Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Times-Dispatch: "The Tempest" Is "Another Triumph" for Richmond Shakespeare

Richmond Shakespeare has been blessed to often strike a chord with Richmond Times-Dispatch reviewer Susan Haubenstock. She has given us some very nice reviews. But after her review for The Tempest, I feel like we should send her flowers and chocolate.

An excerpt:

A stunning visual opens the play: sailors on a storm-tossed ship, straining against ropes that form a triangle pointing off into the distance.

Deep in the background, beyond where the lines converge, paces Prospero, powerful, self-contained, the conjurer of the storm.

But Anthony Luciano, master of play for Richmond Shakespeare Festival's "The Tempest," engages our senses even more with an onstage sound crew that produces the noises of thunder and rain while the sailors shout their distress.

Throughout, Andrew Hamm's original music punctuates and illuminates this glistening production, another triumph for this ever-inventive company.

I chose the above, not because it has my name in it, but because that last phrase, "another triumph for this ever-inventive company," is (to quote the play) the stuff dreams are made of. That's just a great quote for publicity.

I want to use this space to acknowledge the huge contribution made by Wayne Conners and Kevin Neilson, my musical partners in the show. They mask my feeble guitar playing and make the heart of the music beat. Each one of them was my first choice when looking for musicians, and they have exceeded my expectations tenfold.

Read the whole review, and come see the show before it's gone!

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  • At 6/17/2007 4:20 PM , Blogger Frank Creasy said...

    We don't have a flawless production, and there are some weaknesses, and I'm not completely satisfied with my own performance (but then again, when AM I?), but I do believe we've got a very solid, very entertaining production. There is some magic in this show, and it's not all Prospero.

    But MUCH of it is from Andrew Hamm's music.

    Come see it folks, we won't disappoint you.

  • At 6/17/2007 11:41 PM , Blogger Wayne Conners said...

    Aw, shucks, Andrew, you're tooo kind. No, really. Kevin and I are just working off of the stuff that came out of your soul. I've always admired your composition skills, but as Frank says, you have worked some magic here.

    The Tempest is not perfect, it's true, but it's really really good. I've seen good and bad Shakespeare in my time (I saw a production of The Scot's Play with Christopher Plummer and Glenda Jackson that REALLY sucked!), but RS consistently puts out high quality work. On a shoestring. I'm really proud to be associated with this production and with Andrew Hamm's music.

  • At 6/18/2007 10:17 AM , Blogger Dave T said...

    It was nice to see you at the first preview, Andrew. I thought your band's music greatly enhanced the production, as I think you'll see/read in my review. Take care.

    PS: And Frank did a great job though I didn't have space to recognize his contribution in my review...

  • At 6/18/2007 4:22 PM , Blogger Frank Creasy said...

    Thanks so much Dave, I greatly value your opinion - I was honestly surprised at a T-D mention given my limited time onstage and overall size of the ensemble cast, but at the last possible moment I do think this production came together. Seeing as how our first preview was ALSO the first full run through, it truly MUST have been a force of nature that made it work!

    But I have to say, without any reason for sucking up (since Andrew is not a casting director...not usually anyway) that his music is always special. The music from "Midsummer Night's Dream" two years ago is on my iPod, and always gives me a smile when I hear it. What Andrew may NOT know is that I've heard cast members backstage singing his songs to themselves in idle moments. I guess that pretty much says it all.

  • At 6/19/2007 10:14 AM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    Oh, trust me, Andrew's a casting director. And sucking up to him generally works pretty well, as do gifts of fine wine, beer, and Lego sets featuring spaceships and/or robots. But nothing works as well as having a history of being a hard-working, talented, reliable, good-natured, positive ensemble member. Frank Creasy has all of those qualities in spades.

    He's also a freaking ninja!


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