Me and My Musicals: Maybe I Should Have Taken Those Singing Lessons

Me and My Musicals: Maybe I Should Have Taken Those Singing Lessons


10. That’s how old I was when I saw my very first live play on stage and perhaps more importantly, my very first ever musical ? Miss Saigon, to be exact. At that age I loved every single second of it from the songs to the dancing to the sheer magnificence of watching those talented people perform in front of you live! But the songs, interspersed with the plot, was my very favorite part of the entire experience. As a Disney movie lover seeing real life people break into song like it was part of everyday was a delicious experience!

So Maybe My Playlist Isn’t Like Yours

But I like it anyway

From Sarah Brightman in the Phantom of the Opera to the award-winning Stephen Sondheim I scour record stores, secondhand video shops for any obscure CD, DVD of anything related to Musicals. At the advent of the internet, online shopping and, dare I say it, Youtube, I’ve had more opportunity to enjoy the wonderful world of musicals.
While my peers in high school and college filled their mp3 players with mainstream and pop songs I flooded mine with an eclectic collection of Sarah Brightman’s maddeningly gorgeous voice, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s catchy tunes, Sondheims masterpieces and everything else in between. You should have seen the looks I got on the tram when I would accidentally sing a part out loud – didn’t happen too often but I didn’t really care overmuch.

Those Singing Lessons

Maybe I really should have taken them after all
The Gloried Microphone by Tom8115 @flickr When my mother went to New York about 2 years back I was still in college so she made the painful decision of not bringing me along. When, in tears, I asked her why she hadn’t brought me along she answered simply that I would sing at her to death until we went to Broadway. She was probably right. But it still hurt.

I am one of those shower divas, meaning I can only sing in the shower and never anywhere else. When I was a child and one of my brothers had given me the ‘Cats’ soundtrack on cassette tape I was too in love with it to be embarrassed about singing in front of other people. When my mother suggested that I get a singing lesson I was too embarrassed to have some ‘expert’ tell me how to sing it. Again, she was probably right. Who knows, maybe I could have been in my own musical. (Or not.)

It’s All Heart

And a great deal of dancing
My limited exposure to musicals means that I don’t know much about it. Even with the internet I can’t see anything live although I try to get as much shows as I can locally. I never profess to be an expert, in fact I’m probably the exact opposite to that. But, for me, musicals whether I watch them or just listen to them, are an integral to me as a person. When I want to cry or when I simply feel lazy a simple listening or watching session is enough to energize my life. And, in the end, that’s the most important thing.

What Makes Jersey Boys So Specific? Must Watch Jersey Boys Musical

What Makes Jersey Boys So Specific? Must Watch Jersey Boys Musical

Jersey Boys Tickets For 2013 Show Season

Jersey Boys is one of the best musicals of the era. It started with a musical band and after getting a huge success in music industry Jersey Boys came into the musical theater world. In theaters Jersey Boys has achieved the marvelous fan following and likes. Now 2013 season is on for Jersey Boys and tickets are on sale. There is a high demand of Jersey Boys tickets and it seems that this musical is going to break all the records of highest grossing shows like Wicked and The Lion King So, don’t let this chance go away to watch the best musical of today’s world.

Jersey Boys

One of the Best Musicals

Start to count the ways as why you want to move with the Cheap Jersey Boys Tickets? Let’s have a move with your favorite collar boys this year as they are back with the same tune to entertain more audiences. But before entering this charming and attractive show you must know why it’s popular among the millions of audiences. First of all the symphonies played in the musical are touchy and loveable! The songs and tale absolutely fit with each other as the audiences get fully surprised. It’s not an ordinary musical, has been honored with Tony Award in 2006. Frankie Valli and the four seasons has blasted the stage with this soul capturing event. The astonishing thing is that the craze of people for this play is not decreasing in fact it’s continuously in increase and every time feels the viewers that they are watching this first time. No one knows what the attraction show has but in spite this all they insist to hold cheap Jersey Boys tickets.

The play is a source of courage for the teenagers! In fact a massive number of spectators come to see these collar boys. They travel from far distances to watch this highly esteemed play. Due to these attractions the play performs again and again and returning back to maintain this entertainment chain. Moreover this Broadway production is well arranged, running for last 8 years. They have production houses in all major countries Singapore, Las Vegas, Australia and London. One thing that snatches the attention of the audiences is the hit songs that have familiar themes like “Oh, What a Night,” “Sherry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and many others. A few weeks ago the live theatre musical brought millions of dollars at the box office. A queue of couples just came to experience the magnet single “Girls’ Night Out,”, the track enriches the tale of the 4 blue collar guys who rose up from the streets of the Newark to the peak of the rock music glory also has a remarkable appeal for guys. The Jersey Boys Tickets are totally flat from the scratch ad one can’t get bored soon until he watches it again and again. If you take analysis of the small aspects of the show you will surely follow it ushers that compel audiences to do something.

Jersey Boys Tickets

Take the full advantage of this live musical. If you have recently turned to teenage then it’s a chance for you to taste this jukebox through the cheap Jersey Boys tickets. Start browsing now from your home just in few seconds you will easily grasp tickets according to your choice. Moreover if you have limited budget then it more easy for you because many sites are available on the internet are offering 10% discount. No matter you are working in an office or full time employee and unable to retrieve tickets. Because all tickets are delivered at home prior the event.

Some of The Biggest Musicals

Recall The French Revolution With Les Miserables The Musical
Les Miserables the musical show is going on many venues and places over the globe. Particularly in London, Pennsylvania and Michigan. These three places are the hottest venues and stations for the Les Miserables. Les Miserables is a show which provides a full dose of entertainment, thrill and the emotional touch of French Revolution memories. Fans are getting them selves reserved for the upcoming shows of this marvelous historical Musical theatre show. So, book your self too to enjoy Les Miserables.

Fifth Longest Running Show in Broadway History The Lion King
Disney’s landmark event The Lion King has attained the title of Fifth Longest-Running show in the history of Broadway on August 15 2012. At the Minskoff Theatre on August 15 this spectacular musical has completed its 6,138th performance surpassing the genuine Broadway production of “A Chorus Line”, which had previously held that position. Approximately this Tony-winning musical has run almost 91 years since its Broadway premier on November 13, 1997.

The Book Of Mormon Is Coming To Dallas For 2013/2014
The season of 2013 and 2014 of the Book of Mormon is gearing up and is coming to Dallas for its national tour to dazzle the theatergoers with true theatrical entertainment. People all around the world are looking forward for this show that is going to take place at the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Winspear Opera House as part of the Lexus Broadway Series. The Book of Mormon is the musical of the century and people watching the show enjoys the heaven on Broadway. The Book of Mormon since its premier rave reviews from fans and critics as well. The musical began its run for the first time in March, 2011 and since then has been capturing the souls of the adult audience. There is a big hand of the stellar cast that always offer cherished show. The fully packed performances on the national tour will be worth watching.

