Sunday, January 31, 2016

We Go Together: My Thoughts on GREASE: LIVE

I love Grease.

I love Grease in all forms.

Each form it takes makes sense for that form: the Broadway production led to the movie, which led to revivals, which led to a reality show, and now we have Grease: Live on FOX.  The show is moving forward linearly.  Jacobs and Casey wrote this show; Woodard and Carr took that play and added on to make the film.  In that same vein, Grease: Live took what came before it, and added on to make a brand new Grease.

Do I necessarily want to see the movie changes on stage?  Not at all.  I understand why you would add the movie songs, but it still irks me.  You can't just throw "Hopelessly Devoted To You" in there randomly; there are only a handful of spots that make sense; and "Grease is the Word" makes no sense at all and musically does not fit within the realm of the show.  "You're the One That I Want" has the same problem, though the 2007 revival made it work better with different orchestrations.

All this being said, I absolutely enjoyed Grease: Live.  There were changes made that I wasn't the biggest fan of, but for the most part, I loved it.  It upped the game for what these live, televised musicals need to be.  The biggest reason: A LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE!  Stage acting and film acting are two very different worlds, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.  You saw this with Peter Pan: Live and Christopher Walken and Carrie Underwood in The Sound of Music: Live.

Let's take care of the things I didn't like, so I can spend more time focusing on the good.
  • Joe Jonas and DNCE as Johnny Casino and the Gamblers.  The cameras never spent more than a second or two on them.  You could have hired a better band, and more engaging singers that would have known the lyrics to "Mooning", even if it was only a second.  
  • The new songs.  The two new songs written for the dance scene were mediocre at best, and just random ("Cake by the Ocean"?  WTF?).  I loved the idea of giving a Frenchy a song, but "All I Need Is An Angel" did not mesh with the rest of the show at all, and Jepsen was a bit lackluster compared to how she sounds on the Soundtrack recording (yes, I already have it, don't judge). 
  • Mario Lopez was just bleh.  He wasn't charismatic enough to play Vince Fontaine, and was almost too creepy with Marty.  
  • Tom Chisum looked older than Danny, so I don't want to hear bitching about Tveit being too old.
  • Making Sandy from Utah, and changing her last name.  If anything, they should have kept Olson from the movie if they weren't going to use Dombrowski.  I kept wondering if the reason she was so buttoned up was she might've been Mormon. 
  • Other minor things that escape me right now.
Things I'm on the fence about
  • Keke Palmer as Marty.  At times she appeared to be doing an Eartha Kitt impression, and a lot of her dialogue felt forced and trivial.  I adored "Freddy My Love" and the costume change that accompanied it (velcro sounds and all), but her character was rough to me.
  • Boyz II Men just didn't wow me like I thought they would.  Wonderful job, but the song needed more punch than they were able to give.   
Now, the longer list of things I enjoyed.

  • I love that they fleshed out Patty and Eugene even more.  They are often treated as throwaway characters, and played as caricatures.  While that still happened to an extent, there was a much richer inner life I was witnessing.  Also, HILARIOUS!!!
  • Kether Donohue and David Del Rio as Jan and Putzie.  Wonderful chemistry, great humor both individually and together.  If they had kept "Mooning" in, I know they would have killed it.
  • Andrew Call killed it as Sonny: funny, smarmy, yet still able to get the girl.
  • This is the one a lot of people will disagree with me on, but I loved Carly Rae Jepsen.  I didn't like her song, but I really thought she did a good job as Frenchy.  Her scene with Didi Conn made me shed a tear, and she didn't try to emulate Conn.
  • DIDI CONN AND BARRY PEARL.  I was doing fine until they came out to bow, and had their original T-Bird and Pink Ladies jackets on.  Then, I was a mess.  No clue why, but that one little thing just made the whole show for me. 
  • Ana Gasteyer and Blanche.  Hilarious, and knew how to work the crowds.
  • Jordan Fisher as Doody.  "Those Magic Changes" is my song, and I had extremely high expectations when it was announced it was included in the broadcast.  Character wise, fantastic.  Performance wise, exquisite.  The song wasn't overproduced nor oversung.  It was kept simple, and effectively used to further the story.  He was absolutely wonderful.
  • Carlos PenaVega, Julianne Hough, and Aaron Tveit were all on the same level here.  Wonderful work, great singing, strong characters, and, most importantly, they made these characters their own.  I didn't want to see Jeff Conaway, Olivia Newton-John, and Travolta up there.
  • Last, and certainly not least, was the one who surprised me: Vanessa Hudgens.  I was apprehensive about her from the very start because she seemed more of a Sandy than a Rizzo.  High School Musical and Gigi didn't do her any favors in making her seem bad-ass.  She made this part her own, and made Rizzo the feisty, sensual, bad-ass bitch we all wanted and never knew we needed.  The fact that she delivered after her father dying less than 24 hours before broadcast is both brave and heartbreaking.
I've listed the good, the mediocre, and the bad.  But there was one thing that made this entire show for me tonight.  Thomas Kail, of Hamilton fame, actually understood what the show was about and made it work.  You may ask what Grease really is about, if not Danny and Sandy.  Morons.  The show is about this community of friends/classmates/gang members/what have you.  They don't come from great homes, they aren't good students necessarily, and who knows what the future may have in store for them.  All they have is each other and the time they have together.  ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY said it very simply in their review tonight:
            
