September 13, 2014 |
A big, cheerful, gorgeous dumb blonde of a musical comedy, 9 to 5: The Musical , the Walnut Street Theatre's season opener, is, like many a dumb blonde, good for a fun night out. (OK, OK, is every new-wave feminist going to call the gender police? Aw, shucks.) Based on the 1980 movie of the same name (its screenwriter, Patricia Resnick, wrote the show's book), Dolly Parton wrote 16 songs for the Broadway show, each with her signature country sound; the excellent cast belts them out with gusto.
May 7, 1990 |
I brood at times about how the Broadway musical stage has let some big talents go to waste. I think, for example, of the redoubtable Helen Gallagher, who is class all the way. I think of Julie Wilson, for whom a melody is drama. I lament the waste of the promise in a singer such as Pamela Myers, who showed herself heir presumptive to Ethel Merman by belting out "Another Hundred People" in the original Broadway production of Company. I even wonder about the loss to the stage of Liza Minnelli, who could have been the reigning musical comedy queen of our time.
March 21, 2002 |
One of the objections offered by the unions protesting the nonunion production of The Music Man at the Merriam Theater is that while the show is based on the recent Broadway production, it can't really be called a Broadway show because it doesn't use actors who have Broadway experience. That is a valid point. There is a polish and professionalism - something easier to sense than to explain - that Broadway-experienced actors lend to a show that this production of The Music Man does not have.
May 25, 1989 |
Playwright Phyllis Purscell has written some very funny lines for The Temptation of Maddie Graham. They would be even funnier if they were in the context of a better play. Purscell, who lives in Newtown, displays a gift for the one-liner and the apt, humorous quip growing out of a specific situation. It might seem extravagant to compare her comic talent to Neil Simon's; but when she is on, which is often, her witticisms sound much like those of the master of Broadway comedy. However, if Purscell does not devise better vehicles than The Temptation of Maddie Graham, it's doubtful that her humor will find an outlet beyond the few regional theaters that have produced her plays.
May 7, 1987 |
It's been 45 years since Spencer Tracy melted down a sputtering Katharine Hepburn in the movie "Woman of the Year," but only four since the musical starring Lauren Bacall and then Raquel Welch as a saucy, headstrong Barbara Walters-style TV newswoman closed on Broadway. The version presented at the Claridge through Aug. 15 is still relatively fresh; this is not a revival of a show that's been done to death in dinner theaters. "Woman" is shorter than the Broadway show, a little thinner on the cast (minor cast members double up, giving the audience a weird case of deja vu)
November 15, 2013
IF YOU were to construct a backward-directed timeline of female performers who flaunted conventions of public behavior and decorum, you'd likely start with Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga , and continue on through Madonna , Marilyn Monroe and Mae West , who was actually jailed for writing and acting in a Broadway show called "Sex" in the 1920s. But that line would end (and, actually, begin) with Sophie Tucker , whose fame has faded as the decades have rolled by, but who is the spiritual forebear of every headline-grabbing show biz femme fatale who has emerged in her wake.
January 24, 2014 |
James Spinelli was 11 when he became a shoe man. This was in Camden, 1931. Spinelli was poor and small for his age, but he'd already been working for five years, selling vegetables from a little red wagon and peddling newspapers to saloon patrons. He also hawked Camden-style "yum yum" water ice on the corner of Broadway and Royden. So when a guy walked out of a shoe shop downtown and offered a job to a crowd of boys walking by, the skinny kid from Clinton Street said yes. He made $1.50 a week to start, and he's been fixing other people's footware ever since.
June 27, 2012 |
JOHN TRAVOLTA is digging in his (high) heels when it comes to coming out. No matter how many men come forward about his interest in massage, no matter if he's photographed smooching with his male pilot on the tarmac, Travolta is straight. Straighter than straight. The irony of all this is that no one cares. Travolta isn't a buff, virile action hero, and he hasn't been a romantic lead since the 1980s. Travolta rumors have been around so long, people already assume what they want to assume.
March 12, 2012 |
WILLIAM SHATNER doesn't turn down roles. Not on TV or films. Not self-mocking commercials, a long-running game-show square or oft-maligned (though I do love some) musical recording sessions. Why, the man won't even turn down an interview when he's still getting over a stomach flu and should be saving strength for the evening performance of "Shatner's World: We Just Live In It," his one-man show landing tomorrow for a one-nighter at the Merriam Theater. "My life's been all about saying yes to opportunities, because you never know where that can take you," he explained in a kindly, grandfatherly, 80-year-old voice more Denny Crane than Captain Kirk or comedy roaster or aggressive pitchman for Priceline.com.
April 9, 2012 |
SMASH. 10 p.m. Monday, NBC10. GLEE. 8 p.m. Tuesday, Fox 29. IT'S NOT always easy to love the TV musical. I watch NBC's "Smash" with a heavy heart and half an eye on Twitter, the better to commiserate with friends who cannot believe someone hasn't yet killed Ellis the Evil Assistant (Jaime Cepero) or that a promising pilot about the making of a Broadway show about Marilyn Monroe has descended so quickly into melodrama, with dueling Marilyns (Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty)