Media Morsels 2.19.10


  • Vicky Cristina Dracula?
    The New York Post reported that Oscar winner Javier Bardem, who was handsome and mightily seductive in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, might make his Broadway debut in a proposed revival of Dracula. Who knows if this will actually happen, seeing as there is another producing group aiming to bring the play off-Broadway with F. Murray Abraham as Van Helsing and an unknown actor as the blood sucker. (I’d also like to take a moment here to note that I’d love to see Jason Segel flesh out and fully stage his fledgling and sympathetic Dracula musical, A Taste for Love, puppets and all. Watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall. You’ll agree.) All I know is I certainly wouldn’t mind watching Bardem hulk around on stage for a couple of hours. (Also, I recently watched, for the first time, No Country for Old Men, which featured Bardem in his Oscar winning role. It was a chilling and curt movie, with quiet performances from the great cast but I think There Will Be Blood was better and should have won for Best Picture. That long opening one-shot shot was breathtaking. Just saying.)

  • Together Again
    The brilliant director Matthew Warchus and the gifted actor Mark Rylance, Tony winners both, are teaming up again for a revival of La Bete. This play is opening on the West End this summer prior to its September Broadway bow. Rylance was directed by Warchus in Boeing, Boeing two seasons ago and rightfully won a Tony. Warchus was nominated but didn’t win until the following year (last season) when he beat himself and won for directing God of Carnage. I think he should have won for The Norman Conquests, but I’m glad he won at all. Warchus is a phenomenal director with an inspired knack for farce. Can’t wait to see what happens when he and Rylance team up again!

  • Glee Sneak Peek
    Can’t wait until April 13 for more Glee? Me neither. That’s why I’m watching and re-watching this snippet of a sneak peek of the upcoming episodes, which includes a taste of the Madonna episode and a glimpse of Jonathan Groff in full-on Vocal Adrenaline mode!

  • Award Season Update
    Oscar telecast producers have asked nominees to prepare an acceptance speech that is short on names and instead briefly tells viewers what the award means to said winner. Winners who wish to thank actual people are encouraged to use the “Thank You-cam” that will be awaiting them in the wings. Apparently the producers think the stories are more viewer-friendly but I disagree. I think the winner should say whatever comes to mind when he or she or they is up at the podium. Of course each winner is free to do this as the telecast is live, but I think it’s insulting for the producers to even suggest what the winner should say. It’s the winners’ moment. Let them thank their parents and their agent and their dog. I think some of the most moving speeches are when the winner thanks – and tells why they’re thanking – an important person. Reese Witherspoon, for example, gave a lovely and moving speech when accepting her Oscar, thanking her parents for supporting her and being proud of her no matter if all she did was make her bed. Reese won her award back in 2006 and I still remember her speech. I hope that whoever wins this year (I’m not naming names so as not to “tempt the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing”) says whatever comes to mind and those producers can lump it.

    In other Oscar news, Deadline.com is reporting that the five nominated songs will not be highlighted this year. Instead, the telecast producers are making room for the five extra Best Picture clips that need to be shown since they’ve widened the field to ten nominees. I think the musical numbers are some of the more entertaining parts of the telecast (who didn’t simultaneously thrill and cringe when Three 6 Mafia performed?) though I understand, from a producers perspective, the need to show clips from all the films. I just hope that they don’t try to throw in any of those terrible montages. In my opinion, the awards ceremonies should be about the awards, and the only montage should be a simple and tasteful In Memoriam segment.

  • (Mostly) New Hippies
    The new Tribe for Hair: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical was announced on Tuesday. The reported rumor from last week that Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young would be part of the Tribe are in fact confirmed by this announcement. Some (mostly anonymous) readers commented last week to say that DeGarmo has several theatre credits to her name. Yes, she does. Some of these same readers commented that she’s talented and that perhaps my skepticism was unwarranted. Let me clarify for those who inferred that I doubt her commitment to theatre: I don’t. I mentioned that I was skeptical of her commitment to Hair – to its core and heart and soul – just as I was skeptical of Gavin Creel joining the Tribe when it transferred from the Park to the Hirschfeld. I loved the incarnation in the Park so much and was fearful that changing even one thing about that production would cause it to suffer. My skepticism was blown away by the fantastic and exuberant Gavin Creel – who not only is an extremely gifted performer, he is also charming, funny and living the ruach of Hair. I hope that each of the new Hippies pulls a Gavin Creel on me, if you will. I hope that each of them is authentic and sincere and I’m very much looking forward to March, when I’ll have the chance to see how the new Tribe looks, sounds and feels.

