Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles goes to Hollywood in
'L'Amour' - music from the movies of Baz Luhrmann.
WHEN: June 19th 5:00pm & 8:00pm and 20th at 3:00pm and 7:00pm
WHERE: Avalon Hollywood 1735 N. Vine, Hollywood, CA 90028
TICKETS: priced from $15 to $49 - and more information about GMCLA are available by visiting www.gmcla.org.
Familiar music takes on new meanings when sung by the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, whether it's "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" or Tchaikovsky's score for "The Nutcracker."
Much the same thing happens in the films of Baz Luhrmann. In "Strictly Ballroom," "Romeo + Juliet" and, most memorably, "Moulin Rouge," Luhrmann used pop and classical music to chart emotions, creating fresh, vibrant musicals from everyday songs.
In GMCLA's new production L'Amour, Luhrmann's unique style is presented on stage in a new - and typically GMCLA - way!
'L'Amour' represents a number of firsts for GMCLA, in particularly its venture from a traditional theater to a mysteriously exotic 1927 Spanish Revival-style structure that, among its many uses, was once home to ABC's "Hollywood Palace" variety program - featuring the likes of Judy Garland and Louis Armstrong - and is now a multipurpose nightclub-entertainment facility.
"The audience can expect to see and hear GMCLA in a way that it never has before," says Hywel Sims, GMCLA's Executive Director, "there is no 'them' and 'us.'
They will be immersed in the experience of the show.
From the minute our patrons walk in to the theatre, they can expect the unexpected'.
Songs featured in the show include "Nature Boy," "Children of the Revolution," "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Quando Me'n vo" from "La Boheme," "Kissing You," "When Doves Cry," "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps," "The Show Must Go On," "Your Song" and "Love Is in the Air."
Luhrmann "deals with universal truths, but he deals with them in a very heightened reality," Bill Bowersock, the show's director, observes 'you know the Gay Men's Chorus will dream up some similarly extravagant dance scenes.'
"We rearrange and mash up the music to create choral music that is distinctly GMCLA," says Dominic Gregorio, the chorus' interim artistic director and the show's conductor. "Audience members will experience a spectacle that explores our community's challenges and ends with the reminder that it's all about love!"
"L'Amour" grew, in some ways, from audience feedback sought as part of updating the chorus' long-range plan.
Performing at the Avalon is an experiment in sampling venues closer to where many of our audience members live. Audience members are invited to arrive early to partake of the nightclub atmosphere while circus performers roam the space.
L'Amour is an all-ages event; the bars will be open, with wristband governance in use. The concert will be performed in about 90 minutes, without intermission.
*** Sample images attached - Courtesy of Gay Mens Chorus Los Angeles
(SOURCE: HARLAN BOLL)
NAOMI MILLER’S BACK AND SHE HASN’T LOST IT YET!
EPHRAYIS PRODUCTIONS, LLC
194 WEBSTER DRIVE
WAYNE, NEW JERSEY 07470
and YM-YWHA OF NORTH JERSEY
ONE PIKE DRIVE WAYNE, NJ 07470
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE - FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
PLEASE CONTACT HARVEY MILLER
Naomi Miller says that when her honeymoon began, she was a size 8 (“ok, maybe a size 9”), but ten days later when she came home as a size 16, her new husband had to push her, instead of carrying her, over the threshold. Now celebrating her 40th wedding anniversary, she still hasn’t returned to that dreamed about size 8 (9?), but Naomi doesn’t bemoan that fact...she sings about it instead! That’s just what she does with the other ups and downs of life as well. Her show takes on all the topics of its title and more, with original and Broadway songs about dating, high school days, falling in love, escaping the slums, failed relationships, raising a deaf child, coping with being a child of survivors of the Holocaust, letting go, and all the while, working toward a dream.
