Have never seen a stage version of this even though I have always been a fan of the book. Even though the novel is ripe with dialogue, I always felt the story never really belonged on stage...on another note The Grapes of Wrath stage production in Chicago was thrilling.
Michael, I figured that's what you were driving at, and don't entirely disagree. But "The Jerre Dye Show" isn't really Jerre's fault. The other characters were pushed into the background. This is by design-- and it's a mostly fun design, although it doesn't trust the sturdiness of the material. The real weak link here-- and it's tough for me to say this, because I know how much he loves the show-- is the director. He gave himself over to absolute pleasure, and as a result we get too much (fine) choreography, too much Jerre, too many clever bits, and not enough of anything else. Consider "Superheroes." The song's about Brad and Janet--- it's their song. But they're forced all the way upstage, on the high platform, and are presented almost in silhouette, not relating to anybody let alone each other. The action is all transylvanians occupying the light, and the stage's strongest positions, moving out. Their whole role in this whole drama is all but snuffed out in that one choice. And what lingers in the memory is Jerre Dye giving one helluva performance in a bubble where he's all that matters.
End of day, it's just a different way to interpret the work. I liked Scott's last Rocky better (1997). There were actors in that supporting cast that will not be pushed to the corners. No matter how hard you try.
Adding to all of that: Jerre's the kind of actor that directors cast to be exactly what you describe. He gives you everything. It's your job to sculpt it into a specific thing. The reductive process is hard, but "too much of a good thing" is real, and it's deadly in the theater.
While I was not that pleased with Eddie's performance, the character of Frank is a lynch pin in the production. The actor portraying him has to be good. I have seen Jerre Dye in other productions, and, though I tried to keep an open mind and like his acting, I just have never enjoyed his performances. He overacts and tends to berate the audience with his performance. For lack of a better term, he is what is typically referred to as a ham. While the character of Frank is a bit manic and slightly over the top, there is a fine line he walks between this craziness and a slightly more "normal" persona. Jerre carried the characterization WAY over the top and overacted as usual. He turned 'The Rocky Horror Show' into "The Jerre Dye Show". For this reason I think his performance was the worst.
Yeah. Eddie. Then again, he's not been given much to do.
I disagree that Jerre is the weak link, Eddie is DEFINITELY the weakest!! I love the energy he brought to Frank, the nods to Mark & to Tim Curry are fantastic!!
Oh from the enclosed video, now I get it. Delaware is Palestine. That accounts for all the Debbies in Haifa.
Very solid review and I agree with most everything said. However, in this production Jerre Dye is the weakest link.
I don't disagree with that. I think it all works in context, though. Some things, I think, are intentional and meant to underscore a characters' pretentiousness. Non-Jews especially may miss that the chai isn't actually an object of great spiritual significance. The few real failings I see are pretty typical "young writer swinging for the fence."
It's okay as a play, but the dialog doesn't ring true: from agnostic to Zionist, I don't know anyone who speaks that way. Leo Rosten would give it a solid meh.
Omg! This is such a fun show! Jerre was simply amazing! I will be seeing it again.
And is a great singer. And maybe even a better actor. Bees knees. Will miss her when she's gone again. (Somebody make her an offer hard to refuse).
Every successful actor & theatre artist, that I know, run on the thought "I'm never going to work again. I have to hustle this every moment". It's a business & you have to have a plan. That is why Laura is successful, she works her plan in a businesslike manner. Plus she's pretty
Just a wee bit of awesomeness in Memphis!
It seems this isn't a review, but a spotlight on something special created by a remarkable area artist collaborating with a a remarkable area institution. But thanks for the thoughtful comment, it has certainly enlightened us all.
It seems the reviewer perceives the trained opera singers as little more than a soundtrack to an art show. I guess Opera Memphis should be thankful for small favors. Davis did say," The singing is very good," although severing it from the acting performances as if such were possible in an opera where the propulsion of the story depends entirely on the feeling those uncredited singers evoke. This was made obvious during one less fascinating scene, one supposes the portion where Davis describes performances as "not taken as far as they could go" which despite Ms. Duckworth's ongoing magnificent scenery denied the audience the fairy tale immersion they experienced throughout the remainder of the show. Perhaps the singers did make some small contribution after all.
Beautiful show. Thank you.
Thanks for the great article! I wanted to note that we have a few pairs of tickets that were returned by subscribers this morning, and their loss is anyone's gain! operamemphis.org
I will be there, Josie was a powerful influence in my life and art.
Wonderful tribute to an impressive colleague!
It's hard to articulate what Josie Helming meant to this community. Chris, your tribute was eloquent and meaningful and more than fleshed out what made her special. I so appreciate your personal recollection. I realize now that you may have been my server a time or two at La Montagne.
By Chris McCoy
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