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.
October 1, 2009 |
Menopause the Musical belongs to a particular genre of theater that includes shows such as Nunsense and Respect: A Musical Journey of Women, exists to entertain women of a certain age looking to escape the daily grind, and if the tunes are familiar, so much the better. Or, one could contend, it exists solely to insult the intelligence of people who love theater. Pick a side, any side, because either way there's plenty of company. Jeanie Linders' revue - about four female archetypes (instead of being given proper names, they're called "Professional Woman," "Soap Star," "Iowa Housewife," and "Earth Mother")
February 28, 2001 |
With a story that used an apple as a time machine and a friendly squirrel named Sequins as the narrator, kindergartners and first graders at the Eleanor Rush School traveled back to 1864 to learn a brief lesson about slavery. They gathered for a play about a 9-year-old character named Addy Walker, whose father and brother were sold into slavery in the South but who escaped to Philadelphia with her mother. Dressed in a pink, patterned jumper for her first day of school, Addy learns that she now has something she never had before - the power to choose her own path in life.
May 25, 2001 |
From the wheatfields of Tennessee to the rice paddies of China - picturesquely backlit, as if products rather than places - Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor sells American patriotism hollow as souvenir plastic Liberty Bells. As framed by screenwriter Randall "Braveheart" Wallace, the three-hour spectacle spans the twilight of the United States as a nation of isolationism and Depression to its dawn as an engaged superpower. On the intervening day, Dec. 7, 1941, a stealth air and naval attack on Hawaii's Pearl Harbor by the Japanese resulted in the loss of lives and American innocence.
August 16, 2010
LONG BEFORE Laura Linney appeared on the scene as a cranky cancer patient in "The Big C," Showtime had already established itself as the network for characters who were fed up and weren't going to be taking it anymore. "It" being, variously, downsizing after a death in the family ("Weeds"), living in a constant state of emergency without benefit of medication ("Nurse Jackie"), being required to take medication to suppress excess personalities ("United States of Tara") or remaining faithful to one person in an environment where temptation was everywhere ("Californication" and "The Tudors")
January 28, 1990 |
The roles of Rodgers and Mr. Armitage in Sherlock Holmes and the Speckled Band are relatively small, but anyone who has seen the current production at the Walnut Street Theater will have no trouble recalling the elderly butler and the feisty village grocer. The characters attract attention from their opening lines. Addressed as "poor old Rodgers," the butler mournfully replies: "It used to be poor young Rodgers. Then it was poor Rodgers and now it's poor old Rodgers. That's the story of my life.
September 15, 2000 |
Nashville, the capital of country music and also Tennessee, has approximately 100,000 more inhabitants than Omaha, the nation's karaoke capital per the film Duets. Accordingly, Nashville, the epoch-defining 1975 picture, is approximately 100,000 times better than the derivative Duets. In the new film, barflies achieve self-actualization while belting the lyrics to Top 40 hits. Though it features excellent performances by Paul Giamatti and Andre Braugher (if only workmanlike turns from Maria Bello, Huey Lewis, Gwyneth Paltrow and Scott Speedman)
April 2, 1989 |
"I've been a 17-year-old aerobics instructor; I've been a 95-year-old woman recovering from a stroke; I've been the worst, most greedy and disgusting sort of 30-year-old yuppie imaginable - who has a better life than I do?" exults Tracey Ullman. Now in its second full season, Fox Broadcasting's The Tracey Ullman Show (Channel 29, Sundays at 9:30 p.m.) remains one of the most unpredictable of all television shows. Tuning in, you never know where the British-born Ullman is going to pop up or who she'll be portraying.
January 27, 2005 |
In their approach to the sins of apartheid, many writers have preferred to focus on whites stricken by conscience rather than black victims of an invidious system. While this perspective has allowed novelists and dramatists to consider some rich and taxing moral dilemmas, it has always carried at least the suggestion of condescension. Pamela Gien's The Syringa Tree, which opened Tuesday at the Arden Theatre in a Philadelphia premiere, is a demanding solo piece that takes a different tack.
December 15, 1990 |
In Hollywood, where most directors fight to get their name above the title, Martin Ritt let the characters star. The filmmaker, who died last Saturday at the age of 76, was survived by his wife, Adele; his daughter, Martina Ritt Werner; his son, Michael, and some indelible characters named Hud, Norma Rae, and Stanley and Iris, not to mention a hound called Sounder. Martin Ritt was a sturdy, bullnecked guy who resembled the gruffest of bookies and spoke like the gentlest of scholars.