To celebrate her 40th anniversary and the release of her newest CD, Naomi is reprising her critically acclaimed cabaret act, “LOVE, MARRIAGE, CHILDREN & LIPOSUCTION” as a fundraiser for the YM-YWHA of North Jersey, at its Rosen Theater, One Pike Drive, Wayne, NJ on Sunday, May 2 at 1:00 pm. And, yes, there will be anniversary cake after the show! Tickets are $18, but for $36, patrons can receive premium seating and their choice of one of Naomi’s 4 CDs – “Yiddish is in My Genes,” “Keeping Our Dreams Alive,” “From Klezmer to Broadway,” or “Love, Marriage, Children & Liposuction.” Tickets can be obtained by calling the Y at 973-595-0100 Ext. 237. Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more. Since the show will be interpreted into Sign Language, members of the Deaf community should request special seating when purchasing tickets. For more information, see Naomi’s website at www.naomimiller.com or the Y’s website at www.ymha-nj.org.
For those interested, a Bagel Brunch is being offered for $7.95 by the Y’s Tel Aviv Café beginning at 11:30 am. And because Naomi’s show talks about her upbringing in Paterson, NJ, the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey will mount a display on Paterson in the Y’s lobby.
When “Love, Marriage, Children & Liposuction” opened at Don’t Tell Mama, a popular Manhattan cabaret, its booking agent, Sidney Meyer, put it simply “Naomi Miller fills the stage with joy!” Jan Wallman of Applause! Applause! raved: “This ebullient entertainer, Naomi Miller is such a good singer and raconteur and warm cabaret personality and so touching, funny and heartwarming when she speaks of family life, that the sold out house had a great time and showed their enthusiasm by whooping and applauding long and hard. Naomi Miller has been singing all her life and singing is as natural and as communicative to her as her smile. I heartily
recommend her show. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll enjoy.” Kristine Niven of Artistic New Directions found Naomi’s act “divinely structured and her performance warm, witty, charming totally delightful.”
Love, Marriage, Children & Liposuction has something for everybody and features original songs, as well as songs from such shows as Company, Jersey Boys, The Apple Tree, Hello Dolly, The Fantastiks, Sweet Charity, Annie, and many more. Original songs were composed by Naomi, as well as Carol and Harvey Wechter, and Larry Hochman, Tony award nominee for his orchestrations for such shows as Spamalot, Jane Eyre, and the upcoming Addams Family. Of course, Naomi, who sings in ten different languages, adds just a bit of her own international flavor to the mix of material. Accompanying Naomi will be Janet and Manny Sosinsky who recently appeared with Naomi in Prague and on a Danube River cruise and are looking forward to their upcoming performances in Madrid and Barcelona.
To Be Young and Gay, Before Reality TV: A REVIEW OF MY LIFE DOWN THE PINK CARPET STARRING LESLIE JORDAN (NY TIMES REVIEW)
By DAVID ROONEY
Published: April 22, 2010
Gay kids emerging from their cocoons these days can tune into any Bravo reality show to find an assortment of potential role models. But a few decades back, kinship ran thinner in popular culture.
As Leslie Jordan suggests in his disarming solo show, “My Trip Down the Pink Carpet,” at the Midtown Theater, there was Truman Capote, Charles Nelson Reilly or Paul Lynde. “I was faaascinated,” reveals Mr. Jordan of those gay celebrity forefathers. “Deeply repulsed, but faaascinated.”
While gaydom now embraces a full gamut of subsets, in Mr. Jordan’s pithy assessment the heady disco days of the 1970s had “queens and butch queens,” distinguishable by their dance-floor moves.
Watching the silver-topped, 4-foot-11-inch star execute both styles with pitiless accuracy is among the more hilarious moments of his show, heightened by tart commentary in his flowery Southern drawl.
A television veteran best known for his Emmy-winning “Will & Grace” role as Beverley Leslie, impish nemesis to Megan Mullally’s Karen Walker, Mr. Jordan is unequivocal about which side of the queen divide he comes down on.
