Showing posts from April, 2012


Something’s just not catching with me. I like the spirit behind Once; I like the passion for music, the belief in the transformative power of music and love; I like the not-so-subtle implication that music is life and sustenance. This is a musical that’s all about music; I should be obsessed with this. But I’m just not that into it.  Based on the eponymous film from the early aughts, Once tells the story of Guy (Steve Kazee) and Girl (Cristin Milioti). (From what I can remember of the film—which I didn’t particularly like—the stage adaptation hews very close to the film. John Carney wrote and directed the film; for the stage, Enda Walsh (Hunger) wrote the book and John Tiffany directed.) Girl (a Czech) meets Guy (a native Dubliner) on the streets of Dublin; Guy is playing guitar, singing an original tune, “Leave.” Girl is enchanted. When they find themselves in a music shop, Girl discovers lyrics Guy has written and convinces him to play the song with her (she plays piano) right then a…

Media Morsels 4.27.12

Broadway Openings
In anticipation of the Tony eligibility deadline, which was April 26, a slew of shows opened this week. Sunday, A Streetcar Named Desire came back to Broadway, this time with a multiracial cast. (I haven't seen this yet. I'm hoping TDF can help me out in the next couple of weeks!)

Monday saw the opening of both Ghostand The LyonsGhostcoverage: my review; photos from Playbill; blue carpet arrivals; curtain call (which includes photos of the usually camera shy director, Matthew Warchus); party time

I haven't seen the Broadway iteration of The Lyons, but here's my review of the Vineyard production from this past fall. Plus: Ken Fallin's illustration of The Lyons co-stars Linda Lavin and Dick Latessa; photos from Playbill; arrivals; curtain call and party time (Bonus: asked star Michael Esper to talk about some of his obsessions. On the list are The West Wing, Annie Baker's upcoming adaptation of Uncle Vanya and his sister's band,…

Leap of Faith

Even though the movie upon which Leap of Faith is based is 20 years old, it’s plenty relevant today: people are down on their luck and looking for something to believe in. Whether that’s a god, an institution or yourself or your brethren, sometimes you have to believe and just take that leap of faith. And what a joyous leap it is!
The fun starts when you walk into the St James Theatre. The large and historic theatre has been taken over by a revival (the church kind, not the Anything Goes kind), so when you enter the theatre you’re really entering the revival tent. There are TV screens set up throughout the house, as you might see at one of those mega, Evangelical churches, and throughout the show, whenever we’re in the revival, we get to see close ups of what’s happening on stage. Robin Wagner’s scenic design and Shawn Sagady’s video coordination immerse the audience in Jonas Nightingale’s world right away, and help carry you from New York to Sweetwater, Kansas, where most of the show…


The surprisingly cool thing about Ghost the musical is that it isn’t a stage adaptation of a movie – it’s a movie on stage. From the opening “title sequence” to the photo montage to the spectacular technical effects, this is a lesson in how to translate one medium to another and how to incorporate non-traditional elements into a very traditional (and sometimes stuffy) art form.
It is based on the Demi Moore-Patrick Swayze movie, though, so before delving into individual elements of the show, let’s recap what happens. Sam Wheat (Richard Fleeshman) and Molly Jensen (Caissie Levy) are a couple in love. In their late 20s/early 30s, they’re not married, but as the show opens we see them moving into a spacious loft apartment in Brooklyn. Their friend Carl (Bryce Pinkham) is the third Musketeer, and is helping them move in. About 15 minutes in, Sam and Molly find themselves in a dark alley and Sam is lethally shot. He becomes the titular ghost. Through a medium, Oda Mae Brown (Da’Vine Joy Ra…

Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations

The Outer Critics Circle Award nominations were announced. Some of the nominations - and omissions - surprised me, and are making me a little nervous about Tony nominations. But, the other thing to consider is that several new-to-Broadway shows were considered in seasons past, when they ran off-Broadway. (Venus in Fur and Peter and the Starcatcher, for example, fall into this category.) Visit Playbill for details about the awards.

