Tuesday, December 27, 2011
This is my final message to you on this version of the site.
Over the last few months we at My Theatre have been working on the development of the central My Entertainment World site where we'll be joining with our current sister sites My TV, My Cinema, My Sports Stadium, My Bookshelf and My Music. The new central hub will feature highlighted articles from across My Entertainment World and a feature showcasing our biggest exclusive interviews as well as the most recent posts from all 6 existing branches (and our brand new venture My Games).
But never fear, My Theatre will live on with it's own page as a branch under the My Entertainment World umbrella. At www.myentertainmentworld.ca/mytheatre you'll be able to find all the same content from this site brought to you by your dedicated authors in Toronto (myself) and Boston (Brian) and all the My Theatre contributors: Jim, Borah, Maddi, Tessa.
Our annual My Theatre Awards and Nominee Interview Series are coming up soon and we'll be launching our New York coverage with our new head of My Theatre's NYC Division, Rebbekah Vega Romero, So be sure to come with us over to the new site, you won't want to miss it.
Thank you all for your dedicated readership of My Theatre over the past few years.
To all the performers, directors, writers and designers who've inspired us and supported us, this new site is dedicated to you. I can't wait to show you our new and improved selves.
We launch www.myentertainmentworld.ca this week- get excited and I'll see you there!
All My Love,
Managing Editor, My Theatre
Posted by Kelly at 10:54 PM
Saturday, December 17, 2011
As the central doctor and philosopher of childhood education, Peter Hutt is the best I've ever seen the stage veteran. His smart and tender performance contains a lightness and optimism that's key to the character's investment in children. The subtlety in Hutt's performance is what makes it so superb, he maintains a wonderfully dry humour as long as he can; a slow descent into illness and hopelessness is fought bravely with head held high. Korczak proclaims that children have the right to learn, love, make mistakes and be treated as full human beings, not just future ones, something that Hutt's intelligent kindness champions throughout the play.
Moscovitch gives her child characters those very rights in her character development. Misha, Mettya, Sara and Israel are the true stars of the piece, complicated children who learn, love, make mistakes and function through more grief and anger than countless "full human beings" put together. Elliott Larson particularly stands out with his soulful performance as Misha, the reluctantly fragile orphan whose heartbeat proves one of Korczak's most fundamental points. Mark Correia is also wonderful in The Children's Republic's most demanding role, that of the doctor's volatile new charge Israel, a severely damaged street kid with overdeveloped instincts to both fight and flee in equal measure. His understated love story with Katie Frances Cohen's optimistic and caring Mettya is a brilliantly humanizing element, sweetly conveying the gentleness Korczak's fighting to bring out in Israel. Emma Burke-Kleinman rounds out the group of children with her quietly hurting performance as the violin prodigy Sara.
The final piece to the puzzle is Korczak's deadpan and steadfast assistant Stefa, played with the perfect mix of no-nonsense strength and aching sympathy by the superb Kelli Fox. Amy Rutherford's kindly Madame Singer is the least interesting presence on stage, though the purpose she serves in establishing Korczak's educational priorities is a fascinating one.
The Children's Republic is one of those pieces of theatre that stays with you, haunting your thoughts as you exit the Tarragon Mainspace. It's a look back at one of the most terrifying pieces of human history and a celebration of a good man fighting for the survival and success of the next generation.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
As the woman whom Asztalos picks on and unknowingly woos pen-pal style, Patricia Fagan has just enough sass to keep up and just enough heart to ground the unlikely (read: not that surprising, also the basis for You've Got Mail) love story. Her chemistry with Dennis is at its best when they bicker, though their Act II slow-burn romance is plenty wonderful too.
The supporting cast is anchored by Joseph Ziegler's endearing turn as shop owner Miklos Hammerschmidt, a fundamentally good man driven all sorts of crazy by the thought that his wife is cheating on him. Kevin Bundy is an appropriately skeezy/charming Stephan Kadash, the Hammerschmidt employee helping her with the cheating. Michael Simpson shines as a daffy do-right clerk who serves as counsellor to the love story and unfortunate fifth business to the infidelity plot. And the adorable Jeff Lillico gives the funniest performance of the lot as the upstart apprentice Arpad, whose mid-action promotion opens him up to an Act II full of riotous pride and self importance, bossing around the eager new apprentice Jancsi (Mike Ross, naturally, pulling double duty as the prat-falling and setpiece-jumping Jancsi and the accordion-playing Musical Director).
