- Get Your Idiot Now
Tickets for the Broadway run of American Idiot are now on sale for American Express cardholders so of course yours truly has her ticket for the first preview on March 24. (Tickets for opening night, April 20, aren’t on sale yet – but I’m checking every day!) Tickets will go on sale to the general public on February 14 and they are booking through September. Right now, there are no discounts available and the physical box office at the St James isn’t open yet, but I’ll let you know when those things happen so you can rock out with me!
- It’s Official: Johnny Gallagher is an Idiot
Goodness – I almost couldn’t write that because I adore Johnny so much, but it’s true: The full cast of the Broadway run of American Idiot has been announced and John Gallagher, Jr., will reprise the role of Johnny, which he originated in Berkeley. Joining him from the Berkeley production will be Michael Esper, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Tony Vincent and Mary Faber, among others. (Some of those others include Spring Awakening alums Gerard Canonico and Brian Charles Johnson, and Hair alum Theo Stockman.) One notable newbie is Tony nominee Stark Sands who will take over the role of Tunny, played by Matt Caplan in Berkeley. (Caplan and one other Berkeley cast member are the only two Berkeley Idiots not joining the ensemble on Broadway.) Moreover, the entire ensemble will join Green Day at this Sunday’s Grammy award show to perform “21 Guns”, which is Grammy nominated from 21st Century Breakdown and also appears in the show. Tune in to CBS on Sunday night (don’t worry – the Pro-bowl isn’t going to be that exciting) to catch the Idiots.
Visit the show’s official website, americanidiotonbroadway.com for all the updates and a video sneak peek prominently featuring one John Gallagher, Jr.
- You Can’t Handle the Revival!
It was reported in the NY Times that Aaron Sorkin’s breakout play, A Few Good Men, will be revived in the 2010-2011 theatre season. (The theatre season runs from May through April, though few Broadway shows open in the summer so it usually feels like theatre’s in season from September through April.) You know I have a huge, ridiculous, off-the-charts crush on Aaron Sorkin’s writing and having quite enjoyed the film version of this I’m very excited about this development. Sorkin was last on the boards in the 2007-2008 season with The Farnsworth Invention, which I saw in previews in October 2007. (Fun Fact: Bono was sitting a few rows behind me in the orchestra for that performance!) Lead producers say they’re looking for a marquee name to take on the lead role, originated on Broadway by Tony winner (and Spring Awakening and American Idiot producer) Tom Hulce, and brought to life on film by Tom Cruise. Are they going to get another Tom to play the lieutenant in this production? Who knows, but producer Ken Davenport said he’s looking for a James Franco caliber actor for the role. Franco himself would probably be very good – and may in fact be interested in the project since he’s all about the intellectual exercises involved in artistic expression and Sorkin’s writing is definitely cerebral. In addition, Aaron Sorkin will be closely involved in the revival, affording him the opportunity to revisit and rewrite the material. I can’t wait to hear Sorkinese live on the boards!
- Glee Scoop
Glee creator Ryan Murphy revealed that in the second season of Glee, three new characters will join the club. A rival for Rachel (the star diva played by Lea Michele), a jock/boyfriend for Kurt (the gay soprano played by Chris Colfer) and an R&B male teen to complement Mercedes (the sassy black girl played by Amber Riley.) While I can’t wait for the second season, I’m going a little nuts just waiting for the rest of the first!
- Great Actors Not Acting Out
In light of the goings on at Sundance, IFC posted an article on its website this week warning that we are losing this generation’s best actors. Writer Vadim Rizov lamented the fact that great young actors, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Franco and Ryan Gosling in particular, are slowly removing themselves from the acting world because they aren’t finding interesting or stimulating or challenging roles and are instead channeling their energies elsewhere. Rizov’s tone suggests he sees this as a bad thing, but I don’t. To be sure, I want those three actors to continue acting because they’re good – but it’s not like when they don’t take on a role there is suddenly a glut of good, well-acted films being made without them. They are being more judicious with their role choice because they are artists who want to challenge themselves and not just put some money in the bank (though one could argue that they have done the latter on occasion). Joseph Gordon-Levitt, for example, is still acting in movies – he’s promoting his movie Hesher at Sundance – but he wants to express his art in other ways so he is doing exactly what my former theatre professor told us all to do: Create your own opportunities. Gordon-Levitt began Hit RECord about five years ago as a venue for his creativity while the stimulating options from studios were few and far between. Now, Hit RECord is a full fledged production company in which an online collaborative creative community comes together to release, remix and record. Anyone can join and put a “record” out into the world and other recorders, as they’re called, can take that record, remix it and build upon it to create a different, richer record. I think this is a beautiful thing and a wonderful way of embracing technology and the grassroots sensibility of our generation. I hope that Joseph Gordon-Levitt and James Franco and Ryan Gosling continue to do what excites them and what is meaningful to them, knowing full well that they don’t have to act in some trite movie just to get their kicks. Kudos to them for expressing themselves and beating their own drums.
- Oh, God!
God of Carnage will welcome an almost new cast on March 2. The current cast, which includes former President Santos, Jimmy Smits, will take their final bow on February 28. On the 2nd, Dylan Baker and Lucy Liu will star as Alan and Annette, who were originally played on Broadway by Jeff Daniels and Hope Davis. Taking over the Marcia Gay Harden role of Veronica will be Janet McTeer, reprising the role she originated in London. And, in an interesting twist, Jeff Daniels will return to the play, this time as Michael, who was played by James Gandolfini. No word yet on how long this cast will be treading the boards but when they do leave, look for more stunt casting to replace them.
- Ann Curry, You’re Fired
This week on Today, Ann Curry, during a news segment focusing on the stock market, was interviewing Jim Cramer (who, you might remember, was bested by Jon Stewart last year after Cramer gave irresponsible advice on his CNBC finance show) and she asked the following question: “The Jets lost last night and there are a lot of Jets fans on Wall Street. Do you think that will affect the market?” Ms. Curry, thanks for playing but you can leave you credentials at the door.
- How We Gonna Pay Rent in LA?
The seminal musical Rent will play for three performances at Los Angeles’s Hollywood Bowl this summer, August 6-8. The famed Bowl has presented several other special engagement performances in the past, including Les Miserables, starring Lea Michele as Eponine (singing "On My Own", just like on Glee) and last summer’s Guys and Dolls. Casting will be announced later and in the past, these productions have been star studded. So all you Angelinos: Light (your) Candle, go for the Glory and embrace the Season(s) of Love.
- J.D. Salinger Passes Away
Reclusive author J.D. Salinger (the J.D. stood for Jerome David) died on Wednesday, passing away at age 91. His son released a statement saying his father died of natural causes at his home in Cornish, NH.
