Tag Archives: The Practical Theatre Company

Just Two Weeks Until the New Year’s Fun Begins…

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Paul Barrosse, Victoria Zielinski and Dana Olsen veterans of Practical Theatre Co., founded by Northwestern students in the 1980s, are hosting a holiday show Dec. 30 and 31 at Studio5 in Evanston. (Bradford Rogne)

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Myrna Petlickiscreen-shot-2016-12-16-at-11-50-56-am

Pioneer Press

Three veterans of the Practical Theatre Co. will once again share its signature blend of social commentary and comedy in “Mr. Olsen’s Holiday Party,” Dec. 30 and 31 at Evanston’s new Studio5.

Husband and wife Paul Barrosse and Victoria Zielinski of Los Angeles, and Evanston resident Dana Olsen, were members of the company founded by Northwestern University students, which achieved acclaim throughout the 1980s.

The trio first reunited onstage four years ago at the Wilmette Theatre, performing a variety show called, “Mr. Olsen’s Neighborhood.” Two years ago, they did “Mr. Olsen’s New Year’s Rockin’ Neighborhood” at 27 Live. Last year, the three of them presented a version of the current show in Los Angeles, joined by longtime friend Steve Rashid of Evanston, a noted musician and composer, who co-owns Studio5 with wife Bea Rashid.

“We thought, this being an election year, this would be a perfect time to collaborate,” Zielinski said. “We collaborated on the sketches, imagining Hillary Clinton’s presidency and Donald Trump as a kind of jokester. Now we’re scrambling to rewrite two central numbers.”

“Which we think we’ve done successfully,” Barrosse added. “But it’s been a mixture of laughter and tears.”

Olsen, who hosts, describes the show as, “Our sort of tribute to the old network holiday shows you used to see on NBC, like Dean Martin or Bob Hope or Andy Williams used to host.”

Zielinski added, “Those are the things, as we grew up, we would go to in front of the television at Christmastime. Now that we’re getting to be a little bit older, we thought it would be funny to mix the Practical Theatre zaniness with kind of an Andy Williams Christmas special.”

In one of Olsen’s favorite sketches, he plays an administrative official at Northwestern who is talking to two professors. “They’re delivering the results of a very arcane research project that they’re pitching to the university,” he said.

In another Olsen favorite, the three performers play a trio of animals, which Olsen admitted is tough on his back.

“We’ll be getting into film noire,” Barrosse added, and then revealed, “Victoria is wincing because she doesn’t want me to give away any premises. She wants nothing but surprises.”

“I’m not wincing,” Zielinski interjected. “It’s my normal attitude.”

She added that this show lets audiences know, “There’s a real excitement and sex and fun to being over 50 and having a great time from a comedic standpoint. It’s not a voice that you hear represented a lot onstage.”

Music director Rashid on keyboards will lead a quartet featuring drummer Ronny Crawford, Don Stiernberg on guitar and mandolin, and bassist Jim Cox.

Talented members of the second generation will also perform. That includes standup comedians Emilia Barrosse and Giggle Breaks’ Daniel Rashid. Barrosse and Zielinski’s other daughter, singer Eva B. Ross will also entertain, as will Rashid’s son, drummer Robert Rashid.

Steve Rashid knows how spontaneous his Practical Theatre Company friends can be. “From a musical standpoint, I have to always be prepared because anything could happen.”

‘Mr. Olsen’s Holiday Party’

When: 8 p.m. Dec. 30 and 31

Where: Studio5, 1934 Dempster St., Evanston

Tickets: $35-$45 Dec. 30; $60-$75 Dec. 31, which includes light food and post-show dancing

Information: studio5-holidayparty.bpt.me

Copyright © 2016, Chicago Tribune

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VPD Poster BHey, friends and comedy lovers!

