Saturday, November 05, 2011

Theatre Guild Opens Agatha Christie's Greatest Mystery on Friday

Here you go - your chance to both see and hear me as I promote my current theatrical project, all real life (sort of, the beard I'm sporting is for a character I'm playing in this production of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" by the Morristown Theatre Guild, a show I am also directing. Which is to say I do not normally have a beard.)

This is the first time I have been on YouTube (and I think, the first time the Guild has a YouTube vid.) This was shot while I was doing some emcee work for the annual Mountain Makins festival in Morristown, and was shot for Morristown TV Today.

What I noticed in this promo for the show is that when I start talking about the plot for Christie's play - 10 people are stranded on an island estate and are being killed off one by one - is that I suddenly develop a case of Crazy Eyes. I must confess that it is quite likely that whenever I start talking about mysteries and murder plays and stories, my eyes will get all crazy. And my smile turns kinda creepy too. The video is below, but first, props to the cast. (Oh and I have tinkered a bit with the script, so that the show will have a different ending depending on which night you see it.)

This show has been fantastic fun to work on, a true ensemble cast of talented players who, like me, enjoy the screams and the chills that go with this show. So let me tell you some about them and their characters, who are all liars and have all been accused of murder as the story unfolds -- Eric McDowell and Tana McClain play Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, servants who have been hired to take care of the arriving guests. He is rather milk toasty and she is rather rude and their fate is not pleasant. John Carpenter plays the cavalier mercenary Phillip Lombard, and John and I have been friends for decades. We make jokes and references to pop culture so old, that Autumn Leming, who plays the young secretary Vera Claythorne, said at rehearsal recently, "Oh, you old people and your words!"

Newcomer to the Guild is Larry Glover, who plays the mostly dim-witted and devious Mr. Davis/William Blore, and he cracks jokes backstage constantly. Kylian Andrew has the choice role of the spoiled, preppy Anthony Marston (he's also the youngest member of the cast and I also directed him in a production of "Alice In Wonderland", where he performed a perfect Mad Hatter. In fact, Tana played the Red Queen and Autumn was Alice - they are a very talented young trio.)

Hobart Smith plays the addled and nearly ancient General MacKenzie, and he is always such fun to work with. He reminded me recently our first show together was when he played a sloppy drunk "children's story hour reader" for a fake live radio show titled "Laughing Buddha Holistic Radio Show" and his slurred reading of "Winnie The Pooh" was hilarious. Mitzi Price-Akins plays the ultra-conservativc Emily Brent, who is rather like a furious modern American conservative denouncing all things. She's a bona fide force of nature onstage.

Dale Stanton plays the high-strung and nervous Dr. Armstrong. Dale and I last worked together on "On Golden Pond" when he played Norman Thayer. He is sly and funny and works relentlessly as an actor. Doug Knight plays the boat captain, Narracott, and though it is a small part, he makes it most memorable and funny. And he agreed to do the show even though he is a newlywed of less than a month. I play the role of Sir Lawrence Wargrave (what a great name!), a judge who enjoys ordering everyone about. (typecasting?) Olivia Fee is the stage manager for this show.

And mention too must be made for my longtime friend David Horton, who is the technical director for the show, and is the most talented and creative man I know. He played the role of Lombard when the Guild last performed this play, back in 1983, and he has been a brilliant adviser on this show. He and I have worked together co-writing spooky plays and murder mysteries for many years. David travels the world and the U.S. as a professional entertainment consultant and he does astonishing things on a regular basis. Thanks, DH.

Performances for this show are Nov 11-20 at Rose Center, with Friday and Saturday shows at 8 pm, Sunday matinees at 2 pm. Also, a special opening night reception will be held just prior to the show at 7 pm on Friday Nov. 11 as the Guild presents their line-up of shows for the 2012 season (their 78th year) and to say thanks to everyone who attends and supports the Guild. Tickets are available online at

And now, here I am, unmasked and with a case of Crazy Eyes, talking about the show. I hope you, dear reader, can attend at least one performance.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Last Chance To Enter Frightmare Manor 2011

There's still one more weekend to visit the 4 Attraction Screampark, Frightmare Manor, in Talbott.

The hauntings and scares will be just as good this weekend as they were during October, so don't miss this weekend. I'll bet you still have some Halloween candy and pumpkins on the porch, so Frightmare will fit right into your lifestyle.

Discount tickets available online!

And kudos to Chris and Mike, who not only make sure this annual event is tremendous fun, they help the local economy too!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Approval of Congress at 6% - Or Less

"Some lawmakers wonder if members of Congress have even single-digit approval from the public. 'I’d like to meet the 6 percent who approve of Congress,' said Representative Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, who has often voted in ways that help hold up legislation, because he is seeking deep cuts in spending. 'I just don’t know who they are'.” (via)

Hold Up legislation, that's probably the best description of the witless behavior in Congress.

Goodbye To A Genius of Comedy and Sound - Tom Keith

Tom Keith was an astounding talent, most well known for the sound effects he would create live on radio on The Prairie Home Companion. Garrison Keillor remarks on Tom's unique skills:

"Tom was one of radio's great clowns," he said. "He was serious about silliness and worked hard to get a moo exactly right and the cluck too and the woof. His whinny was amazing -- noble, vulnerable, articulate. He did bagpipes, helicopters, mortars, common drunks, caribou (and elands and elk and wapiti), garbage trucks backing up, handsaws and hammers, and a beautiful vocalization of a man falling from a great height into piranha-infested waters.

"Whenever Keith came onstage for a sketch, Keillor said, the audience watched intently. 

'They could hear me but they wanted to see Tom, same as you'd watch any magician," he said. "Boys watched him closely to see how he did the shotgun volleys, the singing walrus, the siren, the helicopter, the water drips."

Tom was 64.

Monday, October 31, 2011