I saw Stephen Sondheim's great musical Assassins over the weekend, presented by Ray of Light Theater at the Eureka Playhouse. You should too - it's playing until the end of June and, with its extremely dark humor, there just aren't that many opportunities to see it. The performance was nearly flawless, with an eight-piece band and big cast cast of singers.
The one drawback? Despite the tiny size of the venue, each and every singer was amplified, for the spoken dialog as well as the songs. I'll tell you, it was disconcerting to see the singer on audience right but hear the sound from the loudspeaker closest to me, audience left. And, as usual, the amplification flattened the singing and sometimes distorted the performers' diction.
I've railed about amplification before and I know that I will do it again. I need to email the theater and the company to ask why on earth they did this.
Knowing what I think about amplification, you can imagine my interest yesterday morning when I read Ken Woods's account of the extreme pain caused to him by the amplification of a speaker at a performance in which he was the cellist....which led me to Brian Rosen's blog posting about an incident the other night at a concert curated by composer/performer/artist Pamela Z....and eventually Elaine Fine had a few things to say, and so did Jessica Duchen. Read all of those postings, please, and especially the comments.