Sunday, Dec 11: Pay-What-You-Will Preview Wednesday, Dec 14: Final Preview (ticketed) Thursday, Dec 15: Opening Night
Wednesday – Saturday evenings at 7:30pm Sunday matinees at 2:00pm Special Friday matinee, Dec 23 at 2pm Special Tuesday performance, Dec 27 at 7:30pm No performance on Dec 24 or 25
A New Holiday Tradition for Door County!
You’ve never experienced Charles Dickens holiday classic quite like this. The five WFBR Radio Players bring to life scores of characters, live sound effects and musical underscore to create an authentic 1940’s radio experience all in front of a live studio audience. In A CHRISTMAS CAROL: THE LIVE RADIO PLAY hear and see how Scrooge learns the true meaning of Christmas in this charming, family friendly production.
ELYSE EDELMAN as Sally Applewhite CASSANDRA BISSELL as Lana Sherwood RAY JIVOFF as Freddie Filmore DAN KLARER as Harry Jazzbo NEIL BROOKSHIRE as Jake Laurents BRIAN GRIMM as “Chet” the Foley Artist & Musician
Director: Mikael Burke Production Stage Manager: Kelsey York* Set Design: Alex Polzin Costume Design: Kärin Kopischke** Lighting Design: Eric Watkins** Sound Design: Brian Grimm
For this 1940’s radio play adaptation of the Charles Dickens holiday classic, I’ll be performing music underscore written by Kevin Connors as well as my own arrangements of traditional Christmas tunes on cello, tenor viola da gamba, glockenspiel, bell set and chime tree. One of the most exciting parts of this play for the audience is that the cast will assist me in performing live sound design aka “foley” on small doors, bells, pans, skeleton keys, chains, boots, books, coins, sheets, plates, silverware, a wind machine and more (see photos above)! The cast is super goofy – this is the most I’ve ever laughed during a rehearsal process! We’ve had such a blast putting this production together and can’t wait to share the fun with you!
Feed and Clothe My People, the Community Partner for this year’s A Christmas Carol
For every show of the season, Third Avenue PlayWorks collaborates with a Community Partner. I believe this is a wonderful practice and for A Christmas Carol, they couldn’t have found a better match. At the December 11th “pay-what-you-will” preview, all ticket proceeds went to an organization called Feed and Clothe My People:
Feed and Clothe My People (FMP) is a charitable organization formed in 1982 by Bev Hogan, Bev Knutson and Reverend Burke Johnson for the purpose of providing sustenance to local residents in need.
The program was initially designed to meet emergency needs only. As the number of residents in need of food and clothing increased, so had the scope of required services. As a result, it was decided that having a single location for the operation was necessary to coordinate activities between the various programs. In addition, the Board of Directors was expanded and the search for a new location commenced to increase operational efficiency and bring all facets of the program under one roof. After an exhaustive search, the Board purchased the old skating rink on 14th Avenue. With a few bequests and donations specifically designated for permanent relocation as down payment, the FMP organization was able to secure a mortgage and the new building opened for business in July of 2000. In summer of 2004, FMP of Door County joined Second Harvest, now known as Feeding America, which is a national food distribution center that sells food to pantries like ours at far below market prices. On August 31, 2004, due to a generous donation, the mortgage debt was officially retired. The building now belongs to Feed and Clothe My People.
Our mission is as strong as ever! A great share of our success depends on donations from those who can assist us financially, as well as through various food and clothing contributions. We wish to thank all those who have supported FMP in the past and we look forward to meeting and exceeding expectations and keep our founder’s dreams alive and well.
Here are some video teasers of music cues from the show! I’ll be updating this section each week, enjoy!
Original Score composed, performed and recorded for React (Indianapolis, IN) filmed production of “Before the 19th” written and directed by Georgeanna Smith Wade.