He describes his voice as Miss Prissy with a dash of Blanche Devereaux, and his gait as Bette Midler in concert meets Ruth Gordon in “Harold and Maude.” “I am a high school cheerleader stuck in a 55-year-old man’s body,” he confesses. “If you were to cut me open, Hannah Montana would jump out.”
What jumps out during the show is a plucky character who acknowledges the challenges of his life while focusing on the rewards.
Many gay rites-of-passage stories are echoed here: hostile small-town environment (Chattanooga, Tenn.); rigidly masculine father; humor as armor against bullies; unrequited loves; drug and alcohol dependency; internal homophobia; weakness for rough trade. But Mr. Jordan’s candor gives them a fresh spin.
His account of being escorted by two terrifying, drunken drag queens into his first gay bar is genuinely touching.
Ditto his determination at the age of 3 to receive a bride doll for Christmas.
He combines a writer’s eye for detail with an actor’s facility for mimicry and a stand-up comedian’s knack for injecting spontaneity into oft-told stories. His balance of self-deprecation with spotlight-seeking shamelessness is matched by his marriage of Southern manners (every woman’s name is prefixed by “Miss”) with trash-talking salaciousness.
Directed by David Galligan and minimally designed with a revolving door and pink velvet rope, the show could be structurally tighter, but Mr. Jordan’s excitable discursiveness is part of his charm.
“We are so far off track,” he says more than once. “We are not gonna go down that road. We’d be here till the cows come home.”
“Leslie Jordan: My Trip Down the Pink Carpet” continues through July 3 at the Midtown Theater, 163 West 46th Street, Manhattan; (212) 352-3101, theatermania.com.
MITZI GAYNOR HER NEW YORK CITY DEBUT
FEINSTEIN’S AT LOEWS REGENCY
AWARD-WINNING HOLLYWOOD LEGEND
HER NEW YORK CITY DEBUT
“RAZZLE DAZZLE! MY LIFE BEHIND THE SEQUINS”
NOW EXTENDED MAY 18 – 29, SECOND WEEK ADDED
WINNER OF THE 2010 NEW YORK EMMY AWARD FOR “BEST SPECIAL”
FEINSTEIN’S AT LOEWS REGENCY, the nightclub proclaimed “Best of New York” by New York Magazine, and “an invaluable New York institution” by The New York Post, will continue its star-studded Winter/Spring 2010 season with the New York City debut of Hollywood legend MITZI GAYNOR in a limited engagement from May 18 – 20. After decades of television, film and touring, she is excited to make her New York performance debut in an intimate setting like Feinstein’s to get up close and personal with her fans.
In her show, Razzle Dazzle! My Life Behind the Sequins, Ms. Gaynor will bring her incomparable brand of showmanship to the stage in a glittering multimedia one woman tour-de-force of music and memories from her show-stopping life and career. The evening will feature classic elements of her fabled concert performances interspersed with video footage culled from her television, concert and film work and rare personal photos embraced in an all new, up-to-date setting. This multimedia theatrical extravaganza is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the electrifying magic and incredible spirit of a true entertainment icon.
The show runs at the Regency Hotel Ballroom (540 Park Avenue at 61st Street).
Gaynor says “over the years I’d been asked to play New York on numerous occasions but the stars never quite aligned. That’s why I was thrilled when Michael Feinstein asked me to bring my show to his club and said I could have the Regency’s Ballroom so I’d have more room to play. I really can’t wait to be there. There’s no city in the world like New York.”
Her recent PBS-TV special “Mitzi Gaynor: Razzle Dazzle! The Special Years” – also available on DVD – was just awarded a 2010 New York Emmy Award for “Best Entertainment Special.”
Razzle Dazzle! My Life Behind the Sequins is an intimate and affectionate love letter to that fun “razzle-dazzle” era of show business featuring Mitzi’s often hilarious recollections of famous friends and costars including Frank Sinatra, Ethel Merman, Marilyn Monroe, Irving Berlin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Howard Hughes, Marlene Dietrich and more.
