South Pacific

Quick break from Shakespeare today to relate one of my most embarrassing theatrical oversights.

20190213-Clueless.jpg

This comic appears courtesy of my supporters on Patreon! Thanks to all of them for helping make it possible for me to spend my time drawing Shakespeare stick figure comics.

The Ohio Light Opera 2019 Season, part 2

We’re back with the remaining four productions on the Ohio Light Opera 2019 playbill, starting with a classic Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, possibly the first theatrical piece I memorized as a small child. Because… pirates.

20190613-PiratesOfPenzance.jpg

Everyone knows Rodgers and Hammerstein, but Hammerstein did a lot of work with Kern before he really figured out how to effectively integrate these things called “plots” into a musical (Show Boat notwithstanding). Here’s one of their earlier efforts:

20190613-MusicInTheAir.jpg

A season at OLO wouldn’t be complete without some csardas-fueled Emmerich Kalman (a personal favorite of mine).

20190613-DevilsRider.jpg

And finally, for those fans of hopelessly melodramtic, multi-generational tales of foiled romance, we have this incredibly florid offering from Ivor Novello (aka Jeremy Northam in Gosford Park).

20190613-PerchanceToDream.jpg

I’m looking forward to seeing all of these next month!

The Ohio Light Opera 2019 Season, part 1

Short break from Shakespeare this week! The Ohio Light Opera, my favorite obscure operetta and early musical theatre festival, is about to open their season this weekend! To celebrate, I’m taking a look at their playbill, starting with some (relatively) heavy hitters.

First up, a Rodgers & Hammerstein classic.

20190611-SouthPacific.jpg

Fun fact: I, a mixed race child of Asian and Caucasian parents, was well into my twenties before I realized Nellie’s problem with Emile was miscegenation. Apparently, I am totally clueless.

Next, some fluffy Gershwin!

I love me some Gershwin, so I am looking forward to this. I’ve seen Crazy For You, the updated, “new and improved” version of Girl Crazy, but I’ve never seen the original.

And now, the opposite of fluffy Gershwin: serious Sondheim.

20190611-IntoTheWoods.jpg

Tune in Thursday for the rest of the OLO 2019 season, featuring a Gilbert & Sullivan classic and a bunch of REALLY OBSCURE stuff.

The Ohio Light Opera 2018 Season in 3 Panels Each!

It's almost opening week for the Ohio Light Opera! I'm looking forward to going to Wooster later in the summer to get my annual light opera and early musical fix, but for now, here's a rundown of their entire season.... starting with Adler and Ross's classic musical about sleepwear and industrial action!

20180612-ThePajamaGame.jpg

Next up is a Rodgers and Hart classic that was turned into a classic-but-totally-unrecognizable film adaptation starring Mickey & Judy, featuring free-range theatre kids attempting to PUT ON A SHOW.

Next up, a Cole Porter musical. As with most Cole Porter musicals that are not Anything Goes or Kiss Me Kate, I know lots of the songs in this one, but have never heard of it before. 

20180612-FiftyMillionFrenchmen.jpg

No Ohio Light Opera season would be complete without a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta.

I'm excited about OLO's first Leonard Bernstein production, especially because it's Candide. It has an AWESOME OVERTURE. 

You can almost always guarantee that an Offenbach operetta is going to be silly, but La Perichole actually seemed comparatively sedate by his standards... until it gets to Act 3.

20180612-LaPerichole.jpg

And finally, a Lehar operetta. These are generally either moderaetly fluffy or somewhat self-importantly bittersweet and romantic. Fortunately, this is firmly in the first category. 

Looking forward to seeing all this good stuff on the stage on the Freedlander Theatre later this summer! 

The Ohio Light Opera 2017 Season in 3 Panels Each!

It's almost time for my favorite light opera theatre company's season to start! The Ohio Light Opera kicks off their 2017 season this weekend. Let's see what they have in store for us this year...

We start off with a couple well-known musicals, the first being Meredith's Willson's magnum opus, The Music Man. 

So far so good. Next up is Cole Porter's Anything Goes. 

When you think about Anything Goes, you think about all the great song and dance numbers. You never think about the denouement with the dubious Chinese disguises. That's because it's stupid. 

OLO was kind enough to program the same Gilbert and Sullivan operetta that is playing at the Stratford Festival this year, so I didn't have to draw a new comic of it:

"THIS RESOLVES EVERYTHING SOMEHOW", a.k.a. the motto of most Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. I loves 'em.

From Gilbert and Sullivan to Gershwin, Primrose looks like a nice, typical, early American musical, with lots of couples getting mixed up.

Side note: I really resent drawing 3-panel plays of shows that have more than two couples in them, because it's a real pain to try and fit six or more people in a single panel. 

