How do I begin to explain the day we’re having today! Just left the theatre where Ana Belaval brought her WGN TV morning news show, Around Town, to feature Paramount’s IN THE HEIGHTS! The cast was remarkably bright eyed at the 8:00 am call, on stage, warmed up, in costume and mics, rehearsed and ready to shine like the stars they are! It being a big news day with the federal government shutdown, a couple of our segments got bumped and things were getting tense. Then, “In 2 minutes! Stand by!”, lights up, Ana was on camera, audio rolling and everyone was putting their heart into performing a terrific live broadcast. Cannot say enough about the lovely Ana and how much she cares and loves what she’s doing! Our actors rolled with the punches, smooth and easy and it doesn’t hurt that Ana and camera tech, Mary, are so warm and fun to work with! On a sober note, I was hit with the particular punch of a lyric the young teenaged character, “Luis”, repeats over and over: “We are powerless! We are powerless!” It refers to the event of the power outage, the city wide blackout in the story of that summer on his block in Washington Heights… and it being a metaphor for the social and economic plight of his community. His passionate outcry hit home on this morning like never before.
MISS SAIGON rehearsals begin Thursday with our two leads: Shawna Shin as “Kim” and Brandon Moorhead as “Chris”. On Monday, the full company gathers for the first time. There is still much to do (is it ever done?) to prepare for this epic ride we are about to take together. As the day approaches, I become a little nervous about all of it. The hell on earth of the Vietnam War. How fragile this particular process is. To update Puccini’s tragic opera, Madama Butterfly, as a story about a time in our nation’s history still painful and controversial. The now non-fictional base of the piece. A time that really happened. Real lives suffered. Souls were lost. The story of our troops, our young G. I.’s, and the Vietnamese people. And their children. War Then and War Now has unavoidable and inescapable resonance. I’m thinking about our nation’s history unfolding before us now and in the future. This cast is too young to know anything firsthand about Vietnam then. But our country is involved in war now. However it is in no way near the reporting of The Vietnam War coverage here in the states; the first war in history to be fought on television. The images. The emotions. Has anything changed?
So much to do…see ya later