Stagedooring: A Broadway sport

Stagedooring: A Broadway sport

Before You Head Out to the Theater Tonight…

…make sure you’re armed with all the information in this lens! Stagedooring: A Broadway sport will tell you everything you need to know about stagedooring. Here, you’ll know exactly what you need to bring, what strategy to employ, and when to give up. Stagedooring can be a little difficult for those who have no experience in it, but over time and with a little practice and a LOT of determination, you’ll be rounding up all those celebrity photographs and autographs in no time. Read on and enjoy!

What is stagedooring anyway?

Simply put, it is an activity that takes place after a Broadway performance, entailing a mad rush towards the stage door, Playbill, Sharpie, and camera in hand, in hopes of getting your favorite performers to sign your Playbill, telling them you adored their show, and having your photograph taken with them.

Why should I stagedoor?

The question is, why shouldn’t you? Stagedooring is a fun and exciting experience that ultimately lets you get close to some of Broadway’s most brilliant and famous performers. It’s your chance to get a photograph with them and get their signature, too, and you can breathlessly tell your friends the next day that, “Oh my god, I shook hands with (name of performer) and he talked to me!” Stagedooring is one of the highlights of watching a Broadway play or musical, and you should take advantage of the opportunity to do so.

The tools you need in stagedooring

In order to have a successful stagedooring experience, you must have the correct tools at hand. These are:

  • Your Playbill, of course
  • A Sharpie or a pen. Performers usually come out with their own Sharpies, but it’s always best to be prepared.
  • A Ziploc bag to protect your Playbill after it’s been signed. Very helpful in the event of inclement weather.
  • A friend who will go with you and take pictures. It’s challenging to stagedoor on your own, so a wingman will be a great help. You can be each other’s wingman if your friend is a Broadway fanatic as well.

Before the show

If you get to the venue early enough, make it a point to scope out the scene and find out where the stage door is. That way, you know exactly where you should be heading after the performance and you won’t need to stumble around looking for it. At best, you can angle for the most amazing spot by the door (read: the very front!) and not just have to stand on your toes trying to see performers amid the sea of fans and lift your camera hoping to get a good shot of them.

Don’t get tongue-tied and starstruck!

It can be a trifle bit embarrassing if your Broadway idol is standing right in front of you and you simply have no idea what to say or don’t want to sound too adoring or stupid. There are a few standard things you can say, such as

1. “You were amazing!”
2. “Great job!”
3. “It was a great show!”

But rely on those as your fallback lines if you’re really stumped and could barely manage a coherent squeak. In your extremely brief chat at the stage door, remember to always be sincere. Mention that you loved the person’s performance in that show and that you also admired him or her in other productions. You can also tell him or her which part of the show you loved the best. After he or she has signed your Playbill and had photos taken with you, remember to thank the performer politely.

Photograph protocol

It can be oh-so-tempting to whip your camera out and click away furiously upon sighting the performers you’ve been aching to see, but get a grip on yourself! A few photographs of them as they exit the stage door is fine, but don’t get crazy with your camera when they’re standing right in front of you–no one likes a madly clicking camera in his or her face, let alone bright, blinding flash. When the performer has finally reached your spot in the queue, ask politely if you can take his or her picture, then when he or she agrees, take a couple of solo pictures, then one with you in the photo as well. Don’t hog the performer’s attention by asking for a dozen shots! That would not only take up a lot of his or her time, but this will also annoy your fellow fans who want their precious few seconds with the performer as well.

How do you deal with snooty performers?

Broadway performers are usually very gracious about signing autographs, chatting with fans, and posing for photographs, but there is a precious few who will nod curtly to the waiting fans or ignore them entirely and briskly walk away. What should you do in that situation?

Simple: Nothing. It’s no use chasing after them; the person guarding each stage door will make it a point to follow you and stop you from doing so. Forget about jeering at them and calling them names–that’s not likely to encourage them to turn back and pose for pictures with you.

Instead, just leave them alone. Many of them are exhausted after a grueling performance, and you’d be surprised that Broadway performers usually tend to be quiet, private people. Just be glad that you were able to watch them perform.

Now for the REALLY snooty and obnoxious ones, you can have your dark little revenge on them by writing about their behavior in your blog or on Broadway-related message boards. Like-minded fans will understand your outrage, and some may even share their own unpleasant experience with those particular performers.

Stage doors you probably should avoid

As much as possible, you should stagedoor as much as you like and accumulate as many photographs and autographs as you can, enough to make you insensible with joy. But sometimes, there are stage doors that are just a little too challenging, even for seasoned stagedooring practitioners. Based on my experience, Equus was particularly hellish. Many people had left the theater before the play even ended, which meant that there was already an almighty queue at the stage door, effectively destroying any chance of me making my way to the door and getting photos of Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths.

From that experience alone, I’ve determined that stagedooring is darn near impossible for shows featuring extremely well known personalities, specifically Hollywood celebrities. There will almost certainly be a mad rush in that case; getting a few blurry shots of Hugh Jackman on his The Boy from Oz stint is already considered fairly lucky.

In 2009, I got the chance to watch A Steady Rain featuring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. Predictably, the throng of people waiting by the stage door was, simply put, insane, but by some twist of fortune, I managed to get myself at the very front of the line. I had hoped to take some amazing photos of the two, but the press of people just made a lot of my photos wobbly, though I did get a few great ones, like the one you see here. Ultimately, stagedooring is not just about getting incredible photos and their signatures, but also about showing your respect and admiration for the performers.

Go Green Onstage

Go Green Onstage

How to Produce Environmentally Sustainable Theater

There’s a lot of waste in the theater. That’s hard to believe (with our budgets!), but it’s true.

An awful lot of every set ends up in the trash, a lot of electricity goes into lighting a show and into cooling an auditorium, and those are just the OBVIOUS problems.

Honestly – beyond usual thriftiness – I hadn’t thought too much about the unique problems of creating sustainable theater until I attended a recent scenic design seminar in New York City. There are so many theaters there that they are already developing a healthy “green” scene: Broadway Green Alliance is getting out the word to groups like mine and to the theaters of Broadway and off-Broadway. (Or, in my case, to off-off-really-an-air-trip-far-off-Broadway.)

It got me thinking.

So as a theater designer I’m cleaning up my act (bad pun). I’m also passing the word on with this Lens on greenifying the stage. You too (imagine Uncle Sam pointing his finger at you) can help make stage productions “greener.” Help save the planet!

And probably save your theater some cash too.

Here’s how…

Advice to Theater Producers and Venue Managers

There are many ways to make your theater “greener” and more energy efficient – most of which will also save you money in operations. (Virtue is rewarded!) One of the first steps is to create a team to study how to go greener.

1. RECYCLE: It’s becoming standard practice to reuse and recycle paper programs. Maybe there’s some way to avoid them entirely? (I know one theater that scrolled the credits on a monitor in the lobby… and this video aproach complimented the show too.) Use a thinner ticket stock – or go “ticketless”. Lots of savings in paper there!

Likewise you can choose paper towels for the restroom that have a high recycled material content (just as with any other paper product).

Look into all the common forms of “greenifying” a business: recycle paper and other trash, use recycled paper for business purposes; reduce energy usage. Set out recycling bins for your audience so you can keep those refreshment containers out of the landfill. Look carefully at what disposable glasses etc. you use for event catering. Bottled water, for instance, is an infamous waste of materials and energy: how about pouring good ol’ fashioned glasses of (filtered) water instead?

