Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Show #140 October 10, 2015

For Amerie and the cast of Assassins!

Amerie- Big Kid All Kidding Aside
Everybody's Got The Right- Assassins (The Broadway Cast Recording)
*In America- The Fastbacks ...And His Orchestra 
*Crazy Mixed Up World- The Wild Giraffes I Don't Know About You 45 
*Guns- Madness The Business 
*American Guilt- Fools Face Tell America 
*Crazy- 999 999 
*^Annie Get Your Gun- Squeeze Singles: 45's and Under 
Just Say Go- Reno Bo Lessons from a Shooting Star 
Lucky In Every Way- Pugwash Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends)
If That's What You Want- The Orange Humble Band Depressing Beauty
*The American In Me- The Avengers S/T 12"EP 
*Still Crazy- The Exploding Hearts Guitar Romantic
*Cemetery Guns- Fountains Of Wayne Sky Full Of Holes 
*Only In America- Hoodoo Gurus Purity Of Essence
*Crazy Over You- The Yum Yums Singles 'n' Stuff 
*Six Guns- Milk 'N' Cookies Milk 'N' Cookies 
Circles- The Connection Labor Of Love 
Alone In These Modern Times- Tommy Keene Laugh In The Dark
Live To Tell- Herb Eimerman Five Dimensional Man
*America Is- Violent Femmes Add It Up  
*Crazy Kids- Jook Different Class 
*Popgun- Mary Monday And The Bitches I Gave My Punk Jacket To Rickie 7"
>The American Ruse- MC5 Back In The U.S.A.
>Crazy- Mud The Singles '67-'78 
>Zip Gun Boogie- T-Rex The Very Best Of T-Rex 
*American Song- Pointed Sticks Part Of The Noise 
*You Make Me Crazy- Nikki and The Corvettes Nikki and The Corvettes 
*Tommy Gun- The Scruffs Wanna Meet The Scruffs 
Young American Freak- Material Issue Telecommando Americano 
Something Just Broke- Assassins (The Broadway Cast Recording) 

^Power Pop Peak:  #40 US Mainstream Rock Chart 10/8/82

*SacroSet(s):  America/Crazy/Gun Songs Inspired by Assassins

>Power Pop Prototypes:  1970, 1973, 1974

If you've been following the blog you'll know that back in May I auditioned for Narrow Way Stage Company's production of the Stephen Sondheim musical Assassins here in Sonoma.   
Everybody's Got The Right To Be Happy
Having seen the 2004 revival on Broadway, I was gunning for the part of James Garfield assassin Charles Guiteau.  I am proud to say I landed the role and it was an outstanding production.  Assassins is a very prickly show so the warm reception we received was a pleasant surprise.  More importantly, it was a joy working with our awesome cast, crew and band.

Unworthy of Your Love
One of the things I love about theater is that it creates an "intentional family" and for six to eight weeks you spend more time with them than you do with your actual family. These "families" can be as "dysfunctional" as they are "intentional" and there is almost always some kind of "drama" backstage- we are theater people after all.  That said, Assassins was a rarity; a production where, at least from what I could see, the drama was all on stage while backstage everyone loved working together.  After closing I always suffer a "post show malaise" and this time it was even more acute.  This is why I put together tonight's radio show, focusing on the major themes raised in Assassins:

Another National Anthem
THEME ONE:  "The Two Americas," one America where any kid can grow up to be President and its antithesis which has "Another National Anthem" for "those who love regretting... those who like extremes... those who thrive on chaos and despair."

The Ballad of Booth

THEME TWO:  Crazy people, especially Crazy Loners Seeking Fame:  "Someone tell the story, someone sing the song.  Every now and then the country goes a little wrong.  Every now and then a madman's bound to come along..."

The Gun Song

THEME THREE:  Guns; see America's love affair with: "All you have to do is squeeze your little finger, ease your little finger back, you can change the world..." 

Since Assassins is already freighted with meaning, co-directors Trevor and Skylar made sure to avoid linking the show with any outside political or ideological viewpoint.  I hesitate to say it, but I was worried a mass killing before or during the run would stop people from coming to the show.  As it turned out, during our final three weeks of rehearsal and three weeks of performances there were five of what the FBI calls "family killings" with 4 to 8 victims each and a "public shooting" at Umqua Community College in Roseburg, OR with 9 victims.  
These horrific events are so common today they all tend to blend together, which is even more heartbreaking.  In Assassins' battle between the hopeful Balladeer and gun-dealing Proprietor, it's hard not to feel the dark side is winning.

The Balladeer
The Proprietor

On a lighter note... the beard issue.  When we started rehearsals a few of the younger
How I Saved Roosevelt
guys in the cast had beards so I was thinking that despite growing one for the audition, maybe I could get out of having one for the run.  I figured if real life clean-shaven Guiseppe Zangara was played by bearded Brett, perhaps real life bearded Charles Guiteau could be played by clean-shaven Rick.  As this picture shows, Brett shaved before we opened so I was screwed.  I had a job in Tucson seven days before we opened so that was the last shave for me.  Sad to say my whiskers were just as gray as last time and no less itchy.  Even so, I got quite a few compliments on the beard.  After a while, I started to notice a pattern summarized on this Female Beard Reaction diagram:

Click To Enlarge

Older women LOVED the beard (many couldn't resist touching it), younger women thought it was cool (yet had no interest in touching it) and women in the middle, age 35-59 were ambivalent.  Interestingly, a vocal "Hate Rick's Beard" subset could be found in my own home- my wife and daughter.  Needless to say, this small minority carried the day, so we now say goodbye to the whiskers:

R.I.P. Rick's Beard  9/10/15- 10/5/15
I can't resist one final picture of me playing Charles Guiteau.  This is after one week of not shaving (not that the 3+ weeks growth in the photo above is anything to write home about)What a fascinating guy Guiteau was.  His blend of reality defying optimism mixed with patriotism makes him a uniquely American lunatic- today I can easily see Guiteau with his own show on a 24 hour cable news channel.
The Ballad of Guiteau
Links for this week's show are below, click to stream or to download, right click and "Save Link As."
Hour 1  
Hour 2

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