- Greed is Back
The first trailer for the upcoming Wall Street sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, is making its away around the internet. It’s a great trailer, making the movie look cool and slick, but it doesn’t necessarily make it look good. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a little skeptical about this sequel but given the talent behind it, namely Oliver Stone, and the talent in it, Shia LaBeouf, Susan Sarandon, Frank Langella, Eli Wallach, Josh Brolin and Michael Douglas, it just might be spectacular. Or, spectacularly awful. We’ll find out on April 23.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Lea Michele looked great in a beautiful jewel toned green gown, with the column skirt of the dress making the petite star look seven feet tall. (Fun side note: She was escorted by Theo Stockman, who was in Hair, took a break to be in the world premiere of American Idiot out in Berkeley, went back to Hair and will likely be in the Broadway cast of American Idiot). Tina Fey, the worst dressed at the Globes, was one of the best dressed here. She looked lovely in a rich, saturated purple satin cocktail dress that had a tasteful V-neck and faux wrapped around the waist for a wonderfully figure flattering look. Matthew Morrison once again looked dashing in a his tux and while on the red carpet, admitted to his man crush on Justin Timberlake. JTims, for his part, was on hand to present an award. He’s looked better. He’s grown his ’fro back, which is fine, but his tux was black on a dark, almost chambray looking blue. This offered little contrast in his look and yet he clearly wasn’t going for tone on tone. The former Mickey Mouse Club member should call up a stylist if he really wants to bring "Sexy Back". Jeff Bridges looked classic and comfortable in his tux, with his wife of 33 years on his arm. Drew Barrymore wore cobalt blue this time, instead of what has been her norm lately - flesh tones. The color looked great, but the layered skirt chopped her up and made her look stumpy, which she‘s not. She sports a svelt body these days and the skirt of this dress didn‘t do her justice. The bodice, though was fitted and looked very elegant. Marion Cotillard looked great in a fashion forward ensemble - not everyone could wear this, but with her beauty and the fact that this is a red carpet, her ivory draped, feather trimmed mini looked chic. Penelope Cruz looked sleek and chic and shimmering in a body hugging cocktail dress. Meryl Streep, who usually looks like she just threw on some black dress from her closet (but looked great at the Critics Choice Awards in a two-toned, deep-V cocktail number) wore what looked like a dressy patio dress. She’s Meryl Streep so it’s okay, but I hope that for the Oscars she steps it up and puts a little glamour into her look.
This was the first award show this season to include an In Memoriam segment and I hope the others still to come are done as tastefully as this one, unlike last year when the segments were all accompanied by a live singer and awkward and inappropriate camera shots which focused too much on the singer, and not the images of those we were supposed to be remembering. Despite this montage, perhaps the saddest part of the broadcast was seeing a commercial for a T Mobile phone starring none other than Eric Clapton. Why is Slowhand shilling for a phone company? It’s a little disturbing.
And now, here is the list of nominees, with the winners in boldface:
- Actor in Comedy Series - Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Steve Carell, The Office; Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm; Tony Shalhoub, Monk; and Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men [Nice that Alec noted the work of the guild and how it supports the actors who aren’t quite as successful and him]
- Actress in a Comedy Series - Christina Applegate, Samantha Who; Toni Collette, United States of Tara; Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie; Tina Fey, 30 Rock; and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine [Why was presenter Anna Paquin talking with a an Australian accent? Just because your co-presenter is Australian, doesn‘t mean you have to match his accent, silly Canadian.]
- Comedy Series Ensemble - 30 Rock; Curb Your Enthusiasm; Glee; Modern Family; and The Office [YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was surprising but definitely not undeserving.]
- Actor in a Supporting Role in a Movie - Matt Damon, Invictus; Woody Harrelson, The Messenger; Christopher Plummer, The Last Station; Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones; and Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds [He’s swept the awards so far, so look for him to not only be nominated for the Oscar come February 2 but to win. In all his acceptance speeches, he‘s been effusive in thanking Quentin Tarantino and here he thanked Quentin as well as the projectionist - he‘s a classy guy.]
- Actress in Drama Series - Patricia Arquette, Medium; Glenn Close, Damages; Mariska Hargitay, Law and Order, SVU; Holly Hunter, Saving Grace; Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife; and Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer [This was her seventh SAG win, taking home six over the years for ER. She gave a lovely speech in which she thanked her parents for their interest in her life, saying that they called her after each episode of The Good Wife - sweet, right?]
- Actor in a Drama Series - Simon Baker, The Mentalist; Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; Michael C. Hall, Dexter; Jon Hamm, Mad Men; and Hugh Laurie, House [I take back what I said about him regarding his skull cap, which he had on at the SAG Awards, too. Apparently, he actually is a cancer patient. He told reporters backstage at the Globes that he was in recovery from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.]
- Dramatic Series Ensemble - The Closer; Dexter; The Good Wife; Mad Men; and True Blood
- Lifetime Achievement - Betty White
- Actress in a TV Movie - Joan Allen, Georgia O’Keeffe; Drew Barrymore, Grey Gardens; Ruby Dee, America; Jessica Lange, Grey Gardens; and Sigourney Weaver, Prayers for Bobby
- Actor in a TV Movie - Kevin Bacon, Taking Chance; Cube Gooding, Gifted Hand: The Ben Carson Story; Jeremy Irons, Georgia O’Keeffe; Kevin Kline, Cyrano de Bergerac; and Tom Wilkinson, A Number
- Actress in a Supporting Role in Movie - Penelope Cruz, Nine; Vera Farminga, Up in the Air; Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air; Diane Kruger, Inglorious Basterds; and Mo’nique, Precious
- Leading Male in a Movie - Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart; George Clooney, Up in the Air; Colin Firth, A Single Man; Morgan Freeman, Invictus; and Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker [As he progressed through his speech, he saw that he was being told to wrap it up. Meryl Streep, who presented the award, told him "Don't worry - keep going." He did and he finished up by saying, "I love playing with you." I love it - the best actors - and musicians, et al - do make it look like playing and that's the best part about watching them.]
- Leading Female in a Movie - Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side; Helen Mirren, The Last Station; Carey Mulligan, An Education; Gabourey Sidibe, Precious; and Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia [I suppose I'm going to have to see The Blind Side, now that Sandra Bullock has won the awards thus far and will likely win the Oscar, unless the Academy goes for Meryl, their old favorite.]
- Movie Ensemble - An Education; The Hurt Locker; Inglorious Basterds; Nine; and Precious
Friday, January 22, 2010
- Meryl Streep Eyes Broadway Return
After winning her Golden Globe for Julie & Julia on Sunday night, Ms. Streep told reporters she is thinking about returning to the boards, now that her children are all off to college or otherwise out of the house. She said that she doesn’t have anything lined up but is interested in finding a project. On behalf of the Broadway community, I’d like to say that Meryl Streep is welcome on the great white way anytime!
- Glee Scoop
Fresh off their Golden Globe win, Glee creators let slip that Neil Patrick Harris may be guesting on an episode set to air in May. In addition to the multitalented Harris, Glee masterminds are also hoping to land J-Lo and The Boss. Now, I don’t know if their intention is to land the rights to their music or the people in the flesh, but either way, that’s pretty boss. [Update: Creator Ryan Murphy says he’s hoping Lopez will play the lunch lady. Very Jenny from the block.]
