HERE'S WHAT'S NEW:
"I want any kid who is watching to know that your biggest may turn into your purpose."
- Ari'el Stachel, Best Featured Actor in a Musical - The Band's Visit
"Just because you are a minority doesn't mean you're only meant to play roles that are a minority."
-Lindsay Mendez, Best Featured Actress in a Musical - Carousel
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
ENTER TO WIN TICKETS TO HANDS ON A HARDBODY BY 7PM TONIGHT!
- Cinderella played 8 preview performances
- Manilow on Broadway played 5 performances
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? played 7 performances
- Ann played 7 preview performances
- Cinderella played 8 preview performances
- Hands on a Hardbody played 1 preview performance
- Manilow on Broadway played 5 performances
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? played 7 performances
02.11 - 02.18
02.19 - 02.24
|Cat on a Hot Tin Roof||Play Revival||30||10||46||14 tie||12|
|Chicago||Musical Revival||36||12 tie||46||14 tie||13|
|Hands on a Hardbody||Musical||-||n/a||55||20||22|
|Jersey Boys||Musical||29||9||33||9 tie||9|
|Mamma Mia!||Musical||36||12 tie||53||19||15|
|Manilow on Broadway||Solo||45||15 tie||38||11 tie||14|
|Mary Poppins||Musical||33||11||33||9 tie||10|
|Nice Work If You Can Get It||Musical||45||15 tie||50||17||17|
|Rock of Ages||Musical||16||5||24||6||6|
|Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark||Musical||23||7||38||11 tie||8|
|The Book of Mormon||Musical||2||1||4||1||1|
|The Lion King||Musical||6||2 tie||12||3||2|
|The Mystery of Edwin Drood||Musical Revival||55||21||66||23||21|
|The Other Place||Play||46||17||52||18||18|
|The Phantom of the Opera||Musical||39||14||29||8||11|
|Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?||Play Revival||56||22||60||22||20|
|Wicked||Musical||6||2 tie||13||4 tie||3|
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Review of the matinee performance on Saturday, February 23 at Signature Theatre in Virginia (at the Max Theatre). Starring Rex Daugherty, Jefferson Farber, Patrick Foley and Joel David Santner. Adapted and directed by Joe Calarco. 2 hours, 20 minutes including intermission.
The title of the show at Virginia's Signature Theatre is Shakespeare's R + J. It suggests that we will be seeing is some sort of take on Romeo and Juliet. If it were to be a straight forward production, Romeo and Juliet would suffice, and there wouldn't be the fancy "Shakespeare's" as part of the title - I mean who doesn't know who wrote the play about the star-crossed lovers? As an adaptation of the classic tragedy, this play is mostly successful. What is good about this production is very good, excellent even. It is the framing device - full of potential to add something to the same old story so often told - that brings what could have been a thoroughly thrilling piece of theatre down to an occasionally exciting one.
|Discovering Romeo and Juliet|
Also in its favor is that director/adapter Joe Calarco has reduced the original text to its most violent and sexually charged scenes - the boys delighted by the sword play and death, and turned on by the sexy stuff. They even giggle and absent-mindedly touch themselves when scouring the pages for any hint of smut (lines about "bosoms," "naked tools drawn," and the lot play heavily in each re-enacted scene). Who knew just how dirty this play is? Leave it to four horny teenagers devouring forbidden fruit to bring it down to its most base elements. It also works for the audience - gone are the extraneous scenes and chit-chat used to keep the seats at the Globe full for a full day.
Even as I re-read this, it sounds like R + J is awesome in every way. But what makes it sound so great is also its biggest downfall. You see, despite a few interruptions (the new school day starting, an occasional clanging in the distance or imagined footsteps) which result in a quick straightening of the school tie and hiding of the book, there is really nothing ever at stake here. Just how forbidden is reading this book? Why? What is the punishment? Expulsion? Detention? Anything? Even as the boys become more lost in the language and action, there is nothing to even really remind us that there's anything to lose here. Ah, but there are those interruptions. They serve not as reminders of impending danger or even how far the boys have come. Instead, they stop any momentum. The lack of intensity makes the entire conceit do the opposite of its intention. Instead of making us care about the boys AND Romeo and Juliet, it puts a certain distance between audience and play and play. We are talking about one of the greatest love stories ever told, one that, no matter how much we've seen it before, we are supposed to become emotionally invested, brought to tears whether they are Romeo and Juliet, Tony and Maria, or Student 1 and Student 2.
