Category Archives: Music

Constructive criticism

Feedback — we have to give it and receive it, sometimes daily depending on our jobs.

That doesn’t make it any easier to hear.

Tim Minchin, the Olivier-award winning and Tony-nominated songwriter of Broadway’s Matilda, once received a very bad review that he couldn’t really shake off.  How did he deal with it?

He wrote a hilarious song about it.

I’ll have to try that sometime…

Note — Minchin is currently workshopping a new musical in London based on the movie Groundhog Day. Can’t wait to hear those lyrics!

Cross that bridge

Some weekends have a theme.  Mine?

The Bridges of Madison County

steve pasquale tick tick boomMy Facebook friends already know that Friday night I had a chance encounter with Steven Pasquale –

We bumped into each other leaving Tick Tick Boom at City Center.

More accurately, my friend Dan helped me grab him for a quick hello, “you were wonderful in Bridges,”  and a photo.

So totally worth it.

Then last night, Dan suggested we see a late-night show at 54 Below — Lindsay Mendez and Derek Klena.

klendezAnd it turns out Derek (far left) played Francesa’s son in Bridges!

I fully expect to see Kelli O’Hara at the market today buying juice.

 

Then what

sliding doorsWhen I read the premise of Idina Menzel’s new musical If/Then (currently in previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre), it sounded exactly like the Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle Sliding Doors (1998).

In Doors, Paltrow loses her job at a swanky London PR firm and rushes to catch the tube back to her apartment. The movie shows — in two parallel realities — how her future love life and career are changed depending on if she does (or doesn’t) catch the subway.

I saw the matinee of If/Then today, and it didn’t change my mind. While the choice that sends Menzel’s character on two potential paths takes place in Central Park, the two stories share more plot similarities than even I expected.

if thenBut I think If/Then could learn a thing or two from its movie doppelganger.

For one, the musical doesn’t focus on one character’s life in two parallel realities. Instead, it attempts to explore how Menzel’s friends, played by LaChaze and Anthony Rapp, also make their own unique choices.  (Now, I did love seeing Rapp back on Broadway, and his character is a bit of a Rent callback in many ways.)

But going back and forth between three story lines in two realities — and giving each character closure in both of those realities — takes time. Too much time.

Doors got ‘er dun in 99 minutes.  If/Then took over an hour more.

Today’s Playbill didn’t list the musical numbers; I’m sure that’s because the show is in previews, and some cuts may be made before the March 30th opening.  I highly recommend it.  While many numbers were amazingly heartfelt — a couple with language blissfully blue — others felt simplistic, like a rhyming dictionary set to a bouncy beat with awkward American Idiot-like choreography.

All that being said, the cast is wonderful, their voices worthy of Menzel. By opening night, I hope the show is worthy of her.

Baby boy dance party

I loved the musical sketch “Boy Dance Party” when it aired on Saturday Night Live way back in October.  Bruce Willis and all the guys dancing around the living room while the girls were away?

Instant classic.

If possible, it has been made even better with the addition of a very enthusiastic toddler.

baby body dance party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His parents won’t let people embed the video, but you can still enjoy it on Youtube.

(I like the kid way better than them.)

For the boys

Today’s blog is dedicated to guys — actors all — who deserve a little extra love today.

Tom HanksOscar Isaacrobert redford2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tom Hanks. Oscar Isaac. Robert Redford – all denied Best Actor Oscar nods by the Academy.

Now, I could be talked down on Isaac if the Academy didn’t pretty much ignore Inside Llewyn Davis, save a couple of technical awards.  I mean, it didn’t even get nominated for its musical score.

And while Captain Phillips did get six other nods, how can you justify not nominating Hanks?

Did they watch the final scene??

And Redford?  He was the entire movie All Is Lost. Period. What more do you want?

Apparently anything by Martin Scorsese…and I do mean, anything.

On a more somber note, I want to pay tribute to Russell Johnson — the original and best nerd crush of my generation, who left the world today…

The Professor
We’ll miss you, Professor.

That’s Saturday, BTW

fallons back

I know I’m excited.

Are you?

Big Blue Balladeers

My post is late tonight.

I did put in a long work day.  And I’ve been chipping away at that pile of Christmas cards.  But the real reason?

The Sing-Off on NBC.

I never intended to watch.  But a friend told me one of the a cappella groups was from my alma mater, the University of Kentucky.  So I turned in Monday night to see the ‘acoUstiKats’ perform.

Instant addiction.

They were even better tonight, although they had to participate in — and win — the evening’s sing-off to survive to compete again.

I see another national championship in our future!

All keyed up

Oh, the power of the postcard.

I got one earlier this week promoting the new Off-Broadway musical Murder for Two. It intrigued me so much, I bought a ticket to today’s matinee.

Let’s hear it for snail mail!

murder for two

Murder for Two is a small scale production — just two actors, a piano, limited stage dress and no costume changes — but boy, does it impress!

Both actors play the piano; they take turns, in fact, throughout the show. One actor investigates the murder that has brought us all together. The other plays 12 different suspects, distinguishing each with a simple lilt in his voice, a hand gesture, a carefully used prop.

The songs are clever.  The choreography of their movements — exits, entrances, switches between characters and the piano — are on point and brilliant.  And the show is funny.

Just so very funny.

The older gentleman seated next to me summed it up best midway through the show when he turned to his wife and said,

“What have you gotten me into?”

Space cadet

If you watched Conan last night — or this morning on DVR like me — you saw his interview with astronaut Colonel Chris Hadfield, who recently retired after his return from a six-month stint on the International Space Station.

While he was there, he conducted experiments on the impact of low gravity on human biology.

But that didn’t score him a guest shot on Conan.

No, Hadfield used Twitter and Facebook to chronicle life on the space station in video and pictures.  In fact, his cover of David Bowie has received over 18 million hits on Youtube.

Let’s add a few more.

How my mind works

I was walking down a street in my neighborhood when Rory flushed out a flock of pigeons.

pigeonsAs they flew up into the air, I thought…

“pigeons in flight”

which led to

afternoon delight“sky rockets in flight”

which led to

Afternoon Delight

which led to

 

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (the guys sing the song a coppola in Ron’s office…remember?)

which led to

cloud lampBrick

which led to

I love lamp.

(And I think Brick would love this one.)