Bringing Glee to a Town Near You
As has been previously announced, the Glee cast will spend their summer vacation touring the country, putting on glee-tastic shows across America. While no dates or venues have been confirmed, it has been confirmed (and leaked) that the tour will include stops in Orlando, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis and Portland, among others to be announced later, of course. Stayed tuned to the Reviewing the Drama for more info as it released… or leaked!
- Next to Normal Soon to be Next to You
Next to Normal’s book writer and lyricist, Brian Yorkey, revealed to Playbill.com that a tour and international production of Next to Normal are in the works. No official announcements have been made, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
- Inside Alice Ripley’s Dressing Room
Speaking of Next to Normal, check out pictures from Alice Ripley’s dressing room. The fierce Ripley reveals some of the things around her space that keep her happy and balanced. One item is a book of Beatles quotes. While I’m sure those are great, might I also suggest my favorite book, It’s Not Easy Being Green and Other Things to Consider, which contains life lessons from the Muppets. Now those are quotes to live by.
- It’s Showtime
As has been previously reported, Steven Spielberg and Showtime are collaborating to create a scripted television series about putting on a Broadway musical. It sounds kind of meta and very [title of show]. (“Well Blank Paper, I’m writing a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical!”) But, it also sounds very interesting. So as I understand it, the characters on the show will be trying to write a musical. The series (or season, if it’s successful) will end and immediately thereafter the actual show “they” wrote will bow on Broadway. On board to write the score of the show within the show are Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (who collaborated previously on Hairspray and Catch Me if You Can) and Theresa Rebeck, who penned the current off-Broadway hit The Understudy, will write the book. I think I just might have to start subscribing to Showtime…
- (500) Days of Spidey?
While Spider Man may be slow to come to Broadway, he will be swinging into multiplexes sometime within the next year and (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb is set to direct this fourth installment. Still not set, though, is just who will play Peter Parker, as Tobey Maguire is not down with more web slinging.
- Peace Out, NBC, says Conan
Conan O’Brien and NBC have reached a settlement; (reportedly) Conan will leave NBC, receive about $32 million and be able to return to TV in eight months. Fox has already expressed interest in welcoming Conan for a late night show on their network. We’ll see what happens… (Last week, Maureen Dowd offered her take on the NBC debacle.) An update from EW places the settlement at upwards of $40 million, and specifies that Conan’s last Tonight Show will be January 22, he can’t return to TV until after September 1 and Leno will resume his role as Tonight Show host on March 1. Of the six late night gabbers, (David Letterman, Craig Ferguson, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel) Leno has always been my least favorite but, again, I really only watch when there is a guest I like. Who’s you’re favorite late night guy? (Fun fact: Joan Rivers was the lady who broke the late-night glass ceiling.)
- The Law is Reason Free from Passion
In her Sunday editorial, Maureen Dowd profiled Ted Olson and David Boies, the two lead counsels for the marriage equality trial currently underway in California. For those who don’t know, in 2008 Californians passed Prop 8, which disgustingly banned marriage equality. The constitutionality of that proposition is now being challenged in a San Francisco federal district court. While Olson and Boies make compelling emotional arguments, they must remember they're trying a case in a court of law, which means they need to focus on the legal argument: Anti-equality laws blatantly disregard the 14th amendment. (Go to prop8trialtracker.com to follow the trial, and visit Broadwayimpact.com to learn how you can get involved in marriage equality efforts in your area.)
- The Bard, The Dude and the Boards
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that someone took the time to Shakespeare-ify the entire script of The Big Lebowski. That adaptation, Two Gentlemen of Lebowski, will soon play off-Broadway at The Kraine Theatre. Tickets are only $20 so I just may have a report for you on this limited run that plays until from March 18–April 4.
- 39 More Steps
The very funny farce, The 39 Steps, which recently closed on Broadway (after inhabiting three different Broadway homes) will reopen off-Broadway, a la Avenue Q, on March 25. When it closed at the Helen Hayes theatre on January 10, The 39 Steps was the longest running play, 771 performances, to have played the board in seven years. This fun caper is sure to be just as pleasing off-Broadway as it was on.
- Greetings, from Park City
So technically I’m not in Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival, but I am trying to stay on top of developments and buzz. I’m excited that Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets to set up a REC room, in which he and his fellow Hit RECorders will collaborate in normal Hit RECord fashion and then screen a finished product at the festival. Check out Hit RECord.org for more info. I’m also looking forward to hearing what folks have to say about Howl, a new movie biopic about Allen Ginsberg that stars James Franco (as Ginsberg) and Broadway fave Aaron Tveit. E! Online is offering their top 25 buzz-generating films, including Howl, the Joseph Gordon-Levitt–Natalie Portman flick Hesher, Ryan Gosling’s latest Blue Valentine and the Marisa Tomei–John C. Riley awkward dramedy, Cyrus. And IFC is offering a consummate cheat sheet to guide you through all 113 films to be screened in the next two weeks.
- BAFTA – Awards, British Style
In my ongoing award show season coverage, I bring you the BAFTA nominations. (BAFTA stands for British Academy of Film and Television Arts, though there are no awards for television at the BAFTAs.) Nothing too shocking to note. Since it is the BAFTAs, though, there is the best picture category and then a separate best British film category. An Education makes both lists. Missing from the best actress list is recent Golden Globe winner Sandra Bullock. Her film, The Blind Side, was about American football and we all know how the Brits are snobby about their futbol and rugby. Check out The Guardian’s report for the full list of nominees.
- Supercalifracgilsticexpeali-Daily Show
Julie Andrews was a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this week and the interview was quite fun to watch. Jon Stewart seemed enamored of the one time Mary Poppins and Ms. Andrews seemed enamored of The Rock, her costar in her latest film. Visit thedailyshow.com and watch the interview for a little weekend treat that’s “practically perfect in every way.”
Thursday, January 21, 2010
About a third of the way through, John Krasinski and Amy Poehler came out to pay homage to John Hughes. It was actually very funny, but something just wasn’t landing in the room. I wonder if the “audience” had trouble hearing or seeing them, which led to them missing the funny. Despite the lackluster reaction, I thought the bit and the montage was very nice. Jason Reitman did, too, because when he accepted his award for best adapted screenplay, he began by mentioning how moving he thought the tribute was.
All in all, in it was neatly packaged night of awards and speeches; a nice aperitif for the rest of the season (even though I watched it after the Globes!)
