First, New York City had The Gates. Now, we have The Waterfalls. Created by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, 4 waterfalls were installed in the following locations:
Under the Brooklyn Bridge (on the Brooklyn Anchorage);
Between Brooklyn's piers 4 and 5 (west of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade);
Pier 35 in Manhattan (adjacent to South Street at Rutgers Street -north of the Manhattan Bridge);
and Governors Island (on the north shore)
The exhibit will run from 26 June through 13 October. It will be open from 7 AM until 10 PM, except Thursdays 9 AM to 10 PM. They will be softly lit at night. The project will run on green power and will protect aquatic life and the river.
(photo from NYTimes)
Last Saturday evening I went and saw the Off-Broadway musical SAVED from Playwright's Horizon. And as much as the critics said that it was a "sanitized" version of the cult movie from which it came from, making the adaptation tepid, I must say I truly enjoyed this show!
It's the story of Mary (Celia Keenan-Bolger), a popular girl in a Christian HS. She gets pregnant after sleeping with her boyfriend Dean (Aaron Tveit) who just revealed to her that he thinks he's gay. Mary tries to "help" him after seeing a vision of Jesus asking her to "be there for Dean, he needs you now". Clearly a misinterpretation huh? What follows is how people in her school reacts to this discovery. This includes her righteous best friend Hillary Faye (played by wonderfully by Mary Faber), Pastor Skip (John Dosset), her mom Lillian (played fabulously by Julia Murney) and the other kids: Roland (Curtis Holbrook), Patrick the pastor's son (Van Hughes) and the token Jew and bad girl, Cassandra (Morgan Weed). Oh and there's a subplot......Pastor Skip who is estranged from his wife has the hots for Mary's mom.......thus another dilemma.
Saved, although set in a Christian High School is a story of faith and not religion. It's the story of people losing and finding their spirituality in the face of adversity. Heavy topic isn't it? But the show is not preachy at all. In fact, it's light, very funny and quite enjoyable. There were a lot of funny lines and the audience that night seemed to enjoy it. The music was more in the pop vein however, I must say the lyrics need some work. I do love it though, that the show didn't tie everything up in a nice bow. It ended with the future of the characters uncertain but it was OK.....life is messy but it's OK.
The cast is fantastic......very energetic and enjoyed being onstage together. The standouts for me were Mary Faber, Curtis Holbrook (who did amazing wheelchair wheelie dancing tricks), Morgan Weed (great sarcastic line deliveries and what a rich voice) and Van Hughes (amazing voice).
However, I can't end this post without talking about Julia Murney......who incidentally got entrance applause that night. No not that "crazy screaming Wicked fangirl applause" but just a polite "glad you're back on stage applause". Anyway, it was a very different kind of singing from Wicked. You hear more of the softer, more mellow side of her voice in this show. She did get the best song I think......it's called "How To". It's a mother's lament on how to help her daughter find her faith back. The lyrics and the way she sings it gave me a lump on my throat. The audience was dead silent during that time and broke into a huge applause after. Also towards the end of the song, when she sings the line "a LOT OF JOOOYYYYyyyyy " she goes into a crescendo as if going to do a high belt but then would pull back on her voice....I love that! In the finale, where Mary is narrating the uncertain fate of the characters, Julia was sitting on a bench, stageright, not even the focus of the scene but you could totally see various emotions running through her face....turmoil, empathy, doubt as well as hope. Now isn't that just wonderful acting?
Here are some pics I took outside the theatre:
So last weekend I was back in NYC and caught the Saturday matinee of Curtains. It's my third time seeing the show and I just love it! Actually, I was choosing between that and Xanadu which I also have seen before and enjoyed immensely but Curtains is closing this Sunday so it won out.
Debra Monk was out and we had Patty Goble as Carmen Bernstein. She was good but I just felt that Ms. Monk delivers the comedic punchlines better and sharper. The whole cast was very good and very energetic. I just love watching the dances in this show particularly "Thataway" with Karen Ziemba, Noah Racey; the fantasy number "Tough Act To Follow" with David Hyde Pierce and Erin Davie and Megan Sikora in her Princess Kickapoo number.
