In the age of social media there’s a new instinct that attends the passing of any great public figure, particularly those we’ve always looked upon fondly – a bracing for a tidal wave of the banal, empty-headed wittering of the masses. Many simply mourn the deceased with a few kind words and some nostalgic recollections; many others use the opportunity to badmouth the person and their works.
Which was why it was so lovely to read Jay Johnson’s story about his (near) encounter with Robin Williams; that it is also a tale about his audition for Soap is merely icing on the cake. If like many you’re looking for a little smile to temper the grief over the great man’s passing, spare a few minutes to read Jay’s story here.
UPDATE: There’s now an app that will take you to the various places you can view Jay Johnson: The Two and Only. Download here.
It appears that different cable systems are offering Jay’s amazing Broadway show recording on different days via On Demand. Let it be said right here and now that if you’re a fan of Soap, theater, comedy, ventriloquism, history, performance, tearjerkers, or great storytelling, you’re really going to want to hunt this one down – it’s that good. And for those holding out for a DVD, Amazon is now listing it for a December 16th release.
Honestly if the budget will allow, I would strongly suggest doing both video on demand and the DVD – Johnson’s show is eminently rewatchable. It’s the kind of thing you can put on when family’s in town –those times when you don’t know how else you’re going to entertain them.
One of the best parts of the show is that it plays to a broad spectrum of people. Wee ones will enjoy the antics of Johnson’s many stage friends, the more erudite will enjoy his insights into history and the human condition – there’s really something for everybody.
First off, I’m glad the Powers That Be have finally come out with a bit of video of A Steady Rain, the play that Sal Viscuso (Father Tim) was kicking ass in at the beginning of this year, and will be kicking ass in later this year and on into 2015 & 2016.
Yep, A Steady Rain is going on tour, beginning with some dates in Minneapolis this October, as well as Atlanta’s Alliance NEXT September! Check out the official A Steady Rain Tour site for background and some awesome pics.
Sal’s also appearing in the fall season premiere of ABC’s Scandal Thursday, Sept. 25th, which should be a hell of a thing. If you watch the above video through to the end, I think you’ll see why many of us are excited to see him in a full-on dramatic TV role.
Rain has been pushing him steadily into some very interesting waters in terms of his acting style – allowing him to tap into his own personality, which is best described as being a force of nature. And quite frankly, we’re anxiously awaiting that Scandal cloudburst!
Anyone in the West Hollywood area looking to take in a bit of theater should head on over to The Odyssey Aug. 2 – Sept. 21 for their production of Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound, directed by Seinfeld‘s Jason Alexander and co-starring Soap‘s Allan Miller (Dr. Alan Posner).
For those who’ve followed this blog for a while, this is the same theater that hosted Sal Viscuso (Father Tim) earlier this year in A Steady Rain. I can’t say enough about what an awesome venue this is – an intimate little stage where it’s you and the actors making magic together – really cool.
Apologies for the lack of posts recently – the dayjob has completely overwhelmed me, I’m afraid. I did, however, want to let you all know that Jay Johnson’s Tony-winning Broadway show, The Two and Only, can finally be seen in the comfort of your own home! It’s being made available beginning Aug. 1st through iNDemand. (Not entirely clear on what this is or how it works, but my technical knowledge sort of peters out somewhere around the iPod days.)
Jay tells a few great stories about the making of Soap, but the real value of this performance is so much more than that. I’m really trying to avoid the ol’ “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry,” but hang it, you absolutely will. And perhaps rarer still, you’ll actually learn something about history, psychology, and when you get right down to it, what it is to be human.
This isn’t just for Soap fans. This is really a performance the likes of which you simply don’t see anymore, and one that cries out to be seen by the whole family, in the best possible sense of that idea.
For more info on getting an opportunity to see this performance for yourself, check out Jay’s recent blog post on the subject. I can’t wait to hear what you all think of it!
Cheers to Scott Ryan and Joshua Minton for taking time out of their Sunday to discuss all things Soap with me yesterday for episode 79 of The Red Room Podcast. You can check it out here or through iTunes. Thanks guys :-)
UPDATE: You can grab this talk as a podcast in iTunes here.
You can catch a spirited discussion of Soap with yours truly on Ed Robertson’s wonderful TV Confidential radio show from May 7-12. Check here for times and stations.(Or keep an eye on iTunes for the podcast.)
Many thanks to Ed, Tony and Donna for a fun romp down memory lane re: the Tates and the Campbells. And for anyone who craves great discussions about television shows past, do yourself a favor and download some past episodes through iTunes or your favorite podcatcher (geez, does anyone even use that term anymore?).
And many thanks to Lee Spilberg for suggesting that I get in contact with the show – cheers for that one, Lee :-)
A big thank you to Hans Pedersen over at our local Fox affiliate, Fox 10, for putting together this great little piece about Soap and the book. And special thanks to Jay Johnson and Bob, who navigated the choppy waters of Skype to share their thoughts on the series. Pamela and I are very touched by the efforts of all three of them, as well as those of Wayne Williams for allowing Fox 10 to use his photos from the Book Soup signing.
Here’s a short but powerful look at what I’ve been going on about for more than a month now. (Sal Viscuso’s character is a long, long way from the sweet and befuddled Father Tim.) Book those tickets before they’re gone!
A Steady Rain @ The Odyssey Theatre in West Hollywood: Click here for performance times and ticket information.
Hi gang, just a quick note to say thank you for all the great suggestions you’ve sent my way in response to my “Please don’t let this book die in obscurity” video freakout from last week. A lot of good ideas here, which I’m going to go through in more detail later this week.
Everyone has already been so kind to this book already, much more so than I should have had any right to expect. I just want you all to know it’s greatly appreciated.