Backstage Blog

Cygnet Tech Pancake Breakfast

We enjoyed treating the cast to our tech pancake breakfast this morning. It is a way to start tech stress free, full of food, and time to bond.
Here’s my pancake recipe. No Bisquick for this one!

Sean’s Pancake Recipe
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup Ground Flax Seed (optional)
1/2 cup Oat Bran (optional)
Sprinkle of Wheat Germ (optional)
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 Tbs. Sugar (or Splenda)
1/4 Tsp. Salt
Dash of Cinnamon

1 Large Egg
1 Tbs. Melted Butter
Vanilla to taste
1 Cup Milk (more or less to create the batter consistency you prefer)
Chopped Walnuts
Fresh Blueberries

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the Flax and Oat Bran to taste. I eye it.

Add the egg, vanilla, and milk. For thinner pancakes go with a thinner batter (more milk), for thicker pancakes, a thicker batter (slightly less milk) Stir the liquids into the drys until the batter looks like you like it. Add the melted butter. Mix well.

Add the walnuts and blueberries.

Let it sit for a few minutes while the griddle gets hot.

Spray the griddle with Pam or something like that. You don’t want too much butter on the griddle.
Spoon the batter onto the griddle. When the edges begin to look cooked and small bubbles begin to form in the middle of the pancake, flip it over and let it finish cooking. Don’t let it burn!!

Add butter, of course and real maple syrup.
and above all, enjoy.

Announcing our 2009/2010 Season

Bill and I are really excited to be able to finally announce the slate of plays selected for our 2009/2010 Season.  It takes a very long time to assemble a good variety of stories that we think fit our mission and that you might want to see and we think we might just have done it! Our seventh season is a line up of productions celebrating an eclectic series about strong individuals in extreme situations. With the exception of a revival musical which will play at Rolando, the entire season will be presented at our new home, the recently renovated Old Town Theatre. Therefore, we are saying a sad goodbye to the Rolando Theatre we have called home since 2003.

Our ‘swan song’ at the Rolando Theatre will brings the return of the show that started it all, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, with book and lyrics by John Cameron Mitchell and music by Stephen Trask.  Hedwig announced our beginnings as a company and after 40 shows, she’s bringing us full circle in our Rolando space! The story of a wannabe rock headliner and her search for identity, love and her “other half” will be directed by James Vasquez and feature Jenn Grinels as Yitzhak.  Filled with comedy, camp and serious rock and roll, Hedwig will touch your heart and ears!

The 09/10 season officially begins with the wildly funny Noises Off, by Michael Frayn (Copenhagen).  I am already working on the casting for this Tony-Award winning play about a motley and disorganized theatre company attempting, against all odds, to rehearse and perform their own production of a slamming-door farce called Nothing On.

In September, we will present the San Diego Premiere of Man from Nebraska by Tony-Award and Pulitzer Prize winning author Tracy Letts (August: Osage County, Bug).  It’s the tale of an ordinary middle-aged man on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery.  The production will be helmed by Associate Artistic Director Francis Gercke (Mauritius, Curse of the Starving Class).

For the holidays we bring the return of It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, adapted by Joe Landry.  Our audiences demanded that this show return and we listened!  As one subscriber noted: “There are several Scrooge’s in San Diego, but only one George Bailey!”  Tom Andrew returns with his award-winning performance as George Bailey, and the brilliant Scott Paulson will once again reign over Bedford Falls with his old-fashioned Foley sound effects ‘orchestra’.  This year the cast of the fictitious “WCYG Theatre of the Air” will take over the Old Town stage as they recreate the classic story in a “live” 1940’s radio broadcast filled with music and the beloved characters from the film.  In it’s fourth year, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is quickly becoming a San Diego tradition.

