‘Magical Mystery Midsummer Musical’ Marvels the Masses

first_imgPhoto courtesy: Harlequin Productions“Waiting for Godot”“Midsummer Night’s Dream”“Taming of the Shrew”“Stardust for Emily-Jean”“Elephant Man”“Dracula”“The Tempest”“Antony and Cleopatra”“Hamlet”“As You Like It”Call the Box Office at 360-786-0151 or stop by at 202 4th Ave. E in downtown Olympia to get your tickets for the Magical Mystery Midsummer Musical, running now through July 21, 2018. Visit www.harlequinproductions.org for more information. Facebook60Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Rebekah Finn for Harlequin ProductionsThis summer, Harlequin Productions is celebrating the accomplishments of rock musician and musical director extraordinaire, Bruce Whitney, with an original musical production, Magical Mystery Midsummer Musical. Bruce has been writing original scores and songs for live theater ever since his sister-in-law, Linda Whitney, asked him to compose some music for a modern-dress production of Macbeth in 1988. His involvement at Harlequin expanded to include directing and performing onstage as well, most notably as his recurring Stardust role of band leader Nikolai Feyodorov.Photo courtesy: Harlequin Productions“As of August, it will be exactly 30 years since Bruce started working in theater,” says Linda.The majority of his theatrical work has been creating scores for Shakespeare productions, many of which were originally intended to include musical numbers.“There are a lot of songs in those plays, but of course the music has been long-gone, so you can either perform those segments as straight text or you can put them to music,” explains Linda. “So, on a number of occasions that’s what we chose to do with Bruce’s help.”Sometimes the music that Bruce wrote, as with Harlequin’s 2017 production of Cymbeline, was an underscore to the text and action, providing the thematic overlay and stylistic connection between scenes. In most of those cases, the music was pre-recorded and used as one of many components to tie together the story.In this summer’s retrospective musical, Bruce’s work is given the spotlight.“What I wanted to do is share the music that never gets heard again—stuff that was composed for a show, has its run, and then goes away in the archive. There aren’t opportunities to hear it again, and yet the songs are quite beautiful and deserve to be enjoyed,” says Linda. “It’s also a chance to hear the music live, because most of it was used before in playback and heard digitally.”What Linda and the whole cast and crew have come up with is a bit of a variety show, full of all kinds of colorful activities: singing, dancing, acrobatics, slapstick comedy, puppets, props, tricks and illusions, all woven together with Bruce’s beautiful music.Photo courtesy: Harlequin Productions“The segments relate to the content of the material, but we’re not trying to re-stage any scenes,” explains Linda. “It relates thematically, but we’re not re-enacting.”Instead, the cast is made up of a core of vocalists that includes Christie Oldright, Bruce Haasl, Amy Shephard, and Mari Nelson for whom some of the songs were originally written. Additionally, a group of clownish dancing characters including Elex Hill, Maggie and Christian Doyle, and two mesmerizing aerialists, Marlo Winter and Eric Sanford.You won’t see any red noses or curly wigs here, as this is a European or Vaudeville-style clown troupe with corsets, vests, tutus, hats, and intricate (but not frightening) makeup. The style pays homage to the European circuses of the Middle Ages that were pulled together with whatever pieces of clothing the performers could get their hands on.“I feel like the clown princess of Marie Antionette’s court,” says cast member Amy Shephard of her costume.The show overall has a sense of decadence and sumptuousness. The use of fabric props of various forms combined with lighting effects that recall the elements of nature, really enhance the musical numbers to ignite the audience’s imagination. The eight-person musical ensemble onstage provides the live soundtrack, including fabulous solo performances, which are able to transport the audience to wonderfully imaginary places. Add in aerial acrobats and animals dancing across the stage (some real, some fabricated), and you are truly transported to other worlds.If you’re a long-time Harlequin supporter, you’ll hear some familiar tunes from these past shows:last_img read more


All 30 Senators to Attend CRC Gbarnga Confab

first_imgThe Senate plenary on Tuesday unanimously agreed that all Senators attend the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) Conference scheduled to take place in Gbarnga, Bong County from March 29 to April 2.The Senate reached the decision after the Chairperson of the CRC, Madam Gloria Musu-Scott had presented a summary of the work of the Commission since it started in 2012.Madam Scott said over 500 people have been invited to attend the conference and informed lawmakers that several other equally important issues which were not highlighted in her briefing will be placed on the table for deliberation.The CRC boss started her briefing Tuesday by acknowledging contributions from donors and partners among them USAID, UNDP and the Liberian government, among others.According to Chairperson Scott, the process started in earnest in September, 2012 with the setting up of the administrative structure into various sub-committees.In April, 2013, said Madam Scott, the Commission decided to go public, starting with the outreach process, which she said was intended to tell Liberians about the Constitution. This was followed by the civil education aspect which commenced in February, 2014 and culminated in nation-wide public consultations.She said the Commission gave out forms during   visitations to the 73 electoral districts of the country, and in return received a total of 56,729 suggestions. Of that number, she said 34% of the responses came from women.Citizens’ NeedsOn the question of what Liberians stated on those forms as their needs, Madam Scott said the Commission observed that there are things   Liberians hold dear, things they believe the country can do for them; and likewise things they think they can do for their country.Reduce political partiesShe said the people are now concerned about social economic values accepting the fact that they have now received political rights, even to the point that they have asked under the section for elections that political parties be reduced to not more than four or not less than two.Elections: Independent board of commissioners and an elections courtFurthermore, she told the lawmakers that Liberians are suggesting that an independent and impartial board of commissioners be set up to guide the electoral process, that the board of commissioners be elected; and that the hearing of contested matters from elections should not be initially heard by the board of commissioners, but by an elections court.Access to justice: return of “sassay wood”In terms of access to justice, Madam Scott said the Liberian people have stated they do not have enough access to the Supreme Court, and to express that, they are asking for the return of “sassay wood,” which is ‘trial by ordeal.’Land ownershipIn the area of social economic rights, she said citizens observed that even though the country is wealthy, the population remains poor. They are therefore suggesting that in order to benefit from the wealth of the country, the customary or traditional people should own the land of their ancestry as a matter of Constitution.CurrencyOn the issue of currency of the country, she said citizens cried that the dual currency was keeping them poor, and suggested that all transactions in Liberia including the payment of salaries should be done in Liberian dollars. Foreign currencies, they said, should be in the banks for business transactions.Citizenship With regard to citizenship, she said the people of Liberia have said that the provisions for citizenship should remain as it is, which is arguably said to be the most racial in the world.Local government officials should be electedThey also suggested that their elected leaders should be accountable to them, especially those in the local government. Superintendents, district commissioners and city mayors should be elected and they as the electorate should have the right to remove them. They however, suggested that paramount chiefs should be elected according to the traditional protocol.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more