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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Storm Large at JAW

Posted by Alison Hallett on Sat, Jul 19, 2008 at 6:44 PM

I think it's fascinating how the Portland Center Stage marketing machine has convinced its audience base that Storm Large is a celebrity. It's kind of hilarious to hear theater boosters explaining to one another that, you know, Storm was on that reality TV show... Supernova? About the rock band? It was funnier, of course, around the time of Storm's turn in Cabaret--now that she's got that perfectly servicable performance under her belt, she's gained some theater cred (which is very, very different from street cred).

I'm not in any way implying that the Storm/Chris Coleman alliance is creating a buzz where none is deserved. Quite the contrary: They've taken a chance with her, it's commendable that they've invested so much in a local(ly based) talent, and if the workshop production of her one-woman show that I saw this afternoon is any indication, their investment is going to pay off in a huge way.

Storm is currently workshopping Crazy Enough at JAW--I'm going to post my thoughts on it after the break. If you're already planning on going to tomorrow's (free) performance at 2 pm, you might not want to read on until after you've seen it, but know that today the line started forming about 3 hours before the show (or so I was told). Apparently the "Storm message boards are buzzing" about this one. Yikes. More after the jump

The show is still a work in progress--and while by no means perfect, it's really very good, with a ton of potential.

(I should maybe preface this by saying that I like Storm: I went to her Dante's show a few times circa 2005 or so, and always enjoyed it. Plus, I like it when hot women are vulgar, it paves the way for the rest of us.)

What the JAW audience saw today was a workshop version of a show that will get a full production in PCS' 2008-2009 season. It was just Storm, in a black tank top and jeans, and a piano player, reading and occasionally singing the story of her life. Storm's story offers a lot to work with -- growing up with a suicidal mom in and out of mental institutions, fucking around at an early age, becoming a junkie and so on-- but far more interesting than the story is the way it is told. There's much less Crazy! Storm! Large! than I'd expected; the self-mythologizing is kept to a minimum. It's also far lewder than I'd expected-- I hope the final version is as crude as this one was.

Anybody else get a chance to see it? Thoughts?
Crazy Like That runs tomorrow, 2 pm, Ellen Bye Studio at the Armory, FREE

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