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)
January 28, 2012 |
Once heralded as the greatest British actor of his generation, Nicol Williamson was also a legend for stormy onstage behavior that included calling off a performance of Hamlet mid-speech because he was too tired to go on. "I'll pay for the seats," he later recalled telling the audience in 1969, "but I won't shortchange you by not giving my best. " And then he walked off. He made his name as the faltering attorney in John Osborne's Inadmissible Evidence in the mid-1960s in London, rode the role to a Tony Award nomination on Broadway, and re-created the part in the 1968 film.
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)
April 2, 2012 |
Somewhere over the rainbow, Judy Garland never spotted her pot of gold. But a British actress named Tracie Bennett found hers - in the person of Judy. She is sensational in the erratic Broadway show End of the Rainbow, about Garland's last attempt at a comeback, which opened Monday night. If you're among Garland's legion of fans, you'll want to see Rainbow, but even if you're not, you'll want to see Bennett. Every minute she sings, Bennett channels Garland like a medium at a sÃ©ance, and what would a Judy Garland impression be without the singing?
February 1, 2012 |
The lights already are up on a number of notable shows during the theater season's second half - Body Awareness at the Wilma, the Philadelphia Theatre Company's Scottsboro Boys across the street, The Mousetrap at the Walnut, Clybourne Park at the Arden and InterAct's Microcrisis are among them - and they herald a busy season's finish for the region's 51 professional theater companies. Productions include a heady mix of main-stage world premieres by established locally based playwrights, established shows that bear restaging, and plenty of curiosities thrown in. As usual, we can't vouch for most of these because they're not yet running, but they whet our appetite for a promising season finale.