The Shapiro Files

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Where's the Baby News?

I started this blog with the intention of keeping family and friends in the loop on baby-related matters. However I quickly learned that other than the big "we're expecting" announcement, not much else happens for a while. When Marcie reaches 20 weeks, we'll know if the baby is a boy or girl. So there's at least one more major announcement to come. But aside from that, the only other big news will be when the baby actually arrives.

Until then, I hope visitors to this blog won't mind my frequent theater/acting related entries and other random thoughts from a random mind.

Baby Shapiro: Boy or girl?
Coming Soon

Friday, March 25, 2005

If I Wrote for David Letterman

If I were on the writing staff of Late Show with David Letterman, this would have been my submission for a monologue joke:
As you know, Wendy's restaurant has been having a tough time lately and apparently it's getting worse. Just today, their corporate headquarters received a very serious complaint from an angry customer who said that when she placed her order, a very rude employee behind the counter gave her the finger.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Zen and the Art of Gene Wilder

I have always been an avid reader. For as long as I can remember, I have never been without a book that I'm currently reading. There's always a book on my nightstand and I have never taken a vacation (no matter the length) without bringing both my current book and a second one in case I get though the first before the trip is over.

I also enjoy taking advantage of any time I have to spend in my car by listening to audiobooks downloaded from The book that's currently in my car's CD player is a wonderful memoir written and read by comic genius Gene Wilder. Called Kiss Me Like a Stranger, the book is a fairly free-form collection of memories of his childhood and development of his career as an actor. It's full of wonderful reflections on the art of acting, which anyone in the performing arts (me especially) would do well to take to heart. Here's one particularly memorable nugget of wisdom Wilder shares in describing Charlie Chaplin's brilliant performance in The Circus:
If the thing you're doing is really funny, you don't need to act funny while doing it.

Learn it. Live it. Be it.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Springing into Spring

flowersSpring is here.
Birds are calling.
Skunks are crawling.
Wagging their tails for love!

Spring is here.
Whales are churning.
Worms are squirming.
Wagging their tails for love!

—Charlie Chaplin (from Limelight, 1952)

Yesterday marked the first day of spring. Marcie and I ushered in the new season with a weekend visit to San Diego to see my brother Dan, my sister-in-law Kim, and my mother (visiting from Upland). Highlights of our trip included:
  • Seeing two plays (Batboy and Pageant) — both extremely entertaining

  • Watching The Boy in the Plastic Bubble in all its cringe-inducing glory for the first time in nearly 20 years

  • Spending some time with dozens of napping sea lions at the La Jolla Children's Pool area
On a completely unrelated note, happy 320th birthday to Johann Sebastian Bach. You don't look a day over 300, J.B.!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Ballyhoo Details (i.e. my most blatant plug yet)

I realized that although I've already talked about The Last Night of Ballyhoo in this blog, I haven't actually given any specific information about who's in it or how tickets can be purchased. So without further ado, here's that info:

The Last Night of Ballyhoo
A whirlwind romantic comedy
by Alfred Uhry

Cultures collide as the premiere of Gone with the Wind and preparations for Ballyhoo, a lavish Jewish society ball, overshadow the impending threat of war. Set in 1939 in Atlanta, Georgia, THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO is a delirious family comedy by the playwright that brought us Driving Miss Daisy and Mystic Pizza. Full of matchmaking schemes that rival Scarlett’s romantic intrigues, outrageously passionate characters make this Tony Award-winning play one that will touch your funny bone and your heart.


Adolph     Bob Bergman
Boo     Anne Hallinan
Reba     Cathy Spielberger Cassetta
Lala     Jennie Pierson
Sunny     Becky Wallace
Joe     Steve Shapiro
Peachy     Howard Miller


Lala     Sara Ocon
Peach     Toby Cordone
Reba and Boo     Linda McPharlin

Performance Dates & Times:

Fridays 8pm: April 8, April 15, April 22
Saturdays 3pm & 8pm: April 9, April 16, April 23
ADDED PERFORMANCE: Thursday, April 14, 8pm

Ticket information can found at the Tabard Theatre Company website. Of course, you can always contact me directly for questions and more information.

This may very well be my "showbiz swan song" so I hope everyone can make it!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Of Dionne Warwick and Unintentional Semi-Plagiarism

Another weekend has come and go, Ballyhoo rehearsals are now entering their second week, and sleepiness prevails. As for this latter point, I blame it all on Dionne Warwick. I'll explain...

