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Sunday, March 30, 2008

World Premiere of Greendale


The Undermain Theatre, Dallas, Texas will have the theatrical premiere of Neil Young’s Greendale on March 29-May 3, 2008.

For some, Greendale was a "half-baked, convoluted musical" and "beyond comprehension". For others though, Greendale was hailed as a "groundbreaking concept album similar to The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Who's Tommy."

Even for Neil's biggest fans, Greendale -- as Sharry observes on Rust -- "inspires extremes of liking and loathing".

From Keep on Rockin’ in the Stage World: Neil Young’s Greendale at the Undermain:
"Rock operas, though, are odd ducks - more than a concert, less than a full-fledged musical. Few composers have written one, despite the huge success of the Who’s Tommy and Pink Floyd’s The Wall. So a rock opera by music legend Neil Young getting a world-premiere staging from the Undermain is a rare bird. It’s the first time anyone has performed Greendale without Young’s direct involvement. Until now, Young is the only one who has sung all the parts. This means that adapting Greendale has involved figuring out point of view, determining just who sings what. Katherine Owens explains.

Owens: If this person sings this, what does it say about what we’re saying about the dramatic action? We have not changed one note, one line, anything, nothing’s been changed. On a fundamental level, all we did was assign the parts. But that’s the whole issue.

Greendale has demanded a lot from the small but highly regarded company: eight months to get permission, assembling a sizable cast and band, even ripping out a back wall to expand the stage. It’s an ambitious, tricky project."


The live band for Undermain’s upcoming production of Neil Young’s Greendale will be composed of legendary musicians of the Deep Ellum [Texas] music scene. Leading the way as Music Director and lead guitarist is Kenny Withrow of New Bohemians. Paul Semrad of Course of Empire will perform on bass guitar. Joining the band on drums is two time Grammy award winner Alan Emert, of Brave Combo.

The Dallas Morning News reports that musical director Kenny Withrow "has worked hard to get Mr. Young's musical ideas across and to make sure the words come across, too. But there are limits.
'Kenny warned me that it is going to be loud,' Ms. Owens interjects. 'He says, 'It's rock 'n' roll, isn't it?' 'Plan your life [on it]'."

Greendale hits the stage at another particularly timely moment. We wish the cast and company all the best in their performance run. Because the inconvenient truth of Greendale is that Sun Green was right -- we've got a job to do.


And -- inconveniently -- the job is bigger than saving just Alaska.

The inconvenient truth of Greendale is that regardless of whether you loved it or hated it, it was -- as we wrote five years ago -- "the most important album of 2003, the musical equivalent of Silent Spring".

Antarctic Wilkins Ice Shelf Disintegrates - March 25, 2008

"You can make a difference, if you really try" - BE THE RAIN


At 3/31/2008 01:35:00 AM, Blogger lisa taylor said...

Thanks for your support of Undermain...hope everyone can come see this great show.

At 3/31/2008 02:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of attending the final dress rehearsal on Friday evening. What a treat! The players did a superb job of performing Neil's work. Kudos to Withrow and his great guitar work. DuBose did a fine job with the harmonica work too. One of the intro articles mentions that it was "tricky" to divide the singing duties among the various players. Again, kudos to the director at the selections made. Having different actors sing different tracks had an overall effect of nuancing the story line that you don't get from hearing Neil sing all of the tracks. This arrangement gives a different dimension and texture to Greendale as a story. The theater set was great as well--spare yet creative. Overall, I'm confident Neil would be proud of the Undermain's rendition. If you are in Dallas, this show is worth seeing! drmiles

At 3/31/2008 11:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forget "if you are in Dallas" drive, fly or walk and see the Undermain show. It starts strong and finishes even sronger. What a great cast and band. Saw it opening night and plan to come back for closing night.

At 4/01/2008 02:08:00 PM, Blogger Anne said...

Hi, Anne from KERA, Dallas public radio/TV/Web here. Thanks for linking to our story about Greendale. Saw the show Saturday and thought the Undermain did a great job, despite the difficulties of staging a work like this. Go here to read a review from our arts reporter:

At 4/01/2008 03:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done and musically fantastic! The actors, the band and the lighting was great. The only thing missing was Neil playing and singing along. Absolutly a must see if you are in the area!

At 4/18/2008 01:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw it too and it rocks. The young singers are great and the Grandpa and Grandma rock away too! I wanted to get up and dance at the end. Neil should come see this.


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