Tag Archives: theatre

Happy Saint Crispin’s Day

Testosterone must run at peak levels on October 25th

This is Saint Crispin’s Day….

Also the day of the Battle of Agincourt (1415) were Shakespeare set this famous speech so well done by Kenneth Branagh in the film of “Henry V.”

It’s also the day of the Battle of Balaclava when the famous Light Brigade charged in 1854 and inspired Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s famous poem.

Yes, I know….my Liberal Arts Education and History Major are showing again….

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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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Sondheim Working on a Revised Version of ‘Company’

My first reaction was:  “Oh god, not yet another production of “Company”.  Then I read more….

This is intriguing….and with great people attached.

And I always thought Bobby was Gay anyway…

From the New York Times today…

 

The acclaimed composer Stephen Sondheim and the Tony Award-winning director John Tiffany (“Once”) are collaborating on a major revision of Mr. Sondheim’s celebrated 1970 musical “Company,” a project that Roundabout Theater Company is eyeing for a possible production, according to Mr. Sondheim and others involved.

The biggest change in this new “Company” would be the central character of Bobby. Whereas he has always been a straight man struggling with commitment issues and multiple girlfriends, he has been reconceived by Mr. Tiffany as a gay man with commitment issues and multiple boyfriends. And some characters have had gender reversals; the character of Joanne, who sings “The Ladies Who Lunch” and was originally played by Elaine Stritch on Broadway, is being played by the Tony winner Alan Cumming (“Cabaret”) in Mr. Tiffany’s reading of the work at Roundabout this week.

For years Mr. Sondheim and the musical’s book writer, George Furth, who died in 2008, batted back suggestions that Bobby was furtively intended to be a closeted gay man. But when Mr. Tiffany proposed actually making Bobby gay, Mr. Sondheim said in a telephone interview on Tuesday, the idea intrigued him.

“It’s still a musical about commitment, but marriage is seen as something very different in 2013 than it was in 1970,” Mr. Sondheim said. “We don’t deal with gay marriage as such, but this version lets us explore the issues of commitment in a fresh way.”

MORE:   Sondheim Working on a Revised Version of ‘Company’ – NYTimes.com.

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A Review: “My Fair Lady” at Triad Stage: It’s Loverly

Run, don’t walk, to see “My Fair Lady” at Triad Stage, our local Regional Theatre and Equity company,  here in Greensboro, North Carolina.  It’s truly loverly….

I’ve seldom left Triad Stage in a better mood.  This is a beautiful production.

I must admit, I went tonight with a sense of trepidation.  I wasn’t sure they could pull off a show this big and well known-especially one so closely associated with actors like Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews and Audrey Hepburn. But they did it!

The cast was uniformly excellent.  Michael McKenzie was wonderful stepping into Rex Harrison’s iconic shoes.  He made Henry Higgins his own.  Julia Osborne’s Eliza was enchanting and not just beautifully sung, but beautifully acted.  Nick Cartell really delivered “On the Street Where You Live”.  Bill Raulerson was great as Pickering as was Joseph Gordon Weiss as both Alfred Doolittle and Mrs. Higgins.  Yes, Mrs Higgins.  Rosie McGuire showed real presence as Mrs Pearce and in other small roles.

These folks, and the rest of the cast, well-deserved the standing ovation they received tonight for making a show this big work with only 10 actors who played multiple parts.  And it all worked because of Bryan Congers beautiful direction of a big show in a small space.  He made me realize it really wasn’t a show about spectacle and a big cast, but about characters, as is all great theatre.  This show really works well in the space at Triad Stage, mainly because of his direction.  It could not have been easy to do….

This is such a well written show with so many beautiful songs.  And the songs worked great with just two pianos.  I didn’t miss the big orchestrations.

This production made me rethink and appreciate this show in a new way.  It really works in this small, intimate space and on the three quarter round stage.  The set, as always, was impressive and perfect.  I thank all the folks involved for  an evening of great theatre.

