Behind the Curtain

Official Blog of International City Theatre

Meet Our Judy

February 25th, 2015

Gigi Bermingham

 

Gigi Bermingham stars as Judy Garland in our production of End of the Rainbow, the Olivier Award-nominated play about the life and music of Judy Garland. She was nice enough to take some time during rehearsals to answer some questions for our ICT audience.

  1. Since you are no stranger to ICT, how was your experience the first time you performed here?

Amazing!  caryn is so welcoming and appreciative of the artists, the environment is beautiful, the staff excellent, and I worked with some fantastic artists, especially director Todd Nielsen.

  1. Are  you finding any challenges in trying to emulate an iconic character while also giving your own interpretation of the role? If so, what are they?

Yes of course.  Judy Garland was such a genius – it is intimidating to portray someone whose gift was so profound, and all I can do is to try and capture some essence of Judy while using my own abilities to convey the story.

  1. Gigi Bermingham as Judy Garland in END OF THE RAINBOW at ICTWhat do you hope audiences take away from seeing End of the Rainbow?

Compassion for a woman at the end of her life, a great artist who didn’t know how to manage her intense emotions, and whose life was twisted by drugs and stardom – and by the people who took advantage of her.

  1. What have you learned about Ms. Garland that you did not know before landing this role?

Everything!  I only knew about the Wizard of Oz!  I can’t believe I wasn’t familiar with this astonishing performer and all the movies she made and her own television shows and concerts and records.

  1. Since EOTR is biographical, what real figure would you love to see a play or musical about?

So many fascinating people in history – I don’t know – the Dalai Lama – George Harrison – Mother Theresa!

Gigi and the rest of the incredible End of the Rainbow cast can be seen on stage thru March 15th. We think you would be crazy to not see this incredible actress bring Judy Garland to life!

Celebrating 30 Years of Theatre

February 12th, 2015

2015 GalaIt has been 30 years in the making, but we are finally just one week away from raising the curtain on our 30th anniversary Gala celebration! Join the ICT board and staff as we celebrate our history and toast to our future. After all, we could not have done it without all of your gracious support. Details of our snazzy event are below.

Our Opening Night Gala will take place on Friday, February 20, 2015 and includes:

– Wine and Dinner Reception: 6:00-7:30 pm in our beautiful theatre lobby

– Recognition of past ICT Board Presidents

– A short talk, “More about Judy Garland” by the director John Henry Davis

– Reserved seats to End of the Rainbow: 8:00 pm curtain

And if that wasn’t enough, come join us  for our post-show opening night party with the cast and creative team.

We are so thrilled to have made it to such a milestone, and we believe that because of our wonderful audiences and donors we can sustain our success for many more years to come. This party is about all of us, so put on your best and join the celebration!

For more information , please visit www.internationalcitytheatre.org. To purchase tickets, please call Denis at 562-436-4610.

Ms. Garland, You and Your Sweetheart!

February 5th, 2015

End of the Rainbow press photo

(l to r) Brent Schindele, Gigi Bermingham and Michael Rubenstone in END OF THE RAINBOW

That special day is almost here, no not the Super Bowl, that was last Sunday. We are talking about the one day where being romantic, cheesy and thoughtful are encouraged and expensive dinners are accepted. Yes Valentine’s Day is almost here, and while our wonderful show End of the Rainbow will not be open yet, we still wanted to help those that are looking for something to do to celebrate this sweetheart holiday. So avoid the crowds and celebrate with ICT.

From now until Friday, February 13, at 6 pm, you can purchase two tickets to End of the Rainbow’s opening weekend — Feb 20-22 — for just $70. Since two tickets usually costs $96, we thought it would be great to help you celebrate and give your wallet a break. So grab that special someone and spend some time with Ms. Garland!

Use code VDAY when making your purchase for tickets and this Valentine’s offer is yours! To purchase tickets: call the ICT Box Office at 562-436-4610 or visit www.internationalcitytheatre.org.

10 Fun Facts About Ms. Garland

January 23rd, 2015

Judy Garland

As we are about to begin rehearsals for End of the Rainbow, the Olivier Award-nominated play about the life and music of Judy Garland, we thought it would be fun to share some information about Judy Garland that you may not know, so here are 10 facts about the American icon to tickle your fancy.

