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Thread: Broadway Questions and Recommendations

  1. #136
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Saw Martin McDonagh's new play "A Behanding in Spokane" yesterday at the 3rd preview performance; it opens March 7 and is a limited run, playing only through April.

    Christopher Walken is an acting god.

    If you like dark humor, and find multiple use of the F-Bomb funny, see it by all means.

  2. #137
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    I saw "The Pride" at the Lucille Lortel Theater in Greenwich Village (Off-Broadway) last night. The show had some of the very best actingI have seen in a while. Ben Winshaw was absolutely riveting in his role.

    It was a good show with a story that was both thought-provoking and illustrative. I think it runs through tomorrow night.

  3. #138
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    I saw Green Day's "American Idiot" on Broadway.

    I definitely recommend it. With the exception of some less than stellar choreography, I thought it was great. I think there needs to be some final touches added to the sound and a greater articulation of the lyrics by the cast. Rock music makes that a real challenge.

    Overall, I think this is going to be huge when it opens. Get your tickets now.

    (Toby Maguire and Viggo Mortenson were in attendance - they loved it too).

  4. #139

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider View Post
    (Toby Maguire and Viggo Mortenson were in attendance - they loved it too).
    Were they giving out autographs?

  5. #140
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    Nope. They came, saw the show, and left.

  6. #141
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    I saw the much acclaimed revival of South Pacific on Tuesday. While it was very good, I simply do not understand all the hype for this production. It's is a Rogers & Hammerstein classic with some famous/memorable songs - but it didn't make me yearning for more. Rather, it made me glad that I saw this and provided more of a foundation for my understanding the history of musical theater.

  7. #142

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    BrooklyRider wrote: "..it made me glad that I saw this and provided more of a foundation for my understanding the history of musical theater."

    I think that's an important part of it seeing a show like that. You have to approach seeing it knowing that it's dated and that it can never have the impact today that it had just after the war.

    I think the original leads in the revival created a lot of the interest too. It's a hard show to cast... so maybe the current replacements are not as good as could be.

    For me it would be enough to hear those songs sung well, in their context and with a full orchestra... but the book is very dated.

    ----

    Listen to Mandy Patinkin singing "Younger Than Springtime"... When R&H wrote this, they had a direct line from God:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ii465lXLp8w

  8. #143
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    The male leads were excellent. The female: so-so. After seeing Hair, American Idiot, Spring Awakening, Rent and the other "modern musicals", it was refreshing to hear Broadway tunes sung by trained Broadway voices.

    The show did have a full 30-piece orchestra, which is very, very rare these days.

    In those respects, it was top-notch.

  9. #144

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    Has anyone seen "The Miracle Worker" starring Abigail Breslin? I believe it's a new show and is supposed to be very good. Any opinions?

  10. #145

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    the one with Matthew Modine in it?

  11. #146
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    THe Miracle Worker (with Modine) closed fairly quickly after receiving tepid reviews.

  12. #147

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    Whoops. Thank you lofter.

  13. #148
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    I saw "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" at The Public Theater last night. It is getting great reviews and has been extended. I encourage everyone to see it. It's funny, sharp, and the lead guy is very engaging. I'd be surprised if this doesn't find its way to Broadway.

    NY Times Review:

    April 7, 2010
    THEATER REVIEW | 'BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON'
    Old Hickory, Rock Star President

    By BEN BRANTLEY

    Ladies and gentlemen, the seventh president of the United States is here to take a firsthand look at you the people, and he thinks you’re really hot. You feel the same way about him, right? You’re going to shake, rattle and roll when he makes you the ultimate promise, the one you truly want to hear from anyone who aspires to lead your nation: He solemnly swears to give you the best sex you’ve ever had.

    Thus does the man known as Old Hickory, poured into a pair of tight black jeans and fiercely embodied by a microphone-riding Benjamin Walker, take the stage in the rowdy, dopey and devastatingly shrewd “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” which opened on Tuesday night at the Public Theater. Produced there last spring in a concert version, Alex Timbers’s and Michael Friedman’s emo-rock musical — which makes the case that this country’s relationship with its president is always deeply and irrationally personal — has returned to stake a claim as the most entertaining and most perceptive political theater of the season.

    Directed by Mr. Timbers, a founder of the professionally smart-aleck troupe Les Freres Corbusier, “Bloody Bloody” presents a wild and wooly chapter in American history that feels anything but distant. After all, it was widespread distrust of a government perceived as self-serving and elitist that put the maverick (that word!) Jackson in the White House in 1829.

    “Sometimes you have to take back the country,” carols the crowd that throngs around Jackson in “Bloody Bloody,” reprising the song that opens the show, “Populism, Yea, Yea,” one of Mr. Friedman’s rousing, nose-thumbing anthems in the ironically sincere (or sincerely ironic) style known as emo. The people here may be drinking white lightning, but make no mistake: this is a tea party.

    Don’t assume, though, that “Bloody Bloody” is a satire of a single contemporary political phenomenon. When I saw the show last May, it was the grass-roots campaign of Barack Obama that first came to mind. What Mr.
    Timbers and Mr. Friedman are examining is a fierce emotionalism in American politics that transcends party lines and has existed for centuries. Though the United States may have been founded on the rational principles of the Enlightenment, this show suggests that what really makes it run — then and now — is the crazy, mixed-up energy of enduring adolescence.

