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Showing posts from April, 2017

Week in Review 4.21.17

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CarouselRevival to Hit Broadway in 2018
A revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel will bow on Broadway in spring 2018, officially opening at a theatre to be announced on March 23. The production will be directed by Jack O'Brien (Catch Me If You Can) and choreographed by NYCB resident choreographer Justin Peck (Everywhere We Go, The Times Are Racing). Peck's fellow NYCB dancers Amar Ramasar and Brittany Pollack will be among the company, figuring prominently in the act two dream ballet. The production will star Tony winnerJessie Mueller (Beautiful, Waitress) as Julie Jordan and two-time Tony nomineeJoshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys, VioletShuffle Along...) as Billy Bigelow. (Now this photo of Justin and Joshua has been demystified.) Opera diva Renee Fleming will also appear in the production. In the Playbill announcement, Peck promises "an even more dance-and-movement-focused production." Keep an eye on this one!

Second Stage Announces Season
The ven…

Week in Review 4.14.17

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New York City Ballet 2017-2018 Season
NYCB teased the 2017-2018 season, which will be headlined by a centennial tribute to Jerome Robbins, one of the company's founding choreographers. 19 Robbins ballets will be featured, including favorites Fancy Free and the West Side Story Suite. Resident choreographer Justin Peck (Everywhere We Go, The Times Are Racing) will create at least two new ballets for the company, including one set to a Leonard Bernstein score, an homage to Robbins, who famously collaborated with Bernstein on the aforementioned ballets/shows. (2018 marks the centennial for both Robbins and Bernstein; the NY Phil's 2017-2018 program includes lots of Bernstein.) The season will also include new works by company members Lauren Lovette (For Clara), Troy Schumacher (Common Ground), and Peter Walker (ten in seven), as well as a new piece by 18-year-old SAB student, Gianna Reisen. (She'll be the youngest person to choreograph for the company.) Several friends of the …

Oslo

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There has been unrest in the Middle East since Isaac and Ishmael, and various diplomatic efforts have tried to curb the carnage. In September 1993, the Oslo Accords represented the first-ever peace agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). In J.T. Rogers's play, we go behind the scenes to see what led to that historic moment.

(In program notes, Rogers explains the genesis of the play, and makes a point to point out that this is his telling of the events. He notes that everything in the play happened, but names, locations, and certain details have been changed for dramatic effect and expediency.)

It seems that a Norwegian husband-and-wife team got the ball rolling. Terje Rod-Larsen (Jefferson Mays) and Mona Juul (Jennifer Ehle) hatch the idea that under a specific diplomatic approach an agreement would be possible. Terje, an academic, believes that if a more personal approach is taken by the negotiators, they will be able to find common ground. (Mona…

Week in Review 4.7.17

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Remembering Don Rickles
The great Don Rickles passed away this week, and Jimmy Kimmel used the opening of Thursday night's show to pay tribute:


Shakespeare in the Park Casting
Initial casting has been announced for the two Shakespeare in the Park productions, Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night's Dream, and it's already an embarrassment of riches. (And in keeping with the Public ethos (diversity), both casts include actors of color and non-traditional gender casting.) Among those in Julius Caesar are Corey Stoll (House of Cards, Plenty) as Marcus Brutus; Elizabeth Marvel (House of Cards, Homeland) as Antony; Tony winnerNikki M. James (The Book of Mormon, Preludes) as Portia; Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis (Between Riverside and Crazy) as Cinna the Poet; Chris Myers (Whorl Inside a Loop) as several characters; and Eisa Davis (Preludes) as Decius Brutus. Performances run May 23 through June 18, and will be directed by the Public's artistic direct…

Gently Down the Stream

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A brief note about the world premiere of Martin Sherman's play, Gently Down the Stream, directed by Sean Mathias, and starring Harvey Fierstein, Gabriel Ebert, and Christopher Sears:

Gently Down the Stream brings us yet another history of the gays. I know that sounds dismissive and insensitive; I mean to be dismissive and insensitive toward the play, not the subject matter. As the play began, and Ebert's Rufus asked Fierstein's Beau questions about his past, I thought it was just DJ Exposition, but then Beau proceeded to directly addressed the audience (ostensibly in a testimonial), and the play turned into a prolonged history lesson. What was it all for? Apparently the purpose of slogging through the first 90 minutes of the 100–minute play was to get to the ending: row, row, row your boat gently down the stream / [sometimes not so] merrily you get to a point where you realize your life's dreams. Frankly, I found it trite, and like a poor adaptation of The Heidi Chroni…

Present Laughter

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Fans of The West Wing might recall a moment when President Bartlet is sarcastically called on his "Noel Coward-esque wit." President Bartlet would love this revival of Mr. Coward's Present Laughter.

This fun and fluffy play, centering on the zany goings on at theatre impresario Garry Essendine's studio,  is filled to the brim with Noel Coward-esque wit, that kind of smart, snappy dialogue—especially among mixed company—that you rarely hear anymore. (No doubt it's the kind of repartee for which West Wing scribe Aaron Sorkin aims.) The kind of dialogue that doesn't talk down to its audience or its characters; dialogue that proves women are smart and strong, equal to the men with whom they keep company. (Three cheers for director Moritz von Stuelpnagel (a Tony nominee for Hand to God) for the terrific pacing and for letting things go crazy without going off the tracks.)

We're lucky to have such a pitch perfect production of such a play, and it's an emba…

The Play that Goes Wrong

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Well, the title is certainly on the nose. In the British farce, The Play that Goes Wrong, we watch as the (fictional) Cornley University troupe tries to put on The Murder at Haversham Manor, and, as expected, everything goes wrong.

No doubt taking inspiration from Noises Off (including having a stage manager go on for one of the actors; I imagine The Play that Goes Wrong is what the imagined audience in act two of Noises Off sees), The Play that Goes Wrong delights in its frivolity. As the title of the show within the show suggests, The Murder at Haversham Manor is a murder mystery, and could be a somewhat serious drama, but that's not the point of this, of course.

The point is to be entertained. And watching people mess up or walk into a door or get hit with some flying object is entertaining. I know that's not the most sympathetic take on humor, but slapstick has endured for a reason. Maybe it's schadenfreude. Maybe it's just damn funny.

I can be a somewhat crotchet…