The practiced rhythms of the employees at Hammerschmidt's store play like a well-oiled and quirky ensemble should, their less-highlighted interpersonal relationships just as developed as the main plots (the friendship between Dennis' Asztalos and Ziegler's Hammerschmidt is particularly moving). The pace may sag from time to time but vibrant performances make all the difference in Laszlo's wordy comedy.
The Christmas-set comedy is the final piece in Soulpepper's outstanding 14th season, a very sweet way to head into 2012. Helped along by the Distillery District's annual Christmas market, a trip to the ever-so-slightly holiday-tinted Parfumerie is the perfect way to kick off the season.
Soulpepper's current production of Parfumerie plays at The Young Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto's Distillery District until Dec 31st.
*photos by Cylla von Tiedemann
Saturday, December 10, 2011
I went to University in Boston. Don't ask me why but I had it in my head that I had to leave home after highschool, live in another city (another country, as it turned out), get some space from the town where my parents live, where I'd spent all of highschool and lived since I was 13 years old. What I learned while I was away was just how much I love being here, in Toronto. My Boston friends still laugh at the extreme enthusiasm with which I convince them to visit my hometown, but when they finally agree to come- Bostonians and New Yorkers all skeptical about Canada's greatness- the city never fails to win them over. Because it's the best place there is; that sounds hyperbolic, but I've been lots of places, and I've never found a city as vibrant and welcoming and just plain cool as Toronto.
The Young Centre poobah is also (or, rather, coincidingly) the founding and current Artistic Director of Soulpepper, a thrilling repertory company that is in many ways the centre of Toronto's theatrical community. At only 15-years-old, Soulpepper easily rivals the acclaimed Stratford and Shaw festivals in the acting talent it attracts and with a year-round season of diverse works, it's the unrivaled go-to company for quality productions in Toronto. And Schultz is at the centre of it all as the face of the company as well as a participating actor and director.
The upcoming 2012 season hosts yet another lineup of promising productions covering all genres and periods. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Kim's Convenience again, the 2011 Fringe festival hit written by Soulpepper Academy graduate Ins Choi, as it kicks off the new season on January 12th. In February, My Theatre favourites Evan Buliung and Gregory Prest will take on the intense Long Day's Journey Into Night with Soulpepper's go-to actress Nancy Palk in O'Neill's most demanding role, while the super wonderful Oliver Dennis and Mike Ross will appear with Diego Matamoros in High Life directed by Stuart Hughes. Schultz will direct Home in May and David Storch will take on Speed-the-Plow in July (Mamet's always done well for Soulpepper, being that they're mutually awesome and all). Big name Kenneth Welsh will return to the stage with The Sunshine Boys and Schultz will direct The Crucible followed by a remount of his hit production of another Arthur Miller piece, Death of a Salesman. Endgame (Lord help us all, but if anyone can convince me to like Beckett, it's Soulpepper), You Can't Take It With You, The Royal Comedians an A Christmas Carol round out the eventful season to come.
Once a year, The Young Centre is filled with 3 days worth of Toronto's greatest musical talent at The Global Cabaret Festival. This year's was at the end of October, and it was the coolest weekend I've ever spent in this city.
The 4th annual showcase featured more than 150 musicians in 44 performances from Oct 28-30 and was composed of 3 types of cabarets: The Featured Artist Series showcased, well, featured artists, including some of Canada's most legendary talent (Jackie Richardson to Sharron Matthews to Daniel Taylor) performing their signature material. The Album Series was a set of tributes to the great artists and songwriters of the world (The Beatles, Paul Simon, Carole King, and more) music directed by the festival's resident artists and each featuring a plethora of guest stars. Finally there was the Theatrical Cabaret Series, which consisted of re)Birth: E.E. Cummings in Song, a Soulpepper original re-mounted from its earlier run, and The National Theatre of the World: The Carnegie Hall Show, a completely improvised musical event that was different at each performance.
