intermissionmag.com

Letter from the Editor
Fall 2016

Dear Readers,

Excuse me for being so tardy in writing to you. I have moved to the Alexandria, Virginia area and teach college here. Introduction to Communication and Public Speaking are the two courses I am presently teaching. Public speaking is only a step away from the acting that I love in the theatre courses. But Theatre is a course that is highly prized and it seems there are very few openings in that area.

In the meantime, Dave Mount, in St. Louis, is the Editor and doing a splendid job keeping the website up and running. We have writers all over: Chicago, New York, Florida… as well as here in the Washington area.

The reason I have for not getting in touch was medical: I fell in 2014 and hurt my back... then I had my left knee replaced. Over Christmas of 2015, I had the right knee done. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment!!

Although it took a while to get there, things are really running smoothly now and I feel great again.

We have a Twitter account so you can keep up-to-date on what we’re reviewing in St. Louis: @DaveIntermissio

Thinking of you,

Verna Kerans



Spring 2014

Dear Readers,

Where has the time gone?!? Teaching here in the Alexandria, Virginia area has become very time consuming but you are never far from my mind.

I left the website in very safe hands with Dave Mount who is doing a GREAT JOB as Editor in St. Louis. We are still covering as much theatre as we can fit onto our website.

However, we could use some more reviewers -- if you are interested, send your review to Dave at mac.com@mac.guy. We primarily review theatre, dance, ballet and opera. Also, if you have visited a neat place - tell us about it in a Travel review... or review a movie you’ve seen! We are open to a lot of ideas.

My travels have been curtailed for a while as I stay home to take care of my home that needs me right now. I miss all of you and will return in time to see some shows at The Muny.

Stay in touch,
Verna Kerans/Editor

You can email me at intermissionmag@aol.com

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January 2014

Dear Readers,

It has been a long time since I sat down to bring you up-to-date and I apologize.

First of all this website would not be possible without Dave Mount who puts all the reviews on it. The site is somewhat challenging but he does a wonderful job. I wish to thank him for the undertaking he has assumed these last several years. This “thanks” is way overdue. Thank you, Dave. We could not have done this without you.

When I got back from Europe, in the summer of 2012, my Community College Forest Park in St. Louis, MO had lost enrollment, so I moved back to the Washington, D.C. area and began teaching at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Virginia where I had taught over ten years before. It was great to have a job teaching Public Speaking and Introduction to Communication. My degree is in Theatre but the subtitle for that was Speech and Drama at St. Louis University so that covered all bases. After all, giving a Speech is a lot like being on stage and I love what I do and have great classes.

There are some of the best theatres outside of New York are here in the Washington, D.C. area. A number of plays transfer from here onto Broadway. I go to Arena Stage as often as possible. It is one of my favorites. Mother Courage begins next week and it stars Kathleen Turner. Should be a winner.

When my family lived in Europe, we had a Dodge camper van just a little shorter than six feet tall so it could park in a garage. I loved it so much. When we moved back to the States, we brought the van with us but it met an untimely death and since then, it has been on at the top of my “bucket list.” I really had thought they had stopped making this particular type of van. Then one day recently I saw one, and another the next day! Imagine my delight!! I could again get a camper to live in when I traveled.

Last summer my son saw one advertised and it didn’t take too long to decide what I wanted to do. I now have a lovely camper van that has a bed, sink, stove, and all the amenities you could hope for. There is one drawback. It is nearly 8 and ½ feet high and doesn’t fit in the garage anymore! I always need to park outside, but that’s okay. My adventures are a little curtailed, that’s all! I love my van and it is my everyday car. Holds a lot of books, school materials, theatre programs and empty coffee cups too!!!

Keeping up with teaching, plays and camping keeps me busy -- but writing to my readers is important and I’ll send letters more often. Have a great year.

