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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924


October, 2004

 

New Musical Satirizing Bush Premiers in Marin
   An original new musical show satirizing the Bush administration, "By George, It's War!," written and directed by Marin County composer Dale Polissar, will have a timely pre-election premier this month in West Marin and Mill Valley.
   The "off-Broadway" opening of the show will take place in the composer's hometown of Bolinas, at the Community Center, Saturday, Oct. 9, at
8 p.m.
   Then, the production will be staged at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre in
Mill Valley Wednesday and Thursday nights, Oct. 27 & 28, at 8 p.m. (The historic theater--originally a silent movie hall--takes its name from its location, across the street from the Sweetwater Saloon.)
   With a cast of nine singer/dancers drawn from throughout the Bay Area, "By George" is co-directed and choreographed by Doree Clark of Stage Dor Productions in
Sausalito.
   The show satirically portrays the Bush administration's approach to the
Iraq war. It includes scenes with Bush, presidential advisors Karl Rove and Paul Wolfowitz, and an Iraqi exile advisor (based on Ahmed Chalabi) named Mohammed Ben Gone-a-Lot--who hasn't been in Iraq for 30 years.
    Polissar, who studied composing at Stanford, has been awarded two Marin Arts Council grants in recent years. (His current musical is partially funded by an Arts Council Community Arts Grant.)
    His anti-war compositions for chorus have received standing ovations at Stanford and at the West Marin Music Festival; and a previous, Reagan-era musical show, "Talkin' to the President," played to enthusiastic audiences in West Marin and at
San Francisco's New Performance Gallery (now the ODC Theater).
   A classical clarinetist who turned to jazz, he performs regularly at several Marin restaurants, and will be releasing a new CD next month, "Bossas, Ballads, and Blues," recorded with guitarist Bart Hopkin.
   Doree Clark, the show's choreographer and co-director, is Artistic Director of "Don't Quit Your Day Job Dancers," which has presented 16 seasons of dance at the
Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Before moving to the Bay Area, Clark trained and performed in New York City, appearing in many TV specials and night club acts. She currently directs a large dance studio and performance space in Sausalito.
   Polissar describes the musical style of his new show as being "like modern day Gilbert and Sullivan crossed with Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weil." He started writing the show in the months leading up to the invasion of
Iraq, and penned the last song just last month.
   "It was a way of handling my anger over the arrogance, the stupidity, the deceptiveness of Bush and his gang," says Polissar. "I turned it to biting humor riding on (I hope) catchy melody.
   "What really got to me--and what I tried to dramatize-was the way these guys used the tragedy of Nine-Eleven, and the fear it engendered, to push through the ultra-conservative agenda they had been planning for years."
   Writing the show's book and lyrics himself came naturally to the composer. A published poet, his interest in writing has always paralleled his musical drive. He has written lyrics for many songs and several choral compositions.
   Polissar says he realizes that presenting the show in Marin is, largely, "preaching to the choir." "But there's a value in that," says the composer. "There's a real value in raising the spirits of the opposition. And--remember that Ray Bradbury story "Something Wicked This Way Comes"? In the end, it was laughter that destroyed the wicked witch!"
    Reservations for the Bolinas performance of "By George, It's War!" can be made by phoning 415/868-0523. For the
Mill Valley performances, call 415/383

 

 

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