that girl allison

I'm Allison. I see a ton of theatre. I'm a fan of Green Day, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Weezer, Oasis, Adam Rapp, Emily Giffin, and Shakespeare. I run sometimes, and do yoga always.

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thatgirlallison08 at gmail dot com

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Posts tagged "bill russell"

Last weekend I saw another fun, yet ridiculous, show, Pageant, by Bill Russell, Frank Kelly, and Albert Evans.

A musical about a beauty pageant filled with cliches from all around the country. The catch? All of the contestants are played by men, in drag, of course. 

Through a series of fun numbers, lots of singing and lots of dancing, a few chosen audience members who are the judges, pick who wins the Pageant. The cast is filled with talented gentlemen like Nick Cearley, Marty Thomas, and John Bolton, in addition to Nic Corey, Alex Ringler, Seth Tucker, and Curtis Wiley. 

Is Pageant fun? Yes, but it’s also stereotypical and a little bit cheesy. 

I’ve been waiting to see a staged production of The Last Smoker in America since first hearing selections from the score in 2005. Alice Ripley and my brilliant friend Nick Cearley, among others, were singing songs by the fantastic Bill Russell at The Duplex (I believe) in 2005 (or it could’ve been 2006, I can’t remember).
Taking place in a distant America where smoking laws are incredibly strict and smokers are being punished with with jail time, Pam, the last smoker in America, is trying hard to quit and also be there for her family. Easy laughs are garnered whenever possible, but there is also a lot of heart in this 90-minute musical jaunt through smoke-free time. 
I was sad when I realized that Russell had cut the song “I’ve Got a Gun” (click to see Nick Cearley sing a jazzy version of the song in 2010). It was one of my favorites and instead of Jimmy, Pam’s son, being a sugar and video game addicted kid in need of ritalin, his character was turned into a wanna-be thug. Not nearly as funny, if you ask me.
Farah Alvin (Pam) channels her inner crazy effectively, though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little curious as to how Ripley would’ve handled the character. John Bolton (as Pam’s husband, Ernie) was almost equally as crazy but also comical because his character was a failed wanna-be rockstar. Jake Boyd (as Jimmy) did his best with the re-written character but sometimes it was simply unbelievable that he’d want to be a thug. Providing the most laughs was Natalie Venetia Belcon as their anti-smoking, adulterating neighbor Phyllis. 
The Last Smoker is a quick, entertaining 90 minutes in an off-Broadway theatre.

I’ve been waiting to see a staged production of The Last Smoker in America since first hearing selections from the score in 2005. Alice Ripley and my brilliant friend Nick Cearley, among others, were singing songs by the fantastic Bill Russell at The Duplex (I believe) in 2005 (or it could’ve been 2006, I can’t remember).

Taking place in a distant America where smoking laws are incredibly strict and smokers are being punished with with jail time, Pam, the last smoker in America, is trying hard to quit and also be there for her family. Easy laughs are garnered whenever possible, but there is also a lot of heart in this 90-minute musical jaunt through smoke-free time. 

I was sad when I realized that Russell had cut the song “I’ve Got a Gun” (click to see Nick Cearley sing a jazzy version of the song in 2010). It was one of my favorites and instead of Jimmy, Pam’s son, being a sugar and video game addicted kid in need of ritalin, his character was turned into a wanna-be thug. Not nearly as funny, if you ask me.

Farah Alvin (Pam) channels her inner crazy effectively, though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little curious as to how Ripley would’ve handled the character. John Bolton (as Pam’s husband, Ernie) was almost equally as crazy but also comical because his character was a failed wanna-be rockstar. Jake Boyd (as Jimmy) did his best with the re-written character but sometimes it was simply unbelievable that he’d want to be a thug. Providing the most laughs was Natalie Venetia Belcon as their anti-smoking, adulterating neighbor Phyllis. 

The Last Smoker is a quick, entertaining 90 minutes in an off-Broadway theatre.

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leopard&elephant,
Nick Cearley's Album

Two weeks ago my friend Nick Cearley had a concert honoring the music of Bill Russell called Still Bill at The Canal Room in Tribeca.  He packed the venue to the brim and entertained friends and fans alike mostly with songs by Mr. Russell and a few originals too.  The above MP3 (watch the video here) is one of the songs written by Nick and Rock of Ages’ Lauren Molina.  

Oy, is a song that Nick and Lauren wrote a while ago while lamenting their agony over not being Jewish and able to properly use the word “oy.”  It’s hilarious, just listen and you’ll agree, I promise.  

I’ve known Nick since 2006 and I’ve seen him perform in many Duplex-like venues but to watch him fill such a large space with his presence and energy was quite a treat.  Nick performed songs from Side Show, Elegies From Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens, and the soon-to-be-off-Broadway Last Smoker in America.   Alice Ripley even backed him up on drums for one song (replacing her husband, Shannon Ford, who was drumming for most of the show).  It was a smorgasbord of Bill Russell’s incredible music sung by fantastic talent.  

I’m still waiting for Nick to take Broadway by storm, but I know it’ll happen soon.  Until then, he’ll just have to keep dominating the cabaret circuit.