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About joelmarquez

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  1. Anyone here going to see Monna Vanna?

    Just to give you an idea of how enormous an undertaking this was, when we put out our casting call, we received over a thousand submissions, and over 800 for Vanna alone. Out of that group, we -barely- were able to get fully cast with the caliber of actors required for these roles. And 3 of them were cast from personal networking. There was not one actress in that pile of 800 submissions that was remotely close to being Vanna. If I had to find another Vanna, I would despair of having to dive into another pile like that. Having the will to do the play is the first step, of course. But trying to find a cast for it is like herding cats. Even if you can find the actors you like, getting them to be on the same schedule is impossible if they're not getting paid. I'm biased, and I do think this could be a commercially successful venture. But it'll be more expensive to do this in the future, not less. If only to guarantee the time of the great cast we have now. I'm definitely not opposed to the idea, so if you know someone who would want to bankroll it, send them my way. But for now, enjoy this version. It won't be here forever. Joel
  2. Anyone here going to see Monna Vanna?

    Hi Ed, Thanks for that. I'm glad you liked it. I know that you know the play pretty well. How did the real-life performances match up with your expectations? Did anything surprise you? Joel
  3. Anyone here going to see Monna Vanna?

    Hi Dave, I've been telling everyone that this could be a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Like Brigadoon, it could easily disappear for another 100 years. It's unlikely that there will be a commercially available video. So treasure this while you can. (by the way, we had people drive down from Berkeley on Saturday. Others from the Bay Area will be coming down either next week or the week after. Most of the people at Sunday's show drove up from Orange County, and a few from San Diego.) Joel
  4. Anyone here going to see Monna Vanna?

    Hi Dave, I'm glad to hear it! Episode 8 has been posted to the play's blog, and it should be on iTunes as well, though it apparently takes a while to show up after being posted. In it, we talk again with Stephan Smith Collins, who plays Guido, about Act III. There are some minor spoilers, but nothing big. Over the weekend, we recorded two more episodes, this time with Robin Field, who will be playing Marco, Guido's father. They're very good episodes, if I do say so myself. Robin talks about some of the backstory he used to fill in some of the blanks in Marco's character, and I think Objectivists will find it very interesting. Also, is there anything you, or anyone else, would like to hear us talk about on the podcast? We will be doing another episode, or more this next weekend, and are actively looking for things to talk about. Here's a thought: If interested parties would like to post questions for us here, we'll try to answer them on the podcast. Thanks!
  5. Is anyone on this forum planning on seeing the production of Monna Vanna, in Hollywood? Just curious.
  6. Monna Vanna

    Thanks to all the well-wishers. We're just now into our 4th week of rehearsal and it's probably the most creative and fulfilling experience I've ever had. Our actors are crazy passionate about the material, and it's inspiring to see. It's hard to say whether this will happen. The only thing we know for sure is that there will be a three week run in Hollywood, and it could very easily be the only form in which this play will exist. We're trying to make this have a life beyond those three weeks, but there are no guarantees.
  7. Monna Vanna

    You might be interested to know that there is a new production of this play being staged in Hollywood and directed by yours truly. We open on November 29th at the Stella Adler theater on Hollywood and Highland and we're running for three straight weeks. Our cast is prodigiously talented, classically trained, and passionate about the material. Also, the 12/2 sunday 2pm show will be a benefit for the Ayn Rand Institute. You can find out more information at the following website: Keep checking back with the website, as we plan to have a behind-the-scenes podcast and a blog up soon.
  8. Funny Face (1957)

    While it's true that Fred Astaire was past his prime by the time Funny Face came around, there were a few numbers that still take your breathe away. That mock bullfight he stages in the courtyard of Audrey Hepburn's hotel reminded me a little of Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain. It still had Astaire's elegant style but was also athletic and masculine, like a Gene Kelly dance. Of course, the number wasn't continuous and had to be broken up into four or five cuts. In the old days, he would have shot the whole thing without a break. Pretty good for a 60 year old guy, though.
  9. Funny Face (1957)

    Just came back from seeing Funny Face at the New Beverly here in LA and I have to say that I liked the movie a lot more than my memory of it. It's the old Ugly Duckling story, sort of a 1950's version of The Devil Wears Prada. And of course, Audrey Hepburn is so good as the duckling who becomes a swan (even though she's fairly swan-like before her transformation). What I had forgotten is that it was directed by Stanley Donen, who directed Audrey Hepburn in Charade and Two for the Road, but more famously was the director of Singin' in the Rain, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Every time I see one of Donen's movies, I'm always struck by how thoroughly American he is, in the best way. He's optimistic and down to earth, full of vibrant, vivacious life. He's wise and cheerful and loves to mock phoniness. And what I had really forgotten about Funny Face is how, while it was a movie that loved Paris, the city, it was also a movie that loved to mock the French. Seriously. Some of the anti-french zingers in this movie had me laughing out loud in the middle of the theater. The Astaire/Hepburn romance was still a little awkward (he could have been her grandfather), but it was still a sweet, surprisingly witty movie, and a lot better than I remembered.
  10. Funny Face (1957)

    It happens to be playing tonight at the New Beverly theater in Los Angeles, along with Breakfast at Tiffany's. I like Funny Face, but I'm not crazy about it. It's a lot of fun, and Audrey is just so pleasing to watch, but I can't stand that beatnik dance scene, the one that the latest GAP ads stole. I also like Kay Thomson, who's really funny, and Astaire is incomparable, as usual.
  11. On the other hand, there's this:
  12. The West Wing

    This is why I've always maintained that the West Wing, at least during the Aaron Sorkin years, was Romantic drama. You probably won't agree with Sorkin's ideas on what ought to be, but you can't accuse him of the slavish devotion to naturalism that drives most drama today. The West Wing depicts the presidency as he thinks it ought to be, in essentialized form. I also think that, because Sorkin wished to portray his ideal presidency, and because Sorkin the dramatist wants to test his ideal president against the best the opposition has to offer, those first few seasons of the West Wing were remarkably fair to Republicans. Unlike some parts of the later seasons, the opposition was portrayed by their best exponents, if only to make the president look better by comparison.
  13. Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

    I just came back from seeing this movie and I agree wholeheartedly. It's a terrific, heartwarming movie. Anyone who complains about good movies not being made anymore should see this as a counter to that argument. Objectivists would be particularly interested because the movie makes a very good point that a conceptual approach to language gives you the key to understanding ideas, as against the approach of rote memorization. But a better reason to see it is that the heroine is a cute, plucky little girl who learns to embrace her own genius against all kinds of opposition. I'm also not sure how to rank this movie on the 1-10 scale because I gave Goal! an 8, and Akeelah is a better movie, but 9 is something that I reserve for great movies like On the Waterfront. I wish I could give it an 8.5.
  14. Goal! (2005)

    It really is quite shocking to me how benevolent this movie is. What makes it work for me is the pure joy of its hero for the thing he loves the most. He doesn't apologize and he isn't ashamed for wanting to be happy. The story allows him to demonstrate this by giving him an antagonist that opposes him with, not a physical obstacle (as is the case with a lot of sports movies), but the idea that he doesn't have the right to be happy, and he shouldn't have ambitions. I hope I'm not spoiling things by saying that pure joy wins.
  15. Goal! (2005)

    By the way, the trailer can be seen here: