Daily Archives: 04/23/2011

I’ve Never Been So Happy

(Community Matters) I’ve Never Been So Happy – yes, it could be just me saying but in fact it’s the name of the Rude Mechanicals’ new musical.

Steven, Brent Huggins (our college junior cousin from OK) & I attended the Rude’s gala and performance last night.

I know there are a bunch of metaphors layered into the funny, whimsical, saucy musical written by Kirk Lynn (who’s national profile as a playwright is on a constant rise) and directed by Lana Lesley & Thomas Graves. Peter Stopschinski wrote the music, – I can just hear Peter & Kirk laughing their heads off as they were creating the piece. Kirk and his award-winning poet/wife Carrie Fountain sat next two us – Kirk laughing big (along with most of the audience) throughout the play. It dawned on me that the playwright laughing big must be a good sign. Steven does this. I think I’ve tried to shush him, wrongly believing people shouldn’t laugh so big at their own jokes. Though, of course I love Steven’s big belly laugh – he & Kirk were both doing so last night.

Paul Soileau and Jenny Larson were outstanding as Sigfried and Annabelle, the two “dachshunds” around who this Western love story was built. Paul should win awards for his body language, so should his directors. Meg Sullivan and Jason Liebrecht stand out in their roles as well. And, what a treat to hear Peter Stopschinski as the mountain lionAlso, a major shout out to Miwa Matreyek for blow away graphics/video. Directing has become a large part of the Rude’s strong suit, their secret sauce; Shawn Sides was on the sidelines this round and also brings especially great depth in this field.

Lots of Austin’s arts scene in the audience – UT Fine Arts Dean Doug Dempster, Theater & Dance Chair Brant Pope, Suzan Zeder, playwrights Allison Gregory & Stephen Dietz, Jean Clair Van Ryzin & Aldo Valdes, Sarah Richardson (in from NY), Mark Holzbach, Rino Pizzi, Dorsey Barger and lots others. There’s a fun western carnival during intermission, and even the opportunity to borrow western wear (which as you see in the picture, Steven and Brent did)

Steven and I love the Rudes and enthusiastically support their work. They’re one of Austin’s most important arts organizations – winning recognition for Austin from all over the country.

Jean Claire’s review
corrected: Jenny Larson played Annabelle, not Meg Sullivan