Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Welcome to Colorado Springs Artsblog ...

... a discussion forum for anything related to the visual or performing arts in Colorado Springs. Some posts will amplify my stories for the Colorado Springs Gazette, adding detail or delving into areas too arcane for a daily newspaper. Others will treat matters of importance to the arts community but not newsworthy enough to rate a story in Go!, the Gazette's weekly Arts and Entertainment section - such as the Pikes Peak Center's new Steinway.

And now and then I'll preview something that's truly newsworthy, but about which there's not yet enough real information for the story it deserves - such as Sandra Womochil Bray's departure from her post as the Fine Arts Center's director of performing arts. It's true, and I've heard several rumors as to why - two of which are opposites of each other - but so far nobody will talk about it, at least to me.


Anonymous Warren Epstein said...

I don't know much about the internal politics at the Fine Arts Center or what may have led to Sandy's departure, but I will say that the quality of shows has never been better than under her leadership.

But I will say I miss seeing Sandy on stage. She's a great actress, and that part of her work has been restricted by being the honcho over there.

7:38 AM  
Blogger atomicelroy said...

THANKS, Warren and Mark this is a much need forum for the art community.

don't worry I'll be making contributions...

moohoo ha, ha, ha! ( cue scarry organ music)


11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are scores of artists who formerly collaborated at the FAC who are smiling at this change. The Queen is Dead, Long live the King!

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also note that one does not have to be from LA or New York to be talented. There are many talented performers in Colorado Springs who never got an opportunity at the FAC because they were not on Sandy Bray's short list of "favorites." Hopefully, they will soon get their chance to shine. Here's to seeing new faces! :)

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just hope that does mean that since Alan is a good actor that he will be casting himself in roles that he is totally inappropriate for like Rob Geers did. Sandy could have easily cast herself in shows like Rob did. But Sandy had class and knew that was not a good move. I know. I tried to talk her into doing many roles, but said that it wasn't cool do be in her own productions. Also under Sandy, people who could sing, but couldn't act their way out of a paper bag stopped appearing on stage. To Bad Sandy didn't do more Sondheim, and anyone who knows can attest, his shows are written for actors who can carry a tune and not singers who can't carry a scene.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its true. You don't have to be from Out of Town to have talent. To bad the powers that be are mostly from out of town and obviously, don't know this fact. I have seen local actors who have given better performances that I have seen in New York OR DENVER. I hope Sandy's permanant replacement is a Colorado Native. Some one who knows the talent and dedication of local artists is just as deep as anyone elses.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mark! Can a performing artist use your blog to inform the community of upcoming concerts, performances, etc?
For example, Vivian Gail sings 2 Fridays a month at the Mona Lisa Wine Cellar in Manitou and has quite a following. She is releasing her second CD in Oct. Would there be an appropriate spot for this type of stuff?

8:14 AM  
Blogger Michael Cellan said...

Cool!...A place for non-reality...discussing the FAC...participation...something about art in the mecca of evangelism...
Humm! Sounds interesting

10:22 AM  
Blogger Mark Arnest said...

Anonymous #3: Delving through the archives, I was surprised at how often Geers cast himself in FAC shows - but also by how seldom he miscast himself. I could find only one obvious clinker (Archie in "Secret Garden") and one arguable clinker (Freddy in "My Fair Lady). Otherwise, Geers tended to cast himself intelligently, and he was usually excellent: For instance, as Che in "Evita" and Audrey II in "Little Shop of Horrors." (But please jog my memory if I've forgotten something dreadful.) I'm sorry that when Geers ceased to head the performing arts at the FAC that he also ceased performing.

Good comment about the relative roles of singing and acting in musical theater. That's actually the definition I use when people ask me about the increasingly fuzzy distinction between musical theater and opera. If vocal ability is of paramount importance, it's probably opera; if acting ability is more important, it's probably musical theater. But as you point out, it's more complex than that, even within the medium.

