February 4, 2011 |
NEW YORK - The Metropolitan Opera has always been more a point of arrival than origination for singers - or repertoire such as John Adams' Nixon in China . So let's not get soapbox-y about the fact that this groundbreaking 1987 opera - about Richard Nixon's even more groundbreaking opening of relations with Communist China - only made its Met debut on Wednesday, and be glad that it was heartily embraced rather than suffering the fate of Carlisle Floyd's...
February 27, 1989
Some refer to it as the Budget Balancing Ballet. Every day for the past few months, a different troupe of dancers has been practicing pirouettes. Councilman John Street and Mayor Goode perform a pas de deux. Councilman Jim Tayoun performs an arabesque or two. Maestro Bill Donaldson directs the corps de ballet (otherwise known as the Mayor's Tax Policy and Budget Advisory Committee) in the finale of the first act by bringing down the curtain on the mayor's call for tax increases.
July 10, 2012 |
PRINCETON — "It is she who burned the baby!" Only in Verdi operas would such a sordid accusation appear in formal rhetoric, this line being sung in Il Trovatore, where stock characters, outlandish subplots, and well-worn music formulas vie for supremacy onstage. And though none of those elements has any right to win, Opera New Jersey delivered a compelling fusion of vocal art and blood-steeped melodrama at its Sunday opening at the McCarter Theater. But it took a while to get there.
October 15, 2011 |
In Bristol Riverside Theatre's production of William Luce's Barrymore , we meet Philly's own John Barrymore, "The Great Profile" - grandfather of Drew, sibling of Lionel and Ethel - a month before his death at 60. He staggers toward the final curtain of a career whose impact on stage and both silent and talking films ( Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , Grand Hotel ) was rivaled only by the self-destructive zeal with which he pursued women and alcohol. Luce's conceit (Barrymore hopes to reprise his Richard III and rents a theater for the night to run lines before an audience)
March 28, 1999 |
Say this for Patrick Marber: He's not afraid of a big symbolic gesture. Closer, his London hit that opened Thursday at the Music Box, consists of 12 scenes performed on a bare stage and divided by blackouts. In each blackout, the furnishings of the previous scene are gathered and dumped upstage. And there they sit, in an ever-growing jumble, as the play proceeds. Because they're often in shadow or veiled by a scrim, you may not really notice them until the curtain call. At that point, however, their parallel to what you've witnessed in the preceding two hours becomes abundantly clear.
January 8, 1993 |
Never eat at a place called Mom's, and never trust a play with a character named Boy. There's a character named Boy in Tiny Tim Is Dead, the Off-Broadway-bound creation that the Philadelphia Theatre Company is premiering through Jan. 24 at the Plays & Players Theater. He is impersonated by Chris Thomas, an adorable 7-year-old Philadelphian who wanders through the two hours of Barbara Lebow's play without saying a word. That puts him at a decided advantage over his fellow actors, who are asked to pronounce with a straight face such phrases as "ropes of sorrow as long as time.
May 4, 2007 |
Those savvy enough to have read last Friday's "Joe Sixpack" column found rare sympathy for Sir John Falstaff's boozy excesses. Though some may relate to Shakespeare's lecherous, obese, scheming and completely untrustworthy knight and his rascally crew of knaves, few would admit it. Yet the intensely serious Giuseppe Verdi came out of pastoral retirement at age 79 to write his only mature comedy about Sir John. Verdi, who loved Shakespeare, had become amused by Falstaff's escapades in "Henry IV" (Parts I and II)
November 30, 1986 |
The lights dim. Joan Blondell and a bevy of leggy chorines dance on screen at their Busby Berkeley best, toting their laundry baskets and singing about how they adore ironing shirts. The film is Dames and the year is 1934. But this is no mere nostalgia trip. This is the script for the National Organization for Women's 20th birthday party, a commemoration of two decades of the women's movement, a chronicle of battles fought to open the doors of men-only restaurants, to keep the skies friendly for flight attendants over 30 and to de-sex children's toys.
April 16, 1989 |
This year, Studio Y Players celebrated their bar mitzvah. The 13 years have been marked by unwavering support from the Klein Branch of the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Philadelphia, years in which Studio Y could boast a paid staff, four productions a year and big crowds. It has been the Northeast's most professional amateur theater troupe. Next season, however, the troupe will be cut back, and Studio Y will appear in a reduced form. The Klein Branch says that it can no longer pump money into the group, which has always operated with at least a $25,000-a-year deficit.
November 17, 1994 |
Very little that winter could lift Abbie Hoffman from his depression, and springtime brought no respite. On Monday, April 10, his younger brother, Jack, called with news about their mother's lymphoma. It had entered a grave stage. The doctors warned she might live no more than 30 days. Abbie listened, too quiet. "You can't leave me now," Jack said desperately. "You're the patriarch. " "Well," Abbie finally said, "maybe it's time you took charge. " They hung up. Jack occupied himself with business in his Framingham, Mass.