Media Morsels 11.12.10


  • Bloody Bloody Bits
    Vogue.com recently put the spotlight on five politically themed shows treading the boards, all of which have a connection to The Public. On their list of must-see political theatre is Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Check out their write up of my favorite dirty sexy dive-bar show, as well as their other picks, Angels in America, That
    Hopey Changey Thing, Gatz and In the Wake.

    Hunky leading man Benjamin Walker and his rocking co-stars were interviewed in this week’s Time Out New York, and along the way helped TONY show off the best winter bars in New York. I’ll drink to that! (Bonus: Check out these behind-the-scenes shots from the Bloody Bloody cover-photo shoot!)

    While some Bloody Bloody blokes were out boozing, Broadway.com was catching up with funny man Jeff Hiller, who plays a few characters in Bloody Bloody, including the whiney John Quincy Adams. Read what he has to say about garnering laughs and finally landing a Bloody Bloody gig.

  • No More Normal
    Bad news, dear readers: Next to Normal will close on January 16, 2011. This isn’t much of a surprise, given their recent weekly box office returns, but it’s disheartening nonetheless. However, as we used to say in high school, “don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.” Next to Normal began as a class exercise when Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey were in a musical theatre writing workshop over ten years ago. Since then, it was produced off-Broadway at NY’s Second Stage, where I first saw it, and then reworked at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage before debuting on Broadway in March 2009. It’s made it well past the one year mark on Broadway – an extraordinary feat these days – and won three Tony awards and a Pulitzer. The first national tour of Next to Normal will begin this month and features the amazing Alice Ripley in her Tony winning role. Congratulations cast, crew and creatives (and chutzpah filled producers) for believing in this raw, powerful original musical and sharing it with all of us.

  • Boycotting the Boys
    This past weekend, protesters from The Freedom Party demonstrated outside the Lyceum theatre, where The Scottsboro Boys just opened. The show, about nine young black men falsely accused of rape in 1931, uses the minstrel show technique as a storytelling device. The protesters were demonstrating against the use of minstrelsy, claiming it is racist and perpetuates racist stereotypes. This is true, but (in my opinion and according the creators) here it is used to comment on our racist past; the use of minstrelsy in The Scottsboro Boys in not meant as commendation but rather condemnation. In my review of the new Kander and Ebb musical, I wondered if the intentions behind using the minstrel show would be lost on some theatergoers. Apparently, it’s been lost on some theatre protestors.

  • Censorship in Schools
    Speaking of misunderstood racism: A high school in Florida has canceled a production of To Kill a Mockingbird because of its use of the N word. I’m appalled at this. I don’t advocate the use of such language. I rarely drop F-bombs or other invectives but the language in the Harper Lee classic isn’t used willy-nilly. It’s used purposefully and it reflects the language used at the time. I wonder if they’d censor West Side Story, in which some racial epithets are thrown around. Or what about Shakespeare when Sampson bites his thumb at the Montagues? The worst part about this is what the high school’s principal said in defense of his decision: “Community members [who come to see the play] would not be able to discuss the controversial material…in the same way students do in class.” They shouldn’t need to! They’re adults! Hopefully they’ve already discussed it when they were in school. And if they haven’t, can’t they be adults and discuss it on their own?

  • Adam Rapp at Humana
    A new season at the Humana Arts Festival in Louisville will begin this spring and it will feature a new work from one of my favorite playwrights, Adam Rapp. His The Edge of Our Bodies will play the Victor Jory Theatre from March 22-April 3, 2011, and will be directed by Rapp, as is his common practice these days. Visit actorstheatre.org for more information. (Can’t make it to the festival but need a Rapp-fix? Watch In Treatment on Monday nights; the Sunil episodes are written and produced by Rapp. And check out The Amoralists’ production of Rapp’s Ghosts in the Cottonwoods here in NY.)

  • They’re All Gonna Laugh At You
    You remember when, a couple months ago, I mentioned that Carrie: The Musical would be making its way back to New York with a reworked script? Well, this week MCC, which will produce the work in its 2011-2012 season, and other producers got some folks together for a reading. Featured in the reading were Aaron Tveit (!!!), Marin Mazzie, Molly Ranson (in the title role), Annaleigh Ashford (Veronica in Heathers) and Spring Awakening alum (and current The Big C player) Alexandra Socha. Now that Aaron Tveit is in the mix, you can be sure I’ll update you on future developments.

  • Glee Scoop
    It’s November which means it’s sweeps month – which means the TV shows are pulling out all the stops and wrangling in super-star guest stars. (This week: Marty McFly Michael J. Fox made an effective and hilarious appearance on The Good Wife.) Coming up this month on Glee: Carol Burnett! We knew this was coming and
    we knew when it was coming but, dear readers, it’s almost here. The comedy legend will appear on the November 23 episode of Glee and, according to Ms. Burnett in a TV Guide interview, she may be coming back for more. I can’t wait to see her go toe to toe with Jane Lynch – two funny ladies being hilarious. Now that’s good television.

    In other Glee news, Darren Criss may become a series regular. Criss made his Glee debut in this week’s episode as the charming Blaine, Kurt’s gay friend from an all-boys school. Criss was originally contracted as a recurring character but rumors abound that he will in fact become a regular cast member in the third season. I really liked his character and his and Kurt’s fledgling relationship so I think this is great news. What do you think? Would you like to see Criss on Glee more often?