2010 will kick off with The Piano Lesson by August Wilson (Fences). We are bringing back several of the artists that made our production of Fences so amazing and powerful. The Piano Lesson will be directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg (San Diego Critic’s Circle Award Best Director for Fences) and star Mark Christopher Lawrence from NBC’s “Chuck” and our very own Fences, Monique Gaffney (San Diego Critic’s Circle Award Lead Actor, Yellowman) and Antonio TJ Johnson (San Diego Critic’s Circle Award Lead Actor, Fences). August Wilson won his second Pulitzer Prize for The Piano Lesson, his fifth play in the “Pittsburgh Cycle”.  The story of a brother and sister in a war over the fate of a family heirloom, a unique, one-of-a-kind piano carved with the images of the history of their family.  It’s a spiritual, funny, moving and beautiful story of family, ambition, and tradition. 

The Piano Lesson will be followed in the spring by a musical.  I’m still working on rights and availability, but I do have my sights set on a couple of different shows, and any way you slice it, either of them will surely delight fans of musical theatre.

We wrap up the season with the classic comedy of style, Private Lives by Noël Coward.  Still considered one of the most flippant and witty plays ever written. I plan on being in this production, playing Elyot Chase and look forward to diving into the elegant Coward world of moonlit balconies over bone-dry martinis. Private Lives will be directed by James Vasquez, who choreographed A Little Night Music.

It will be a fun and interesting year, that’s for sure. I’m really looking forward to it.

Moving forward…

We have announced that Cygnet Theatre will be producing a revival of our very first production, Hedwig and the Angry Inch in the Rolando Theatre this spring. When we first put hammer to drywall and carved out the Rolando Theatre from the Actor’s Asylum in 2003, Hedwig was our leading lady. Well, lady of sorts. There we were in our brand new space with the paint fumes still in the lobby having just put the finishing touches on the walls and trim as the doors opened for our premiere show, a glam rock and roll musical about the heart break and joy of the lead singer of the Angry Inch, Fraulein Hedwig.

Basically, no one had heard of us, how could they have? We had not done ANYTHING yet! We were tucked in a corner of the Aztec Village Mall in Rolando, near SDSU. Who would FIND us? But the power of Hedwig brought people to us and set us off on our Cygnet-y journey. The show ran for twelve weeks! Hed-Heads flocked to the theatre and we loved them for it.

We’ve expanded a little since that summer of 2003! And we find ourselves wanting to grow into the kind of theatre that can support two spaces filled with challenging, entertaining and memorable productions. We have moved into our new home at the Old Town Theatre and have begun producing theater in that space and loving the larger range of opportunities for us and for our patron’s enjoyment there. We are finishing up this current season with overlapping productions of The History Boys, MauritiusBed and Sofa and, now we are adding Miss Hedwig and her Angry Inch. Performances for Hedwig and the Angry Inch are June 4 through August 9, 2009.

What we couldn’t have prepared for in all of our dreaming and planning was this dark looming cloud over the economy. It is just not a wise time to be thinking about growing.  We have made the difficult decision to make Hedwig will be the final Cygnet production in the Rolando Theatre. We won’t be renewing our lease on the Rolando Theatre when it expires.

The Rolando Theatre has proven to be a wonderful venue for intimate and exciting theatre and we are so proud of what was created there. And so happy to have brought theatre to the Rolando community and its neighbors, so it makes us sad to end our tenancy in the space.

To continue to produce seasons at both the Old Town Theatre and the Rolando Theatre, we had anticipated increasing the staff to facilitate the new direction we wanted to go in. But, this is a challenging economic environment that we, and arts organizations across the city and nation, are currently facing and we want to survive it by making choices that simplify and reduce our costs before it is a problem, not when it becomes a problem. So, we have decided that, for the time being, the most prudent and financially responsible option would be to concentrate our resources at our new larger venue in Old Town and put off our goal to grow until things settle down a bit.

We have spent so much time creating an exciting theatre space in Rolando, that it’s very important to us that the theatre be passed onto another company that will fulfill the theatre’s potential. The Rolando theatre and neighborhood has been very good to us, and we want to be sure that good theatre is continues to be created there. We have been talking with an arts organization about that opportunity. We’ll post you on the progress!