So check out some of the pics I took at the stagedoor:
Oh yeah, after 3 tries I was able to get Noah to sign my Never Gonna Dance playbill. And BTW, I love that show. The first time (June 2007) I forgot to bring it with me, second one (April 2008) he wasn't there, so finally on my third time, he was there and signed it. Yay! I think he was surprised to see me holding it because he said "Oh my look at this!" He was really nice and chatted a bit about tap. I just told him that he makes it look so easy. Oh and the other sig on the playbill is Karen Ziemba.
It's free and will be held at the Solar One facility at 23rd st. by the East River, Manhattan's first green arts, education and energy center.
Here's a behind the scenes look with the cast of the Off-Broadway musical SAVED featuring Celia Keenan-Bolger, Mary Faber, Juliana Ashley Hansen and Julia Murney courtesy of Andrew Keenan-Bolger. Yes, Celia's brother.
Produced by Playwright's Horizon, the musical had a limited run through today. I saw it last night.....full review to follow.
Addendum: And here's another behind the scenes video from Broadway.com
The Tonys have come and gone.....in fact, it has been a few days (sorry for the late post) but I must say this must have been one of the more entertaining Tonys lately. The producers went back to the "host" format this year with Whoopi Goldberg keeping the flow going. I like the way she hosted the show and the little skits she did as characters in musicals that are currently playing on the great white way. She did Phantom, ACL, Little Mermaid, Spring Awakening but my favorite was her Mary Poppins bit in full costume and even flying. She comes in flying from the wings while singing "Just a Spoonful of Sugar". Laura Benanti in the audience was in stitches. It was hilarious....specially the "What the Hell" part!
The opening this year was The Lion King and whoa! Didn't that performance just give you goosebumps? Circle of Life is a great opener because it's a celebration........I guess in this case a coming together of people celebrating achievement in theatre. Towards the end of the show, they had the cast of RENT both current (or the last cast) and the Original Broadway Cast. A nice way to say goodbye to the show which is closing in September. It was quite enjoyable that there were more performances this time even from shows that were not nominated for best musical such as Little Mermaid, A Catered Affair and Young Frankenstein. On the down side, since more time were given to performances, the awards for Best Choreography and Best Book usually given during the regular broadcast was given earlier via webcast and TV viewers only saw highligts of those awards.
In terms of performances that night.....nobody beats La Lupone in Gypsy. Dame Patti sang "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and got a spontaneous standing O from the audience! Fantastic! Check out the clip above. My other favorite was Xanadu's Don't Walk Away which Lani posted below and Sunday in the Park with George.....because I've always like the lines:
Look at what you want, Not at where you are, Not at what you'll be..........AND
Anything you do, let it come from you, and it will be new, give us more to see.......
check out Jenna Russell and David Evans....so wonderful!
Congratulations to all the 62nd Tony Award-winners!
Play (and playwrights): "August: Osage County" (Tracy Letts)
Musical: "In the Heights"
Book-Musical: "Passing Strange" (Stew)
Original Score (music and/or lyrics): "In the Heights" (Music & Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda)
Revival-Musical: "South Pacific"
Actor-Play: Mark Rylance, "Boeing-Boeing"
Actress-Play: Deanna Dunagan, "August: Osage County"
Actor-Musical: Paulo Szot, "South Pacific"
Actress-Musical: Patti LuPone, "Gypsy"
Featured Actor-Play: Jim Norton, "The Seafarer"
Featured Actress-Play: Rondi Reed, "August: Osage County"
Featured Actor-Musical: Boyd Gaines, "Gypsy"
Featured Actress-Musical: Laura Benanti, "Gypsy"
Direction-Play: Anna D. Shapiro, "August: Osage County"
Direction-Musical: Bartlett Sher, "South Pacific"
Choreography: Andy Blankenbuehler, "In the Heights"
Orchestrations: Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman, "In the Heights"
Scenic Design-Play: Todd Rosenthal, "August: Osage County"
Scenic Design-Musical: Michael Yeargen, "South Pacific"
Costume Design-Play: Katrina Lindsay, "Les Liaisons Dangereuses"
Costume Design-Musical: Catherine Zuber, "South Pacific"
Lighting Design-Play: Kevin Adams, "The 39 Steps"
Lighting Design-Musical: Donald Holder, "South Pacific"
Sound Design-Play: Mic Pool, "The 39 Steps"
Sound Design-Musical: Scott Lehrer, "South Pacific"
Regional Theater Tony Award: Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Special Tony Award: Robert Russell Bennett.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Stephen Sondheim.
Ms. Butler's Disney-themed debut CD Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust is available now from PS Classics.
