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Showing posts from December, 2016

Year in Review 2016

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As we close out 2016, please enjoy this Year in Review. Diversity—When Hamilton flipped conventional casting wisdom on its head, it sent shock waves through the artistic community. We haven't fully turned the corner (though The Great Comet, for example, features Denee Benton, an African-American woman, as a 19th century Russian, you might have noticed many of the all-white casting announcements for upcoming shows), but when four black actors won Tony Awards this year, the moment's power could not be denied. (See the illustration, at right, by artist Tim Long.) Things are looking better in film, too. After two years of #OscarsSoWhite, this year's slate of nominees (for Golden Globe and SAG Awards) feature multiple actors of color, including from films like Moonlight and Fences. (See also this recent item about BAFTA making diversity an eligibility requirement.)

Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet, Even When It's Not—New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreograph…

Week in Review 12.23.16

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Rock Hall 2017
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2017 has been announced. Entering the Hall on their first year of eligibility are Pearl Jam and Tupac, with Journey, Yes, Electric Light Orchestra, and Joan Baez as their fellow classmates. Musician Nile Rodgers will be given the Award for Musical Excellence, though his band, Chic, remains left out of the Hall. The artists will be inducted and honored during an April 7, 2017, ceremony/performance in Brooklyn, and, as in years past, an edited version of the festivities will air on HBO in May. Rolling Stone has more.

NYCB on Your TV
This winter, you'll get to watch New York City Ballet on PBS as part of the Great Performances series. Over the summer, NYCB performed in Paris's Theatre du Chatelet, and on February 17 and 24, 2017, you can tune in to see the Company's final performance from that three-week run. As The New York Times reports, the performance includes Walpurgisnacht Ballet, featuring Sara Mearns, Adrian Danchi…

La La Land

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Remember those wonderful MGM movie musicals? The ones from the studio system, with Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire, the simple feel-good flicks with those fabulous scores from legendary songwriters like the Gershwins and Leonard Bernstein and Adolph + Green? The ambitious La La Land aims to capture that spirit. Writer and director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) doesn't quite grab the stars, but he reaches for them.

Set in Los Angeles (La La Land, where dreams are made), La La Land tracks Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia's (Emma Stone) romance. And I do mean romance, which is one of the things I like about the movie. There is actually a sense of Romance, of exploration and finding beauty and hope in their world. Much like in (500) Days of Summer, this finds its characters actually appreciating their surroundings, not just complaining about traffic. (That's in there.)

Mia is an aspiring actress who, like Cathy in The Last Five Years, is becoming disillusioned with the rat race of aud…

Week in Review 12.16.16

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Sunday in the Park with Jake and Annaleigh on Broadway
Following an acclaimed, four-performance run at City Center, the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical, Sunday in the Park with George, will bow on Broadway this season for a limited run, with stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford in tow. You might recall that Gyllenhaal had been slated to return to Broadway this spring in a revival of Burn This, and that the production would open the new Hudson Theatre. The production was cancelled, in all likelihood, to make room for this production, which will, in fact, play the Hudson Theatre. Previews begin February 11, 2017, with opening night set for February 23. The limited engagement is scheduled to conclude April 23. No official word yet regarding whether or not the rest of the starry cast will join Gyllenhaal and Tony winner Ashford for the Broadway run. Broadway.com has more, and you can see the key art below. (One more thought: This means we might cast a cast recording featuring…

SAG Award Nominations

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Nominees for the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards have been announced. Winners will be announced and celebrated at the January 29, 2017, ceremony, which will air on TNT and TBS. Herein, the full list of nominees.

Movies
Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture
Captain FantasticFencesHidden FiguresManchester by the SeaMoonlightOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the SeaAndrew Garfield, Hacksaw RidgeRyan Gosling, La La LandViggo Mortensen, Captain FantasticDenzel Washington, FencesOutstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Amy Adams, ArrivalEmily Blunt, The Girl on the TrainNatalie Portman, JackieEmma Stone, La La LandMeryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali, MoonlightJeff Bridges, Hell or High WaterHugh Grant, Florence Foster JenkinsLucas Hedges, Manchester by the SeaDev Patel, Lion Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Viola …

Moonlight

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Moonlight is a coming of age tale in three acts. With a story* by acclaimed playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney (Choir Boy, Head of Passes), Moonlight is written and directed by Barry Jenkins, and focuses on Chiron, a gay black boy becoming a man in an urban and drug-riddled community.

Act One: Little
We are introduced to "Little," Chiron's moniker as a young boy. (In this act, Alex Hibbert plays Chiron.) He's teased by his classmates, who taunt him by calling him gay. A latchkey kid whose mother, Paula (Naomie Harris), is a drug addict, nine-year-old Little often has to fend for himself. One afternoon, he escapes the bullies by running to an abandoned flop house, where he's discovered by a local drug dealer, Juan (Mahershala Ali (House of Cards, Smart People), making a brief but impressive appearance). Juan takes a shine to Little, who doesn't say much, and, though Juan is not exactly the perfect role model, becomes a positive male influence in Little's lif…

Golden Globe Nominations

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Nominees for the 74th Golden Globe Awards have been announced. The full list of nominees is below. Winners will be announced and honored at the January 8, 2017, ceremony, hosted by Jimmy Fallon.
Movies
Best Motion Picture, Drama
Hacksaw RidgeHell or High WaterLionManchester by the SeaMoonlightBest Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Amy Adams, ArrivalJessica Chastain, Miss SloaneIsabelle Huppert, ElleRuth Negga, LovingNatalie Portman, Jackie Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the SeaJoel Edgerton, LovingAndrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge Viggo Mortensen, Captain FantasticDenzel Washington, Fences Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
20th Century WomenDeadpoolFlorence Foster JenkinsLa La LandSing Street Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Annette Bening, 20th Century WomenLily Collins, Rules Don't ApplyHailee Steinfeld, The Edge of SeventeenEmma Stone, La La LandMeryl Streep, Florence Foste…

In Transit

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"And another hundred people just got off of the train." That's from "Another Hundred People," the Stephen Sondheim tune from Company. It's my favorite song about my favorite city, and, clearly, the creators of In Transit like it, too. This theme of the subway connecting all New Yorkers, and the sheer number of people who are in transit at any one time, and the lives they live, is the focus of this original a cappella musical.

What, at first, seems like a series of sketches (for the first several minutes, I thought this was going to be a themed revue), turns into a full musical, with story arcs and characters for whom we root. There's the gay couple, Trent (Justin Guarini, Women on the Verge...) and Steven (Telly Leung, Godspell), who are engaged but fearful of telling Trent's southern, conservative mother that he and Steven are more than just roommates; there's Nate (James Snyder, If/Then), the ex-investment banker who's trying to get back on…

Week in Review 12.9.16

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The Great Comet, Josh Groban Extend
Josh Groban announced via a tweet that he is staying in Russia a little longer. The singer and actor is making his (impressive) Broadway debut in the the terrific new musical, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, and will remain with the show through July 2, 2017. In a follow up tweet from the show's account, we learned that tickets are now on sale through Labor Day. No word on who will succeed Groban, though the current standby, Scott Stangland, played the role in the A.R.T. production, and went on last month when Groban was ill. Additionally, Groban will miss 10 performances this spring, and the show's creator and the original Pierre, Dave Malloy, will step into Pierre's salon, making his Broadway performing debut. Groban will be out and Malloy will be on May 4-9; May 16; June 13; June 20; and June 27. (By the way, in a menschy move, Groban committed to matching Colts owner Jim Irsay's $20,000 gift to BC/EFA. Playbill has t…