Showing posts from November, 2013

Media Morsels 11.29.13

Bruce Springsteen: High Hopes
Last week, Bruce Springsteen teased a new single and this week, details about the full album, including its January 14, 2014, release date, were announced. The eclectic album (Springsteen's 18th) will feature a combination of new songs, recordings of Springsteen favorites and covers. Read more on Rolling Stone and The Boss's website (this post includes the track listing). The album is now available for pre-order.

All the Way to Broadway
Joining Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston for the limited Broadway engagement of All the Way, a new Robert Schennkan play about President Lyndon B. Johnson, will be Michael McKean (The Best Man) and Brandon J. Dirden (Clybourne Park), who will play J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King, Jr., respectively. (Both appeared in the A.R.T. production. There's still no word regarding whether or not Reed Birney will reprise his role for the Broadway run.) Directed by Bill Rauch, All the Way will play the Neil Simon The…

Dallas Buyers Club

So Dallas Buyers Club is an engaging if not particularly illuminating film. In fact, it’s almost a bit trite. The title of the film comes from an actual buyers club set up in Dallas by Ron Woodruff, a bigoted homophobe who, in 1985, learns he has contracted HIV (and, eventually, AIDS). The doctors who make the diagnosis tell him he has 30 days to live, and the swaggering Woodruff scoffs, then goes to the library to teach himself about his disease. 
After finagling access to AZT, he finds it does more harm than good and hooks up with a doctor in Mexico, who introduces him to other drugs, which are not available in the USA and have not been approved by the FDA. Always a schemer and dealer, Ron sees a business opportunity and creates the buyers club, which, for a fee of $400 per month, will give AIDS patients unlimited access to the unregulated but effective drugs. 
But this film, written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, doesn’t really say anything new, or anything that those familiar w…

Media Morsels 11.22.13

Sutton Foster Returns to Broadway
There's no official word yet, but reports that two-time Tony Award winnerSutton Foster will return to Broadway this spring in a mounting of the musical Violet. Foster starred in a one-night-only Encores! production of Violet in July. The musical boasts music by Jeanine Tesori and lyrics and book by Brian Crawley. In the Encores! production, Foster (Anything Goes) starred alongside Joshua Henry (American Idiot, The Scottsboro Boys), Keala Settle (Hands on a Hardbody), Christopher Sieber (Shrek) and more. Since there has yet to be an official announcement, the dates of the production and its home is unknown, although reports that the show will play at Roundabout's American Airlines theatre, which has a slot open now that The Real Thing has been moved to fall 2014. I'll keep you posted.

Award Season Coverage
Governors Awards—These honorary awards, which, this year, honored Angelina Jolie, Steve Martin and Angela L…

12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave really is as good as the hype. Watching the story of Solomon Northup—a real black man who, though free (and living happily with his wife and two children in Saratoga, NY), was tricked into slavery in 1841 and worked as a slave for the next 12 years—we see an unflinching and unforgiving portrait of American slavery.

At times, the film is difficult to watch but it should be. Adapted by John Ridley from Solomon’s memoir, this is a film that depicts the brutality of America’s original sin and we absolutely should be uncomfortable while watching humans enslave other humans, while watching one man terrorize another merely for entertainment. The wonderfully patient director Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame) takes his time in telling the story and uses his visual artist’s aesthetic to show the details that shape lives.

Working with director of photography Sean Bobbitt, McQueen keeps you unsettled as he offers beautiful establishing shots in which we see the vastness and natural be…

The Winslow Boy

The play is called The Winslow Boy, and yet so much of the story is about the Winslow girl.

Terence Rattigan’s play, broadly about a father’s fight for justice for his son, is intriguing at times. It even seems relevant, particularly when the papers and gossip rags of the day (the action takes place in Kensington over a two-year period, 1912-1914) start weighing in on the legal drama. But the play falters when it gives equal voice to the A and the B story.

Most plays, TV shows and movies have an A story—the main plotline—and the B story—some “sidebar” storyline played out by secondary characters. As it’s the title of the play, it follows that the A story here is about one of the Winslow boys, Ronnie, who, at just 13, is expelled from the Naval academy for alleged theft. (He swears up and down that he is innocent.) His father, Arthur Winslow (a splendid Roger Rees), immediately takes up his case, and the rest of the A story concerns Arthur’s debilitating obsession with clearing his s…

Media Morsels 11.15.13

If/Then Sitzprobe
Go behind the scenes of the original Tom Kitt-Brian Yorkey musical, If/Then. The musical, now in previews in Washington, DC, is directed by Kitt and Yorkey's Next to Normalcollaborator, Michael Greif, and stars Greif's Rent stars Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp (and others, of course). In this video, you can watch as the cast and the 13-piece band come together for the first time and go through the score, an event known at sitzprobe. It's a glorious look at the most anticipated show of spring, as it further solidifies what a genius Kitt is. (And look at Rapp's face as he watches Menzel sing.) If/Then is in DC through December 8. It comes to Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre beginning March 5, 2014, with opening night set for March 27. Visit the show's dynamic website to learn more.

Big Fish to Conclude Broadway Run
The wonderfully splashy new musical Big Fish will conclude its Broadway run on December 29. At the time of its closing the show wil…

Little Miss Sunshine

I remember seeing Little Miss Sunshine in the movie theater in 2006. It was one of the first breakout, counter-programming summer movies (in the recent trend, anyway), and it was so delightful and poignant and easy to relate to. So I was a little bit skeptical heading into see the stage musical adaptation but also a little bit excited (particularly because of the cast). I went in with mixed feelings and I came out with mixed feelings.

Little Miss Sunshine tells the story of the Hoovers, an average Albuquerque family (mom, dad, grumpy grandpa, depressed uncle, brother and sister) that heads out on an unplanned road trip to Redondo Beach, California, so that little Olive, the (8-10-year old) spunky kid can compete in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. For most of the show (as in the movie) they're stuck in a van with no one but each other. (That van, by the way, is a clunker and the family has to push it to get it going and then hop in while it's rolling along.) There are laughs,…