End of the Rainbow1. When she wasn’t filming, Judy knitted a pink wool sweater for the newborn baby of an electrician on The Wizard of Oz. Shortly after making the movie, Judy began designing clothes for animals. Mickey Rooney placed an order for a hat for his parrot.

2. She appeared in 35 films. This includes cameos and uncredited roles.

3. She never won an Oscar, but was given an honorary Oscar for her role in The Wizard of Oz.

4. She stood just 4’11” tall.

5. Judy had many insecurities about her looks, and it did not help that her boss, MGM president Louie B. Mayer, used to refer to her as his “little hunchback.”

6. She was paid $500 for The Wizard of Oz.

Judy Garland on cover of Time magazine7.  Her real name was Ethel Gumm, and she changed her name to Judy because of a famous Hoagy Carmichael song she loved.

8. Her television variety show, The Judy Garland Show, was cancelled after just once season mainly because it was in direct competition with Bonanza — one of the longest running television shows of all time.

9. Had to wear removable caps to cover her crooked teeth and rubberized disks to reshape her nose.

10. Her funeral was attended by over 22,000 people, and was believed by many to be the main reason and inspiration for the Stonewall Riots.

ICT Creates its Own “Gym Membership”

January 15th, 2015

ICT at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center

As the new year begins, so do new resolutions. Perhaps the most common one is to be healthier and get in shape. And in order to do that people usually purchase gym memberships to achieve fitness and weight goals. Well ICT has decided to make a resolution of its own as we celebrate 30 years of making theatre: Make it easy to support and attend theatre! How are we doing that? Well we created the Playful Payment Plan Program to make it very easy to afford attending the theatre.

Playful Payment Plan Program

We are thrilled to announce our Playful Payment Plan Program

The program was created to make it simple to enjoy professional theatre all year by creating a payment plan to make it easier on your budget (similar to a gym membership). Many people handle their finances monthly, so big recreational purchases are limited. Twelve small payments of just $15 per month makes you an ICT subscriber and provides access to our entire 2015 season — five incredible productions that include three premieres, a contemporary August Wilson classic and our upcoming production about the life and music of Judy Garland. You can select any of ICT’s subscription packages and the cost will be just $15 per month.

A subscriber supports an entire season instead of just seeing one show and provides a financial foundation to produce new works and develop new voices. Subscribers are a vital cog in the development of American theatre. We here at ICT know the value of subscribers and created this program to make it more affordable to experience contemporary theatre at its best.

Playful Payment Plan Program

$15 per month brings you our entire 2015 season

Playwright David Mamet said “Theatre matters. It is where people have gone for centuries to hear the truth.” So do something special for yourself this year. Take a shared journey for your mind and your heart from the comfort of your reserved theatre seat. Join the Playful Payment Plan Program and unlike a gym membership, you can soothe your soul without having to sweat it out.

To purchase your ICT subscription, call 562-436-4610. For more information about ICT’s upcoming season, please visit www.internationalcitytheatre.org

The Secret Diary of an ICT Summer Intern: Why Stage Actors are the Best Actors

August 18th, 2014

You already know who this is, don't you?

You already know who this is, don’t you?

When you ask someone to name an actor or actress, 99.9% of the time they will name a movie or television actor. But society is forgetting about one very important type of actor: the stage actor! Stage actors are frequently overlooked, but for numerous reasons, they deserve our attention and respect – perhaps even more than movie or TV actors.

The fact that most people cannot name a single stage actor is one of the reasons why these actors deserve so much credit. Actors of the live theatre aren’t doing it for the fame – they get little attention from what they do. Stage actors can earn a modest few hundred dollars a week, while their television counterparts can receive a few hundred THOUSAND dollars per EPISODE (despite the fact that stage actors are typically the most trained out of stage, film, and TV actors).

Be careful, they're watching

Be careful, they’re watching

A lot of plays require the actors to engage with the live audience, an element that is usually not present in film or TV. Also, the idea of “just doing another take” does not exist in live theatre. If the actors mess up, they can’t erase their mistakes. They have one shot to get it right, and if they don’t, the whole audience is their witness. Because of this, it is a lot easier for an audience to judge stage actors than film and TV actors, whose mistakes are cut out of the movies and the shows. Not only is it easier to judge their mistakes; it is also a lot easier to compare them to other actors. Many of the same plays are produced by different theatres, so stage actors must always bring their “A” game unless they want to be written off as a worse actor than their counterpart in the same play at another theatre.

