Wednesday, October 29, 2008
In 2006, I worked on Israel Horovitz's new play The Secret of Madame Bonnard's Bath at Gloucester Stage Company in Gloucester, Mass. I had the good fortune to work under Mr. Horovitz's direction, and during my five weeks in Gloucester, I was able to get to know him and his wonderful family. When I came back to Richmond after the run of 'Bonnard', I plunged right into rehearsals for the one-man show I AM MY OWN WIFE at Firehouse. As I made my way out the door to go to the theatre for the opening night of 'WIFE' at FTP, I checked the mail. In the mailbox was a package from Israel, containing the DVD recording of 'Bonnard.' As I opened the DVD case, I noticed there was something written on the DVD in black magic marker. "What is this??" I thought. As I looked closer, I saw that it was a signature-- the word ADROCK emblazoned like a graffiti tag across the DVD itself.
I just about fell over.
See, ADROCK is the rap name of Mr. Horovitz's son, Adam, one of the three members of perhaps my favorite musical group ever-- THE BEASTIE BOYS.
I can tell you exactly where I was when each major Beastie Boys album came out. When License to Ill came out in 1986, I was thirteen years old living temporarily in Factoryville PA, playing hoops in my dad's gravel driveway. When 1989's Paul's Boutique Debuted, I was a moody sophomore trying to get acclimated to my new surroundings at Pittsfield High School in MA. By the time Check Your Head hit in the spring of 1992, I was a hyperkinetic Freshman at Wagner College on Staten Island. 1994's Ill Communication provided party music for many a beer-soaked collegiate throwdown during the summer before my senior year. Soon followed the punk-themed EP Aglio E Olio and the retro-themed archive Some Old Bullshit, both of which came out as I was navigating the ins and outs of living in NYC. Four years later, Hello Nasty was the soundtrack to my inaugural summer at The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama in Manteo, North Carolina, where I met many lifelong friends. By 2004's To The Five Boroughs, I was firmly entrenched in the Richmond Theatre Scene, and last summer I enthusiastically cranked The Mix-Up on my way out to Hanover Tavern to perform The Odd Couple Nightly.
I have always admired the members of the group-- Adam Horovitz, Adam Yauch, and Mike Diamond-- because of their refusal to sit still; Their tireless creativity, humor and energy pops in every beat and goofy lyric, and their ever-evolving musical range --combined with their strong social conscience --has inspired me to no end. They are genuinely nice fellas who care deeply about the world in which we live. I like that. It resonates with me. A lot.
Yach's Tibetan-themed 'Bodhisattva Vow' in 1994 sparked the beginnings of my interest in Buddhism, and the video of him smashing his nine-millimeter handgun with a sledge hammer in the video of for 'Something's Got to Give' is a great moment to behold. and Diamond's Lyric "Sometimes I feel as though/I've been blessed/Because I'm doing what I want/ so I never rest" serves as a personal reminder to me of just exactly how good I have it in my life.
I have always loved the Beasties, from their :44-second cameo in KRUSH GROOVE to the day I opened that DVD from Israel and left a twenty-minute rambling, Incoherent 'Thank You' on his phone. Growing up, folks would ask me "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and I'd say "Easy-- The fourth Beastie Boy!!"
And yet, through all those years of rocking out to their fresh beats and funky grooves-- I was never fortunate enough to see them in concert. Not once.
Until last night.
The Beasties played headliner to a fantastic show at The Richmond Coliseum as part of their six-date Rock The Vote concert tour through all the Major swing states. Also on the bill were Nora Jones, Jack Johnson, Sheryl Crow and hip-hop artist SantoGold. (She was fresh!!)
The tickets were left by Adam Horovitz at the behest of Father Israel, and all I can say to both men is THANK YOU. In fact, this is the e-mail I received earlier in the day before the show:
"so..you can get your tickets and passes and stuff around 6-7:00...
go to the "will call" box office at the front of the building...
you'll be on the Beastie Boys guests list.
see you tonight...