             It helps, I think, that Grease: Live clearly understands that this platonic saga of basically
             good badasses and basically nice mean girls is an ensemble piece.


I'm tired of watching productions where all the focus is on Danny and Sandy while the rest of the BPBs and Pink Ladies are just set dressing.  If you really read the script, Sandy is really quite boring until the end.  All the other characters are much more interesting to follow, and really have the better songs.  


In following posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, the most common complaint about the broadcast was portrayals of the characters: people wanted to see Stockard Channing, John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, etc.  They wanted what was familiar to them, and got hostile when that didn't happen.  But I consider them morons for expecting that.  The film happened in 1978, and it is archived.  We have those wonderful performances on tape/dvd/etc.  I went into this not wanting a recreation of the film.  That's not original, nor is it beneficial to the art form.  Theatre (and film) are constantly changing and evolving.  What was powerful in the 70's wouldn't have the same impact today.  That's why I consider Grease: Live a success.  I loved it, I will be buying it on DVD, and I will gladly watch it again and again.



Monday, January 19, 2015

Je................................................................RY!

So I came to the realization the other day that I have only ever used this blog when I have been in a New Line show.  Therefore, time to start blogging again.  We started rehearsals for Jerry Springer the Opera a few weeks ago, and I can honestly say this is going to be one hell of a ride.

Let us look at the numbers real quick:
  • There are 40 songs in the show (including Overture and Bows)
  • As a member of the studio audience, I sing in 32 songs
  • In the version that was filmed for the BBC, there were 28 studio audience members
  • We have 8 studio audience members at New Line
Going from Christmas Traditions to Springer has been one of the most exhausting decisions of my life.  I am loving every minute of it, but my voice has been causing me nothing but problems since day one, and that is the last thing that I need at this time.  Besides this issue, rehearsals have been going well.  I am still trying to decide what kind of audience member I should be.  I don't want to be just a normal guy, sitting in the stands, cheering on the lesbians.  That's been done, and there is nothing original about it.  Instead, I have been watching the real Springer series, and jotting down things that jump out to me.  The idea and image that keeps coming to me is a picture of my dad from when he first met my mom.  Very stereotypical, 1980s looking electrical engineer, or something akin to Robert Carradine in Revenge of the Nerds.  He'd seem completely out of place, yet it makes strange sense to me for someone like that to be in the audience.

Later days, Strawpun

Sunday, September 28, 2014

This is the Moment/Week!

