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Showing posts from May, 2013

Media Morsels 5.31.13

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Theatre Award Season
Tony Awards
The Tony Awards are just over a week away (Sunday, June 9)! This week, we got to see the first series of promos for the award show, which will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. These commercials feature the leading ladies (mostly girls, actually) of Annie, Cinderella and Matilda, plus a cameo from the current cast of Jersey Boys and The Big Knife's Tony-nominated co-star, Richard Kind. Check them out below and then tune into CBS on June 9 for Broadway's biggest night!

In other Tony news, the first slate of presenters was announced. Nominee Tom Hanks, Tony winner (in 2010) Scarlett Johansson (who starred this season in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Asuncion), Martha Plimpton and more will present. 



Coming to Broadway...
Break out your Tanach—there's a rabbi coming to Broadway. Soul Doctor, a musical about the musician/rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, will play Broadway's Circle in the Square beginning this summer. P…

Pippin

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Diane Paulus’s revival of Pippin is a glorious and poignant production. The musical is a couple of generations old while the story is several hundred years old; but the visionary Paulus (Hair, Porgy and Bess) has tapped into the universal themes inherent in what is essentially another coming of age tale.
Pippin, with a book by Roger O. Hirson (Bob Fosse’s contribution to the libretto is uncredited) and score by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked), tells the story of the young Pippin, son of Charlemagne, and his quest for fulfillment in life. He searches in Glory (war), The Flesh (carnal desires, mostly, with some basic human connection thrown in), Revolution, Politics and (after gaining a little Encouragement) Ordinary Life. He keeps thinking his corner of the sky is something as big and boundless as the sky itself, not realizing until it’s almost too late that we can find fulfillment in more humble but no less satisfying places. 
Paulus sets the whole thing in a circus tent and I love,…

Media Morsels 5.24.13

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Carol Burnett Receives Mark Twain Prize
The incomparable Carol Burnett will be awarded the 2013 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The legendary, multi-talented funny lady will be honored at the Kennedy Center in October. The salute will air on PBS on October 30. Of the honor, Burnett says, "I can't believe I'm getting a humor prize from the Kennedy Center. It's almost impossible to be funnier than the people in Washington." Playbill has details.

Theatre Award Season
Tony Awards
Tag along with nominee Annaleigh Ashford (Kinky Boots) as she shops for a dress for the big night.

CBS has signed a new contract that ensures the Tony Awards are broadcast on CBS through at least 2018. Broadway.com has more.

This week, the Tony Awards administration committee met to discuss a possible infraction by one of the nominated shows. The infraction stems from a brochure Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? producer Jeffrey Richards sent to voters. The brochure included quotes fr…

Fame High

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As the title of the documentary suggests, we're getting an inside look at a Fame-like high school, this on the renowned Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA). The film focuses on two incoming freshmen, Ruby (an actress) and Zak (a musician), and two outgoing seniors, Grace (a dancer) and Brittany (a musician and singer/songwriter).

These kids are easy to relate to as we watch them go through the same struggles in the same circumstances we've either known personally or have heard tell of for years. there's the "Mama Rose" stage parents; the culture clash in which the children's passion for the arts flies in the face of her culture's view of success and what's honorable; the supportive parents who make sacrifices but only know how to do so much; and the teachers, some of whom help, some of whom seem to be a massive power trip, and everything in between.

What's perhaps more interesting about Fame High, though, what separates it from p…

Macbeth

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I finally got to see Alan Cumming in his not-quite one-man interpretation of Macbeth, arguably one of Shakespeare's greatest works.

The bloody and gruesome tale of a vainglorious antihero is told with spectacular power by Cumming, with an assist from Jenny Sterlin and Brendan Titley, in less flashy but no less important roles. Cumming embodies about 15 Shakespearean characters as he portrays one character who is in a mental institution. Part of his therapy is to enact Macbeth's story. Subtly, unobtrusively but powerfully, this production layers another story on to Shakespeare's, mining new depth in the classic story of a man overcome by his need for position and confirmation of manhood.

I don't want to give anything away so I won't say much more about the construct of the show, directed by John Tiffany (Once) and Andrew Goldberg, with scenic design by Merle Hensel, lighting design by Natasha Chivers, sound design by Fergus O'Hare, video design (an integral pa…

Murder Ballad

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Never fear, dear readers. Murder Ballad is just as raw and sexy and passionate in its downtown home as it was in midtown this past fall. Transferring seamlessly, this production, which features Rebecca Naomi Jones, John Ellison Conlee and Will Swenson reprising their roles and the lovely Caissie Levy tackling the role of Sara, sizzles and pulses as it tells the woeful tale of tangled lovers.
Written by Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash and directed by Trip Cullman, Murder Ballad is the story of Sara (Levy), a young woman who finds herself caught between her husband, Michael (Conlee), and her bad boy former flame, Tom (Swenson). The intoxicating Jones is our Narrator. 
It’s a true rock opera—the entire show is sung through and the score really does rock. As many of the cast members have been pointing out in interviews, unlike many of the rock musicals of late this one is by, for and about adults. Unlike its predecessors, in Murder Ballad rock and roll is used to express the passion and mercu…

Cinderella

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It may surprise you to hear me say this, but let me tell you why the revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, with a new book by Douglas Carter Beane, is actually pretty good: It’s an updated take on the classic fairy tale, with something worth latching on to for all the little girls and boys who might see it, and it has a beautiful, full score.
Beane’s new book infuses issues of social justice and though some will argue that that isn’t necessary, I like that it keeps this from being treacly, and that it actually gives you something to care about. Plus, it makes the characters, especially Topher (Prince Charming) and Ella (Cinderella), full characters, not just archetypes. 
The basics are still the same: Ella, the girl of the cinders, lives at home with and is servant to her nasty step-mother and two step-sisters (one is dim but harmless and the other sympathetic toward Cinderella). With the help of a fairy godmother, Cinderella appears at a royal ball and enchants the prince. S…

Media Morsels 5.17.13

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Casting News: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Bobby Cannavale and Leonardo DiCaprio... and More!
Al Pacino will be joined by his  Glengarry Glen Ross costar Bobby Cannavale as well as Annette Bening, Michael Caine and Jennifer Garner in the upcoming film Imagine. Written and directed by Dan Fogelman (Crazy Stupid Love), Imagine is based on the true story of a musician (Pacino) who, inspired by a letter from John Lennon, decides to straighten out his life, including reconnecting with his son (Cannnavale). The Wrap has more details.

Pacino's The GodfatherII costar, Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook), has just signed on to star in Legacy of Secrecy, a JFK assassination conspiracy film that is being produced by Leonardo DiCaprio's (The Great Gatsby, Django Unchained) production company, Appian Way. According to Thompson on Hollywood, "the film centers on FBI informant Jack Laningham and Mafia kingpin Carlos Marcello (De Niro), who confided to Laningham that he ordered the hit …