via Daily Prompt: Disrupt List making is a habit. I have had a very hard time breaking myself of a disposition to compile and aggregate. There are times when the combinations on any given catalog serves to disrupt the order of things. Relationships can be tangential and serendipitous rather than strictly straightforward. This enumeration, for […]
Add to this some other films and plays like The Big Meal, Dinner for Shmucks or The Dinner Party (on Broadway in 2000 with Henry Winkler and the late Jan Maxwell and John Ritter et al) or the short-lived Festen, (also on Broadway and also at the Music Box) with Ali McGraw. The latter as I recall was a dark (both in lighting and atmosphere) play which, again, as I recall, was extremely interesting; it lasted just 49 performances.
Your assignment, my pets, is to see the 1943 film of the same name as the long-running Broadway musical.
The cinematic version is not strictly speaking a musical but it is full of melodies. Many a colorful opera is staged during the course of the movie. Nelson Eddy is Anatole, the baritone in love with the soprano Christine Dubois (Susanna Foster), who is also the object of adulation for Raoul (Edgar Barrier), the prefect of the Sécurité– in other words, a police captain.
She is also adored at a distance by a modest and timid older man, Erique Claudin, played by Claude Rains. Unlike Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom, he is not a singer; he is the first violin in the Paris Opéra Orchestra. Like Broadway’s Phantom he is so obsessed with Christine that he will kill for her advancement. Along the way, this meek and odd little man collects some genuine and deep-seated grievances to warrant his unravelling as well.
Claudin has a champion in the figure of Franz Liszt (Fritz Lieber) who admires the concerto the violinist submitted- without success- to a recalcitrant publisher, Pleyel (Miles Mander). None of this diverts Claudin from Christine. And, oh, do watch out for that chandelier!
Once you have completed your homework, go see #PhantomBroadway again, or for the first time. It is lusher and more layered than the wonderful 1943 film version of Phantom of the Opera. (Note that if it happens you are not in New York City, you may find Phantom on Tour or in London and Budapest, for instance.)
It is truly a musical, operatically filled with memorable lyrics and superb music. It is also so fantastical as to invite repeated visits to a theater near you.
The production is the longest running Broadway musical, having hit its 29th year mark last January. The Phantom currently in residence is James Barbour, with Ali Ewoldt and Rachel Eskanazi-Gold alternating as Christine. Raoul, who is a Vicomte and not a policeman here, is played by Rodney Ingram.
In the Lloyd Webber incantation, the Phantom is a singer with some of the most gorgeous songs to sing. He is a beautiful, evil-hearted beast. He is Christine Daaé’s Svengali and his melodies haunt as he haunts the Paris Opéra House.
For tickets, please visit the #PhantomBroadway website, which will also guide you to the touring companies.
History can sometimes revel in a very personal dynamic.
For instance, those of us who lived through and joined in protests against the Vietnam War may not share the viewpoint of the main character in Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone, currently playing at MTC’s City Center Stage I through December 4th.
Quang (Raymond Lee) was a pilot in the South Vietnamese armed forces. He was trained in the United States. He saw the North Vietnamese as a genuine threat to life and liberty and welcomed the help of American soldiers in the struggle.
Vietgone is a fast-paced kind-of-multi-media excursion into the hero’s and heroine’s, Tong (Jennifer Ikeda), survival. They meet at a state-side refugee camp where Tong and her mother (Samantha Quan, in a number of roles) have come after the fall of Saigon.
The piece is, and isn’t, narrated by the Playwright (Paco Tolson, also playing several people), who is commemorating his parents’ story. There are rapped love songs, (original music by Shane Rettig) motorcycles, a roadtrip, and a bromance– all trappings to some extent of the era portrayed in the plot.
For the most part,Vietgone is entertaining, interesting, unusual in structure, and well presented. There is room for some cuts here and there. The cast, under May Adrales’ direction, and staging, with scenic designs by Tim Mackabee and projection design by Jared Mezzocchi, are excellent.
In other subscription house news from our household:
Over at Studio 54 througfh January 15, 2017, Roundabout has mounted a vehicle for nostalgia. Holiday Inn, with no irony whatsoever, cries out for Mickey and Judy. It is well-served by the cast on hand, however, and a pleasantly tuneful production makes for a great afternoon at the movies, er theater.Bryce Pinkham and Corbin Bleu are the friends and dancing partners, along with Megan Sikora, and Lora Lee Gayer who lead the ensemble in song and dance.
MTC gives us Heisenberg at its Broadway venue, the Friedman Theatre through December 11th. Why Heisenberg? The play, so well-acted by Denis Arndt and Mary-Louise Parker as to have one puzzling over the quantum physics of it name, is an enjoyable two-hander. It’s gimmicky staging notwithstanding, the dynamic of the drama is captivating. Heisenbergis a sweet-crazy story, written by Simon Stephens, the pen behind The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Heisenberg was a transfer from Off-Off, and as such had some buzziness surrounding it.Director Mark Brokaw elicits strong performances from both his actors. Parker, who unleashes the odd-ball in her character in little bursts, is fun to watch.Arndt’s charm reveals how a pent-up man can suddenly be both impetuous and child-like. So, back to the title: Heisenberghas an underlying ifsmall principle of uncertainty that you will likely enjoy.
(L-R) Shamika Cotton, Tyler Jacob Rollinson, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Shannon Garland, Lee Osorio, Brandon Coffey, and David Coomber in a scene from Woody Harrelson & Frankie Hyman’s “Bullet for Adolf” at New World Stages. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Sometimes silliness is so sublime (think Marx Brothers) it feels like a gift from above.
(L-R) Tyler Jacob Rollinson and Lee Osorio in a scene from Woody Harrelson & Frankie Hyman’s “Bullet for Adolf” at New World Stages. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
“Bullet for Adolf,”at New World Stages through September 9th, has the finely-honed madcap just right. Frankie Hyman and Woody Harrelson have penned a rambling, nutty satiric comedy which Harrelson also directs at a pace that encourages the meandering spirit of the piece to find its own way.
Brandon Coffey and Marsha Stephanie Blake in a scene from Woody Harrelson & Frankie Hyman’s “Bullet for Adolf” at New World Stages. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Tastelessness is high art in “Bullet for Adolf.” The plot is thin but meaty and involves the theft of a WWII artifact.
Prepare for rousing displays of misogyny and racism along with sweetly-wrought foul language. “Bullet for Adolf” hits many a social target.
In a fine ensemble of doers and slackers, Marsha Stephanie Blake as Shareeta does a stand-out job. The sets, designed by Dane Laffrey, go from sparse to plush while we are distracted by a vintage 1983 video montage in the production design from Imaginary Media.
“Bullet for Adolf” is unabashedly offensive, and extremely funny.