Thursday, June 5, 2008

Some enchanted evening...

The New York revival of “South Pacific” with its libretto by Joshua Logan and Oscar Hammerstein II and music by Rogers and Hammerstein has been nominated for 11 Tony Awards and someone is singing Bali Ha’i at Rincon Point! The well-known musical, which has strong local connections, opened as a Broadway revival a couple of months ago to rave reviews and even an editorial in the New York Times. ‘Tis the first time a show has received the same four nominations twice – for the four lead actors.

The play’s original co-author/director/co-producer Joshua Logan’s darling daughter Harrigan Logan resides on Rincon Point and she is over the moon at the show’s 2nd century in a row box office hit status. Recently, we toasted to her dad’s posthumous second round of success in the outdoor patio of the San Ysidro Ranch.
Josh Logan, who suffered from bipolar disorder and underwent electroshock treatments, was the hugely talented Broadway director and co-creator of the musical, which was based on James Michener’s “Tales of the South Pacific” In addition to co-authoring and directing the first South Pacific play and movie, Mr. Logan directed and wrote or co-wrote such classic movies and plays as “Mr. Roberts”, “Bus Stop”, “Picnic” and “Sayonara”. Logan was the winner of eight Tonys (There would have been more if he hadn’t done “Annie Get Your Gun” before the American Theater Awards were created in 1949, Harrigan noted).
In 1949, the most sought-after ticket on Broadway was for an unabashedly romantic, exuberant, risk-taking musical based on the experience of Navy men and women on a remote island during World War II. And this spring the same musical — “South Pacific,” in its first New York revival since that 1949 debut run — is again Broadway’s hottest ticket more than half a century later.
“South Pacific has now made theatrical history: it is the first musical play ever to be a box office and Tony champ in two different centuries,” Harrigan told me, “First, in Josh’s original production, which ran for five years and 1,925 performances, won ten Tonys and the Pulitzer Prize for all three of its co-authors: my dad, Mr. Hammerstein and Mr. Rogers.”
“Now, (director) Bart Sher’s first Broadway revival since Pop’s, which opened on April 4th, 2008 to rave reviews and an extended run into 2009, has received 11 Tony and two Drama League Awards nominations and won five Drama Desk Awards and four Outer Critics Awards!”
If you are heading to New York anytime soon, better your secure tickets: at last check, the show was sold-out almost until the end of July. The CD of the new cast recording is available if you want to “Wash that Man” right out of your hair or “Happy Talk!”
Anyone interested in theater, creativity and bipolar disorder should read Logan’s fascinating autobiography, “Josh: My Up and Down, In and Out Life,” published in 1976, which offers hope to those fighting this destructive mental illness. Logan died in 1988, at the age of 79, of progressive supranuclear palsy, but his talent lives on.
Perhaps no one will be glued to the television on Sunday June 15th to watch the Tony Awards, with more pride, anticipation, and happy hoopla than Harrigan Logan.
I plan to be cheering with her. Feel free to join the chorus!

Moving Violations
One not-so-enchanted afternoon ago, I received a ticket. My first moving violation. Ever. At least that I can remember, which isn’t saying much these days. Got stuck in the intersection where De la Guerra dead ends at State Street and made an illegal left-hand turn during the “NO LEFT HAND TURN” hours to clear the lane, which seemed like the smart thing to do.
Not so smart.
Whoops, guilty.
Big whoops.
Decided to contest it with a written declaration, hoping the judge would understand the extenuating circumstance (she didn’t).
But guess what? If you challenge your ticket, you MAY lose the ability to go to Traffic School (whoopee), which means you do or don’t get a mark (i.e. “raise”) on your auto insurance.
Kind of reminds me of “Deal Or No Deal.”
The judge—via written declaration (I choose this option, only to be later told by friends that one should always go to court in the event the arresting officer doesn’t show up) or in court, decides not only whether or not you are guilty, but also if you can go to pizza comedy or online traffic school.
Lucky for me, I get to go to traffic school.
Artist Tom Mielko came up with a great suggestion: “Why not make the fines progressive? First violation, costs x amount of dollars, and have them go up the more tickets you get?”
That sounded like a good idea to me, until I read about the new fines for driving in the carpool lane with a blow-up doll: Beginning on July 1 (along with the new hands-must-be-free cell phone law) first time offense: $1,068.50. Don’t do it again, because the second time is going to be double, third time triple, and fourth time license suspended.
Great idea, Mielko.
So how do people making $8 per hour pay these huge fines?
By the way, tickets cost more in Santa Barbara than other places in our sunny state.
Add another chunk of change for traffic school, or run a red light (that’s $450 in SB, but a mere $370 in Cerritos) and you’d have to get a night job, or be a nightwalker, to pay these fines. Pandering, however, will get you a Go Straight to Jail card.
Between this and the price of gas, it’s enough to make a person want to ride a bike, walk or take a bus, which is a good idea for the environment anyway.
Just don’t jaywalk.

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