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My Production Opened this Weekend!

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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
My Production Opened this Weekend!#0
Posted: 6/8/04 at 12:11pm
Good Day All!

My current production, Irish Repertory's, "A Dublin Bloom" opened this past weekend.


The audience reaction has been quite favorable (large houses!), despite the fact that story is a bit hard to follow. It's a stage adaptation of James Joyce's "Ulysses." And we heard that a number of major fund raising organizations were quite impressed.

The review from the Chicago Tribune is mixed, but favorable:,0,7806953.story?coll=mmx-critics_heds


We also were informed that the production is Jeff Recommended. The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee evaluates theatrical productions to honor excellence in the Chicago area. An awards ceremony happens once a year.


On another happy note, I just got my copy of the vocal slections from "A Man of No Importance" and my favorite song, "The Streets of Dublin" is in my key!

I also have an important general audition for the upcoming season of another Chicago theatre. Wish me luck!

Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
re: My Production Opened this Weekend!#1
Posted: 6/8/04 at 12:27pm
Michael, how did the nude scene pan out and did anybody smuggle in a digital camera?
Can you hear me now? Twitter: @NamoInExile
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
re: My Production Opened this Weekend!#2
Posted: 6/8/04 at 1:24pm
Congratulations, Michael. I am glad it went well. I would recommend this show if you are in the area. Don't wrack your brain trying to follow the story, just let the images and language wash over you and enjoy the imagery and fine (and sometimes shirtless) ensemble.

Have a great run!
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
re: My Production Opened this Weekend!#3
Posted: 6/8/04 at 1:47pm
Thank you, SueLeen...although your new icon is rather frightening!

As yes, there is a bit of shirtless flesh onstage...yours truely being the main culprit!

Here's another review:

Review of 'A Dublin Bloom' at the Irish Repertory

By Dan Zeff
Copley News Service

CHICAGO - June 16 is the holiest day on the Irish literary calendar. That's the day (and night) that Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus journey their way through Dublin in James Joyce's epic novel "Ulysses."

"Ulysses" has spawned an academic industry that probably ranks second only to Shakespeare. Joyce set the action in the year 1904, which means that this is the 100th anniversary of the narrative (the novel was published in 1922). Joyceans throughout the cultural world are celebrating the anniversary, a ripe time for the world premiere of "A Dublin Bloom" by the Irish Repertory.

Joyce modeled the events in "Ulysses" on the 19-year wanderings of the Greek hero Odysseus after the end of the Trojan War as recorded by Homer in "The Odyssey." But familiarity with "The Odyssey" is just the beginning of comprehending the Joyce novel. Scholars have noted that to get a decent grasp on "Ulysses," the reader should be steeped not only in Greek mythology but in Roman Catholic theology, Irish legend, European history, and languages like Hebrew, Latin and Gaelic.

Add into the mix Joyce's use of the elusive stream-of-consciousness style and you have a book that created enormous controversy for its alleged obscurity. And then there were the charges of obscenity that led to the banning of the novel for a time.

Clearly, adapting "Ulysses" for the stage is a daunting task, though it's been attempted in the past decades, notably an off-Broadway drama called "Ulysses in Nighttown" in 1958. Dublin playwright Dermot Bolger has successfully carved out a portion of the novel into "A Dublin Bloom," aided immeasurably by a splendid production by the Irish Repertory.

The production employs 19 actors to play dozens of roles as we trace the troubled wanderings of Bloom and Dedalus through Dublin that typical June day. The adaptation follows the scheme of "The Odyssey." Each scene with its modern and ancient Greek parallels is listed in the playbill. But unless the audience is fully versed in Homer, the scenic breakdown will mean little.

Although "Ulysses" has a reputation of being a difficult book, the writing is often extremely realistic and detailed. From scene to scene the play is easy to understand. It's connecting the individual components that may cause problems for the audience. But the play has a cumulative force, and by the end of the evening attentive spectators should leave the theater satisfied that they have enjoyed a full and accessible dramatic experience.

The staging, under Matt O'Brien's creative and sympathetic directing, flows from scene to scene much like the book. The basic storyline follows Leopold Bloom, a mild mannered Jewish advertising salesman, as he moves through Dublin's streets and pubs. The younger Dedalus is a dissatisfied writer, lumbered with an unhappy teaching job and a burden of a father. It's a portrait of a searching and uncompromising artist trying to find his way.

Bloom is the eternal outsider, isolated from the Irish mainstream in Dublin by anti-Semitism. He's a diffident man with slightly kinky sexual tastes, unable to satisfy his lusty and unfaithful wife Molly.

Molly Bloom's long monologue is a central part of the novel, and its sexual explicitness got Joyce in trouble with the censors. The play divides the monologue into segments, but the play ends with Molly, reclining on her bed as she's been throughout the play, lyrically delivering her musings about her courtship and marriage to Bloom.