2. MAINTAIN A GREEN BUILDING: by… maintaining it!

Clean air filters and well-cared-for heating and air conditioning equipment make a big difference to the system’s efficiency. Good weatherstripping at windows and doors, working automatic door closers on vestibules, and USING those vestibules… these are all little air leaks that add up fast. And adjust thermostats sensibly. (One theater I know has to hand out blankets to its patrons.)

Make sure that water leaks are caught early and fixed. Watch your water use for irrigation too.

Wherever possible change out incandescent lamps for more energy efficient fluorescent or, better still, LED lamps. Put house lights on dimmers and consider motion detector switches for areas that are often empty… yet where someone often forgets to turn off the light.

Use environmentally sustainable cleaning products.
3. REPLACE GREENER: Routinely replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs. Repaint next time using low-VOC (less off-gassing, less-smelly) paints. Choose water-saving toilets and lavatories as replacements.

And when you up-grade your air conditioning and heating – or your water heaters or dishwashers – choose energy efficient equipment.
4. REMODEL OR BUILD NEW, GOING GREENER: If you plan exterior work to an existing building, consider adding extra insulation and a better grade of doors and windows to conserve more energy. Think about issues of solar heat gain and shading. Would shady porches, awnings, or well-located trees help your air conditioning bills? Can you make your roof or building a lighter color, to reduce solar gain?

Whatever your plans for construction, consider using greener, sustainable materials, less toxic materials and methods, and sourcing them locally.

If you’re planning new construction, discuss sustainability with your architect. At the very least, you’ll want to increase insulation!

Look into the various established sustainable building programs like the US Green Building Council, LEED, and Energy Star. These organizations can give you a great deal of information. Even if you don’t follow all their recommendations, you can get ideas to help “greenify” your facility, some as simple as adding a bike rack. As you plan your new building, just being mindful of which way the glass faces can make a big difference.
5. LANDSCAPE GREENLY: Use landscaping to replace some hard-surfaces outdoors. (We all like oxygen, right?) Can you make some of your paving permeable to rainwater? Or to collect rainwater for irrigation?

Then take care of your plants using sustainable care practices. Choose native plant species that are naturally more pest resistant and need less supplemental water, species chosen to fit your particular conditions. Make sure your sprinklers work properly. Mulching mowers, non-oil-based fertilizers, avoiding pesticides and herbicides… all good citizen ideas! And add that bike rack, huh?

This is a developing conversation and today there aren’t many books on the topic. This one looks pretty comprehensive and thorough (if a bit pricey) and would probably save you its cover price in… less than a month.

Links to Green Info

There are some great ideas out there – take a look!

The Broadway Green Alliance
More ideas and suggestions for going green onstage.

Ecotheater “How to Go Green”
Excellent discussion of green theater issues, including construction and the LEED building and Energy Star energy programs. Also a serious look at the energy use of the show itself and all the issues of waste and toxic materials in sets, costumes, and props. A MUST READ.

The Green Theater
50 things to do to go greener.

Berkeley Rep – “Going Green”
Some good suggestions here.

Minnesota Theater Alliance
2012 the first theater sustainability conference.

Advice to Theater Designers

There are two ways (well, two and a half) that you, as a designer, can help make theater more environmentally sustainable. The first is to clean up your own act, to run a greener design studio and practice. The second is to design in a more environmentally conscious way – to make greener choices. The “half”? Help the people who work with you – the scenic carpenters, painters, costumers, lighting crew, and workshops – make greener choices too.

GREENER PAPERWORK: Use recycled paper, print on both sides, and use inks that come with less packing materials. Will soy-based ink work for you? When possible, try to view drawings, scripts, and other information on a screen – and not print it. When you do use paper, recycle it and recycle plastic and metal trash as well.
RUN A GREENER STUDIO: Always consider the amount of packaging involved before you buy office, kitchen, and art supplies. Think through your own packaging and shipping practices too.

Conserve water and avoid those wasteful little disposable bottles of water! All those snacks and lunches involve packing and shipping too: try to reduce both with your choices.

Of course, you’ll want to light your studio as much as possible with daylight – it’s the best colored light anyway and free too! (There’s a reason painters love north-facing garret windows.) Supplement daylight with lamps using LEDs (best energy savings) or fluorescent (next best), instead of incandescent lamps that waste so much energy as heat. This will help keep your air conditioning bills down too. While you’re at it, keep your thermostat setting at something sensible – not too hot or cold. Try wearing a sweater or using a fan.

Oh, and by the way, you DO know it’s unsafe to eat or drink in studio with all those toxic art supplies, right?
GREENER (or less toxic) ART MATERIALS: Try to use recycled or upcycled papers and cardboards etc. whenever possible and choose sustainable materials whenever you can. Reduce waste. And cut waaay back on chemicals – both in your design work and in your housekeeping. Paints and adhesives can be very toxic. In studio “housework” use “green” cleaners and avoid insect sprays etc. Dispose of paints and other chemicals safely. (And remember to protect yourself from toxins too, some of this stuff is very dangerous.) Be sure to have proper ventilation and, when needed, use respirators.

Links to Info on Material Toxicity

Arts and Media – “Toxic Art Materials”
What every artist should know.
The Healthy Artist Guide
With a handy spreadsheet of specific art materials and safer alternatives.
Daniel Smith “Using Art Materials Safely”
Useful advice – especially for children and art.

For Lighting Designers…

And Sound Designers (and their crews)
Obviously your share in the show is THE major energy user. Any reductions you can make in what power is required will be multiplied by X number of shows a week! So lamp and equipment choices and energy-saving procedures are important.

DESIGN GREEN: Think about energy usage as you design show lighting. LEDs are MUCH more energy efficient than incandescent light sources. Also cooler – which impacts air conditioning requirements for the venue. (Actors will be cooler too!) And just, you know, using fewer lights or reducing light intensity would help. (Less so with dimming as lights get inefficient.) But lower volume sound means lower energy use. Advocate for replacing incandescent lighting instruments with LEDs. Design requirements and stage lighting equipment are the biggest areas for potential energy savings.
CLEAN FOR GREEN: Keep dimmers, lighting instruments, and all control gear clean and dusted so they run most efficiently
RUN GREEN: Shut down dimming gear at the source after rehearsals and performances. Likewise, power-down LED power supplies and moving heads if it will be an hour before using them again.
RECYCLE: If you can, use BGA’s Gel Project to donate and reuse lighting gels. Otherwise… ask around, many theaters share and someone in your area may be thankful for that slightly-wrong-color-gel that got ordered. Avoid waste, of course, when cutting gel.

For Costume, Hair, Wig, and Makeup Designers…

(And crews, of course)
Costume designers and others who work with what I’ll call “soft goods” face some of the same issues as set and lighting folks… running a green studio and choosing greener materials and methods in designing and constructing their part of the show.

