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Showing posts from October, 2013

Culturalist

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Newest List: Funny Ladies Who Should Make Their Broadway Debut!

Have you checked out Culturalist? It's one of my favorite things on the Internet these days. As it says on the site, "...users shape, share and debate their opinion about anything and everything through Top Ten lists."

Culturalist borrows from the "top ten" concept, mixes it with a bit of Buzz Feed's listicle style and allows users to declare their favorites in... well, just about anything.

Lists can be broad, like "Best Comedians of All Time," or intriguingly specific, like "Best Broadway Musicals that Did Not Win a Tony for Best Musical." There's also an option to create "worst of" lists, but I like to focus on the awesome stuff out in the world.

Join me on Culturalist and add your opinion to the mix!

Follow me to stay up to date, or continue to check this page for my latest list:
Ten Icons I Wish I Could Have Met for DrinksBest Upcoming Films of Fall 2013Ten…

Cinderella

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Well, Christopher Wheeldon is amazing. Choreographing a full length narrative ballet is as close as you get in the ballet world to directing a musical, and if anyone has any doubts that Wheeldon can do it, his Cinderella, which was just in New York courtesy of the San Francisco Ballet, banishes those doubts completely. Seeing his consummate vision come to life makes me all the more excited to see his directorial debut, An American in Paris.

Using the Sergei Prokofiev score (which is beautiful, and there’s nothing like hearing a glorious score played by a full, lush orchestra) and going back to the Grimm fairytale for inspiration, it’s clear that this is not Disney’s Cinderella. (It's a little closer to the Broadway revival of Cinderella, actually.) It’s darker (especially beginning, in which we see Cinderella lose her mother), and Wheeldon incorporates more natural themes. In the program notes, Wheeldon says he wanted to “echo some of the darkness in the music.” He continues, “T…

Media Morsels 10.25.13

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Casting News
Prisoner 24601 has been cast. Ramin Karimloo, a West End star, has landed the coveted role of Jean Valjean in the upcoming Broadway revival of Les Miserables. (He's currently playing the role in the Toronto production; check out this Show People episode to learn about Karimloo, whose first name is pronounced Ra-meen.) He'll be pursued by Will Swenson (Hair, Murder Ballad), who will star as Javert. Joining Karimloo and Swenson are Caissie Levy (Hair, Ghost, Murder Ballad) as Fantine and Tony winnerNikki M. James (The Book of Mormon) as Eponine. Les Miserables will begin previews at the Imperial Theatre on March 1, 2014, with opening night set for March 23. Broadway.com has more. (Bonuses: Will Swenson reacts to the news, and all four talk to Broadway World about taking on the iconic musical.)

Laura Benanti (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) will guest star on the upcoming sixth season of Showtime's Nurse Jackie. She joins fellow Tony winner Julie White a…

The Snow Geese

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I had high hopes for The Snow Geese, a new play from Sharr White. I so enjoyed White’s The Other Place, which, last year, marked his Broadway debut. Unfortunately, White seems to be in a sophomore slump. (That's not quite an accurate characterization since The Snow Geese is not actually his second play, but you get the picture.)
While White’s sharp writing is still intact, The Snow Geese just doesn’t satisfy. The play tells the story of a widow, Elizabeth (Mary-Louise Parker), trying to move on while World War I rages on overseas. She is left with two young adult sons (Evan Jonigkeit and Brian Cross), one who has remained home with her and one who has joined the service. At rise, the three are in their upstate New York home with Elizabeth’s sister and brother-in-law (played by the reliably good Victoria Clark and Danny Burstein, respectively).
Family dramas can be great fun, but they can easily get out of hand, and that’s what keeps The Snow Geese, directed by Daniel Sullivan (O…

Media Morsels 10.18.13

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(Scroll down for exciting news about Christopher Wheeldon's latest project.)

Movie News
With the theatrical release less than a month away, The Wall Street Journal checks in with the creative forces behind The Wolf of Wall Street, director Martin Scorsese (Hugo) and actors Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained) and Jonah Hill (Moneyball). 

Cameron Crowe's latest (as of yet untitled) flick keeps adding more great actors to the cast: joining Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Emma Stone (Crazy Stupid Love), Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes) and Alec Baldwin (Orphans) is Bill Murray! The Hollywood Reporter has details.

Oscars: Yep, it's time to start talking Oscars. The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg is back with his weekly installments of the Feinberg Forecast, wherein the awards guru talks about what's happened in the week and what impact, if any, it has on Oscar races. This week, he notes that Broadway Idiot did respectably (for a documentary) at the box off…

Fun on Twitter with Thomas Sadoski and Lin-Manuel Miranda

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This morning, these two things happened.

First, Thomas Sadoski (who plays Don on The Newsroom) let his Italian friends know that The Newsroom will premiere on Italian TV on October 17, and air every Thursday, at 11pm. Then he apologized for his Italian skills.


Later, Lin-Manuel Miranda (a Tony winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist for In the Heights) reviewed the new doc, Broadway Idiot, which chronicles Billie Joe Armstrong's journey from punk rocker to a rocking Broadway star, with AmericanIdiot. (For the full effect, it's important to note that Miranda worked with the genius Tom Kitt (who won the Pulitzer and a Tony for Next to Normal) on Bring It On.) Miranda speaks the truth. (Also, learn about Broadway Idiot.)


It was a fun morning.

NYCB: Spectral Evidence; Soiree Musicale; and Namouna

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For my final ballet of New York City Ballet’s fall season, I attended a mixed repertory program that included three ballets I had seen already, but from a different perspective.

First up was the new Angelin Preljocaj, Spectral Evidence. This premiered just last month at the fall gala, and features costumes by designer Olivier Theyskens. As previously noted, Preljocaj was inspired by the Salem witch trials, but this isn’t nearly a linear story ballet. I did not fully appreciate it at the gala, mostly because I was seated in the “arm” of the fourth ring, giving me only a partial view of the stage. On Saturday afternoon I was in the orchestra. 

I get it this time. It’s a hunt. There are pursuers and the pursued, and the roles keep changing. The music and choreography have a tribal feel, which is appropriate for the hunt theme. The “breathing passage” is the seduction, and it’s all quite powerful. (The music, including some with vocals, is all from John Cage’s catalog.) 

Though the men may, …

Media Morsels 10.11.13

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(Scroll down to find out what Zachary Levi's dating dos and don'ts are!)
City.Ballet
I've been telling you about this New York City Ballet documentary series, set to air on AOL, for several months and now we have an official air date: November 4. Beginning then, you'll get a behind the scenes look at what it's like to be a professional ballet dancer. In this article from the Wall Street Journal, the dancers, like principal Teresa Reichlen, and producers, like Sarah Jessica Parker, are quick to point out that this is not some sensationalized reality series. It really is a documentary series, with rehearsal and performance footage mixed with interviews. Tune into AOL On (on.aol.com) beginning November 4 for your chance to see New York's finest dancers. (And head to nycballet.com for more information about the Company and to purchase tickets; the fall season finishes this weekend but tickets for The Nutcracker are now on sale.)

Casting News
Eddie Redmayne (Red, Les M…