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Showing posts from November, 2014

Week in Review 11.28.14

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This week, just a quick round up of happenings:

Rolling Stone told us 10 things they learned from over 10 hours of interviews with Dave Grohl, his Foo Fighters bandmates, his friends and his mother, Virginia. Grohl is the cover boy on the latest issue of the magazine. (Scroll down for the latest track off Sonic Highways.)


We have a new entry into the 2014-2015 season: David Farr's play, The Heart of Robin Hood. The play will arrive on Broadway on March 10, 2015, with opening night set for March 29. The limited engagement, which will run at the Marquis Theatre, will conclude on August 23. Playbill has more.

After much speculation, it is official: Sting will step into the role of Jackie White in his fantastic new musical, The Last Ship. The composer will appear December 9-January 10, 2015. Jimmy Nail, who originated the role, will resume performances after Sting's departure. The New York Times has details. The rocket joined the cast on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for a…

Birdman

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After hearing much acclaim about Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman, starring Michael Keaton in a role that's garnering a lot of Oscar buzz, I finally saw the theatre-centric flick. Almost a treatise on what it means to be an actor and the state of theatre today (most the film is even set in the storied St James Theatre, where you can currently see Side Show), Birdman follows Keaton's Riggan, an actor who hit it big 20 years ago as the titular caped crusader and is now trying to make a comeback as an actor by writing, directing and starring in a Broadway show. He's also attempting to mend his relationship with his not-entirely-rehabilitated daughter, Sam, played by an emaciated Emma Stone.

Throughout, Riggan's actor-cred is challenged by Edward Norton's Mike Shiner, a beloved theatre actor who's a mess in his own right. (Mike boards the show after the other actor, played by the great Tony nominee Jeremy Shamos, is injured. Naomi Watts and Andrea Risebor…

Week in Review 11.21.14

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An American in Paris Sitzprobe
The company of Christopher Wheeldon's An American in Paris are in the City of Lights rehearsing for the show's world premiere at the Theatre du Chatelet. (Check out this video of them making their way to Europe.) This week brought the all-important sitzprobe (literally: sit and sing), which is the first time the orchestra and cast (which includes Robert Fairchild (look how excited he is) and Leanne Cope) come together in the same room to play/sing through the score. (And this is a gorgeous score; An American in Paris is a Gershwin trunk musical.) The musical, directed and choreographed by Wheeldon and featuring an updated book by Craig Lucas, runs in Paris November 21-January 4, 2015. Broadway previews (at the Palace) begin March 13, with opening night set for April 12. Watch highlights from the sitzprobe below, then head to anamericaninparisonbroadway.com to purchase tickets.


Casting Updates
Off-Broadway—Full casting has been announced for the wor…

Side Show

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I always find it inspiring to see misfits on stage—not shiny happy people—and so I was particularly intrigued to see the buzzed-about revival of Side Show, the Bill Russell (book and lyrics)–Henry Kreiger (music) 1997 show about real-life conjoined twins, Daisy and Violet Hilton.

The twins (Emily Padgett (Daisy) and Erin Davie (Violet)) were sold at birth by a mother who, according to program notes, "saw dollar signs the moment she laid eyes on them." They began training as performers and throughout their adolescence performed in a traveling freak show. They moved up the showbiz ladder a few rungs, but, as we learn in Side Show, they struggled to find their identity and true happiness.

In the musical, we see that these girls are yearning for freedom, but what does that mean? Is it being on your own, being an individual? They ask, "who will love me as I am," and all the freaks appear. So is freedom finding your home? Like Pippin says, "If I'm never tied to …

Week in Review 11.14.14

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Matthew Morrison Returns to Broadway
After garnering acclaim for his role on TV's Glee, Tony nominee Matthew Morrison will return to his Broadway roots in Finding Neverland, the new musical based on the eponymous film. Morrison (who earned his Tony nomination for A Light in the Piazza and also appeared in South Pacific, among other shows) participated in a workshop of the show, about Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie, and written by James Graham (book) and Gary Barlow + Eliot Kennedy (score), but was not in the A.R.T. production in Cambridge this summer. He will be joined by Laura Michelle Kelly, who was in the A.R.T. production, and Kelsey Grammer (La Cage aux Folles). Diane Paulus (Pippin, Hair) directs the production, which will play Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Previews begin March 15, with opening night scheduled for April 15. Broadway.com has more.

An American in Paris Tickets On Sale
Performances of the Gershwin musical have not even begun in Paris, where it is premierin…

Grand Concourse

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Running or working in a soup kitchen isn't a glamorous way of life, but that doesn't mean it's uninteresting. Actor/playwright Heidi Schreck presents a character study of four people connected by the soup kitchen. (Schreck does not act in Grand Concourse, but I did get to see her a few years ago in Circle Mirror Transformation.)

Said soup kitchen is located in a church in the Bronx, and is more or less run by Sister Shelley (Quincy Tyler Bernstine, who previously appeared at Playwrights Horizons in Mr. Burns: A Post-Electirc Play). Shelley is patient but struggling because she's having trouble praying. Oscar (an appealing Bobby Moreno) is a handy man/security guard/whatever else you need; he's playful but hard working. Frog (Lee Wilkof) is one of the homeless men who counts on the soup kitchen for food and comfort. Their routine is interrupted when Emma (Ismenia Mendes, who appeared in Playwrights Horizons recent Your Mother's Copy of the Kama Sutra) starts to…

Week in Review 11.7.14

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(Scroll down to hear the latest tune off of Sonic Highways.)

Cast Album Alerts
Two musicals opened on Broadway in October, and this week, each show's cast recorded their respective cast albums. The incredible company of The Last Ship, led by Michael Esper, took to the recording studio, creating the original Broadway cast recording. Broadway.com was on hand to capture the record session, and, later in the week, reported that the album will be released on December 16. (It is now available for pre-order from Amazon. Scroll down for even more The Last Ship goodies.) The recording will feature a bonus track of Sting "covering" the beautiful ballad, "What Say You, Meg?' In another recording studio, the company of the On the Town revival recorded their cast album, which will likely be released in January 2015. Broadway.com has more about the On the Town recording.

Thanksgiving Day Parade Performances
For me, Thanksgiving just isn't the same without the Macy's Tha…

Nightcrawler

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Some people have been calling Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler a modern-day Network. Though the plots don't track at all, I can understand the comparison in the sense that both films comment on the state of news media. But I think drawing comparisons takes away from the unflinching, skillfully directed Nightcrawler's own merits. (Gilroy wrote and directed the movie.)

Set during the overnight hours in Los Angeles, Nightcrawler follows Lou Bloom, played with conviction by Jake Gyllenhaal, in top form. Lou is straightforward. He is curt and precise; he is obsessive to the point you think he has Asperger's. He's also incredibly creepy. He puts those traits to use in an endeavor to be a successful stringer, someone who captures (on video) crime scenes during the "graveyard shift," and sells his footage to news stations. (Lou develops a relationship with the news director, Nina (Rene Russo), at one news station.)

It's kind of a seedy job. It requires the stringer…