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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Wednesday, June 12

Tonys & Into the Woods

How do you spell “talent?” Tonys. How do you spell “spectacle?” Tonys. How do you spell “class?” Tonys. Or you might spell them all with “Neil Patrick Harris.” Last Sunday’s Tony Awards Show was talented, spectacular, and classy, better by a wide margin than the Academy Awards Show. And if the Oscars producers don’t beg Neil Patrick Harris to host their next show, they’re making a big mistake. Even the acceptance speeches (with only a few exceptions) were classy and relatively short. I wasn’t quite sure what Cicely Tyson was doing when she was led to the stage to accept her award. She seemed to be either drunk, high, or in serious need of some ginkgo biloba. What a strange acceptance speech she gave. Cyndi Lauper, who won for writing the music to Kinky Boots (which also won for best new musical), gave a heartwarming acceptance, thanking all of Broadway for taking her into their family. The only time the speeches reminded me too much of the Oscars was when forty or fifty people would troop to the stage to accept one award, with speeches that went far too long by far too many people trying for their fifteen seconds of fame. And then you have Neil Patrick Harris, one of the most talented, funny, classy guys on Broadway or the tube. His opening number with a cast of what seemed to be hundreds was spectacular. And how he ever pulled off the closing number is beyond me. The lyrics included nearly all of the show’s winners. How did someone write it in such a short time? How did Harris and the others learn the lyrics in such a short time? I don’t know. But I also wonder how he managed to get to the back of the theatre when he supposedly escaped from a magic box on stage. He must have run like Superman. The highlighted musical numbers from nominated shows were, as usual, wonderful, especially the one from Pippin, with dancers and acrobats spinning around all over the place while singing the lyrics to “Magic to Do.” Talk about magical.

And while I’m on the subject of Broadway musicals, last night we went to the Arizona Broadway Theatre to see our local rendering of Into the Woods, book by James Lapine, music by—who else?—Stephen Sondheim. Into the Woods is perhaps my favorite musical. Before I retired, I used a video of it to teach my English students about staging, set design, and theatrical tricks of the stage trade. The set design of Woods in one of the most complicated ever, and I wondered how our ABT would be able to handle the triple sets and story lines of the opening number—Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, and the Baker and His Wife—handle the setting in the woods with characters from the seven different story lines all crisscrossing in and out and around the large tree in the center, handle the foot-crunching noises of the giants that came down Jack’s beanstalk, create the many costumes and props needed (Milky the cow, the Witch’s magic cane, the horse that carried Cinderella to the castle for her wedding;, the scrim used for grandmother’s house with the wolf gobbling up both Granny and Red Riding Hood). All of it—the staging, the set design, the lighting, the costumes, the props—were done as professionally and as well as the original Broadway production. And the voices were all excellent, requiring ten actors with big voices to handle Sondheim’s near-operatic score. Wow! I think I’d like to see it again. And again.
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