Here are the nominees, with the winners bolded:
- Best Acting Ensemble - Star Trek; Nine; Precious; Up in the Air; and Inglorious Basterds
- Best Supporting Actress - Mo’nique, Precious; Marion Cotillard, Nine; Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air; Julianne Moore, A Single Man; Samantha Morton, The Messenger; and Anna Kenrick, Up in the Air
- Best Action Movie - Avatar; District 9; The Hurt Locker; Inglorious Basterds; and Star Trek
- Best Young Actor or Actress - Jae Head, The Blind Side; Max Records, Where the Wild Things Are; Bailee Madison, Brothers; Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones; and Kodi Smit-McpHee, The Road
- Best Supporting Actor - Matt Damon, Invictus; Woody Harrelson, The Messenger; Christian McKay, Me and Orson Wells; Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones; Alfred Molina, An Education; and Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds
- Best Comedy - The Hangover; (500) Days of Summer; It’s Complicated; The Proposal; and Zombieland
- Best Song - All is Love, Where the Wild Things Are; The Weary Kind, Crazy Heart; Almost There, The Princess and the Frog; I Want to Come Home, Everybody’s Fine; and Cinema Italiano, Nine
- Several winners announced at once:
- Best TV Movie - Grey Gardens
- Best Foreign Language Film - Broken Embraces
- Best Score - Up
- Best Costume Design - The Young Victoria
- Best Make Up - District 9
- Best Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound, Cinematographer and Editing - Avatar
- Best Animated - Up
- Best Adapted Screenplay - Fantastic Mr. Fox; District 9; Precious; A Single Man; An Education; and Up in the Air, Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
- Best Original Screenplay - The Hurt Locker; A Serious Man; (500) Days of Summer; Up and Inglorious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino
- Joel Siegel Award (lifetime achievement) - Kevin Bacon, presented by Meryl Streep [See Kevin Bacon's six degrees.org site.]
- Best Director - Clint Eastwood, Invictus, James Cameron, Avatar, Lee Daniels, Precious; Up in the Air; Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker; and Quentin Tarantino, Inglorious Basterds
- Best Actor - George Clooney, Up in the Air; Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart; Viggo Mortensen, The Road; Colin Firth, A Single Man; Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker; and Morgan Freeman, Invictus
- Best Actress - Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side; Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria; Saoirse Roana, The Lovely Bones; Gabourey Sidibe, Precious; Carrie Mulligan, An Education; Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia [tie winners]
- Best Picture - Avatar; An Education; Inglorious Basterds; Up in the Air; Up; A Serious Man; The Hurt Locker; Precious; Nine; and Invictus
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Adam is now out on DVD. Update your Netflix queue and let me know what you think!
Time Stands Still is really a beautiful character study so the plot is thin but the themes are rich. The story concerns a couple, James and Sarah, who travel the world as a journalist and photographer, respectively, covering atrocities and “important” news stories. At rise, James is bringing Sarah home to their Brooklyn apartment from a hospital in Germany, where she spent the last several months after being seriously injured in a roadside bombing in the Middle East. Their editor, Richard, stops by now and then with his much younger new girlfriend, Mandy, and the four challenge and learn from one another.
As we watch the action unfold in a cramped Brooklyn one-bedroom apartment, the lighting design subtly shifts our focus and enhances each mood. When Sarah and James get into a heated argument, the lights dim and the focus of the light shifts from the entire stage to the kitchen table, where Sarah and James are sitting across from each other. It’s here, too, that you notice the great direction. Actors who are downstage center facing off in a profile are in one of the strongest positions on a stage. This is the blocking for the argument. It is incredibly powerful to see, in such a small apartment, the vast space between Sarah and James. Bravo to director Daniel Sullivan for such precise staging.
What I like most about Margulies’s writing is that it doesn’t talk down to its audience but it also doesn’t overreach - it doesn’t try to be smart, it just is. (This is unlike some other plays I’ve recently seen, like This.) In addition, Margulies writes full and flawed characters, which is to say he writes about real people. James and Sarah are the most round characters of the four, but all of them are dynamic, ending up somewhere far away from where they started.
Breathing life into these characters is a cast of four terrific actors. Eric Bogosian, an accomplished playwright himself, is Richard and though he is the least impressive of the bunch, he is serviceable and certainly believable as a caring editor who is just happy to have his friends back out of harm’s way (for the time being) and a light, uncomplicated girlfriend by his side. Alicia Silverstone - yup, Cher Horowitz from Clueless - plays his girlfriend, Mandy. Silverstone does a very good job here, giving a layered performance for a character that could have easily been nothing more than a stereotype. The youngest character in the play, Silverstone’s Mandy is sweet but not a pushover and I applaud her for that. Silverstone has been with the play since it premiered in Los Angeles and her solid performance is, no doubt, the reason why.
The two heavyweights are Brian d’Arcy James and Laura Linney as James and Sarah. These two expert actors are nothing short of phenomenal here. Watching them discuss, debate and dispute is delectable. Linney is a master at playing strong women who are reticent, to say the least, to show their vulnerability so she fits perfectly here but she also is able to make Sarah more than some one-note tempestuous woman. And d’Arcy James, who I’ve seen in several shows around town and is one of my favorite New York actors, is superb as James, who is trying to hold it together and figure out a life with Sarah. Linney and d’Arcy James go toe to toe arguing the virtue of their work and the direction their lives and life is headed. At one point, James tells Sarah he’s tired of putting his life on hold for the next story and that he want’s a “simple boring happy” kind of life. This is not a defeatist attitude; it is honest - James is realizing that the adventures he and Sarah are used to chasing are nothing compared to the grounded domestic life they could lead. D’Arcy James plays this moment perfectly, showing a raw mix of exhaustion and heartbreak. Brian d’Arcy James is a solid actor and it’s a delight to see him seamlessly go from one role to the next. (I’ve seen him off- and on-Broadway in a variety of roles, including the husband in the off-Broadway production of Next to Normal, and Shrek, the layered ogre, and never once did he give a half-hearted or disingenuous performance. I can’t wait to see what he chooses to do next.)
I mentioned earlier that the themes of Time Stands Still are rich. Indeed, the play ponders the point of it all. Sarah and James are serious people; they shoot and write about wars and starvation and genocide. They’ve seen it all and the effect it has on their worldview is unmistakable. Sarah, for example, doesn’t have time for movies when there are people suffering in the Sudan. But then Mandy comes along and she is slightly naïve but not stupid; she has a more pleasant affect but is not at all any less authentic or compassionate. She challenges Sarah and James to “see the joy - otherwise, what’s the point?” Mandy’s argument is that yes, the world is full of terrible things but it’s also full of wonderful things. Likewise, when James is outraged that the magazine won’t publish his African refugee story because it is already running a story about the Iraq war that week, Mandy reasons that the magazine already has their bummer story. This enrages Sarah and James, but Mandy points out that the magazine needn’t be full of “important” stories. “I read these stories,” she argues, “and then I think what can I do?” She doesn’t mean to say that we should go through life blind to the world around us but rather that we should take in the whole world. Recognize the grotesque and the beautiful. And that someone is not any less serious or intelligent or mature or anything else simply because he or she chooses to focus on what is positive and uplifting rather than the macabre.
Mandy also challenges the merit of Sarah’s work. For Sarah, when she takes a photograph, time stands still. Everything just freezes and she captures that moment. Sarah feels this is important because it’s her duty to inform the public about what’s going on. But when Mandy sees one of Sarah’s pictures of a boy who looks like he’s about to die, she accuses Sarah of being indecent for taking a picture of the suffering instead of trying to help. Though Sarah argues that that is not her job, that there was nothing she could have done – the boy was going to die anyway, Mandy does not accept this. Her sense of compassion says, like a good Samaritan law, if you see something wrong you should try to make it right - instead of just exploiting it with your camera.
