Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"The people called it Ragtime."

Showing off his jazz hands.

Meanwhile, Rebel Girl has been spending some serious quality time over at Fullerton College. The little guy has been cast in Ragtime: the musical which means that, at eleven years old, he is now a community college student (enrolled in THEA 174), attending rehearsals four days a week, writing four page character analyses and singing 24/7. While he is cast as a member of the ensemble (playing a resident of New Rochelle, an Italian immigrant and a newsboy) and understudy for the lead child role (Little Boy), he could, Rebel Girl wants you to know, play any other role in the play if called to do so. She has heard him. He is especially impressive as Younger Brother, Booker T. Washington and Harry Houdini.

Rebel Girl wishes to report that she finds our neighboring college to be a vibrant place.  It is instructive to spend so much time in the classroom at another institution, watching multiple instructors work together (music, voice, theater in collaboration) with a variety of students, seeing how those students respond, watching them work together to build something beautiful, ambitious, important. The highly regarded director, Gary Krinke, is retiring this year and this production will be one of his last.

 Fullerton College is celebrating its centennial this year and the semester has been especially full with one celebration after another, though Rebel Girl is impressed less with the big events (smart and impressive as they are) but more with the simple stuff of campus life: the weekly newspaper, the literary journal, the clubs and their service projects, the easy sense of accessible student life happening in small and big ways on a daily basis.  And those activities seem to be the best kind: driven and led by the students themselves.

 Anyway, it's been fun.

The Little Guy at Centennial Day.

The Tony award-winning play opens next week and runs eight performances.  It is an adaptation of the acclaimed novel by E.L. Doctorow and first opened in 1998 on Broadway with Audra MacDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell (and a very young Lea Michelle as Little Girl).  Red Emma used to teach that novel years ago when he taught at IVC.  Doctorow himself taught at UC Irvine back in the 70s, while he was finishing another novel, The Book of Daniel, which features closing scenes in Corona del Mar and Disneyland.   One of Doctorow's students was Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist who read here at IVC back in the vibrant days of the early 80s, before he won the Pulitzer. When Rebel Girl saw Ford last summer, she reminded him of that.  He is 69 years old now but still remembered the little college in the orange groves and the short story he read in the reading series put together by the editor of our now defunct literary journal which was, until its demise, one of the longest lived lit journal published by a community college. Perhaps when IVC celebrates its centennial - or maybe just its 50th - the visit by one of the nation's most acclaimed novelists might earn a footnote in the college's history.  I am sure someone has photos somewhere. Maybe the newspaper covered it.

And now, a shameless plug: consider traveling to central Orange County for a wonderful evening of compelling American theater.  The show opens next week. If you purchase tickets (thank you!) PLEASE remember to credit the Little Guy (aka Louis Tonkovich) at the time of your purchase. As this is a community college production and Louis is now an enrolled student at the college (!), doing outreach for the show is part of his coursework. The cast list has been provided to the box office so they will know who to credit once you mention his name. Tickets are $12.50 for presale reserved seating, $15.00 at the door, reserved seating.

Show dates: Thursday, 10/17 at 7:00PM (opening night!), Friday, 10/18 at 7:00PM, Saturday, 10/19 at 7:00PM, Sunday, 10/20 at 2:00PM, Thursday, 10/24 at 7:00PM, Friday, 10/25 at 7:00PM, Saturday, 10/26 at 7:00PM, Sunday, 10/27 at 2:00PM.

Let Rebel Girl know if you're going.  She'll look for you before and after the shows.  She is there every night because, well, the Little Guy doesn't drive yet. 



Anonymous said...

Great novel, great play. I didn't know Lea Michelle was in it as a girl. Pretty ambitious production for a community college.

Anonymous said...

The Elephant Ear! What a great little journal, and what an terrific catalyst for art and writing at IVC. Remember readings by Maxine Hong Kingston? Gary Soto? Ear-sponsored Gallery exhibits of the works of Emigdio Vasquez and Nguyen Hop? You English Dept. types need to revive The Ear and the spirit of excellence in voice and image.

Anonymous said...

Attend FOOTLOOSE at IVC's Performinmg Arts Center.
October 31, November 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 and 10.
IVC's theaterical shows are the best in southern california.

Anonymous said...

Broad generalizations generally weaken the point being made even if the writer is convinced otherwise.

I have heard good things about Fullerton College's drama department for years. Krinke is very active on the local theater scene as well.

What a great opportunity for the Little Guy. And yes, I think professors can learn a lot sitting in classrooms at other colleges, especially those in other disciplines.

Anonymous said...

Isn't "Footloose" a movie with Patrick Swayze?

Anonymous said...

Kevin Bacon, and it certainly does suck.

Is the play Ragtime from the novel by Doctrow?

Anonymous said...

Gary Krinke and that whole department over there is really great. Their programmming is consistently challenging and thoughtful. Break a leg, Little Guy.

Anonymous said...

Great musical adaptation of a wonderful novel. The cast must be huge. What a terrific choice for their Centennial. Classy. Didn't some of our old admin type land at Fullerton College during The Great Purge?

Anonymous said...

I hear they have parking structures at Fullerton College.

Rebel Girl said...

Yes, they do. Two of them.

Anonymous said...

It is time at IVC. We need them now. Certainly there must be some kind of mechanism to allow fast tracking of something like parking structure in response to current conditions. The parking problem is here to stay. The other day the staff parking was full where I normally park. It was 11:15am. It was horrific trying to find a spot in the nearby student parking. It was a good reminder of what students face every day.

Anonymous said...

The shopping center across the street now has big signs that warn about towing for students and staff who park there. We're imposing on our neighbors. I know students (older, mature students) who regularly park in the condo complex because even though they have bought a pass there are no spaces. (And then go to their Child development classes.)

The parking was bad yesterday because it was Transfer Day and as usual, passes were given to visitors to park in the staff lots and as usual, no one warned staff this would impinge on our ability to find parking. Nope. yes, parking structure. I know they are pricey but we need them. Then perhaps we can building a nice 2-3 story simple multipurpose classroom building like every other college has and get rid of the MOLDY trailers and MOLDY classrooms and offices.

(Cute kid. Nice to watch him grow up.)

Anonymous said...

Fullerton College has quite a Facebook presence. Their Centennial page profiles their impressive past - events, alums, lots of archival photos and photos from the student newspaper. The writer Jessamyn West went there as did former State Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso and Leo Fender! the artist Wayne Thiebaud taught there in the 70s! Very impressive. Check it out:

Quiet night

And I followed her to the station With a suitcase in my hand And I followed her to the station With a suitcase in my hand Well, ...