Please DONATE to React and support this amazing youth theater organization that is giving young people a creative voice and starting community dialogs around important social issues through their original art: www.reactkids.org/support
From Georgeanna (playwright & director),
“Before the 19th” began in a room of 15-ish high school students who had gathered to create a mystery about . .. something. That was all we knew. In the end, we created a fictional piece set in 1904 where a group of society young women debate the issue of equal voting rights. It originally premiered in January of 2017, right after the 2016 presidential election. One of the actresses stood on the stage with tears in her eyes and said that she had voted for the first time that previous November while archival footage played of women voting throughout history. That moment cemented what I have always loved about storytelling: it’s an honor to give voice to someone’s story. I’ve voted in every election I could since directing this show. I trust the cast members will do the same. I’m forever grateful to the people who worked for women’s rights to vote, and may we all ensure that access to all our citizens.”
Notes on the Score
When I started working on this project, I knew that I wanted to include a composition by a female composer and hopefully one who had ties to equal rights in voting. Naturally, I turned to a good friend Dr. Emma Cifrino, DMA (UW-Madison) who has specialized in researching a number British women composers who were in their prime during the late 1800s through the early 1900s. Dr. Cifrino suggested that I look into Ethel Smyth, an English composer who could have been straight out of Before the 19th‘s “Ladies League of Arts and Culture”. Not only was Ethel well studied as a composer, a member of these sorts of Women’s Arts Societies, and the first woman to have an Opera staged at the MET (in 1903), she was also a suffragette! Lo and behold, Smyth even had a piece called “The March of the Women” that she composed to celebrate the release of suffragettes from jail (and conducted it once from a jail cell)!
The first half of Track 26 “Epilogue” is an arrangement of this suffragette anthem, “The March of the Women” (1910) composed by Ethel Smyth (with lyrics by Cicely Hamilton). In the second half of the arrangement, I meld the March of the Women theme with the La Folia chord progression and it’s triple meter, which is in contrast to the march’s big two feel. This La Folia material appears throughout the score representing the Ladies League Theme, progress, and hope for the future. As the arrangement shifts, it becomes a sort of “La Folia variations on a theme of March of the Women”, crescendoing to the end with the conviction of progress made but with the understanding and determination that there’s work yet to be done.
To contact Dr. Cifrino about her research, email: cifrino[at]wisc.edu
Our Democracy is on the line. We’re in an unprecedented time of out of control political conspiracy theories, violence, lies and election denial – because of this, I urge you all to vote!! Before the 19th had its premiere around the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment being passed into law. Now a century later women’s rights have been rolled back, it’s more important than ever to show up to the polls and vote for your local representatives who support women! Generations of women fought long and hard for the right to vote and we owe it to them to exercise our democratic action; especially for those who have a voice (like the youth participating in React) but cannot yet express their views at the polls. Their future depends our our decisions today! May they be sound, sane decisions, rooted in reality. Stand up for truth & vote in support of women rights!
*The views expressed on this site are my own and do not represent or speak on behalf of React *
Some other tidbits about the Score
The original stage production was scored with music from DJ Spooky’s “Rebirth of a Nation” featuring the Kronos Quartet. That visual arts project & album was really unique especially for the mid 2000s. Remixologist DJ Spooky was taking the silent KKK propaganda film, Birth of a Nation and flipping it on its head 100 years later. DJ Spooky remixed the visuals from that silent film live accompanied by both pre-recorded and remixed compositions for Kronos Quartet mixed with them also playing live to help score this re-envisioned tableau. So when Georgeanna asked me to compose a replacement score for the filmed version, there was one caveat: they’d already filmed the choreographed movement sequences to the DJ Spooky soundtrack… So I had to stay in the same tempo, same orchestration style and same musical key in order for it all to match up with the dancing & movement on film and of course to stay true to the original vibe that everyone was used to. At minimum I needed to be a string quartet, at maximum I needed to be an orchestra. I spent some time studying the raw musical elements behind Rebirth of a Nation (ex. key of C minor, certain note patterns, the rhythmic intensity, the tempo, etc) and ended up re-mixing that material. The trick was to compose something similar enough to replace it while also sounding enough like me that I didn’t feel like I was simply biting someone’s material or infringing on copyrights… I treated it as sort of a theme and variations on the basic concepts and continued to spin the web further and further as the project developed. It tickled me that I was remixing a remix – something I feel that DJ Spooky would approve of!
