Thursday, June 5, 2014

Stripped Productions and Big Blonde Vocals

Back from Ordinary Days last night at the Round House and will use this to catch up with one other previously unreported artistic experience, the concert version of A Midsummer Night's Dream by the Baltimore Symphony, performed at the Strathmore.

I'm not a fan of overproduced shows, and it's a problem in musicals, especially, when I can't hear the lyrics to the songs. In a show like Ordinary Days, which is sung through, I wouldn't have much of a chance of following the plot if it weren't for the stripped down production--in this case, a pianist (musical director William Yanesh) and the powerhouse vocals of the actors.

I was excited to see a couple of familiar names on the program: adorable Erin Weaver as quirky, neurotic graduate student Deb and the handsome Will Gartshore as man-in-love Jason. Will has been around the Round for quite a while, but I really took note of him in this season's This. And Erin was the fabulous Juliet at the Folger's R&J production earlier this season. That's a little bitty blonde with a great big voice, and she took over Ordinary, too.

Erin Weaver. Courtesy of RHT via Facebook

Will Gartshore. Courtesy of RHT via Facebook

Likewise, the stripped down production of Midsummer was a full concert with seven actors running in and out of the orchestra, changing costumes on stage, and speaking their Shakespearean lines whenever the orchestra put Mendelssohn on pause.

Again, one of the attractions for me is always a familiar name/face, in this case Katie deBuys, who played Shakespeare's Hermia and was last seen at RHT in Seminar. But in this case, the "blonde with the big vocal" and very comical presence was Kate Eastwood Norris as Helena.

Maybe they teach you this in Shakespeare Clown School, but Kate had a way of running hilariously, like Tom Story did in Winter's Tale back at Shakespeare Theatre Company. It involves the arms flapping and flailing over one's head or outstretched in front while exiting (whether chased by bear or not). Anyway, she cracked me up.

Kate Eastwood Norris, via

Levity, lightness, a deft touch and a powerful voice. That's all it takes, and it's what I go to the theater for.

That, and the confetti. ;)

ephemera collected from Ordinary Days at Round House Theatre

ephemera collected from Ordinary Days at Round House Theatre

Love, hosaa
prop stealer

1 comment:

Cotton said...

Way past my bedtime so I'll be "stripped down" too, and just say