The Annoyances That Never End

July 31, 2008

We all have our reasons for wrinkling our nose at TV’s “Little House on the Prairie,” which we’ve all heard (and shared) ad nauseam. It’s kind of nice to have some new ones.


More Guthrie Photos

July 30, 2008

Check out Playbill. It’s a veritable photo festival!

I think some good points have been made in the comments of the previous post. For me, I’m going to have to approach this from a suspension-of-disbelief standpoint. Building my expectations–such as they are–backwards. Say for instance …

I like musicals. I don’t love them, but I like them well enough. (One or two I do, in fact, love.) So I’m going to a musical. A professional musical. Which, because it’s onstage, should have somewhat flashy costumes (the better to see from the audience) and a whole buncha songs. Interpretive songs. That tell a story. Great. Wonderful. Fabulous.

But wait! This musical happens to be about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Well how ’bout that? How cool. And what’s that? They’re basing it on the books?  Like they actually mention South Dakota and stuff? Wow!

I think I’m really going to enjoy this.

More Guthrie Press, Plus Photos

July 29, 2008

Here’s another story on the Guthrie show, courtesy of the Associated Press. This blog post seems to have been cobbled together from other reports, but it’s worth it for the photos it contains.

(The bangs! The loose, braidless hair! Mercy!)

Esther from Gratuitious Violins shared her thoughts on the post below, and I’m pulling her excellent comments to share with everyone. She also did her own blogging about the show here.

It was an interesting article. A few things struck me: the writer said that the show “does not feel like a typical New York musical event.” He said the orchestra is “dominated by strings and fiddle.” And he noted that the composer is an opera writer from London who was unfamiliar with the books and the tv series. I don’t know whether any of this matters, whether he was trying to imply that it probably wouldn’t work on Broadway or what. [REALLY GOOD POINT. I HADN’T KNOWN ALL THE BROADWAY IMPLICATIONS THAT MIGHT SEEM OUT OF PLACE IN ANY OTHER THEATER WRITEUP. INTERESTING.]

He also mentioned that a new book writer was brought in to make the story more dramatic, which was interesting. [I HOPE THEY USED THE REAL DRAMA. THERE WAS ENOUGH, WASN’T THERE? ALTHOUGH PERHAPS NOT AS MUCH AS AN EPISODE OF BONAN–UH, I MEAN “LITTLE HOUSE.”] Also, Melissa Gilbert is not an experienced singer, although the story says she’s been working with a voice coach. [APPARENTLY HER MOTHER WAS IMPRESSED WITH HER VOICE WAY BACK WHEN!]

Another thing that intrigues me is it’s being marketed as a family show but the Guthrie Web site says that Little House is recommended for children ages 12 and up and the story focuses on the teenage Laura. Seems a bit of a mixed message to me. I just don’t know if this is something you’d take your 8-year-old to see as well as your 12-year-old. [THIS WILL BE INTERESTING TO DISCOVER. HOW ADULT CAN IT BE, REALLY? “SILVER LAKE” ADULT, AS OPPOSED TO “PLUM CREEK”?]

On the other hand, Broadway on Yahoo! has a theater blogger who says the Little House buzz has been great, and people are already talking about a Broadway transfer, although he doesn’t have any sources to back it up. [THIS IS FABULOUS TO HEAR! BUZZ IS GOOD. BUZZ IS VERY GOOD.] Anyway, I’m going to see it the weekend after Labor Day and I can’t wait! [DO LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK–AND THAT GOES FOR EVERYONE!]

The NYT talks Little House

July 28, 2008

Today the New York Times gives us one of the best articles I’ve seen on the musical. It’s not a review, per se, but it does give better info on the production than any story has thus far.

Interesting fact: the girl who plays Laura and the girl who plays Nellie went to the same college and were roommates together in New York. Imagine playing Laura to your roommate’s Nellie?

Melissa Gilbert also says about Michael Landon, almost tearfully: “I’d like to hope he’d be very proud of this.”

May we say the same about Mrs. A. J. Wilder.

“… and I know how to make them lay.”

July 27, 2008

So I’m thinking about getting some chickens.

More on Cheese, and 2009 Conference

July 25, 2008

Comment update: I loved what you all had to say about cheese and the dyeing of dairy products. I’ve added my own response in the comments below.

Conference update: A few of us have been chatting about the conference we’re proposing for next summer. It’s about a year away, but a year is not that much time when it comes to conference planning. It’s time for like minds to convene. I’ve assembled all the email addresses I could find that have mentioned wanting to participate in the discussions, but my computer crash has made accessing past emails difficult. I apologize for asking you to repeat your efforts, but I do want to make sure I include everyone who wants to be involved in the discussion. If you do, please email using the link at the right and put “Conference” in the subject line.

Pretty Cheese Sauce

July 23, 2008

In winter the cream was not yellow as it was in summer, and butter churned from it was white and not so pretty. Ma liked everything on her table to be pretty, so in the wintertime she colored the butter.

-Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods

Tonight’s side dish was broccoli, which my kids recently decided isn’t as tasty as it once was. To encourage them I thought I’d serve it with a cheese sauce, but I wanted to make my own, without a zillion grams of sodium or any ingredient beginning with “V.” The best cheese sauce I’ve made — which is still only “eh” in terms of losing the gritty texture — is from a recipe that uses my bionic blender, the Vitamix. Decent sauce, except even when I use orange cheddar it comes out a sallow, unappetizing color that’s not quite yellow and nowhere near the desirable orange hue of the boxed mac-n-cheese. I had a hard time believing my kids would be convinced to eat their broccoli with cheese sauce if the cheese sauce resembled, at least visibly, something not dissimilar to dishwater. Three or four times I almost reached for the orange food coloring, but I kept shutting the cabinet. I didn’t want to resort to that. Cake frosting was one thing; for reasons I couldn’t exactly articulate, cheese sauce was quite another.

Then I thought of something. I had carrots.

After she had put the cream in the tall crockery churn and set it near the stove to warm, she washed and scraped a long orange-colored carrot. Then she grated it on the bottom of the old, leaky tin pan that Pa had punched full of nail-holes for her. …She put this in a little pan of milk on the stove … Then she squeezed the bright yellow milk into the churn where it colored all the cream. Now the butter would be yellow.

At first I grated some baby carrots, or tried to. Finally, nursing needlessly scraped fingers in my mouth, I threw a few carrots directly into the Vitamix with my free hand.

It worked. The sauce was a dull yellow, but it was still yellow. And the carroty taste wasn’t half bad.