    DeGarmo will take over the role of Shelia, currently brought to life by Cassie Levy, and Ace Young will embody Berger, played brilliantly in the pond-jumping Tribe by Will Swenson. Staying on this side of the pond are Vanessa Ray (who is Crissy; she took over for cutie Allison Case, who’s on leave – and probably heading to Manchester, England, England.); Briana Carlson-Goodman (a swing who I’ve seen go on as Crissy – she gives a very tender performance); Jay Armstrong Johnson (a swing who I saw go on for Claude – he was very good!); Rachel Bay Jones (continuing as Mother); Josh Lamon (Margaret Mead/Dad – Lamon is taking over this role from current Margaret Mead/Dad, Andrew Kober after taking over his current Tribe role from Hair alum and American Idiot cast member Theo Stockman); Nicole Lewis (Tribe, part of the “White Boys” trio; I also saw her go on as Shelia and she was fantastic!); and Paris Remillard (Tribe – he has a beautiful voice that sounds like honey; he also sometimes covers Claude.)

    Read the announcement on Broadwayworld.com for the full Tribe. And check out these photos and these photos of the new Hippies. (My favorite photos are the ones with Oskar Eustis, Diane Paulus and Jim Rado – I adore him!)

    Check out these videos, too: The new Tribe singing Let the Sun Shine In; Oskar Eustis and Diane Paulus talking about finding the new Tribe and the cast’s excitement about starting the show.

  • Lessons from Leo
    One of my favorite actors, Leonardo DiCaprio, is currently gracing the cover of Esquire magazine in support of his new film, Shutter Island. (Expect a review within a week – Leo can get me into a theatre like no one else. To wit: I’m seeing the movie on opening day.) On their website, Esquire offers a sneak peek into the issue, including what they call “Ten Essential Lessons” from the endlessly talented actor. Check out these lessons, then check out the full article in the magazine and then watch the movie! (Or mix up the order – whatever floats your boat!)


  • The Power of Artistic Expression
    On Wednesday, the New York Times published excerpts of an email conversation between its two theatre critics, Ben Brantley and Charles Isherwood. The subject was: Can theatre create a dialogue about immediate subjects? Noting the politically tilted shows set to open this spring, particularly American Idiot(!) and Next Fall, the two men discussed theatre’s power in the zeitgeist. I think it’s an interesting discussion to listen in on and I’m glad that they both have a favorable view of American Idiot and Next Fall.

    For what it’s worth, I’ll reiterate my two cents: Art is powerful. As I said in my review of American Idiot, the Berkeley run, “I believe an artist’s job is to express what we, collectively, are feeling… The artist shares [these feelings] with the world as pure and honest public group therapy; art allows us to experience our emotions and collectively rejoice, rock and roll in the commonality of these shared human feelings.” So yes, Ben Brantley and Charles Isherwood, I do believe that theatre can create a dialogue about immediate subjects. And it should be noted that just because the media has stopped reporting on a subject doesn’t make it any less immediate in our minds. So while it may take a while for a topical play to actually make it onto a stage, (what with readings, workshops and out of town try-outs) they are still important and the topics are likely still percolating in our noggins.

  • Bernadette Peters Sings for You
    A handful of tour dates for songstress Bernadette Peters were announced this week, including dates in New York and South Florida (March 26 at Lynn University). Visit Playbill.com for the full list of tour dates.

  • Inside J. Robert Spencer’s Dressing Room
    Broadway.com recently took a peek into Next to Normal’s J. Robert Spencer’s dressing room. In this pictorial essay, he highlights five items that are particularly meaningful. My favorite is number three, a picture his father took to remind Spencer where he came from and where he is.

  • The New Gabe
    Speaking of Next to Normal, as you may know Aaron Tveit left the show in January. (I was at his final performance and it was truly awesome.) Taking over the role of Gabe is southern charmer Kyle Dean Massey, who covered the role last summer when Tveit was in Seattle with Catch Me If You Can. Kyle Dean has been keeping a vlog of his adventures at the Booth theatre and this week’s installment (the seventh in the series) features the trick to getting your microphone in place and some secrets of the stage door. I haven’t seen Kyle Dean perform yet, but I will at the end of the month and am quite looking forward to seeing him, and seeing a different interpretation of Gabe.

  • Some Enchanted Evening…
    It’s curtains for the Tony winning revival of South Pacific. The acclaimed Rodgers and Hammerstein musical will close on August 22, 2010, when it will have played 37 previews and 1,000 regular performances. I haven’t seen it yet (though I should have when it opened – dreamy Matthew Morrison was Lt. Cable and my high school classmate, Mike Evariste, was one of the sailors – he’s now in the touring company) but hopefully I’ll be able to snag a ticket before August.

  • Close to The Edge
    U2’s The Edge says that Spider Man will definitely swing onto the boards. The Edge claims that Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark will open this fall, before the end of this calendar year. Just the other day a friend and I were walking by the Hilton Theatre (where Spider Man is supposed to play) and he asked, “Do you think this is ever coming to Broadway?” I said, “Yes. Bono can save the world – he can definitely save a musical.” I guess The Edge can do a little musical saving, too! (By the way, if you’re a fan of The Edge, guitars or music and passion in general – or Jimmy Page or Jack White – you should check out what I thought was the best film of 2009, It Might Get Loud. It’s 90 minutes of guitar playing. Brilliant.)

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