Anonymous #5: I'd like to keep this blog more for commentary than for concert listings etc. But there's no law against shoehorning a listing into a comment, and I've added a link to Scene in the Springs, where listings are king.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As one who has intimate knowledge of the role of "Archie" in Secret Garden, I could not disagree more. Rob Geers is a gifted vocal talent...I can still hear him singing "Lilly's Eyes" Encore Rob!

8:13 PM  
Blogger Mark Arnest said...

I suppose I deserve that for defending Geers!

My problem with Geers' Archie wasn't his singing, which was excellent as always. It's that he never for one moment made me even suspect that the character is supposed to seem, initially, like a bitter misanthrope. He was just too warm and vulnerable.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous truthhandle said...

Mark, I'm wondering how someone could bring up an issue regarding the arts on this blog. (As you can see, my handle is truthhandle. This is my handle because, as Jack stated, many people can't handle the truth.:) I can!

I would like to bring up the issue of precasting in Colorado Springs, e.g., FAC, Theatreworks, and Starbar. Many theatres in Colorado Springs precast while under the pretense of holding "open auditions." At least when they post auditions in Denver, they say "available roles are:" or "the role(s) of...has/have been precast." Why can't Colorado Springs be held to the same standards of ethics and honesty? If so, many actors could avoid wasting their time auditioning for roles that have already been cast. (Recently actors were turned away from open auditions without having been given the opportunity to read.) Furthermore, audience members are getting tired of seeing the same actors on stage in this town over...and over...again. There are many talented performers who are not getting an opportunity to shine. When we say "open auditions" let's really mean OPEN! What can we do to diversify the talent opportunities in Colorado springs?

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Eulalie Brown said...

I'm looking forward to what the Ormao Dance Company can do in their new space. I hope we see more of them.
Any more news about Rodney Wood? His show at the Rubbish Gallery was outstanding.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to ad some information about precasting. As a theatre producer/director/actor, I must say that only an IDIOT would produce a show they didn't know that they had a sure fire cast for. You have to pre-cast in your head. If you are going to produce Annie, and don't have a little girl who can do the part, that would be stupid. So you have to pre cast in your head. The difference being that when I precast in my head, if some one comes in and blows my pre cast choice out of the water, I change my casting. Any GOOD director would do the same. But also because the Colorado Springs Theatre Community is so small, reputations proceede you. You may be able to act circles around everybody at the audtion, but if everyone in town knows you are a drunk and will miss rehearsals and not learn your lines on time, etc. Why would anyone want to work with you?--Tony Babin

1:08 PM  
Anonymous truthhandle said...

I completely agree with you, Tony. A director should have certain actors in mind when choosing a show. If you don't have the talent to pull it off, why do it? I also agree about an actor's reputation and work ethic being an important consideration. And I'm glad you keep an open mind during the audition process.

I think you may have misunderstood my point. When I said "precast" I wasn't referring to having certain actors in mind for roles. I was referring to actors who are given roles in advance of "open" auditions. I feel that, like Denver, Colorado Springs theatre companies should be honest when advertising auditions. Simply state, "The role of ...has been cast" or "available roles include..." (I must give Starbar Players credit for admitting that the female roles in last spring's production had been precast.) This honesty could prevent many actors from wasting time preparing for roles already taken.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Tony Babin said...

I agree Truth Handle and I have also precast by your definition too. I did it for Jesus Christ Superstar. The Role of Mary Magdelene. Then a rock and roll singer named Maureen Greer came in to audition for the chorus. When she sang I DON'T KNOW HOW TO LOVE HIM. It blew me out of the water. I changed my mind and had a discussion with the actress I had precast. To her Credit, she agreed with me that it was the best move for the show. She accepted a smaller role. However I did announce the role had been already cast in the audition notice and put it in the auditions sheets. I always do that when I direct a show in which it has been precast.

2:07 PM  

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