Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day Remembrance

Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.

National Memorial Concert on PBS - Sunday, May 24
Memorial Day History
Military Family Support Group of El Dorado County

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Everyone Loves a Good Story

Little House on the Prairie was one of my favorite television programs as a child. During the IT! Insider's Box Office hiatus, I am enjoying a DVD collection of episodes with my kids. Reflecting on some of the stories we have watched, I've been thinking a lot about what makes this show so. . .well. . .comforting.

I think one of the reasons has to do with our mission that says:

"The mission of Imagination Theater is to tell good stories well in an atmosphere of Trust, Respect, Personal Growth, and Challenge."

Everyone loves a good story and Little House on the Prairie delivers! This link below takes you through the episodes we are currently watching. I have especially enjoyed "The Richest Man in Walnut Grove" and "Haunted House" so far. Despite its' predictable storyline, my daughter cried watching the latter as it touched her heart. Afterward, she shared an interesting perspective about the story that would not have crossed my mind. Deep thinker, that girl!

Take a some time to watch one of the stories (hey! no commercials!) and find your favorite episode. You can scroll through the Season 2 Playlist here, or make a more general search on You Tube--or find it on cable television.

Disclaimer: Some of the actors are very believable in their roles and some of them are just so 70's like the music!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tight Times Loosen Creativity

Here is an interesting article from the New York Times about creativity and the arts in light of today's economic situation.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'm a fan of Mrs. Darbus!

The IT! Insider has been spending time recovering from dental work while the theater is closed for the fair. I have enjoyed slowing down and taking the time to watch some old movie favorites-- and a few newer ones that I have wanted to see. We borrowed High School Musical 3 from the library and escaped to a high school environment that doesn't exist. This time around, I couldn't help but notice that Mrs. Darbus had a much bigger role. She is probably the only grown up with a significant presence in the movie. Most adult roles in HSM are like the Peanuts cartoons with the "waa, waa, waa" sound for the parents. I've been trying to find online Mrs. Darbus' advice to Troy (after he has flashdanced his way around the unlocked campus), but I have yet to find it. You know you're getting older when you can relate more to the wise counsel of the teacher than the angst of the teen. Below is an interview with "Mrs. Darbus" a.k.a. Alyson Reed.

Ever wonder about Ms. Darbus from "High School Musical"? Veteran actress Alyson Reed plays the part. The Modesto Bee's Teens in the Newsroom writer, Amelia Varni, an actress herself, recently interviewed Reed about the phenomenon that is "High School Musical." Here's what she had to say.

Q: When you first auditioned, what did you imagine "HSM" would turn out to be? Just another Disney Channel movie? Did you ever expect it to get so popular?
A: Well, I liked the role very much. I thought that it would be a very sweet movie. But it wasn't until we had our very first read-through with the cast, when we read our lines and the kids sang through the songs for the first time, that I talked to Kenny Ortega (the director) and said that this would be the next generation's "Grease." I could just feel it.

Q: How long did it take to film "High School Musical 3"?
A: Nine weeks, April through June.

Q: How is it different from the first two "High School Musical" movies?
A: I think it's just more. The numbers are bigger. The scenes are more developed. The colors are brighter. The sets are bigger. The costumes are incredible.

Q: Your role as Ms. Darbus is much bigger in HSM3. How has your character grown since the first "HSM"?
A: I didn't expect to be in "HSM2" because the setting was during summer vacation, so I was surprised that my character was even in the script. In "HSM3," I do the same thing that I did in the first "HSM," but in this one, I have a lovely scene with Zac (Efron) where I encourage him to choose his future role in life.

Q: Do you sing in this movie?
A: I do not sing in any of the movies. However, I was going to sing a song with the kids in "HSM3" -- I believe it was called "Stay in the Moment" -- where I was teaching them theater improv. But it was very "iffy." Kenny wasn't sure it was going to happen. We took it out of the script a few days before filming.