The play is filled with comic moments and colorful Irish characters like Blazes Boylan and Buck Mulligan and Bella Cohen, the brazen madame of a local brothel. The language is rich in poetry and Irish blarney and many of the scenes are tumultuous in their action. This may not be the definitive adaptation of "Ulysses." The novel is too expansive and complex to be nailed down to any single stage version. But it gives audiences, scholarly and novices alike, a fine sampling of Joyce's
masterpiece in a legitimately dramatic form.

The ensemble does a superior job of inhabiting the Joycean menagerie of characters, though occasionally the Irish accents muddle the dialogue. Will Clinger is outstanding as the self effacing Leopold Bloom, in his dress suit and bowler hat and mustache, looking a little like Charlie Chaplin. Andrew Carter is likewise excellent as the discontented Stephen Dedalus. The difficult role of Molly Bloom falls to Laura Scott Wade, who renders the final monologue beautifully, though Wade is a bit
young for the role (Molly and Leopold have a 15 year-old daughter and Wade looks to be in her mid 20s).

The complementary actors are all first rate, with pride of place
perhaps going to Gary Houston and Scotty Rowe for their especially fluid handling of the language. Alexandra Billings makes a feisty impression in her cameo as the pungent Bella Cohen.

Michelle Tesdall earns high marks for her costume designs that vividly re-create the look of Dublin's lower and middle classes 100 years ago. The remainder of the design corps consists of Jaymi Lee Smith (lighting), John Selden (sound), and Matthew J. York (sets).

"A Dublin Bloom" runs through June 27 at the Victory Gardens Theatre, 2257 North Lincoln Ave. Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 5:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $36 and $42. Call 773 871 3000.

The show gets a rating of 3 1/2 stars.
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
re: My Production Opened this Weekend!#4
Posted: 6/8/04 at 2:00pm
Where the h-e double hockey sticks is the intricate description of your toplessness. If it were me reviewing I would have lead with that.
Can you hear me now? Twitter: @NamoInExile
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
re: My Production Opened this Weekend!#5
Posted: 6/8/04 at 7:37pm
FindingNano, patience, patience....

The reviews from Chicago's three Gay newpapers have not come out yet!

Oy! Finding out that at 44, I am finally being objectified onstage!
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
re: My Production Opened this Weekend!#6
Posted: 6/9/04 at 12:19am
I rarely find men interesting until they hit 40.
Can you hear me now? Twitter: @NamoInExile
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
re: My Production Opened this Weekend!#7
Posted: 6/10/04 at 7:32am
From the Windy City Times. Another favorable review.


Theater: A Dublin Bloom

Playwright: Dermot Bolger, adapted from Ulysses, by
James Joyce
At: Irish Repertory Theatre at Victory Gardens, 2257 N.
Lincoln Ave.

Phone: (773) 871-3000; $36-$42

Runs through: June 27

Despite its landmark status in the history of literary
censorship, few readers have ever completed James
Joyce’s Ulysses. Oh, there are its much-quoted sexual
and scatological descriptions, but generations of
scholars and voyeurs alike have surrendered in despair
to Joyce’s rambling narrative and densely packed
wordplay. Dermot Bolger’s stage adaptation offers a
rudimentary path through the verbal thicket, but the
accessibility of this Irish Repertory world premiere
production is rooted, not in Joyce’s arcane prose, but
in performance spectacle just as intricate and much
more fun.

The play opens with a husband lifting his sleeping
wife’s nightie and dropping a dainty kiss on her bare
buttocks—an introduction guaranteeing our rapt
attention. We then follow our bourgeois protagonist
through his day, from the funeral of an associate, then
to a series of pubs, parks and finally a brothel from
whence he rescues a drunk young schoolteacher. We also
follow our hero though his IMAGINED day, a saga riddled
with unexpected erotica—peeking up a girl’s dress at a
fireworks display, for example. Why Leopold Bloom
should entertain these fantasies is puzzling, since we
never see Mrs. Bloom anywhere but in bed, rhapsodizing
in sensual introspection.

As the title indicates, Bloom’s adventures allegedly
parallel the myth of Odysseus, but who cares when we
have 19 actors portraying 60 characters, arranged in a
variety of visual and aural compositions on the Victory
Gardens’ sprawling second-floor stage (site of last
season’s likewise epic-sized Cider House Rules)? When
the action slides from one episode to the next with the
nebulous ease of a dream? When a raconteur holds forth
in medieval, renaissance, Beat and revivalist modes,
all in a single scene? When a pompous Anglophile sports
a Union Jack waistcoat? And let’s not forget the mighty
Alexandra Billings in a cameo turn as the omnipotent
madam Bella Cohen.

At 2-1/2 hours on its final preview night, this
ambitious project—recalling the early work of Mary
Zimmerman—could have emerged as so much chaotic tedium.
But director Matt O’Brien, dialect coach Martin
Aistrope, an accomplished technical team and a
marathon-trained ensemble led by Will Clinger and Laura
Scott Wade render every intellectually provoking moment