07 July 2008

Bric a Brac, Live from CT

Some random pics I took with my camera in and around The O'Neill. 1st, a picture of Mr. O'Neill himself. This hangs in the pub. Does anything strike you as unusual?


Maybe you'll see it if I zoom in...


Next, is a picture I can't really explain. I passed the window with this last Monday as a large group of people tried to have a good time on a Monday Night in New London CT. We failed.


And finally, a nice thing. One of the actresses from the 1st show (Myth) was the Radio in Caroline or Change on Broadway (she's the one in the middle):



Anyway, when the music assistant and I realized she was in Caroline, we freaked out. She was apparently amused by our enthusiasm because when she went back to The City on her day off, she brought us the pencils she received as an Opening Night Gift for their Broadway bow. Wasn't that nice?

23 June 2008

Happy As a Clam (Dinner)

Fred's Shantyis conveniently located down the road from my dorm. It was brought to my attention when a kind associate offered to show me and a coupla interns around town, just to give us a sense of what else was out there, besides the well traveled path between our dorm building, and The O'Neill Proper. Due to it's close proximity, it was the first attraction mentioned by the guide. Once he said the words "deep fried" "seafood" and "delicious", the rest of the tour became hominahominahomina as I imagined what wonders this potential local treasure held in store...that is, until we stopped at an Amazing Ice Cream Place, and I ate a scoop of banana as big as my head.

Throughout the week, visions of deep fried clams ran through my head. I don't have a lifelong history of loving deep fried clams, but something in my gut told me Fred would do right by me, and fried clams. And Oprah always says "trust your gut". Now, 4 hours after eating, my gut has not betrayed its confidence, and look at all it led me to:



It was perfect. The chowder has the perfect texture and consistency--not too heavy, not too watery--with perfectly sized ingredients (shout out to the potato chopper) and a touch of sweetness. The clam strips themselves are tender, hot, never chewy. So good I didn't mind being handed Kraft Tartar Sauce tubs. (Seriously, they couldn't at least put it in a little paper ramekin so I could believe they make their own?) Th fries were thin, crispy and well seasoned. The generous drop of cole slaw was also delicious, if twice as much as any one person would ever need. Even their fountain soda was fizzy and delicious (and at a place like that, you expect flat, warm, and miserable...so much so that I almost didn't bother to order it).

Well done Fred. You can expect me the next three Mondays. And, as much as I am enjoying myself here, and the people I'm working with and the projects I'm working on, when I board that train/bus/whatever on July 20th, I think I will miss Fred most of all.

21 June 2008

Video Tour of the O'Neill (of sorts)

So Layhoon, the Production Manager, apparently took this video of me explaining Bluetooth technology to Bud, one of the shuttle-van drivers. It is a good introduction to Bud (who makes me look quiet), as well as the O'Neill "campus". There's a log cabin-like building that passes on our left. That's the pub where I spend more than I make. It's called "The Blue Gene". At the end you see "The Mansion" which houses writers, administrative offices, and the kitchen/cafeteria. And for those of you confused by Bluetooth, it's probably...well, still confusing.


video

Watch This Before It Goes Away

When I was looking up YouTube videos of "June Is Busting Out All Over", I came accross of number of response videos/parodies to this, but the actual clip could not be found...because it was taken down. Well, a comrade here at the O'Neill discovered it again, so I suggest you watch Leslie Uggams murder "June is Busting Out All Over" before it goes away again. This video shows the murder once, then again with subtitles, then again with lame sound effects. The 3rd pass is unnecessary. But seriously, watch this while you can.


Worst Product Ever


19 June 2008

Post Tony Closings and some HEIGHTS Love

Now that the Tonys are over, and the losers have to pack up now. A Catered Affair has announced it is closing at the end of the month. Cry-Baby (which was bloody awful, truly), has been even more pro-active, closing on Sunday, one week after getting shut out from awards it largely didn't deserve nominations for, especially compared to the bleak but well crafted Catered). I wonder if the Tony telecast did anything to help Xanadu. Methinks showing America Cheyenne Jackson in cut-off shorts couldn't hurt. But it seems that In the Heights out-performed just about everything (though South Pacific sounded ravishing). Could Passing Strange be next on the chopping block? I felt their Tony performance probably did more harm than good, opting to show 2 minutes of running around screaming "yeah it's all right" instead of singing any of the beautiful, innovative music that makes the show great. It's had a hard time finding an audience, and I don't think last Sunday's show is going to help.

Here is a clip of In the Heights from Good Morning America. It will make you HATE Good Morning America, but that's beside the point. They perform "It Won't Be Long Now", which is mainly a showcase for Vanessa (played by the fabulous Karen Olivo). I find this character fascinating. She has the kind of chip on her shoulder usually reserved for men in musicals. She's bitter, angry, confused, confusing, but entirely sympathetic, largely due to this song (which also features leading man and composer/lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda in addition to Robin de Jesus). She's a new kind of assertive musical dame, and felt very "real" to me in a musical world that often didn't.

The song starts about 50 seconds in. WARNING: Ms. Olivo is not in top form, in fact she's borderline busted at points (it's before 9am and they are literally in the middle of Times Square), but her acting (and hair) are fierce, even when she falters on the vocals.

17 June 2008

I'm Here

So it seems like this internet thing might be a good forum for sharing some misadventures at The O'Neill (especially since the experience may prove too all-consuming to allow for other wit and wisdom). Of course, I just had to sign a waiver saying I won't comment on any of the shows or the performances on the internets. Also, I'm not allowed to bang an intern. Actors, writers, and staff are, apparently, fair game. Maybe I have to sign that waiver tomorrow. I have a feeling "Dallas 1" (because I met 2 guys named Dallas within 30 minutes of arriving) did not give me all the information about being here I should've. For example, he dropped me off at my building, said i was on the 3rd floor. Neglected a big one: the bathrooms. I found one--and only one--bathroom on my floor. It had showers...with glass doors. Am I to presume it's a co-ed bathroom? There is no marking to indicate otherwise, and the floor is co-ed. In any case, I peed, but put the seat down. I should probably find out about the shower thing, lest some unsuspecting female get a recreation of that Kevin Bacon scene in Wild Things

Here is a picture of my room:


Yes. It is a dorm. I have my laptop hooked up to an internet cable. I have ugly, boxy furniture. I opened up iTunes and saw shared music from 3 people I've never seen before (2 of whom are named Katie).

