By James Robert Shaw (The Wind up Geek)
If you missed George Takei’s Allegiance, the first Broadway musical written by Asian-Americans, about Asian-Americans and starring Asian Americans, get ready for a single night’s performance on December 13th. This time you won’t need a seat in New York City’s Longacre Theatre where it ran from late 2015 to early 2016, only a ticket to the cinema. The play written by Jay Kuo and Lorenzo Thione was inspired by Takei’s experience as a boy in a Japanese-American internment camp during Word War II and will move from stage to the silver screen. Movie audiences will be treated to an exclusive introduction by Allegiance‘s star George Takei as well as some behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and creators. The play also stars Olivier and Tony award-winning actress Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon), Telly Leung (RENT) and opera baritone Christòpheren Nomura.
By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
After discovering the wonderful whimsy of Quebec-based Belzébrute’s theatrical productions with thanks to Intrepid Theatre, I’m looking forward to hearing about what they have planned next. They came to Victoria, BC to perform a puppet show, Mr. P – The Story of the Real Mr. Potato Head, to help cure the post-Fringe festival blues (they were invited over, from what I heard) and upon going online to check out what else they have made, I really like to see Manga! This other production is one part comic-book, equal parts anime and inspired by history. Hopefully, they will return and bring this story next time.
But for a night which paid a lovely tribute to the musical entertainment pop culture scene, Mr. P has gone through it all. That is, since the days of silent film, he’s been around and he did it “his way” ala Frank Sinatra. He’s a versatile performer who can channel the best of each era’s best in his own act; from said talent to Elvis to Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury, this potato can win many a crowd! For this vegetable, he’s mimed and played in many a venue. Watching this show is kind of like watching The Swedish Chef live; there’s a bit of nonsense in what he says, and you can hear what he’s saying. Two master puppeteers work hard to make him come alive. You have to see this show to see how it’s done, and when he does the splits, I could not help but grin. Just like the toy, you can change his eyes and ears to change his expressions.
By James Robert Shaw (The Wind up Geek)
Just as the the Ghostbusters franchise decided to introduce an all-girl team, so does the all-ages Graveyard Gang webcomic. Rich Clabaugh’s Graveyard Gang consisting of 3 human boys (Sammy ‘Sneezer’ Smith, Preston “Presto” Perkins, Pasquale ‘Buster’ Bonetti), a wolf boy (Lope Coranado) and the gang’s only female member (Marcie McDoogle) have been tangling with ghosts and evil creatures since the comic’s inception in 2012. Since then the comic has added new characters to it’s 1930’s timeline against the backdrop of the coastal town setting of the aptly named Ghostport, Massachusetts.
But now Claubaugh is expanding his webcomic to a new series of adventures following another group of ghostly gumshoes, the Graveyard Girls’ Club. Marcie McDoogle makes the leap from the gang to become part of this girl power group that will include the diverse characters of Cora Kane (introduced in August, 2016), and the debut of newest character Ann Chan. All three girls attend Parochial School in Ghosport. The Group has made their debut in the September 20th issue of “Don’t Mess with Midnight Mary”, based on the real folklore of Midnight Mary a female ghost that supposedly haunts the Evergreen Cemetery in New Haven, Connecticut.
You can view the first page to the debut issue here.
By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
New York – Village East
Los Angeles – Laemmle Playhouse 7,
Laemmle Monica, University Irvine
The animated movie Long Way North is a tonally sombre tale where Sacha (voiced by Chloé Dunn) is seeking freedom from the Russian aristocracy she hails from. Her grandfather Oloukine is missing. He’s a renowned explorer seeking to conquer the North pole, and everybody assumes he’s dead. The ship he captains, the Davai, is lost at sea. Fortunately, for audiences in America, this epic film can be found premiering September 30th across the USA, with more dates to come across this country and perhaps also heading north into Canada too.
Shout! Factory is handling the distribution of the English dub, and I’m looking forward to set sail south to catch it on the big screen where it truly needs to be experienced. Failing that, I’m hopeful a video release will be coming mid next year, when I suspect it will come out.