The lowest-paid actor in this photo earns $60,000 per episode

The lowest-paid actor in this photo earns $60,000 per episode

The live theatre is the real deal – no grand paychecks or paparazzi-ridden attention. Stage actors brave the audience armed with nothing but their talent and their passion for what they do. Their worth is determined not by money or fame, but solely by their reputation. If they can make one person in the audience feel something through their performance, then their mission is complete. The purpose of acting for stage actors is to serve the art and the people who care to experience it, nothing more and nothing less. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty awesome.

– Milena

The Secret Diary of an ICT Summer Intern: The Man Behind Former Attorney General Francis Biddle

August 13th, 2014

Skeleton ClosetICT’s upcoming play Trying by Joanna McClelland Glass is her personal account of working as a young secretary to the aging Francis Biddle, former Attorney General to FDR. Although Biddle’s accomplishments are impressive (he graduated from Harvard, became Attorney General, and was Chief Justice of the Nuremberg Trials), they are not what make Biddle an especially intriguing character. Instead, it is Biddle’s expression of raw human nature that shows how even the most successful and seemingly untouchable human beings have skeletons in their closets.

Glass tells the Courant, “This was about a man who was dealing with his impending death, and what was occupying him had nothing to do with his accomplishments.” In his old age, Biddle was forced to come to terms with himself not as a former Attorney General or Chief Justice, but simply as a human being. biddleHe became frustrated and acted out in anger because he was unable to do certain things like walk without limping or remember specific information, so he would compensate by priding himself on his Harvard-level smarts to avoid doubts of his capability. As an elderly man, Biddle was haunted by the loss of one of his sons and the fact that he never had the chance to know his own father. Biddle’s involvement in the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II ate at him, developing a guilt-ridden grief within him that would never dissipate. The title of “Harvard Grad” or “Attorney General” didn’t mean much to him anymore. It was the pain of losing a son, the ache of never knowing his father, and the shame of promoting the mistreatment of thousands of American citizens that lingered with him in his last days.

story
Although a man of many achievements, Francis Biddle cannot be simply dismissed as a distant historical figure. The personal touch of Trying shows that he, like all of us, has things that haunt him. Watching Biddle, as successful and respected as he is, battle his ghosts reminds us that each and every one of us has a deeper story.

Our ghosts – so different, yet inherently the same – are what define us.

– Milena

The Secret Diary of an ICT Summer Intern: Audience Etiquette

July 23rd, 2014

Hey Angelina!

Hey Angelina!

Back in the day, people used to dress up for the theatre like celebrities today dress up for award shows – evening gowns, tuxedos, the whole shebang. People were all about manners and class. Nowadays, life is so much more relaxed. People wear pajamas to the grocery store, and they text while they’re having dinner with other people. Although life has definitely changed, theatre has maintained its professionalism and high esteem, making audience etiquette at the theatre still very necessary.

Audience etiquette encompasses many different areas, but these are the main things to keep in mind:

– Nowadays, you can usually dress a bit more casually to the theatre. (That does not mean a baggy shirt and shorts!) Don’t wear hats – they can obstruct the view of the person behind you. Guys, wear your nicer shoes, not your sandals. The main thing to remember about appearance is to be clean, nice, and neat. Take a shower, do something nice with your hair, and put some effort into picking out a decent outfit!

– To ensure a good start to your (and everyone else’s) theatre experience, make sure to get there at least 15 minutes early to account for any unexpected delays such as trouble parking or a long line at the box office.

phone-cinemaCell phones – turn them off! Don’t text: the light beaming from your cell phone is just as distracting as a ringtone going off in the middle of a performance. It distracts not only the people around you, but also the actors who are then hindered from giving you their best performance. No one gets their money’s worth if the actors can’t focus.

– DO NOT TALK DURING THE SHOW. It’s disruptive and rude to both the audience and the actors. Save the conversations for after the show.

– As far as food and drink, crunching on a sandwich and chips while a character is delivering an emotional monologue is not a good mix. Eat before the show or during intermission.

bunny

– Clapping is appropriate in between acts or sets, and standing ovations are reserved for only the best performances. Don’t feel pressured into giving a standing ovation just because other people are doing it.

