President Obama today announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, reversing his longstanding opposition amid growing pressure from the Democratic base and even his own vice president.
By Jeff Walsh
Telly Leung is a force of nature.
In Godspell, now playing at the Circle in the Square Theater on Broadway (see review), Leung has turned his role into an opportunity to showcase what seems to be almost too many talents. He acts, sings, dances, does impressions, and even when people are coming in after intermission, he's at the piano playing riffs from A Chorus Line, Wicked, Rent, and others, before launching into an Elton Johnesque reprise of "Learn Your Lessons Well" from Act One to get act two started.
When I recently ran into Stephen Schwartz, the composer of Godspell and Wicked, he had nothing but praise for Leung.
"His performance has become sort of famous. He's unbelievable, and the nice thing is he gets to show, in this particular production, the range of talents that he has," Schwartz said. "People who have seen him do one thing or another before, but here he gets to sing beautifully, he gets to be really funny, he gets to do amazing imitations, he gets to play the piano, you see a real range of just how much this guy can do. He's extraordinary in the show."
For how long Leung has been on my radar, it's amazing I'm just seeing him now. I originally planned to see him in Godspell years ago, but then the production was delayed. I planned to see him in an early version of Lysistrata Jones in Dallas, but I got delayed in Vegas instead. When the Rent tour came through the Bay Area, he had left the tour already.
So, for a while, I figured there was clearly some conspiracy at work here and I just wasn't meant to see Leung onstage. But once I moved to New York City, and he's in a show eight times a week, the odds greatly shifted in my favor, so we recently sat down in his dressing room before show time to chat about Godspell and his amazing path to Broadway (sorry Gleeks, I totally blanked on him being a Warbler during the interview):
By Jeff Walsh
Godspell is an odd mix of things that seemingly shouldn't work together: a series of parables from the Gospel of Matthew, amazing songs by Stephen Schwartz, and a lot of freedom in between on how to present both.
But somehow, the spare book, beautiful music, and lack of structure all combine to make something bigger than the sum of its parts. In its current Broadway incarnation, Godspell is a high-energy experience that barely lets you catch your breath.
Before I saw the show, in December, an elderly woman at the Patti Lupone/Mandy Patinkin show was giving me the rundown on all the new Broadway shows. When she came to Godspell, her demeanor changed and she clutched her chest, like even remembering the manic energy was exhausting her: "They keep running around, trying to make us have fun."
So my debate and speech group performed our speeches for an assisted living facility for the elderly this evening. Or was it technically late afternoon? Anyways, my best friend Beth (who I have a crush on and doesn't know I'm bi) was home from college, and since her brother and sister are in the club and her parents run it, she emceed the performance. Afterword we all went out for ice cream. It was a lot of fun. The conversation varied from horror movies to colonies on mars leading to a mars revolution.
New age music has been greatly inspiring me. I've been playing ultra chill new age guitar, hooked up to Ableton and ran through delay, reverb, resonation, etc. and it's really changed my perspective on everything, and made me much more relaxed. I highly recommend getting into this music or playing it.
Thank you, Devin Townsend, for making the album Ghost. Also, does anyone here know any music similar to this?
Daddy was a very smart man with horrible decision making skills. My melancholy and not so fortunate story starts with a man who brought me into this world seven years before he decided it was time to say goodbye to the air that travelled through his damaged lungs. My father was a foster home, lost cause, individual set between metal bars. An alcoholic. And addict. Whatever the twisted, mangled, frayed, and shattered label may have been, to me he was my father. Daddy heard the voices; he starred down the un-seeable with this quickly fading sanity. ..
I think I swallowed your name that night in the bar.
I think you infected my veins while the music was
raging some 90s rock song and nobody was
paying attention to us as we ran to the back
room of this exile for tar-winged children.
And boy, now you're starving for some
sort of distraction in button-down lust;
a porn star type in DKNY jeans.
But I'm not one of those underground souls,
looking to lose consciousness
in pretty lashes and money-grabbing directors.
Honey, you can take a cab home because
I'm only here for the bottled-up affection
you said would never be mine
I definitely wish I had ended my speech with that, haha.
So, I graduated! Everything went surprisingly well. (The hat and I were absolutely not friends, though. It messed up my hair so much.) Giving the salutatory speech was beyond nervewracking, though. When I got onstage and looked out into the audience, for some reason, I thought this girl in the very back was FCG, so it freaked me out big time. I later discovered that the girl was not, in fact, FCG, but I couldn't tell that from the stage. (It was possible that she could've been there. She's apparently still friends with IG.) Despite my nerves, I actually gave the speech with minimal problems. I messed up once because I started reading the wrong line, but it was only a little mistake, so it wasn't that big a deal. And I didn't trip going up the steps or walking across the stage!
A lot of the other girls cried, but I didn't. I'm so glad to get out of there. I can't even begin to put the feeling into words.
We've had another spat over high school. I want to take Italian and move back to Italy to home school, and spend my days wandering those deliciously silent streets of Venice. But Mom purses her lips and says that she won't "narrow my horizons" like that, that I'll get a better degree if I stay here. She says I have to see the "light at the end of the tunnel." I can see a light alright, but I might have to walk into it before the four years are up. She keeps talking about rights of passage and persevering. I just don't know if I can survive this.
*I've been reading Judy Shepard's book "The Meaning of Matthew" about her son who was murdered in 1998. I wanted to write a poem about who Matthew was as a person, not just the headline story. The title was taken from Lady Gaga's cover of "Imagine" by John Lennon.*
The state melted into a pool
of cerulean in your eyes,
Wyoming tinted your hair
a cowboy prairie blond and
stained your boyish lips
with a wanderlust grin.
Matthew, you've grown
older by now but some
things never change like how
the Curious Unknown
still sparkles in your dreams,
the sticker lights of Laramie.