• 7 Deadly Sins

    You've seen the video. (Once again, big thanks to BalletMet dancers David Webb (Gluttony), Zoica Tovar (Lust), Andres Estevez, (Sloth), Sarah Stockman (Greed) and Kerri Riccardi (Envy). Our video project likely pushed them a bit out of their comfort zones but they embraced the fun.)

    You've read our story.

    And tonight, BalletMet Columbus and ShadowboxLive open their collaboration on 7 Deadly Sins.

    And there - we can't have given a more dramatic intro.

    Bottom line this should be a most entertaining show, what with Shadowbox's house band on stage rockin' while BalletMet dancers get all sinful and stuff. But pulling it together took plenty of hard work, as both Gerard Charles of BalletMet and Steve Guyer of Shadowbox confessed.

    "We both have our ways of working," Charles said. "We forget that not everyone does things the same way."

    We asked Guyer, whose company is a self-contained production group, how he took to leaving so many decisions in the hands of others.

    "It sucked," he said. "It was really hard to watch other people make those kinds of decisions."

    In the end, the six different choreographers engaged to set the pieces became again another equal partner, as Charles alluded to in our print piece.

    We spoke to one of the choreographers, Amy Seiwart, last fall when she was here to set her piece, Envy.

    "I chose envy because it felt like it might be fun to portray. It has a subtlety to it, but at the same time it's an ugly emotion, with a dark uckiness."

    So you're in for at least some dark uckiness, audience members. Enjoy.

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    By: Jim Fischer

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    5 / 27 / 11

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  • Songs for the Soul

    With apologies to the other, we're sure, fine artists participating in this weekend's benefit event:

    Leo!!!

    Blue Jackets fans who miss the golden tones on National Anthem singer Leo Welsh should make up just a portion of the audience at a musical evening benefiting NNEMAP Food Pantry and Faith Mission.

    Songs for the Soul will feature a wide variety of styles, from show tunes to pop tunes to classical repertoire, performed by a number of professional performers - all with Ohio connections - including Ryan Ratliff, Sarah Rhorer, Natalie Jensen, Jaylene Henderson,k Brent Romes, Chris McManus and, yes, Leo Welsh.

    The concert will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday at King Avenue United Methodist Church, 299 King Ave., and at 3 p.m. Sunday at St. paul Lutehran Church, 4686 E. Walnut St. in Westerville.

    Freewill offering/donations appreciated.

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    By: Jim Fischer

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    4 / 28 / 11

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  • Natalie Grant update

    OK, so we would like to ensure our readers who have come to count on The Beat for accuracy almost as much as for chicanery, that when we connected with publicity types to interview Natalie Grant, it was with the understanding she'd be in town Friday, April 29, with mercyMe and Brandon Heath. But we've just learned that, whilen she's doing most dates with them, she will in fact not be on the 4-29 bill at Grove City Church of the Nazarene, but will be one of the musical guests at the Women of Faith event Friday and saturday at Nationwide Arena.

    Just a heads-up. She's still a darned interesting person.

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    By: Jim Fischer

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    4 / 27 / 11

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  • Talking home and "Home" with Natalie Grant

    NOTE: OK, so we would like to ensure our readers who have come to count on The Beat for accuracy almost as much as for chicanery, that when we connected with publicity types to interview Natalie Grant, it was with the understanding she'd be in town Friday, April 29, with MercyMe and Brandon Heath. But we've just learned that, whilen she's doing most dates with them, she will in fact not be on the 4-29 bill at Grove City Church of the Nazarene, but will be one of the musical guests at the Women of Faith event Friday and saturday at Nationwide Arena.

    Our interview with Natalie Grant (story here) was a treat. In addition to her music, we talked family and heartbreak.

    Family: Grant and her husband, producer/songwriter Bernie Herms, welcomed a new baby, Sadie, last December. Grant told us that the night before our phone conversation (we connected at 8:30 a.m.) was the first night she had slept all the way through. She also said her 4-year-old twin daughters have "been like little moms" to the new arrival, who is since out on the current tour with the rest of the family. "The twins have been road warriors, and Sadie will learn to be the same," she said. Grant said she's "blessed" to be able to work this way - that she's not sure she could tour if her family couldn't come along for the ride. Additionally, she said, "I'm privileged to work with my husband," calling him "a great producer and songwriter, and not just for me but for everyone he works with."

    Heartbreak: Frant told The Beat a trip to India a few years back "changed and wrecked my life. I saw little children for sale on the street." "Then I learned it happenes back home too - I learned about a (prostitution ring) with 12 girls under the age of 15 less than a mile from my front door. I had to do something." So she started , a non-profit charitable foundation dedicated to the eradication of human trafficking both domestically and abroad.

    Grant's tour with MercyMe and Brandon Heath plays Grove City Church of the Nazarene Friday, April 29.

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    By: Jim Fischer

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    4 / 27 / 11

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  • "Mary Poppins" tour practically perfect

    Been writing and blogging and video-ing stuff on the national tour of Mary Poppins for more than a week now, so it was good to get a chance to check out the show for ourselves Sunday night. (We were most happy that Blacklick resident and The Beat video co-star Camille Mancuso was in as Jane Banks...)

    The show gets huge points in almost every area -- the cast sparkled (details below), the sets and special effects were magical (way cool to have Bert walking and, in the words of Lionel Ritchie, dancing on the ceiling), the scenery and costumes were lush, colorful and eye-catching and the music well-performed - the singers were solid all-around.

    Have to say we felt the story was a bit busy, with plot lines extended or truncated often in inverse proportion. Rarely was the central plot obfuscated, but the journey was a bit bumpy.

    Now, to Mancuso's performance. The real beauty was that she looked and sounded the part of Jane Banks. Her accent (as Beat vid viewers can attest) was spot-on, and she played totally natural in character. Not to mention she is a gifted young singer. It's not hard to see the Great White Way in her future.

    As was her scene-stealing stage sibling, Talon Ackerman as Michael Banks, who is on his first national tour. Yes, the part is set up for some bonus laughs, but he displayed a fine voice, good timing and, like Mancuso, adeptness with the often difficult choreography. No doubt her veteran "older sister" has helped him out.

    The show continues through May 8 at the Ohio Theatre..

    One last bit we must share. It's apropos of nothing, but when we chatted with Camille, we also briefly visited with her mom, Christina Mancuso, who told us Camille has been doing theater since she was 3.

    "She took to it immediately, you could see it in her face," Christina told us, then dropped this gem.

    "When she was 7 years old, her idol was Ethel Merman."

    What could be cooler?

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    By: Jim Fischer

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    4 / 25 / 11

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