|Romeo/Student 1 kisses Juliet/Student 2|
Part of what also takes some of the heat out of this version is that it doesn't have the same shock value it probably had some 16 years ago when it was first presented. That heat would have added a layer danger and an element that might have made us care just a bit more about the kids playing the parts and the parts themselves. That element - two boys discovering their sexual awakening together, kissing, making love - is just not shocking any more. As it is now, the interesting thing is that an all-male cast plays all the parts, not that the forbidden text has led to forbidden love. More distance, as we marvel only that each actor navigates several roles exceptionally well, not the emotional heft of it. There is one scene that hints at what could have been - tense, passionate and a cross-breeding of the conceit and the text of the play. At one point in act two, as Juliet is becoming an emotional wreck, two of the other students start beating the boy playing her. They punch, kick, hit him with the book, and in a final act of violence tear his pants down. He immediately covers his genitals. Has Juliet been unsexed? Are we reminded that a boy is playing the part for any reason? And perhaps more prescient - have we just witnessed a gay-bashing by two boys who suddenly realize just how far this has all gone, causing them to reassert their masculinity? That the Romeo and Juliet scene continues without pause is interesting and thought-provoking. And it is the only really high-stakes moment that makes you care at all what happens to these four.
|Juliet and the Nurse share a tender moment|
(Rex Daugherty, seated, and Jefferson Farber)
Second, Calarco's direction has an often breath-taking theatricality to it. It is remarkable to watch the four actors reconfigure themselves to create visual meaning to go along with the words they are speaking. It is often amazing to watch as a small chest and two chairs create a seemingly endless change in locale. There are six important props - the book, four flashlights and a long red scarf. Ah, that long red scarf - an endless source of fascination without ever being a distraction. At times, it is sewing material, a conjugal bed, a barrier between foes, and most spectacularly, it is the sword fighting that happens throughout the story. Yes, you read that right, sword fighting. I couldn't possibly explain it correctly, and yet that is exactly what it is.
|The Red Scarf as turmoil|
(Joel Davis Santner as Lord Montague)
|The Red Scarf: A quiet moment in the Capulet house|
(L to R: Daugherty as Nurse, Joel David Santner as
Lady Capulet, and Jefferson Farber as Juliet)
And there are the production elements that celebrate all things theatrical. There's James Kronzer's gorgeous wooden in-the-round platform that works in tandem with Chris Lee's provocative lighting effects, both of which work with Matt Rowe's superb sound design (including music and vocal effects by composer Gabriel Mangiante). They are all amazing, but there are moments that tickle all of my theatrical senses. Case in point: as the characters (and the boys playing them) reach new levels of sexual awakening, they are surrounded by streams of mist that end in points of light that literally frame the stage, trapping them inside. Later, as Romeo and Juliet bring their love to the physical, the stage is literally framed by points of light in the form of flickering candles. The symbolic becomes physically real, simply and excitingly. Those moments remind me of why I love live theatre.
But really and truly, the best part of the production is the cast. These four actors are gifted Shakespearean actors. They are also brimming with youthful vitality (though they are all clearly much older than high school) and each conveys that awkward masculinity brought about by those first sexual feelings in conflict with those last days of boyhood abandon. Rex Daugherty and Joel David Santner play the supporting roles - mining the comedy out of the Nurse (Daugherty), the holiness of Friar Laurence (Santner), and the intensity of the warring parents (both), among others. Patrick Foley (an understudy, though you'd never be able to tell it from his performance) brings a youthful exuberance to Romeo, playing each moment of his spectacular mood swings with precision and reality. But it is Jefferson Farber, as Juliet, who threatens to steal the whole show from the rest. His conflict, his emotions, his sorrow are all on point and combine to make a riveting performance.
It is important to note, too, that both Foley and Farber nail the emotional connection between Romeo and Juliet AND Student 1 and Student 2. When they both finally give in to the romance, the line between Romeo and Juliet and R + J is blurred in an exhilarating way. I'm guessing that this is what all involved hope that the whole thing is. Would that it were.
(Thanks to Mike for talking this through with me. Our post-show chats really make going to shows together the best experiences.)
Photos by Teresa Wood
Monday, February 25, 2013
THINGS THAT MADE ME HAPPY THIS WEEK!
PASEK AND PAUL ARE BACK! One of my favorite shows of this season so far, Dogfight didn't transfer or even extend (again), which really saddened me. But this week, Ghostlight Records/Sh-K-Boom announced at last that the inventive and enjoyable score would at last be preserved in an original cast recording! Yippee!