Mitzi shares personal stories, moving reminiscences and behind-the-scenes anecdotes from her life and remarkable show business career including those of starring in such classic motion pictures as There’s No Business Like Show Business, Les Girls, The Joker Is Wild, and her Golden Globe® nominated role in the blockbuster adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific.
Razzle Dazzle! My Life Behind the Sequins reunites the Golden Globe® nominee with the original creative team behind her acclaimed television specials and concert performances — world renowned fashion icon Bob Mackie, who has designed eight new breathtaking costumes for Ms. Gaynor’s return to the stage, Emmy®-winning director/choreographer Tony Charmoli (Woman of the Year) and Emmy® Award nominated musical arrangers Dick DeBenedictis (Funny Lady) and Bill Dyer (An Evening with Diana Ross).
Along with a seven piece orchestra led by musical director/pianist Ed Czach, orchestrations are by Ovation Award winner Colin R. Freeman (Lorna Luft’s Songs My Mother Taught Me) and Helen Hayes Award nominee Nick DeGregorio (42nd Street National Tour), Mitzi will perform a virtual songfest of signature musical hits from her film, television and nightclub catalog including “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, “Honey Bun” and “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” in addition to a diverse slate of song selections from John Kander and Fred Ebb, Leon Redbone, Peter Allen and Betty Comden and Adolph Green amongst others while also tackling new material from the recent Tony® winning Broadway hit The Drowsy Chaperone – all set to brand-new staging and choreography by Mr. Charmoli.
MITZI GAYNOR first took the concert and nightclub world by storm in 1961 at Las Vegas’ fabulous Flamingo Hotel. Her debut was met with overwhelming acclaim – Life Magazine noted “Gaynor started at the top and climbed even higher”, The Los Angeles Times called her “The nation’s number one female song and dance star” – and for the next four decades she dominated stages across the United States and Canada, as her Emmy® Award winning television specials delivered her performing magic to the millions of viewers who looked forward to those annual must-see events.
The legendary musical performer began her career at the age of twelve in the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera being featured in productions including Naughty Marietta, Roberta, Jollyana and The Great Waltz in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Philadelphia. She transitioned from stage to screen at age nineteen with her first film role opposite Betty Grable in My Blue Heaven. She starred in seventeen motion pictures, nine network television specials (garnering seventeen Primetime Emmy® nominations) and returned to live performing with countless concert productions nationwide for over forty years.
For more information, visit her online at MitziGaynor.com.
FEINSTEIN’S AT LOEWS REGENCY will play the following schedule: Tuesday through Saturday at 8:30 PM. All shows have a $75.00 cover with $95.00 premium seats available, in addition to a $40.00 food and beverage minimum. Jackets are suggested but not required. FEINSTEIN’S AT LOEWS REGENCY is located at 540 Park Avenue at 61st Street in New York City. For ticket reservations and club information, please call (212) 339-4095 or visit us online at feinsteinsatloewsregency.com and TicketWeb.com.
FEINSTEIN’S AT LOEWS REGENCY
SPRING 2010 SCHEDULE
April 27 – May 1, June 22 – 26
Back by popular demand
May 4 – 15
“Normal As Blueberry Pie: A Tribute To Doris Day”
June 1 – 12
FEINSTEIN’S AT LOEWS REGENCY
SPECIAL CONCERT SERIES
MAGICAL NIGHTS AT FEINSTEIN’S
New York’s Top Magicians come to Feinstein’s
Sundays, April 25 to June 27
Presented by THE ACTOR’S FUND – May 10
LOUIS ST. LOUIS
Presented by THE ACTOR’S FUND – May 10
An Evening with “American Idol” finalist
June 28 and June 29
Shelly Goldstein's One Fine Day is One Fine Engagement!
Brassy, Sassy, Bold and Brazen, Shelly Goldstein's thigh high boots are made for walking ...right up onto center stage and into the hearts of the audience.