Get ready for a groovy night of gown up fun! If you’re planning to go to the show, please check in at:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1624593977821359/

For tickets, go to the iO West Box Office at:

http://ioimprov.com/west/show/the-vic-paul-dana-show-2015-11-20/2015-11-21/

Thanks, everybody!

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The Vic & Paul & Dana Show

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Mee-Ow Art JPEGMy wife Victoria and I have known Dana Olsen since our days at Northwestern University in the late 1970’s. Dana was a damned funny guy then – and he’s gotten even funnier over the years.

While Victoria and I worked on the stage and then in television, Dana focused on screenwriting. Among the many films he’s written are The Burbs, Memoirs of an Invisible Man and George of the Jungle.

Document6 JPEGVic and I have remained close with Dana since graduation – and in the past few years we’ve been performing together again. The last time was when we joined Dana and other friends for Mr. Olsen’s New Year’s Rockin’ Neighborhood on New Year’s Eve 2013 at 27 Live in Evanston, Illinois – the college town just north of Chicago where we all first met in 1976.

For the past several months, we’ve been getting together with Dana whenever he’s in town – or we’re in Chicago – to brainstorm and improvise comedy sketches (which is just about our very favorite thing to do in this world). And, golly, the world’s been giving us some great subject matter this year!

Steve & RonnyThen, two great musical friends agreed to join the party: our longtime Practical Theatre Company musical director and Whiskey Lounge impresario, Steve Rashid — and drummer Rockin’ Ronny Crawford, who’s hit the skins for Lisa Loeb, Anna Nalick and The Rockme Foundation, among many others.

VPD Poster #7 JPEGThus comes “The Vic & Paul & Dana Show” — an improv sketch revue featuring music, comedy and a few cocktails. Baby Boomers by birth, we’re all wading chest-deep through middle age. But blessedly, our sharp taste for humor and irony – and a neat Manhattan — has not been dulled. Our show is a toast to grown up fun amid the craziness of contemporary life.

“The Vic & Paul & Dana Show” will play for just three nights – from Thursday, November 19 to Saturday, November 21 at the iO West Theatre in Hollywood, CA. All shows at 7:30.

Come out, enjoy a beverage or two — and share some well-earned laughs with us.

Here’s a gallery of shots from our photo session with Bradford Rogne. (He’s really good, folks.)

Photo by Bradford Rogne Photography

Photo by Bradford Rogne Photography

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VPD_-0237_High_Res

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Blog 2014: The Fifth Year In Review.

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2014 was the fifth year for this blog — and though I have to admit I was a relatively infrequent blogger this year — there were a handful of events I could not let pass without trying to say something. Most important was the loss of two iconic figures who granted me (and many others) the privilege of their invaluable friendship and mentorship. The passing of Sheldon Patinkin and Ray Shepardson made 2014 a year I will always remember.

Paul’s Voyage of Discovery & Etc. has attracted 189,401 viewers since it began — 24,929 in 2014. The busiest day of the year was September 21st with 505 views. The most viewed post that day was O Captain! My Comedy Captain! — my post on the passing of Sheldon Patinkin.

This is not the real subscription sign up box. The real one is further to the right. And up a little…

I continue to be honored that 179 subscribers have now signed on to have my posts automatically delivered to them via e-mail. (And 59 more who follow this blog on Twitter.)

Are you a subscriber?

If you’re not — then look to your right at the photo of the saluting Matey and follow the simple instructions to “Hop Aboard!”

What follows is a list of The Top Ten Most Popular Posts of 2014.

Just click on the title of each post to access the original article.

1. The Top Ten Rock & Roll Singers of All Time

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There’s nothing like a Top 10 list to promote discussion on a blog – and this December 5, 2011 post did just that. It’s one of the posts that has generated the most comments. A lot of people feel I’ve left one of their favorites off the list. Check it out – and then weigh in with your own opinion. Just realize that your opinion on rock & roll singing cannot possibly be as informed as my own.