Q: What are the cast members like on the set? Do they get along? Have you become close with any of the cast?
A: Oh, everybody gets along very well. I feel like the proud auntie of all of them. I have spoken to Corbin (Bleu) and Monique (Coleman) since the film opened. But they're all great and I'm very proud of them.

Q: How was it working with Kenny Ortega?
A: Kenny is a genius. He really set the tone of this movie and let everyone be encouraging and spontaneous while on the set. He's a great director. He even let us come up with our own ideas for the film.

Q: There have been a lot of rumors about a "High School Musical 4." Does the cast plan on coming back and filming another movie together?
A: I don't know. I know that they're writing another "HSM" and I know that it will be with the three new characters. But I don't know any more. It's all a big secret.

Q: Were you interested in theater and film while growing up?
A: Yes. I started ballet when I was 4 years old and theater when I was 7. I participated in community theater and I would do three or four shows a year. I became a professional dancer at the age of 12, but I would not work during the school year. I only worked during summer vacations and other breaks. I'm against child professional acting. I think that it is best to participate in community theater and school plays.

Q: How did you get into acting?
A: My parents taught me to read and write before kindergarten, so my teacher suggested that I do outside activities or else I would get bored. So I started ballet when I was young and I started doing community theater and I also sang in the church choir.

Q: You've had a busy career in stage, TV and movies (including roles in TV shows from "Party of Five" to "Eli Stone," playing Cassie in the movie version of "A Chorus Line" and playing Sally Bowles in "Cabaret" on Broadway in 1987-88). Do you have any advice for teens who are interested in acting?
A: Just get some training and enjoy it. These days, too many kids just want to become stars. That was not our goal back then. Our goal was to do good work and to learn our craft. There is a big difference between learning and knowing who you are, then becoming a star.

Q: What was it like being on Broadway?
A: It was a wonder. Performing on Broadway was my goal in my whole life. I never had the desire to do TV or film. Performing on Broadway was a life's dream. I took theater classes in junior high and I would have rehearsal every night. I worked very hard to get there.

Q: How does it differ from local theater?
A: There are more demands, but the same technique and rehearsal process. The days are longer and harder. But there is nothing like a Broadway opening. The whole city stops. It is very fun.

Amelia Varni is a junior at Central Catholic High School and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom journalism program.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Last Weekend for MacBeth at EDHS

Tickets for “MacBeth” are available online and will also be available at the gate on the day of the performance. No reservations required! The remaining MacBeth performances, are Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16 at 8:00 p.m.

Performed outdoors in the Carl Borelli Community Amphitheater at El Dorado High School, witches, ghosts and murderers populate this stormy landscape in Studio 81s new, edgy and innovative 90 minute production. This is Shakespeare's greatest study in evil; a tale of sound and fury that continues to chill and disturb audiences 400 years after its debut.

Bringing a universal and contemporary style to the text, this version is set on the urban city streets, where youthful lust and ambition has plagued the culture. Incorporating the latest trends in urban fashion, music and modern fight scenes, this bloody tale is sure to please even those with the weakest of stomachs. Recommended for mature audiences Rated PG-13

BBQ dinner available for $10 beginning at 6pm
Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students/seniors.
Gates open at 6pm, performance at 8pm.

Dinner is a BBQ of tri-tip sandwich on dutch crunch roll, cole slaw, baked beans, drink and cookie or chips for only $10. A vegetarian option of grilled vegetables with (or without) cheese is also available. All proceeds support Studio 81!

For further information, call 530-333-7168 or email

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dracula Trailer

If you want a little taste of Dracula, but were afraid to ask. . .

Dracula teaser trailer #1 from Porter Media Group on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Beauty-ful Music

Two dramatic selections told with music only. . .

Monday, May 4, 2009

NY Times Article about Holland

Here is an article comparing life in the United States and Holland. Although it is long and has nothing to do with theater, it is very interesting. It is an interesting glimpse about living in another country, another culture.

NY Times article about life in The Netherlands

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Beauty and the Beast Music - Day 4

Another day. . .of beautiful music from Beauty and the Beast.

Friday, May 1, 2009