January 22, 2013 |
Hipster history. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson , a rock musical by Alex Timbers and Philadelphia's Michael Friedman, was a huge success in New York. But the Plays & Players production feels as flat as cowpie; what excitement there was at Sunday's performance felt forced, and despite the young audience, there were few laughs and fewer shrieks. Daniel Student's direction seemed slow and flaccid; the slacker delivery sounded as if cast members had barely memorized their lines. Jamison Foreman leads the onstage band, although there isn't a memorable song in the show's 2½ hours.
January 18, 2013 |
LANCE ARMSTRONG was light on the details and didn't name names, but he confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France during an interview with Oprah Winfrey , reversing more than a decade of denial. He mused that he might not have been caught if not for his comeback in 2009. And he was certain his "fate was sealed" when longtime friend, training partner and trusted lieutenant George Hincapie , who was along for the ride on all seven of Armstrong's Tour de France wins from 1999-2005, was forced to give him up to anti-doping authorities.
January 18, 2013 |
With Irish accents you could make a meal of, the Lantern Theater production of Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane , under director Kathryn MacMillan's sharp eye and steady hand, is an unqualified triumph. Like all of McDonagh's early plays, Beauty Queen takes place in rural Ireland, and it is as much about the place as it is about the people who inhabit it: extreme personalities, desperate and needy, longing for escape, filled with spite. Often his characters are violent, stuffed with irrational self-justifications, and mostly these characters are men. Here the difference is that the characters are women, and they are locked in vicious combat.
January 10, 2013 |
Penn State's efforts to restore its integrity got a boost last week from Bill O'Brien, who announced his intention to return as the Nittany Lions' head football coach next season. O'Brien had reportedly heard overtures from several NFL teams, including the Eagles. But O'Brien's announcement came just as Gov. Corbett was giving Penn State another black eye by suing the NCAA over its harsh sanctions against the university. Corbett and O'Brien's respective decisions say much about the character of each man, as well as the difficulty of restoring Penn State's tarnished reputation.
January 4, 2013
By Kathy Brennan When I heard there would be a third season of Downton Abbey , I thought about doing one of those heel clicks, like the leprechaun who finds Lucky Charms magically delicious. (Only fear of what it would do to my tennis game kept me earthbound.) And when I heard it wouldn't begin until this weekend, I realized I had something to look forward to during the most dismal time of year. Like life in Narnia, January in Philadelphia is always winter but never Christmas.
January 3, 2013
Harry Carey Jr., 91, a familiar face in such John Ford classics as She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and The Searchers, as well as scores of other movies and television shows, from Perry Mason to B.L. Stryker, has died. Daughter Melinda Carey said he died last Thursday of natural causes surrounded by family at a hospice in Santa Barbara, Calif. "He went out as gracefully as he came in," she said. His career spanned more than 50 years. Later in life, he appeared in the movies Gremlins and Back to the Future Part III. While he lacked the leading-man stature of longtime friend John Wayne, his boyish looks and horse-riding skills earned him roles in many Ford films.
December 27, 2012 |
Charles Durning grew up in poverty, lost five of his nine siblings to disease, barely lived through D-Day, and was taken prisoner at the Battle of the Bulge. His hard life and wartime trauma provided the basis for a prolific 50-year career as a consummate Oscar-nominated character actor, playing everyone from a Nazi colonel to the pope to Dustin Hoffman's would-be suitor in Tootsie . Mr. Durning, who died Monday at age 89 in New York, got his start as an usher at a burlesque theater in Buffalo.
December 14, 2012
IN FIVE AREA theaters, "The Hobbit," will be exhibited in a new format designed to improve the movie's 3-D presentation. It's called 48 frames per second, which refers to the speed at which individual frames are projected on the screen. It's twice the traditional rate, and it gives the movie hyper-clarity compared with 24 frames per second, the standard since the dawn of the industry and art form. Tech-savvy directors like Peter Jackson like the faster speed because it gives them the ability to do more things when working in 3-D and using computer-generated images.
December 12, 2012
* THE HOUR. 9 p.m. Wednesday, BBC America. ACTORS IN period pieces often crow (or complain) about the costumes or the hairstyles, but one of the biggest adjustments Dominic West ("The Wire") had to make to play a 1950s TV newsman in BBC America's "The Hour" was to his attitude. Early on, "I made the mistake of adopting some of the interview style and attitude of more modern interviewers . . . TV interviews have developed enormously over the last 40 years and I hadn't quite taken that onboard," West said in an interview this past summer.
December 6, 2012 |
Leo Tolstoy was a fashionista. They don't teach you that in Comparative Lit class. But just leaf through his 1870s masterpiece, Anna Karenina , and you'll come across enough detail on rosettes and lace sleeves that you'd think he was a judge on Project Runway. And then there's velvet. Don't get him started on velvet. Flip to Chapter 22 for a memorable ballroom scene in which he dresses Anna in "a black, low-cut, velvet gown, showing her full throat and shoulders, that looked as though carved in old ivory, and her rounded arms, with tiny, slender wrists.