2. 
O Captain! My Comedy Captain!



Sheldon Banner

I don’t know where my life would have gone if the great Sheldon Patinkin had not walked into a small storefront theatre on Howard Street in Evanston — and took my silliness seriously. Sheldon didn’t just change my life. He changed generations of lives. I will miss him every damn day. But, in essential ways, he will always be with me — and with all of the thousands of creative people whose lives he touched. (Posted on September 21, 2014.)

3. My Book Report: “The Battle of Midway”midway

What a great book! What an amazing chapter of world history! On January 23, 2012, I wrote this review of a book that captures all the incredible heroism, good luck, and turns of fate that made this epic World War Two naval battle an overwhelming victory that turned the tide of the war against Imperial Japan. In 2013, I wrote another report on an excellent World War Two book, The Day of Battle, about the campaign to liberate Italy. A few weeks after I wrote that post, my family and I visited the American cemetery in Tuscany and paid our respects to the soldiers whose valor, sacrifice and victory are recounted in Rick Atkinson’s fine book.

4. 
Farewell to Ray Shepardson, the Visionary Who Saved the Theatres

Ray Banner

I honestly had no idea how to headline this tribute to the great Ray Shepardson, who died suddenly and shockingly in Aurora, Illinois in the spring of 2014. The man who saved dozens of great old theatres and movie palaces from the wrecking ball was a man of prodigious energy, drive, and “can do” creativity. He is greatly missed by many. This was posted on April 16, 2014 — my birthday.

5. Victory at Pearl HarborPearl Harbor

Originally posted in 2010 on the anniversary of the “day that will live in infamy” – this post has become an annual event. A lot of military history fans visit this blog, but I think Pearl Harbor fascinates and resonates with Americans whether they have an interest in military history or not. The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks took more American lives – but Pearl Harbor was the shocking opening act in a drama that ultimately made the United States the world’s preeminent superpower.

6. The Occupy Wall Street Movement Doesn’t Need Black Bloc Buffooneryblackboc

Though we didn’t hear much about it in 2013,  the Occupy Wall Street movement has inspired a lot of posts on this blog since 2011. This post, written on November 2, 2011, has proven to be the most popular. Maybe that’s because people agree that we don’t need a bunch of foolish, immature anarchists screwing up a noble movement that ultimately helped to put Barrack Obama back in office. Without Occupy Wall Street, would Romney’s attack on the 47% have evoked such a profound and spirited response? Without Occupy Wall Street, would the concept of the 99% and 1% have ever entered the Zeitgeist? And can Occupy Wall Street — or something even more effective yet peaceful — please come back in 2o15?

7. Happy Birthday Bill of Rights!

On December 15, 2010 – the 215th birthday of our Bill of Rights – I wrote this basic primer on the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution and it’s become one of the most-read posts in the history of this blog. I guess that’s because Americans still give a damn about their rights and are keen to understand their Constitutional foundation.

8. Bazooka Joe, Jay Lynch & Me

One of the first posts I wrote for this blog back on January 9, 2010 celebrated my brief but soul-satisfying collaboration with the legendary underground comix artist, Jay Lynch, who gave Vic and me the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write a series of Bazooka Joe comics. It was one of the coolest chapters in my creative career. The Practical Theatre Company, Saturday Night LiveBehind the Music, The Vic & Paul Show and Bazooka Joe. Classics all. Can I retire now?

9. Paul McCartney & The War of 18121812banner

This was originally posted on June 18, 2012. That day was not just Paul McCartney’s 70th birthday – it was also the 200th anniversary of The War of 1812. 130 years after the young upstart United States declared war on Great Britain, Paul McCartney was born. I thought that was a real fun fact.

