May 5, 1998 |
Hugo Wolf's success in writing opera was limited, but in his song cycle Das italienisches Liederbuch, he succeeded in sketching an opera full of sentiment, nobility and comedy. This group of 46 songs doesn't reach the stage often, which made the performance Friday at the Convention Center all the more intriguing. Soprano Benita Valente and baritone William Stone managed, with only voice and text, to create the characters of a comedy of manners in which the piano, played by the remarkable David Golub, took a sly and equal role.
October 2, 1988 |
Annette bounded into the class, her Mickey Mouse ears pinned jauntily on her head and her short black skirt swinging to and fro. "I'm 12, and I'm a Mouseketeer," she told the class. "Now let's all march in place and do the roll call salute. " The classroom packed with first and second graders at Episcopal Academy in Devon resounded with stomping as each student yelled out his or her name. "I'm from 1956, and I'm kind of confused about all this stuff I see around me," she said, scanning the room with wide-eyed wonderment.
October 21, 1994 |
Brian Benben has a disarming tendency to twinkle under pressure. He probably can't help it. Up just five minutes from an afternoon nap at the Ritz-Carlton, the rubber-faced actor finds himself grappling with concepts like good vs. evil, short vs. tall, cable vs. broadcast. And when he makes a point, he leans forward a little. And smiles. And twinkles. Sadly, there is no other word for it. The star of HBO's "Dream On" was in Philadelphia this week to promote today's opening of the movie "Radioland Murders," in which he stars with Mary Stuart Masterson.
June 8, 2007 |
It's hammy. Never mind Resnais' revered filmography ( Last Year at Marienbad; The War Is Over; Hiroshima, Mon Amour ), this tale of six souls seeking connection in a bourgeoisie Paris is a dud. A woman engaged to an out-of-work drunk looks for an apartment, confounded by the small spaces and arbitrary partitions. (Each character comes with his or her set of metaphoric walls.) The real estate agent assisting her searches for joy in his life and thinks he's found it when his office assistant, a devout Christian, presents him with a videotape of her favorite show.
May 9, 2009 |
With its rat-a-tat script, focus on sex, sexuality and stardom, and hip exploration of neurosis and insincerity, The Little Dog Laughed is a howler. And there's no doubt about it - the play by Douglas Carter Beane (he also wrote the tickling book for the stage-musical version of Xanadu) can be a fun ride in the Flashpoint Theatre Company production that opened Thursday at the Adrienne. But, too often, at half-speed. On Broadway three years ago, when Little Dog opened, it exploited the way the four characters paraded their bizarre psyches, and resulted in belly-laughs; we knew these folks were outlandish, and so did they.
February 9, 1990 |
Stanley and Iris are boring. So, alas, is "Stanley & Iris. " They're nice people, good people, strong people, but they are not, as they say in Hollywood, cinematic. Iris (Jane Fonda) is a recently widowed woman who works in a bakery. Stanley (Robert De Niro) is an illiterate man who also works in the bakery. Can she teach him to read? Can he teach her to find romance again? Cue the love theme. The real question is whether director Martin Ritt ("Norma Rae") can make it interesting.
July 17, 1998 |
It's the countdown to her first dinner party in four years, and Libby is a nervous wreck. Her friend, Griever, is too busy doing shtick in front of a mirror to help with the preparations. And the guest of honor, a lesbian writer named Alice, is having problems of her own with her lover, a family therapist named Boo. So begins Blue Window, a sweet but unsatisfying Craig Lucas play. Filled with amusing writing and eccentric characters, the piece has a serious intent: to underline the mystery of human personality and the tragedy of missed connections between even the well-intentioned among us. In the end, however, despite an amiable production by the Fictitious Theatre Company at the 2d Stage at the Adrienne Theatre, its emotional impact is minimal.
November 10, 1994 |
Let's go over this one more time. There is reality and there is fiction. Sitcoms are fiction. Make-believe. Of course the actors are real. But - and this is the part that is confusing to some people - the actors play characters, and characters are fiction. Remember? Apparently publishers don't. They've created a new genre of books, penned by comedians using the voice of their fictional characters. Those characters spout philosophy, humor and bons mots to real people, with real money, who buy the tomes.
December 14, 2001 |
Hare Franz looks elegant in his flowered waistcoat and corduroy pants, a small, brown leather pouch dangling from his paw. Standing up to his full 3-foot height, long pointed ears tipped forward, he looks as if he were about to step out for a morning stroll. He seems quite real, though of course he isn't. Hare Franz is just one of the characters that populate the mind of artist Carol Marker, who creates him and other rabbits, Country Santas, and witches in a two-story studio known as the Sunday House that was built by her husband, Richard, across from their rambling old farmhouse in Boyertown, Berks County.
January 15, 2012 |
'The first thing you must know about me is that I am colossally fat," says Arthur Opp in the opening line of Philadelphia author Liz Moore's second novel, Heft , which is due Jan. 23. Arthur isn't a typical hero. A 58-year-old former literature professor, he weighs nearly 600 pounds and lives a solitary life in a Brooklyn brownstone he hasn't left in 18 years. (He did venture as far as the front steps once, 10 years ago.) A bittersweet novel, Heft is peopled by men and women so isolated by their fear of rejection, they've ceased to seek meaningful connections.