Next, I was lucky enough to catch Jackie Richardson's own cabaret, a delightful hour of jazz and blues as delivered by one of Canada's most awesome performers. Richardson's show dragged only a little as she got lost in some of her more wandering anecdotes (most of which were simply hilarious) but the power of her voice and her engaging stage presence proved impossible to ignore.
White Biting Dog, then amazing in Acting Up Stage's Leonard Cohen/Joni Mitchell tribute, but the boyishly charming multi-hyphenate seems to whip out another mastered skill every time I see him and impress me even more. I'm just sad that at The Global Cabaret Festival I only got to see him sing Stan Rogers.
After that, I made the mistake of trying to get into The Beatles's Abbey Road from the Album Series at 8:15, missing my last chance to see the E.E. Cummings show I'd missed earlier this year at Soulpepper. When The Beatles turned out to be too popular (duh!), I called it a night.
I spent my Sunday with a musician friend of mine who was working at the festival instead of scouting out the rest of the Featured Artist Series (I figured between Schultz, Richardson and Matthews I'd gotten my money's worth). After dinner, my media pass got me in to see the final few minutes of Prince's Purple Rain, which I was glad to have mostly missed after musical director Suba Sankaran's gratingly forced enthusiasm proved too much for me to handle.
At 9:15 I capped off my excellent weekend at Toronto's coolest yearly event with the most popular show of the festival: Abbey Road. It was alright, not as memorable as I would have liked. After some of the brilliant cabarets earlier that weekend and the example set by Reza Jacobs' innovative takes on the Mitchell/Cohen songbooks, I'd come to expect a little re-interpretation when dealing with songs as famous as a Beatles track. But with the exception of a little extra drumming, the famous tunes remained largely untouched, delivered prettily but with a somewhat disappointing sense of adulation.
But a few underwhelming shows aside, the Global Cabaret Festival was freaking cool.
The Word Festival, which took place 2 weeks ago, was a less glamorous affair just in its first year of existence, but the slightly nerdy low-key-ness of the weekend gave it a sort of passion project feel that made it all the more fulfilling.
On the festival's opening night, Schultz MC'ed the Elmer Iseler Singers concert. He told a story about being a 15-year-old high school student asked to read Hamlet aloud in class. Most of the other students were struggling but he sailed right through, despite having never encountered Shakespeare before. He described the feeling of reading the verse like the experience of coming home, and realized that the reason he was so comfortable with the melodic, old-timey text was because he'd been raised going to church and singing in the choir; he'd been raised on the King James Bible. A classical acting career later, Schultz landed on the additional realization that we were in the year of the KJV (King James Version)'s anniversary, 1611, and that that was the same year Shakespeare produced his final play, The Tempest. So, for the 400th anniversary of 1611, Schultz and The Young Centre organized a celebration of the spoken word, honouring the publication of the two most influential texts in the English language- The King James Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare. It's a fascinating idea and resulted in a weekend of events, some utterly memorable, some wonderfully inspiring and some a little bit boring.
A main attraction of The Word Festival was the Live Reading of the KJV in the lobby of the Young Centre. 24hrs a day, 76 hours straight, someone was reading until the entire book had been spoken aloud at the festival. Soulpepper company members, the Young Centre resident artists and other prominent performers were called in to lend their voices to the reading, which concluded Sunday afternoon as Schultz read the final words and, punctuated by a fire alarm with a sense of humour, closed the book on Revelations. The whole thing streamed online, in case you were awake at 3:30am and just wanted to make sure they were still going, and was a fascinating thing to encounter as you moved from performance to performance.
Before the Elmer Eisler concert, the actual first event of the festival was a somewhat underwhelming introductory Shakespeare Panel that addressed the Bard's global influence. A Shakespeare nerd to the core, I was super psyched to hear from Professor Jill L. Levenson (who edited the Oxford R and J!) and Dr. Toby Malone (Soulpepper dramaturg, among other things). But what I found was that a panel discussion with festival artists (or, specifically, Schultz, if we're being honest here) would have been a lot more engaging. Academics like Levenson, though knowledgeable, can get caught up in theory (Levenson, for example, read from a prepared speech much of the time), whereas theatre actors/directors or just plain Shakespeare lovers are free-er to speak off-the-cuff, something Malone was much better at and panel guest Anthony Del Col (co-author of the comic book series Kill Shakepeare) excelled at. I would have loved to hear their in-depth thoughts about the texts themselves, to know which villain most inspired Del Col's narrative or pick Levenson's brain about what she thinks is the most important element in Romeo and Juliet. As it was, the stiff panel saw the expertise of its guests a little wasted.