I also wanted to source something from the Classical Music world to match the atmosphere of The Ladies League of Art and Culture, so I set my sights on the La Folia chord progression. This has been a long lived musical playground for Western composers over the last 400 years. Being in this “remix mindset” I knew I could leverage the flexibility of the La Folia theme and variations to round out the voice of these compositions and infuse it with some other source material. The result is a heavy Baroque style throughout the score. I am using both my standard cello (sometimes with steel, sometimes with gut) and my sarangicello (with gut) to get a big ensemble blend. The sarangicello has the same top two strings as the bass viol da gamba, although it sounds a little more like a tenor viol and it sits within in that range. Those impressions of viola da gamba further helped in exploring the Baroque La Folia flavors.
I also wanted to include an instrument that showed the Ladies League of Art and Culture dedication to preservation of American Cultural Heritage. The instrument I chose to help represent the leagues historical arts interest was the Glass Harmonica invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761. It has a dreamy quality, but when you listen closely to the texture it can be a little harsh sounding too, that complexity drew me in. Incredibly difficult to play, requiring a delicate technique – it’s the type of instrument which requires absolute dedication and perseverance in order to create beauty. Qualities I thought would resonate with such an arts league.
It was a lot of multi-tracking, but I had a blast making this soundtrack and I hope you enjoy the end result. → now go vote!!!
It was my first ever live-stream, and it ended up being much longer and more dramatic than I originally planned! I was getting my #sarangicello tuned up and ready for last Thursday’s (03/17/22) St. Patty’s Day performance at Al Ringling Brewing co. in Baraboo, WI. Bandleader Chad Canfield, Chickpezio Nazario and I formed a trio version of the steam-punk band Vardo! Unfortunately, as I was getting things tuned up, two of my D strings broke!! Yikes! Follow me on this adventure as I battle against my temperamental sarangicello, all while explaining its unique gut string setup!
If you want to check out what Vardo has cooking, you can come see us play again at the Al Ringling Brewing Company on April 1st, from 6-8pm! Trio style with Rusty Chicken on Violin this time!
In Episode 03 and 04 of my new series “Setup Madness!” we’ll be changing from Pirastro Perpetual Soloist A & D (med) to the Jargar Superior A & D (med)! I was very excited to try this new Superior string set from Jargar because I grew up playing on Jargar’s Classic A & D strings (med). I have high hopes for their new developments in string making (and honestly think it’s a little overdue!). You’ll be listening to me make observations, noting crucial differences between the Pirastro and Jargar strings. For episode 03, I’ll still have the Pirastro Perpetual Soloist D (medium) and Cadenza G C strings (light) on my cello; and in episode 04, I’ll be switching over to Jargar’s Superior D (med) string.
Special Thanks again goes out to the Dane Arts Council for awarding me one of their 2021 ‘DANG! Arts Grants’ which funded the purchase of my new camera setup and all of its accessories! http://www.danearts.com
Episode 04: Jargar Superior D string (medium)
I’ll be taking a vacation for the next 2 weeks, so there’ll be no new ‘Setup Madness’ episodes until the end of January, next year… But! Here’s what you have to look forward to in the next few episodes!
Episode 05 will feature the Larsen original C string (heavy gauge) Episode 06 will feature the Larsen original G string (heavy gauge) Episode 07 will feature the Pirastro Passione gut G string (strong gauge) Episode 08 will feature the Pirastro Passione gut C string (strong gauge) Episode 09 will feature the Pirastro Oliv gut D string (light) Episode 10 maaaayyyy possibly feature the Pirastro Eudoxa gut A string (medium) with the Passione GC and Oliv D… we’ll just have to see…. but it looks like I’m moving back to gut….
Annnd, starting with Episode 07 you’ll finally get to see some footage from my new camera!!
Lots already filmed, as you can see, so subscribe to the “Brian Grimm’s Cello Zone” youtube channel to keep up to date when each episode as it comes out (I post on Monday or Thursday).