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Showing posts from June, 2011

Zarkana

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Colorful costumes. A rock and roll score. Performers flying around the stage and over the audience. Spidey 3.0? No, dear readers, it’s Zarkana, the new Cirque de Soleil show enjoying a summer run at Radio City Music Hall. (Fun side note: When I visited RCMH to see Zarkana, it marked the first time I was at the famed venue. As such, all I could think of was Grace and Annie getting ready, Daddy Warbucks saying, “Punjab, buy out the eight o’clock show,” and the Rockettes singing and dancing, “Let’s Go to the Movies!” Ah, Annie…)I have never seen a Cirque show before so I can’t compare this to other Cirque creations. Still, I hereby declare that anything that was once known as cool, excellent, zang or fetch shall henceforth be known as zarkana. It was that awesome! Production notes state that Zarkana “is an acrobatic rock opera…where, little by little, chaos and craziness give way to festivity and love regained.” I can’t say there was a palpable story or that the aforementioned themes cam…

Sex Lives of Our Parents

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Sex Lives of Our Parents, written by Michael Mitnick and directed at Second Stage by David McCallum, is a character study of a young woman, Virginia, who “never wanted anything.” She is engaged to be married but is plagued by visions of her parents’ (particularly her mother’s) sexual history, which force her to finally figure out what she does want. Sex Lives of Our Parents is a somewhat typical pre-wedding crisis of confidence story, but there was something more interesting going on here. I think because playwright Mitnick wasn’t so concerned with what happened but rather why it happened, we were able to delve deep into the characters without worrying about getting to the church on time. And for Virginia, there seems to be a lot to delve into. Virginia is having visions, and while the play’s title suggests she’s seeing something graphic, in actuality her visions are less graphic and more instructive. Virginia (Virginia Kull) and her mother, Charlotte (Lisa Emery), have never really t…

Media Morsels 6.24.11

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Summertime in New York!
Even though it's felt like summer for several weeks, this week the season officially arrived. Along with the summer came the Shakespeare in the Park gala. (Measure for Measure and All's Well that Ends Well are being presented in rep this summer.) On Monday, stars came out for the gala, and both Theater Mania and Broadwayworld.com have photo coverage. (Look for Josh Charles, Will Swenson & Audra McDonlad (both are Shakespeare in the Park alumni) and Public Theater founder Joseph Papp's widow, Gail Papp.

And a little summer treat from the S.S. Anything Goes:
Anything Goes in the Recording Studio
Speaking of Anything Goes, the cast of the Tony-winning revival went into the recording studio this week to record the cast album. Broadwayworld.com has photos of the recording session and Broadway.com has a behind-the-scenes video of the session. There is still no official release date for the cast recording, but my guess is it will probably be available in …

Media Morsels 6.17.11

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Aaron Sorkin + Johnny Gallagher = AMAZING!!!
Oh my Thespis, dear readers. I can barely contain my excitement: John Gallagher, Jr., has signed on for Aaron Sorkin's new HBO pilot, More as This Story Develops!!! Can you imagine a pairing that would make me happier? This is the series I've been waiting for Sorkin to write - I just need him to articulate how I feel about the infotainment we call news, and this show will no doubt let him do that. And this pilot is pulling great actors, including Gallagher's Pieces of April costar, Alison Pill. HBO, you must pick up this pilot. It will be my new favorite show! (By the way, Happy Birthday, Johnny!)

American Idiot on Celluloid
Dear readers, do you remember when Tom Hanks took in a performance of American Idiot, and there was talk of his Playtone production company adapting the stage show for the big screen? According to The Hollywood Reporter, that may actually happen, with the film hitting screens in 2013. The report says American I…

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

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What a difference six months, the firing of a director and a nearly month-long hiatus makes. I saw Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark back in December - the show's second preview, to be exact - and I saw it again this month. I’m happy to report that the problems in which Spidey was getting tangled have been solved and this Spider-Man is actually really good!

This iteration isn’t an entirely new show, but it might as well be. It’s about 17 times better than what came before. The story is actually there and focused. The songs are complete - not just snippets - and some of them are particularly moving. Mercifully, the Geek Chorus has been 86ed, as has Norman Osborn/the Green Goblin’s out-of-left-field Colonel Sanders accent. Plus, Arachne’s storyline is significantly trimmed down, making the story about Spider-Man, not Arachne. (What a concept: Making a Spider-Man musical that actually focuses on Peter Parker/Spider-Man!) And when Arachne does appear now, she appears as Peter/Spidey’s muse…

2011 Tony Awards Wrap Up

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The 2011 Tony Awards were handed out last night! It was a great, entertaining broadcast celebrating a terrific year in theatre. All of the winners are deserving of their Tony, with one exception, which I'll note below.
From greeting us by telling us the theatre is not just for gays anymore to ending with an exhilarating rap (excerpted at the end of this post), Neil Patrick Harris proved once again he is a masterful master of ceremonies.

Congratulations to all - not just the winners but all the actors, technicians, designers, directors, composers, writers, et al., who expressed themselves this year. The theatre is alive and well, and I thank Thespis for it every single day!Without any further ado, the winners, starred and in bold (and my commentary!)

(Note: If I've seen the show, I've linked to my review at its first mention.)
The Musicals:




Best Musical
The Book of Mormon*Catch Me if You CanThe Scottsboro BoysSister ActThis was pretty much a no brainer. Although, I did think Chri…

City Ballet: Apollo, Donizetti Variations and Mercurial Manoeuvres

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Saturday night marked my final ballet outing for City Ballet’s 2010-2011 season. (Not to worry, though - the 2011-2012 season has been announced and I’m booked!) I was supposed to see Donizetti Variations, Mercurial Manoeuvres and Thou Swell, the final piece being a tribute to the music of Rodgers & Hart and Rodgers & Hammerstein*. When I arrived at the State Theatre and received my program, there was a note saying that, due to an injury, Thou Swell would not be performed and instead I would be seeing, in this order, Apollo, Donizetti Variations and Mercurial Manoeuvres. I will admit that I was a little disappointed that I would not see Thou Swell. I’d been looking forward to it because I really like that music (and also because Robert Fairchild was scheduled to dance in it). But, the main reason for going was to see Christopher Wheeldon’s Mercurial Manoeuvres, and now the night would be ending with his ballet. And it turns out, I liked Apollo. So crisis averted!

Apollo, a Bal…