Next up was National Theatre of the World: Impromptu Splendor. The award-winning 3 person improv troupe's play series features a brand new hour-long improvised play at each performance, generally done in the style of a particular playwright (Mamet, Miller, etc...). At The Word Festival, NTOW did two performances: one inspired by the KJV and one inspired by Shakespeare. Though I'm sure I would have loved the latter, the former was the one that fit into my schedule and, though impressive, it was sort of underwhelming. The bible's just so abstract for long-form improv to use as inspiration, the stories themselves more allegorical than dramatic (and NTOW had the misfortune of finding an aged Solomon groupie in their front row, who tripped them up a bit by guiding them towards the Old Testament king and away from the much more well-known and therefore spoofable New Testament Jesus stories). The way that the three players picked up on each others' cues and and constructed stories on their feet was tremendous, making me wish all the more that I had gotten to see what they did later in the festival with the complete works of Shakespeare.
I started Sunday with The Gospel According to Mark, which I thought would be a dramatic interpretation but was in fact just a reading of "The Gospel According to Mark". But that reading was done by stage legend Kenneth Welsh and if there's one truth that was unavoidable at The Word Festival it's that you haven't heard the bible until you've heard it read by a proper Shakespearean actor. Welsh, whom I've never actually seen perform outside of The Word Festival, gave a spectacular reading- grand and evocative, surprisingly funny at times. Nonreligious as I am, I may have zoned out from time to time (it was 2 hours of just bible, after all) but the overall effect was a powerful one.
interview earlier this year. I'd been in touch with co-creator Anthony Del Col about an interview for sister site My Books, but had simply run out of time and never gotten around to reading the comics. So I was beyond thrilled when The Word Festival hosted a staged reading of the series. Creators Del Col and Conor McCreery were joined on-stage by some of Soulpepper's best talent (including Prest, Malone, Wall from earlier in this giant article). The cast sat in two rows behind microphones, providing sound effects and the voices of the characters in Del Col and McCreery's epic battle of Shakespeare's heroes vs. Shakespeare's villains to save or kill the wizard Shakespeare. The whole presentation was pretty cool, the cast each voicing multiple characters, providing the shouts of a crowd, the murmurs of spirits, hoof prints, the sound of the wind and whatever else the story called for (Wall even played the score on a small keyboard to the side of his microphone). Andy Belanger's beautiful comic art was projected on a large screen as the story was told, giving the audience an excellent experience of the comic books, just a little more lively.
but it was Schultz's) then the 69-year-old Welsh wooed youthfully as an exuberant Romeo, grumbling "they never let me do that one" as he finished. There's nothing quite like a renowned actor playing for the sake of play, and Welsh's brilliant tour through whatever Shakespeare monologue we willed was something I would kill to see again.
I don't think there's anywhere else in the world where so many brilliant theatre artists and musicians could come together in a place like The Young Centre. Across the Soulpepper seasons, The Word Festival and the Global Cabaret Festivals, the diversity of culture, style, generation and point of view is unbelievable; it all feels very Torontonian somehow (and not just because the artists weren't all New York imports, they're ours). The Young Centre is a place for artistic celebration, no matter what the trappings, and its Albert Schultz who's let it be that way. Whether I'm chatting with actors at the opening of Soulpepper's Parfumerie, laughing at Bhaneja's daffy Polonius, or sitting in the back of the Michael Young as a packed house taps their toe alongside Jackie Richardson, I can't help but grin because this is where I live.
Take a tour of The Young Centre with Albert Schultz.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Canadian theatre icon Seana McKenna's take on the title villain in Richard III was one of the star attractions of The Stratford Shakespeare Festival's 2011 season; Gareth Potter's ballsy (forgive the pun) and brash turn as disillusioned drag queen Hosanna in Michel Tremblay's heartwrenching play of the same name was a personal highlight. Their physical transformations (some of the biggest in festival history) are chronicled in this beautiful short film.
