A good friend, Randy Rogel, invited me, producer Susan Goforth and actor/producer Donovan Le to the final dress rehearsal of his comedy music spectacle, The Gypsy King at the Village Theater, where he has been developing the show.
The show opens tonight. It was hysterical and a continual delight. But before I share about that, I need to take a moment and speak of Randy.
Randy is a rare and amazing talent. As a performer, actor, dancer, singer, his talents draw comparison to the late comic genius, Donald O’Conner. His sense of comic timing and quick wit drew the attention of Steven Spielberg. He helped create TV shows, such as Steven Spielberg’s Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Batman, Histeria! and at Disney he wrote on Tarzan, House of Mouse, The Three Caballeros, Cinderella, Peter Pan – Return to Neverland, 101 Dalmatians II, The Three Musketeers and Winnie the Pooh.
Randy Rogel is a ten time Emmy Awards nominee, three time Emmy Awards winner, as well as the winner of a Peabody Award, and two Annie Awards for his work as a television writer, composer, and producer. He won a daytime Emmy Award for outstanding achievement in animation. Randy composed most of the original songs for Animaniacs and his crazed twists with words will forever be immortalized in characters such as Dot. Randy’s abilities as a writer and as music composer shine in Batman Sub Zero and Two-Face (Batman: The Animated Series). Randy spent nine years on staff at Warner Bros. before moving to the Disney studios.
While continuing to juggle writing and producing for television, this gifted dynamo has written and mounted a comedy spectacle being shaped for Broadway. As I said above, Randy invited me, Susan Goforth and Donovan Le to the final dress rehearsal of his new show at the Village Theatre. Randy was simultaneously bouncy and cool when we met him at the theatre. And true to Randy’s sense of whimsy, he was wearing a new jacket with the tag still on his sleeve. He was aware it was there and planning to remove it. Randy just makes you smile. His air is one of immediate calm and the safety of someone who sees things as they are and can show you the humor and joy in things. The show started with an announcement that as it is a dress rehearsal, things may go wrong. If they did, it was well concealed.
Randy Rogel’s The Gypsy King, is nothing less than a visual, audio and full sensory delight from its opening moments. Set in a mythical fairytale time, the magical production shows off the many talents and facets of randy’s fertile mind. The show is filled with word-twisty-wit and fractured plot deviations, not to mention swirling double entendres, bending this way and that, flying out of the mouth of a range of characters that are like the best of zany animation brought to life. The music and lyrics are always spot on and a joy.
But much more is at work in randy’s show than hysterical comedy. Painless, but profound messages of the heart and the choices we make that we think others want us to make, slip up around us as we enjoy the well timed pratfalls, sword fights and identity switches. Just when you think you are ahead of the plot, you discover Randy has set you up and the actual twists are hysterical as well as sublime. This show is perfect for these hard times. You never, for a moment, think of the outside world while you are within the cloak of randy’s magic world.
Thank you Randy, for the peak into your amazing, complicated and joyous mind. You are the true alchemist and poet. Talk with you soon.
See Randy’s show if you want an experience that will stay with you and lighten your world.