I couldn't believe I was going to a music festival honoring the famous Billy Strayhorn at the Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University in Chicago -- "Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn." It felt as if I was attending a homecoming of sorts.
I was naïve upon leaving The Greatest Show On Earth® in 2004. I thought I could simply walk into any audition and acquire the role. After all, I had the talent, right? Right, I did. But so did many others.
Fast and furious, the rain falls. Brianna Mercado, wearing a shirt the color of sunshine, is intently watching it through the living room window. There's not a tear in her eyes. In fact, there's a serene smile on her face.
"The ground is shifting." Students hurly-burly across the dance floor, legs flying out from under them. "Birds are diving," the tall woman at the center of the whirlwind calls out. Hands shield the students' heads; they duck and skitter.
John-Mark Owen's Requiem must, I think, be viewed metaphorically -- as an almost Biblical battle between good and evil (shades of Cain and Abel), and between compassion and cruelty. And yes, an element of sadomasochism runs throughout the piece.
The creature is otherworldly with the face of a Botticelli and the curvy, sinewy body of a reptile. Jenna Dewan Tatum -- dancer, actress, wife of Channing Tatum -- is also an animal rights activist featured in a just-released ad by PETA.