Which I did not post elsewhere because these are my friends, and I don't want to hurt their feelings on national television, so to speak.
The Good I've already mostly mentioned, except for one character added for this version. MuShu is a comical dragon who normally guards the temple, but has been demoted to gong duty for making some huge honor-killing mistakes. Played by acrobatic girls in both casts, they both were pretty good, though the second one was a better actress and snuck in some clever improv lines, while the first one was the better dancer and did more acrobatics.
Also a good idea, but not well executed, was when the boring producer was half a minute into her welcome, turn off your cell phones speech, the four ancestors ran onstage, and told her to get lost, and they tag teamed their way through the announcements themselves. This would have worked better if the girls playing the ancestors had enunciated, and if the audio board operator had been awake.
Which brings me to the audio. Everyone with lines was miked. That's a lot of microphones to track. During the first show, it was a mess. Mikes were never on in time, and sometimes went south during a speech. And those idiot middle of the forehead arrangements were on half the cast, which hurt a lot. It's a lot further for sound to travel, and the mouth is not shaped to make the air on your forehead vibrate. The second cast fared better, at least for act I. But as soon as the second act started, it was a mess again. I talked to one of the producers who is an audiophile, and he was bummed too. They will be using a different audio board and person for the next production, but the person is someone I know and do not have high hopes for. Except the show is Rent, a small, cast, all of whom have legit theater voices. If I was producing it, I would not be using mikes.
The orchestra was only 5 people, but they were miked and drowned out the whole cast. The only exceptions were the solos. Not the conductor's fault, I saw him signaling "softer" to his people at the right times, but he had no control over the mikes. In that theater, with that pit, no amplification is necessary.
Costumes. The first cast was a hodge podge. I saw Chinese, Japanese, Norwegian, Renn Faire and "what's in my closet?". The specially made armor vests for the soldiers were half-off and accordioned. The second cast looked like they got dibs on the costumers, there were more chorus line costumes and the armor fit well.
What else? Oh yeah, the sets were excellent for a no-budget show. They did beautiful things with lighting, and there were a pair of stone dragons painted on flats which looked real. Thy also had a nice Japanese garden style bridge but left the creek to our imaginations. It worked for "Reflection".
The biggest thing for me, though, was the score. This is a children's production, the score was rewritten for this. But it didn't work. Or rather the casting didn't work because a high school girl, or an under-13 boy cannot do a credible man's voice. So songs like "I'll make a man out of you" were painful.
I wonder what other mischief I can get up to today. The garbage has been collected and the bins brought in, Spook's litter has been changed, the lime trees are watered, the big leaf plant has been cut up and thrown away and the pot is on the porch with a new bay laurel sprout from a friend in WA planted in it.
Spook let me trim 3 of her claws. More later, I hope.
Got a possible hit on LinkedIn from an amazon recruiter, but I bet it's an automation job like the last one I said no to.