May 24, 2012 |
BEBE NEUWIRTH doesn't do the fluffy stuff. Neuwirth's stance makes sense to anyone who only knows her as Lilith, the icy, monotone psychiatrist and eventual wife of Kelsey Grammer's Frasier Crane — the iconic role that made Neuwirth famous on the beloved sitcom "Cheers. " But it means something different when it comes to compiling songs for her cabaret-style shows, like the one which Neuwirth will perform tonight at the Prince Music Theater, "Stories with Piano #3. " For those shows, the fluffy stuff means the songs that Neuwirth doesn't deem emotionally hefty enough.
January 27, 2012 |
Let's make one thing clear: The Scottsboro Boys is not a minstrel show. It's a musical, yes, the last by John Kander and the late Fred Ebb (book by David Thompson). It revives the characters and conventions of minstrelsy - there's even a tap dance - and it's plenty entertaining. But the difference is, this tale about a very real miscarriage of justice uses every element of the minstrel form, including that gruesome tap dance, performed before an electric chair, to highlight the viciousness and humiliations of racism.
December 2, 2011 |
Ten years ago, golden-voiced Broadway favorite Audra McDonald helped open the Kimmel Center; on Wednesday night she returned to help celebrate its first decade. Elegant in an asymmetrical gown, she delivered a concert largely drawn from the songbook of American musicals. Her appearance was the last stop on a 20-city tour. It was to have been the first, but her Oct. 1 appearance was postponed due to a short-lived labor dispute between the Kimmal and union workers. "It wasn't me - I was ready to come!"
May 8, 2010 |
"I can't pay the rent!" "You must pay the rent!" "I'll pay the rent!" The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), a deliciously witty entertainment at the Walnut Street Theatre's Independence Studio, begins with that parodic tip of the bowler both to silent movies and to Beckett ("I can't go on. " "You must go on. " "I'll go on"). Brush up your Broadway, then go enjoy yourself at this homage to/parody of all the Big Musicals. The rent plot becomes the pivot of five musicalized variations: What will ingenue June do?
December 20, 2007 |
By its very nature, a musical revue requires not only good voices, but that cabaret quality of both intimacy and drama: Make every song a scene, create a context to replace the missing context of the show the song was plucked from. The 11th Hour Theatre Company, performing the Kander and Ebb compendium The World Goes 'Round at Walnut Studio 5, meets the challenge in novel ways, giving us a terrific first act - sometimes funny, sometimes moving - although after intermission things seem to come apart.
March 28, 2006 |
When Judy Garland was Liza Minnelli's age, she'd been dead 13 years. But both blazed intense-yet-truncated careers - which were over, essentially, by their early 30s. Garland died in 1969; her movie career had all but ended 15 years earlier. Her daughter's best film work was completed by 1977, with New York, New York. Minnelli turned 60 this month, quite an achievement, considering she's lived faster and more exuberantly than most performers. It can't be easy being a second-generation drag icon, the daughter of two Hollywood titans who perfected the Technicolor musical.
July 15, 2005 |
Bebe Neuwirth's intention, for her Philadelphia Orchestra debut on Wednesday, is to probe the intense drama in master songs by Kurt Weill and the team of John Kander and the late Fred Ebb. A two-time Tony winner for her Broadway appearances in "Sweet Charity" and "Chicago" and a veteran of more than 20 films, Neuwirth, a Princeton, N.J., native, has also appeared on 10 television shows, including "Law and Order: Trial By Jury" and, of course, as...
November 17, 1993 |
John Kander and Fred Ebb, the men who write the songs, are for the moment playing and singing them. While a photographer is shooting, Kander flamboyantly bangs away at the piano and Ebb taps on his old Smith-Corona typewriter and lustily, if not very melodically, belts out I Could Have Danced All Night. That song, of course, belongs to Lerner and Loewe, not Kander and Ebb, but more to the point than why they aren't singing their own stuff is the question: Do these guys behave like this when they are really writing songs?
November 5, 1993 |
The background for The World Goes 'Round, the musical revue that the Philadelphia Theatre Company is producing, consists of blown-up dictionary pages focusing on definitions for such words as composer, melody, lyric and jazz. These nouns are, of course, pertinent to the show, which presents the tunes of the Broadway musical team of composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb. For pertinent words to describe the show itself, I would reach for effusive adjectives. Terrific and wonderful are two that come immediately to mind, and I think the audience that gave this superb entertainment a standing ovation at Wednesday's opening at Plays & Players Theater would agree.
March 3, 1993 |
The delights and revelations tumble forth so generously in The World Goes 'Round, the exhilarating revue that runs through Sunday at the Playhouse Theatre, that you scarcely know where to begin reprising them. There's Shelley Dickinson, for openers, in a lovingly pensive rendition of "My Coloring Book. " There's Joel Blum in the wistful "Mr. Cellophane," the nebbish's ode to invisibility. There's Marin Mazzie turning an up-tempo statement into a down-home blues in "How Lucky Can You Get. " There are Dickinson and Mazzie as (1)