GREEN STUDIO / GREEN DESIGN: Try to minimize energy usage and maximize recycling in your day-to-day work. Your design choices can minimize fabric waste and call for less toxic methods – especially when dyeing – and can require more sustainable materials. Consider greener fibers and manufacturing processes (and consider the sweatshop issue too!). Shop local, to minimize shipping.
RECYCLE: Shop used and thrift stores. And, when the show closes, pass on your costumes to other theaters or back to thrift stores. Unused fabrics or trim etc. can help a poorer theater.
GREENER CHEMICALS: If nothing else, just creating costumes than can be water-washed rather ones that require dry cleaning will make your show instantly more sustainable. A lot of nasty chemicals in dry cleaning!

Limit use of dyes, bleaches, and other chemicals used on fabric, hair, wigs, and makeup. Use pump hairsprays.

For Prop Designers…

You work with EVERYTHING – every kind (and toxicity) of material and process. For your own safety, you really need to understand the dangers and try to minimize them. As a bonus, you get to help save the planet.

Read the sections for the other designers and the scene shop too.

CHOOSE GREENER: materials, adhesives, and paints etc. Go for the sustainable, the recycled, and the low or nontoxic as much as possible. You already know all about thrift store shopping!
USE GREENER: Be careful to follow safety guidelines when using toxic materials and make sure you have great ventilation.

Specifically for Set Designers…

There are many ways you can influence your show to make it more sustainable. in fact, YOU SHOULD, because the set is one of the biggest users of material and energy onstage.

Here are a few suggestions.

1. THAT GREENER STUDIO? Drawings are a great place to recycle and to choose more sustainable materials. Try using recycled paper, print on both sides, and use inks that come with less packing materials. Whenever possible, try to view drawings and other information on a screen – and not print it at all.

When building models, try up-cycling packing cardboard, choosing cardboard instead of foam-core board or choosing pulp-board instead of illustration board. And use plain ol’ white glue instead of other chemical compounds when possible. Recycle your used paper and cardboard – even old models!
2. DESIGN GREEN: when you can, plan your scenic design to use recycled and upcycled materials. Always design around material sizes (like 4′ x 8′ plywood) so there’s less cutting and waste. Check if there’s something in the theater’s stock that will work before building new. Stock flats and platforms are a great form of recycling!

Research building materials – what’s your greenest choice? Now, this can get complicated: many conflicting factors come into “greenness”, like shipping distance versus sustainable sourcing, or low emissions or toxicity versus maybe… your budget. When using fabrics, use the same care and consideration as “green” costume designers would.
3. BUY GREEN: Check thrift stores and places like Craig’s List for what you need.

If you happen to be in the NYC area, the Broadway Green Alliance suggest shopping at Build-It-Green, Film Biz Recycling, or Materials-For-The Arts. Around my own Dallas-Fort Worth area and I’m sure others, Habitat for Humanity Restores sell “excess” building products. Look at building salvage places, of course. And nothing’s greener than rescuing something left out for the trash! (Assuming that’s legal by you.)
4. BUILD GREEN: More on this in that (up-coming) section on Building, but as a designer plan to use existing or stock pieces as much as possible and consider using recycled and upcycled material. Try not to require particularly toxic materials and procedures. Aniline dyes, for instance, are seldom used now because of their toxicity compared to other paints and stains, whereas white glue is an ecofriendly adhesive compared to its rivals.

As a designer you have a lot of influence over the materials required by your design… and maybe a little persuasion about methods and materials in the building of it too. I suggest encouraging sustainable paints and building methods.
5.  GREEN-CYCLE OLD SETS: Don’t just trash it! Give your set away. Or give its broken-down materials away as salvage. Poorer theaters would be glad of a lot of your stuff. Recycle what can be recycled. And plan to save things from this set for the next one.

Advice for Scene Shops

There are many ways to cut waste and to promote recycling in building sets. Talk about the issue with the set designer and see where – together – you can make minor changes to make major savings.

Beyond cost savings, THE great advantage to greener shop practices will be a safer, less toxic environment for theater carpenters and painters. Forget the Earth a minute… why pollute your body?

CUT WASTE: Plan material cuts to waste as little as possible. Likewise, that off-cut of lumber in the trash might be perfect for this short little use over here. This sort of thrift comes naturally in a well-run shop, so Congrats! You’re already pretty green.

When buying construction materials, where possible opt for those that contain post-consumer waste, that are themselves recycled. And (as much as you can) try to avoid nasty stuff like formaldehyde and the chemicals used to pressure treat lumber for outdoor use.
REUSE AND RECYCLE: Recycle materials from previous sets and build for this set in ways that can be used for the next. Nothing is greener (or more thrifty) than using a stock flat. Or, if you can’t use it again yourself, some other theater can. Let the community know when you have excess or salvaged material – they’ll often take it off your hands. Recycle as much as possible.

Whenever possible consider used and up-cycled materials and salvaged doors and windows etc. Shop salvage yards and places like the Habitat for Humanity Restores for not-quite-new materials.
USE GREEN MATERIALS: Do research on what your material choices are. This can get complicated and involve a lot of trade-offs, but the ideal would be a renewable, sustainable material that’s sourced locally. The sad truth is that often the cheapest stuff, like that thin plywood that fits your budget, for instance (lauan, cough), is deeply unsustainable (pure rolled-up-rainforest), and involves a lot of shipping. (The rainforest is a long way away after all.) And foams are BIG petrochemical-use products. Avoid them as much as you can.

Try streeeetching a material’s life. Can that carved “brick” foam be flipped over and reused, its back becoming carved “stone” for the next set? Two uses equals buying half as much foam. (The answer? Yes! I successfully reused foam brick from In the Next Room: the Vibrator Play as stone for The Beauty Queen of Leenane. it was kinda fun.)
CUT BACK ON CHEMICALS: Find the least toxic option. Good ol’ white glue, for instance, is more environmentally viable than most other adhesives. Try to minimize toxic and hazardous construction methods too. (For Pete’s sake stop melting plastics!) And when hazardous chemical fumes are unavoidable remember proper ventilation and respirators!

Be particularly careful with paints, dyes, and stains. Consider paints carefully. There are low emission, low VOC paints available – can you use them? And when disposing of old paints, it’s best to let them harden in their can into something inert rather than to throw them away wet and disperse-the-toxins-ish. (Not down the drain! Horrors!)

Links to Greener Building

What are the greenest choices when building that set?

Whole Building Design Guide “Use Greener Materials”
Recommendations for choosing materials.
EPA “Smart Building Material Choices”
The EPA… they oughta have a clue. (And also a warning about “greenwashing”.)
Rainforest Relief “Safe Sets”
Avoiding lauan in film and theater sets. Why and How.

Related Lenses

A few other places to check for information on saving resources or theater design. (Or both at the same time.)

Thrilled to Go Purple!

I’m thrilled to announce that this Lens has been honored with a Purple Star Award for good-itude… Thank you, Squidoo, so much!

I’m all the more excited because this kind recognition means more people will read this Lens.

Making theater as good for the planet as it is for people is a worthy goal – and one desperately needed. There really IS a lot of waste right now: I know of one absolutely beautiful theater set for A Christmas Carol that was simply tossed. This was a set that any pro or amateur theater or any church group would have jumped to own. Shoot! even the local mall would have grabbed it for a Santa’s Village. Thousands of hours of skilled labor and tens of thousands of dollars of material… into the dumpster.