As I finish this post, I realize making it a "what I did on a summer vacation" could become a one-way-trip to EmilyGouldtown.
Fear not. In all honesty, I probably will spend most of the summer talking about Mad Men. But every now and then I might post a picture of the dorm room I am living in (which is currently twice as big as my Brooklyn bedroom).

Journey On

In commemeration of my going to adult summer camp for five weeks, I thought it would be a good chance to look at two amature performances of "Journey On" from the musical Ragtime. (Because I'm "journeying", get it? Also, I already showed you clips of a song from a bus.) Still have shit to pack, so won't say much. One is Laguardia High School in NYC, ther other is stummer stock somewhere in middle-America. the High School as the bigger budget. Their Tateh is dressed in Che's costume from Evita, whereas the stock's Tateh has to pull the Tevye rags out of storage.




12 June 2008

Cher is WEST SIDE STORY As...Everyone

I wish the above title was some bit of cleverness on my part, but never in my wildest dreams could I have conceived of anything like what you are about to see. Cher does indeed perform all the parts in an epic medley of West Side Story's best songs, preceded by a framing device where she plays a young girl who doesn't feel special and ishttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif borrowing her mother's West Side Story album to put on West Side Story for her school. Again, I reiterate, I am not making this up. So here, in 2 parts, courtesy of The Internets, is Cher in West Side Story




11 June 2008

A New Reidel Report!

'STRANGE' TALK IN TONYS

My Man Reidel comments on the ongoing battle between Passing Strange and In The Heights for top honors this Sunday (that's when the Tony's are...watch them with me).

My take on the "grudge" match:


In terms of writing, Strange is clearly the better show. It's innovative, moving, and thought provoking, exploring the relationship between race, family and identity in a way that is both pointedly personable and universal. It also has a great score that is not only unique as theater music, but unlike anything else out there in the "normal people" music scene. And Stew really is fucking cool. But I can see it coming off as perhaps a bit chilly to some audience members.


Heights also has a great score, unlike anything else on Broadway, very much like what one hears on the Top 20 with lots of rap and hip hop and what not. It is tuneful and interesting with an appealing and talented cast and an infectious energy that is undeniable and invigorating. But one has a sense that the world of the play has been sanitized to cast a wider-net: an urban landscape more Plaza Sesamo than El Barrio. Not to say that In The Heights is a "sell out", or in some way untrue to itself, but it does seem quaint compared to Passing Strange's frank, uncomprimising approach. But sitting in the audience for Heights, there is no denying from the minute the house lights fade (if not before then) that you are watching an exciting hit musical, the kind of musical that will make people "go into the theater".

What will this mean on Sunday?....

07 June 2008

Ambiguously Gay Hipsters Love Disney...

...and the prove it on YouTube. Here's a guy that studied abroad with my friend Liv. He is from San Franciso, is in theater, has more than one video of him singing hipster cover of disney princess anthems (including "Reflection" from Mulan, which was definitely after our "childhood"). Naturally, he is not gay. Fucking hipsters. Good news though, apparently he has gotten a hair-cut since this video was made.



This next guy may be a true blue homogay. He sings "Part of Your World"...both parts. Not at the same time, but, well, you'll see.


05 June 2008

A New Reidel Report

When I saw a playbill article about trouble in a new Gershwin/Harry Connick Jr. musical, I assumed my man Reidel would come forward with the gory details...and he did!

'NICE WORK' HAS IT BAD

03 June 2008

Risa It's Your Birthday

Okay, so first I apologize that I couldn't find the actual clip from the show. If someone else finds it in an embeddable form, I'd gladly switch it out.

And of course, the song is about Lisa, not Risa (though if Risa were a Simpsons character it would totally be Lisa...or maybe that guy in a bee suit.) Anyway, you could either do a mental find/replace and sub in Risas for the Lisas (or Liza!). Alternately, you could assume that the vocals are doing distasteful imitations of Asian Americans (remember all those "flied lice" scenes in A Cricket in Times Square?)

Anyway, happy birthday L'Risa


02 June 2008

A Catered Affair Was Neither Catered nor an Affair...Discuss


So I saw A Catered Affair on Saturday, and though I'm not all that interested in writing a "review", I do feel inclined to discuss the show, particularly in light of its numerous Tony Snubs and generally bad press. And by generally bad press, I mean Ben Brantley's review in The
Times
, because otherwise, I don't really bother to read it.

Brantley ultimately faults the show for is restrained universe, saying "in musicals there has to be some largesse — of spirit, of style, of originality — to make an audience care about those singing strangers onstage. In 'A Catered Affair' people are seldom big enough to pin your feelings on."

The plot is thin: A working class family receives bereavement check after losing their son in the Korean War and has to choose whether to spend it on their daughter's wedding or ownership of the taxi the father had been driving under another man's supervision. Though there is not much more that happens in terms of incident, this conflict drudges up all sorts of emotional baggage and exposes the tensions which lie underneath all the varied familial bonds. There is very little screaming--be it in anger, euphoria, or the throws of passion. But, even hanging out at the edge of the universe in the last row of the balcony, I felt that I was watching very real, vibrant people going through something that was--the them at least--profound. As an old acting teacher would say, "I felt like I was watching something happen."

Would I have still felt that way if director John Doyle loosened the clamp on the production and allowed for a musical number or two (or even a line reading) that soared in the visceral, swelling way one comes to expect with a musical? Yes. Perhaps even more so. But I found A Catered Affair to be exquisitely executed and deliberate: the creative team envisioned a music-theater universe where music and emotion pulse with an understated, even weary, sense of humanity, resignation, longing, and resentment. It is almost a sort of inverse theatricality, and I found it effective.

