July 31, 2011

Happy Birthday Harry (and JK)!

Belated Happy Birthday Daniel Radcliffe (23 July)! Happy Birthday to his alter ego, Harry Potter, and writer/creatorJK Rowling!!!

(yes, a totally gratuitous post just because I love this photo from tumblr.)
July 30, 2011

Early Coffee with Fake Mormons

The cast of The Book of Mormon having Early Coffee on CBS' The Early show on Saturday Morning.

July 29, 2011

Broadway Actor In TV Commercial: Bernadette Peters



Broadway favorite and upcoming Follies star, Bernadette Peters is in this Playtex Bra commercial from 1960's.
July 28, 2011

J-Stew and NPH

July 27, 2011

Broadway Actor In TV Commercial: Beth Malone



Ring of Fire and Marvelous Wonderettes star, Beth Malone is featured in this McDonald's commercial.
July 26, 2011

A Real Life Broadway Gay Wedding

Same sex couples get married on stage at the St. James Theatre, where Hair is currently playing.

July 25, 2011

Harvard's Unnatural Acts

This is the Classic Stage Company where Mike and I saw Unnatural Acts on the day that same sex couples started getting married in New York state. The play is about a little-known shameful episode in Harvard history, until November 2002, when student journalist Amit Pailey wrote a 2 part article in The Crimson.
In May-June 1920, Harvard University is rocked by scandal after a student commits suicide. The student is implicated in homosexual activities, effectively starting a witch hunt on campus. A 5 man "Secret Court" is convened. They focus on Perkins 28, the room of Ernest Roberts (Nick Westrate), where the congressman's son regularly hosts parties. Attendees of these parties are called for interviews---more like interrogations---where they are subjected to extremely personal and intrusive questions. Once the investigation gets underway, loyalties and friendships are severely tested.
The play is wonderfully directed by Tony Speciale. It is a true ensemble piece. The marvelous actors move the beautiful set pieces. They play specific students but also step in to become the sinister investigators. Underneath the dapper suits, stylish choreography, artful lighting, and slick set design, is an ugly tale of bigotry and persecution. It is as relevant as today's headlines. Even though I knew this could only end badly, the powerful ending and epilogue detailing destroyed lives and shattered dreams was still heartbreaking.
Cast members after the show. (I was too shy to approach them for autographs or photographs because it seemed like they had friends or family with them.) The tall guy with the baseball cap is Will Rogers, who played Edward Say's roommate Joseph Lumbard. The guy with the glasses is Devin Norik, who played Harold Saxton. The rest of this talented cast include Jess Burkle as an effeminate Edward Say; Roe Hartrampf as jock Kenneth Day; Jerry Marsini as Philosophy Professor Donald Clark; Roderick Hill as Lester Wilcox, and Joe Curnutte as Nathaniel Wollf.
The guy in the green shirt is Brad Koed. He played dentistry student Eugene Cummings, who guided us through the events in the play. The guy with the bandanna is Frank De Julio, who played aspiring actor Keith Smerage.
The guy on the far right is Max Jenkins. I think. (In my defense, the Playbill did not have their photographs.) He played budding criminologist Stanley Gilkey.

The show has been extended until 31 July. As Mike said: "run, don't walk to go see it". With any luck, they'll keep extending its run. The story has to be told and needs to be seen by as many people as possible.


Broadway Actor In TV Commercial: Mitchell Jarvis



Mitchell Jarvis plays Lonny in Rock of Ages. Here he is in a Keystone Light Beer commercial.
July 24, 2011

Legally Married

Congratulations to Avenue Q's Rod and Ricky! They'll be getting married at the New York City Hall today, the first day that gay couples can legally wed in the state.

(Thanks Audience Rewards!)
July 23, 2011

Broadway Actor In TV Commercial: Paris Remillard



Current Claude on Broadway's HAIR, Paris Remillard is in this Zales commercial.
July 22, 2011

How To Succeed Daniel Radcliffe



Broadway message boards are a-buzz that A Very Potter Musical star and Glee alumni, Darren Criss will replace Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying when Mr. Radcliffe leaves the production in Jan. 2012.