Cabaret at the Castle featured Goldstein's tribute "One Fine Day" to the groovy girls who influenced and defined an era known as the 60's, " and in the 60's we were girls" recalls Goldstein, adding "It was a time for natural beauty and letting it all hang out. Now, it is all about tucking it back in." Patrons not only laughed out loud with the hysterically funny Ms. Goldstein and reveled in songs that defined a decade, but also walked away with new knowledge and trivia about icons such as Dusty Springfield, Carole King, Laura Nyro, Mama Cass Elliot, Carly Simon, Lesley Gore, Nancy Sinatra, Lulu, The Beatles, Yoko Ono, The Who and more.
Her unique talent for lyrics and their ensuing mental images offers fans an unforgettable and exclusive Goldstein imprint on such classic titles as "Georgy Girl," "Not Getting Married," "Up On The Roof," "Downtown," "These Boots are Made for Walking," as well trademark Goldstein renditions of favorites like "Un-Natural Woman," her youtube hit "The Middle Age of Aquarius" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nU3FMI7voYo), and a politically irreverent take on the Sherman Brothers' "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from MARY POPPINS entitled "Stupid Callous Homophobic Hateful Legislation" that actually had the audience members Umdidaliling along.
Ms. Goldstein is one of the busiest writers of awards shows in Hollywood, New York and the UK. She frequently works punching up screenplays and writing special material, comedy and song lyrics for performers. Shelly has doctored scripts or written special material for such artists as Steve Martin, Sharon Stone, Cybill Shepherd, Liza Minnelli to Donald Trump, James Earl Jones, Eva Longoria, Whoopi Goldberg as well as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Norman Lear and even Princess Caroline of Monaco and Yoko Ono.
The Magic Castle's Cabaret at the Castle has become THE venue to see and be seen. "I have to confess," says Magic Castle co-founder Milt Larsen, "I wasn't at all convinced that a cabaret series was a good idea in the beginning. But the quality of the performers has been tremendous and I have become its biggest fan."
Cabaret producer, Matt Patton, currently has a waiting list for both patrons and performers. For scheduled appearances call 323-851-3313 x434 or email email@example.com.
Photo Credits: BRIAN PUTNAM
Kristin Chenoweth on her leading man in 'Promises, Promises'
Kristin Chenoweth was eager to take on the role of Fran Kubelik in “Promises, Promises,” because it represented an artistic challenge and a departure from the other characters she’s played on Broadway.
But there was another reason as well: Chenoweth and Sean Hayes, her costar in the Broadway revival opening Sunday, had become friends several years earlier, and wanted to work together.
They met in 2002 when both were making films in Toronto; she was playing opposite Matthew Broderick in a remake of “The Music Man” and he was playing Jerry Lewis in “Martin and Lewis,” a biopic about the comedy team.
“It was instant love, instant falling in love with each other and since that time we’ve stayed in touch,” Chenoweth said. “He’s come to my concerts. I was there for the last taping of ‘Will & Grace.’ I’ve always wanted to work with him.”
“Sean is perfect in this new show,” she added. “He’s coming to Broadway as a leading man. It’s not Jack from ‘Will & Grace.’ And this has been great because we both wanted to find something to do together. With the two of us, it’s as if we were separated at birth.”
(SOURCE: Josh Getlin)
Jerry Herman's 1984 Tony award-winning musical "La Cage Aux Folles" is back on Broadway. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
Just when you think you know a show inside and out, along comes a revival that opens a new window and suddenly a gust of fresh air turns the whole experience into an unexpected joy. I’ve seen "La Cage Aux Folles" several times, but this streamlined production beautifully integrates the dramatic elements with the music and the result is as inviting as an April in Paris, or rather, San Tropez.
Previous productions took the obvious route and dazzled audiences with a lavish outrageousness that made La Cage as much a spectacle as a big Broadway musical. This time around, director Terry Johnson stripped it down for a more naturalistic approach. The nightclub known as La Cage Aux Folles on the French Riviera is now rather seedy and features second tier talents with slightly more style than substance. Les Cagelles, the rag tag chorus of men in drag are choreographed to be unpolished and there’s a lovely charm to that. Of course it takes great talents to pull this off and the six performers are as gifted and funny as they are buff, which is to say very.