A Catered Affair is a worthy experiment in the musical form. And though I can agree to disagree with much of what Mr. Brantley writes, I do take umbrage with the notion that a musical "has to" anything: Agreeing that "in musicals there has to be some largesse" can only be limiting to the form, regardless of whether or not A Catered Affair, as a stand alone example, disproves or supports the notion.

Here's a pleasant song from the show, sung perhaps-not-so-pleasantly by Harvey Firestein. I won't be giving away when I say it is reprized less than fifteen minutes after it in initally sung, by an ensemble shuttled around on platforms moving across conveyor belts. A James Lapine Finale if ere I saw one.

30 May 2008

Get Out of My head Mr. Writer Guy!

Okay, so a Mr. Robert J. Elisberg (whose other work I haven't read but looks interesting and not Musical-Theater related--Rich, I think you will like him) at the Huffington Post online put up an article all about...Fiorello!, the musical. The musical I love by Bock and Harnick. He loves it too. And no one loves it. Or, rather, no one has heard of it (which is largely the part of the article). Anyway, it's a brief and pithy article that doesn't need much more from me than a hearty recommendation. Maybe sometime this weekend I'll figure out a way to post a song or two (or, segments of songs) so you all can enjoy it.

So I was right...

Cubby Bernstein IS an ingenious and subversive marketing campaign for Xanadu.







Honestly, it's working on me. Check out Episode 3...but first watch this bit of nonsense lip-synched to the previously posted "Suddenly" Who is this kid who plays Cubby? Does he even get the humor. I mean, he must. In either case, someone needs to get him on Ugly Betty when it starts filming in NYC in the fall


28 May 2008

I Hope You're Sitting Down...

...there are wildly unsubstantianed rumors taken from little more than a passing comment from a cast member that there are plans for an UGLY BETTY MUSICAL!



If those adorable kids behind Xanadu get their mits on it, it could be the most fabulous thing in the history of mankind. If the Weisslers get their mits on it...it could be the most fabulous thing in the history of mankind...Starring Brooke Shields....or one of the anchors of Good Day New York. (That last detail is particularly upsetting, and reminds of that episode of Family Guy when Lois directs the community theater production of The King And I )



Blue Tooth!

Donald is going digital! And to prove it, I used magical Bluetooth technology to upload this video I took at Atlantic/Pacific Center. It is a little person dressed like Michael Jackson (when he was cool) dancing Billy Jean. It's short, but worth it.


video

21 May 2008

A New Reidel Report!



And Speaking of Passing Strange, here's a tidbit from NYMag Online About Stew at the Obies.


Stew is so cool.

20 May 2008

Happy Eliza Doolittle Day!

There is a line in "Just You Wait" from My Fair Lady when the imaginary King of England says "Next week, on the twentieth of May, I proclaim Eliza Doolittle Day". So here I am, celebrating. Naturally, the first choice is "Just You Wait", even though it really isn't my favorite song from the show (is it anyone's?). Click Here to see a full version of the song (which includes the line about Eliza Doolittle Day), but the clip below is far more interesting. It features Julie Andrews, in a rehearsal-type setting. For whatever reason they cut to the movie version for a bit, but at the end Rex Harrison comes in and has a brief chat with Julie.



Next is Julie Andrews (and friends) performing "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" on the Ed Sullivan show. By the way, she's like 21 here. I know, kinda makes you hate her.




And, of course, one of the most Wonderful songs in Musical Theaterdom, I Could Have Danced All Night. I actually thought there would be tons of wonderful High School/College clips of this one...but turns out, this delicate number is pretty easy to fuck up. It's easy to overplay, but hard to fill all that music. There are tons of clips of some joker namedJamie Cullum singing a weird jazz-ska-pop version. There's also an okay clip from a Brazilian production, but I'm going to have to defer to the movie version on this one. Audrey Hepburn really does a fine job...of acting. (But seriously, she does) And Marnie Nixon's hidden vocals are also pretty great. Enjoy.

19 May 2008

Hodge-Podge

1) I still don't know who is behind the brilliant Cubby Bernstein (see previous post), but part of me thinks it's actually a brilliant, toungue-in-cheek, viral marketing campaign for Xanadu. Even if that isn't the case, there really is much to admire in Xanadu. Not so much the material itself--though it is a LOT of fun, and I've enjoyed listening to it on my brandspankingnew iPod Shuffle--or even the fabulous performances, but the fact that 4 young producers are thinking outside of the box about how to get a show on Broadway. They had an idea, a crazy idea even, but they also had equally crazy ideas about how to make it work, including finding the right writer, director, and cast. If the Best Musical Tony award were to be thought of solely as a Producer's award, I would give it to these kids.



2) I saw a preview of SAVED, the new musical based on that movie with Mandy Moore and a wheelchair bound Culkin. It's probably poor form to speak in too much depth on a show still in previews, especially a musical, but I REALLY liked it. I would even go so far as to say I LOVED it. I found it very funny and moving and generally satisfying, well showing some very different relationships than are typically scene on the Musical Stage.

3) Um...the President of Gambia wants to behead all homosexuals found in his country. No, literally. Wow. Just...wow.

16 May 2008

The Funniest Thing I've Seen in a Long Time

Meet Cubby Bernstein, Tony Campaign Manager. Really, these videos speak for themselves. Enjoy them. Happy Friday. (And thanks to Diana, aka Lezbehonest, for bringing this to my attention.)

Episode 1


Episode 2

15 May 2008

Why STOP talking about Gyspy?

Here is a vintage feature from the NYTimes, chronically Tyne Daly's (mis)adventures on the road in a pre-Broadway tour of her 1989 bow as Momma Rose. Unlike all of Patti LuPone's interviews, which mainly consist of her being angry that she wasn't cast in everything ever, Daly is gracious and offers some great insight into the show, her role, and its evolution as it travels. Though she apparently didn't have the musical training to sing the role without ruining her voice, those who saw her have said she was magnificent. I can't really say that about LuPone--I feel like everyone is going ape-shit because it's fun to go ape-shit over Gypsy. Happy reading!