Verna

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August 2012


Editor's Europe Travel Diary Entry 2:


2 August 2012

Dear Readers,

After being in London for a few days, I saw a very British play called Posh. It will never transfer because it has too many 'in' jokes but essentially it is the yearly reunion of a dozen recent graduates in a hotel where anything goes. The evening doesn't quite go as expected but well - boys will be boys! Next I saw a fine one-act titled The Browning Version. Again, even though I think this one has been done over there, it's very British and has some familiar faces if you watch PBS.

Took the Eurostar to Brussels and then went to Bruges. What a lovely little town with a canal that encircles it and the little boats call for many photos. The buildings are all well over 200 years old and have roofs a lot like those in Amsterdam - like little steps. Each house is a different color and you wish you were a painter and could stay for weeks.

Hating to leave but what lies ahead is even better – PARIS! I always enjoy arriving from the north because you get a thrilling view of Sacre Coeur just before the train pulls into the Gare du Nord. This area is kind of funky but I had found a hotel a few years ago that is pretty reasonable and I usually can get a room there. In many ways, I am a catch-as-catch-can with rooms and hotels and a lot of things that most people plan like crazy. I am never sure what the next day will bring and if I feel like spending two nights or three, well… I will do what I feel like.

Please bear in mind that this is a trip I have waited ten years to make. It had a general structure but was not set in concrete. Each day is an adventure. I'm glad to share it with you.

One reason I took some time off from teaching in St. Louis is the possibility that I can teach a semester at an American school having a European campus. For example, Webster University has several campuses Europe as well as does the University of Maryland. So, if anyone needs a teacher at the last minute, I am here to fill in. It's a long shot but I will know soon. It seems everyone returns from holiday on August 6th. Keep your fingers crossed.

Verna


July 2012


Editor's Europe Travel Diary Entry 1:

25 July 2012

Dear Readers,

After many happy years of seeing fabulous shows and writing reviews, the time came to take a little break.

Those who know me are aware I lead a triple life. Teaching at St. Louis Community College Forest Park is one of the biggest challenges but after having lived in Europe for twelve years the desire to visit overwhelms me. The web site is the second but my assistant, Dave Mount, gets all the credit for keeping the web going. I must admit I am a novice. Since I belong to the Société Française and the Alliance Française, going to Paris is always a thrill. I get to practice my French, eat croissants, look at the Seine, go to Sacre Coeur, the Louvre and a lot of other wonderful pleasures. These are my three lives.

American Airlines has for several years had a morning flight to London and when I arrive it’s almost time for bed. A quick walk to the hotel and in the morning - no jet lag. For several years I have been staying at the Castleton Hotel that is a five-minute walk from Paddington Station. It is a sister hotel of six which are owned by two brothers. Every room has it's own bathroom and one perk I love about England is your own little electric teakettle with tea, coffee, milk and sugar. I am not a morning person but a nice “cuppa” makes life worthwhile.

English breakfasts are very substantial but you are more than ready to tackle the London crowds and look for shows you want to see. If you have the stamina you can see a matinee and an evening performance nearly every day except Monday which is “dark.” If you are lucky and the weather is right, you can secure a ticket at The Globe... there is nowhere in theater more historic.

Because I need to write this as a continuing diary, I am going to send a little news every few days until I get caught up.

Missing all my readers,
Verna Kerans


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR -- JANUARY 2009

I began publishing Intermission in the summer of 1989. We started in Washington, D.C. And then in the fall we began publishing St. Louis, as I had returned to St. Louis to assist my mother.

As ridiculous as it sounds I flew back and forth every two weeks to publish an issue in each city. I was on this treadmill for three years and then handed the St. Louis issue over to Jeannie Breeze.

I kept the D.C. issue alive and well until I returned to St. Louis in 2001 and resumed publishing the St. Louis edition again.

I feel rather proud of the fact that Intermission has survived for twenty years and now has a new format. However, we will also continue to publish a hard copy of Intermission.

Through the hard work and kindness of my writers, Vonda and Chris Gibson, we how have a website. It’s really a life-saver for as you can imagine, we get hundreds of press releases we were never able to publish. We also get more reviews than we could publish every month. It was heart-breaking to leave anything out. Now we don’t have to do that.

