Tag Archives: cast

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All in the family

Turns out you can’t judge a musical by its poster.

Fun-Home-1

The only thing I knew about the Broadway show Fun Home before I saw it last night was a) the critics loved it and b) the Tony voters did, too.

It scored 12 nominations earlier this week.

I didn’t know the soundtrack or the book upon which it was based. I walked in the theatre about as clueless as a person could get.

So imagine my surprise when the show wasn’t the singing, dancing Partridge Family parody that I had cooked up in my head.

If you too are in the dark (and wish to remain so), stop reading now.

Have they left?  Okay.  So the rest of you know why my mind is a bit blown right now.

The musical’s narrator is a lesbian cartoonist. (Yeah, this show’s no Cinderella.) With the help of her very young self and college-aged self — two incredible young performers — she tells her life story.  With captions.

(‘Cause she’s a cartoonist.)

Fun-Home-2How her father was a part-time teacher and part-time funeral director — FUN HOME was the family nickname for the funeral home — and a closeted gay man who slept with lots of boys and committed suicide while she was away at college.

Yeah.

But that’s not to say there weren’t moments of humor and laughter.  Her first girl-on-girl experience in college inspired “Changing My Major to Joan,” one of my favorite songs in the show. And the kids did do a little Partridge Family at one point, so the graphic designer gets to keep his job.

The cast is all-around amazing. I do wish I had seen the show off-Broadway before they were plopped down into this in-the-round venue. It has led to a lot of ‘singing to the audience’ staging that seems amateurish for a story of such complexity.

It is quite a ride.

All over but the crying

I have just finished binge-watching the new season of House of Cards. But don’t worry — there are no spoilers here.

You have to put in all those hours to learn about their latest foibles.

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I’m just anxious to interact with real people again after my total immersion the past couple of days (other than brief breaks for UK basketball [29-0] and dog walks).

You know what I missed most?

Blinking.

Not me — I blink quite a bit, whether in conversation or while watching hours of TV.  I wear contacts; it’s required.

But the cast of House of Cards never appears to blink. Not even when the camera takes a long, dramatic look…pushing in for a revealing closeup.

They simply don’t give into the urge.

I would love to be on set when the director yells ‘cut.’ I envision the actors blinking furiously. Eye drops being administered post haste. A furious rubbing of eyelids, followed by frantic makeup touch ups.

Or, I hope that happens.

 

Late to the party

Dear Ray Rahman:

Thanks for writing your article in Entertainment Weekly encouraging viewers to watch ‘The Late Late Show’ on CBS.

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Since my fav Craig Ferguson left in mid-December, the show has been hosted by a revolving cast of characters, giving — as you put it — the sense that ‘anything can happen.’

Where have you been, Ray?

For a decade,  Craig Ferguson embodied anything-goes television. His goal was to deconstruct the late night genre,  so his shows were always unscripted, unruly and universally  hilarious.

A gay robot skeleton as a sidekick? A dancing horse with his own on-set stall? Real, honest-to-god conversations with guests?

I’m just sorry you missed all the fun.

Monsters, of course

I saw Frankenstein at the Woodford Theatre Company in Versailles, Kentucky last night.

I was spooked.

Frankenstein

This production is an excellent reminder that local theater can get it right.

There’s death by every manner imaginable — hanging, gunshot, strangulation, beatings — and they all look amazingly real.  Give credit to the special effects designer and crew, and a cast that ‘dies on stage’ in the best way possible.

This is a serious translation of the original text — no campy Frank send-up here — and you have one more night to experience it.

Oh, and if you wonder about that one guy’s bloody, mangled face?

Red velvet cake. (I asked.)

 

I’m still laughing

It’s Only a Play, which is currently in previews at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway, has an embarrassment of stars in its cast.

F. Murray Abraham. Matthew Broderick. Stockard Channing. Rupert Grint. Nathan Lane. Megan Mullally.

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And the book by Terrence McNally is hilarious — as topical as this week’s headlines and taking swings at every celebrity in Hollywood (including a few on stage).

The laughs just keep on coming.

But if you are lucky enough to experience this hysterical evening, the real star is the one face you don’t recognize in the photo — newcomer Micah Stock, who makes his Broadway debut amongst this group of A-listers. His deadpan delivery, spot-on timing and musical number (that is a perfect send-up of Broadway itself) brought down the house and the actors on stage.

It’s Only a Play, but it’s the best one I’ve seen in years.

That’s life

Richard Linklater’s film Boyhood has received enormous attention and near perfect reviews.

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It should.

The fact that it was 12 years in the making is epic enough. That the same actors gathered together to recreate this family each year…so the passage of time Is made all the more authentic by every bad haircut, each pop culture reference.

But Boyhood’s true appeal lies in Linklater’s choice of subject matter: the simple, day-to-day ups and downs of a family doing their best to juggle school and jobs and divorce and remarriage and financial worries and love and loss.

Chances are, at certain points in this movie, you will recognize yourself or your family.

And it will make you smile.

Here’s to Tony

Thanks to Time Warner Cable’s primetime OnDemand, I was able to watch the first episode of WeTV’s new drama The Divide before it’s premiere this Wednesday, July 16th.

the-divideI was initially drawn to the show because Tony Goldwyn, our beloved president on Scandal, is one of the executive producers and the director.  He has an impressive list of credits in the director role :  Scandal, Justified, Dexter, Private Practice, Grey’s Anatomy, and The L Word.  So I figured this new show was worth a look.

And I was right.

The story centers on a prisoner who has been on death row for almost 12 years for the murder of an entire family.  All appeals have failed, and he is scheduled to be executed in a matter of weeks when a member of the Innocence Initiative finds new evidence that may be enough for a new trial.

The cast is excellent, what I’ve seen of the writing is compelling, and Tony’s direction is top-notch.  I’ve already set my DVR to record the entire series.

Check it out!

 

Keep calm and don’t carry on

I’m watching the Tony Awards, hosted by the phenomenal Neil Patrick Harris, and as always I am blown away by his ability to do it all. Sing. Dance. Tell a joke. Perform magic. And, most importantly…

Have a sense of humor about it all.

But once the Tony winners start taking the stage, that goes right out the window.

judith lightTake the lovely Judith Light, who won the Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Play.

She graciously thanked everyone in the American Theatre Wing, the voters, her cast and crew, the box office workers, her family, her manager and agent, etc, etc.

And then she started talking to the theatre community.  Got all hyper-earnest and intense.  You could see sweat start to glisten on her upper lip, and veins pop out on her forehead.

And I just wanted to say, “Judith, chill.  Let’s get some perspective here.”

I mean, I had a letter to Sports Illustrated published in the mailbag of the June 10th issue, and you don’t see me standing on a street corner making speeches about it.

(Maybe tomorrow.)

Local color

I spent the day in Queens on a video shoot for CollegeHumor.com.

The script was funny — a parody that should be online sometime next week. The cast and crew were great to work with, the weather smiled on us, and we were released on time.

And did I mention the food was great?

What made this shoot especially memorable were the locals who stopped by during the day to see ‘what the heck we were doing.’ I realized very quickly that TV crews were an event in Astoria, whereas in Manhattan they are an everyday, ho hum occurrence.

It began with cars slowing down, their drivers inquiring about the tent that contained our holding area.  Then an older woman pushing her shopping cart down the street asked the production assistant why our ‘cult’ was demonstrating.

A cult?  In business suits?

But my favorite moment by far happened between takes.  A couple of guys and I from the cast were standing next to a front yard gate when a little white dog came over to check us out.  As Justin leaned over to say hello, the dog sweetly kissed his hand…and then peed on him.

Welcome to Queens.