September 19, 2014
REGULAR READERS of this column are no doubt aware of my beef that what passes for "songs" in much of contemporary musical theater aren't songs at all, but merely sung dialogue and exposition. Well, it turns out I'm not the only one who yearns for a return to the days when Broadway scores boasted pieces with actual verses and hook-laden choruses. Robyn Goodman also feels that way. And better yet, she's in a position to actually do something about it. Goodman is a Broadway powerhouse who has produced such smash hits as "Avenue Q," "In the Heights" and "American Idiot.
August 20, 2014 |
On paper, there ain't much to Ain't Misbehavin' but the music. Unlike many songbook-driven shows or jukebox musicals, Richard Maltby Jr. and Murray Horwitz's revue of the songs of Fats Waller lacks a plot, biographical outline or a historically grounded narrative. These deficiencies show in Bucks County Playhouse's muddled though mostly well-sung production, directed by Hunter Foster. It starts with the set: Wilson Chin and David L. Arsenault's built-out barroom with a staircase leading up to a raised balcony, which fails to create a unified environment.
July 22, 2014 |
NEW HOPE - With its smart, glamorous casting, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike was a fun but somewhat rackety outing Saturday in its opening weekend at Bucks County Playhouse. The script showed its meddle when, despite hesitations and missteps in the performance, the audience was possessed at crucial junctures. Winner of the 2013 Tony Award for best play, Vanya , which plays through Aug. 10, might initially seem like some brainy, inside-y Yale School of Drama riff on Chekhov.
July 11, 2014
WITH THE wonderful Marilu Henner heading the cast, there's already enough of a reason to see Christopher Durang 's 2013 Tony-winning comedy, "Vanya and Masha and Sonia and Spike" at New Hope's Bucks County Playhouse. But if you still need a nudge, know that you'll also be seeing Durang's debut in the role of Vanya. The July 17 to Aug. 10 run marks the first time that Durang, 65, who has sporadically performed for decades, will be on the boards since 2005, when he co-starred with Tony recipient Debra Monk in a Boston production of his two-person "Laughing Wild.
June 27, 2014 |
Remember Deathtrap , Ira Levin's 1978 murder-mystery thriller? The one that lasted four years on Broadway and was adapted into a Sidney Lumet film starring Dyan Cannon, Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve? The one broadcast on a perpetual loop during HBO's early years? Bucks County Playhouse's current production sparks another mystery: How do you murder a sure thing? Let's examine the clues. Exhibit A: Plot. This is a story about scaring a woman to death so her husband, a playwright of mysteries whose successes are on the wane, can live off her fortune, shacking up and writing a new thriller with his young lover, a former student.
May 27, 2014 |
Neil Simon's Chapter Two , a 1976 Broadway hit and tribute to the romantic fortitude of the playwright's second wife, Marsha Mason, finds itself at the Bucks County Playhouse for yet another chapter. The twist this time is that Mason directs the story of her own marriage and the role that, for its film adaptation costarring James Caan, won her an Academy Award nomination. The pair met within a year of Simon's first wife's death from cancer, while Mason was licking her wounds from a divorce; they wed after a courtship of three weeks.
May 1, 2014 |
Kimye to marry - this week!? Kim Kardashian and Kanye West will wed this week, on the QT. Sources tell TMZ Kimye has a "confidential" marriage license. They won't have to go to a courthouse. A court official will come to them. Later, they'll rock Paris with a screamin' knees-up bash. Tony noms announced In a wildly unpredictable year for the Tony Awards, a real Philadelphia guy and an honorary one scored nominations for their 2013-14 turns on Broadway. Meadowbrook native (close enough)
February 21, 2014 |
IF LESLIE Uggams feels that she's been underappreciated as a show-business pioneer, she is too gracious and humble to make a big deal about it. "I have no control over that," said the 70-year-old singer-actress, who Saturday presents "An Evening with Leslie Uggams" at the Bucks County Playhouse, in New Hope. "I've done what I've done in my career to push things forward. It's really up to others to do their research and find out what I've done. " What Uggams did was considerable and significant, although she's not necessarily thought of in the same way as such groundbreakers as Bill Cosby ("I Spy")
December 11, 2013 |
After her Sound of Music live television performance Thursday, Carrie Underwood defenders took to social media to declare, "At least she had the guts to do it live. " Bucks County Playhouse's world premiere production, Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play , also takes a beloved classic and - much like other theaters, everywhere, all the time - performs it live, with far more consistent results, and without the budget and backing of a major network. So there. This year marks the second time a Joe Landry radio play has landed on BCP's stage, this time commissioned for the company.
November 20, 2013 |
IF YOU'RE schlepping out to Doylestown to take in the Grace Kelly exhibit at the Michener Art Museum, make sure you leave an hour or so to check out another multimedia historical exhibit there, dedicated to something that is as much a part of the region's pop-culture history as Her Serene Highness. The program's title, "Local Mill Makes Good," may be a little jokey, but its subject and the scores of pieces contained within are nothing less than fascinating. The display, which runs through March 2, tells the story of New Hope's 75-year-old Bucks County Playhouse.