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 1, 2013 |
One thing about Once : It's not the movie. It's the international touring show budded off from the Broadway show budded off, in turn, from the movie. Starring Irish musician Glen Hansard and Czech musician Markéta Irglová, Once was a dark-horse smash in 2007, earning two Grammys and an Oscar. Persuasive, passionate, it's a busker's love story. But Once in Philadelphia (Academy of Music, through Nov. 10) is different. Sure, it has the guitar-playing Guy and the pianist Girl, plus Hansard and Irglová's poignant songs.
April 9, 2013 |
WHERE'S EVERYBODY GOING? A longtime victim of crippling social anxiety, New Kids on the Block 's Jonathan Knight left the stage when the group performed in New York last week. About 25 minutes into the show, Knight was supposed to solo on the new ballad "Survive You," but he couldn't get the words out. Donnie Wahlberg kidded him about the silence, and then Knight laughed and walked off. NKOTB finished the song and the show without him. Knight tweeted "I'm sorry . . . " soon thereafter.
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.
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)
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.