Through backstage shots and intimate interviews with the two thoughtful actors, the film delves into what it takes to slip into someone else's skin. It's quite the beautiful exploration- oddly melancholy as McKenna and Potter discuss leaving the roles they've spent so much time shaping (Potter, in particular, talks about how Hosanna will always stay with him).
But it's funny too. You haven't lived until you've heard Potter's recounting of "getting raunchy in the [ladies] dressing room" after putting on his lingerie and heels, and the usually very serious McKenna discussing "shift[ing] the bumps to the hump". It's a rare glimpse into the process of the Stratford actor and an insight into some of 2011's most fascinating performances.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
|Author and Ford-critic Margaret Atwood and Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page as Cannon Dolls;|
Mayor Rob Ford stuck in the middle.
So today's announcement that he's joining an age-old tradition of arts solidarity came as quite the surprise (and, frankly, a PR miracle for Ford's office). On December 10th, the National Ballet of Canada will open their yearly production of The Nutcracker (James Kudelka's oddly beloved Russian-influenced version that was created specifically for the company) with a 2pm matinee. Rob Ford will be there, but not in the audience. In Act I, the roles of the Cannon Dolls who begin the battle scene are generally reserved for special guests (past Petrouchkas include celebrities, politicians and sports stars like Margaret Atwood, David Miller and Mats Sundin). At the Dec 10, 2pm opening performance of the 2011 Nutcracker, the marshmallow-looking mayor of Toronto will play the role, dolled up in bright colours (and, I pray to god, a nice pair of tights!).
It seems every time I go to the theatre lately there's an improvised comment, a sarcastic dedication or a scripted joke at Ford's expense (he's all over this year's Ross Petty Pantomime, just for starters). Maybe he's finally realizing that Toronto lives and breathes with its artistic and cultural identity, it's what sets the city apart, and the artists have voices too loud to let them hate you this much. And maybe he was bullied into it, maybe the National Ballet isn't exactly the struggling institution he should be focusing on. But hey, it's a start, right?
Sunday, December 4, 2011
www.stratfordfestival.ca for details on the upcoming shows.
A Word or Two
The Best Brothers
Much Ado About Nothing
The Pirates of Penzance
The War of 1812
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Performances begin with a preview matinee of 42nd Street on April 12th.
A Word or Two
The Best Brothers
Much Ado About Nothing
The Pirates of Penzance
The War of 1812
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Performances begin with a preview matinee of 42nd Street on April 12th.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
by Kelly Bedard
In my University writing classes I always wanted to write inside baseball stories about how Shakespeare people talk about Shakespeare. Every professor I ever had (playwriting, screenwriting, tv writing- all of them) told me I wasn't allowed. They said the audience would tune the characters out because they didn't understand, that everything had to be accessible, identifiable, universal. If a character was an expert, well, they had to be explaining their concepts to an audience proxy, for clarity's sake. But most great plays I've ever seen are about smart people talking inside baseball in some form or another. Red, the 2010 Tony winning play by screenwriting big shot John Logan now playing at Canstage, is a one act two hander wherein art people talk about art. If you don't know your Pollock from your Warhol you have to work a little harder to keep up with the characters and their points of view. But you do keep up, because it's worth it to try and keep up with one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Or you could just tune him and his brilliant and daring assistant out and go see Mary Poppins instead. But if you listen, the truth of Red is that it's actually impossible to truly understand everything Rothko and his assistant have to say, because they don't even understand everything they believe themselves.
I don't really have a head for art. I don't know my Monet from my Manet, let alone my Rothko from a hole in the wall, but the key with Red is to try and understand what the characters are saying through their conversation about art (Pollock, for example, serves as a metaphor for emotional freedom and the dangers of fame, it's not just about Pollock). To me, abstract expressionist paintings usually look like gradeschool art, the kind that the weird kid in the back of the class always makes, giving up on stick figures in favour of random smudges. But what's clear as day in Logan's play is how Rothko and Ken feel about abstract expressionism, about life and death and intellect and emotion and fame and money and all the other stuff- or at least how they think they feel at any given moment. They tell you how they feel about the world when they talk about the paintings. When Rothko and Ken talk about the colour red, they show you who they are. And if you're listening, you don't have to know the difference between carnelian and crimson to understand what they're saying. They'll contradict themselves, go round in circles, change their minds, but as well as the characters can, the audience can understand the incredibly human way Rothko and Ken explore their own beliefs- incoherently and indirectly.