Of course there is a funnier side to this sort of criminal waste: years ago, when another theater threw away tons of sand (because no kids’ playground might want it?), when the garbage truck came to empty the dumpster – it was the TRUCK not the dumpster that was lifted off the ground!

Ha! A joke we don’t want repeated, eh? Recycle.

Go Green!

Starlight Express Roller Skates Musical Theatre

Starlight Express Roller Skates Musical Theatre

the first musical ever to be staged on roller skates

Starlight Express has to be one of my most favourite musical theatre shows. I first saw Starlight Express in London in the 1980s and have seen it a couple of times. The most striking aspect of this musical theatre production is that it is set, as many people know, with characters (who play railway engines and rolling stock) on roller skates. The actors speed their way around the stage and the audience in a dramatic and lively production that is supported with some great tunes. It was originated by impresario and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Richard Stilgoe

The story is based on the dream of child in which his toy train set comes to life. It is essentially a love story with Cinderella like overtones. Originally Andrew LLoyd Webber wanted to do a version of the children’s stories of Thomas The Tank Engine by Rev. W. Awdry, however that never happened. I really like the main theme song Starlight Express, although my favourite song is There’s Me sung by the character C.B. When I took my young sons to see it they really liked the dramatic image and character Elektra the electric train.

The original show ran on the London’s West end for 7461 performances and it has been performed on Broadway too. The production has evolved over the years with songs being added and dropped. 1992 saw the launch of The New Starlight Express which cut 12 original songs added five. One the ‘losses’ was my favourite song and also the characters C.B and Belle. By 2008 the show was very different from the original. For fans of all versions there is the excellent Theatre Starlight Express section.

Starlight Express

Starlight Express


Jean Valjean from Les Miserables

Jean Valjean from Les Miserables

Prisoner 24601, Trying to Outrun the Past

Jean Valjean, central character of Les Miserables, has been played by a host of great actors on stage and screen. Hugh Jackman is the Valjean of the new Les Mis movie musical. Jackman is a talented singer and stage performer who seems perfectly cast, but he follows in a line of great footsteps from previous Jean Valjean actors and singers. Meet here just some of the famous faces and voices who have starred as the former convict trying to be a good man in an unforgiving world.

Also discover the story of this man who raised himself up only to find others trying to drag him back down to the misery of life as a convict without hope.

Image credit: Portrait of Yvan Tourgueniev via Wikimedia Commons. Chosen for a resemblance to descriptions of Jean Valjean in his older years.

Who Was Jean Valjean?

Peasant, Convict, Mayor, Father
Jean Valjean Book Illustration (

Jean Valjean has many identities. The 3 volumes (or books) of the novel Les Misérables, written by Victor Hugo, follow his life from where he takes it up in middle age on being released as a convict up until his final days as an old man.

Valjean’s story is a sad one, but ultimately is a story of hope. He was born into poverty and describes himself in his early years as stupid and ignorant, though his later achievements show this to be a product of his background and not any lack of ability. Driven to theft by the hunger and suffering of his sister and her children, he was arrested and sent to the galleys as a convict. This was a brutal life, each day being a day of forced labor, chained to other convicts. His only thought was one of escape, and each time he attempted escape and was recaptured his sentence was extended.

So it was that Jean Valjean lost all of his youth and what could have been the most productive days of his life as a convict, engaged in mindless and back-breaking work. When he was finally released he was already a middle-aged man who bore the stigma of having been a ‘dangerous’ criminal for so many years. Only by running from the law and changing his identity could he have a chance to make his way in the world.

Religion is a strong theme in Hugo’s novel, and it was the mercy of a bishop that set Valjean on a new path of serving his God through good works and moral conduct.

Valjean worked hard, taking every opportunity to study and learn, and treated all he met with kindness and fairness. A natural businessman, he found great success which he used to make his town profitable, and reluctantly became Mayor. But Valjean’s success was short-lived, because on the tail of this reformed convict was a prison guard turned police inspector, who had resolved to capture the man who had evaded the law.

Jean Valjean, Illustration from Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables available from

Valjean, Javert, Fantine and Cosette

The Man Who Hunted Him Down, The Women He Wanted to Protect

The pursuit of Jean Valjean by Inspector Javert has captured the public’s imagination since Hugo first published his epic tale in 1862. The story creates a hero of a villain as Valjean overcomes his past and struggles to do what is morally right. And in Javert the man of law becomes an anti-hero, relentless in his determination to bring Valjean down.

Interwoven into their story is that of Fantine, a ‘fallen woman’, and her orphaned daughter Cosette. Via this tragic woman and the care of her neglected child, Valjean learns to love and even has a chance to take on the role of a father, making up for the family he never had.

However, Valjean finds that being a good man and taking care of the child he loves as his own means living a life on the run from the law.

Les Miserables on Stage and Screen

A Timeless Tale of Struggle and Redemption
Jordan Bennett as Valjean (Convict)

The story of Jean Valjean has been told many times in many ways. The first Les Misérables movie was made in 1909 and since then there have been many adaptations of the novel for theater and film.

It is the global success of the stage musical version of Les Misérables that has contributed most to the popularity of this story. Created by the now legendary French composer and lyricist duo, Schönberg and Boublil, ‘Les Miz’ made its debut in London in 1985 and has gone on to make musical theater history around the world. Jean Valjean is barely off the stage throughout the stage production, which is sung-through, meaning there is no pause in the singing for spoken lines. He therefore sings frequently in duets and counterpoint with other characters. His own famous song from the show is the emotional Bring Him Home. These challenges for both voice and acting make it one of modern-day musical theater’s greatest roles.

Les Misérables has not been neglected on the big screen either, and the coveted role of Valjean has been played by some of our most talented actors. For the first time in 2012/13 the movie and the musical meet as Hugh Jackman performs as Valjean in the first full movie version of Les Mis.

Image credit: Jordan Bennett as Jean Valjean. This image released into Public Domain by the actor via Wikimedia Commons.

Colm Wilkinson as Prisoner 24601

The Original Les Miserables Cast’s Jean Valjean
Colm Wilkinson on the cover of his album

Colm Wilkinson already had a singing career in his native Ireland before he created the stage musical role of Jean Valjean. In fact, some may remember him as Ireland’s entry to the 1978 Eurovision Song Contest. Colm earned his country a respectable 5th place in the contest, which is known for political voting. Fellow original Les Mis cast members Frances Ruffelle and Michael Ball have also separately performed at Eurovision, representing the UK.

Colm had already released his own album and assisted Andrew Lloyd Webber in the creation of the Phantom in the early stages of The Phantom of the Opera by the time he was cast as Valjean in the original London cast of Les Misérables. Wilkinson also opened Les Mis on Broadway after a casting struggle with Equity. He is held in high regard by many Les Mis fans as not only the first but the greatest Valjean. Colm turned 41 in the debut year of Les Misérables, making him a good fit for the middle-aged Valjean, and set the standard not only for the voice but also for the appearance of future Valjeans.

Colm Wilkinson followed his Les Mis role with the Phantom in the original Canadian cast of The Phantom Of The Opera, with Rebecca Caine (the original Cosette in Les Miserables) as Christine.

