Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Space Pirates, A New Children's Musical, presented by children in the summer program of the Troy Recreational Department

My daughter, Sonja Hyer, directs the Troy Rec Department's Children's Musical Theater productions. This is at least her tenth year as director.  The Troy Civic Theatre provides the stage, lights and sound system.

This year she was aided by  Rebecca O'Brien and Sydney Edington.  Katie Swank was in charge of the music and choreography, something she has done for several years. It is fun to see the imaginative choreography and the enthusiasm of the cast as they dance and sing.

 I saw the first of two performances last Tuesday afternoon.  Fiona Atkinson was the lighting and sound technician for that performance.

The cast consisted of students who will be in first, second, third, fourth, and fifth grades this fall.  They had about twenty hours of rehearsals.  As a comparison, the typical community theater group (adults) generally has at least forty hours of rehearsals, often more.

The play begins as a museum docent is about to take a group of children on a tour.

The docent is dressed in black at the far left.  The children are singing a song about what they think they will be seeing..."Old Stuff".

Suddenly four of the children find themselves spinning and moving through space and time.  They wind up on an alien spaceship.

"Taylor", the boy, is not happy when the aliens decide to take the children to their home planet, Zoogleblotz.  He knows what aliens are like and he warns his classmates what to expect by singing "That's What Aliens Do'.  And that is nothing good.

More aliens join in as they dance and sing about their wonderful home.

In the alien lab, the scientists examine the earthlings.

The scientists teach the children about being an alien and living on the alien planet.

The children don't really want to live on the alien planet. They want to go home  They don't know more trouble is on the way.

An pirate ship looking for other ships to loot and plunder attacks the alien vessel.

The pirates want their captives to become pirates.  They dance and sing a song,  "If You Want to be a Pirate"

The captives don't want to be pirates. The aliens want to go home to Zooglebotz.  The children want to go home to earth. Since that is the case, the pirates plan to make the captives walk the plank.

The sad captives sing the "Captured by Space Pirate Blues".

But the plucky captain of the aliens manages to escape the ropes and finds the box that will return them to the alien ship when she pushes the button on the box.

Once back on the alien ship, the alien's captain sends the children on to the museum on earth.

Strangely, every thing seems to be normal when they return.  And normal is all right with them.

Here the entire cast returns to sing and dance again to the alien song, Argh A Riptoo.

The final bows...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Our Second Trip to Cedar Bog This Year...June 12, 2017

After our half hour visit to Cedar Bog on May 31, we decided we wanted to go back when the Grass Pink Orchids were blooming.  We invited our friend, John to come with us.  The tree we are looking at is a Yellow Maple.  It marks the "Y" in the circular trail.

At the "Y" we turned to the right.

The Tuberous Indian Plantain (Cacalia tuberosa) was beginning to be showy.  There will be larger flower heads.

A little further down the trail, I found this Milkweed (Asclepias)  One of the experts from the Ohio Wildflower Facebook site told me it was Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata) one of two species of woodland milkweeds in Ohio.

Meanwhile, Tom was taking photos of a Damselfly, an Ebony Jewelwing male (Calopteryx maculata).  Damselflies usually sit with wings folded upright while Dragonflies usually sit with wings spread.

At the Sedge Meadow, Tom found the Showy Lady's Slippers still blooming.

Showy Lady's Slippers (Cypripedium reginae)

In the same sedge meadow, he found the first Grass Pink (Calopogon pulchellus)  We saw more further from the boardwalk and also more in the next section of Sedge Meadow that the boardwalk passed through.

In the second section of Sedge Meadow we found the Round-leafed Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia).  We knew where to find them because years ago we went on a guided walk.  The plants are very tiny, only a little bigger than the lid on a small jar of bread and butter pickles.  They are fascinating to me because they are very tiny, yet are a carnivorous plant.

Round-leafed Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia)

Far out in the sedge meadow, we saw this plant.  Fortunately, Tom has a camera that could take the distant shot.

I posted this photo on Ohio Wildflowers and learned that it was Phlox maculata.

In this same meadow, Shrubby Cinquefoil were beginning to bloom.

Shrubby Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa)

Below is a plant I find interesting.  I first saw it years ago when I was exploring with a park naturalist off the trail at Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary.  It was a rare oportunity to go into the usually unseen parts of the woods.  He explained that it was believed to have been called Nein bark by early German settlers because the bark peels off the branches.  The name, over time, has become Ninebark.  The flowers are not at their most beautiful showy selves in this photo.

Here is a crop of the photo above showing the long curving branches on which the old bark peels off in layers.

This is a photo that Tom took when we visited the bog last June 11 when the flowers were showy.

Ninebark (Rubus odoratus) a member of the Rose family.

There were a lot of Tall Meadow Rue Plants.  It is a species in which there are male and female plants are on different plants.

Tall Meadow Rue (Thalictrum polygamum) with male flowers.

Tall Meadow Rue with female flowers.

All along the trail we saw butterflies but none of them stayed around long enough for Tom or me to get a picture.

We were finishing our walk when Tom found this Red Admiral.  It was down in the grasses so interested in whatever was there that it stayed for a bit longer than the other butterflies.

Red Admiral ( Vanessa atalanta rubria)

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Fanstasticks, Words and Music by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones, Presented by The Drama Workshop

"Try to remember the kind of September when life was slow, and oh, so mellow..."  This song has been popping into my head at odd times ever since I saw "The Fantasticks"  presented by The Drama Workshop at The Glenmore Playhouse in Cheviot.  Tom, our friend, Pat, and I went to the April 24th matinee.