10. LeBron: The King Moves Onlebron-banner-2

As a Cleveland native, I’ve often been asked my opinion of LeBron James leaving the Cavaliers several years ago — and my friends and co-workers are usually shocked that I’m not upset or indignant or jilted, etc. And while the blogosphere hardly needed one more commentary on LeBron James’ move to the Miami Heat, I wrote this post on July 9, 2010 to explain that LeBron James didn’t owe me anything. He’s a professional basketball player who wants to win and be remembered as the best to play the game. The two NBA championships he’s won in Miami since I wrote this post have given LeBron all the scoreboard he needs. in 2014, The King came back to Cleveland, which is doubtless the reason for renewed interest in this post.

So, that’s the best of 2014. Stay connected. Subscribe. And please keep posting your comments!

Here’s to a worthy, adventurous voyage in 2015!

And here are the All-Time Top 10 Blog Posts from January 2010 up to today:

1. Happy Birthday Bill of Rights!

2. Victory at Pearl Harbor

3. The Occupy Wall Street Movement Doesn’t Need Black Bloc Buffoonery

4. The Top Ten Rock & Roll Singers of All Time

5. History & Honeymoon: Part Three

This post was the #3 post in 2010. 24 years ago, my wife Victoria and I went to Gettysburg and other Civil War battlefields on our honeymoon! I needed no other assurance that I had married the perfect woman. On our 20th anniversary, we returned to Gettysburg. Now both students of the battle, we walked the battlefield on July 1, 2 and 3, 2010 on the 147th anniversary of that critical conflict. My four-part account of our battlefield tramping became one of the most popular items on the blog. (Originally posted July 20, 2010)

6. A Childhood Memory of Kent State, May 4. 1970Kent State

On the May 4, 2012 anniversary of this very dark day in America history, I posted this personal remembrance of a young Ohioan’s earliest memories of that terrible day. Unlike the Pearl Harbor post, I haven’t re-posted this article every year — but readers still find it. “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming.” The shootings at Kent State should never be forgotten.

7. Aliens Among Us?

I’ve always wondered where singular, epochal, “out of this world” geniuses like William Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci and Bob Dylan came from. So, on January 26, 2011, I wrote this speculation on the possible alien origin of such monumental minds. Evidently, my curiosity (if not my Erich Van Daniken “ancient astronaut” fantasy) is still shared by a lot of people who read my blog in the past year.

8. Growing Up in the Space Age

The last American space shuttle launch inspired this July 14, 2011 remembrance of my personal connection to the Space Age. This popular post salutes my fellow Ohioan, John Glenn, who served as both the first man to orbit the Earth and as a Senator from my home state. I wish that my three daughters had grown up experiencing something half as exciting and inspirational as The Race to the Moon.

9. My Book Report: “The Battle of Midway”

10. Bazooka Joe, Jay Lynch & Me

 

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Filed under Adventure, Art, Comedy, History, Politics, Sports

ObamaCare & Italy & Everything Else — Blog 2013: The Fourth Year In Review.

New Year'sObamacareitaly-banner-1 S&GFor my family and me, 2013 ended on an upbeat note with “Mr. Olsen’s New Year’s Rockin’ Neighborhood” — a raucous, sold-out celebration of comedy and rock & roll at 27 Live in Evanston, Illinois. The weather was bitterly cold but there was a delightful, enveloping warmth in our comic camaraderie with longtime friends, bandmates, fellow Northwestern University alums and members of The Practical Theatre Company.

P&EvaI even got to sing duets with my college roommate and fellow Practical Theatre founder, Brad Hall (as Simon & Garfunkel, above) — and with my daughter, Eva.

We closed the evening with two spirited sets by Riffmaster & The Rockme Foundation, the band I’ve been playing with since the early 1980’s. There’s no better way to ring in the New Year than by rocking with your best buddies. All in all, it was a wonderful way to say goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014.

suess-graphic-cruz26nI’ll be candid. For some reason, 2013 was not a very prolific year for this blog. I don’t know whether it was the fact that the excitement of the 2012 Presidential election gave way to Congressional constipation courtesy of the recalcitrant, reactionary Tea Party bloc in the House of Reps — or that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act led to the dispiriting madness of the government shutdown. I managed to get off a few broadsides skewering the likes of Senator Ted Cruz (Tea Party, TX) — but the I should have written more in defense of President Obama and progressive politics. (Though my most commented-on post in 2013 was President Obama Goes to War.) Still, I resolve to do a better job of blogging on politics in 2014.