    Idealism, resentment, a short attention span, a fear of being perpetually misunderstood and a ravenous sense of entitlement are mixed together here in one big, gawky, sexually charged package: America, the eternal teenager. And who better to lead this restless, appetite-driven creature than a red-blooded rock star?

    Using emo as the musical manifestation of this spirit was an inspired choice. That genre (short for “emotional hardcore”) is both primal and stylized, ardent and self-mocking. That’s always been the tone of Les Freres Corbusier, too, the company behind “A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant,” which set a religion’s tenets to songs performed by a preadolescent cast, and “Hell House,” an unwinking re-creation of a Christian fundamentalist Halloween fright show.

    Mr. Timbers is rarely only a parodist. There are curiosity and empathy beneath the sardonic pose. And those traits have never been more effectively put to use than in “Bloody Bloody,” which traces Jackson’s road from a backwoods boyhood to his fraught tenures as a land-snatching, Indian-slaughtering general and president.

    As the irresistible Mr. Walker plays him, Old Hickory is a petulant, impulsive outsider with a sulky charisma that makes members of his electorate say they want to have his baby. He’s a man so enamored of the ecstasy of his own pain that he and the woman he notoriously wooed and wedded, the already married Rachel (Maria Elena Ramirez), take to cutting themselves ritually as a bond of love.

    The show employs many familiar staples of hip quick-sketch comedy. There’s an uptight schoolteacher narrator (Colleen Werthmann), set up to be knocked down; vignettes in which historic acts of violence are rendered as deadpan slapstick (loved that haunting variation on the “Ten Little Indians” nursery song); scenes that recall recent voice-of-the-people campaign commercials; and revue numbers that present pompous political leaders in the style of a Hasty Pudding chorus doing the Spice Girls.

    Yet the enthusiasm, impudence and heat that infuse much of Mr. Friedman’s music (the show pays specific homage to the emo band Dashboard Confessional) feels as real as the loopy comedy. Though the deft and daft cast members would all seem to be past college age, their performances have the sensibility of a precocious, conflicted 14-year-old who can say what he really wants to only by pretending that he doesn’t mean it.

    In other words, “Bloody Bloody” manages to be a goofy delight and a perversely affecting comment on the American temperament at the same time. Running wild through Donyale Werle’s preposterously overcrowded set, replete with dusty emblems of Americana and specimens of taxidermy, the ensemble conjures the sass of smart, stoned, unchaperoned kids let loose in the Smithsonian. (Emily Rebholz did the droll, era-scrambling costumes.)

    But there’s careful strategy within the anarchy. The production has been intelligently tightened since I first saw it, though it still allows for improvisational looseness. And its last third, which portrays the hangover of the Jackson presidency after the intoxication of his campaign, is much more of a piece with the show as a whole. (A protracted, reproachful Trail of Tears pageant has now wisely been condensed to a fleeting tableau.)

    His eyes rimmed in waterproof black liner, Mr. Walker leads this buoyant journey into the past — which really isn’t so past, after all — with a piquant air of aggressive defensiveness. This Jackson wears the chips on his shoulder as if they were epaulets, and he moves like a self-charmed snake. He’s every inch the everyman rock star, the “celebrity of the first rank” that he says the United States requires. And though he looks absolutely nothing like Barack Obama, George W. Bush or Sarah Palin, you’ll catch unsettling glimpses of all those famous faces in Mr. Walker’s own.

    BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON

    Written and directed by Alex Timbers; music and lyrics by Michael Friedman; sets by Donyale Werle; costumes by Emily Rebholz; lighting by Justin Townsend; sound by Bart Fasbender; music director, Justin Levine; choreography by Danny Mefford; fight director, Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum; associate artistic director, Mandy Hackett; associate producer, Jenny Gersten; director of production, Ruth E. Sternberg. Presented by the Public Theater, Oskar Eustis, artistic director; Andrew D. Hamingson, executive director; and Center Theater Group in association with Les Freres Corbusier. At the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place, East Village; (212) 967-7555. Through April 24. Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes.

    WITH: River Aguirre (Lyncoya), James Barry (Male Soloist), Michael Crane (Clay), Michael Dunn (Calhoun), Greg Hildreth (Red Eagle), Jeff Hiller (Adams), Lucas Near-Verbrugghe (Van Buren), Maria Elena Ramirez (Rachel), Kate Cullen Roberts (Elizabeth), Ben Steinfeld (Monroe), Benjamin Walker (Andrew Jackson), Colleen Werthmann (The Storyteller) and Emily Young (Female Soloist).

  14. #149
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    I saw "Next Fall" last night (Tony nominated for Best Play).

    It was excellent with strong writing and soaring emotions - from belly laughs to poignant moments.

    It poses some very provocative questions that are incredibly germaine to these times we live in. I haven't seen "Red" but, of the Tony nominated plays, I thought this was better than "Time Stands Still" which was excellent as well.

  15. #150
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    I saw A Behanding at Spokane tonight. Christopher Walken was amazing to behold and Sam Rockwell was brilliant. I loved the show. It's another solid piece from Martin McDonaugh.

    I'm not quite sure why it didn't get any recognition from the Tony's. It closes June 6th, so I urge you to see it now.

    (We sat behind John Turturo!).
    Last edited by BrooklynRider; May 29th, 2010 at 06:35 PM.

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