It’s hard to find any relief in the current sociopolitical climate. Ya just can’t keep moving right along like nothin’s the matter. It’s stifling out there. Our work here in the theatre offices is full of problem solving and balance. Everyone’s experience and point of view is valued. The outlook is full of optimism, trust, and creative adventures!
United we serve the good in each other and our audience, and collectively do our personal best to raise the bar, reaching higher, achieving what is new to expand our potential.
We’re always in perpetual motion doing what we’ve never done before; an arts center, a school, new works development. It’s thrilling to be scared like that! And then the phone punches up “breaking news.” There, dread sets in as disasters mount from natural to moral to the experience on social media of so many loved one’s courage and persistence voicing their defiance to the indignities of sexual assault. No longer silent and invisible! It’s soul-crushing but here fear is giving way to empowerment. Change is happening. And we go back to work.
Onstage at Paramount, Legally Blonde, the musical adaptation of the 2001 film which starred Reese Witherspoon, is playing to crowds extolling rapturously on the timeliness and relevance of the show and how much fun it is. Timely and fun? How can that be? The point of the whole show is that “being yourself never goes out of style” and to “never judge a book by its cover” all wrapped up in “millennial pink” to boot! Ah, but you see, dear reader, what appears to be an energizer bunny who keeps going and going to chase all our troubles away, is actually someone who’s got a hidden rabbit punch that packs a surprisingly emotional wallop of a reality check. Trent Stork’s direction champions Elle Woods and her sorority sisters figuratively and literally. His opening remarks on the first day of rehearsals recalled the women in his life who inspired him, supported him, and are goddesses to him. The show buoyed by his fervor and his many inventive devices updating the nearly decades old tale is reaching and touching the hearts and funny bones of an incredibly diverse audience of women and men in ways no one could ever have expected!
The fun is in Trent’s focus on the human folly and vulnerability of Elle. The fun is in Casey Shuler singing this role better than its ever been heard before. The fun is in audiences watching a young director and his leading lady make a smashing debut on Paramount’s stage.
That sobering moment of Elle’s retaliation relates to our social crisis. It jolts and resonates. But it is never a downer. It is a triumph. Together, sitting in the darkened theater, everyone there is cheering the discovery and exhilaration of new artists and their art holding “the mirror up to nature.”
Love & thanks,