I, Scott Wichmann, geeky fanboy from western Massachusetts, actually found myself on the freaking Beastie Boys' Guest list last night... which totally spun my head around Linda-Blair style. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever Imagine that his hip-hop highness The 'King Adrock' would be leaving me tickets to a B-Boy show. Holy Cow. I had the time of my life last night. And while I was there, I hooked up with local singer/actor Alia Bisharat (and her brother, Jake) and Actor/Writer/Fimmaker/Spoken-Word Poet Jude Fageas, the three of whom were there taking in the concert-- and we just had the best time.
The fellas really, really know how to put on a great show, and they were having just as much fun (If not more) than we were. I was totally going insane, rapping along with every lyric and sample. I was virtually oblivious to everything else. As a matter of fact, this fairly attractive blonde woman standing next to Alia said of me "Hey, Wasn't he in SCAPINO at Barksdale??" "Hey!! Weren't you in SCAPINO at Barksdale?? was that you?? You were great!!" And I barely took my eyes of the stage, mumbling something like "Uh...Uh Huh...Thankssss...." before jumping back into the lyrics of 'Sure Shot.' It was a really, really great evening.
I didn't get to meet the B-Boys last night-- they were probably really tired after the great show they gave us-- but I have no doubt I'll get the chance someday. What I'd really love to do is play pick-up basketball with them someday. Can we make that happen?? Anyone?? Israel??? Adam?? You game??
Anyway, Thanks again, B-Boys, for a great performance. It was a dream come true.
Here's a similar sample of how the show started last night, with a kick-ass Mix-Master Mike Solo Scratch routine. This video is from Glasgow in 1999, but it is fresh as HAIL:
I leave you with a really fun and easy to remember mantra from a Beastie Boys tune. May it inspire you to have a fun and prosperous day:
Dip Dip Dive,
Open up your ears
and clean out your Eyes,
If you learn to love
you're in for a surprise,
It could be nice to be alive!!!
Peace & Justice,
Monday, October 06, 2008
RICHARD III is open, and we have been getting a great deal of publicity lately. The reviews have been very positive, and the houses are starting to really pick up. We received a standing ovation on Saturday night, a raucous round of applause for a fantastic ensemble of actors who are doing terrific work night in and night out. We run until October 18th, and the houses are filling up!! Don't miss your chance to be a part of this amazing production.
I was recently featured in an interview on WTVR-6's Virginia This Morning with hosts Julie Bragg and fellow Bay-Stater, Red Sox Fan and SEAL Team alum, Greg McQuade.
(quick side-note: Greg won an Emmy for a piece on SEAL Team CEO and Founder John McGuire's battle back from paralysis.)
Greg and Julie were very gracious to afford me the opportunity to speak about this once-in-a-lifetime role. It is a nice, informative interview. Check it out:
For a quick rundown of the 'ink' we've been getting, look no further than this blog post-- your one-stop shop for all the RIII news that's fit to print.
If you're unfamiliar with what we're doing out at Henley Street Theatre, I urge you to check out these links to three separate feature stories on the concept of our production of RICHARD III. Here are links to some interesting and informative reads from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Style Weekly and Richmond.com. You can also read a great feature on Director James Ricks and myself in Richmond Marquee-- you can do yourself a favor and subscribe to this great Theatre Resource by going here!! (I love you, Lisa!!)
I also wrote a short piece for URGE Magazine on the process of creating my version of Richard Gloucester. You can peruse that here.
As for the reviews, we've gotten two very positive ones from the RTD's Susan Haubentstock and Style's Dave Timberline. A third review, from Richmond.com's Joan Tupponce, was heard on NPR last tuesday; I'm working on finding either a link or a transcript --or both.
More information can also be found at the Henley street Theatre website. You'll find Ticket prices, showtimes, show photos and much more info regarding Henley Street's 2008-2009 season.
Meantime, we hope you'll join us for the remaining performances of RICHARD III. You'll be glad you did.
Thanks for reading!! I hope to see you on Henley Street!!