I’ll say it again, if you can find a way to see this show- and still get a ticket- you won’t have a better night at the theatre any time soon.

In closing, I must say, I haven’t always left Triad Stage happily lately.  There have been some major misfires in recent seasons-especially this season.  More and more often, I’ve left unhappy and actually angry at how they misused their talent and resources.  Tonight was not one of those nights…

In fact, tonight was a little bittersweet.  We’ve decided, after 12 years as Season Ticket holders at Triad Stage, not to renew our season tickets.  We have seen every single show they have ever produced on the main stage.  This show almost- almost- makes me regret that choice not to come back again for the full season next year.

If next season were anywhere close to as inspiring as this show, we would be renewing.  But, alas, next season is not enticing and there have been too many misses lately.  I really wish they had a better season coming up to build on the momentum they will get out of this great production.  “Pump Boys and Dinettes” is not a good choice as a follow-up show to “My Fair Lady” for the musical slot on the season next year and I don’t want to see “Wait Until Dark” yet again.  “The Mountaintop” got dreadful reviews, for the play itself, in New York.  There were so many better options for their next season.  And I’m tired to death of all the Appalachian stuff.  Enough is enough.  I refuse to sit through any more of it….

We’ll pick and choose what we see at Triad Stage next year.  And hopefully future seasons will entice us back as Season Ticket holders, just not next year….

Still, tonight was just loverly….

Don’t miss this production….

It’s almost restored my faith in Triad Stage.

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A Foggy Day in Londontown….

I’m thinking of London, one of my favorite cities, tonight…

I’ve been there about a half-dozen times and I felt at home there from the first moment I arrived.  Maybe its genetic memory…

As Samuel Johnson said:  “Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

London is having a rough time right now with riots and violence in the streets….

And all I can do is wish her well, remember her fondly,  play a few songs and look forward to our next visit, whenever that may be….

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‘Lysistrata Jones’ Musical May Come to Broadway

Looks like the show Steve and I saw in a Church Gym last Friday is heading for the Big Time- Broadway!

We both saw “Spring Awakening” when it was being done off-Broadway in a converted Church then again on Broadway.  I saw “Grey Gardens” off-Broadway and again once it transferred to The Great White Way.  Steve saw “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson” at the Public before Broadway.  It’s so cool to see these great off-Broadway shows transfer.

“Lysistrata Jones” is really, really good.  I hope it makes it on Broadway.

From the NY Post:

That “new translation” is, of course, his new musical, “Lysistrata Jones,” a modern twist on Aristophanes’ comedy about Greek wives who force their husbands to negotiate peace during the Peloponnesian war by withholding sex.

It was a big hit in 411 B.C., packing them in for years at the Theater Dionysus, a Nederlanderious house, and winning the Tonyiod that year for Best Play.

Beane’s version, running at the Judson Memorial Church until Friday, is a hit as well. The Post’s Elisabeth Vincentelli called it “a terrific splash of summer fun,” while the Times’ Ben Brantley said it was “effervescent and tasty.”

(Sounds like Ben was hitting the retsina again.)

And now comes word that the show will move to Broadway in the fall.

Alan Wasser, a general manager who oversees such long-running hits as “The Phantom of the Opera,” has quietly been hunting around for theaters. He’s got his eye, I’m told, on the Broadhurst or the Walter Kerr.

The budget is said to be between $6 million and $7 million.

Set in Athens, Ga., Beane’s “Lysistrata Jones” is about a group of high school cheerleaders who refuse to sleep with the members of the basketball team until they start winning games. The musical has no stars, which could be a drawback on Broadway. However, the bright young cast is winning, and Liz Mikel, as a saucy goddess, is likely to find herself in a good seat at next year’s Tonys.

So, I hope, will Beane.

via ‘Lysistrata Jones’ musical may come to Broadway in the fall – NYPOST.com.

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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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