Archive for January, 2012

Pete and Peggy Seeger Concert in Woodstock March 17th

Seeger sessions, times 2

Folk singing half-siblings – and let’s face it, living legends – Peggy Seeger and Pete Seeger are appearing at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock in a benefit for the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild on Saturday, March 17. Folk superstar Pete is a household name, but Peggy was destined for greatness, too: Her mother Ruth Crawford Seeger was an influential composer and folklorist and the first woman ever awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship Award for Music; her father Charles Louis Seeger was a pioneering ethnomusicologist and the inventor of the melograph, an electronic musical notation instrument.


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New SD Rep musi…

New SD Rep musical traces American history through song



North County Times 

Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012 9:45 am                                       

Jim Mooney, Dave Crossland and Vaughn Armstrong star in San Diego  Repertory Theatre’s world premiere musical “A Hammer, A Bell, and A Song to  Sing!” opening in previews Tuesday (opening night is Jan. 14) at the Lyceum  Theatre in San Diego. Photo courtesy of Daren Scott 

“A Hammer, A Bell, and A Song to Sing!”

When: previews, Tuesday through Jan. 13;  opens Jan. 14 and runs through Jan. 29; showtimes, 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 2  p.m. Sundays

Where: San Diego Repertory Theatre at  the Lyceum Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, San Diego

Tickets: $32-$51

Info: 619-544-1000

San Diego Repertory Theatre associate artistic director Todd Salovey grew up listening to music about changing the world, especially the  inspiring tunes of Pete Seeger. So it made sense for him to write a play about  his musical hero.

“It was a real labor of love for me,” Salovey said. “His was the music I grew up on. It really speaks to me. I had some contact and encouragement from Pete and his family. I watched every video I could find of  him performing.”

He wrote the text, gathered actors and musicians and started rehearsals for “A Hammer, a Bell, and a Song to Sing!” in early December —-  only to have to change directions in midstream. While Seeger, now 92, had  approved an early treatment, he changed his mind after reading the full  script.

“He felt his life didn’t warrant a whole musical,” said Salovey, “and I had to respect that. But by that time, we had a great cast and we were  excited about the songs —- songs of protest and change that reflect Pete’s  time. We felt we could put something together.”

So Salovey went back to the drawing board and found that using the  music of change as his material gave him plenty of inspiration. He gathered  songs from many different generations, such as songs from the Revolutionary War  and the textile worker strikes of 1911. The 25 songs include “Johnny Has Gone  for a Soldier,” “We Shall Overcome” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” The  text quotes speeches from Allen Ginsberg, Henry David Thoreau, Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr.

“After the shock of having to change gears, we moved in a very focused, inspired direction,” he said. “We wanted to feature music that  reflects what’s happening culturally. The kind of music that I’ve been  reflecting on for a long, long time.”

Another element that played into Salovey’s new direction came from  a conversation with Seeger’s grandson, Tao. Tao had visited an Occupy rally in  Las Vegas and listened to the people shouting. He told Salovey that if people  had been singing, the response would be totally different.

“So he put together a rally with Pete and Arlo Guthrie,” Salovey said. “A policeman came up to him, and Tao expected to be cuffed. Instead, the  policeman shook his hand and said thank you. I could see then that no matter the  time, music brings people together. As a culture, we don’t sing together as much  as we used to.”

Ultimately, that’s what made Seeger’s music so special to Salovey.

“These songs are about the betterment of society,” he said. “That  shaped my life and it’s always guided my approach to theater. It’s in songs like  these that I feel art can play such an important role in helping people. That’s  what I want the audience to remember. I also want people to remember that they  love to sing.”


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