I think this is such an interesting argument. Sarah sees her role as a professional to be one of helping through documentation while Mandy sees Sarah’s role as a human being to help by getting into the action. On the one hand, for all the atrocities that are reported on, we know there are too many others that go unreported. So it is absolutely important that we are made aware, as much as possible, of what is happening outside our bubble. On the other hand, what good does having this knowledge bring if we don’t do anything? And what does doing something look like? I don’t pretend to have the answers. I know what’s going on in the world though I don’t do something about everything; I sporadically do what I can, whether it’s attending a rally to Save Darfur or making a charitable donation to the Food Bank, and then I just try to be grateful for the bounty that is in my life. The great thing about Time Stands Still is that without being preachy, it forces us to ask these questions and have this discussion, and to me, that’s the beauty of artistic expression.
Monday, January 18, 2010
As for the actual clothes, there was nothing that was too horrendous which is not to say I liked everything. One trend I disliked was hot pink. I noticed a few ladies wearing it and it just looked wrong. A full length hot pink dress (some with puffy sleeves) looks wrong on a grown woman. Another trend was green - lots of ladies rocking different shades of green, including Amy Adams in a deep green cocktail dress paired with burnt gold accents. The one-shoulder strap trend was in full effect - that was probably the biggest, most consistent trend of the night. Ladies, I’m not saying you’re passe but I am saying that I rocked a one-shoulder column gown for my prom nine years ago. There was also a lot of black on the red carpet, too; I suppose black dresses are never out of style, but there seemed to be a higher concentration of black dresses than in previous years.
Some misses: Elisabeth Moss - I like her from her The West Wing days and she was good in last season’s Speed the Plow, but her short banged bob mixed with a long layered necklace made her look like a flapper; Toni Colette and Anna Paquin looked good in their gold bejeweled dresses, but I feel like I’ve seen those dresses before and I wanted to see something not quite as derivative looking; Tina Fey’s dress fit her well in the bodice, but the pattern was a little casual and the big hoop, tea-length skirt just looked silly.
Some near hits: Jane Lynch looked regal and elegant in a deep olive halter top gown, but it looked like the skirt part could have used a steaming; Drew Barrymore has been wearing a lot of flesh colored gowns recently (she looked great in a nude blush number at the Emmys) and this crystaled dress looked great, except for the hip adornment - the embellishment looked good on her shoulder but not on her hip; Fergie looked very pretty in a light, Grecian lavender column dress but her face looked too dark - her hair was very dark and it was mixed with dark smoky eyes and pale everything else, giving her no color on her face.
Some hits: Cory Monteith looked dapper in Hugo Boss, and actually looked like the 27 year old he is, instead of the 17 year old he plays on Glee; Lea Michele looked gorgeous (as always) in Oscar de la Renta - she wore a fitted, almost bustier bodice, which seems to be her go to, but it was finished with a beautiful, layered fluffy bottom that actually fit her petite frame very well; Neil Patrick Harris, Matthew Morrison, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney all looked dashing and classically handsome in their tuxes. (My guess is Leo and George were wearing Armani, as per their usual routine. Also, I liked that Joseph wore a Hit RECord lapel pin, a bit self-promoting but it was unobtrusive and therefore appropriate.) Robert Downey, Jr., looked good as he mixed it up by going sans tie and sported detailed button covers; Vera Farmiga looked smoky in a black dress with a trumpet bottom, adorned with subtle rose appliqués; Will Arnett and Amy Pohler looked great together, he in a simple tux with a hip skinny tie and she in a saturated red one-shoulder gown; Marion Cotillard looked stunning in a deep forest green Christian Dior dress - it had visual interest in the bodice, with pieces crisscrossing each other, rocked the one-should trend and unlike some other people on the red carpet, had a tasteful front slit (I’m looking at you, Jennifer Aniston - a slit all the way up to your pupik is not classy.) Tune in to E! for Joan Rivers’s fashion review.
Favorite red carpet moment: Penelope Cruz, looking classy and sophisticated in a black gown, was asked how she was coping with the rainy weather. She shrugged it off saying it was no big deal, “I’m not like Puff Daddy, I hold my own umbrella!” Te amo, Penelope.
And now on to the actual award show. A full list of winners will follow below. Generally, I thought this was a good, entertaining broadcast. Ricky Gervais did a great job as host, bringing his signature dry, British wit stateside. He stuck the room (and NBC) with their fair share of verbal harpoons, but each one was funny, so it was okay. As he mentioned at the end of the broadcast, which pretty much ran on time thanks to a lack of ancillary presentations and montages, Gervais’s new TV show will air on HBO in February and I’m definitely looking forward to it.
Here are some of my favorite moments of the night:
- “Hello, my name is Paul McCartney, or as I’m now known, that guy from Rock Band.”
- Leo introducing James Cameron and Martin Scorsese. At least that’s what it looked like. As the broadcast was going to commercial, we saw Cameron approach Leo, who was sitting next to Scorsese. Leo said hello, then pointed to Scorsese; then as Cameron and Scorsese shook hands, you could see Scorsese say “It’s a pleasure”. My brother thinks there’s no way they hadn’t met yet over the course of their respective respected careers; he’s probably right but I thought this was a rather funny moment anyway.
- Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio present Martin Scorsese with Cecil B. DeMille award; De Niro’s speech was very funny, if a little salty. But throughout both his and Leo’s speech, you could see the love, admiration and appreciation they have for the director. When Scorsese gave his acceptance speech, it was immediately evident (as if you didn’t already know!) just how passionate he is about films and film history. I like hearing him talk about films – it’s like hearing Bruce talk about music
- Reese Witherspoon, on hand to present the award for Best Movie, Comedy or Musical, looked great in a sleek navy gown, rocking the trends: sweetheart neckline and one shoulder; she had light makeup, which is also a trend, but unlike Fergie she wore it right because her eyes were light, too, so she didn’t look pale or ghoulish; her hair looked relaxed but like she’s run a comb through it, unlike some other ladies (Calista Flockhart.)
- Nora Ephron ripping up her speech after The Hangover won was maybe the funniest moment of the night.
And now, the list of winners, with some commentary, where applicable, of course! (The winner is underlined and bolded.)
- Supporting Actress in Movie - Penelope Cruz, Nine; Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air; Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air; Mo’nique, Precious; and Julianne Moore, A Single Man.
[I’ve seen the first three performances but not the last two, so I can’t genuinely comment on what should have won, but given all the buzz around Precious, this wasn’t a total shocker.]
- Actress in Musical or Comedy Series - Toni Collette, The United States of Tara; Courtney Cox, Cougar Town; Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie; Tina Fey, 30 Rock; and Lea Michele, Glee.
