Tag Archives: Musical Theatre

Let’s Face the Music and Dance

Government shut down…impending debt defaults that could drive us into a recession, if not depression…. idiots in Congress with no grasp of reality or social conscience…..

Sounds like we need Fred and Ginger, to me!

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New York Diary: Part 2: Lysistrata Jones, A Motherf@cker, Diana Sands and Roses from Howard McGillin

I started my second day in New York on Fifth Avenue.  I had forgotten how much Fifth Avenue got on my nerves now…

Like most of Mid Town Manhattan, between 40th and 50th Streets, Fifth Avenue is now just like part of Branson, Missouri or Myrtle Beach South, Carolina.  It is tourist hell.

New York has become entirely too safe.  I really am starting to miss the days when the only time you saw teenagers in Times Square was if they were there to turn tricks or buy drugs.  That would be vastly preferable to slack jawed idiots who stop cold on the side walk to gape at the tall buildings.  Or families who leisurely stroll up the side walks four or six abreast.   It’s really country come to town time….

Broadway really is starting to reflect this more and more each season.  There’s just not a lot on Broadway that I want to see- or put up with the tourists to see.

Even though I loved “Catch Me If You Can”, I still had to put up with five or six cretinous teenage girls sitting behind us talking and periodically noisily unwrapping food through the whole show.  That’s why they are putting on junk shows like “Spiderman”, “The Adams Family”, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” and “Sister Act”.  It’s all for this crowd.

There is a big difference in both the quality of the shows and the quality of the audience once you go off-Broadway.

That’s one of the reasons I loved seeing “Lysistrata Jones” down in the East Village Friday night.  It was in a Church Gym and had a real New York audience.  Real New York audiences don’t applaud the scenery and they loved “Lysistrata Jones”.  As did we.  It is a modern re-telling of the Greek play “Lysistrata” where the women withheld sex to stop the war.  In this version, cheerleaders withhold sex in order to get their slacker basketball player boyfriends to actually try to win a game.  It was a musical.  It was wonderful.  It reminded us of a mix of “Glee”, “Xanadu” and a touch of “Spring Awakening”.

Saturday was a full day with three shows.

First up was “The Motherf@cker with the Hat”.  This was nominated for multiple Tony Awards and deserved them all.  It was a comedy about addiction.  Addiction to drugs, addiction to sex, addiction to the past, addiction to people…Amazing performances.

Having not seen “Jerusalem”, I would have voted Bobby Cannavale the Best Actor Tony award.  He was amazing.  Chris Rock was very good.  The set was amazing.  The play was amazing.  I’m so glad we saw it.  It’s so rare to see a really good new play on Broadway…

We went from there to my partner Steve Willis’ play reading.  It was an almost sold out house for his play “Diana Sands”.  It was a new version of the play and it was very well received.  It was a great time.  Good people, good audience, good play.  We’ll see where it goes from here…

We cabbed it uptown from there  to see the off Broadway show “The Best is Yet to Come”, the new musical review of Cy Coleman’s songs.  Great cast of Broadway veterans including Lillias White, Howard McGillin, Rachel York, David Burnham, Natascia Diaz and Billy Stritch.  Great audience of New Yorkers and not tourists.

We had seen Lillias in her Tony Award winning performance in Cy Coleman’s “The Life” and it was great to see her recreate her  show stopping number again.  She’s an amazing performer.  Rachel York was beautiful and delivered some great moments.  The rest of the cast was delightful.

Howard McGillin has always been one of our favorites.  We love his CD/Album and play it frequently.  He’s spent most of the last 15 years going in and out of “Phantom of the Opera” where he’s played the lead more than any other actor.  Something like 17 million performances….

He’s much more than that…It was great to see him up close and personal from the third row of a very small theatre.  He is so good…and aging very well.

At the end of one song, he threw a rose into the audience.  It landed in my lap.  Several elderly New York women now hate me…

A rose from Howard McGillin is not a bad way to end a Saturday night in New York.

It’s even better ending the evening by going back to a comfortable hotel with Steve Willis and knowing there is more to do on Sunday, one of my favorite days in New York…

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Happy Birthday, Barbra Streisand and Shirley MacLaine

Two icons were born today:  Barbra Streisand is 69 and Virginia’s own Shirley MacLaine is 77….

Of course, I have to put up a couple of clips:

A little prime Streisand:

And a little MacLaine:

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Judy Garland: Over the Rainbow, and Then Some!

In recognition of her Carnegie Hall Concert 50 years ago tonight, there’s a lot of new interest in Judy Garland.

Here is a great article from this month’s Vanity Fair:

In December 1959, Judy Garland, only 37 but with a quarter-century of hard living behind her, lay near death in New York’s Doctors Hospital. Alcohol and pills were the culprits. When in reasonably good health, Garland, who stood an inch under five feet, weighed 100 pounds. Now she weighed 180. Her tiny frame was grotesquely swollen with fluid and her liver severely compromised. Her eyes were glazed; her memory was failing; her body was shutting down. Walking by Garland’s hospital room, a close friend overheard a clutch of doctors discussing her condition. One of them turned to the friend. “I have to tell you the truth,” the doctor said. “I don’t think she’s going to make it.”

She made it. “She had the constitution of an army,” Garland’s daughter Lorna Luft says. “She just knew she had to keep going.” But three weeks later, after 20 quarts of fluid had been drained from her body, her lead physician told Garland, “For the rest of your life, all your physical activity must be curtailed. You are a permanent semi-invalid.… It goes without saying that under no circumstances can you ever work again.”

Garland fell back onto her pillows. “Whoopee!” she cried, weakly.

More:  Over the Rainbow, and Then Some! | Vanity Fair.

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50 Years Ago Tonight: Judy at Carnegie Hall

Judy Garland’s legendary Carnegie Hall Concert was 50 years ago tonight…

There is a new documentary about the night, “Stay All Night” currently in production.

Here is a another clip about that night:

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