July 15, 2013
Sound Trap Studio record producer and photographer Robbie Cribbs captured the cast and band members of “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris” as they recorded “Fifty Shades of Brel,” a CD being released in conjunction with the show. The musical revue opens Friday at OutCast’s Black Box Theater at the fairgrounds in Langley.
The CD features the band, Rhythmodique, and the cast under the direction of Scott Small, the show’s musical director and percussionist. The album was recorded live at Sound Trap in Langley, with no overdubs or studio magic; just the real sound of the instruments and voices. Pick up “Fifty Shades of Brel” at the theater for $15 through the run of the show.
Jacques Brel was a Belgian singer-songwriter who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following in Belgium and France, and then eventually, the world.
“Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris” is a musical revue based on the enormous effect Brel’s songs had on his audiences from the 1930s to the 1970s. The OutCast production opens Friday, July 19 at the Black Box Theater at the Whidbey Island Fairgrounds in Langley and runs through Aug. 3.
The show was conceived and written for English speaking audiences by Eric Blau and Mort Shuman, with Brel’s original music and French lyrics included. This production consists of 25 songs performed by, in this case, three vocalists, including Ned Farley, Ken Martinez and Katie Woodzick, and is directed by K. Sandy O’Brien with musical direction by Scott Small.
When “Jacques Brel” originally opened in 1968 in a Greenwich Village theater, French singer-songwriter Brel’s body of theatrically insightful ballads was already obscure. But his work influenced a spate of American musicians including artists as diverse as Leonard Cohen, David Bowie (who covered “Amsterdam”), and Frank Sinatra. Brel’s brooding, evocative songs about life, death, love and the consequences of human folly were unleashed on an unsuspecting and wide American audience. It could be said that “Jacques Brel” changed the course of Broadway theater through its popularity and the show’s deep effect on American audiences.
“Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris” has a live orchestra, which includes Richard Hughes (guitar/mandolin), Jonathan Small (bass), Small (percussion) and Sheila Weidendorf (piano/accordion). Woodzick is the vocal coach, O’Brien did the sets; Marlene Nakamura is the costume designer; Farley designed the lights; and Jeff Fisher is the sound designer.
The show runs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, July 19, 20, 26, 27, Aug. 2, 3; and at 2 p.m. Sundays, July 21 and 28. The Black Box Theater at the Fairgrounds is at 819 Camano Ave. in Langley.
General seating tickets are $14 for students/seniors and $18 for adults. Get tickets at Brown Paper Tickets (for credit card purchases) or tickets can be reserved directly with OutCast by email at email@example.com. Reserved tickets can be picked up at the door and paid for by cash or check.
Visit OutCast Production’s new website for more info.
(Pictured at top, Ken Martinez lends his beautiful baritone to the session./Photos by Robbie Cribbs)