ItalyBThe highlight of 2013 was our family’s two-week trip to Italy and the provinces of Tuscany and Umbria in August. I tried to sum up the experience in an article entitled, Our Italian Adventure. I could easily have written a series of blog posts on each of the beautiful cities and towns we visited, the artwork we saw, the food we ate, and the people we met — but I stuffed the whole, glorious journey into one account. To make amends to my readers I promise that, before too long, I will post a link to the movie we shot on the grounds of Camporsevoli. Stay tuned…

2013 was the fourth year for this blog — and here are the year’s vital signs:

Paul’s Voyage of Discovery & Etc. has attracted 164,472 views since it began four years ago. There were 34,572 visits in 2013. I’ve posted 299 articles since this blog began. This post is #3oo: certainly a notable milestone.

This is not the real subscription sign up box. The real one is further to the right. And up a little…

I am honored that 147 subscribers have now signed on to have my posts automatically delivered to them via e-mail. (And 43 more folks follow this blog on Twitter.) Are you a subscriber? If you’re not — then look to your right at the photo of the saluting Matey and follow the simple instructions to “Hop Aboard!”

The search terms that readers used most to find this blog were “Pearl Harbor”, “Occupy Wall Street”, “trial by jury”, “Bill of Rights” and “Pickett’s Charge”. And these are the posts that readers were most attracted to this year…

What follows is a list of The Top Ten Most Popular Posts of 2013.

Just click on the title of each post to access the original article.

1. Victory at Pearl HarborPearl Harbor

Originally posted in 2010 on the anniversary of the “day that will live in infamy” – this post has become an annual event. A lot of military history fans visit this blog, but I think Pearl Harbor fascinates and resonates with Americans whether they have an interest in military history or not. The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks took more American lives – but Pearl Harbor was the shocking opening act in a drama that ultimately made the United States the world’s preeminent superpower.

2. Happy Birthday Bill of Rights!

On December 15, 2010 – the 215th birthday of our Bill of Rights – I wrote this basic primer on the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution and it’s become one of the most-read posts in the history of this blog. I guess that’s because Americans still give a damn about their rights and are keen to understand their Constitutional foundation.

3. A Childhood Memory of Kent State, May 4. 1970Kent State

On the May 4, 2012 anniversary of this very dark day in America history, I posted this personal remembrance of a young Ohioan’s earliest memories of that terrible day. Unlike the Pearl Harbor post, I haven’t re-posted this article every year — but readers still find it. “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming.” The shootings at Kent State should never be forgotten.

4. The Top Ten Rock & Roll Singers of All Time

singerbanner1

There’s nothing like a Top 10 list to promote discussion on a blog – and this December 5, 2011 post did just that. Check it out – and then weigh in with your own opinion. Just realize that your opinion on rock & roll singing cannot possibly be as informed as my own.

5. The Occupy Wall Street Movement Doesn’t Need Black Bloc Buffooneryblackboc

Though we didn’t hear much about it in 2013,  the Occupy Wall Street movement has inspired a lot of posts on this blog since 2011. This post, written on November 2, 2011, has proven to be the most popular. Maybe that’s because people agree that we don’t need a bunch of foolish, immature anarchists screwing up a noble movement that ultimately helped to put Barrack Obama back in office. Without Occupy Wall Street, would Romney’s attack on the 47% have evoked such a profound and spirited response? Without Occupy Wall Street, would the concept of the 99% and 1% have ever entered the Zeitgeist?