He resumed his role of Valjean in the legendary 10th Anniversary Dream Cast Concert of Les Miserables at London’s Royal Albert Hall and formed part of The Valjean Quartet of four of the greatest Jean Valjean performers singing Bring Him Home as part of the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert celebration.

Colm Wilkinson has a cameo as the Bishop of Digne in the Les Misérables movie. He has a Christmas Concert tour in Canada at the end of 2012 and also can sometimes be seen on tour in his homeland of Ireland. His most recent screen appearance was as Lord Thomas Darcy in The Tudors.

Colm Returns to Les Miserables

Wilkinson as the Bishop of Digne in the Les Mis Movie

Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean

The 25th Anniversary Concert Valjean
Alfie Boe on his album cover Love Was a Dream

British performer Alfie Boe brought a new interpretation of Jean Valjean to us when he starred in the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert. It seems Boe can hardly be mentioned without referring to the fact that this talented singer was set for a career as a car mechanic. Fortunately for us, Boe auditioned for opera, going on to make a name for himself, and his versatile talent led to his selection as Valjean both in the 25th Anniversary O2 Concert in London and on the West End stage.

Alfie is one of the four Valjeans in The Valjean Quartet as they sing Bring Him Home. He has released a number of successful albums and in 2012/13 is touring the UK in concert.
Learn More About Alfie Boe
A Popular New Jean Valjean

Other Popular West End and Broadway Performers as Valjean

A Small Selection of Musical Theatre Talent

Everyone has a favorite Valjean and if you had a room full of Les Miz fans you would find that though some names would come up again and again, it would be impossible to agree on the ‘best’ Jean Valjean performer. I can’t begin to do justice to all the men who have played the central character of Les Miserables in London’s West End or on Broadway in New York, still less the international and touring productions. The below are just a few of the highly-rated Valjeans you may have heard of or been lucky enough to see in live performances.

John Owen-Jones has made one of the more recent appearances as Jean Valjean but the performer first appeared in the role when he was just 26. Owen-Jones took on the role for the Les Misérables 25th Anniversary Tour and appeared as Valjean both in London and on Broadway. He has also starred as the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera and in 2012 is touring in this role. He was one of the four performers in The Valjean Quartet. Follow John Owen-Jones on Twitter.

Simon Bowman became part of musical theater history when he created the role of Chris (with Lea Salonga as Kim) in the original cast of Miss Saigon. His other West End roles have included Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera and he has been both Marius and Valjean in Les Mis in London. He joined Owen-Jones, Wilkinson and Boe in The Valjean Quartet.

Randal Keith impressed audiences with his Valjean when he toured in the role in the US, and performed on Broadway, plus in China and Korea. He was the final Valjean in the show’s Broadway run. Keith has also starred in The Phantom of the Opera in the States and has performed a number of other musical theater roles.

J. Mark McVey has been another popular Jean Valjean in the USA, winning a Helen Hayes award for his touring performance and playing the role on Broadway and in the Hollywood Bowl Les Miserables concert. Recently, fans have been again enjoying Mark’s performance in the US 25th Anniversary Les Misérables tour. Mark has released 2 CDs to date. Follow J. Mark McVey on Twitter

Back in London, Ramin Karimloo has been treating the West End to his Valjean before going on a tour of his own in 2012. Ramin, who is of Iranian descent, is one of the youngest Valjeans. He has also starred as the Phantom both in the original production and creating the role in Love Never Dies. He was Enjolras in the 25th Anniversary Les Miserables Concert and played the father of Christine Daaé in the 2004 movie version of The Phantom of the Opera. Ramin starred in The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall in 2011. Follow Ramin Karimloo on Twitter.

Jean-Paul Belmondo

A 1995 Variation on the Les Miserables Story
Jean Paul Belmondo (

Not an adaptation that stays true to the novel, but an interesting twist on the original tale. In this version from 1995, Jean-Paul Belmondo plays 3 men. One of these is Jean Valjean himself, one a father with a story that has tragic parallels with that of Valjean, and the third man is his son who aids Jewish refugees at the time of the persecution of the Jews during the Second World War.

Belmondo is a French screen legend, with the majority of his film work dating from the 1960s and 1970s. He is known both as a comedy actor and an action hero (famously doing all of his own stunts).

Liam Neeson

Les Misérables Movie 1998
Liam Neeson (

Liam Neeson headed a cast of stars in a film adaptation of the Les Misérables novel. Neeson’s Valjean was pursued by Geoffrey Rush as Javert, and he tended to Uma Thurman as the dying Fantine, later taking on care of her daughter Cosette played (as a teen) by Claire Danes.

Neeson stayed true to the novel with a morose and physically imposing Valjean who towered over Cosette and was more than a match for Javert (Neeson is 6′ 4″). However, he shared some tender moments with his Fantine that gave the impression that these two could under different circumstances been happy together.

Liam Neeson is of course a much-loved actor known for roles in popular movies such as Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and The Dark Knight Rises as well as playing national figures such as Rob Roy and Michael Collins. He is also the voice of Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia and one of his most acclaimed roles was as Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List.

Trailer for 1998 Les Mis Movie

Neeson vs. Rush… It Doesn’t Get Much Better!
I admit, I can’t wait to see Jackman and Crowe, but Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush were also dream casting in this non-sung version of Les Miserables.

Gerard Depardieu

Les Misérables Mini-Series 2000
Gérard Depardieu (DVD Collection:

Leading French actor Gérard Depardieu became Jean Valjean in a TV mini-series in the year 2000. He was joined by John Malkovich as Javert, with Charlotte Gainsbourg as Fantine.

Depardieu is well-known beyond France for his roles in Hollywood movies such as Green Card and The Man in the Iron Mask, and has a prolific career in French-language cinema ranging from Jean De Florette and Cyrano de Bergerac to Obélix in the various Asterix and Obelix movies.

Recent projects include Ang Lee’s Life of Pi.

Les Miserables Movie in 2000

Depardieu and Malkovich
This looks like a stunning adaptation of the novel. As a bonus for Eponine fans, her part hasn’t been cut from this particular version.

Hugh Jackman

Jackman Takes the Stage Valjean to the Big Screen
Hugh Jackman (

Hugh Jackman’s performance as Jean Valjean in the Les Misérables movie musical has been eagerly anticipated. Jackman is a popular actor both in Hollywood blockbusters such as the X-Men Trilogy and also in musical theater.

It’s hard to imagine better casting, as the star brings experience of both stage and screen to his Valjean. Jackman has already proven that he has the voice to perform nightly on Broadway in a one-man show, the charisma to host the Academy Awards, and the versatility as an actor to be a box-office favorite in a variety of movies. He also has the tall stature of Valjean and, for what it’s worth, is about the right age for Jean at the earlier stages of the movie.

Jackman can be seen starring as cowboy Curly in the musical revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, in which one of his co-stars was original Les Mis London cast member Peter Polycarpou. He is expected to follow Les Miserables with the role of the great entertainer P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman on Earth and will also making another appearance as Wolverine in The Wolverine.

