Tag Archives: theater

One life too many

Cats is coming back to Broadway this summer.

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Even the article announcing the news wondered why.

When the show originally opened,  the Great White Way was struggling. Cats helped revive the musical and Broadway.

Both are flourishing now.

I think the current generation is okay experiencing this show elsewhere.

I know I certainly am.

Mismatch

Unlike 95 percent of all other moviegoers this weekend,  I saw The Big Short today,  and the critics were right.image

It was excellent. And it made me mad all over again that the banks got away with it.

The trailers before the movie kinda made me mad,  too.

Why did the movie studio attach such violent downer flicks to this picture?  Just because I am interested in a movie about a financial disaster doesn’t mean I am keen to watch bloodshed in every promo. The rest of the audience appeared to agree with me.

They only perked up when the trailer for Zoolander 2 was shown at the end.

Blue steel.

A+ I

The media has been talking so much lately about the movies that are really bad (Hot Pursuit, Paul Blart 2) that we haven’t heard nearly enough about the great ones.

Like Ex Machina.

Ex-Machina-cast-bannerSci fi? Yes.

But it’s so much more. And I challenge any of you who may have dismissed its AI premise to give it another look.

For one, the performances are stellar. Alicia Vikander as the robot Ava is stunning. You can completely understand why Caleb, played by the equally compelling Domhnall Gleeson, is so taken with her, because you are, too. (And does anyone remember that the two were also romantically paired in the wonderful Anna Karenina? #PointsMe)

Oscar Isaac is also the most wonderful kinda crazy as Ava’s inventor.  “Isn’t it strange,” Ava asks him, “to create something that hates you?”

The cat and mouse game in this movie is wonderful. The film is filled with monsters, and it won’t be too long before you don’t know which is which. You’ll leave the theater talking about this film long afterwards.

For the right reasons.

Perfect pair

AMC

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Sweetarts

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I love you both.

How many matinees have I enjoyed with popcorn in one hand, Sweetarts in the other, and a large diet soda in the seat’s cup holder?

But, alas, that’s only memory now.

For some reason, you two have parted ways, and my favorite movie candy is no longer available at the AMC concession counter.

I have expressed my disappointment at the theatre. I have requested Sweetarts’ return in online surveys. But today —

I’m takin’ it to the tweets.

Resolve your differences.  Bring sweet and salty together again. The weekend is here…

And the Egg wants to see a movie.

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.

it's only a play

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.

Lottery winner

It’s hard to believe that it has been three and a half years since I first saw The Book of Mormon in previews on Broadway.

I was in the audience twice in the first two weeks in case it closed…but luckily the critics and New York audiences agreed.

It was the musical of the century.

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I won front-row tickets on Twitter for tonight’s show. The faces have changed, and possibly some nuances of the staging, but it was just like seeing it for the first time.

But better.

I made eye contact with the cast, said hello to the conductor and got spit on.

Spit on.

All hail Hedwig

I approached yesterday’s matinee performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch with my share of doubts.

Not about Neil Patrick Harris — he can do anything.

But drag performers are the latest rage on Broadway. Last year’s Tony-winning Kinky Boots gave them both their entrance and their legitimacy. The decision to put up the revival of Hedwig now seems a bit like ‘joiner’ behavior.

Not gonna judge it sight unseen, though…especially with Neil at the helm.

HedwigThe first few numbers are fast and fun and full of Neil’s familiar charm and humor, so it’s easy to think you’re just watching him do  fantastic drag.

Then Neil simply disappears as Hedwig’s story takes center stage, one filled with loss and love, pain and power, disfigurement and metamorphosis.

Neil is supported on stage by a great rock band — one guy is from Lexington, Kentucky! — and Lena Hall, who also won a Tony for her drag performance.

But the show is all about Neil.  All about Hedwig.

He is mesmerizing.

Punking a prankster

For those of you following up on yesterday’s post, I played a prank on my best friend this weekend that was 30 years in the making.

john james youngShe tricked me into believing that she was dating John James, star of the TV drama Dynasty, when we first met in college. We have laughed at the memory over the years, but I finally found the right moment — and resources — to give her a little payback.

Her family planned a surprise birthday party for her on Friday, and I flew in as part of the festivities. Bad weather delayed the actual party, which meant my little surprise became the appetizer.

I told her I was dating someone new — ‘John’ — but was purposely vague on details.

Then my phone rang.

The actual John James was the on the other end of the line.  I had found his manager’s number, and John graciously agreed to be a part of my “wonderful, evil plot” to get back at Caroline.

John and I chatted briefly to establish our relationship, and then I passed the phone to Caroline, speaker on so I could listen to her ‘pass judgment’ on the new guy.

She soon complimented him on his ‘radio voice’ and asked if he had worked in media.  He ‘fessed up to being a producer and an actor, cleverly mentioning he once performed in the musical Promises, Promises near her hometown (where their photo was taken oh-so-many years ago).

She soon realized they knew the same musical director who conducted the same show at the same theatre…Wait a minute, who did you say you were?  

She believed he was the real John James quickly enough, and even thought we were dating for a moment.

To the victor go the spoils!

John James CarolineA huge thanks to John James for making my redemption possible.

F’ing hilarious

A lot of TV and movie stars are treading the Broadway boards this year.

Daniel Radcliffe.  Chris Noth.  Frances McDormand.  Keifer Sutherland.  Edie Falco.  Chris Rock.

That’s right — Chris Rock.

His name kinda jumps right off of the list….or it did for me.  I never expected to see Chris Rock on Broadway.  But once it was announced, I knew I would attend his show, regardless.  It was a must see.

Last night was the night.  The play?  The Motherf’ker in the Hat.

Yep….that kinda sounds like a play Chris Rock would be in.  And it is as funny as you would expect, too.

The subject matter is dark.  Chris and Bobby Cannavale are addicts in recovery.  Chris has been clean for 15 years and is Bobby’s sponsor.  Both men are in relationships that intertwine in complex, hilarious and often dangerous ways.

Bobby is brilliant on stage, a comic dynamo that drives the play.  Elizabeth Rodriguez, who portrays Bobby’s girlfriend — also an addict — meets him beat for beat.  When the two of them go at it — and, boy, do they go at it — it’s an amazing thing to watch.

Chris, in his stage debut, is a bit wooden.  You can see him thinking really hard about what he is doing.  A fight between he and Bobby is particularly funny because the choreography is so exacting. [Hit him here.  Roll over.   Grab the gun.  Sit up.  Look stage right.]

But Chris is still funny in the show because he is Chris — a strong stage presence that holds his own amongst his more experienced castmates.  He is more successful on Broadway than most first-time TV and movie stars because he is big and sure and boldly himself.

Who is the motherf’ker in the hat?

Oh, I can’t tell you that.  It’s so much fun finding out for yourself.