Theatre Review — Hamilton (National Tour)

Instructions: Read out loud in a “rap” style; white people pretend it’s a poem (except for EMINEM and Vanilla Ice). With apologies to Lin-Manuel Miranda…

Last night I took a trip to the Pantages, bought a ticket to a show; handed over half my wages

took a seat inside, excitement was contagious, as I flipped through my program’s pages

The lights went down, audience started to stir when out on the stage walked Aaron Burr

We listened closely as he started rappin, didn’t want to miss a thing, about what was happenin

then he introduced us to a native son, a man called Alexander Hamilton

From the Carribean, a bastard clear, daddy walked out, mama died holding him near

Had to escape, use his charms, in New York City, he heard the call to arms

Freedom was the cry from Laurens and Lafayette, joined by Burr and Mulligan, against the British threat

Washington with Hamilton by his side fought the bloody British and turned the tide

Born a new nation, like an infant it cried, as the founding fathers looked on with pride.

…and that was only Act One.

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The costumes were great, the set inspiring, the orchestra top notch, the dancers never tiring

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choreography on its toes, (who knows how they moved so gracefully in those heavy clothes)

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Too many actors to name them all by name, so I pick out a few who brought their A game

Rory O’Malley as King George always made us laugh…

Jordon Donica (Lafayette and Jefferson), tall as a giraffe, brought his characters to life with aplomb and panache…

Rubin Carbajal (John/Philip) got to die in Act One and Act Two, he played it so real we all got blue…

Joshua Henry (Aaron Burr) started the show, hero, and a villain, he rapped a different tune, then spent most of the show, envious of Hamilton and wanting to be “in the room”…

Isaiah Johnson (Washington), played frustrated but strong, defeated the British and became the father of our country where he belonged…

Ah, the ladies, Amber Iman (Peggy/Maria) and Solea Pfeiffer (Eliza Hamilton) brought sympathy, sophistication, and class, rapping with the best of them, and beat boxing with sass…

Finally, Michael Luwoye played with intensity/layers the star of the show, my recommendation? If you get a chance, I’d go…

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Richard Allan Jones is an actor, musician, and author from Los Angeles, California.

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Oscars 2016

oscarOkay…prepare to disagree…but the #Oscars are designed to recognize the world’s best performances in the best films regardless of skin color, age, political leanings or religion. The process is far from perfect but it is supposed to be the opinions of a qualified group of people in the entertainment business. It is obvious that the Academy voters today are no longer proportionately representative of the entertainment community or the US at large.
For the record, the US population is roughly divided with 64% European-Americans; 16% Hispanic-Americans; 12% African-Americans; and 5% Asian-Americans.
There were only two Americans last night who won individual Oscars–Leo DiCaprio and Brie Larson. The other six individual Oscars went to Mexico (Alejandro and Emmanuel); Britain (Mark and Jenny); Sweden (Alicia); and Italy (Ennio). That seems pretty diverse to me, although African and Asian-Americans were not represented.
Oh, you meant only in the nominated actor categories?
Okay, here is the list (Note only 9 out of 20 are Americans):
Bryan Cranston–American
Matt Damon–American
Leo DiCaprio*–American
Michael Fassbender–German/Irish
Eddie Redmayne–British
Christian Bale–British
Tom Hardy–British
Mark Ruffalo–American
Mark Rylance*–British
Sly Stalone–American
Cate Blanchett–British
Brie Larson*–American
Jennifer Lawrence–American
Charlotte Rampling–British
Saoirse Ronan–Irish
Jennifer Jason Leigh–American
Rooney Mara–American
Rachel McAdams–Canadian
Alicia Vikander*–Swedish
Kate Winslet–British
I didn’t mind the upfront statements addressing the issue of minority representation, well justified. But when it continued the entire show, rather than highlight the issue it turned into more of an entitlement statement. We all have faced bias…wrong color, age, weight, speech, etc. but I would hate for us to return to the days of quotas where demographics outweigh qualifications in any field.
We will never all agree on the choices made by the Academy…like when will they pick performances and films that people have actually seen? Sorry if your favorites didn’t get nominated or win, but to steal a saying from the sports world…there’s always next year.
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Bus. Casual Web Head_MP_8831Richard Allan Jones is a frustrated actor, a member of the Screen Actors Guild and author of the comedy-adventure novel, DRAFTED.

My Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions For Other People

baby03Everyone knows you make and break New Year’s resolutions for several reasons:  lazy, forgetful, impossible, what was I thinking, etc. Many people do not even bother because we are bad at follow-up, but very good at making excuses…i.e. You promised to clean out the garage two years ago, but still claim you can’t find a decent broom.

