I get there, no chair. Instead, I find this:

BOOK OF MORMON opens tonight on Broadway.

One of the more fun aspects of seeing a Broadway show, especially one that is as culturally and religious (and hysterically) resonant/explosive is that you get to deliver the news before anyone else. Unlike a movie, where millions see it, a Broadway show can only do, at most, a few thousand people at a time, if that.

Tonight, to great publicity and a box office line around the block -- three hour wait for standing room or cancellations -- the BOOK OF MORMON, written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, along with Robert Lopez. I don't know any of these people, personally, but I did see Matt Stone, standing in the back, taking it all seriously the night we were there, very early in the previews before the publicity caught on. (Unlike many rock star Broadway composers who can't be bothered to be around their own show while it's still in gestation.)

In many ways, a lot of the recent contemporary work done on Broadway, in my opinion, has felt more dilettantish than serious. What I l…

Toronto Star profiles Jim Brochu.

Richard Ouzounian in Toronto Star on Zero Mostel, Jim Brochu and ZERO HOUR, which will be in Toronto from March 26 to April 16. Ticket info here.

Our Impromptu Night's Dream


Adding Insulin, pt. 2

Yesterday, after getting home from church, I had this weird, weird feeling in body. It's like something was in my chest trying to claw its way out -- and I felt hot and flush. It was all I could do to lie down on the couch and just stay still.

We had tickets to what Jim said was a lovely revival of "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn," produced by the Peccadillo Theatre Company, but I literally couldn't move. I didn't have a fever or anything, but I knew I couldn't sit up in a seat.

Later, when I spoke with Mark Janas, he said it sounded like a Niacin flush.*** And it kind of did. I've had those before, but I had taken my prescription Niacin hours and hours before -- and never had this kind of reaction. So, I don't know what it was.

The thing is that I take so many drugs for so many things, it could be they were all having a party in my body and forgot to send me an invite.

I finally fell asleep, and when Jim home, it had mostly passed, but not entirely. I sti…

A Worldwide Choir?

He heard the music in his head and then conducted it in silence on video. Hundreds of singers all over the world sang to his conducting, also on video, and he put them together into a virtual choir.

I want to steal this idea. I love it so much. As the music began playing, and the different faces of the singers began to flash, each in their own little window, I actually got a little teary-eyed. The first video tells how he did it. The second video is the song itself.

h/t: Nevski

An Equinox "Dream."

It came as an email from Nurse Jackie's Thor, Stephen Wallem, who I spoke of just a couple of blog entries ago. You remember he sang "Rescue" at the Broadway Goes to the Dogs benefit.
Hey Steve! Would you happen to be free tomorrow afternoon to participate in a preliminary workshop that Eve Best and I are doing? We're developing a musical version of "Midsummer" and we need open, creative souls to participate. I will be playing the world's largest Puck as well as taking charge of the musical side of the piece...Eve (or Emily, which is her real name) is THE most positive person you will ever meet...I know this is last minute, but we're having a tough time finding musicians who are willing to volunteer a couple hours...would you be free/interested tomorrow from maybe 2-4 or 4-6?I had no idea what they had in mind, but my response was quick and to the point.

"I'm in. Tell me what you want me to do."

Eve Best, for those who know theater, is o…

The Last Session, Viewed Historically.

Jim was surfing around the other day and discovered a new book covering the history of Off-Broadway in New York.

It's called "Off-Broadway Musicals since 1919from GREENWICH VILLAGE FOLLIES to THE TOXIC AVENGER" by Thomas S. Hischak.

Naturally, we had to look up The Last Session and, along with a history and synopsis of the show, they Hischak said this:

Of the various musicals about the AIDS epidemic that surfaced in the 1990s, this one may not have gotten much attention but many consider it one of the best.The songs by Schalchlin were incisive, potent, and avoided sentimentality, the driving rock music keeping any of them from becoming maudlin laments or angry diatribes. Gideon argued “At Least I Know What’s Killing Me,” Tryshia praised “The Singer and the Song,” Buddy offered the ballad “Going It Alone,” and Gideon and his friends reflected on AIDS support groups in “The Group.” Perhaps the most disturbing number was “Somebody’s Friend” about all the false rumors circulat…

Thor to the Rescue.

They call him Thor on the Showtime series, Nurse Jackie. He’s a nurse, and is one of Jim’s and my favorite characters on the show.

His real name is Stephen Wallem and our mutual friend, Ralph Lampkin, introduced us via email last year, because Stephen was moving from Chicago to New York, saying that he’s a really good singer.

Not having heard him, and since we were also making the move to New York, I didn’t get to chance to really hear him until a month or so ago, when he and Nurse Jackie star, Edie Falco, did a cabaret act -- called something like, “The Other Steve And Edie” -- at the Laurie Beechman Theater, near our apartment. (They were fabulous together, and he’s a seriously talented singer and comedian, and writer).

So, last week, I saw his name on a poster for a benefit concert for a rescue shelter program. Called Broadway Goes To The Dogs, I decided to send him the music for “Rescue,” blithely telling him that he should learn it and sing for this concert, which was only a few da…

Adding Insulin.

As I sat in the waiting room at the hospital clinic, waiting my turn, a man walked in wearing very silly clothing, balancing a plate on a stick.

He looked over at me and said, “I LOVE THAT BOOK!”

He was referring to “The Island at the Center of the World” by Russell Shorto, a book I cannot put down. It’s a history of early Dutch Manhattan, one that was lost for a very long time due to the fact that the English were at war with the Dutch and they wanted to make it seem as if they invented the United States -- and one that is still be translated from stacks and stacks of old Dutch documents uncovered in recent years.

I was a bit startled by the attention, but the invader went back to twirling the plate on the stick. He was very funny. I whipped out my video camera, but he said he did not want to be posted on the Net. However, I could shoot it just to prove to my friends that I was seeing what I was seeing.

I learned later that he is the clown for the pediatric clinic, and the four women who…
Look! Harry Potter's doing a Broadway musical.
Everyone has been saying that he's really good.