We should have had a website years go and so now I can put everything online for you, our readers, to see and ENJOY!

Thank you, Chris, for your assistance. 

Verna Kerans

Letter from the Editor – Spring Wrap-Up

During semester break I went to Chicago. At the time Ruined was playing at the Goodman Theatre. It has now transferred to Broadway and has won a Pulitzer Prize.

The production was brutal in its veracity. We live in our little American cocoons and have no idea of the hardships under which people live. 

In order to survive In the Congo, Mama Nadi has a bar seemingly in the middle of the jungle. A great parrot in a cage sits stage right and a jazz combo also plays stage right.
Hers is a swinging place with quite a few “ladies” to entertain the customers. Christian arrives and persuades her to take on a young girl who has been brutally raped and physically “ruined”. The exact nature of the crime is never spelled out for us – the nature of the brutality is left to our imagination but given Sophie’s walk we can only imagine the worst.

The play devotes itself to the horror of the different regimes that fight in the Congo. Darfur, Sudan, Somalia all comes to mind. Gang rapes, murders, kidnapping: What do we know of any of these?

After you see this play you will at least have a faint idea of the horror under which some women live.
You can read a number of reviews about this play now that it is playing on Broadway.  There are some funny lines and a faint bit of redemption at the end. Life goes on - doesn’t it?
My visit to the Washington D.C area led me to the temporary digs of Arena Stage.  For the time being they have a nice little theatre in Crystal City. The space was once for meeting and films and Arena will use it until their new theatre is completed. The new Theatre is being built due to the kindness and financial assistance of Dr. Jaylee Mead. Over the years, Dr. Mead and her husband, who passed away recently, have given generously to many theatres in the D.C. area.
As it was explained to me by Allen Lee Hughes, resident lighting designer at Arena, the new theatre will be in addition to the original Arena and the Kreeger. Allen and I looked at a small set-like rendition which showed that the Arena and Kreeger remain as is but all the connecting spaces that linked the two theatres have been removed and there will be a third added with an enormous lobby from which pa trons will branch off to their respective theatres to see the shows. What an undertaking!
At the small theatre in Crystal City I saw “Next to Normal” and I really enjoyed it. ALSO this show20has transferred to Broadway as well.  Seems like I chose the best two shows to attend.

Evidently this show began in New York and Arena polished it up so that it could return for a longer run in New York. The reviews have all been positive.

The show deals with being bi-polar. A disease I am very familiar with and I can tell you unless you stay on your meds life can be very difficult. The story of Diana and her husband and family, a boy and a girl, will grip you like no play has done before. Even though this is a musical it is not one of those happy-go-lucky shows.

Be prepared to think and feel along with a wonderful cast. I won’t tell you about the plot because I have a feeling that this show may play here at=2 0The Repertory Theatre and I want you to be fully involved for some surprises.
The last few weeks have been full of music.
The Touhill Performing Arts Center always have great music. This time we heard the Duke Ellington Orchestra playing all the great favorites including Mood Indigo, Take the A Train and Satin Doll just to mention a few. Almost every performer had a solo and then finally the Bass player, who was a woman, got a star turn. The bass is my favorite and I was delighted she had a chance to strut her”stuff".

Next on my agenda was BeBe Neuwirth. Right here let me say “hats off to the newest Cabaret Series “.  It was wonderful to s ee St. Louis get 3 top names to entertain us .
Neuwirth sang non-stop for an hour and a half. As she mentioned all her songs were “stories”.  Many of them were familiar to20her audience but she also included some Kurt Weill who was a very interesting composer. She sang Surabaya Johnnie and The Bilbao Song – two that I especially love. 

