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Showing posts from April, 2014

68th Tony Award Nominations

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The nominations for the 68th Tony Awards are in! Without any further ado, here is the full list of nominees. (First the plays, then the musicals.)
Best Play
Act One, James LapineAll the Way, Robert SchenkkanCasa Valentina, Harvey FiersteinMothers and Sons, Terrence McNallyOutside Mullingar, John Patrick Shanley I enjoyed Casa Valentina, but I've yet to see Act One and Mothers and Sons, both of which are supposed to be quite good. And while I haven't seen The Realistic Joneses, word of mouth makes me a little surprised it was left out.

Best Revival of a Play
The Cripple of InishmaanThe Glass MenagerieA Raisin in the SunTwelfth NightTwelfth Night, baby! Also, this is the first time a production of Tennessee Williams's classic has earned a Tony nomination.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Samuel Barnett, Twelfth NightBryan Cranston, All the WayChris O'Dowd, Of Mice and MenMark Rylance, Richard IIITony Shalhoub, Act One What a category. (Note that Rylan…

Aladdin

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A whole new world it is not, but Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway is mostly entertaining, and a good choice for families.

The Broadway telling of Aladdin’s story, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon) hews closely to the animated movie on which it’s based, with some detours here there, with varying degrees of effectiveness. Genie (James Monroe Iglehart) opens the show by welcoming us to the fictional Middle East city of Agrabah, and soon we meet our title guy, the recently orphaned Aladdin (Adam Jacobs).

And this brings us to one of the most significant changes: Aladdin was on his own in the movie, but on stage, book writer Chad Beguelin (who also contributed additional lyrics to the score) takes pains to play up the fact that Aladdin recently lost his mother, and that parts of journey are rooted in a desire to live a life his mother would have been proud of. We get a couple of character development songs to that end, and while they slow down the show a little…

Week in Review 4.25.14

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Justin Peck Talks Ballet 422
While Ballet 422 is screening at the Tribeca Film Festival (I saw it on Wednesday), the documentary's subject, rising choreographer and NYCB soloist Justin Peck, spoke to the New York Post about choreographing and dancing, and what it was like to watch himself work. (The documentary follows Peck as he creates Paz de La Jolla, which premiered at City Ballet in January 2013, and was the 422nd ballet created for the Company, hence the title.)

Time 100 Most Influential People
Time magazine has released its annual list of the most influential people, and it's a pretty decent list! You can visit Time.com for the full list; herein, some notable honorees:
Tony Award winning director Diane Paulus (Pippin
Late Night host Seth Meyersthe Oscar-winning husband-wife songwriting team of Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Bobby co-wrote The Book of Mormon) the wonderfully talented Amy Adams (American Hustle, Her) artist and director Steve McQueen (12 Years a S…

Cabaret

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Willkommen back, dear readers! In a rare occurrence, Broadway audiences are being treated to a return engagement of a wonderfully successful revival. Opening at Roundabout's Studio 54 in March 1998, the Sam MendesRob Marshall production of Cabaret brought Emcee Alan Cumming stateside, earning the Scottish star a Tony Award and catapulting him to fame. (He can currently be seen on The Good Wife, and he was last seen on Broadway in Macbeth.) The revival continued through 2004 (I saw it in 2001, when Cumming and Natasha Richardson (as Sally Bowles) had long since left the production), giving Neil Patrick Harris, Michael C. Hall, John Stamos, Norbert Leo Butz and a slew of other top actors an opportunity to welcome people to the Kit Kat Club. But in the 10 years since its closing, audiences have not had the chance to enter said club and enjoy a cabaret.

I'm usually wary of revivals. There are so many talented writers out there, and while a revival might be a safer choice financi…

Ballet 422

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Just a quick note about the new documentary Ballet 422, which is enjoying its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Directed by Jody Lee Lipes (film adaptation of NY Export: Opus Jazz), this gives audiences a peek into what's involved in bringing a new ballet to the stage. The subject is NYCB dancer and rising choreographer Justin Peck, and Ballet 422 follows him as he creates Paz de La Jolla, which premiered at City Ballet in January 2013, and was the 422nd ballet made for the Company.

What's fascinating about the style of film making is that it doesn't intrude on the process or interpolate a point of view. There are no "talking head" interviews, no voice overs, no underscore. It's just fly-on-the-wall POV, which is rather refreshing. It allows us to be observers, just like Lipes and assistant cinematographer Nick Bentgen were when filming.

I also think it's interesting to get a look at the process—to see the stops and starts; to see Peck trying …

Casa Valentina

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As I settled in for Casa Valentina, the new play from theatre luminary Harvey Fierstein, I was ready for something to bowl me over. I see a lot of theatre and it had been about a month since I saw something that really excited me. (For those of you keeping score, at the time I saw Casa Valentina, the last thing to excite me was If/Then.) And after the first act of Casa Valentina, I thought I’d found it. The second act disappointed by comparison, but still made for a good production of a good new play.

Casa Valentina is “inspired by events that took place in and around the Chevalier d’Eon Resort in the Catskill Mountains in 1962,” playwright Fierstein and director Joe Mantello say in program notes. It was at this resort that heterosexual men who identify as women could relax and dress as themselves, that is, dress in women’s clothing, complete with well-coiffed wigs, perfectly applied make up, undergarments galore, jewelry and heels. (This is an earnest, sincere tale—it is not a gay mi…