We are in the throes of tech/hell week currently; cue-2-cue rehearsal yesterday and sitzprobe today.  More often than not I loathe these rehearsals.  They tend to be tedious, and I always get antsy since there is so much stopping and starting.  However, I must say that I always enjoy New Line tech weekends.  Let's break this down real quick:
  • Cue-2-Cue: 
    • Started at 1ish in the afternoon; finished around 6:30.  
    • That 5.5 hours included 
      • excessive gunfights, 
      • one 10 minute break for stretching/use of facilities
      • over 200 light cues.
      • random Charlestoning    
  • Sitzprobe: 
    • Actors required to arrive no later than 12:30, with intent to start at 1.  I wasn't looking at my clock, but I do believe we started on time.   
    • Finished in probably 2.5-3 hours, which is a beautiful thing
    • 16 body microphones, with occasional feedback
    • 7 musicians that sounded amazing (especially the reeds and guitars)
    • The most eclectic choreography and staging you are apt to see anywhere
New Line tech weekends seldom seem like work.  Instead, I find myself seeing the show through a brand new set of eyes (especially with how the lights illuminate this set, it's almost surreal).  Plus, THE NEW LINE BAND KICKS ASS!  Bonnie & Clyde is my fourth show with New Line, and the band always varies from show to show depending on what is required by the score.  Nevertheless, all 7 pieces were on point today.  Let's break down the band too!
  • Jeffrey Carter, Music Director and First Keyboard
  • Sue Goldford, Second Keyboard
  • D. Mike Bauer, Guitars (fun fact: the man loves Little Shop of Horrors)
  • Andrew Gurney, Bass
  • Nikki Glenn, Violin (fun fact: has performed on stage with New Line as well)
  • Robert Vinson, Reeds (fun fact: has played three of my four shows: Evita, Cry-Baby, and B&C)
  • Clarence Newell, Percussion
We preview on Thursday, and Opening Night Party on Friday. For more information, visit http://www.newlinetheatre.com/bonniepage.html

StrawPun Out!



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dying Ain't So Bad

Bonnie and Clyde are the Tinker Bell and Peter Pan of Crime

Sounds crazy, no?  But here, in our little village of West Dallas.....
Sorry, wrong show (though Stages St. Louis is doing Fiddler on the Roof right now)

We attempted our first full run-thru the other night, and though there is still room for improvement, no one died that wasn't supposed to.  Therefore, it was a success.  Plus, I didn't hurt myself, which I always consider a plus.

Anyway, back to my initial statement: I was sitting in the audience during the beginning of Act 1, and for the first time I just watched Larissa and Matt do their meeting scenes.  They have been doing wonderfully, but it was a different show than what I had been listening to for the past month.  Without scripts in their hands, they had to rely on each other more.  There were some great moments between them, and a remarkable childishness seemed to evolve.  You could see in his eyes just how much she mattered to him, and it was apparent just how much she wanted his approval during her poem.  It was similar to watching two kids meeting on a playground and innocently flirting.

Now, I'm not saying that Bonnie and Clyde were innocent by any means, but they were incredibly young; Clyde was twenty-four and Bonnie was twenty-three when they were gunned down.  They had no problem laughing in the face of adult society.  They even had their own group of "lost boys", fellow criminals aiding the fearless couple in crime sprees.

I realize this entire idea may be far-fetched, and I could potentially be grasping for connections, but after reading about Bonnie and Clyde, you get under the impression that these two were ready to die at any time.  Hell, Bonnie has a song called "Dying Ain't So Bad" in the show where she remarks that the only problem she would have with dying is if Clyde died before her; she would rather go first so that she wouldn't have to live without him.

In Peter Pan, when facing imminent death at the hands of Captain Jas. Hook, Peter spits in his face "To die would be an awfully big adventure."  Pan is not afraid to die.  To him, death is just the next great thing that he can conquer.  He has no true sense of right or wrong, and was prone to killing off the Lost Boys whenever he felt that they had grown too old.

In other news, we open in two weeks.  The show is looking good, but I'm so glad that we have several more run-thru rehearsals.  I am facing my eternal problem: not being big enough.  I always think I'm making a strong difference between the characters I play, but I never make the differences big enough.  I am prone to feeling awkward about going over the top (BAD ACTOR!).  Oh well, it just means I have to lose myself in the show a bit more.

Two weeks to go!  Make sure to check out Bonnie & Clyde at New Line Theatre!

StrawPun Out

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Research Interrupted

Time to put on my Blogging Hat again
Me in my blogging hat

I have encountered an issue: I am doing a disservice to the show with all of my research.  As I mentioned previously, I am playing Deputy Bud Russel in Bonnie and Clyde.  However, the more time I spend reading about him and trying to find out what his interactions with Clyde were like, the more I question his part in the show.  Deputy Bud is no longer Bud Russel; instead, he's a stand-in for any and all officers the Barrow Gang dealt with.  I'm not one cop; I'm every cop.  It's kind of a blow to the ego knowing you're a real person but not being able to use any of that person's story to develop the character. 