I linked to her performance of Rose's Turn in my last Gypsy post, so to mix it up, here's a vintage commercial from once it hit the Great White Way

14 May 2008

A New Reidel Report!

He takes on the Tony Noms. Some choice comments from Mr. Fierstein too...

'CATERED' SNUB
NO TONY AFFECTION FOR FIERSTEIN

It Keeps Going and Going and Going...

Hillary made a decisive victory in West Virginia, which means she ain't down yet. Call me crazy, but this is fun.

Speaking of fun, and ain't being down, here is Tammy Grimes singing a strange version of "I Ain't Down Yet" (from The Unsinkable Molly Brown on The Ed Sullivan Show (courtesy of my favorite place on the web, bluegobo.com). The song is by Meredith "The Music Man" Wilson, and its sentiment can pretty much be inferred from the title. But Ms. Grimes kinda looks like Hil in this clip, and there's a strange sung-spoke section (which begins at 2m40s) that seems like it could be Ms. Clinton's interior monologue this morning.

Can you imagine living in a world where this is not only on prime time TV, but on one of TV's most popular shows? I mean, it begins with a lengthy kazoo solo...










Oddly enough, Ms. Grimes is a republican.

13 May 2008

Tony Nominations!!!!!!!


What every good little homo waits for with an excitement usually reserved for Christmas, or a shirtless shot of Henry from Ugly Betty...The Tony Awards Nominations! Why are they so exciting‽ Because, the minute they are released, we are entitled, by birth right, to get into a fabulously dramatic tizzy of angst and anger, culminating in the assertion that (1) The Tony Awards are crap (2) Theater is going to hellinahandbasket (3) Perhaps we should try a "Younger Than Springtime" theme for this year's Tony party....

So, here are the nominees for the fun categories, plus what the "tizzy" will be, and the likely winner.

Best Play:
August: Osage County
Rock 'n' Roll
The Seafarer
The 39 Steps
The Tizzy: No real argument, though the 4 people who saw Is He Dead? and liked it might have some choice words.
The Winner: If you don't know then you should stop reading now. You are simply hopelessly out of the loop. But I'll give you a hint. The one with the colon will win everything.


Best Musical:
Cry-Baby
In the Heights
Passing Strange
Xanadu
The Tizzy: Cry-Baby? No one likes it. No one has seen it. There was talk that they might even close up shop during previews. And it beats out a show by Harvey Firestein directed by John Doyle (A Catered Affair)? The Tony Awards are crap, theater is going to hellinahandbasket
The Winner: In The Heights and Passing Strange both got love letters from the press. Heights seemed to be in the lead for awhile, but they must've blown their marketing budget or something because I haven't heard anything about it for awhile. These two shows are going to war.


Best Book of a Musical
Cry-Baby, Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan
In the Heights, Quiara Alegria Hudes
Passing Strange, Stew
Xanadu, Douglas Carter Beane
The Tizzy: No real argument, lines up with the Best Musical Nominees. (Though Fierstein's snub is doubly felt here)
The Winner: Passing Strange. Even though it's book is not entirely traditional, Heights's maudlin book has been it's chief criticism.


Best Original Score
Cry-Baby, Music & Lyrics: David Javerbaum & Adam Schlesinger
In The Heights, Music & Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda
The Little Mermaid, Music: Alan Menken and Lyrics: Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater
Passing Strange, Music: Stew and Heidi Rodewald Lyrics: Stew
The Tizzy: I'll give you a hint. It has fins. This is seriously a direct snub of both A Catered Affair, which doesn't deserve it, and Young Frankenstein which does. (Did you even notice it was missing from the previous nominations?)
The Winner: Toss up between Heights and Passing.


Best Revival of a Play
Boeing-Boeing
The Homecoming
Les Liaisons Dangereueses
Mabceth
The Tizzy: Most people consider Top Girls, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Come Back Little Sheba better than Liaisons.
The Winner: McB


Best Revival of a Musical
Grease
Gypsy
South Pacific
Sunday in the Park With George
The Tizzy: That, even though there are four slots and only four eligible revivals, Grease wasn't shut out.
The Winner: Will it be the oft revived, and almost foolproof, Gypsy, or the tricky Pacific, which, on Broadway for the first time in 50 years, is the hottest ticket in town? It will get ugly, but I'm going to go ahead and pick the one with shirtless sailors.


Best Performance By a Leading Actor in a Play
Ben Daniels, Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Laurence Fishburne, Thurgood
Mark Rylance, Boeing-Boeing
Rufus Sewell, Rock 'n' Roll
Patrick Stewart, Macbeth
The Tizzy It was a loaded catergory with potential nominees. Morgan Freeman's absence is notable (as it the lack of attention for The Country Girl anywhere else on this list), same for Kevin Kline (and his Cyrano), and those 4 people who saw Is He Dead Yet? might get uppity again, but this list is pretty fair.
The Winner: Patrick Stewart


Best Performance By a Leading Actress in a Play
Eve Best, The Homecoming
Deanna Dunagan, August: Osage County
Kate Fleetwood, Macbeth
S. Epatha Merkerson, Come Back, Little Sheba
Amy Morton, August: Osage County
The Tizzy: No tizzy. They got this one right.
The Winner Toss up between the August ladies. Dunagan has the showy part, but Amy has the bigger arc and carries a 4-hour evening. My vote would go to Morton, but I don't have a vote, so, who knows?