The Lyons (review of the Vineyard production)
One Man, Two Guvnors
Stick Fly

Bonnie & Clyde
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
[So, the terrible Bonnie & Clyde receives a nod but not Leap of Faith? And in the tech battle, Spider Man beat Ghost to a nomination?]

Blood and Gifts
The School for Lies
Sons of the Prophet
[The School for Lies played in May, so I'm proud of the nominating committee for remembering that far back! But, I didn't lik…

Media Morsels 4.20.12

Jake Gyllenhaal to Make Off-Broadway Debut
Exciting just about everyone, Roundabout Theatre Company announced this week that Jake Gyllenhaal will make his NY stage debut late this summer in Nick Payne's If There is I haven't Found it Yet. According to the announcement on Roundabout's website, Gyllenhaal will play Terry, a "heartbroken drifter with the mouth of a sailor." This family drama will run for a strictly limited engagement, August 24-November 25, at Roundabout's off-Broadway Laura Pels Theatre. Tickets are not yet on sale to the public, but subscribers can purchase tickets now. Stay tuned for details regarding general on sale dates and additional casting.

Peter and the Starcatcher
Star stuff is officially open on Broadway! After an acclaimed run at the New York Theatre Workshop in early 2011, the magical and imaginative show has moved uptown, where it was welcomed by theatre fans and critics alike when it opened on Sunday, April 15. (Read my review of t…

Peter and the Starcatcher

Imagination has taken over the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, home to Peter and the Starcatcher. Losing nothing in its transfer from the New York Theatre Workshop, “star stuff” has made its way to Broadway, and what a wonderful thing that is.

Though the show uses the tagline, “the Neverland you never knew,” that’s only half the story. Yes, it’s the story about how Boy becomes Peter Pan; more broadly, though, it’s about a lost boy finding his home. It’s about the chances you have to take to find freedom. And it’s about the enduring friendships forged along the way.

Under the splendid direction of Roger Rees and Alex Timbers (with movement by Steven Hoggett), the rag-tag, can-do, scrappy spirit from the downtown production has made its way uptown. A single rope is still the most pivotal piece of the scenic design (which, rope and all, springs brilliantly from the mind of Donyale Werle, reprising her work from NYTW). Worlds are still created by the entire company, with every member pitching in…

Media Morsels 4.13.12

Bruce Springsteen, "Death to My Hometown"
Peter and the Starcatcher's Celia Keenan-Bolger
The talented Celia Keenan-Bolger, who was fantastic in the recent Encores! run of Merrily We Roll Along, is back on Broadway, reprising the role of Molly, which she created in Peter and the Starcatcher's New York Theatre Workshop run in February 2011. The Broadway iteration is currently in previews and officially opens on April 15. In anticipation,'s Paul Wontorek sat down with the starlet to talk about Starcatcher, being roomies with Gavin Creel and talent crushes! (Bonus: Christian Borle, who appears as Black Stache, talks about Starcatcher and the NBC show Smash.)

Actors vs. Movie Stars
This week on IFC, Ron Mwangaguhunga theorizes about the difference - if there is one - between actors and movie stars. He posits, and I tend to agree, that actors are in the game for the artistic expression while movie stars are hungry for fame and money. He cites my favorite acto…

Media Morsels 4.6.12

The Newsroom
Dear readers, I'm so excited to present to you the first trailer for The Newsroom, the new Aaron Sorkin show set to premiere on HBO on June 24. (The season will last ten episodes.) Once again, Sorkin takes us behind the scenes, this time at a 24-hour news network. The show boasts an outstanding ensemble, including Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Jane Fonda and my dear Johnny Gallagher! I'm in love already! Enjoy the first sneak peek: (Bonus: check out this Vanity Fair online feature)
Tony Update
Great news: Neil Patrick Harris will once again host the Tony Awards! You may remember that last year, Harris successfully hosted the Tonys, closing out the night with a snappy, spot-on rap, co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I wonder what he'll do this year! Tony nominations will be announced on Tuesday, May 1, and the Tony Awards will be handed out on Sunday, June 10. Go to for more information.

In other theatre award news, we learned that Stockard Channing a…