[I only watch 30 Rock and Glee, but this wasn’t much a shock either; Toni Collette is a great actress and I’m sure she’s great here, too.]
- Supporting Actor on TV - Michael Emerson, Lost; Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother; William Hurt, Damages; John Lithgow, Dexter; and Jeremy Piven, Entourage.
[Piven has won a couple of times (he’s won the Emmy for this role, too,) so it was a break from the norm when Lithgow won. I was hoping NPH would win - he’s so good as a loveable womanizer and this (well, 2009) was his year - but I guess enduring popularity and a steady paycheck are pretty good consolation prizes. Maybe next time?]
- Animated Feature - Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs; Coraline; The Fantastic Mr. Fox; The Princess and the Frog; and Up.
- Actor TV Drama - Simon Baker, The Mentalist; Michael C (take that ridiculous hat off!) Hall, Dexter; Jon Hamm, Mad Men; Hugh Laurie, House; and Bill Paxton, Big Love. [Seriously, Michael C. Hall. Take your hat off.]
- Actress TV Drama - Glenn Close, Damages; January Jones, Mad Men; Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife; Anna Paquin, True Blood; and Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer.
[This is Margulies’s first win, despite six previous nominations; I liked her sassy remark to CBS head Les Moonves: “Thanks for believing in the 10 o’clock drama.” (She was being sincere; the sass was aimed at NBC) I’m glad to see her win; she gives a compelling and nuanced performance on a show that gets better and better each week.]
- Original Song - Cinema Italiano, Nine; I See You, Avatar; I Wanna Come Home, Everybody’s Fine (Paul McCartney); The Weary Kind, Crazy Heart (Ryan Binghma and T Bone Burnett); and Winter, Brothers (U2).
[Yay, Crazy Heart!!!! Oscar nominators and voters take note!]
- Original Score - Up, The Informant, Avatar, A Single Man and Where the Wild Things Are
- Miniseries - Georgia O’Keeffe, Grey Gardens, Into the Storm, Little Dorrit and Taking Chance
- Actress Comedy Movie - Sandra Bullock, The Proposal; Marion Cotillard, Nine; Julia Roberts, Duplicity; and Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia and It’s Complicated.
[Ms. Streep gave a lovely speech during which she said, “I’ve played so many extraordinary women… This year [by playing Julia Child] I got to pay homage to my mother who shared [Julia Child’s] verve and joy in living… in the face of horrors and having to go to an award show, [my mother would say] ‘Put on a dress and a smile and be grateful you have today and the next day and the next day’” After that, I knew I’d hear from mom and I did; we have a habit of phoning each other during what we think are touching moments in these award shows and we kept the tradition alive this year.]
- Actor in a Miniseries - Kevin Bacon, Taking Chance; Kenneth Branagh, Wallander: One Step Behind; Chiwetel Ejiofor, Endgame; Brendan Gleeson, Into the Storm; and Jeremy Irons, Georgia O’Keeffe.
- Actress in a Miniseries - Joan Allen, Georgia O’Keeffe; Drew Barrymore, Grey Gardens; Jessica Lange, Grey Gardens; Anna Paquin, The Courageous Heart of Irena; and Sigourney Weaver, Prayers for Bobby.
[I’m so happy for Drew; she’s such a genuine person; she was palpably excited and grateful for the opportunity to have played this role; my favorite line was probably: “I know I could be Jeff Spicoli’s girlfriend, so thank you for taking a chance on me.” Way to go, Drew!]
- Screenplay - District 9, The Hurt Locker, It’s Complicated, Up in the Air (Sheldon Turner and Jason Reitman) and Inglorious Basterds.
[I liked this movie so I’m glad Turner and Reitman won. I thought Reitman’s speech was very nice; he mentioned that fans have commented that he writes wonderful women and he said it’s because of his wonderful wife; he then went on to thank his parents “for making me the man that I am“, and thrilled at having had the opportunity to make a movie with his father.]
- Actor TV Comedy - Matthew Morrison, Glee; Thomas Jane, Hung; Steve Carell, The Office; David Duchovny, Californicaton; and Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock.
[Not too surprised that Alec Baldwin won and while I adore Matthew Morrison, I do think Baldwin is hilarious in 30 Rock.]
- Foreign Language Film - Baaria, Italy; Broken Embraces, Spain; The Maid, Chile; A Prophet, France; and The White Ribbon, Germany.
- Drama Series - Big Love, Dexter, House, Mad Men and True Blood
- Supporting Actress TV - Jane Adams, Hung; Rose Byrne, Damages; Jane Lynch, Glee; Janet McTeer, Into the Storm and Chloe Sevigny, Big Love.
[I really wish Jane Lynch would have won. She steals every single scene she’s in on Glee. Plus I just don’t like Sevigny. I’ve never been impressed by her performances and the of few episodes of Big Love I did watch she was my least favorite part. Also, her dress was horrendous.]
- Supporting Actor Movie - Matt Damon, Invictus; Woody Harrelson, The Messenger; Christopher Plummer, The Last Station; Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones; and Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds.
- Director - Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker; James Cameron, Avatar; Clint Eastwood, Invictus; Jason Reitman, Up in the Air; and Quentin Tarantino, Inglorious Basterds.
[This was a little surprising, as the buzz had been around Kathryn Bigelow. Also, I don’t know anyone who has liked Invictus so I’m wondering if the HFPA just nominated Eastwood out of habit; I would have liked to have seen Marc Webb, (500) Days of Summer, be nominated, or maybe even Davis Guggenheim, It Might Get Loud, though I know those are both unconventional choices.]
- Comedy Series - 30 Rock, Entourage, Glee, Modern Family and The Office
[YAY!!! I’m so excited about this. And I called this! In my nomination coverage, I noted that Party of Five won in its first year, upsetting some more established front-runners. The wonderful underdogs at McKinley are on top! I also liked creator Ryan Murphy’s speech: He began by saying, “I’d like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press and Barbra Streisand“ - that’s just funny. More seriously, I love that he mentioned that Glee is, in part, about the importance of arts education. Amen.]
- Comedy Movie - (500) Days of Summer, The Hangover, It’s Complicated, Julie & Julia and Nine.
[This was a total surprise. The HFPA loves almost anything one of the Weinstein brothers touch (in this case, Nine) and many thought Nine would take home this award. I thought that if Nine didn’t win, surely Julie & Julia would, (even though I think there’s a strong argument for (500) Days of Summer winning - I really loved that!) but The Hangover? I haven’t seen it, though I’m sure I’d laugh all the way through - I like the people involved, including director Todd Phillips, who helmed the very funny Old School. Still, I just didn’t think it would win. Good thing I didn’t have any money riding on this.]
- Actress Movie Drama - Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria; Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side; Helen Mirren, The Last Station; Carrie Mulligan, An Education; and Gabourey Sidibe, Precious.