In other news, I reserved several books and movies from the library just to get an understanding of why Bonnie and Clyde were so revered.  The first book has proven to be quite the challenge: "My Life with Bonnie & Clyde" by Blanche Caldwell Barrow.  For those that are unaware of who this woman is, Blanche is Clyde's sister-in-law.  Married to his elder brother Marvin "Buck" Barrow, Blanche stood by her husband's side and joined the Barrow Gang for a short time.  While she outlived the rest of the gang, the book primarily concerns her time with them.  Potentially a perfect insight to their world, right?  I would tend to agree, if I could make it past the 10th page.  I've been trying to read the book for a week, and I still haven't made it through the Editor's Preface.  However, at the end of the book, the editor has put together a remarkable amount of data concerning the Barrow Gang, including an appendix of every victim that died at their hands.  According to the information presented in the appendix, neither Blanche nor Bonnie killed anyone, which strikes me as odd.  My goal is to at least finish the first chapter by Wednesday.  Wish me luck.

Sadly, the first movie I watched did not seem to be a good source for information.  A&E's mini-series "Bonnie & Clyde" premiered some time in the past year, and many thought it would be a success.  While I will admit I enjoyed it, and there were some nice parallels between the movie and the musical, it made me angry with its depiction of the titular duo.  Emile Hirsch was wonderful as Clyde, and there was a lot of focus on his relationship with brother Buck and parents Henry and Cumie Barrow.  It deeply humanized him, which I thought was nice.  There was still plenty of hero worship about Capone and all, but more of the focus was just trying to escape the life he was leading.  Holliday Grainger was a fantastic Bonnie, as well.  To me, she took the title in hand and ran with it; what I mean by this is she relished in being the center of attention, finally becoming the "It Girl" that she had always dreamed of.  Plus, her and Hirsch had remarkable chemistry, and it was a joy to watch them together.

Other good things: William Hurt as Texas Ranger Frank Hamer.  He was absolutely relentless in his pursuit of the two, and it was a nice change from Hamer in the Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway film. Also, Sarah Hyland was an oddly nice Blanche.  It was apparent she was there for Buck, not necessarily for the glamour and glory.

Now, the things that were bad/strange:
  1. Clyde has ESP, which saves them on several occasions from Hamer's forces
  2. Bonnie is depicted as the driving force of all the crimes, almost as if she were playing Clyde for the sap.
  3. Bonnie kills several people, with no showing of remorse.  It almost sickened me at times. 
  4. The Big One: Clyde sets up the ambush that slaughters Bonnie and himself.  
The last one was where I just got angry.  I could put up with the ESP and Bonnie being in control.  But, to me, there is no way that Clyde would set up his own demise.  They honestly could've died at any time, and in the musical, Bonnie acknowledges the looming threat of death when she sings "Dying Ain't So Bad."  She isn't too fearful of death, as long as she and Clyde are still together.  It's a beautiful sentiment, and I truly believe that is why their spree lasted as long as it did: they weren't afraid die knowing that they truly lived.  The movie stomps on this, and kicks it in the garbage.

In conclusion....I still may buy this movie, even though it made me angry.  My next movie should be better: a pair of History Channel documentaries examining the criminals AND the law men who chased them down.  This may end up helping me with Deputy Bud, and what not.

StrawPun Out

PS: I found the original demo recording of Bonnie and Clyde, before it even played La Jolla.  Since it's a Frank Wildhorn musical, most of Bonnie's stuff is sung by Linda Eder.  Thankfully, Brandi Burkhardt sang "Short-Order World", an interesting up-tempo cut from the show.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Catching Everyone Up/Research

Time to give this blogging thing another shot, since I only seem to do it when I'm in a New Line show (otherwise my life isn't so eventful)

Rehearsals started last week for my newest theatrical endeavor, Bonnie & Clyde the Musical at New Line.  Much like my past three New Line shows, I will be portraying multiple characters in the ensemble*, and, much like Bukowsical, I'll be portraying real characters again.  Personally, I find this quite challenging, and I relish in it.  It just means I get to spend time in the library doing research, trying to find out as much as I can about the gentlemen I am depicting.  I really haven't had a big chance to do research with New Line, but that, of course, is my own fault.  I was too nervous I'd mess something up during Evita, Cry-Baby never really seemed right for proper research (The Whiffles were living in this musical comedy world, so I had issues gauging just how grounded I could be without sacrificing that John Waters vibe), and I spent most of Bukowsical reading all of Bukowski's poetry novels and Burrough's works just so I could make sense of whatever we were putting on that stage.