Best Performance By a Leading Actor in a Musical
Daniel Evans, Sunday in the Park With George
Lin-Manuel Miranda, In the Heights
Stew, Passing Strange
Paulo Szot, South Pacific
Tom Wopat, A Catered Affair
The Tizzy: I'm sure Roger Bart's mother must be upset, but this is a pretty fair list. I wouldn't mind seeing Cheyenne Jackson naked...I mean, nominated, but, um....moving on
The Winner: Lin-Manuel Miranda. But if Heights ends up sweeping, Stew could take home an award so Passing doesn't have to go home empty handed. Think David Hyde Pierce in Curtains.


Best Performance By a Leading Actress in a Musical
Kerry Butler, Xanadu
Patti LuPone, Gypsy
Kelli O'Hara, South Pacific
Faith Prince, A Catered Affair
Jenna Russell, Sunday in the Park With George
The Tizzy: I love seeing Kerry Butler on this list. Others might not. But really, who else would it be?
The Winner: Catfight! Should it be newly crowned Broadway Star O'Hara, or the LegerdaryPattiLuPone? Maybe some people might take umbrage to the fact that LuPone's name is bigger than the title on the Gypsy poster. Maybe some people think Kelli O'Hara is overrated and bland. Maybe a tie?


Best Performance By a Featured Actor in a Play
Bobby Cannavale, Mauritius
Raúl Esparza, The Homecoming
Conleth Hill, The Seafarer
Jim Norton, The Seafarer
David Pittu, Is He Dead?
The Tizzy: The only thing I can think of is those 4 people who saw Is He Dead?
The Winner: No clue. Maybe Raúl will get this as a consolation prize for losing to Niles Crane last year.


Best Performance By a Featured Actress in a Play
Sinead Cusack, Rock 'n' Roll
Mary McCormack, Boeing-Boeing
Laurie Metcalf, November
Martha Plimpton, Top Girls
Rondi Reed, August: Osage County
The Tizzy: Well, you can't nominate the entire cast of Top Girls, so this is the best ya can do.
The Winner: Martha Plimpton. New York loves her.


Best Performance By a Featured Actor in a Musical
Daniel Breaker, Passing Strange
Danny Burstein, Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific
Robin De Jesús, In The Heights
Christopher Fitzgerald, The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein
Boyd Gaines, Gypsy
The Tizzy: No complaints.
The Winner: It probably should be Boyd Gaines, but he already has 3, so people might give it to Fitzgerald for being the only entertaining thing in that Mel Brooks show he was in.


Best Performance By a Featured Actress in a Musical
de'Adre Aziza, Passing Strange
Laura Benanti, Gypsy
Andrea Martin, The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein
Olga Merediz, In The Heights
Loretta Ables Sayre, Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific
The Tizzy: Where's Leslie Kritzer (A Catered Affair)? Not that it matters because...
The Winner:...Benanti has it in the bag, and deserves it. Bitch was fierce.


Best Direction of a Play
Maria Aitken, The 39 Steps
Conor McPherson, The Seafarer
Anna D. Shapiro, August: Osage County
Matthew Warchus, Boeing-Boeing
The Tizzy: I'm assuming those 4 people who saw Is He Dead? have tuned out by now.
The Winner: Dollars to donuts it's Anna D


Best Direction of a Musical
Sam Buntrock, Sunday in the Park with George
Thomas Kail, In The Heights
Arthur Laurents, Gypsy
Bartlett Sher, Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific
The Tizzy: This is a weird list. 3 out of 4 nominees are for revivals, rather dismissing the director's role in shaping new work. Annie Dorsen, Passing Strange's helmer, is missing, which seems a bad omen for their chances of winning The Big One. Instead we get Arthur Laurents, who's directed his show (which he also wrote, albeit brilliantly) twice.
The Winner: Thomas Kail might win, just for working with new material, but I have a feeling they'll give it to Bartlet Sher.

12 May 2008

A New Word

As I approach the end of watching Murder One, I realized there was no word to describe my anticipated emotion: a mixture of satisfaction, even victory, at having watched the entire thrilling ordeal, and sadness that it is over. So I propose we add this word to the english cannon:

Sadisfied. adj. Maliase after reaching an appropriate end that still fails to satiate the hunger created by and for that which was just finished.

I'll talk to the folks at the SAT when I have a chance.

09 May 2008

Violet! You're turning violet, Violet!


About a year ago I got the cast recording to the show Violet with music by Jeanine "Caroline, or Change" Tesori and book and lyrics by Brian Crawley. Since then I've been OBSESSED with the song "On My Way". Also, since about then, I've been OBSESSED with looking up amature performances of songs I'm OBSESSED with on YouTube. Since it's a Friday, and we all want to kill time, Imma share some of these with you.

The premise of Violet: A young girl, named Violet, is hit in the face with an ax when she is young and has a huge scar. (Traditional productions don't show the scar, but rather have the actress "mime" it.) As a young woman, she decides to travel by bus to visit a Evangelist/Faith Healer. Personal growth ensues. "On My Way" happens early in the show, at the beginning of her journey. Note: If anyone has a clue as to what the lyric "His wife thinks I'm a dragon-fly Lord, you've got to help me find my way" means, please help. I think it may refer to the singer's son, but it's left me bothered and bewildered for months.

First up is my favorite of the available clips, from University of Miami. The video quality is not so hot, but the sound is pretty good. They seem to capture the delicate, wistful nature of the show perfectly, and nail the orgasmic choral section (I almost cried a little bit, the build-up begins at 3m26s). I also enjoy the "bus turns". A classy offering, if a bit static.


Slightly less successful, in my opinion, is this version from PACE University. They approach the material with a decidedly heavier hand, have slightly forced vocals, and reduce the pit to a piano and percussion. As a result, the chorgasm isn't quite as strong, but it's a much more kinetic production than Miami's, and I think their leading lady has tons of personality. I also love they way they incorporate the Young Violet in this production.


Then, because it's Friday and we're all over it, here are some honorable mentions:
  • A bit of Sutton Foster singing a solo version. She sounds great, but a solo version is kinda pointless, depsite her noble effort.
  • A group called "Broadway Boys" doing a sort of Broadway Boy Band version. If you watch this one you either really hate your job, really LOVE this song, really love being a gay man, or any combination of the above.