There’s a variety of accents in this company and it was clear that the casting of Robin DeJesus as a Nuyorican-sounding Jacob, the butler/maid, was strictly for comic relief, and it worked.
Most important though, the story goes much deeper into the endearing relationship between Georges, the owner of La Cage Aux Folles and Albin, the club’s main attraction. The aging lovers squabble and banter just like any long-time married couple. And both Kelsey Grammer as Georges and Douglas Hodge’s Albin are sensational together.
Grammer's timing is impeccable with a commanding yet warm presence. And who knew "Frasier" had such a strong singing voice.
Hodge, a classically trained British actor delivers a multi-dimensional Albin. High-strung and prone to emotional outbursts, he defies the stereotype, crafting a very real human being beneath the drama queen. And while not the best singer, his moving performance of that stirring anthem "I Am What I Am" ranks at the very top.
Much like Sam Mendes’ reworking of Cabaret years ago, this La Cage went back to the basics by reexamining the emotional connections.
Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein’s groundbreaking musical made a huge splash when it originally opened 27 years ago but subsequent productions showed signs of aging. With this terrific collaboration, I’m very happy to report The Best of Times are here again for "La Cage Aux Folles."
Kelsey Grammer big draw, drawback in 'La Cage'
(SOURCE: Jeremy Gerard - Bloomberg News)
The chorus of six long-limbed drag queens in the latest Broadway revival of Jerry Herman's "La Cage aux Folles" is half that of two earlier outings.
The reductions in this stripped-down version, Broadway's latest import from London's Menier Chocolate Factory, seem especially stark as it follows closely a 2005 revival that matched the opulent 1985 Tony-winning original sequin for sequin.
Yet unlike the shrunken revivals of other big Broadway musicals, this one makes sense. Terry Johnson's smart, tight, rough-edged and slightly tacky production gets closer to the sort of scene one might actually find in a transvestite club on the French Riviera.
It helps that "La Cage" is housed in the Longacre, a smaller Broadway theater, adding to an intimacy that set designer Tim Shortall has exploited to good effect.
The box-office draw is Kelsey Grammer, of TV's "Frasier," as Georges, the soigne master of ceremonies. The main reason for seeing the show is Douglas Hodge as Albin, the aging headliner and Georges's partner of 20 years.
The sentimental story concerns a son - fathered by Georges and reared with Albin - who returns home engaged to the daughter of a bigoted right-wing minister. The son asks Albin to disappear for one evening while his biological mother and Georges host a "normal" dinner for the girl's parents, breaking Albin's heart.
Hodge, who is built like a long-haul trucker but still looks reasonably good in a gown, makes Albin vulnerable and a little pathetic, in addition to being endearingly funny.
Grammer is charmless and can't sing, a problem for which I forgive the producers because the rest of the cast is so good. Tops among them are Robin de Jesus, as Albin's conniving, stage- struck assistant and Veanne Cox as the fiancee's smoldering tigress of a mom.
- "La Cage aux Folles," Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St.; 212-239-6200; www.telecharge.com.
La Merman lives on
(SOURCE: Leslie Katz Examiner Staff Writer)
Klea Blackhurst brings her critically acclaimed one-woman tribute to Ethel Merman to the Eureka Theatre in San Francisco this week. (Courtesy photo)
SAN FRANCISCO — Singer Klea Blackhurst has somewhat of an unusual claim to fame: a lifelong relationship with Ethel Merman.
“My mom’s a performer. It was always there,” says Blackhurst, describing the record albums in her home. “Access to Merman’s voice makes you captive. I’d also like to point out that she became famous in 1930 for being heard in the last row of the balcony — without a mike.”
Studying her brassy-voiced idol since she was a child — she even wrote school papers on the topic — Blackhurst shares her expertise and love of the American musical theater great in a one-woman show called “Everything the Traffic Will Allow: The Songs and Sass of Ethel Merman.”