However, this show is going to be another Women of Lockerbie for me.  For my (few) readers that may not understand the reference, I had the privilege (it really was) to appear in The Women of Lockerbie this past February.  The play concerns the survivors and parents of those that passed during the Pan Am 103 bombing from 1988.  I spent the entire month of January enmeshed in accident reports, interview footage, documentaries, and articles about the bombing itself and about dealing with loss and grief of a loved one.  It was difficult for me to break out of the funk that the show put me in every night; it was such a heavy subject matter, and I essentially was on stage the entire show.

I'm prepared to enter that realm again with Bonnie & Clyde, and I've already immersed myself in research.  I spend the majority of the show as Deputy Bud Russell.  While Bud Russell was a real lawman during the 30's and had several run-ins with Clyde, I am 99.9% sure that the writers only used his name for the show.  There are no real similarities between "Uncle" Bud Russell and Deputy Bud Russell besides name.  "Uncle" Bud Russell (the person) was the chief transit officer for the Texas State Prison System, meaning he spent his entire career delivering 115,000 men and women to serve their sentences in his "One-Way Wagon."
Uncle Bud with his "One-Way Wagon"
 The "One-Way Wagon" is what I find most interesting about this man.  Bud made it himself, welding the sides up with grating and adding an extremely thick door to the back with two solid locks.  Riding in the back of this had to be a nightmare during the bright summer days in Texas: almost no protection from the elements, and all the prisoners were changed to one another at the neck.  It had to be a nightmare back then.

Best part? When Clyde Barrow was arrested in 1930, he wrote several letters to Bonnie Parker admitting his apprehension of ever meeting Bud Russell.  That is how feared the man was.  Bud also proved to outlive both Bonnie and Clyde; Bud didn't pass away until February 2, 1955.
Uncle Bud's Obituary
I'm still in the process of watching some History Channel documentaries and reading several books about Bonnie and Clyde, including Blanch Barrow's memoir of her years with the Barrow Gang.  More information in the future, and have a good night.

StrawPun

*I never really thought about it, but every show I've done has had me playing several different parts
  1. Evita: Audience Member, Eva's Brother, Resident of Buenos Aires, Military Official, Secret Police Officer
  2. Cry-Baby: Bradley (Whiffle), Terrence (Drape), Hugh (Prisoner)
  3. Bukowsical: William S. Burroughs, A Lawyer, Swifty Lazar, Norman Mailer, Sean Penn
  4. Bonnie & Clyde: Deputy Bud Russell, Archie (A Customer)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Nothing is an accident, We are free to have it all...