08 May 2008

Glory DAY


So the producers of Glory Days, that musical by a coupla 23 years olds about the major life changes that happen after 1 year of college, decided that Opening Night would also be its last performance. As much as I knew this was an ill-fated venture from the get go, closing on opening night puts it up there with Moose Murders, and I really didn't expect it to be THAT bad.

Though the reviews were uniformly negative, they were generally kind, or at least diplomatic, to these poor child-authors (who never really asked for their little show to be blown up and thrown in front of New York critics and audiences who, deservedly, simply expect more than what these guys have to offer). Ben Brantley's assesment of the evening and its shortcomings is really masterful.

Director Eric Schaeffer, Artistic Director of the Signature Theater in DC where Glory Days premiered, should--and probably will--take the rap for this. I get the impression that he's somewhat of an egomaniac, eager to be a Big Deal in NYC. Well, he's certainly getting his name in a lot a papers with this one.

Hubris, Mr. Schaeffer, is not becoming on you. And trust me, if I were on you, I would not be coming either. Do not give this man $10 mil to do ANYTHING.

07 May 2008

A New Reidel Report!

He talks about Mario Lopez in A Chorus Line, and his pride/insecurity about his muscles. Fabulous.

ARMS AND THE MAN
A RIGHT TO BARE ARMS LOPEZ'S HUNKIER FLUNKY COVERS UP

The BEST Momma Rose

There's an article at Broadwaystars discussing the Mer-bashing in the program of the current Gypsy revival. But here is a clip (put on YouTube by some sort of angel) of Angela Lansbury as Rose. I think she puts Patti, Bernadette, Bette, and Tyne to shame (I'm not even going to mention the Rosiland Russell/Lisa Kirk hybrid performance). Angie sings it like no other, and acts it to kingdom come. It's easy to say Ethel Merman wasn't "an actor", but I'd like to hear Laurents say anything deragatory about this performance.

In this montage you get most of "Some People" (fabulous). Starting at 2m16s we get a bit of "Together Wherever We Go" (fine, would've rather seen something else, but I am loathe to complain...). Finally, at 4m25s, we get the end of "Rose's Turn" (absoutely haunting, a real, Musical Theater breakdown). I wonder if this clip implies there's more out there. I want it. I want it all. Enjoy.


06 May 2008

5 Ways to Spend Your Economic Stimulous Check

1) Buy Everything Suze Orman has written. Sure, she has so much crap you'll probably spend more than you got, but at least you'll know what to do the next time the government gives everyone "free" money. Also, she teached you how to feel good about yourself, even with bad hair.


2) Sushi Pillows! They're so cute.

3) Tickets to Passing Strange. It's good, and I want it to have your dollars.


4) Dinner at Frankie's in Carroll Gardens. It's delicious. But a word to the wise, don't show up at 8:00 on a Saturday night with a table of 4 and expect to sit down soon. Order anything. Then eat it. All of it.

5) Be a Scientologist for a day. (Not, you will not be able to afford this option unless you get the maximum stimulous check.) You might get to meet Jenna Elfman, she's such a free spirit!

05 May 2008

More About Gay Methodists

Here's more about Gays and the Methodist Convention, from towleroad.com about 2 women who married each other accross the street from the convention.

The Best Show You Didn't Watch

In the fall of 1995, in full wake of the OJ Simpson Murder Trial, ABC began airing a somewhat unconventional lawyer show, Murder One.

What is uncovnetional is not the fact that the leading man has absolutely no hair anywhere (alopecia?), but rather that the entire 1st season focuses on one case. Apparently the prolonged Simpson proceedings made producers realize that this was possible.

Of course, unlike the Simpson case, there is not an overwhelming mountain of evidence proving the fictional defendant's (a Hollywood heart-throb actor named Neil Avedon) guilt. There is, in fact, an incredibly sexy Stanly Tucci as a sleazy, conspiratorial, billionaire with shadowy intentions who probably has more to do with the "Goldilocks Murder" (as the case is dubbed by the fictional media) than he lets on.

In addition to Tucci and The Bald Guy, we get Dylan Baker, some guest spots from Donna Murphy (with terrible hair), and this guy John Fleck who brought a lawsuit against the NEA in the early 90s when they said his performance art was indecent and unfundable

I admit, I am only about 20% through the season, but it has been engrossing. True, it is a little "old school" (this was made before HBO taught us we could make TV shows that look like movies, and not TV shows), and the other cases the firm deals with on a weekly basis, though interesting, are more of a conventional throw-back to what you would expect from LA Law or The Practice. And it does come off as a bit pretentious and even preachy at times. But, thus far, Murder One has been fascinating and addictive.

In 1995, before TV on DVD, DVR or iTunes, a show like Murder One, with its cumulative plot line, didn't really stand much of a chance. Those who missed the beginning episodes, or a week here and there were lost, and ratings were low.

(The producers apparently thought they could solve this is the second season by focusing on 3 cases, each of which would take up 8 episodes. They also replaced the bald buy with Andy Garcia. I do not plan on watching that season.)

But the good news is, Season One of Murder One is on DVD, or you can watch it for free at Hulu.com (though you will have to deal with a lot of Chili's commercials and buffering).

Here's a YouTube video of the aforementioned John Fleck. On Murder One, he's some sort of assistant and usually tells Bald Guy that someone is waiting to see him. But he's an intriguing presence nonetheless.

01 May 2008

What My Dad thinks About Gays....sorta


Okay, this is not actually about what my dad (aka The Rev) thinks about gays, but it is about the latest Methodist Convention, and their official rulings on assorted gay issues. The article at towleroad.com has more details (and links to "real" news sources).

1st, some personal knowledge of what a Methodist Conference is like. It involves a bunch of methodists in an under-ventilated room treating the Methodist Church like Congress, bringing what are essentially "bills" before the Conference, followed by a debate wherein people line up at microphones to say, at length, what someone before them already said. The end result is an "official" standing of the Methodist church, which can largely be accepted or ignored by respective pastors within his/her own congregation. These conventions are really just about press releases, getting The Methodist Church in the paper, like they're Episcopalian or something.

