Showing posts from February, 2017

City Ballet: All Robbins

Notes on the All Robbins program, featuring Glass Pieces, Moves, and The Concert.

Glass Pieces: The first thing of note about this performance of the Jerome Robbins ballet was that New York City Ballet Orchestra's principal bassoonist, Harrison Hollingsworth, was the conductor. I don't know the Philip Glass pieces used in this ballet well enough to have noticed a difference in the way the score was played, but it sounded good to me!

Elsewhere in the ballet, I noticed that the pas de deux wonderfully mirrors the oboe (you see the music, as Mr. B would so often say); it's restrained, controlled, precise, just as Amar Ramasar and Rebecca Krohn's movements are. This wasn't the first time I'd seen them in the pas de deux, and they didn't disappoint. As for the choreography, I really like the way they enter and leave the stage, with the male partner carrying the female partner through the air. It's rather soft and graceful, juxtaposing it with the rest of the…

89th Academy Award Winners

The winners for the 89th Academy Awards have been announced and honored. Herein, the full list of winners. (Winners are notated with an asterisk, and are in bold typeface.)
Best Picture
ArrivalFencesHacksaw RidgeHell or High WaterHidden FiguresLa La LandLionManchester by the SeaMoonlight* Maybe the best moment and surprise of the night, the right movie actually won! And you know that "There's been a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture," will be not only be remembered for years to come, but will also be part of the Oscars promo next year with a tagline like, "It's live. Anything can happen."

Actor in a Leading Role
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea*Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw RidgeRyan Gosling, La La LandViggo Mortensen, Captain FantasticDenzel Washington, FencesActress in a Leading Role
Isabelle Huppert, ElleRuth Negga, LovingNatalie Portman, JackieEmma Stone, La La Land*Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali, M…

Week in Review 2.24.17

Rising in the Ranks at NYCB
Several New York City Ballet dancers were promoted just before the February 19 performance. Russell Janzen was promoted to principal dancer. He joined the company in 2008, and was promoted to soloist just a couple years ago. In addition, seven corps de ballet members were promoted to soloists: Sara Adams, Harrison Ball, Emilie Gerrity, Joseph Gordon, Unity Phelan, Troy Schumacher, and Indiana Woodward. Merde to all the dancers! The NYCB winter season continues through this weekend, and the spring season begins in April. The New York Times has more about the promotions.

Oscar Isaac–led Hamlet Confirmed
You might recall that a production of Hamlet, starring Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) and directed by Tony winnerSam Gold (Fun Home, John), was supposed to play at Theater for a New Audience this year. Those plans fell through, and it was heavily rumored that the production would play at the Public. This week, the venerable downtown company confirmed the Ham…

If I Forget

For centuries, people have been imploring one another to remember this or that historic event, tragic or otherwise. They don't, however, always say exactly what you should remember or why. So what happens when we learn the wrong lessons about our history?

In If I Forget, Steven Levenson (Dear Evan Hansen) explores this question through the lens of what it means to be a modern American Jew. (Though the play is set in mid-2000 and early 2001, the conversations and debates feel fresh, and like they could be taking place in 2017.) Michael Fischer (Jeremy Shamos, terrific and restrained as Michael tries not to be the agitator) and his wife, Ellen (Tasha Lawrence), have traveled from their Brooklyn home to Tenleytown, a Washington, DC, suburb. Michael's father, Lou (Larry Bryggman) still lives there, in the Fischer family home, though he's not doing too well. Michael's sisters, Holly (Kate Walsh) and Sharon (a compelling Maria Dizzia) live in town, and share (unevenly) caret…

Week in Review 2.17.17

Casting News
Okieriete Onaodowan, who originated the roles of Hercules Mulligan/James Madison in Hamilton, will take on the role of Pierre in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 beginning July 3. Josh Groban, who originated the role on Broadway, will, as previously reported, play his final performance on July 2. Onaodowan will remain with the production through September 4. has more.

Tony- and Grammy-nominated song writer Sara Bareilles will step into the lead role of Jenna in Waitress, for which she wrote the score. Jessie Mueller, who originated the role, will play her final performance March 26; Bareilles begins performances March 31, and will remain with the show through June 11. Playbill has more.

Complete casting for MTC's revival of The Little Foxes has been announced. Joining the previously announced headliners, Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon, will be Darren Goldstein (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Affair), Michael McKean (All the Way) and others. Pr…

Man From Nebraska

We begin by spending a day in the life of Ken (Reed Birney) and Nancy (Annette O'Toole), a man and woman from Nebraska. They drive, in silence, to church. They sit, in silence, in church. They have dinner, in silence. They visit Ken's ailing mother, Cammie (Kathleen Peirce), and they only speak to her, not to each other. At home, they watch TV in silence. The silences aren't awkward; they are just what (sometimes) happens after decades of marriage. But something is stirring in Ken's soul.

Ken and Nancy break the silence in the middle of the night when Ken rushes to the bathroom, puts a towel over this face and begins to cry. Nancy enters the bathroom and tries to help, but Ken won't let her. (O'Toole is achingly effective in this scene; Nancy is Ken's wife, and it's her job to help. Why won't he let her help?) He finally relents, declaring he doesn't believe in God.

Talking about the genesis of his 2003 play in a post-show discussion, Pulitzer …

The Sleeping Beauty

I tend not to like narrative ballets (especially full-length narratives) because I find there's not enough dancing. Sure, there's usually a nice pas de deux, but usually it's just a lot of graceful gesturing. So I was pleasantly surprised that Peter Martins's take on The Sleeping Beauty includes quite a bit of dancing, much more than I expected. I guess that when the main plot points of a story revolve around parties and dreamy visions, there's plenty of opportunities for divertissements and fantasy dances.

The libretto (by Marius Petipa and A. Vsevolozhsky)for this version hews pretty closely to what most people know (likely from the Disney animated film). We begin at the palace where the king (Andrew Scordato) and queen (Gretchen Smith) are celebrating the arrival of their daughter, Princess Aurora. The Catalabutte (Sean Suozzi) and his lackey (Giovanni Villalobos) provide a welcome amount of humor. Soon, various fairies are bestowing blessings upon the princes…

Week in Review 2.10.17

Jake Gyllenhaal Welcomes You to the Hudson Theatre
Academy Award nominee (and emerging musical theatre sensation) Jake Gyllenhaal invited viewers into Sunday in the Park with George rehearsals backstage at the Hudson Theatre. The Hudson, which began operation in 1903 but has been out of use as a legit theatre since 1968, is set to reopen with this production, becoming the 41st active Broadway theatre. (See photos from this week's ribbon-cutting ceremony.) In the video below, directed by Emmy winnerCary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective), Gyllenhaal walks through the Hudson while singing the show's signature song, "Finishing the Hat." The City Center production of the Stephen SondheimJames Lapine musical, also starring Tony winnerAnnaleigh Ashford, begins previews February 11; opening night is set for February 23, and the strictly limited engagement will conclude April 23. Visit the Hudson Theatre website to purchase tickets. (A rush policy for previews was announced lat…