Donald Stark's Story

The Mozarts of Hair Metal

January 01, 2013

Playwright Michael Puzzo’s passionate drama Spirits of Exit Eleven* imagines a cranky jukebox in a pizza strip joint which patrons feed with their Friday paychecks, playing their hair-metal life soundtracks, waiting for the pole dancers to appear on the dais.  As sound designer for a Theatre Row production of this play, I conferred with Michael about walk-in music — his suggestions, mine, and crew-sourced. 
“Gotta have Def Leppard, AC/DC, Mötley Crüe, G’n’R…” 
“Yeah, the usual suspects.  Even if they’re not on our personal iPods”
“…but,” says Michael, “We must have Led Zeppelin.  Must have.  The Mozarts of metal.”
Mozarts of metal!  Ah, I have found a musical soulmate.
*  If you’re from Jersey, or have ever been prisoner to the Turnpike, you catch the reference.

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Categories:   Composers, Mozart, Events, Musicians, Led Zeppelin, Unified theory of music

Donald Stark's Story

May the best man wi… Oh, damn!

October 16, 2012

Gore Vidal wrote Best Man more than half a century ago, but the themes (political dirty tricks and smears, idealism vs cynicism) play out on today’s stage with eye-poppingly contemporary relevance.
At one point, crusty ex-President Hockstader mostly kiddingly quips, “Worst damn thing ever happened to this country, giving the women the vote.” 
I thought: Wow! The setting of this play (1960) is closer in history to before women had the right to vote than it is to today! 
Then I thought: Wow! Here we are today with candidates re-debating women’s right to chose, promulgating the notion that “legitimately raped” women are unlikely to get pregnant is science, and forcing these same rape victims to undergo invasive ultrasound probes purely for the pleasure of witnessing their humiliation and physical pain.
Then I thought: Hey!  This site’s supposed to be about music.  So… Come see the brilliantly directed (by Frank Licato), acted, and designed Best Man at the Summit Playhouse and hear the music I composed for it.

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Categories:   Commentary, Events

Donald Stark's Story
"I don't know doom and gloom."

Last of the Bohemians

August 31, 2012

When: Sunday, September 2, 8 pm, and Monday, September 3 at 9 pm, Alabama Public Television
Robert Clem's film about charismatic Eugene Walter, who ran away from home at age 3, helped found the Paris Review in the 1950s, worked with Fellini and other Italian film directors as actor and translator, and, on his return to Mobile in the ‘70s, was the focus of Mobile's art scene until his death in 1998. Some described him as magical; others, as a fraud, a 'moocher' who never had a dime of his own. “When all else fails, throw a party,” he would say. When he died, Mobile's cathedral was packed to overflowing with those whose lives he touched with his charismatic charm.
Director: Robert Clem
DP: Alan Hostetter
Original music: Donald Stark

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Categories:   Events, Film, Filmmakers, Alan Hostetter, Robert Clem