Here's how it went down, with a modicum of commentary on my end.

Approved, 517-416, keeping the statement that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.
--Honestly, I think the "disapprovers" showed well...almost 45% of the vote. That's pretty good for an ultimately traditional, Christ-based faith. And the fact that they bring this (and the other issues up) every year at these conventions I take as a measure of good faith. It looks possible that, within my lifetime, the Methodist Church may have a majority of "approvers".

Rejected, 574-298, a measure that would have changed the church's definition of marriage to include same-sex unions.-Basically, between the first question and this one, 57 people changed sides, and 61 abstained (courteously). Fascinating.

Approved, 544-365, a resolution opposing homophobia and discrimination against lesbians or gays.--It looks like a decisive victory for this battle (though perhaps not decisive enough) but in the context of the war, I think it is significant that this bill was approved with almost as many votes as the Definition of Marriage bill was denied.

So there we have it. The Methodists aren't ready to love the gays, but they're on their way. And there is at least one pastor in Northeast Ohio who is on the right track.

And here is a little video from a film called The Sentinel that may perhaps give us a glimpse into the mind of red-state perception of gay culture.

By the way, the one who looks like a drag queen is Sylvia Miles, who once dumped a bowl of pasta on theater critic John Simon's head after he panned one of her performances. Can we say tranny fierce?

May!


30 April 2008

A New Reidel Report!

I have a feeling not everyone waits with baited breath for Michael Reidel's new Broadway Gossip Column (which, as far as I can tell, is not published on any preditcable schedule. I have to rely on broadwaystars to post it). It is my goal to make you obsessed.

WEAK IN THE NOMINEES
AWARDS BRING OUT B'WAY'S NASTY SIDE

The One Where I Talk About David Archuleta


David Archuleta, for those of you with lives, is a pint-sized pubescent (as in his voice is still changing i.e. cracking) American Idol hopeful. Most of America seems to love him.

I'm not quite so consistent in my beliefs. He has a creepy stage dad (who would lure his former Star Search contestants with milk), a dim-witted expression most of the time, and he sounds like he's hurting himself when he sings. Sad. But, on the other hand, you just want to squeeze him and hug him and go all Elmira on him.

Instead of imbedding an Idol clip, I thought I'd show a wee-Archuleta singing the horribly-inappropriate-for-an-8-year-old "Fallin'" (by Alicia Keyes, as opposed to the opening number from They're Playing Our Song...fabulously sung here by Victor Garber.) As you may guess by comparing the video to the above pic, David's stage persona hasn't varied much. Mic in left hand, right arm pivoting at the elbow as emotion dictates.



And now, with special internet technology, I can age David Archuleta, so you can see what he will look like in 30 years.
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wait for it
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29 April 2008

April Showers




And here's a weird news tidbit about an Austrian man who kept his daughter locked in a dungeon and sired three children with her, while his wife was totally unaware. (correction: he sired 7 children with his daughter, but only 3 survived) So I guess all Austrians aren't like the Von Traps

28 April 2008

Worse than the Religious Wrong


Okay, so sometimes I can get frustrated when the Religious Right gets all uppity over American Idol, or Miley Cyrus' "topless" picture in Vanity Fair (it was shot by friggin' Anne Leibovitz people).





But the latest homophobia news from abroad makes Focus on the Family look like Fire Island on Labor Day.

The UK Border Agency offered a gay Syrian teen seeking asylum £46 to accept his deportation.



Sigh. No comment.

But to prove that other countries aren't all bad, here's some Bollywood Disco Fun!

27 April 2008

Que Sera Sera, and have a Doris Day.

After having a couple of those "gonna-move-to-Canada" days, and having heard it recently with friends, I decided to listen to Doris Day singing Que Sera Sera. And by "listen" I mean, "watch on YouTube". I mean, who defines Cock-Eyed Optimsim more than Doris Day? (Speaking of which, why wasn't she Nellie Forbush in the deathly boring South Pacific movie?)

Somehow I had forgotten, of fully comprehended, that "Que Sera Sera" was from a Hitchcock movie. At the time, Doris Day was a top recording and movie star (like Julia Roberts and Hannah Montana in one), and Hitchcock cast her in one of his thrillers, then used the obligatory tie-in single from Ms. Day as an eerie theatrical device. Homeboy knew what he was doing. So, although the song wasn't quite as inspiring as I perhaps hoped, I was intrigued and fascintated nonetheless.


Here's what I can give you as context, which is almost nothing: Doris Day is married to Jimmy Stewart. They have a son. She sings this song as with her son. Often. It's their "thing". Someone is after Doris and Jimmy. Doris is in fine voice.



For some less ironic musical theater fun, here's young Sara Jessica Parker during her Annie period (or lack thereof). She's NOT singing "Tomorrow".

26 April 2008

Idol Worship



As is often the case, this week's round of American Idol induced pangs of wrath and ire towards the greater American populace. Aside from the fact that the show is still a ratings juggernaut even though most of the contestants are sub-par and the themes bewildering (Andrew Lloyd Webber week followed by NEIL DIAMOND week?), Idol has most become a disappointment because it has allowed its outcome to be completely dictated by the Religious Right. First, Sassy, gay, Danny Noriega is one of the first to be voted off, despite being far more entertaining than anyone else on the show. Then, blonde and bland Kristy Lee Cook gets a surge in popularity after singing "God Bless The USA" (aka "Proud to Be An American").

Most recently, Carly Smithson was voted off after singing the title song from Jesus Christ Superstar. Even though she was the best performer of the evening (which, admittedly isn't saying much). Why? Because right-wing Christians have had a problem with Superstar since the concept recording was released in 1971. They don't like the idea of Judas being critical of Christ, or the idea that Mary Magdalene might have had feelings for him, and have had their undies in a twist about it for 37 years. (My Grandma cried when my mom told her she listened to Superstar and liked it.) The Times actually looked into this (because Idol really is that ubiquitous), and found evidence to support the idea that Carly's "blasphemous" song choice is what done her in.

