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Showing posts from November, 2010

Oscar Update

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In what might be the zaniest thing to happen all award season (yep, I’m saying that this early), it was announced yesterday that James Franco and Anne Hathaway will host the Oscars next year, February 27, 2011. This seems kind of nutty to me for a few reasons:
James Franco will almost undoubtedly be nominated for Best Leading Actor for his excellent work in 127 Hours. While early buzzers say Colin Firth is more likely to win for The King’s Speech, Franco is definitely generating a ton of buzz, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to have a nominee (read: a potential winner) hosting. It just doesn’t sit right with me.

Both actors did well on their respective stints as SNL hosts, but neither is particularly known for their comedic chops. At least not the same way as actual comedians, like past hosts Jon Stewart, David Letterman or Billy Crystal. Hathaway sings, which bodes well for an opening number, but after that, who wants to listen to Franco and Hathaway make jokes about their colleague…

Ghosts in the Cottonwoods

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I’ve seen bad plays before. (I’m looking at you, This.) Ghosts in the Cottonwoods is not a bad play, but I didn’t like it. I must admit I feel bad saying that. Ghosts in the Cottonwoods is an Adam Rapp play, and Adam Rapp nearly tops the list of my favorite modern playwrights. Ghosts was one of his first plays, actually first written some 15 years ago. Teaming up with the Amoralist Theatre Company*, Rapp takes another swing at it. I don’t know what it was like in 1996 when it was developed at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. In the program notes, Rapp says it was “overwrought, bloated [and] unsure of itself.” Now it isn’t quite any of those things: It has Rapp’s sharp writing; a very distinct vernacular with which all the characters speak, a trope often found in Rapp’s work; it is well acted and thoughtfully staged, something I’ve come to expect of Rapp, especially now that he’s taken to directing his own work. What I have trouble with is that while I was engaged in…

Chicago

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And now, ladies and gentlemen, the longest running revival in Broadway history, full of those scintillating sinners, it’s Chicago! This revival of the 1975 John Kander- and Fred Ebb-penned, Bob Fosse-conceived musical began its current iteration on Broadway, albeit at a different theatre, in 1996, and it hasn’t stopped razzling and dazzling audiences ever since.
Though Chicago has been running for 14 years - or maybe because it has been running for 14 years- I had not seen it on stage until yesterday. Of course I’ve seen the movie (I own it, actually,) and of course I know the score, (and I even performed in my high school’s musical theatre class’s rendition of “Razzle Dazzle”), but since it was always there and appeared to be staying for a while, there was never a rush to go see it. So, when my family suggested we go see something when everyone was in town for Thanksgiving weekend (and since I’d taken two of the three members of our party to see American Idiot already and because Blo…

Media Morsels 11.26.10

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Happy Thanksgiving!
Yesterday was Thanksgiving (duh!) and that meant the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade brought us all the usual bells and whistles and floats. As usual, my favorite part was watching the performances from Broadway shows. It should come as no surprise that my very favorite part of that was watching my beautiful Idiots perform "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)." They sounded great, they looked great and I just can't watch Johnny play guitar without tearing up. This Thanksgiving, I am so incredibly thankful for American Idiot, for pluralism and for the freedom of expression. Happy Thanksgiving!

Bloody Bloody BitsPresident Sexypants was interviewed by the Craptacular, a Broadway blog (with a spectacular name…). Read on to find out what he’s been reading, how his “Rock Star” lap dance caused a woman’s teeth to fall out and how to get that “guy-liner” just right.
Spider-Man Swings by NY MagazineSpider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is the subject of the…

After the Revolution

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A rallying cry at various rallies is often, “What are we fighting for,” (also the name of a Live song…). But what happens when you know what you’re fighting for and the fight ends? Where does the passion go? After going round and round, trading jabs and taking stabs, do you have it in you to fight some more for something else? That’s partially what After the Revolution, the new play currently running at off-Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons, is about. Revolution centers on Emma and her leftist, Marxist family; her paternal grandfather ran in to trouble with a certain senator from Wisconsin in the 50s and Emma has appropriated his name for her foundation, The Joe Joseph Fund, which she is using to solicit and provide monetary and legal support for a former Black Panther member who has been branded a cop killer, though Emma and co. believe he has been jailed without having received a fair trial, all because of his political beliefs. When Emma finds out Grandpa Joe wasn’t everything she th…

Media Morsels 11.19.10

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American Idiot
This is your chance to quite literally be a part of American Idiot: The show announced this week that it is holding a contest allowing fans to have their original art work incorporated into the Tony-winning scenic design. Artists are encouraged to send their “band’s poster, original art or any other dynamic image of [their] own design.” Tony winning scenic designer Christine Jones will pick a limited number of winners and add their art to the collaged walls. Visit AmericanIdiotonBroadway.com for more details and to buy tickets to the show.

Bloody Bloody Bits
Writer and director Alex Timbers visited Morning Joe last week to talk about Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which basically depicts America coming into its adolescence. He said of emo being the right fit for AJ’s story, it, like musical theatre, can be “silly but it can also be transcendent.”

The jokesters at Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson have a new target for their lampooning ways (and a new advertisement for their show…

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

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Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, a musical stage adaptation of the Pedro Almodovar film, looks exactly the way it should: like a musical stage adaptation of the Pedro Almodovar film. Almodovar’s films are highly stylized; he shoots at very specific angles and the lively colors look like pop art on film. The designers of the stage version have captured that look, which should thrill any Almodovar fan.
I overheard the woman sitting next to me comment, during intermission, that she thought the show was a little over the top. Now, dear readers, you know I don’t usually go for schmaltz or gimmicks and prefer stripped down, expressive art. But here - while I wouldn’t call it schmaltzy the production effort, the wow factor, is tremendously palpable - it works; it’s what’s needed. These women are on the verge! They’re wound up; eccentric; maybe a little nutty (some of them are certifiable); they’re full of color and life so the design is, too. Any hints of staidness would be complete…

127 Hours

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When I first heard about 127 Hours, I thought, “Yeah, right. Like I’m really going to watch a rock for 90 minutes.” But, the buzz was good and I like James Franco so I went for it. Turns out it was excellent.
127 Hours is based on the true story of Aron Ralston, a climber and canyoneer who was out for an adventure and found one - just not the kind he was expecting. While en route to the big drop at Blue John Canyon, Aron’s right arm got crushed and caught by a boulder. Unable to move the boulder, Aron, after being stuck there for six days - 127 hours - makes the life-saving decision to amputate his own arm (with a dull knife) and escape. Aron’s story as depicted in the movie - particularly the ending, post-amputation - might seem hard to believe, contrived even, but the inspiring thing is that it is true.
(Possible spoilers beyond this point. While we all know the ending, I am going to talk about some specifics of the middle.)
Over the course of a very fast 90 minutes, we watch Aron go …

Media Morsels 11.12.10

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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 fina…