After Saturday morning/afternoon rehearsal, I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening preparing for a dinner party Marcie and I hosted for our realtors and friends Janelle and Eric, our mortgage broker and friend Adeline, her husband Chris, and Marcie's former boss and friend Jennifer. After a very enjoyable evening of good food and conversation, Marcie and I spent the next hour or so cleaning up — after which time I really should have gone to sleep. But alas, I was seized with a unquenchable desire to write a song (that muse has some pretty lousy timing).

For the next three hours I worked diligently on a chord progression and melody that I liked quite a bit and recorded the whole thing in very rough form to my computer. I finally made it to bed at 4am, only to wake up at 9:30 the next morning still excited about the song and wanting Marcie to hear it. Although lacking sleep (I also haven't been sleeping much since Ballyhoo rehearsal started — my brain tends to get a little wacky at night when I'm in the midst of a production), I was at least energized by the creative buzz of working on a new song.

And then it hit me.

While taking a break away from the piano and getting a little nosh in the kitchen, I suddenly realized that the best part of my new song-in-the-making sounded disturbingly similar to the chorus of Dionne Warwick's 1970's mega-hit "I'll Never Love This Way Again." I had no choice but to face the music (so to speak) and download a sample of Warwick's song from iTunes. Adjusting the key of my song to hers (D-major for those of you who care about such things), I played my song on the piano at the same time as hers played on the computer. Were they exactly the same? Not entirely. Were they incredibly similar? Absolutely.

Very depressing. Curse you, Dionne Warwick!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Holy moly! We're going to be parents!!

The rumors are true: we are expecting a new arrival to the Shapiro family! Sure to bring with him/her a whole new era of schtick and silliness, Baby Shapiro's official due date is September 19 (of course, baby due dates are like weather forecasts: highly unlikely to happen as predicted). We are so thrilled and can't wait to experience the joys of parenthood.

Questions about names, gender, colleges he/she will be attending, and Pulitzer Prizes he/she will be winning are all unanswered for now. Don't worry. When we know, you'll know!

By the way, we listened to the baby's heartbeat for the very first time this past Sunday at Marcie's parent's house (Marcie's father Sherwin — an Ob/Gyn physician — brought home some sort of transistor-radio-looking Doppler thingamabob). Right there in the living room, we heard the little dude/dudette's quickly beating heart, which we were surprised to learn sounded oddly similar to a panting dog. Who knew?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

First Rehearsal

Last night was our first Ballyhoo rehearsal, which consisted of focused table-reads of key scenes involving Joe and/or Sunny. Far too few productions allot time for this type of open character/text analysis and so it was quite refreshing to hear everyone's unique take on their characters. I can tell already that this is going to be a very strong cast and I'll just have to do my best not to stink up the joint too much.

I'm also extremely pleased that everyone at last night's reading is clearly going for a more naturalistic approach to their characters, instead of taking the easy way out and simply doing characterization — a practice that plagues much community theater and ultimately led to my getting away from musical theater.

Tabard clearly has their priorities right and between their production of The Lion...Wardrobe and already with this one, they have helped me to remember why I fell in love with doing theater in the first place.

Lion...Wardrobe Photo

Mr. Beaver and Wood Nymph Emma strike a pose backstage during The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Monday, March 07, 2005

Meeting Malena

On Saturday, Marcie and I drove to Santa Cruz with Lisha B. and Tami to meet Malena, new daughter of Ken and Lisha E. See the photos.

Other weekend highlights included:
  • Going to Chelokababi restaurant (I call it "Chewbacca's") and Marcie ordering a shish kabob, only to get served what must have been either rancid meat or lamb

  • Celebrating our niece Kaylie's second birthday and watching a group of adults struggle endlessly with trying to get her new toys out of their boxes ("It's like breaking out of prison!" Marcie's father Sherwin exclaimed at one point)

  • Watching two movies from Netflix: I ♥ Huckabees (I liked it, Marcie didn't) and City of God (one of the best new movies I've seen in years)
There's one more highlight, but I'm saving it for later this week for when I officially announce this blog to friends and family...

Friday, March 04, 2005

Podiatry: Always Funny

To close out the week, here's a cartoon that made me laugh today:

Thursday, March 03, 2005

A Blog? Me? Who Knew?

In the process of responding to a blog-based invitation from a friend, I found myself setting up my own blog. I guess it suddenly occurred to me that this might be a fun way of recording some thoughts and sharing my experiences with friends and family on what going on in my life. For example, I'm about to begin rehearsals for The Last Night of Ballyhoo with The Tabard Theatre Company in Almaden and that could be food for fodder...or is it fodder for food...or am I making up expressions again? Anyway, we'll see where this takes me. Onward and upward!