Weekly Update, Dec 31, 2013

A New Year premiere


Max Bennett-Parker is Mackenzie Richards. Photo by Jana Markus & rr jones

You can witness some fresh history when Cabrillo Stage premieres a “re-imagined” version of the musical comedy Lunch this weekend. And you can meet the show’s authors, Rick Hawkins who wrote the book, lyricist John Bettis and composer Steve Dorff, at a special pre-performance reception to be held on Saturday at the historic Sesnon House. Previewing on Thursday and opening on Friday, Lunch will play Thursdays through Sundays, through Jan 19, at the Cabrillo Crocker Theater.

In their collaborations, Bettis and Dorff have been songwriters for the stars, from The Carpenters to Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Kenny Rogers, Barbra Streisand, Madonna, Whitney Houston and many more. They, the songwriters, and Hawkins have received numerous nominations and awards over their long careers. The hero of Lunch is Mackenzie Richards, a freshly deceased stockbroker who before he enters the Pearly Gates must pay his dues by answering prayers while working ‘the lunch shift.’ The results are famously laugh-out-loud.

The reception, at $25 per person, is also a fundraiser for Cabrillo Stage as the company launches its 2014 season. Following the Saturday performance, Hawkins, Bettis and Dorff will take the stage for a post-show discussion.

2013 Composer Birthdays

Opera and concert presenters/producers celebrated the 200th anniversaries of Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, and the centenary of Benjamin Britten. So far so good, except they mostly overlooked the 450th anniversary of late-renaissance Brit John Dowland, and the 200th of Charles-Valentin Alkan—whose hair-raising piano music is so virtuosic that it scared even the likes of Franz Liszt and only finds a capable executant every two or three generations. Also, 2013 saw the centenary of Witold Lutoslawski, the Polish master championed by Esa-Pekka Salonen (among whose recordings can be found the wild opera Le grand macabre) and George Lloyd, the British composer of operas and symphonies who barely survived when his ship was struck by one of its own torpedoes in the North Atlantic during World War II.

Terms of Endearment

As we enter our 8th month, Mark Burger and I are still discovering new technical challenges to the pursuit of our vision. Even while we have lately converted our Weekly Updates and Reviews to archival postings, some Google searches offer links that go to old, outmoded versions; they are the same articles but can appear out of date or order. We are working to make the site and its links more streamlined and user-friendly. Meanwhile, the best access to our Weekly Update is through your free subscription and the weekly reminder that arrives in your email every Tuesday. Otherwise, please enter the site by its primary portal: www.performingartsmontereybay.com, and use the tool bar to access the different services we offer.

Special thanks to our valued contributors in 2013

Don Adkins (Cabrillo College & Santa Cruz Symphony program annotator), Carey Crockett (graphic artist; theater producer/director), Rob Klevan (music faculty UC Santa Cruz, CSU Monterey Bay), Todd Lueders (retired ED, Community Foundation for Monterey County), Heather Morris (journalist/musician), John Orlando (founder/director Distinguished Artists Series), Philip Pearce (playwright/actor, theater critic PAMB), Robert Reid (clarinetist, music critic PAMB) and Peter Tuff (singer/actor, non-profit administrator, music & theater journalist)

On our Contact Us page, under Acknowledgments, find a full list of those in the performing arts community who have supported and encouraged PAMB, and made valuable suggestions along the way.

Links of Interest

With almost no exceptions (John Cage and Lou Harrison are among those) the modern piano tunes A above middle C to 440 cycles per second (CPS), now called Hertz (HZ). This is just as arbitrary as the equal-tempered tuning we’ve all been conditioned to accept as the definition of “in tune.” Both are based on assumptions instead of science, much less history and actual acoustic facts. Back in the early 20th century, the Boston Symphony tuned its A higher than 440 to get a more brilliant sound from its strings, while the Philadelphia dipped below 440 for greater warmth of tone.

In the more modern era, with the rise of “authentic” Baroque performance practice, tuning took A as low as 415 Hz. (There’s even a baroque band that calls itself Ensemble 415.) These tunings and others don’t leave ‘perfect pitch’ claimants much to sink their teeth into.

To learn more, click here to read Elina St-Onge’s fascinating Here’s Why You Should Convert Your Music To 432 Hz. Or find the link “A = 440 cycles per second,” on our Links of Interest page.


Scott MacClelland, editor