Michael-West

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New Broadway World interviews from the Spring Awakening press rehearsal, with like ALL your faves. Of course Austin continues to steal our hearts with his ASL skills (captioned).

slow west!AU:

 Erik escorting bby!Charles across the wilds of the old west, to find his sister Raven, after she had to flee Europe because she killed Kurt to save Charles(it seemed like a good idea at the time). She’s managed to hook up with Hank and Azazel in america, unbeknownst to Charles, but there’s wanted posters of her and Hank all over and at first Erik’s just in it for the money, but then he realizes he’s being followed by Shaw and his gang, that use to be Erik’s gang too, and he starts to get worried because he’s coming down with a case of feelings for this precocious young mutant who challenges his mind and stirs up something in him. And even Charles is starting to feel something for this frustratingly arrogant, seemingly self-assured, and frankly insufferable man. Until finally he knows for sure that Shaw and his gang are tailing them when Shaw shows up in Erik and Charles’s camp just to needle Erik and fuck with his brain. And after they get wasted on the absinthe Shaw brings to share along with a sad but slightly villainous woe is me tale, and Shaw and his gang take their guns and everything gets soaked and they flee to the woods in an effort to avoid Shaw, and Charles has a moment of “whoa hey there hot stuff” when he sees Erik in the long johns and then maybe sexy-times happen in the woods. And then when Erik & Charles reach Raven’s house, Erik tries to keep him safe by tying him to a tree, because this is Erik and he’s full of terrible ideas that he thinks are helpful, but Charles gets free and tries to run in and save his precious sister, but instead of her shooting him in the chest, he gets shot in the back by one of Shaw’s men and manages to drag himself to cover through the back door of Raven’s house. And Erik still gets shot too because Shaw knows his mutation so him and his gang are using wooden bullets. And instead of Erik and Raven getting together in the end, it’s Erik, with a limp and a now paralyzed Charles and they adopt the two little blonde kids(Jean & Scott maybe?), and nurse Hank and Azazel back to health, because this should have a happy ending where no one dies, they just get really bad boo-boos, and Erik and Charles start the school for gifted youngsters in the old west and everybody’s happy and no one dies. or is sad for too long. And maybe Logan could be the shopkeeper who gets shot, but then surprise he shows up, cause you know Logan can’t stay dead and he helps out with the school. so basically the plot of Slow West, except with mutants and no one dies except the bad ones.

i dunno, I’m no writer, but I needed to get this down.

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Playbill article highlights - Austin McKenzie  (Melchior):

Austin McKenzie is the connective tissue of it all — in both 1891 Germany and present day. He’s the hearing actor who plays Melchior, although he went to college to become an ASL interpreter, so he speaks both languages of Spring Awakening.

“I have such a convenience and such a blessing to be able to communicate with Sandra and Daniel [Wendla and Moritz] so easily.”

It was not long before he realized he was the only one who could communicate with both parties. "Everyone who didn’t know sign language was experiencing so much for the first time. It’s not just that they have to learn the language, they have to learn about a community that they’ve never been exposed to.”

At the first full-cast rehearsal, “We were scared sh*tless,” he admits. “We all were. And, I think that’s probably why this made such a great company because we all started in the same room, having the same exact feeling. We were able to connect to our fears. All of us were doing something new.”

"There were people who never learned sign language, who were going to be signing full monologues on stage. That scared them. There were people like me, who never thought they were going to act — surely I never thought I was going to be on Broadway — and I was terrified that I wouldn’t do justice to anyone, and there were people in the production team who were weary if this was going to work or not. Let’s just say that I was scared sh*tless of everything.”

“He will never admit to it — he will never take credit for it — but a big part of me getting over that was Michael [Arden]…for everyone.”

McKenzie says, “There are some direct lines [in the show] that are a little spooky… There’s this whole line where Melchior says in one of his journal entries, ‘Are they deaf to everything their loins are telling them?’ … And then there are just these beautiful moments where they say things like, 'I hear your heart.’ In a very simple way, [they] make this work.”

The Language of Silence: How Deaf and Hearing Actors are Communicating this Spring Awakening

GIF cred: albertsdasilva

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Once Kanye saw Mr. Jackson, he was the one who was starstruck. He started gushing. “Oh my God, Mr. Jackson, it’s such a pleasure and an honor to meet you. You just don’t know. I’m your biggest fan. I love you so much.” The whole time, Kanye was like a kid in a candy store. I’ve never seen somebody be so humble. To see him that way was surreal. Everybody knows that Kanye can be very arrogant, and here he was, just amazed to be in the same room as Mr. Jackson.“

- Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard, Remember The Time.

Michael West, born Corinne Michelle West in 1908, was an Abstract Expressionist painter of great energy and determination. She painted hundreds of canvases from the 1940s through the 1980s, and was a friend and colleague to many acclaimed artists from those decades. She was not extremely well known during her lifetime; in fact, she had to use a man’s name to achieve respect in her field. 

During her life, West called the abstract works emanating around her “the New Art.” (The formal term would become “Abstract Expressionism.”) She befriended Gorky in the winter of 1932-33, and the two would spend many hours together. Though West would later describe their relationship as “a platonic love of two artists driven by our love of work,” Gorky saw things quite differently. He asked her to marry him as many as six times. Because she believed her career would have to take a back seat in such a union, she repeatedly declined.

Though she was dead serious about her work and career, she found the challenge of breaking into the art scene of her day daunting. “It was an all-men’s club,” Lewis said. So, taking the advice of Gorky, she changed her name to Michael West in 1941. Others, such as Lenore (Lee) Krasner and Grace (George) Hartigan had done the same. She did experience some success under Michael West, exhibiting in Manhattan’s prestigious Stable Gallery in 1953, alongside de Kooning, Kline, Robert Motherwell and Philip Guston.

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Talking with the Stars of Broadway’s New SPRING AWAKENING