[I was surprised by this because I’ve never cared for Bullock. I’ve never thought she was particularly bad though I’ve never really had much interest in seeing any of her movies. After her win, some quick-draws now think she is the front runner for the Oscar, but remember that at the Globes, separate best actress awards are given for comedy and drama. In the Oscar race, expect her to be up against Meryl Streep’s Julia Child, which really was terrific. So, don’t start engraving that award just yet.]
- Actor Movie Comedy - Matt Damon, The Informant!; Robert Downey, Jr., Sherlock Holmes; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, (500) Days of Summer; Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man; and Daniel Day Lewis, Nine.
[Having seen three of the five nominees, I think this was well deserved, though I think any of the actors would have deserved the award. My sentimental favorite, of course, was Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and he did do a fantastic job as Tom, the hopeless, if slightly jilted, romantic, but I do enjoy RDJ, who gave a hilarious speech, acting like the wily dude we love.]
- Actor Drama - Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart (they showed Leo instead of Bridges when the nominations were being read. I know Leo‘s very easy on the eyes, but The Dude is nothing to sneeze at either - oh, and it was his name that was being read!); George Clooney, Up in the Air; Colin Firth, A Single Man; Morgan Freeman, Invictus; and Tobey Maguire, Brothers.
[This is one of the few awards I completely agree with. Bridges was phenomenal as Bad Blake. He gave such a lovely, heartfelt speech, too, beginning by thanking wife of 33 years, then his parents, which seemed to be a theme of the night (Drew Barrymore and Meryl Streep also made mention of their legacies.)]
- Dramatic Movie - Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, Precious and Up in the Air
[I wouldn’t say this was shocking, but it was somewhat unexpected. All the early buzz had been for The Hurt Locker and some for Precious. This also bothers me because it reminds me of my frustration with Slumdog Millionaire winning for best picture all through last award season. After seeing that movie after all the hype and accolades, I was not at all impressed. I thought the story was derivative and really not terribly compelling. Yes, these kids had a terrible life - I get it, but there are TONS of other films out there with similarly dramatic elements that didn’t get nearly as much attention. When I shared this frustration with a coworker, he suggested that the reason it won best picture was because of the technical filmmaking - the digital shooting and the cinematography. Maybe so, but to that I say, “Grant them the technical awards.” In my opinion, the best picture should be well rounded - it should have a really good script, great direction and captivating performances as well as good production value. I thought that the best movie of last year was Milk. That story was utterly compelling, timely and important. It said something. It stood for something. It boasted a fantastic script, wonderful direction and brilliant performances, particularly from Oscar winner Sean Penn. Well, I think Avatar is this year’s Slumdog. Everyone is talking about the technology of the movie; they concede that the plot is thin; they note that much of the “acting” is computer generated. Again, in my opinion, a film like this shouldn’t win best picture. It should win all the technical awards that are given, but I truly believe that to be the best picture, you have to have more than a computer going for you. Again, I haven‘t seen Avatar; it may be highly entertaining and very neat to look at but without a compelling script and great acting, I just don‘t think it can be called the best film of the year.]
Check out Broadwayworld.com's photo coverage of the arrivals, part one and part two, for tons of photos of the beautiful people. In part one, note the fabulous looking Julie Bowen, Jessalyn Gilsig, Linda Edelstein, Jeff Bridges (in stylish black on black), the always unique Quentin Tarantino, The Edge and several Glee misfits. In part two, look for more Gleeks, Ginnifer Goodwin looking radiant in cobalt blue, the attack of grown women in hot pink and the happy and talented coupling of Emily Blunt and John Krasinski. Take a look at their photos from the press room to see all the winners and presenters.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Fancy Free was one of the first ballets Jerome Robbins choreographed; in fact he choreographed this ballet while we was still a student at City Ballet, shortly before becoming George Balanchine’s co-choreographer. Fancy Free also marked the first time Robbins collaborated with Leonard Bernstein and we all know what success they had together in the future (see: West Side Story). Fancy Free, when it premiered, was an instant hit and went on to inspire the full-length musical On the Town. Now it’s another classic piece in the City Ballet cannon. Fancy Free finds three sailors on leave in New York City; they show off for each other and, eventually, for two ladies. It’s fun, free-wheeling and decidedly un-fancy, which may be why I like it so much. It’s whimsical and accessible, with nothing high concept or pretentious about it - just some sailors looking for fun in the city. This is a great piece to begin with and on Saturday night I knew I was in for a treat when I read that Robert Fairchild, who you’ll remember from previous reviews, is a new principal dancer, would be one of the three sailors. He was charming and thoroughly entertaining here, dancing the part once danced by Mikhail Baryshnikov. (Fun side note: The first time I saw Fancy Free, before the curtain rose they showed rehearsal footage of Robbins teaching Baryshnikov the dance!) Joining Fairchild as his fellow sailors were Daniel Ubricht who was both funny and impish, and Tyler Angle, another new principal dancer, who is lithe and limber and light on his feet. This got the evening off to a fantastically fun start.
Unfortunately, the last two pieces are, in my opinion, rather boring. Prodigal Son has interesting themes and perhaps if explored in a full ballet could be compelling but condensed into this thirty minute one act, it’s mostly a bunch of Gollum looking ghouls marching around on stage. Joaquin de Luz, a principal dancer from Madrid, was the titular son and began his performance with energy, but the ballet itself didn’t ask too much of him. Though it was nice to look at him for most of the second scene in nothing but his briefs, I found myself restless and waiting for the next intermission.
Friday, January 15, 2010
- The Red Pompadour in the Room
Well, the biggest media-related news item this week was arguably the Conan-Leno-NBC (Dysfunctional) Love Triangle. Leno’s new one-hour prime-time program has been lacking ratings, as has Conan’s Tonight Show. NBC decided to cut Leno’s show in half and air it at 11:35, bumping The Tonight Show, which has aired at 11:35, after local nightly news, for 60 years, to a 12:05 start time (which, is actually not tonight but this morning) and moving Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night show to 1:05. Conan ain’t havin’ that. In a statement released on Tuesday, Conan said he could not be a part of what “I honestly believe is [The Tonight Show’s] destruction.” Settlement negotiations are currently underway and NBC execs are no doubt trying to figure out what to program when. Will Leno move back to The Tonight Show at 11:35? Will Conan have a gag order, of sorts, on his settlement contract precluding him from being on air, on NBC or another network, for a year or more? Will any of this matter or will Dave and his Top Ten list rule the late-night fight? I’ve always taped whichever show has a guest on I want to see – Leonardo DiCaprio, Reese Witherspoon, Foo Fighters… – and when I watch the program saved to my DVR the next day, I fast forward to the interview. I’ve never gotten into the habit of regularly watching one of these shows for the host. What about you? Who do you like in late night and what do you think will happen? Leave your comments at the end of this post.
- Coming Up Off-Broadway
There are lots of new plays (and a musical here or there) coming to off-Broadway this winter and spring. Playbill.com provided a listing of the offerings but here the few I’m most excited about:
Teach Your Children Well – A new play by Adam Rapp (brother of Mark (from Rent) originator Anthony and one of my favorite modern playwrights) premiering at the Vineyard in February. In this new play, a writer tries to defend his novel that has been banned by a local school board.
