Tuesday, April 20, 2010

All new Weill

Spent the last months reading the collected letters of Lotte Lenya and Kurt Weill, a couple of Weill biographies and the remarkable biography of Lotte Lenya. Also searched through Weill's complete works to find new material that I want to explore in this upcoming cabaret.

Years ago I created Whiskey Bars because I was frustrated by doing the songs in recital. Well, now I'm creating a cabaret (that resembles a recital) along with the remarkable pianist and singer Neill Kernohan, because I'm frustrated about doing the songs in a theatrical venue. I want to be able to sing these songs and not be in costume, not worry about lights and theatres and sound and just be able to sing.

But I still think the songs deserve (like any great jewel) to be placed into a great setting. So I'm hoping to link them up with stories, anecdotes and reflections about his life and times and the complex relationship he had with Lotte Lenya. Their lives together spanned two world wars and a half dozen countries and some of the most important artistic and political movements of the 20th Century.

We did a first workshop performance this month as a house concert in the welcoming salon of pianist Lawrence Pitchko, we'll do another in May. No theatre, no makeup, no costumes. Just the music and some reflections on the extraordinary life of Kurt Weill.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Bloody Business

It's a broadsword and dagger extravaganza! I'm walking onstage soon with a new production of Macbeth. We're all done up in designer suits and carrying blackberrys and iphones, but also carrying daggers and broadswords. It is a small cast, so we're all playing several roles, and I think (at last count) I die four times (that's not counting the off-stage dispatching of myself as Duncan) The only character I play that makes it through the show alive is the Porter, with his great licentious speeches... A wonderful adaptation by Tommy Taylor of Forward Theatre and fabulous stage fighting choreography by Christian Feliciano.