Photo of Hugh Jackman available from
Hugh in Valjean Costume
Jackman’s video from the set of Les Mis

Into the Woods Musical

Into the Woods Musical

Go Into the Woods with This Sondheim Musical

Into the Woods is a Tony Award-winning musical with music and lyrics from Stephen Sondheim and written and directed by James Lapine.

Sondheim’s elaborate musical score is the background for the story that intertwines the original Grimm fairy tales of Cinderella, Jack and the Magic Beanstalk, Little Red Ridinghood and Rapunzel as we follow these characters in search of their wishes.

What they discover in the woods is an important life lesson—the consequences of those wishes—and perhaps that they might have been better off not wishing them in the first place.

Take a trip with me into the woods and discover this unique musical.

Image from Into the Woods Cover, music available to download on Amazon.

Discovering Into the Woods

We discovered Into the Woods, when it was presented as one of the play options for my daughters childrens’ theater group to perform for the summer.

I knew the story involved darker fairy tales, so looked at the plot summary on Wikipedia before letting my daughters watch the DVD of the American Playhouse production. One thing that was clear is that the stories were based on the original Brothers Grimm tales with more more blood, mayhem, deception, killings and scary creatures.

After becoming familiar with the musical my daughters discovered reading the Once Upon a Time Book that some of the text from the Into the Woods play has been taken directly from the original Brothers Grimm Tales.

Some of the things she discovered were Cinderella’s stepsisters getting their toe and heel cut off to fit into the shoe, Rapunzel’s Prince gets blinded falling from her tower and Little Red Ridinghood and Granny getting swallowed by the wolf and then cut out by the huntsman.

I got them the Once Upon a Time book because we are also fans of the ABC show Once Upon a Time show, a television show based on the Brothers Grimm tales.

Into the Woods Jr. Book

Into the Woods – Darker Tales

The Broadway musical uses several of the Brothers Grimm’s real fairy tales, the tales that are much more graphic, violent and often gruesome than the Disney version’s we’ve grown up with and intersperses these stories with a new story about a Baker and his Wife and what they go through to start a family.

The Amazon review for the American Playhouse DVD version describes Into the Woods as:

Fractured fairy tales of a darker hue provide the remarkable context for Into the Woods, which deconstructs the Brothers Grimm by way of Rod Serling.

Another reviewer wrote this about the Into the Woods soundtrack, “It is a marvelous deconstruction of fairy tales and how the wishing and the getting is what really important, not obtaining it.”

In these fractured fairy tales, Sondheim and Lupine weave many cleaver story twists, metaphors and meanings into this grown-up fairy tale that will leave you thinking about the importance of the journey, living in the moment and what goes into living happily ever after.

NOTE: Parents may want to familiarize themselves with the story plot, twists, death, deception, adultry and mayhem before deciding to let their children watch the play.

Disney Goes Into the Woods

Disney is aiming for a Christmas Day premiere of its version of the Tony Award Winning Musical. Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep were the first two actors confirmed for this new version of Sondheim’s play.

Depp is set to play the Wolf with an unknown Little Red Riding Hood and Streep, the Witch who is involved in stirring up a lot of mischief for the Baker (James Corden) and his Wife (Emily Blunt) and also plays a major role with Rapunzel (unknown). Tracey Ullman is in talks to play Jack and the Beanstalks Mother (she should be great!) and Daniel Huttlestone as Jack.

Other actors linked to this new version include Jake Gyllenhaal and Chris Pine as the two handsome princes for Rapunzel and Cinderella (Anna Kendrick). Christine Baranski plays Cinderella’s step mother.

It is going to be very interesting to follow the making of this film and then see Disney’s take on the real Grimm Brother fairy tales, rather than the cleaner versions we’ve seen for years.

Cast for Into the Woods

These are the people, so far, who have been linked to the Disney version of Into the Woods:

1. The Baker – James Corden
2. The Baker’s Wife – Emily Blunt
3. Jack in the Beanstalk – Daniel Huttlestone
4. Jack’s Mother – Tracey Ullman
5. Cinderella – Anna Kendrick
6. Cindrella’s Step Mother – Christine Baranski
7. The Princes – Chris Pine (Cinderella’s) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Rapunzel’s)
8. The Wolf – Johnny Depp
9. The Witch – Meryl Streep

More on the Disney Version of Into the Woods

Articles about the latest revival of Into the Woods for Disney, as we discover the different cast members.

Johnny Depp in Into The Woods: A Dream Come True, But He Worries About His Singing | E! Online
Johnny Depp can’t wait to play The Wolf in the movie adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Tony award winning musical Into the Woods.
Anna Kendrick & ‘Into The Woods’: Actress In Talks For Cinderella Role
Let’s hope the glass slipper fits — Anna Kendrick may be taking on the role of Cinderella. The 27-year-old actress is reportedly in talks to join the upcoming adaptation of “Into the Woods,” led by director Rob Marshall (“Chicago”).
“Into the Woods” Film Eyes “Les Miserables” Star to Play Jack –
Young actor Daniel Huttlestone, who starred as Gavroche in Tom Hooper’s film of “Les Misérables,” is in talks to join the cast of the “Into the Woods” film, reports.
Tracey Ullman in Talks to Join Disney’s ‘Into the Woods’ (Exclusive)
Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, and Chris Pine are among those playing classic fairy tale characters in the adaptation of the Broadway musical.
Disney’s Starry Into the Woods Film Sets Christmas 2014 Release –
The film adaptation of Into the Woods, the dark, Tony Award-winning fairytale musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, will be released in theatres Dec. 25, 2014, Walt Disney Pictures announced June 13.
Disney Release Dates: ‘Into the Woods’
Disney has announced release schedule updates, which includes a date for the ‘Into the Woods’ musical movie and a new title for ‘The Muppets’ sequel.

Into the Woods Synopsis

Available from Amazon Into the Woods musical intertwines the original Grimm fairy tales of Cinderella, Jack and the Magic Beanstalk, Little Red Ridinghood and Rapunzel with the story of a Baker and his wife who want a child.

Through the 3 hour + musical we follow Cinderella, Little Red Ridinghood, Jack, Rapunzel and several Princes along with the Baker and his Wife on the paths that they take searching for their Happily Ever After. What they all discover, venturing into the woods, is that life may not always go the way we wished for or turn out to be quite so happy.

The first act is more lighthearted and focuses on the wishes made by Cinderella, Jack, Little Red Riding Hood and the Baker and his Wife as they all venture into the woods in search of their wishes.

Much of the first act is spent watching the Baker and his Wife go in search of “the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold” to make a magic potion that will help them have a child. The first act ends after everyone’s wishes have come true. This is the act that is adapted into the Into the Woods Jr. version for Childrens’ Theaters.

The second act soon becomes darker and much more somber. Some recommendations are that the second act may be too heavy for younger children (under six). In this act we take a look at what happens to our original characters now that they are living their “happily ever after.” Cinderella, Jack and the Baker and his Wife are still wishing and enter into the woods again in search of what they are missing. The second act includes more mayhem, treachery, adultery and several deaths, but it also features many of the show stopping musical songs including “No More,” “No One Is Alone,” and “Children Will Listen.”