According to one of the comments on the video, she LuPwns!
"Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legend." First, Jack Black wanted to be a luchador in Nacho Libre. Now, his Kung Fu Panda's Po is an aspiring kung fu master but serves noodles at his father's (a duck voiced by James Hong) restaurant instead. He idolizes the Furious Five: Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Viper (Lucy Liu), Crane (David Cross), Mantis (Seth Rogen) and Monkey (Jackie Chan). They are all trained by Yoda-like Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) at the Jade Palace. Po is chosen by Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) to be the Dragon Warrior, protector of the Valley of Peace when he gets a vision that snow leopard villain Tai Lung (a menacing Ian McShane), escapes from prison to acquire the dragon scroll.
The opening sequence alone is a stunning homage to martial arts films. The CGI is spectacular to say the least. China never looked so beautiful and colorful. The action is rollicking and eye-popping, with crazy stunts and fight choreography only possible in animation. But the screenplay leaves a lot of room for the usual sage-like/cryptic advice from the masters, as well as witty, laugh-inducing lines. You even half expect Po to raise one eyebrow in Jack Black's trademark move. The film also has a lot of heart. Its message of acceptance, determination, confidence and self-reliance resonated even with this adult.
So prepare to see some awesomeness. Po isn't just a big fat panda...he is "THE big fat panda." Oh and stay after the credits for a little bonus scene.
So there it is folks the finale to the Cubby Bernstein saga. One of the best video blogs on Broadway! Loved all the little theatre in-jokes like "You wanna work again, you thank the Shuberts" or "I wish you the Cort Theatre in February" (*see comments) plus of course the cameos of all the Tony winners.
People have been saying that this series and "Cubby Bernstein" is a creation of Xanadu's playwright, Douglas Carter Beane so you gotta love it when the end credits say "written by Evan Wyler" as if to prove everyone wrong. However, Evan Wyler, you see, is a fictional character in another one of Douglas Carter Beane's plays, As Bees in Honey Drown. Now, isn't that pure brilliance??!!!
I keep forgetting to post this clip......It's from SAVED a new off-broadway musical from Playwright's Horizon. It has an amazing cast but it did get a lukewarm review from the critics. However, I've heard from people that they've enjoyed it. I haven't seen it yet but will do so in a week or two. I'm excited!
The first song from the clip, Heaven sounds very much like "God Only Knows" from the opening of the movie where this show came from. The clip is a nice collection of songs from the show BUT wait.......what a travesty no Julia Murney!
Addendum: An audio slideshow with Michael Friedman composer of the show courtesy of NY times.
Episode 7 part 1:
LuPwnage! Wow Momma Rose herself in this Cubby vid! But oh the suspense.....can't wait for part 2!
The New York City Opera has commissioned Charles Wuorinen to compose an opera based on Ang Lee's Oscar-winning film Brokeback Mountain. The 2005 movie is about 2 ranch hands who fall in love in 1963 while working together on the fictional Wyoming mountain. Their relationship lasts two decades. The ground-breaking and heart-tugging movie was an adaptation of Annie Proulx's short story. The opera is set to premiere in spring 2013.
Ennis and Jack, I wish we knew how to quit you.
In its annual lead-up to the Tony Awards, Broadway Week on Live with Regis and Kelly will feature performances from The Little Mermaid on Monday, Cry-Baby on Tuesday, A Catered Affair on Wednesday, Xanadu on Thursday, and Grease on Friday.
Whoopi Goldberg will host this year's festivities, airing Sunday, the 15th of June on CBS at 8 PM Eastern from Radio City Music Hall.
It just had to be posted because the video blogs are getting better and better that I think it now rivals the Title Of Show - Show videos! Make sure you make it all the way to Episode 6 which I think is the best!
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is considerably darker than the first film adaptation of C. S. Lewis' children's book series. With political intrigue to match Queen Elizabeth I's or King Henry XVIII's courts and epic battle scenes, the screenplay also offers cute talking animals and more humorous dialogue, probably to offset the violence.
High King Peter (William Mosely), Queen Susan (Anna Popplewell), King Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Queen Lucy (Georgie Henley) have been summoned back to Narnia by exiled Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) after a thousand years. They set out to overthrow the Telmarines and Caspian's evil uncle Miraz (Sergio Castellitto) with the help of Narnia's inhabitants (centaurs, minotaurs, dwarves, and even an Eddie Izzard-voiced rat Reepicheep). Tilda Swinton's White Witch makes a brief appearance in a frightening scene, and Aslan (Liam Neeson) comes back to save the day.