I'm sorry I didn't get this posted sooner but word of mouth and publicity made it one of The Drama Workshop's ten most attended productions of all time.

Included on the stars in the photo above are the actors and also many of the supporting volunteers who make the community theater possible.  The photos below are closer views of the left and right side.  If you click on them to enlarge them, you may recognize some faces.

Cast members were...
Jonny Hofmann as The Narrator--El Gallo
Maria Huey as The Girl-Luisa
Jacob Lucas as The Boy-Matt
Mark Waldfogle as The Boy's Father-Hucklebee
Russ D. McGee as The Girl's Father-Bellomy
Jack Williams as The Old Actor-Henry
Mike Robb as The Man Who Dies-Mortimer
Geoffrey Hill as The Mute ( also The Wall)

The props and set were minimal just as they were in the original off-Broadway production that ran for 42 years, making it the world's longest-running musical.  It was great fun being surprised by what was found in the boxes to the left and right of the center stage.

I was looking through my old posts and found this one from several years ago which I never posted so I am posting it now.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cedar Bog, May 31, 2017

We had plans for the day.  We would go to Cedar Bog after making a quick stop at Key Mobility in Xenia to have Kyle adjust the power chair lift in the van.  The lift turned out to be problematic.  Eventually, Kyle decided there was something wrong with the lift that he had never come across.  He put a loaner lift in the van and promised to work on our lift.

By the time he had tried everything he knew and called the lift help line several times, we had only a short time to visit at Cedar Bog.  We decided to go anyway because wildflower enthusiasts were posting pictures of the Showy Lady's Slippers.  We saw them several years ago at the end of their blooming season and Tom wanted to get photos of the flowers at their peak.

He found them.

It was late in the day and mostly overcast so the lighting was easy to work with.  I finally was able to get a good photo of the map of the trails.

Because it was late we took a very short walk, only went down the boardwalk to the right to the first opening  because the Showy Lady's slippers close to the trail there.

I was surprised at the number of other things we saw on our walk.

We saw this snake slither across the boardwalk.  Neither of us knew what kind it was.  It didn't have the pattern of the Massasauga  which was pictured on the sign near the beginning of the trail.  Nevertheless, we waited for it to move off into the foliage before we moved on.

There was a variety of butterflies.  This one sat long enough for Tom to take its picture.

The large broad leaves of Skunk Cabbage covered much of the forest floor.

One of the prettiest flowers was this one.  I think it is Flowering Spurge.    There were masses of it in the old field meadow before we entered the woods.

As we were leaving, Tom took one last photo...

Southern Blue Flag Iris.

I had never seen these irises here so I had a bonus on this half hour walk.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Always Patsy Cline... the Props on the Glenmore Theatre Stage

When I walked into the theater I was drawn back to my childhood and early adulthood.  The set was the 1961 that I remembered.

Our seats were to the right side so we were seated close to the "kitchen".

Tom was as impressed with the kitchen as I was.  He said, "Take a close look at the calendar on the refrigerator."

Tom, Pat, and I started pointing out other things we remembered.

The broom and dustpan parked beside the refrigerator...the flyswatter where it was handy...the radio on top of the refrigerator...the braided rug...the ruffled curtains on the door...linoleum on the floor.

We remembered the curtain hanging from the sink to cover the plumbing and the Brillo Pads box as well as Bon Ami Shaker container...the cutting boards, the copper molds.  Way to the left is a spice rack typical of the era.  Even the cupboard doors felt right.  Pat spotted a toaster like the one her family had.

And then we began looking at the items on the open shelves.  Do you recognize anything?

On the left side of the theater as we looked at it was a corner of The Esquire Ballroom which was outside Houston, Texas.  This is where Patsy Cline and Louise Seger met.

The sign on the middle of the back wall is a vintage neon Pabst Blue Ribbon Sign which lit when this part of the set was the focal point.

Gretchen Gantner, was in charge of Set Decor and Tobie Braverman was in charge of Properties.  The two women did an outstanding job. I was so drawn into the era that I was still back in 1961 after the play was over.

What astonished me most was the sign below.  It brought back memories that were buried deep.

My dad was an insurance agent and also, for a while, a superintendent for The National Life and Accident Insurance Company.  The company's annual convention was in Nashville and the conventioneers always went to a performance of  The Grand Ole Opry.  Dad was proud that his company had been part of the start of what became a Nashville tradition.  Dad worked for the company nearly all the years that I was growing up.

Our son, Ray, created the central Grand Ole Opry set design  from a small black and white photo he found after much searching.  Until I told him, he didn't realize that his grandpa had worked for the insurance company.

Ray painted the barn detail but Tobie Braverman, Gretchen Gantner, Karen Romero, and Elaine Volker painted the barn.

But before any painting could be done, the Construction Crew built the set.  Builders included Linda Abbott, Lydia Abbott, Clint Bramkamp, John Farrow, Gretchen Gantner, Cynthia Mottel, Dennis Murphy, James Reuter, Karen Romero, Greg Schaper, Megan Schultheis, Patrick Schultheis, Kent Smith, Fred tacon, Eric Thomas, Veronica Thomas, Elaine Volker, Amy Waldfogle, Katie Waldfogle, Mark Waldfogle, and Robert Weidle.

Thanks, all of you.  You helped create a play I will never forget.