Jim Mezon and David Coomber play the master and his apprentice with great energy (though I would've loved to have seen the original interpretations by Tony winner Eddie Redmayne and the legendary Alfred Molina). The frantic unease in Mezon's Rothko, his restless anger and dissatisfaction, create a fascinating contrast with Coomber's fresh-faced but steady-footed Ken. Rothko teaches Ken about life through art and art through life but there's a sort of discrepancy of groundedness between Mezon and Coomber that makes their relationship more complicated, their power dynamic more malleable and Ken's eventual outburst more believable. Coomber, hindered a little by repetitive speech patterns within some clunky dialogue, plays Ken with learned patience and surprising humour, as if he, as a commoner, is able to grasp a bit of perspective the great art idol Rothko can't see. Mezon, is the flip side, a thundering man/child obsessed with thoughtful consideration yet prey to catastrophic mood swings and emotional impulses. He believes in his views, his theories on life and art, his principals, so strongly that he spends more time spouting them than adhering to them. Rothko waxes poetic about the backdoor reasoning and political statements behind his decision to take a large commission for paintings to hang in a restaurant, but he spends so much time posturing that he doesn't notice his own obvious hypocrisy. It's a complex and contradictory performance that Mezon delivers with great finesse. As Rothko grapples with the world ceasing to care about his artistic identity (he's been replaced by pop artists like Warhol, whom he considers worthless), he desperately clings to all the possibilities of who he might actually be.
Director Kim Collier and designer David Boechler's work with moving walls and projections of colour and popular art is inspired, but I found Alan Brodie's lighting design a bit too on-the-nose. The colour red is everything in Red- it's the colour of paint Rothko uses almost exclusively, it symbolizes the blood Ken thinks he sees surrounding Rothko's collapsed frame, it's a metaphor for life and vibrancy and darkness and death and anything the contemplative characters can think it to be. It doesn't need to wash over the entire set at key moments too. At one point Rothko and Ken stand in the studio doing nothing but listing things that are red- it's the colour of tomatoes, and of dried blood in the carpet after a murder. It's everything. The characters never reach a conclusion about red, and I think I could watch Red a hundred times and each time reach a different conclusion about them. It's that uncertainty, the messy and imprecise study of human behaviour, that's what makes Red worth it; it's supposed to be hard to understand, because life and art are too.
by Kelly Bedard
Ross Petty's annual Christmas Pantomime has been a beloved event in Toronto for 16 years. I can remember going as a kid and getting to see Canadian legends like Mr. Dressup (Ernie Coombs), Fred Penner, Kurt Browning, Rex Harrington and Karen Kain onstage as absurd twisted fairy tale creatures. It was the thrill of the season (never so much as the year when Aladdin featured household favourite Bret "The Hitman" Hart as a hilariously threatening Genie). We went every year, long past the age when it really made sense for me and my older brother to be there. But that's the thing about the Petty Panto, it's got jokes for everyone, and that camp-happy infectious optimism is even more important for us Scroogy adults misplaced in the audience.
Of the many, let's call them "liberties", co-adaptors Nicholas Hune-Brown and Lorna Wright take with Baum's famous work, one of the biggest is the expansion of Auntie M into an excitable and world-weary, but still fabulous drag queen named Aunt Plumbum (a recurring character from previous Petty Pantos) who gets carried along on the adventure by being in a portapotty at the wrong time. As played by Dan Chameroy, Plumbum easily becomes a crowd favourite (even among the kids, who clearly don't get 90% of her jokes). I adore Chameroy, have for as long as I can remember, and what makes his Pantomime performance so wonderful is that the dashing leading man (known for machismo roles like Gaston and Miles Gloriosus) seems like he's having more fun than all the kids in the audience combined and doesn't give a flying banana about anything but the silly exuberance of it all. There's a great joy to any Chameroy performance, but he's never seemed happier than he does in Plumbum's tacky spandex and insane wig.
The adaptation is a rollicking good time (though I could have done with more inventive song choices- Lady Gaga and "Funkytown"? Really?) and worth the price of admission for the cast's infectious enthusiasm alone. Oh, and any time a chorus of expert male dancers whips out a rendition of "Macho Man", my life gets just a little bit better.