– Getting up during the show is very distracting. Use the restroom before the show starts or during intermission.

– Don’t leave early, which means don’t leave during curtain call. Curtain call is a part of the performance for which the actors have rehearsed, and it is only fair that you give them the same respect that they gave you through their dedication to give you the best performance possible.

The main thing to remember about etiquette at the theater is to sit down, be quiet, and focus on the show. Theatre patrons can spend upwards of $50 on a ticket, and in return they expect a quality performance. Also, your actions affect how the actors perform, so disruptions can actually diminish the show’s quality. The theatre requires your best behavior, but in return you receive the gift of true art. So be quiet, be respectful, and enjoy the show!

– Milena

The Secret Diary of an ICT Summer Intern: Why Young People Should Go to the Theatre

July 16th, 2014

Theatre is inarguably dominated by an older crowd. One may wonder why, but it becomes pretty obvious when you ask one question: how exactly do young people spend their free time nowadays? Electronic dance music, music festivals, parties, Facebook, texting, and TV – this is the mainstream lifestyle of today’s youth (of which I myself am guilty). Young people have become obsessed with technology and overrun with laziness.baby They have grown used to instant gratification – answers, information, and even conversations at the touch of a button – to the point where young people feel more comfortable talking through a computer screen than directly to a human being. This wasn’t even an issue twenty years ago, but technology has taken over our world with a vengeance. With human interaction shifting towards technology, young people learn less about themselves, others, and life in general. With a computer that is capable of giving us all of the facts we will ever need to know and more, we focus less on ourselves and our identities as human beings; we focus less on the things that a computer can’t tell us.

zombiesTheatre is in-your-face. The actors are real people who you can reach out and touch; they can see you and speak to you directly. Unlike a movie, you can’t just sit there passively and watch a two-dimensional screen. The people in front of you are real, having a conversation just like you witness other people’s conversations throughout an ordinary day. Although you may not be speaking, you are a part of the conversation; you are a part of that environment. Theatre brings human interaction away from emotionless technology and back to the people. It wakes us up from our robotic slumber and brings us back together.

coachellaSome may argue that theatre is too expensive for a young person to afford. If you really think about it, how much do teenagers spend on events? The incredibly popular Coachella alone is $400, while usually the cheapest concerts average out at about $10 each. Going out to the movie theater is anywhere from $10 to $20 each time. So why not spend that money and go see a live play? Watching real people move and talk is a lot more engaging than watching a screen for two hours.

So with some of that money you’re saving for all of these mainstream events, try something new, step away from technology, and take your friends to the theatre. Because well, why not?

– Milena

The Secret Diary of an ICT Summer Intern: Other Desert Cities

July 8th, 2014

Hey guys! It is now the middle of my second week at ICT, and as promised, I have much more to talk about. For this week, I want to narrow my discussion to ICT’s production of Other Desert Cities and why you should see it before it closes!

003

Everyone at ICT was talking about this play, and I was curious as to what all the buzz was about. I saw the play this past Friday, and I can honestly say that what it left me with was completely unexpected. Before I saw the show, I was looking forward to seeing it because of its comedic storyline. I thought that watching the play would make me laugh and I would walk away entertained, but nothing more. Wrong! The play started off with funny remarks from family member to family member, but the minute I got used to the comedy – the stereotypical idea of a “dysfunctional, crazy family” – the story began to really dig deep into the most real and raw moments that can exist between a family.

Along with this play’s incredible storyline, Other Desert Cities has a little bit of something for everyone. Couples will enjoy the interesting dynamics of Brooke’s parents’ relationship, while young adults can relate to Brooke’s process of finding herself and learning to make big decisions on her own. Also, this play allows the audience to see the situation from the perspectives of parents trying to protect their family and of a daughter trying to become her own person. So take your parents to see the play – allow them to see your side of the story, and allow yourself to see theirs.

thatsdeep

Not only does Other Desert Cities show a family in its most candid form, it also has some incredible twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat. (I’m not telling what they are – you’ll have to go see the show yourself to find out what happens!) So seriously, for the perfect balance between light humor and deep meaning, go see Other Desert Cities!

– Milena

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