The Aliens – The latest offering from Circle Mirror Transformation playwright Annie Baker concerns two young men who take a high schooler under their wings and try to give him an education. This will play at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre starting April 15.
The Kid – Based on sex columnist (and frequent Bill Maher guest) Dan Savage’s book, this new musical will find two gay men struggling with parenthood. Chris Sieber (Lord Farquaad in the recently closed Shrek) is signed on to star.
The Pride – Hugh Dancy, a British actor who is engaged to Claire Danes, will star in MCC’s production of a new play about a complex love triangle. The Pride will begin performances on January 27. (Note to my fellow young adults: MCC has a $20 under 30 deal, so if you’re under 30 years old, you can snag a ticket for just $20.)
- Glee Scoop
Fox announced this week that Glee would return for a second season this fall (that is, after it finishes the first season this April and May.) This was pretty much a no-brainer but it’s nice to have confirmation. The interesting twist is that the creators said they plan to add three new characters to the show and they are conducting a nationwide online-video casting session for the three roles. Details will be posted on fox.com/glee but the basic bits are: If you’re 16-26, create a video showcasing your talent and submit it online. This casting process will be documented and a special will air leading up to the season two premiere. This is glee-tastic!
Let’s Get Physical!
Glee creator Ryan Murphy revealed this week that Olivia Newton-John will make an appearance in the next batch of Glee, which returns to the airwaves on April 13. The one-time Sandra Dee will sing, along side Cheerios coach Sue (played by the ridiculously hilarious Jane Lynch) her own hit, "Get Physical". This batch of episodes will also, as previously reported, feature the return of Kristen Chenoweth (who’s coming to the boards this spring in Promises, Promises), an appearance by Idina Menzel and a special all-Madonna episode. Can you “get into the groove”?
The Sweet Stylings of Matthew Morrison
Glee and theatre world dreamboat Matthew Morrison has signed a record deal with Mercury Records to record a solo album. Playbill.com reports that the album will likely be released this fall, to coincide with Glee’s second season premiere. Not much more information (like what kinds of songs will make up the album) is available, but what else do you need to know? It’s Matthew Morrison singing a full album’s worth of songs. That’s music to my ears! (Can’t wait until the fall? Pick up the original cast recordings for Hairspray, A Light in the Piazza, South Pacific or Glee: The Music, Volumes 1 & 2, for your fix.)
- Spidey Isn’t Swinging into Action Just Yet
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the much anticipated and talked about stage-musical adaptation of Spider-Man (in all incarnations) will not, as previously announced and as emblazoned on billboards and marquises, open on February 25, according to Green Goblin actor Alan Cumming. [This was later confirmed by the show’s producers.] Cumming, who broke onto the scene with a turn as the emcee in the 1998 revival of Cabaret, told the New York Times that the show will open, just not in February. Spider-Man has been plagued by a lack of funding; according to reports, once the project is fully funded, rehearsals will resume. The NY Post reports that previews will now begin in September. Until then, keep those spidey senses tingling.
- Award Show Season Update
Writers Guild Awards nominees have been announced. Among those contending for honors are writers on Glee, 30 Rock, Modern Family and The Office (+Curb, for writing in a comedy series); Glee, The Good Wife and Modern Family (+Hung and Nurse Jackie, for writing on a new series); and Real Time with Bill Maher, SNL, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (+The Tonight Show with Conan, for writing for a variety/comedy series).
The New York Critics handed out their awards – check out the list of winners and arrival photos here.
Singing for Your Oscar
As noted in previous posts, the Oscar Best Song nomination process is a little screwy. In a recent post on The Wrap, writer Steve Pond shed some more light on the process, though this illumination only made the whole process seem even screwier. Pond explains that academy members who are eligible to vote in the Best Song category either attend a screening or receive a DVD full of three-minute clips of the eligible songs; these clips are the moments of the movie during which the song was heard. This means that for some of the eligible songs, voters will see Kate Hudson dancing down a runway with glitzy and glamorous dancers backing her up. (This was how the “Cinema Italiano” scene played out in the movie.) For other songs, like’s U2’s “Winter” – written for the film Brothers – all the voters will see is the end credits backed by the U2 song. Pond points out, and I agree, that seeing the clip doesn’t give you the full context and is an inefficient way of determining a song’s power and role in a film. As I’ve bemoaned before, last year Bruce Springsteen’s sorrowful and soulful “The Wrestler”, for the eponymous movie, was not even nominated. (Though there were five slots, only three songs were nominated.) As it happened, “The Wrestler” played during the film’s end credits. So, when a voter just saw a list of names and heard a great song, if they hadn’t seen the film, they had no idea whatsoever just how poignant or beautiful the song was. This is a dysfunctional way to expose voters to the eligible songs, and coupled with the requirement that songs receive an average vote of 8.25 to become a nominee, I’m left thinking that this category, to borrow from the always eloquent Cypress Hill, is “Insane in the Brain”.
The Golden Globes, hosted by Ricky Gervais, will be presented this Sunday night on NBC. Red carpet coverage, with sharp-tongued Joan Rivers, starts at 6 on E! (and other channels, too, but their commentators don’t bring as much funny as Joan.) Expect a full reactionary report on Monday or Tuesday.
- American Idiot Trailer
A sneak peek at what’s heading to the St James, this trailer video is from the Berkeley production. Enjoy!
- No More Chicago Seven
On Tuesday, Chicago became the sixth longest running show on Broadway. The hit revival (which I’ve still yet to see) played its 5,462nd performance on the 12th, knocking Beauty and the Beast (which, to my memory, if the first show I ever saw on Broadway, just like Jonathan Groff) down to seventh place. Currently, the top ten longest running shows are: Phantom, Cats, Les Miserables, A Chorus Line (the original, not the revival), Oh! Calcutta, Chicago, Beauty and the Beast, Rent, The Lion King and Miss Saigon. The Lion King is only 46 performances behind Rent, so look for it to take the number eight spot in late February.
- Side by Side by Susan Blackwell
The tart [tosser] is back with the second installment of her three-celeb interview series. This time she sits down (and stands and paints) with Gavin Creel, a favorite of mine who stars as Claude in the beautiful revival of Hair, as well as Kelli O’Hara (most recently of South Pacific) and Beth Leavel (currently in Mamma Mia!). Like the first episode, this is very funny – and a must watch if only to see Gavin do his impression of Leo in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. It’s kind of wrong and kind of hilarious.
- Hair’s Pond Jumping Commercial
In preparation for Hair’s London premiere, a commercial of performance footage and critics’ praise has been put together. Watch it here and then book your ticket to London to join me in welcoming the Age of Aquarius across the pond. (No, I’m not actually going – but a gal can dream, can’t she?)
Also, the producers of Hair are holding an open, non-equity casting call at the Public Theatre on January 21 to find new Tribe members, who will debut as an ensemble on March 9, after the current Tribe takes their final pre-London bow on March 7. Visit Hairbroadway.com for more details.