Currently doing the show once a week off-Broadway in New York, where she lives, Blackhurst brings it to San Francisco this week (for the second time; it was here at the Plush Room in 2003) in a 42nd Street Moon presentation at the Eureka Theatre.
She insists that the show, consisting of stories and songs, isn’t of her doing an impersonation, but a valentine to the longtime Broadway star, who died in 1984.
“It’s a challenging show to sing, and fun to do; it’s a great workout,” says Blackhurst.
“Trust me, I’ll drop 5 pounds” during the run in The City.
People she meets often want to share Merman lore, and she always enjoys listening to the stories, but she very rarely hears something new. She also has a collection of artifacts at home, including oddities and treasures.
One is a Xerox copy featuring Merman’s distinctive scrawl; it was a request for a drink given to a bartender.
When Blackhurst was in San Francisco, appearing in a successful recent production of “Call Me Madam,” she was given a “real rarity,” a copy of Merman’s first autobiography, released in the U.K., called “Don’t Call Me Madam.”
“I just dropped,” Blackhurst says.
“It doesn’t really matter if you like her or don’t like her,” she says.
“I love it when kids get dragged to it with their grandparents, and a 17-year-old asks me what Ethel Merman album is a good one to start with,” Blackhurst says.
IF YOU GO
Everything the Traffic Will Allow
Presented by 42nd Street Moon
Where: Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. today-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday
Contact: (415) 255-8207, www.42ndstmoon.org
Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/lifestyle/La-Merman-lives-on-91645019.html#ixzz0lluspg3N
PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, April 17-23: La Cage, American Idiot, Sondheim
By Robert Simonson
At this late stage in the Broadway season, with Tony nominations and box office takes at stake, producers don't like surprises. But that's what they got this week as the new revival of Jerry Herman's La Cage aux Folles, which opened April 18, unexpectedly reaped the best musical reviews of the spring, and American Idiot, the highly anticipated stage version of rock group Green Day's iconic concept album, received a more mixed bag of clippings.
The critical corps could not have been more bored shuffling into the Longacre Theatre last weekend to see yet another production of Herman's valedictory hit from 1983, about the comical travails of a middle-aged gay couple who run a French nightclub. Didn't they just see this show on Broadway, like, five years ago? But against their will, they fell in love with director Terry Johnson's scaled-down, intentionally shabby vision of Herman's farcical love story, with its gently radical social message. (One of the most amusing sights in all of theatre is a critic walking out of a performance pleasantly stunned at his unexpected satisfaction.) The Menier Chocolate Factory production, a transfer from London, was found to be wonderfully human-scale and heartwarming by the reviewers, and truer to the play's milieu (a transvestite club on the French Riviera) than was the opulent original production. And all lauded Douglas Hodge's fierce and funny performance as cross-dresser Albin. The money star, Kelsey Grammer, won less fervent praise, but praise nonetheless, and people applauded the chemistry between the two actors.
American Idiot opened two days later. No show this season has greater name recognition, or was more eagerly assumed to be a made-to-order smash.
The show had, after all, gotten great reviews when it debuted last year in Berkeley, CA. And, well, you know, it's Green Day. But the New York reviewers were divided. The New York Times notice was an out-and-out rave, calling the propulsive, kinetic show a triumph.
That was surely a relief to the producers. After that, it got murky. Reviewers liked the music and the performers, Michael Mayer's electric staging, and didn't deny the jolt of life the rock musical brought to The Street. But they carped about the skeletal and simplistic storyline, the cardboard characters, the short length, and the unrelenting bray of the show.
Those who really didn't like it said it was an arena concert posing as a musical. (This literally became the case when Green Day itself gave an impromptu concert at the end of the April 22 show.) But every critic did their best to find something good to say; good will was rampant in the reviews.
