Parting thoughts on Diablo, plus the inside story of the Ordway’s new season

How very meta. Everyone knows the story by now: Diablo Cody goes from City Pages blogger on pop culture to pop culture “it” girl (the spoofs are already rolling in). But what does her startling ascent to Oscar-winning fame really mean? And will it last?

To me, it means she’s done what several months of striking didn’t do for Hollywood writers — pointed out that good writing matters (no matter what the evidence to the contrary at this year’s Oscars show itself). At least it matters to people who love good storytelling. Perhaps “Juno,” in some small way, will even help reverse the tide of reality shows, which is frankly what many of us thought Diablo really was at first. Turns out, she’s smarter than that. Or, at least, snarkier. In fact, she was waiting for the strike to end to get back to working on, guess what, a TV series.

Ironically, it also deflates the striking writers’ arguments of their value because here’s a woman who came from essentially nowhere and in no time rode her particular genius to the top. So much for experience mattering.

Now whether she can continue her winning streak…I say sure, but by her own measures. She says she wants to do a horror film next. Not my cup of tea, nor Oscar’s, but because she honestly has an interest and has an honest style, I bet it’ll work. If she tries to do a costume drama, I bet she falls flat. Plenty of the striking writers haven’t learned her lesson: do what you want to do, rather than asking others to give you work, and you may find yourself bawling at the Oscars yet.

Now, the Ordway season, announced this week–I’m betting this does well, too, and essentially for the same reasons: Jamie Rocco, the Ordway’s relatively new artistic director and vice president of programming, is in love with these shows.

Take the Ordway’s first show–Yankee Doodle, in August. It’s by George M. Cohan, the turn-of-the-century Broadway bard, who happens to be one of Rocco’s idols. He even choreographed the national tour of this show, and odds are, he’ll throw everything he can into staging this patriotic barnstormer here.

Singin’ in the Rain, slated for next June, is another of Rocco’s pet projects: he directed a well-received revival a few years back.

Legally Blonde, starting next April, is among the first of the kind of shows Rocco hopes to do more of–one that was produced with Ordway investment, in the hopes it would take Broadway by storm. It did, more or less–well enough anyway to draw a national tour, and should bring in plenty of the movie’s fans here.

Grey Gardens, slated for next March in the Ordway’s more intimate McKnight Theatre, entranced Broadway in 2006 with its tale of the eccentric aunt of Jackie Onassis. It was co-written by Michael Korie, the librettist behind the Minnesota Opera’s recent premiere of The Grapes of Wrath, another local connection. Expect Minnesotans to be taken with this witty, literary tale, as well.

All in all, rather promising for the venue that would appear to have new life, both in its progressive agreement last fall with its tenants and in its artistic direction. Whether you’re one for Broadway song-and-dance or not, full houses are good for St. Paul and the arts scene in general.