     Hope everyone is doing well.  It's been a while since my last real post (the last one was actually written in late March).  Since we've hit the halfway point of the summer, I should probably catch you up on what's been going on.
    Most of April and the beginning of May was devoted to Little Shop of Horrors at KTK Productions, and finishing up the semester.  Thankfully, for the third semester in a row, I maintained my 4.0 for grad school, even with my finals being tech week for the show.  The show actually ended up turning out okay, though I still think we didn't have enough rehearsals, at least for me.  Hopefully some good things come from it; aka, Arts for Life nominations.  I knew we had a few people there for the show, but I'm not sure they actually reviewed us for consideration.  Keep your fingers crossed.
     After that, I spent most of my time in rehearsal for the Arts for Life Best Performance Awards.  The production of Hairspray that I did last summer ended up getting 14 nominations, and Take Two proceeded to win 6 awards, I believe; among them, we had Best Choreography, Best Costumes, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, and Best Large Musical...yeah...that's right...we won Best Musical.  One of the greatest feelings I've had in a while.  I know for a fact our performance kicked serious ass.  Really, how can an audience not like "You Can't Stop the Beat"? 
     It was while we were rehearsing for the awards ceremony that I got roped into Take Two's show this summer, Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, a show I'd seen and enjoyed, but never really had the chance to do.  So far, it's been a very interesting experience.  We're only a few weeks away from opening, and I feel we are just really behind schedule, though we aren't.  In any case, this cast is going to be great.  The ensemble sounds fantastic on all the big numbers, and our leads are great.  I'm actually a little surprised by them, a bit.  I mean, Evan has played more difficult parts in his sleep, including Valjean and the Phantom.  At the same time, Anissa has already played Aida, so it isn't as hard for her to get into everything.  But Melissa keeps blowing me away from time to time.  She did great in Hairspray last year, but she was just a Council Member.  We didn't get to see her do a lot.  That's definitely changing this year.  She has a ridiculously powerful voice for "Strongest Suit" and the other big power ballads.  But she's finding the perfect balance between Princess Amneris and Queen Amneris, which may be the only real character development in the entire darn show.
     While Aida may be a good show, it's really just about your Aida and your Radames.  They sing the majority of the score (13 songs to Amneris's 6), and never really get a good chance to leave the stage.  From an analytical sense, however, Amneris is the only one of the three who has a real arc.  Radames just falls in love, and gets lucky with a Nubian, something he's probably done countless times before.  Yes, he's in love, but it didn't change his attitude towards the rest of the Nubians he's captured.  While he treats them well, he never forgets that he is Egyptian, and therefore, better than them.  He has no major change from the beginning of the show to the end.  Instead, he only changes his tactics as a way to gain Aida's love.
     The same thing can be said of Aida.  Again, she falls in love with someone she shouldn't.  Her change is a bit deeper than that of Radames, though.  She has her Nubian identity that she cannot deny, though she tries awfully hard at the beginning.  She's led a group of woman to the shores where they are captured by Egyptian soldiers.  From her sheer carelessness, she leaves her nation open to attack, and the kidnapping of her father.  She does have an inner struggle over her feelings for Radames, but the only change Aida goes through is finally accepting the leadership of Nubia. That's nothing compared to what Amneris deals with.
     Whoever plays Amneris may have the hardest part in the show.  Not only is it a vocally demanding part, with a large amount of strong belting, but you have to convey her change from Princess to Queen, and all the levels in-between.  She starts the show as a self-absorbed, shallow princess...or so we're led to believe.  Amneris may be very fashion conscious, but there are good reasons behind it.  She has been betrothed to Radames for longer than one cares to remember, and he doesn't seem to notice her at all, or not in a very romantic way.  Therefore, she tries to appeal to him the one way she knows how: appearing as attractive as physically possible.  The rest of the palace has coddled her, and she knows very little of the outdoor world, or the important matters that would affect the rest of the kingdom.  Amneris is aware of how sad it is she focuses so much on the material things:
                    "I feel better when beguiling, Find that fashion keeps me smiling, But in my heart I know it's
                    rather sad" (My Strongest Suit (Reprise))
I truly believe that Radames had feelings for Amneris when they were much younger, but he eventually grew away from them on his conquering travels.  If the princess had left the palace more often, she might've had a change of heart as well.  However, it seems that the Pharaoh kept her in the palace, giving her anything she wanted.  She has groomed herself to be the ideal woman for Radames, and will do anything for him.  When he goes to her room after Pharaoh's feast, she's ready and willing to consummate their relationship without very little thought.  In addition, she tries to better herself to get him back by going to Zoser so she can understand all of the conquests that have been planned.  It still doesn't get Radames to notice her, and it's really quite heartbreaking.
     The problem area for Amneris occurs after "Written in the Stars".  She's overheard everything between Radames and Aida, and knows that she'll never have a chance with Radames now.  He doesn't love her at all, and will only marry her so that Aida will be safe in her escape.  This just makes her song "I Know the Truth" even more poignant. She knows Radames doesn't love her, that he is going to marry her against his will, but she still wants him.  She's willing to do anything to get him out of prison and his death sentence.  It isn't until she asks Pharaoh to bury the lovers together that she finally changes.  Amneris will be leading soon, and needs to mature in order to keep control.  Otherwise, she could fall under the guidance of the next Zoser. 
     I realize it's not the most climactic character arc in the show, but Amneris is just so sad.  I end up feeling more for her than any other character.  Her and Mereb never gain their unrequited loves.  They either learn and change for the better (Amneris) or they stay the same and must be removed from the world of the play (Mereb).
     Anyway, for those that read this, come on out and support a wonderful production for a wonderful cause.  Til next time, this is Chris.