The third Broadway opening of the week was Sondheim on Sondheim, the new revue of music and lyrics by, well.....anyway, the hook for this show was that Stephen Sondheim himself was a star, talking openly (albeit, on film) about his life, upbringing and the inspiration behind his various songs. The critics found a lot to like, as they almost always do with a Sondheim show these days. The piece is a bit jerrybilt and scattershot, and more than a little self-involved ("celebratory overkill" deemed one), they said, but it has wonderful moments sung by the likes of Barbara Cook (heralded by all, natch) and Vanessa Williams, and all that great material. And it's kinda cool to be the room (well, sort of, anyway) with The Man himself, you know.
In a Next to Normal-type move (which began Off-Broadway and then did some retooling out of town before coming back to Broadway), Broadway producers Barry and Fran Weissler are taking the Off-Broadway hit The Scottsboro Boys, the John Kander-Fred Ebb musical, to the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis July 31 for an eight-week run. The Weisslers have expressed interest in transferring the production to Broadway in the coming season.
Is anyone still attached to Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark besides Julie Taymor and U2?
This week it was announced that Alan Cumming will not play the menacing Green Goblin in the delayed Broadway-bound show. Actor Reeve Carney is the only performer now confirmed for the production. Casting and a production schedule for Spider-Man will be announced soon. They say.
Support THE ARTS! LIVE THEATRE! Go see a show this week!
Send me your reviews and suggestions and I will put them in my next blog coming out next Friday! Here's to an ARTS-filled week! Don't forget to contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/Foundation.htm
With grateful XOXOXs for your support!
Richard SkipperFollow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper
HERE IS WHAT AUDIENCES ARE SAYING ABOUT MY WORK:
Well Richard...a thrill to be part of your Wednesday night Iguana show. Loved your song medley. You and Dana are consummate "PROS" all the way. Great rapport. Looking forward to being a part of the Iguana action with you
and Dana again....Love, Vickie Phillips, http://www.BestFriendsProductions.com/vickiephillips.htm
I love the crowd and the sophisticated choice of music by the performers. The musicians played so well and Richard Skipper and Dana Lorge keep it moving and entertaining! The Mexican food is to die for. Love the vibe! Be back next week! : )
I had the pleasure of attending WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE IGUANA this past Wednesday evening. I have to commend Richard Skipper and Dana Lorge for presenting a thoroughly delight-full evening with a talented array of performers.It was great hearing and seeing Richard & Dana performing live. As General MacArthur said, "I SHALL RETURN."
Len Schlosberg, Leonard Talent Associates Inc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NYC Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price!
Dana Lorge and I have put our OWN spin on the variety show format and are now hosting every Wednesday night in NYC at The Iguana VIP Lounge (http://www.iguananyc.com) in the heart of NYC (240 West 54th Street 8-11PM/with an intermission).
Cover: $12 - no food or drink minimums – but remember – the food is great!
NOMINATED FOR TWO 2010 MANHATTAN ASSOCIATION OF CABARETS AND CLUBS AWARDS (MAC) FOR OUTSTANDING VARIETY SHOW AND OUTSTANDING HOSTS!
For more info, please call 845-365-0720 or visit _www.RichardSkipper.com_
RESERVATIONS A MUST!!!!!!!!
No one admitted before 7:00.
April 28th: Bryan Anthony, CANDY BENGE, Hector Coris, Kecia Craig, Sandra Davis, Rosemary Loar, Gretchen Reinhagen, and Frank Stern!
May 5th: Anton Van Der Merwe and Julie Reyburn
May 19th: Adrienne Haan, Barbara Gurskey, Bobbie Horowitz, Evan Lawrence
May 26th: Michelle Collier
June 2nd: D'Yan Forest and Tod Hall, Pam Palmieri
June 16th: 2010 Julie Reyburn, Lisa Raze returns!
JUNE 23rd: Sigali Hamberger, Pam Tate
June 30th: KEVIN DOZIER!
JULY 7th: JON BURR & LYNN STEIN RETURN!
JULY 27: PAULETTE DOZIER RETURNS
TILL NEXT WEEK...HERE'S TO A MUSICAL WEEK!