6. My Book Report: “The Battle of Midway”midway

What a great book! What an amazing chapter of world history! On January 23, 2012, I wrote this review of a book that captures all the incredible heroism, good luck, and turns of fate that made this epic World War Two naval battle an overwhelming victory that turned the tide of the war against Imperial Japan. In 2013, I write another book report on an excellent World War Two account, The Day of Battle, about the campaign to liberate Italy. A few weeks after I wrote that post, my family visited the American cemetery in Tuscany and paid our respects to the soldiers whose valor, sacrifice and victory are recounted in Rick Atkinson’s fine book.

7. LeBron: The King Moves Onlebron-banner-2

As a Cleveland native, I’ve often been asked my opinion of LeBron James leaving the Cavaliers several years ago — and my friends and co-workers are usually shocked that I’m not upset or indignant or jilted, etc. And while the blogosphere hardly needed one more commentary on LeBron James’ move to the Miami Heat, I wrote this post on July 9, 2010 to explain that LeBron James didn’t owe me anything. He’s a professional basketball player who wants to win and be remembered as the best to play the game. The two NBA championships he’s won in Miami since I wrote this post have given LeBron all the scoreboard he needs.

8. Growing Up in the Space Age

The last American space shuttle launch inspired this July 14, 2011 remembrance of my personal connection to the Space Age. This popular post salutes my fellow Ohioan, John Glenn, who served as both the first man to orbit the Earth and as a Senator from my home state. I wish that my three daughters had grown up experiencing something half as exciting and inspirational as The Race to the Moon.

9. The Wrecking Crew

Glen Campbell, Hal Blaine, Carol Kay, Tommy Tedesco, Leon Russell, Earl Palmer: the cream of Los Angeles studio musicians in the late 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s became known as “The Wrecking Crew”. I’m thrilled that my March 21, 2011 blog article celebrating Tommy Tedesco’s son’s marvelous documentary film about these rock & roll legends has proven to be such a popular post. If you haven’t done it already, do a Google search on “The Wrecking Crew”. Until then, your rock & roll education is not complete.

10. The Matey’s Log: Sailing Season Begins raceheader

This post recounted a sailboat race held on February 13, 2010.  It was a good thing that the race was being run the day before Valentine’s Day. Like golf, sailing is a sport that takes men out of the house for long stretches of time on the weekend. But sailboat racing is worse than golf because it’s never certain when you’ll be done. 18 holes of golf always take about the same amount of time to complete. The duration of a sailboat race depends upon the vagaries of the wind and conditions on the water. I don’t sail as much as I used to to — but I still love it. And I’ll continue to report on my sailing adventures in the new year.

So, that’s the best of 2013. Stay connected. Subscribe. And please keep posting your comments!

Here’s to another fine voyage in 2014!

And here are the All-Time Top 10 Blog Posts from January 2010 up to today:

1. Happy Birthday Bill of Rights!

2. Victory at Pearl Harbor

3. The Occupy Wall Street Movement Doesn’t Need Black Bloc Buffoonery

4. History & Honeymoon: Part Three

This post was the #3 post in 2010. 24 years ago, my wife Victoria and I went to Gettysburg and other Civil War battlefields on our honeymoon! I needed no other assurance that I had married the perfect woman. On our 20th anniversary, we returned to Gettysburg. Now both students of the battle, we walked the battlefield on July 1, 2 and 3, 2010 on the 147th anniversary of that critical conflict. My four-part account of our battlefield tramping became one of the most popular items on the blog. (Originally posted July 20, 2010)

5. A Childhood Memory of Kent State, May 4. 1970

6. Aliens Among Us?

I’ve always wondered where singular, epochal, “out of this world” geniuses like William Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci and Bob Dylan came from. So, on January 26, 2011, I wrote this speculation on the possible alien origin of such monumental minds. Evidently, my curiosity (if not my Erich Van Daniken “ancient astronaut” fantasy) is still shared by a lot of people who read my blog in the past year.