BeBe,  made her name in Sweet Charity and Chicago, and also became familiar to the TV audience in the character of Lilith on Cheers and then on Fraser. May people are surprised to discover when they find out what a fantastic singing voice she has.  And her voice is unusual – it has a quirky depth and quality that is engaging.
She entered in a perky little black dress that was above the knees and showed off her legs to great advantage.  She then proceeded to prepare her drink with an enormous straw. She has a great sense of humor and is completely at ease with her audience. We were lucky to have been able to listen to her for 90 minutes. This was a fund raiser for the Cabaret Series and was follow ed by a dinner in the Sheldon. I didn’t go to the dinner but I bet it was wonderful.

Following this fantastic show we were treated to the enormous talent of Patti Lupone and Mandy Patinkin who, though great friends, have not performed together since appearing in Evita in 1980.

They have a warm relationship that comes right across the footlights to wrap itself around the audience.  They were especially good during the excerpts from South Pacific and Carousel. Ms. LuPone was especially touching and visibly touched in her portrayal of Julie in the scene from Carousel.  As she wiped away the errant tears, one could see how the songs had moved her.

These two performers have been in many shows on Broadway and Television. She has an Ethel Merman quality and when the no tes to Gypsy were struck Lupone got a hand before she even sang a note. 

I was sorry that Patinkin did not sing anything from Sunday in the Park with George. He was great in this show with Bernadette Peters. The video of that show i s wonderful to see.

Watching the LuPone and Patinkin duo was a great treat – they had a real vibe going on –they had fun and we had fun watching them.

Thank you Cabaret St. Louis bringing these 3 such great performers in such a short time.  We look forward to next season with Maude Maggart, Steve Ross, Nellie McKay, Bill Charlap and Sandy Stewart.  Look at the web on:  cabaretstl.org for more information.
FOOD FIGHT
West Port Playhouse
Verna Kerans
The newest frothy musical at West Port Playhouse will enterta in both men and women , but mostly women. 

It’s a tale being told across the world in all the gyms where women seek to tone their bodies and fight their hunger pangs. Good Luck!!

After these 4 actresses, Annie Cook, Tafee Patterson, Missy McArdle and Amanda Shae Wilborn finish the show, they have, I’m sure, burned of hundreds of calories. They are in perpetual motion.
The slim story covers relationships, face lifts and Viagra (sung to the familiar “Maria” from West Side Story) The authors had a plethora of well-knows music to choose from. All they had to do was change the lyrics and they are all catchy and funny.

This is a show that has come to us from Atlanta and is headed for a national tour after St. Louis so catch it now!
KANSAS CITY FILMFEST
VERNA KERAN
Yes, Everything is up to date in Kansas City!  The Film Fest combined two festivals this year. One was the Jubilee Film Fest and the other was the FilmFest that for the last few years has been held in October. I usually attended this FilmFest which was held at Screenland. I always enjoy going to see many new films by up and coming filmmakers from Kansas City and other places.

However this year with two festivals combined there were more films to choose from and many different kinds of offerings from documentaries to short films, animations, foreign films and comedies.

A real plus this year was the opening of AMC’s newest theatre. Totally redecorated – the theatre is beautiful. It has an energy that will appeal to anyone who wants a great evening. In the lobby of the theatre is a cozy full service restaurant and bar with comfortable couches and t ables. Many tasty meals can be ordered before or after the movie and you can really make a special evening out of it.

At the refreshment stand if you buy a drink you can get free refills all evening and you can add chocolate syrup, lemon and lime flavors! Popcorn comes with an assortment of toppings that you add yourself: butter, cheddar cheese and a new cinnamon sugar that was delicious. Coffee, cappuccino, and ready to eat meals are boxed and ready to go. The ladies rooms have mirrors with photos of lots of Hollywood actresses. You will love this new theatre. 

I stayed at the Hilton President Hotel, just one block up from the new AMC.  
This historic beautiful hotel is a delight.  The hotel was closed and redecorated and has recently reopened. Over the years this has been the hotel of choice for many Presidents and famous entertainers. You can't go wrong choing this hotel as your home base.have a restaurant and after the show you can visit The Drum Room for a late drink.

There are dozens of restaurants in the immediate vicinity in the Power and Light district (as it is called) as well as new lofts. It’s worth a tr ip just to take a look-see.


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