The Show Must Go On Hoopla!

By now, theater fans are finding creative and unexpected ways to connect with their favorite medium that have grown quickly in this time of necessity. In some places, socially distanced music festivals have brought performers back to the stage. Many streaming services are picking up content as quickly as they can, and streaming shows of bands and performers are helping to keep the stage lights lit.

Hoopla logoYour library access to Hoopla is another convenient way to get your musical fix! Whether you are an original cast recording purist or a movie musical enthusiast, you already have these soundtracks and more at your fingertips!

Hamilton’s stage recording made it to Disney+ streaming July 4th, 2020 for a monthly subscription fee, but did you know the music has been here all along? Not just stuck in your head, but here, on Hoopla! This musical, much like its creator and its subject, shattered expectations. This fictional take on a controversial American figure’s rise and fall is told through modern music and a cast so diverse and talented that it truly turns the world upside down.

Image of cover of Hamilton Original Cast RecordingImage of cover of Hamilton Mix Tape Continue reading “The Show Must Go On Hoopla!”

The Story of Film Part 5: Post War Cinema

Our last column on Mark Cousin’s The Story of Film left us in 1939, as the clouds of war rolled in. By the early 1940’s, the world was fully embroiled in the conflict of World War 2. Film production in most countries either slowed down or closed entirely. Films still being made were full of propaganda and featured stalwart characters fighting their country’s enemies for the glory of their nation. It would not be until the war ended that world cinema began to grow again.

The most interesting development in American cinema would be the inauguration of a new genre: Film Noir. Literally translated from the French as “black or dark film,” these Hollywood crime dramas featured sleazy criminals, double-crossing dames, and hapless losers – often former soldiers – caught in life-threatening games of cross & double-cross. Noir captured a feeling of despair and helplessness, opposing Technicolor with a moody black & white style deeply indebted to German expressionism.

Fittingly, one of the great Noir directors was a German emigre: Fritz Lang. Lang was one of the prime architects of the genre from early “proto-noirs” such as Fury and Hangmen Also Die to later classics such as Scarlet Street and The Big Heat. Another émigré who made his mark was Billy Wilder, whose film Double Indemnity is often considered the pinnacle of the form. American-born filmmakers also contributed with John Huston directing the early Noir The Maltese Falcon and Howard Hawks directing the film of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. Even the director of Citizen Kane, Orson Welles, would contribute to the genre with such films as The Stranger and The Lady From Shanghai. Continue reading “The Story of Film Part 5: Post War Cinema”

That Encouraging Voice in Your Ear

I’m a self help fan who hates reading self help books. When it comes to encouraging words, I want to hear them, preferably while I go about my household chores, tend my garden, or take a walk in the park. These encouraging little talks between me and my iPod are just the thing to add more creation to my recreation, or to revivify a draining commute. Here are a few recent self-help audiobooks written and read by seasoned performers that make for great listens.

Creative Quest, by Questlove. Continue reading “That Encouraging Voice in Your Ear”

Seattle Repertory Theatre’s “Come from Away”: Beyond the Theater

     – Posted by David W.

Most of us can remember where we were and what we were doing on September 11, 2001,Come From Away Poster but few outside the tragic loci of that day’s events can have as dramatic a memory of them than the residents of the small Newfoundland town of Gander. It was to Gander that 39 planes carrying 6,595 passengers from all over the world were diverted when American airspace was closed. What happened next was a small miracle, memorably recounted in Jim DeFede’s book The Day the World Came to Town, and now the inspiration for the musical Come From Away, opening at the Seattle Repertory Theatre this Friday, with a preview at the Central library today at noon.

It has often been observed how tragic events can draw people closer together, and help us to bring out the best in each other. Here are some other titles that explore how this happens. Continue reading “Seattle Repertory Theatre’s “Come from Away”: Beyond the Theater”

Documentaries from SIFFs gone by

As I pore over the hundreds of screenings at the Seattle International Film Festival every year, I find myself focusing on two categories – documentaries and Scandinavian films. Here are some of my favorite documentaries from SIFFs gone by.

Click here to view Every Little Step in the catalogEvery Little Step is about the making of “A Chorus Line” on Broadway. Yes, it’s about actors auditioning for a musical about auditioning for a musical. Interviews with composer Marvin Hamlisch when the musical premiered in the mid-1970s are interspersed with actors auditioning for roles and the producers making casting decisions for the 2006 Broadway revival. It’s every bit as Continue reading “Documentaries from SIFFs gone by”