7. Growing Up in the Space Age

8. The Top Ten Rock & Roll Singers of All Time

9. Bazooka Joe, Jay Lynch & Me

One of the first posts I wrote for this blog back on January 9, 2010 celebrated my brief but soul-satisfying collaboration with the legendary underground comix artist, Jay Lynch, who gave Vic and I the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write a series of Bazooka Joe comics. It was one of the great chapters in my creative career. The Practical Theatre Company, Saturday Night LiveBehind the Music, The Vic & Paul Show and Bazooka Joe. Classics all. Can I retire now?

10. History & Honeymoon: Part Four

2011 was the 150th anniversary of the commencement of the American Civil War – and the Civil War Sesquicentennial is likely the reason that two of my “History & Honeymoon” posts are still among the most-read this past year, including this one, first posted on July 26, 2010. This post covers everything from my wife Victoria and I battle tramping Pickett’s Charge on the third day of Gettysburg –to our visit to Philadelphia and the eccentric, visionary artwork of Isaiah Zagar.

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True Genius at Play this Weekend: Larry Schanker at the Piano!

It’s a rare thing to experience an artist of the highest caliber in his element. Imagine being in Picasso’s studio watching him paint. Try to picture yourself on a Hollywood movie set as Humphrey Bogart tells Ingrid Bergman, “Here’s looking at you, kid.” Just think of sitting in a Harlem club listening to Louis Armstrong blowing his horn.

That’s how you’ll feel listening to Larry Schanker at the piano.

And if you live anywhere near southern Michigan, northeastern Indiana or northwestern Ohio – you have a chance THIS WEEKEND to see true genius in the flesh.

On this Sunday, September 30th, you have a chance to enjoy one of the most brilliant pianists alive — Larry Schanker.

Larry will perform at the Acorn Theatre in Three Oaks, Michigan. For tickets, click here.

According to the New Buffalo Arts Council program, Larry’s “concert will consist of several three-piece thematic suites, in styles ranging from traditional classical music to classic rock. Dr. Schanker’s original music will be interspersed, including a solo version of the 4th movement of his Concerto for Jazz Piano. Rounding out the afternoon will be a showing of “In the Park”, a Charlie Chaplin short film with Dr. Schanker improvising the accompaniment.”

 Let me say two things:

1. Larry’s Concerto for Jazz Piano is like Gershwin on steroids – and only Larry could possibly play it!

2. I haven’t seen Chaplin’s “In the Park”, but I have seen Larry play live accompaniment to a Buster Keaton film – and he was amazing.

I’ve known Larry Schanker since our college days at Northwestern University when he was the piano player who kicked our Mee-Ow Show comedy revues up more than a few creative notches. After that, he was the man behind the piano for several history-making Practical Theatre Company comedy revues, as well as an original member of Riffmaster & The Rockme Foundation.

Since then, Larry’s work has run the gamut from Shakespeare to Chekhov, to The Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol, and Second City in Chicago. This past summer, Dr. Schanker (did I mention that he’s a very smart guy?) presented an evening of silent film as part of the Southwest Michigan Symphony Casual Classics Series — and at the Indiana University Cinema, he accompanied a 1920 silent film version of Hamlet.

Larry at the piano in 1988 while The Practical Theatre works on the Barrosse-Hall musical, “Rockme!” for the Columbia College New Musicals Project.

Yeah, yeah, yeah – he’s REALLY good. Go see him play. That way, you can say, “Oh! I saw Larry Schanker play in 2012 in New Buffalo!”

And everybody will wish they could have been there.

Two guys who WERE there. Rockme Foundation members Maurice Cleary (L) and Casey Fox (R) flank Maestro Doctor Schanker after his show.

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Coming Soon! Vic & Paul in Cleveland!

Here’s what my hometown newspaper, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, had to say after we did an interview with comedy beat writer, Mike McIntyre last week…

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