Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Delayed Review of "Tammy: A Coming of Age Story About a Girl Who Is Part T-Rex"

I recently made a trip down to Chicago (not to be confused with the restaurant Old Chicago) for professional business reasons. Other than meandering around the downtown area and visiting that one Starbucks they have on Michigan Ave., I caught a little play which made the visit worth the amount of sweat I perspired during the visit (it was hotter than a sack of flaming diapers outside).

A friend of mine had been raving about the production he was in called, "Tammy: A Coming of Age Story About a Girl Who Is Part T-Rex." Since I was staying with him and there was a grocery store that sold wings next door -- I decided to check the show out. Have you ever seen "Sleepless in Seattle?" Well, "Tammy" is nothing like it; other than the fact that film was created in the 1990's. However, let's talk about those wings I ate first.

I bought them from a Jewel grocery store where one pound of honey BBQ wings is $5.99 (score). I grabbed a 12-pack of Miller Lite as well (wasn't carded) and headed over to The Cornservatory (the building looked like corn) where "Tammy" was going down (BYOB). The wings were pretty legit but very crunchy. Some of them generated a fairly loud noise with each bite. In fact, I could hear other audience members mumbling to their friends, "Is that guy eating wings?" The wings complimented my overall impressive demeanor of sitting alone, in the front, with beer. But seriously, the wings were worth the money. I may move my weekly dates with girls from that little cafe at Target to Jewel's deli. If you want to ask me questions about the wings, hit me up on Twitter (@StephenSchu). Now about that play....

"Tammy" by Corn Productions, is a story set in the '90s revolving around a middle school girl named Tammy Rex, who is part T-Rex. Outside of the fact Tammy looks like a dinosaur, eats raw meat, and has growling issues, she is like any kid growing up. She yearns to be popular, has a crush on a popular/athletic boy, and ultimately just wants to fit in.

You instantly fall in love with Tammy, played by Alex Young. She's super cute, super funny and undoubtedly makes you feel her struggle. Tammy's best friend, Hope (Alisa Rosenthal), provides loyal alliance to Tammy through her tween difficulties supported by hilarious jokes and seasoned acting skills.

The main source of Tammy's social troubles come from Jennica Lupis, the "Mean Girls" Ragina George of the play. I was extremely impressed by Jackelyn Normand's portrayal of Jennica. Her condescendingly hysterical and mean-witted conversations alongside her two-faced actions complimented by her pack of followers drew out my first LOL of the play. Jennica and her classmates complained about grandparent's inconsiderate timing of getting sick around holidays after "Jesus died for us so we could have a good Christmas," which instantly caused me to burst out laughing followed by choking on Jewel chicken.

I could write pages about the entire cast individually, because each character was phenomenal and genuinely made their persona add to an overall, deep hilarity, which poured off the stage and into my grocery bag full of wing bones -- likely the result of Anneliese Toft's brilliant directing. I have friends who are '90s junkies that would fall in love with "Tammy" based off the cleverly weaved in '90s references and music. The Rex family morning scenes, various romantic fantasies between Tammy and Cliff (Eric Akeson), and the awkwardness by Steve "Bacon Bite" Watson (Seth Wanta) all made me laugh from my first beer to my last wing.

Playwright Julia Weiss has created an intelligent, thoughtful, and heartwarming two hours of laughter. I personally enjoyed the subtle jokes of the production, which showcased Weiss's sought after talent to create thorough, satirical enjoyment.

Although the play only runs until April 7, I wanted to give my kudos to the cast and crew. Regardless, you have two more weekends to check it out. The show runs Wednesday-Saturday through April 7 at The Conservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60618. Tickets are roughly $7, and it's BYOB (truly amazing). If I could eat wings, drink beer and see "Tammy" every Wednesday until I die; I'd be living a very good life.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Series of Play and Musical Ideas

So, my new thing is brain storming play and musical ideas. Some of you may have seen my ideas on Facebook or Twitter. Regardless, I'm getting really good at it. In fact, my numbers and research are consistently leading me to be certain I can make triple figures at a minimum on any of my masterpieces.

Some actors have already stepped forward and told me they were interested (i.e. Tim Allen). U2 has expressed strong interest in composing music for many of my plays/musicals. In addition, my contacts with Stephen Sondheim reported he is looking to turn a couple of my plays into musicals, likely children's musicals. Monster is going to sponsor all my productions.

Here are the plays and musicals I'm writing:

  • I'm going to write a play about a high school basketball star who loses his parents in a fatal car accident as they were on their way to go see "Lorax." The plot twist will be that the parents never actually died. "Lorax" was just so bad that the parents faked their death and abandoned their only son. The son grows up to be the native kid, Mimi-Siku, from "Jungle 2 Jungle."

  • I'm going to write a play about one of the characters from "Swamp People," who every night, after killing tons of gators, goes home and records a pretend radio talk show. Eventually, the show is picked up and developed by MTV and becomes a hit music video show. The character turns out to be Carson Daly.

  • I'm going to write a children's musical about a blind waitress at Red Robin who aspires to be a gold medal skeet shooter at the Summer Olympics after discovering she is distantly related to the famous American sharpshooter and cowgirl, Annie Oakley. The blind girl dies of tuberculosis before accomplishing anything.

  • I'm going to write a play about a basketball coach at a technical college in Montana who is forced to live out the rest of his life in a wheelchair after suffering a spinal cord injury from his iPad 3 while trying to get his team into the NCAA Tournament. He sues Apple, who settles the case outside of court. In exchange, the coach gets cheetah legs with Bluetooth capabilities and sets the American 100m Dash record in the 1998 Olympic Games but is later disqualified, because he illegally downloaded "Mean Girls" on his iPad. He has to return his cheetah legs and his gold medal. He now is an assistant Men's Basketball coach at UWGB. The cheetah legs are up for auction on ebay.

  • I'm going to write a play about a 17-year-old girl who's really into barbers but her Catholic parents want her to marry a hair-stylist.

I can already taste the success and women.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Stephen Takes "The Tim and Eric Billion Dollar Movie Pledge"

The comedians, actors and ridiculous human-beings, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, are asking people to sign and take a pledge to go see their movie "Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie" and promise to not pirate the film. Tons of celebrities have taken the oath such as Paul Rudd, Michael Ian Black and Elijah Wood. So, I figured, why shouldn't I do it? I mean, I'm pretty much as popular and as important as all those characters.

Other than promising to see the film in one way or another and tell your friends about it, Tim and Eric also include in the pledge that you are not to go see the movie "Lorax," because "Lorax looks bad." Absolutely hilarious. Read more about it in this Huffington Post article. The article includes the original video and the celebrity responses.

Below is the link to my video of the pledge. I suggest you do the same.