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Showing posts from April, 2015

Doctor Zhivago

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I never read the Boris Pasternak novel. I never saw the Warner Bros. film. And I'm not particularly well-versed in the early 20th century Russian revolution. Which is all to say I didn't know quite what to expect when seeing this musical adaptation of the epic story. Doctor Zhivago isn't really bad (with some exceptions) but it's also not really good.

This is probably a byproduct of having source material that's so epic in scope. The creators of the musical (book by Michael Weller; lyrics by Michael Korie and Amy Powers; music by Lucy Simon) were clearly trying to cram in a lot of story into a two-and-a-half hour show. In doing so, they present a lot of drama without a lot of exposition and character development.

We, therefore, don't get a true sense of the stakes (especially if you're unfamiliar, as I am, with the internal politics of the revolution). And, unfortunately, much of the drama reads like eyeroll-inducing, soap opera-level melodrama. (I'm th…

69th Tony Award Nominations

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The nominations for the 69th Tony Awards are in! (And, big news, Tony winners Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming will host the Tony Awards!) Without any further ado, here is the full list of nominees. (First the plays, then the musicals.)
Best Play
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Simon StephensDisgraced, by Ayad AkhtarHand to God, by Robert AskinsWolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel and Mike Poulton You know what I like about this slate of plays? They represent diversity in storytelling, tone, subject matter and size. Though I haven't seen Wolf Hall (I'm watching the BBC film adaptation, starring Mark Rylance, on PBS, instead), I feel confident in saying this race comes down to The Curious Incident and Hand to God, with The Curious Incident favored to win. (And with good reason: it's incredible!) That said, I am saddened to see Constellations left off the list.
Best Revival of a Play
The Elephant ManSkylightThis is Our YouthYou Can't Take It with You This is …

The Visit

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There are violent violins. There is a sexually explicit ballet serving as a prologue. There are yellow shoes. It all adds up to one dark, sexy, gothic romance in Kander and Ebb's The Visit.

The titular visit is made by Claire Zachanassian (a commanding and entrancing Chita Rivera (The Mystery of Edwin Drood)), who is returning to her hometown, this time with money to spare, seeking revenge on her lover from so many years ago, Anton (an understated Roger Rees (Peter and the Starcatcher, The West Wing)). Claire was scorned by Anton when they were teenagers, and she has never forgotten the sting. Though she's gone on to marry (several times; she widows well, she says) and amass a fortune to make Bill Gates jealous, she still wants to be with her true love.

And so she devises a way to gain revenge—not so much on Anton but on the town that ostracized her—and get her man. Claire returns to the town, which is a shambles, and offers to give the town ten billion marks, as well as two m…

Week in Review 4.24.15

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James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson Return to Broadway
The veteran actors will star in a revival of D.L. Coburn's The Gin Game. As Playbill notes, this is the first time Tony winners James (The Best Man, You Can't Take It With You) and Tyson (The Trip to Bountiful) will be on Broadway together since 1966, when they played in A Hand is on the Gate. Previews will begin September 21, with opening night set for October 13. Directed by Leonard Foglia, The Gin Game is slated for the intimate Golden Theatre.

Tony Awards Update
The Tony Awards Administration Committee met for a final time to determine eligibility of the season's last several shows. Unless ruled otherwise, actors/actresses whose names appear above the title are considered eligible for Lead Actor/Actress awards; performers whose names appear below the title are considered eligible in the Featured Actor/Actress categories. Tony Award nominations will be announced on Tuesday, April 28 (visit tonyawards.com to watch the …