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Not so timeless


Kris and I went with Andy and Stacy to see Andy's dad perform in the musical Fame tonight. I wanted to go see it for the simple fact that Andy's dad was performing in it. Performing. Singing. You know, in a musical.

We showed up at the Sunnyvale Community Center at 7:21, to a near panic phone call from Andy. "Hurry! Hurry!" he said, so we ended up running up to the theatre, giggling and laughing, about a minute after he called, and with enough time to arrive, go in, use the restrooms, find seats, and sit in our seats.

And settle in for the show...

Now, Fame, as a musical, really isn't that good. The songs are disjointed, incoherent and not particularly well connected. I prefer musicals that tell stories, not ones that are a bunch of songs sung one after another with random bits of talking in between.

Doesn't matter how good the production is, if the basic musical is bad, the best singers and dancers and actors won't save it.

But, these people tried.

Oh, how they tried.

About half way through the first act, I realized that one of the performers had his family in the second row of the theatre. The theatre isn't very big to begin with, maybe 12 rows, fifty seats in a row, or so. So, there isn't very much space to look over the audience's head to project to the back of the theatre. As a result, when your family is in the second row, and are sitting about 10 feet away from where you're jumping, and singing, and, well, in this performance, groping a fellow performer, you kinda notice your family.

At least, this particular performer of note. And when he started singing to his family, and they started whooping back at him, well, I couldn't stop laughing. Kris thought I was crazy, because I couldn't stop. and was shaking the seats around me.

Eventually, I did manage to calm down, and stop laughing, but I still spent less time listening to the performance, and more time watching the performers and their particular mannerisms.

Most musical productions Kris and I go see are the big, travelling ones, coming into town for a limited performance: Wicked, Rent, the Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, (and some of the lesser big ones like Miss Saigon, Evita, Sunset Boulevard), etc. These productions are typically expensive ones, with top talent, and big names. However, even with the top talent and big names, the productions aren't necessarily very good. Sunset Blvd was attrocious when we saw it. Enough so that I told Kris it was a horrible musical. He claimed it was just a bad production.

Yes, I'm deliberately not including the Viking Operetta, and the various musicals the Smiths were in, in that statement.

So, watching the community theatre production of Fame tonight was very much like watching a bad production of some musical, except that it wasn't. Sure, the people performing may not be as talented as the people who perform on Broadway, but can you say they have less fun, or are less passionate doing it? I don't think you can. No, they can't project to the back of the theatre, and have problems looking the correct way when singing, or moving with big, demonstrative movements that translate well on stage, but the joy on their faces makes up for it in ways that are somewhat indescribable.

What is describable, however, is the moment of shock I experienced when the set started shaking, when the cast started climbing the stairs and finally (FINALLY!) gestured big enough to rock the framing. Maybe a little better structural work might have been good.

As Andy said, it was better than expected. I had a good time, and, based on the smile on Kris' face, I think he had a good time, too.

Still haven't figured out Stacy. I think she thinks I'm nuts. Even Andy looks at me funny when he's around her and we're with them. Maybe she gives off a crazy-inducing pheromone.

Yeah, that's it.

Oh, and note to self: send an email to Ben D'Angelo, who works at Google, and invite him out to lunch. He reminds me a lot of Mark Rubin. Though, since he works at Google, he probably has little desire to head off-campus for lunch. Ask anyway.