My Strange Nation, The Music of Susan Werner Stages Quirky Singer-Songwriter's Music
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The last date listed for My Strange Nation, The Music of Susan Werner was Sunday September 7, 2008 / 2:00pm.
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Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from Roberta D.Red Velvet
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This was one of the most amazing shows I have been to in along time. I go to a lot of theater, jazz concerts etc and I was knocked out by this show.
It's a "musical revue" of the songs of Susan Werner, a songwriter I had never heard of before this. 5 different actress/singers portray characters of the songs, with an emphasis on relationships and politics. The songs are great and the performances awesome. It's a tiny storefront theater in downtown Palo Alto right near the train station, but you would have thought you were on Broadway!I NEVER gush about shows - I like them or I don't - but I am REALLY glad I went!
My Strange Nation, the Music of Susan Werner
“My strange nation tilts sharply to the right…
with our leaders straight and white as our teeth…”
Running the gamut from folk to jazz, from rock to gospel, the music of Susan Werner has captured the quirky nature of the world we live in and the eccentricities of relationships since the early 90’s. For the first time ever, her music is being brought to life on the stage with theatre Q’s world-premiere production of My Strange Nation, The Music of Susan Werner.
“…Our population's mixed, but Florida was fixed
In my Strange Nation: America…”
Not to be confused with a “jukebox musical”, where music of one artist is stitched together with a (usually flimsy) story, this musical review will stage each song on its own, presented by an ensemble of five women: San Jose’s Diahanna Davidson, Jennifer Debevec, Jennifer Knisbell, Halili Knox (all from San Francisco) and Half Moon Bay’s Connie Nelson . The songs point out the dichotomy that exists in ourselves and in the world around us, but yet have a unique way of making people from both sides of any coin feel like they can find a common ground through laughter or shared emotion. Song topics include materialism, religious zealotry, hypocrisy, relationship troubles: all parts of this strange nation.
“…My Strange Nation gave the Indians our germs.
They surrendered on our terms..
As in Died…”
“What makes this such an interesting production for theatre Q (whose mission is to provide evolving images of gays and lesbians in theatre throughout the Bay Area) is that these stories aren’t necessarily about being gay or lesbian”, says director Dale Albright. “It’s about calling the world (and ourselves) on our “crap”, if you forgive the phrase. We are putting many of the songs through an LGBT filter, because that’s what theatre Q does and we think that will make for a very compelling evening.
“Their survivors filed appeals
So we gave them roulette wheels
In my Strange Nation: America”
The show certainly has its potential for controversy. Werner’s latest disc, The Gospel Truth, is described as a gospel album for agnostics. Much of the material in the evening that makes up My Strange Nation comes from this recording. This includes the potentially contentious "Probably Not", which directly questions the existence of God. You might think you have guessed the stance of the writer by the title of the song but Albright hopes for a deeper conversation. “I hope people hear the music and talk about it. It’s possible that some of this might offend some folks, but I think that means they aren’t really listening to the songs, in their entirety, as is often the case when we are confronted with a view different from our own. We tune them out. This is a show to ask people to listen and to come together to make a positive change. ”
“…I will always hold out one more chance
For my Strange Nation: America…”
About Susan Werner
After earning a degree in voice from the University of Iowa, Susan Werner completed her graduate studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, where she performed in recitals and operas. She opted to forgo a career as an opera singer and dedicated herself to songwriting, performing at coffeehouses. Werner launched her recording career with the self-released Midwestern Saturday Night in 1992, followed by Live At Tin Angel in 1993. Private Music/BMG released her major label debut Last Of The Good Straight Girls in 1995, followed by Time Between Trains (VelVel, 1998) and New Non-Fiction (Indie, 2001).
She has toured the nation with acts such as Richard Thomson, Keb' Mo' and Joan Armatrading, and was featured in a 1998 Peter, Paul and Mary PBS television special as one of the best of the next generation of folk songwriters. Currently based in Chicago, her most recent recordings, I Can’t Be New and The Gospel Truth have been both critical and artistic successes.