During a Kamikaze attack on the usurper's castle, a Helm's Deep-like battle scene, a gladiator-like fight to the death between two kings, we watch the Pevensies grow up as they strategize battle plans and actually fight. Susan and Caspian look longingly at each other. Lucy never wavers in her faith in Aslan. Edmund redeems himself nicely. Peter does the best he can with the information that he has.
I thought this one exceeded its predecessor. I can't wait for the next adventure in the wondrous land of Narnia.
(photo from Ben Barnes Online)
Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) says to him, "What are you, like 80?" He may be a senior citizen, but Harrison Ford as Professor Henry Jones, Jr. still delivers. I went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with very low expectations; I left thoroughly entertained.
Indy meets his new nemesis, Russian Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett, obviously having fun with the cartoon villain role) in Area 51's army base as they search for an artifact that would give the baddies (the usual) unlimited power. The thrill ride is on! With references to past films and nods to the series' classic elements, the return of Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen---the chemistry between them is still there), spectacular action sequences, hilarious one-liners, it is simply fun to watch. It was a little distracting to see John Hurt though as nutty Professor Oxley. But thankfully, no passing the fedora to Shia. If the franchise ended with this, I'd be perfectly content.
It's nice that we'll get to see this........I don't know about you but I really love the 2003 Actors' Fund Concert with La Murney and La Foster.
I try to avoid watching reality shows because they just have too much drama for my taste however, I must admit I am drawn to the shows on Bravo such as Project Runway and Top Chef. So when this new show Step It Up and Dance premiered, naturally I got sucked into it. The show featured 12 dancers from various styles. They were required to dance a variety of genre from hip hop, stomp, modern, salsa, musical theatre and burlesque. The challenge was to be versatile and adapt to each style.
What I liked about the series was that it showed a lot of the behind the scene moments, not just the finished choreographed dance but scenes like learning the different choreography during rehearsals, nerve wracking auditions, the critique and discussion of the judges and even the injuries that occured. It really showed the difficulty of being a "working" dancer in a cut throat profession.
Tonight was the finale. There were 4 dancers left: Mochi, Nick, Miguel and Cody. They were asked to do a solo in their own choreography and style. Coming into this finale, I thought that it would be between Mochi and Cody (both dancers from Broadway --holla! Mochi in the Lion King and Cody in Grease). Upon seeing their solos, I must say that I was really moved by Cody's solo. Normally he's very technical and perfect but no emotion.........NOT tonight. I don't know there was just something in his dance that showed the passion and joy in dancing. It was very moving to see.
Before doing their solos, the dancers had 30 minutes with Broadway's Jerry Mitchell (the Tim Gunn of this show). I was really impressed with how he critiqued the dancers with their solos. He did it with very specific points in terms of their dance and also in an loving yet honest way. He has a way of saying things that would build up a dancer's confidence. Kinda nice to see than all these "tearing people down" style in other shows.
I hope this show gets another season because it's very well made.
Oh by the way, you can watch the episodes by clicking the link above. But as an adjunct to that, you guys have to watch this blog called Suck It Up and Dance. It's hilarious! It's done by these 2 guys, John and Collin, who deconstruct each episode and in addition they invite a different broadway dancer to join them in the discussion. Catch Marty Thomas (Xanadu) and Tommy Berklund (A Chorus Line).
(photo from TVguide.com)
June is Tony time for us theatre geeks so to celebrate......remember this ad? You can practically play the spot the Broadway actor game. It was filmed right after 9/11 when NYC and the country was going through a rough time. It was a bid to get people to the city and see shows again. Broadway has come so far since then........but has always been able to put smiles in people's faces. And so......bring on the Tonys........and let's go on with the show!!!!
Incidentally, starting June 7, there will be a televised Pre-Tony broadcast concert which features Tony nominated shows: A Catered Affair, Cry-Baby, Grease, Gypsy, In The Heights, Passing Strange, South Pacific, Sunday in the Park with George, The Little Mermaid, and Xanadu. It will be broadcast on CBS and filmed at the Allen Room of Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. I guess they're trying to get viewers more excited and familiar with the shows on this year's Tony Awards. The broadcast schedule is different per city but can be found here.