April 16th, 2007

Keep Walking

Valhalla at the Zeitgeist Stage Company

Dave, Mark and I went to see Valhalla this past Friday at the Zeitgeist Stage Company.  Although things start out a bit perplexing as you try to see the connection between James Avery and King Ludwig -- things rapidly become clearer!
It's hard to believe that all twenty characters are played by only SIX performers!!
Jon Ferreira (James Avery) ain't bad to look at!  He's a very dynamic actor with some incredible cuteness and facial expressions that are Equity-quality!  Keep an eye on this up and coming actor!!  He makes the show!  He's one of my personal favourites from this performance, and I'll be watching for additional work by him!  Jon and Brian are the only actors to have one role each.
Maureen Adduci, recently featured in Zeitgeist Stage Company's presentation of "Stuff Happens" and "Flesh and Blood" does a spectacular job not only as King Ludwig's mother, but four other characters!!
Christopher Michael Brophy (Equity Actor), who played the extremely homophobic, yet closeted character in "Take Me Out" won the IRNE award for best supporting actor in 2006 is back in a similar character.  The boyhood mutual masturbation scene with Henry Lee and James was a hoot!  Christopher also plays Helmut, a wrestling coach for the to-be-king Ludwig.
Elisa MacDonald's best character is the "humpback" princess -- her quips of comedy leave the audience laughing out loud!  Her role as Sally Mortimer is a completely dramatical role... and just as good.
Rick Park (Equity Actor) is another sexy bearish-type, manages to play six roles and gets quite a few fun comedic lines!
Brian Quint plays King Ludwig of Bavaria -- his role seems to be a difficult one, with the majority of dialogue, trying to impress to the audience just what is going through his head from boyhood to his eventual death, each step of the way being more exocentric than the last -- or is it madness?
Below is more information and some review "snipits" from Zeitgeist's website...  Do get out to see this gem before it ends May 5th!!

Valhalla intertwines two stories: the life of Ludwig of Bavaria, the 1880’s Mad King responsible for building a series of storybook castles inspired by Wagnerian operas, and the fictional adventures of James Avery, a wild Texas teenager of the 1940s. The play explores questions of beauty and madness, as both Ludwig and James pursue lives of operatic passion, bringing them in contact with such diverse figures as the small town inhabitants of Dainsville, Texas, most of the characters of Lohengrin and Princess Sophie, the loneliest humpback in Europe. Valhalla is a comic epic, confronting the price to be paid for pursuing and, seemingly, attaining everything you could dream of.

Reviews & Impressions

Paul Rudnick has achieved success as a playwright, novelist and screenwriter often focusing on gay characters in his work. His plays include Poor Little Lambs, Jeffery, I Hate Hamlet, The Naked Eye, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, and most recently Regrets Only. His novels include Social Disease and I’ll Take It. As a screenwriter he was responsible for In and Out, Addams Family Values, and uncredited contributions to Sister Act, The Addams Family, and The First Wives Club. As a journalist, Rudnick writes regularly for he movie magazine Premiere under the pseudonym Libby Gelman-Waxner, a fictional Long Island resident who mixes celebrity and family gossip with more criticism and camp insights.

“You can be sure that a winsomely wicked bon mot will fly by every minute or so.”
NY Times

“Paul Rudnick’s most ambitious and…his strongest work yet.”
The New Republic

“…a dizzy, brisk diptych that connects 19th-century Bavaria to 1940s Texas in a unified field theory of gayness.” —Time Out

“…a juggling act skillful enough to revive vaudeville.”
Village Voice

“If, as Paul Rudnick contends, ‘opera is music gone mad,’ what’s it called when a giddy profusion of one-liners achieves the lunatic rhythm of music?”
NY Newsday

“Quips fall with the regularity of autumn leaves.”
Associated Press

For more information, go to http://www.zeitgeiststage.com/valhalla.htm