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Before last Saturday’s matinee of “Peter and the Starcatcher,” the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind paid a visit to downtown San Jose’s Theatre on San Pedro Square to present her with a commendation for her dedication to bringing live theater to the blind and visually impaired. You don’t need perfect sight to clearly see what a valuable service that is, and you’ve just got to wonder why everyone else isn’t doing it. MOVING CONVERSATION: The Commonwealth Club of California cut the ribbon on its new headquarters on the Embarcadero in San Francisco on Sept. 12, with a ceremony featuring former Secretary of State George Shultz and a host of San Francisco dignitaries. Gloria Duffy, the CEO of the public affairs forum, was the emcee for the ceremony which featured a brass quintet from the San Francisco Symphony playing “Fanfare for The Commonwealth Club” composed by Michael Smith for the occasion.
Speaking to the San Jose Rotary Club last Wednesday, Duffy said she’s thrilled that the public affairs forum finally has a permanent home of its own, And she was even more thrilled to be in San Jose because it happened to fall on the actual moving lace ballet flats day, “I packed all my boxes yesterday,” she said with a smile, “so I’m happy to be here today instead of in the middle of a move.”, STAND UP CONTRIBUTIONS: It was a big week for Michele Huntzinger, The San Jose resident and executive director of StandUp for Kids-Silicon Valley was honored as the winner of the San Francisco Giants’ Isabelle Lemon Community Spirit Award on Tuesday during a pre-game ceremony at AT&T Park, The award recognizes a volunteer who exemplifies the commitment to community service and “can-do” spirit of Lemon, a Giants Community Fund board member and former promotions manager for KNBR..
It was a story told in the Book of Exodus. In the centuries since, it has been retold many times in many ways, including the 1958 film “The Ten Commandments.”. In 1998, DreamWorks presented it from an entirely fresh perspective, in the animated musical drama “The Prince of Egypt.” It featured songs by legendary composer Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked,” “Godspell,” “Pippin”) and screenplay by Philip LaZebnik (“Pocahontas,” “Mulan”). “When You Believe,” from “The Prince of Egypt,” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Nearly 20 years later, the uplifting story is being transformed again, as Schwartz and LaZebnik adapt the film’s magic into a lavish stage musical, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley will present the world premiere at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, Oct, 6 through Nov, 5, LaZebnik says, “It’s an enormous opportunity to go far beyond the movie, because we have the chance now to go much deeper into the humanity of the story, into the characters and their motivations, The movie is a great starting-off point, But we’re incredibly enthusiastic about lace ballet flats the opportunity we’ve been given here.”..
Schwartz agrees. “Doing something for stage gives you a broader audience to work for. And you can go into a lot more character development and nuance. Animation is a sort of particular thing. It’s short, for one thing. There are consequently far less songs.”. Composer/lyricist Schwartz is writing 12 new songs for the musical, which must fit in seamlessly with those he created for the film. “I did a lot of research before writing the songs for the movie,” Schwartz says, “and listened to what could be found of ancient Egyptian court music and tried to base a lot of the sound of the score on that. And that has remained true for the stage adaptation, as well.
“One of the very interesting things that we’re trying musically with the stage adaptation is to use either real or sampled authentic ethnic instruments of the area to convey that flavor, as well, So it will be a smaller orchestra, obviously (than was used for the film soundtrack) and also maybe more colorful, in terms of the instrumentation.”, lace ballet flats Schwartz thinks of himself primarily as a storyteller, “That’s the job of being a songwriter for musical theater, Everything is in service of the story and the characters and the dramatic content.”..
Of his son, award-winning stage director Scott Schwartz, who is directing this production, composer Schwartz says, “He is very smart, not just as a stager, but he is very strong dramaturgically. So his input there has been very contributive also.”. At the crux of the piece stand siblings — Moses and the Pharaoh, Ramses. LaZebnik says, “It’s very much the story of two brothers — how they are both trapped in a destiny which they did not choose and how they come to deal with it and to rediscover their relationship.”.
The musical’s creators believe the story is more relevant than ever, LaZebnik says, “It deals with the problems lace ballet flats that different people of ethnic groups and religions have and how, in particular, our main characters surmount those, There’s very much the message that we’re all the same, Underneath our different garments and customs and cultures, we’re all human beings who share more than we have differences.”, Schwartz says, “We’re trying to deal with the story more from the point of view of it as a human story — people caught up in large-scale events, There’s always relevance when you deal with people set against events that are somewhat out of their control and where there are conflicting destinies and conflicting ideologies.”..