My daughters were more disturbed by the Princes wishing for new Princesses (after they’d already gotten their first ones) than the deaths and mayhem, but the Princes’ wandering eyes became a good teachable lesson about the boys and men they may date in the future.

Into the Woods – Video Clip

This clip from the 1988 Tony Awards features Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien, Phylicia Rashad with the rest of the original cast of the Broadway production.

Music from Into the Woods

The song most recognized from Into the Woods is probably “Children Will Listen” which was made popular by Bernadette Peters. The song has also been recorded by Betty Buckley, Barbara Streisand and Mandy Patinkin.

Other recognizable songs from the play are “Last Midnight,” “No One Is Alone,” and “No More.”

There are several different versions of the music from Into the Wood available for listening. The original Broadway Cast that features Bernadette Peters and Joanna Gleason was the one that we listened to first after watching the DVD.

There is also the London Cast version from 1991 and the Broadway revival of 2002 that featured Vanessa Williams as the witch.

Once we heard that my daughters’ theater group would be doing Into the Woods as a summer production we started listening to the music. Initially listening to the rather complicated arrangements of different voices singing over each other at the same time was a bit challenging, but it wasn’t too long before my daughters’ both had the music down and were singing right along. The music gets stuck in your head.

Into the Woods London Cast Soundtrack available on Amazon.

Into the Woods Musical Numbers

The musical numbers from Into the Woods on the original Broadway Cast Recording include:
  • 1. Into the Woods (Prologue)
  • 2. Cinderella at the Grave
  • 3. Hello, Little Girl
  • 4.I Guess This Is Goodbye / Maybe They’re Magic
  • 5. I Know Things Now
  • 6 A Very Nice Prince / First Midnight / Giants in the Sky
  • 7. Agony
  • 8. It Takes Two
  • 9. Stay With Me
  • 10. On the Steps of the Palace
  • 11. Ever After
  • 12. Act II Prologue: So Happy
  • 13. Agony (Reprise)
  • 14. Lament
  • 15. Any Moment / Moments in the Woods
  • 16. Your Fault / Last Midnight
  • 17. No More
  • 18. No One Is Alone
Equus with Daniel Radcliffe

Equus with Daniel Radcliffe

Equus – starring Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths.

Equus the Play has been a hot topic of discussion amongst the theatre community for a long time.

In the Fall 2008, Broadway was graced by Harry Potter stars, Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths. They starred in the West End, sell out transfer, of Peter Shaffer’s Equus at The Broadhurst Theatre, NYC.

In this article you will find opinion of Equus the play, Equus reviews, and interviews with the stars of Equus, as well as how to get your hands on a copy of Equus the film, as well as the Equus play script and the Equus study guide.

Equus Theatre Poster, featuring Daniel Radcliffe

Isn’t it beautiful?

So, What Did I Think of Daniel Radcliffe in Equus?

honest, I thought it was alright, but I wanted more from Radcliffe. I saw the second preview, so his performance was still finding it’s feet (there was a rather embarrasment moment at the end, where Richard Griffiths had to show him how to bow!)

I really wanted to love this show, as I was in a production of it with a theatre company a few years previously, but I was left with a strange taste in my mouth. I couldn’t help feeling that there are better actors out there who could take on the role. Radcliffe was, for me, just OK. He didn’t have enough diversity in his performance, the only diversity was in his vocal projection – quiet, loud, or shouting. Richard Griffiths was superb, as I had hoped. The production as a whole was ‘revived’ from it’s original conception in the 70s, recreating the wired horse masks, as using a minimalistic set.

This show has created huge controversy, primarily due to one scene in Equus that sees Daniel Radcliffe nude, completely starkers, naked, no clothes, nada (and we’re not talking just shirtless either)…yes, gasp you might!

Daniel Radcliffe gets nude on stage

…or Harry Potter Gets His Wand Out

seeing Radcliffe’s disappointingly bland and shouty performance, I couldn’t help feeling that it was stunt casting that gave him the part. Having a name like, Daniel Radcliffe, in a lead role that goes fully naked on stage, is a guaranteed sell out. Who isn’t interested to see whether or not he actually takes his clothes off?

I find something awkward about it. I don’t know why. I’m not a prude by any means. I only find it distasteful because Radcliffe is so strongly associated with Harry Potter – an icon of children’s literature. Millions of children look up to him and adore him…and in the late 2000′s he was still a teenager and is appeared naked infront of hundreds of people. It’s just, I don’t know, kinda weird.

I suppose I also wouldn’t mind so much, if it wasn’t the topic of conversation every time someone talks about the show. If there’s a publicity shot for the show, it’s of Radcliffe topless. No one stops and talks to him about the fundamental issues of playing a young teenage character growing up and needing psychiatric care. No one talks about the interesting stage design or the beautiful horse masks. All people seem to care about is Daniel Radcliffe getting taking his clothes off and showing everyone his wand, so to speak.

Is Daniel Radcliffe Right For The Part?

Is it stunt casting? Are there better actors out there? Is Radcliffe too associated with Children’s Literature to go naked on stage?

Is Daniel Radcliffe right for the part of Alan Strang?

Alan Strang (Radcliffe)

Equus Synopsis and Study notes
*may contain spoilers*
Equus tells the story of a troubled stable lad, Alan Strang, who has an unusual relationship with his horses. Worshipping his god, Equus, it all seems relatively harmless. Then interactions with the stable girl, Jill, takes a course of action that leads him to be submitted to a psychiatric care. Persuaded by his life long confident, Dr. Martin Dysart, child psychologist, takes on the boy and begins to unravel what happened, and what led him to brutally attack and blind six horses with a metal spike – all the time dealing with his own demons.

Originally opening as a play in the 1970s, starring Anthony Hopkins as Dysart, Equus has gone on to marvel audiences and inspire discussion. Amazon currently stock a study guide to Peter Shaffer’s
Equus as a digital download.many
universities and drama departments study the text and play, as it raises interesting debate about the nature of theatre and rituals, as well as innocence and loss. An intriguing set of characters guide us through this troublesome story. Questions are raised about identity, religion and sex. How did a teenage boy become so ensnared in a faith, to the extent that his staunch beliefs would give him such powerful feelings of guilt and shame, that would lead him to attempt destroying his very own god. Emotionally charged, gripping and captivating. An extraordinary play that will stay with you, even after you’ve left the theatre.

Want to Know More About Daniel Radcliffe?

What other theatre has Daniel Radcliffe been doing since Equus?
Since Equus, Daniel Radcliffe has been busy! Not only did he have to finish off the Harry Potter films, but he has gained a few more theatrical accolades under his belt.

He went to Broadway and starred in the musical How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. The musical was a super hit and went down very well with critics.

In the middle of 2013, he then went to star in The Cripple on Inishmaan as part of the Michael Grandage season at the Noel Coward theatre, London. Another challenging role, not only by virtue of having to perfect an Irish accent, but also because he had to play his role with half his body contorted into a cripple-like stance. I saw it in June, and it was excellent!
What are the Twitterati saying about Equus?

Alan and Gill, the Stable Girl

This is the prelude to Daniel Radcliffe’s controversial sex scene that-never-actually-happens in Equus