  • Is Blue Valentine a Blue Movie?
    Blue Valentine, the new film featuring one of my faves, Ryan Gosling, and Michelle Williams as a struggling married couple, had been generating a lot of buzz. First it was buzz coming out of the festival circuit and that buzz was about the impeccable quality of the film. (Reportedly: a gripping story told through virtuosic performances.) More recently, though, it’s been getting buzz because of the NC-17 rating the absurdly secretive and thoroughly unpredictable and prudish MPAA slapped on the film. Star Gosling said (via E! Online) the rating “seems arbitrary to me.” Me too, Ryan! There seems to be no reliable guideline filmmakers could use to determine what rating their movie will receive. Of course, nothing has to be rated; however, many theaters decide what movies to show based on the ratings. For example, they’d rather play lots of PG or PG-13 rated movies that will draw bigger crowds. (Think about any animated film. The kids want to see it. The parents have to take them. That’s reasonably four tickets, plus concessions. Compare that to some R rated movie – like Pulp Fiction. Not exactly family entertainment. I might go by myself and not purchase any concessions. Who does Regal Entertainment prefer as a client?) Well, I could go on ad nauseam about the utter ridiculousness of the MPAA, but for now, suffice to say that Blue Valentine will be a movie I make a point to see in the theatres if for no other reason than to support interesting, careful, thoughtful and uncompromising filmmaking. (To go behind the scenes of the ratings board (kind of) check out the documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated – available for instant viewing on Netflix.)

  • Eat Your Veggies!
    An article in this week’s New York Magazine highlighted the prevalence of vegetable-centric meals, some of which totally eschew meat while others simply relegate meat to a supporting role. I like my veggies a lot – especially when they’re fresh and simply prepared (say with a touch of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a crack or two of pepper) – so I’m glad to see this trending and infiltrating restaurants’ menus. What do you think? Is it time for a cucumber comeback?

  • Catch Me Casting
    It’s official: Aaron Tveit and Norbert Leo Butz will be playing on stage at the Neil Simon theatre in the Broadway bow of Catch Me if You Can. You may remember that both actors originated roles in the show’s Seattle run last summer. Also joining them from that production are Kerry Butler and Tom Wopat. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I am psyched to welcome Aaron and Norbie back to the boards. Catch Me begins previews March 7 in anticipation of an April 10 opening.
    (Anyone want to place bets on Tveit receiving a Tony nomination for Catch Me as way of nominators showing remorse for egregiously leaving him nomination-less for his amazing, thrilling, charismatic and otherwise flawless performance in Next to Normal?)

  • Not So Miraculous Year
    You may remember that a Kathryn Bigelow directed, John Logan written and Broadway star studded TV pilot was recently shot, with the hopes of becoming an HBO series. Well, unfortunately, HBO passed on The Miraculous Year. (Norbert Leo Butz was to star in the show; given the Catch Me announcement, though, I wouldn’t feel too terribly bad for him.) I’m pretty bummed about this as the show – about theatre folks and the trials and tribulations that go in to writing a musical – appealed to me. But, I suppose this doesn’t explicitly spell the end of the Year. HBO famously passed on Mad Men, which went on to find a home (and a rabid audience) at AMC. I’ll be sure to bring you any updates so keep checking back.

  • Tonys Find a Home
    The Tony Awards will call the famed Beacon Theatre home on June 12, 2011. Shortly after this year’s Tony ceremony, it was announced that Radio City Music Hall, the Tonys’ home for several years, would be unavailable at Tony time in 2011 and so producers began looking for a new home. They found it in the Beacon Theatre, which has hosted a slew of great rock acts for decades. Visit tonyawards.com for more information.

  • Happy Birthday, Sesame Street!
    The beloved show from the Children’s Television Workshop, Sesame Street, turned 41 this week. To help celebrate, Broadway.com compiled several clips of theatre veterans taking a stroll down the Street, including Neil Patrick Harris singing about shoes and James Earl Jones reciting the alphabet.

    (It was also Leo’s birthday this week. The uber talented star turned 36 on November 11. Happy Birthday, Mr. DiCaprio! Also, let’s wish a happy birthday to Anne Hathaway (28) and Ryan Gosling (30), who both celebrate their birthday today.)

  • Award Season Update
    You know how I love award season, dear readers. This week, we learned that Robert De Niro will receive the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes. The full list of Globe nominees will be announced on December 14 and the ceremony will be held and broadcast on NBC on January 16.

    Also, it’s now time to vote for the People’s Choice Awards. I usually find that my choices are not the people’s, but I vote so that I can complain! Some of the categories are a little nutty – like favorite TV obsession and favorite family TV movie – but you can skip the categories that are not applicable to your tastes. Visit peopleschoice.com to cast your vote.

  • The Boss Talks
    As The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story (a posh box set) gets ready to hit the shelves, Bruce Springsteen sat down with Rolling Stone to talk about the record, the reissue and everything in between. That issue hits newsstands today and RollingStone.com has online exclusive audio of the interview. It’s so boss.

  • More Mark Rylance
    The terrific Tony Award winning actor Mark Rylance is currently busy being hilarious in La Bete. That play is set to end its limited run in February. Rylance fans may note have much cause for withdrawal, though, as Rylance may be springing right back in to action in a Broadway transfer of the successful-in-London play Jerusalem. Rylance starred (and won oodles of acclaim and awards) in Jerusalem when it played in the West End in 2009 and 2010. Jerusalem is looking to bow on Broadway this spring, sometime before the April 28 Tony eligibility cut off. Nothing’s official, but if Rylance is on a stage, you know I’ll be in an audience.

  • The Spring Standards
    I usually don’t watch commercials – that’s why I’m in a long-term relationship with my DVR. But, one of my favorite bands, The Spring Standards, can currently be seen shilling for BlackBerry. I absolutely adore James, Heather and James, and their endorsement of the phone leaves me giving thought to picking up the phone. (But on second thought, I’ll just watch the commercial a couple of times and listen to their records a lot!)

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