January 3, 2014
AS NOTED here last week, one of the biggest news stories of 2013 was the announcement that the Barrymore Awards, this region's answer to the Tonys, were being revived. So, we figured we'd kick off 2014 with an update on the citation program named in honor of the Barrymore family, the Philly-bred brood that reigned over several generations of local and national theater (and is still represented in show-biz circles by Drew Barrymore , granddaughter of the legendary John Barrymore )
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)
July 31, 2010 |
A young bon vivant carrying $25,000 in gambling winnings thinks he has killed a New York cabbie in a brawl and flees on the next boat. He ends up on the remote Central American isle of San Mañana, where he is installed as the American consul. That's the plot of The Dictator - a farce, and pretty far-fetched even for that theatrical genre. In the spring of 1904 it lasted 64 performances on Broadway, a good enough run in those days to be revived with the same cast, including John Barrymore, for another month later the same year.
June 22, 2010 |
You can find cotton candy at lots of places down the Shore, but the theatrical cotton candy at Cape May Stage - in the form of Paul Rudnick's play called I Hate Hamlet - is different. Bite into it, and somewhere inside, a hidden lump of fine chocolate will surprise you. Rudnick, whose plays include Jeffrey and whose wit often finds its way into the New Yorker, at first glance offers us some pleasant, unremarkable fluff in his 1991 play about a popular TV actor with inch-deep experience on the stage.
October 2, 2007 |
The Arden Theatre Company's production of Caroline, or Change, and the Walnut Street Theatre's Of Mice and Men led the 13th annual Barrymore Awards last night as outstanding musical and play, respectively, each capturing three awards. The Walnut Street Theatre, returning to the Barrymores after not participating since 2002, led with five awards overall in a ceremony where the honors were spread around to more than a dozen shows. There were no sweeps, no oddball surprises. For the first time, the gala (red carpet and all)
February 23, 2005 |
You'd think theater critic and artistic director Robert Brustein would be sick of actors by now. After all, he's spent nearly 60 years rubbing elbows and egos with them - and has overseen the grooming of some of this country's finest players: Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken, Sigourney Weaver, Sam Waterston and Tony Shalhoub. Still, it's got to wear thin. Not so, says the semiretired Brustein, who remains a quiet force in the American theater. "Actors are highly sympathetic human beings - which is ironic because they can be highly narcissistic - but there's something about the actor's heart," said Brustein, in Manhattan earlier this month to discuss his latest book.
May 15, 2001 |
Jason Miller, who in 1973 won a Pulitzer Prize as a playwright for That Championship Season and an Oscar nomination as an actor in The Exorcist, died of a heart attack Sunday in his hometown of Scranton. Over the last decade, Mr. Miller, 62, had mounted and directed several plays in Philadelphia, most notably a production of Inherit the Wind staged in a City Hall courtroom. His final local appearance was last fall as John Barrymore in Barrymore's Ghost, a one-man play about the famous actor that Mr. Miller also wrote.
September 19, 2000 |
In Barrymore's Ghost, John Barrymore returns from the dead to tell us about his life, and what he has to say about himself is so unrelentingly unfavorable, you wonder why he'd want anyone to know about it. Barrymore presents himself as a gifted actor who squandered his talents and sold out to Hollywood for fame and easy money. As a man, he was a rake and an out-of-control alcoholic whose several marriages were failures. Presumably, the famed thespian communicates with no one from his grave in Philadelphia's Mount Vernon Cemetery, but he's onstage at Theatre Double as conceived and performed by playwright/actor Jason Miller, whose Barrymore's Ghost is the latest in a series of one-man plays about the Great Profile.
March 31, 2000 |
The three were born over the course of three years in Philadelphia. Lionel Barrymore, won the Academy Award for best actor in 1932. Ethel Barrymore won an Oscar for best supporting actress in 1944. John Barrymore was acclaimed for his movie roles as a debonair leading man, but was best known for his flamboyant off-screen behavior. They celebrated the centenary of John Barrymore's birth the other night up in Broadway's Beacon Theater. I wish I had been there, because listening to John Barrymore stories is one of my two favorite pastimes.
March 6, 1997 |
John Barrymore raced recklessly through life, kicking off brilliant performances as an actor and miserable ones as a man. Some might say he got what he deserves: a scruffy hilltop in North Philadelphia and few visitors. But not everybody. "I'm appalled," said David Wren of Center City, local theater buff, newspaper reporter-turned-paralegal and fledgling novelist. "Being from Texas, I have to tell you, Lee Harvey Oswald's grave is in better shape," he said yesterday at the family plot in Mount Vernon Cemetery where Barrymore's ashes rest.