Now, I'm not actually upset that the WWJD set is running Idol. But when they aren't watching reality TV, the Religious Wrong's opposition to everything becomes increasingly disruptive. There are at least 2 examples of Christian protests of the Day of Silence (1, 2), that day when students pledge not to speak for a day to oppose anti-GLTB violence. That's correct, the religious right is now opposed to non-violent, unobtrusive protests against violence. You know, like The Bible says: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, unless he be gayeth, . Then thou hath my blessing to shoot him. (1 Corinthians 3:26)"



What most disturbs me about these latest examples of fundamentalism is the complete lack of reason or logic displayed. The idea that an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is offensive is so beyond my comprehension, I don't think I could possibly argue against it. Clearly they are speaking a different language. And at times it appear that it is our true National Language, in spite of Reason's best efforts.




Here is another fundamentalist head scratcher:

24 April 2008

Stop Trying to Help


Am I the only one who is violently opposed to this new Calorie-Posting nonsense being enforced in NYC? Luckily, the decision is still being appealed, so maybe we won't have Big Mother telling us that Big Mac is not good for us (duh).

Why I think Calorie-Posting (i.e. displaying the caloric contents of items on fast food menue boards) is Bullshit:

The mandate only applies to Fast Food restaurants. Yes, we've all read/pretended to read Fast Food Nation, we've all seen Super Size Me. But guess what? I don't think McDonald's is the enemy. When we eat at fast food, we already know we are sacrificing quality and nutritional value for convenience. And all these chains have their nutritional information readily available in print or online. (I googled that link in 10 seconds.) If you really want to know, you can. Easily. Why shouldn't Mama's on E 3rd have to post their nutritional information of it's fried chicken and mac n' cheese? I'm sure it'd be horrifying. And here's what you get when you try and find it online.

And don't play the "but how does extra information hurt you?" card. Calorie-Posting goes beyond mere "awareness", pandering to hype and hysteria, dumbing down consumers who should have the wherewithal to find this information on their own, and carrying with it the implicit message that we should all be OBSESSED with our weights and body images. Are we no longer able to ORDER from a menu without first analyzing the caloric consequences?

I don't believe this decision has anything to do with consumer health whatsoever, nor will it have any effect. Calorie-Posting strikes me as an attempt for The City to strike out against Corporations because of the progressive sentiment that they are evil.

23 April 2008

This Is Not Over Yet

No, I'm not talking about Andrew Lloyd Webber night on American Idol (though the thought did cross my mind, as a question, about halfway through Brooke White's tragic rendition of "You Must Love Me"...she's SO going home).

I'm talking about that other thing (fewer) Americans voted on last night, the Pennsylvania Democratic Primaries. Hillary won! Even though I personally support Obama, I am excited that the race continues. Why? Because:
  1. I don't believe this is a decision to be made lightly, nor should it be made without imput from the entire country. When the nominee is called before all (or, at least, most) of the states have voted, we as a party/country are doing ourselves a disservice. Those guys have to vote eventually, and that vote deserves to be fought for.
  2. While the Republicans decided to just take the winter/spring/summer off in the name of golf, I mean, gay sex scandals, I mean, Party Unity their ideals and platforms have likewise been resting in Texas, making only the occasional guest appearance on Deal or No Deal. Sure, the red-barons at outFOXedNews push their agenda in the "off-season", but us Democrats are big news ALL THE TIME, on ALL THE NETWORKS, and our ideals being hashed out under intense public scrutiny, the kind which can only lead to a stronger platform with greater support.
  3. The continued and, dare I say, historic contest between Clinton and Obama reminds me that the phrase "anything is possible" should have positive connotations, as opposed to: "Do you think the President will Bomb Iran/Amend the constitution to ban gay marriage/Choke to death on a Rold Gold Pretzel Twist in the Oval Office? Anything is Possible."
So have it, Hil and Bar. I'm not the one who's gonna say "Girls, you're both pretty".

PS: Here's a short clip of Norbert Leo Butz singing Jason Robert Brown's "This is Not Over Yet" from Parade. In addition the video's inherent merits regarding performer/material, if you stretch some gender pronouns, change the political identity of the singer throughout the clip, and only listen to every other word, it totally applies to the topic at hand.

22 April 2008

Funniness Is...

Thanks Very Short List! This more than makes up for your being the last people on the planet to know about stuffwhitepeoplelike.

This is "Charlie Rose by Samuel Beckett". It takes basic, Parent Trap (starring Haley Mills...and Haley Mills!) technology and uses it to blow your mind.

21 April 2008

A Sign of THE TIMES

There's an article in Today's NYTimes about a staged reading commemorating one of the most notorious flops in Broadway history....


...Moose Murders.

I didn't actually know that much about it, as it's not a musical and thus not covered in Not Since Carrie (which, by they way, everyone should read, because it's hilarious).



Thanks to our ability to search the NYTimes archive for FREE(!), I looked up Frank Rich's original pan of Moose Murders. The following is my favorite line from the review, describing the murder which happens at the end of Act I:

"Such is the comatose nature of the production that we're too busy trying to
guess which stiff on stage is the victim to worry about guessing the culprit."


That is undeniably witty writing. And I as much as anyone--if not more--love to see a stinkeroo get reamed in such a fashion. But sometimes the allure of wit prompts a reviewer to turn a mixed-to-negative review into an outright dismissal of works that shouldn't be so categorically ignored. But what if a nice review could also be funny? Maybe it could prevent some misdirected cruelty. So, in the coming days, I am going to attempt to write a witty, perhaps even sarcastic, rave review. Wish me luck!

oh, and here's a little bit of the Carrie musical no one believes could have actually happened...youtube used to have more, but someone must have taken them down. sigh.