A lovely Ruritanian romance classic by Sigmund Romberg is up next:

There always has to be a bittersweet operetta in any OLO season to balance out all the frothy, lighthearted capering, and The Student Prince is this year's offering.

Next up is ONE OF MY FAVORITES AAAAAAAAAH I LOVE IT:

I love Countess Maritza. Apart from Die Fledermaus, it's probably my favorite of the Classical Viennese Operetta genre. The music is great and the plot is actually decent. The last OLO production of Maritza back in 2003 probably ranks as one of my top ten theatrical experiences of all time; I'm not even joking.

OK, next up we have this hot mess: 

Don't ask me any questions about this one. I have absolutely no answers, but it's currently in the running for this season's Stupidest Plot in a Musical or Operetta award. I absolutely can't wait to see it. If it's half as stupid as Herbert's Dream City and the Magic Knight, it'll be a real winner. 

And that's the Ohio Light Opera's 2017 season! If you're in Midwest, seriously think about checking them out - they've perfected the art of balancing the madcap stupidity and unapologetic melodrama of operetta and early American musicals, and it's always a delight to watch them. I can't wait to visit them in August!

Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival

In other news, I will be exhibiting at the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival (nee Kids Read Comics) this weekend! Stop by the downtown Ann Arbor District Library between 12:00pm and 5:30pm on Saturday and Sunday and say hello! I will be selling the usual t-shirts, posters, and comic books. It's going to be a lot of fun!

tumblr_inline_oq23k07zJ21qabace_500.jpg

The Stratford Festival 2017 Season... in 3 Panels!

Spring is in the air, which means the Stratford Festival's season is getting underway, so it's about time for me to put together a handy guide to the plays that will be appearing on their myriad stages this year. This season the theme is "Questions of Identity".

We start with one of my all-time favorite musicals:

Then we have one of my all-time favorite piratical swashbucklers:

And then this play. I guess it's a classic of some sort, I dunno...

From Shakespearean classic to Gilbert and Sullivan classic:

I've written a theme song for this next play. It goes like this: "Who lives in a hole and acts quite beastly? SPONGETIMON ATHENSPANTS! Embittered and dirty and misanthropic is he. SPONGETIMON ATHENSPANTS!"

Then, for all your gender-bending needs, we have what is probably my favorite Shakespearean comedy:

It may seem like writing a three-panel summary of a play is a fairly straightforward endeavor. Unfortunately, this is only true when the play itself is relatively straightforward, unlike our next offering:

"After many confusions" is code for "too much stupid stuff happened for me to adequately distill in this format."

Then it's time for a play by one of Shakespeare's contemporaries, Thomas Middleton:

There's a whole complicated subplot that I haven't even bothered to address here. Anyways. Keeping with the "bodies everywhere" theme, we have this classical offering:

Up next are a couple of new plays, so I may not be 100% accurate with these summaries. First is a follow-up to The Last Wife, Kate Hennig's play about the life of Katherine Parr. This one revolves around a young Elizabeth I and her highly-problematic relationship with Thomas Seymour:

The Breathing Hole is another new play by Colleen Murphy. I may not have all the details right, but the important thing to remember here is that it stars a polar bear.

These two new Canadian plays are followed by a pair of French plays, one classic:

...and one a bit more contemporary:

The final play of Stratford's season is The Komagata Maru Incident. It's framed in a very metatheatrical way, which I'm going to totally skip over here and just tell you what is being metatheatrically portrayed. 

(Stick figures don't do "metatheatrical" very well....)

And that's the Stratford Festival's 2017 season! Speaking of which, I will be participating in the Festival's Forum this season as part of a panel entitled "Willy Shakes: Fanboy". Here are the details:

WHO: Me and the Kill Shakespeare guys (Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery)
WHAT: A panel discussion on Shakespeare, comics, graphic novels, and whatever else.
WHEN: Tuesday, September 6, 10:45am
WHERE: The Chalmers Lounge at the Avon Theatre, Stratford, ON
WHY: Because they asked me to and it sounded really cool.
HOW: You can check out the details and buy tickets online!

If you're in the Stratford area, I hope to see you there!

My Plot (a Shakespearean Hamilton parody)

Dear old Shakespeare's birthday/deathday is coming up this Sunday! To celebrate, I've written him a little song.

....OK, I've stolen a song from Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton and then rewritten all the lyrics. 

20170420-MyPlot.jpg

Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Shakespearean Love)

It's Valentine's Day! Let's dust off one of Cole Porter's classic love songs and give it a Shakespearean twist. 

If you're not familiar with the original song, here's another Shakespearean version of it, courtesy of the RSC Shakespeare Revue:

To be honest, I was trying to find a different song to use, because they did such a good job with this one and I didn't want to retread the ground, but it was just TOO MUCH FUN not to...

Happy Valentine's Day! (Or, if you prefer, Happy Singles Appreciation Day!)