So I decided this year to make NY resolutions for other people…resolutions that they should make for themselves, but will never do so. Once I publish these, it will be up to you to see that the person (s) keep their resolution and do it in a timely manner. Okay?  Here are my top ten:

1.  The Kadashians are to enter a witness protection program and never be heard from again.

2.  Democrats & Republican will merge and form the Unity Party saving billions of dollars in wasted time fighting each other and not getting anything done.

3.  Following that merger, Rush Limbaugh will lose all sense of purpose, quit his radio show, and join an African tribe that only eat the droppings of wildebeests.

4.  Kim Jong-un will realize he does have a sense of humor and will agree to appear in “The Interview” sequel, playing “Curly” from the Three Stooges.

5.  Conversely, James Franco and Seth Rogen decide to stop making low-class, potty/drug-induced non-funny films, and announce they are producing a re-boot of “Gone With The Wind,” and they would be playing Scarlet O’Hara and her evil twin sister.

6.  Fox News will be bought out by BET (Black Entertainment Network), everyone is fired, and the channel re-purposed to fictional stories about jazz and the blues.

7.  The movie studios will decide that featured background actors have been grossly slighted over the years and they will now receive credit in the titles for their contribution, because they are just as important as the guy who cleans up after the horses & camels, the food truck driver, and the second hairbrush holder for the real actors. (Okay, this one, I admit, was for me)

8.  The Golden Globes will change their current unknown selection process to a random drawing. Every producer or first cast actor who appeared in a film/TV show that year will put their name in a giant hopper and 50 names will be drawn at random. Show will still be televised because (much like previous shows) every time your name isn’t called, you have to do a shot. Everybody loves to see their favorite celebrity get smashed.

9.  The United Nations will now recognize all legitimate countries, and introduce a new conflict resolution process where the leaders of the countries in conflict will arm wrestle or play beer pong to select a winner. Loser backs off or is forced to sit in the corner until he/she agree to do so.

10. Ford and Chevy vow to fight the new open relationship with Cuba, fearing that if consumers find out how to keep their car working for 50 years, they will go out of business.

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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the comedy/adventure novel, DRAFTED.

My First Novel
My First Novel

Confessions of a Background Actor

bg5For the past five years, I have subjected myself to freezing temperatures, 100 degree plus heat, 5 am calls, and all night shoots, to provide background or human “atmosphere” for feature movies and television shows. Normally you are one of many in a scene, lost in a sea of faces and costumes that can only be identified as a smeary blur if you put the scene on pause. Is it “glamorous?”  Sort of…once and awhile, you get to see famous movie stars up close and occasionally share the same frame. Do you make a fortune and get invited to exclusive Hollywood parties? No. Is it “acting?” Sort of…

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You can make a decent income if you work a lot. Not easy to do. There are at least 5000 applications for every acting job posted…even the free ones. If you do get a job, the average union wages (SAG (Screen Actors Guild)-AFTRA) are around $150 for an 8 hour day…better than a Wal-Mart greeter, but not as consistent. You are lucky if you can get three or four gigs a month…not enough normally to earn the $20k a year necessary to get benefits afforded almost every other worker in America. Occasionally you get into time and a half or double time if you work 8-13 hours. Double time is referred to by most actors as “golden time,” for obvious reasons. Wages can be supplemented by additional remuneration for mileage, working in smoke, meal penalties, clothing allowance, etc. But you will never get rich being a background actor.CU Me Jobs1

So if not for fame or fortune, why do we do it? As a retiree, I am lucky enough to not need the income. So for me, it’s just being part of the world of entertainment. It is always what I wanted to do with my life, but chose for my family the practical traditional job route to put a roof overhead, food on the table, and clothes on our back. I always loved telling stories, and making people laugh. I don’t expect to ever be a “big star” at my age, but I still dream about making it on TV or the silver screen. I love being on set if only in a minor role and hanging out with famous stars like Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Daniel Craig, John Goodman, Ben Affleck, Joaquin Phoenix, Paul Dano, Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Dan Aykroyd, and Ashton Kutcher.me2

But the biggest reason is the fantasy that you will be “discovered” like Lana Turner at the corner drug store. The term is “upgrade” where the director, or first AD (assistant director), suddenly spot your enormous potential and pulls you out of the masses to have a scene with dialogue. Being upgraded is an urban myth amongst background players, like the holy grail. It never happens to you, but to a friend of a friend of a friend.Cowboy HD

Proud to announce it finally happen to me on the feature film, Medicine Men. I got pulled out by the director to deliver lines I got to write for the final scene. My big moment…will it lead to fame and fortune or will I fade back into the background? Who knows…but, that’s entertainment. Regardless, I will keep going and for sure I will see you in the movies. I’ll be the third cowboy with a hopeful look standing to the left of the big star…cu hat

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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the comedy/adventure novel, “Drafted,” now available on Kindle on amazon.com.