REPLACEMENT-MANIA! The Good: In what has to be an improvement, the hilarious Jane Lynch is replacing the less than funny Katie Finneran in Annie. Congratulations on moving up the Best Revival scale just a tad... The Interesting: The only real reason to see Nice Work If You Can Get It, Kelli O'Hara is leaving the show. A reason to consider a return visit is replacing her... Drood's Jessie Mueller joins the cast soon. Seeing her star continue to rise makes me happy. Will the show last past June 15th, when Matthew Broderick leaves the show? More on him in a sec... The Ugly: Did you hear? Shia LaBeouf left the Broadway play Orphans officially due to "artistic differenes." That, apparently, wasn't enough for young LaBeouf, though. He took to Twitter to publish private e-mails... Baldwin may be difficult, but he has proven himself. Does Transformers really make you an accomplished Thespian? Anyway, Ben Foster will be making his debut, not LaBeouf (I love typing that name...).
MATT PULLS A PATTI! I'd have loved to have been a fly on the wall of the Imperial Theatre the other night when Matthew Broderick stopped the show to call out a guy who was filming the show. Good for him - who knew the King of Awkward Goobers had the balls? (OK, he gets points for being married to Carrie Bradshaw...) I have to admit that this would have been in the "sad" column if I wanted Nice Work in my bootleg collection...LOL
THINGS THAT MADE ME SAD THIS WEEK...
UGH...AGAIN? ALREADY?... It was inevitable. And I even understand it. And I know I'll go see it (I hear Javert's death is spectacular). But ANOTHER revival of Les Miserables? Really? Another 3 hours I'll never get back...
BROADWAY PRESENT: NOT HAPPENING... It never makes me happy when shows don't make it. It's not really a surprise, as neither show has much buzz (what show does this season?) So, The Miss Firecracker Contest with Amber Tamblyn, directed by Judith Ivey, is not happening "this season." And neither is The Velocity of Autumn with Estelle Parsons and Stephen Spinella. The potential star quality is a definite loss. But does anybody care? Will there be enough plays to fill the Best Play/Best Play Revival Tony categories?
ONE LAST TIME... Shia LaBeouf!
Sunday, February 24, 2013
After an acclaimed run at LaJolla Playhouse, Hands on a Hardbody has arrived on Broadway! And now here’s your chance to get your hands on a pair of tickets! But you have to act FAST! Check out all the details below, then enter to win by Wednesday, February 27 at 7PM!
ABOUT THE SHOW AND ITS CREATORS
- Website: http://www.handsonahardbody.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HardbodyMusical
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/HardbodyMusical
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/hardbodymusical
- YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/HardbodyMusical
- Two tickets to Hands on a Hardbody on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
- The winner will receive a voucher redeemable for two tickets to any Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday performance March 4 - 28, 2013. (Offer excludes Thursday, March 21.)
- Answer the following 5 questions.
- Put the answers (Letter AND Answer, Ex. B. Angela Lansbury) in an email with HARDBODY CONTEST in the subject heading and send it to email@example.com. Include your name and location.
- Entries will be accepted until 7PM on Wednesday, February 27. One entry per email address. Duplicates will be disqualified.
THE FINE PRINT
- One entry per email address. Duplicates will be disqualified.
- If you won a contest from this blog for tickets to any shows this season (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Old Jews Telling Jokes, The Heiress, Scandalous, Chaplin, Peter and the Starcatcher, Golden Boy, Dead Accounts, Nice Work If You Can Get It or Orphans) you are NOT eligible to win this contest.
- JK's TheatreScene is not responsible for late or lost entries.
- JK's TheatreScene is not responsible for changes in casting, seats received by the winner, cancelled or missed performances.
- Following the complete rules for collecting the prize is the sole responsibility of the winner.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Now, he talks about his experience at Clemson University.
|One crucial decision: what song do I audition with?|
|Inside the Brooks Center: Drink a lot|
|Brooks Center at Clemson University|
Friday, February 22, 2013
Remember, that "HOT" isn't just about looks. It's also about talent and that "it factor." "HOT" is more than a pretty face! When you vote this week, be sure to use the scroll bar to move down the poll, and click "DONE" after BOTH polls to make your vote count! The polls follow the pictures of the cast, and will close on Thursday, February 28 at 7PM.
Polls After Pictures: Male and Female Members:
Vote "HOT" for as many or as few as YOU like.
BE SURE YOU CLICK "DONE" AT THE BOTTOM OF BOTH POLLS.
NOTE: THERE ARE MALE ENSEMBLE MEMBERS IN BOTH PARTS,
SO BE SURE TO CONSIDER ALL OF THEM!