Media Morsels 1.8.10

  • Come Fly Away Flies into the Marquis
    Twyla Tharp’s new dance show, Come Fly Away, which features Frank Sinatra’s music, is slated to open at the Marquis Theatre this spring, with previews beginning March 1. Tharp has gained fame in the theatre world (with varied success) for her Billy Joel dance show Movin’ Out (a relative success) and her Bob Dylan dance show The Times They Are A-Changin’ (a relative flop). This show had its world premiere at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre last fall and continues Tharp’s connection to Sinatra’s music. (She first worked with his music for a piece with Mikhail Baryshnikov that the two performed for American Ballet Theatre audiences in 1976.) No word yet on what might happen next winter if Come Fly Away is still running at what is (and was last season) White Christmas’s seasonal home. But then again, the “if” in that last sentence is a very big one…

  • Oscar Ballots: An Exercise in Futility for the Colorblind
    The Wrap has ongoing award show season coverage and the other day they published a guide to Oscar ballots. The article excerpts “marking your ballot” instructions, which is interesting and kind of absurd. Said ballots are, apparently, color coded with 11 colors for 11 ballots covering 15 of the 24 Oscar categories. I got a kick out this, feeling sympathy for the colorblind, remembering the time my brother thought that the brown shirt I bought him was green. But the real kicker was that among the 11 colors are tan, beige and flesh. Seriously. Tan, beige and flesh are, in the Oscar world, three distinct colors; I say this with skepticism because I would venture to say that many people, myself included, would use tan, beige and flesh interchangeably to describe one color. Hopefully the Academy voters can tell the difference, though, so that nominees for acting, art direction and writing, respectively, don’t get mixed up. Wouldn’t it be something if the Coen brothers won for best leading actress – all because of a color mix up?!?

  • Great – Now I Have to See Enron
    It was announced this week that Tony Award winner, and a favorite of mine, Norbert Leo Butz, will be starring in the upcoming Broadway transfer of Enron, playing disgraced corporate exec Jeff Skilling. This means that I have to actually go see this show. Hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised – it’s getting good buzz from the London production but I’m a little wary of it nonetheless. Press notes indicate that the “show uses dance, music, video and movement to tell the true story.” Still, a show about the Enron scandal doesn’t exactly thrill me but with Butz leading the ensemble, at least there’ll be a great performance to watch.

  • Class Still in Session
    Circle Mirror Transformation, the pitch perfect play that was brought back for an encore engagement in December, has been extended for a fourth time – but go see it now because it must close on January 31 in order to make room for Playwright’s Horizon’s next show.

  • Chicago Wars?
    Obba Babatunde, who played Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars movies (and the bellhop in That Thing You Do!) is coming to Chicago for one week, playing Billy Flynn while the current Flynn, Brent Barrett, is on vacation. This isn’t particularly exciting but I just think it’s fun to say Obba Babatunde.

  • The Bard and The Dude
    Someone took the time to Shakespeare-ify the entire script of The Big Lebowski. This might be the most awesome thing I’ve read this year. Anon, The Dude abides.

  • Happy Birthday, Elvis.

  • Music Business Woes
    In the current issue of Rolling Stone (which has what may be the best cover ever) the venerable magazine reviews the trouble the music business had last year. The former chairman of Island Def Jam Jim Caparro explained that while it was good that established artists, like The Beatles and Michael Jackson, sold a lot of albums in 2009, “the bad thing is there aren’t new artists whose careers have transcended the changing habits of consumers.” Mr. Caparro, that’s because music execs like you don’t seem to foster musicianship anymore. Too many of the new acts on the scene these days push a gimmick, which gets old and loses its flavor after a few months, instead of pushing talent, which endures. New acts don’t seem to be nurtured or allowed the time to find an audience (much like many a new TV show) so if the act isn’t an instant hit, the label divests its support and the act goes back to the garage they formed in. How about in 2010 we all keep to this resolution: No more gimmicks!


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