Dealine reports that Mr. Criss is in negotiations with the producers of the musical. If plans push through, he is slated for a 3 week run in January. It's also said that Glee creator, Ryan Murphy has give his blessing. Read more about it here.

My question is.......why only 3 weeks?!!!
July 21, 2011

Amigo

Here's the trailer for John Sayles's Amigo (formerly Baryo), a movie about the Philippine-American War. It stars Chris Cooper, Garret Dillahunt, DJ Qualls, Yul Vazquez, and the Philippines' Joel Torre, Ronnie Lazaro, Rio Locsin, and Bembol Roco.


The Boy Who Never Grew Up

My 8 year old niece and 5 year old nephew were here for a visit. One night I took my niece out to see Peter Pan at the Three Sixty tent in the Tribune Freedom Center. She had seen the musical at her school and really wanted to see it again. As we neared the compound, it appeared to be a whole tent city that travels with the show. They had concession and merchandise stands but also a photo exhibit of Peter Pan throughout the years as well as production shots of the current traveling production. It's like entering a new world, a great way to get you into the atmosphere of the show.

This was a straight play with some music all performed on an arena stage. Great cast and a very delightful and naughty Tinkerbell plus some unique puppetry involving Nana and the Crocodile, are major parts of this play. But the highlight of this production is the CGI projected onto the ceiling of the tent so that flying scenes where actors were suspended on wires are so breathtaking. Particularly when Peter, Wendy, John and Michael were flying over the London skyline. It's visually perfect complete with the Royal Albert Hall, Parliament, the Thames and even St. Paul's Cathedral. As an audience member, you feel like you're flying with them. My niece was so enthralled and my excitement actually comes from watching her reactions. It's so refreshing seeing a show through my niece's experience. In fact, there were a lot of children in the audience that night and one of the best parts of the show came from a 6 year old boy in front of us. In the scene where Peter kisses Wendy, the boy with pirate sword in hand retorts a resounding "EEEwwww!" much to everyone's delight.

I have to say though that my niece and I did miss the hearing Peter sing "I Won't Grow Up" and other songs from the musical.

Here are more photos from The Three Sixty Tent City:









July 20, 2011

Winnie the Pooh


Winnie the Pooh is the family film to see if your little ones aren't old enough, or just haven't fallen under the spell of a certain boy wizard. I've always loved Pooh bear, and to see Christopher Robin and all his pals on the big screen was such a treat. I'm a big fan of old school, lovingly hand-drawn animation. To me they are works of art, a throwback to those innocent days before CGI and 3D became the norm. This perfectly polished gem of a film is sure to become a classic.

The story is very simple and just short enough to keep the attention of children. This sweet-as-honey film is narrated by John Cleese. Pooh (and Tigger) is voiced by Jim Cummings; the know-it-all Owl by Craig Ferguson. For us older members of the audience, it is nostalgic. For the kids, it is the proper way to be introduced to the creatures of the Hundred Acre Wood.

Come early to see a beautiful animated short about Nessie. I loved the still life photos of Christopher Robin's room that book-ends the movie. Stay until the end of the credits for a bonus scene. Plus the credits themselves are all still fully animated, with the Hundred Acre gang popping up amongst the names. Thanks for that Pixar touch, producer John Lasseter!


Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist Robert Lopez (of Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon fame) provided additional music. Actress/singer Zooey Deschanel's performances of the songs provided the right amount of whimsy and charm to an already delightful film.

Does Gollum Get His Ring Back

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daniel Radcliffe
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Daniel Radcliffe talks about Quidditch and 8 shows a week during his guest spot on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
July 19, 2011

Queens Theatre


I lived in Queens for a couple of years but always went to Manhattan for shows. I didn't know about the Queens Theatre in the Park until I saw it on the news over the weekend. They have free and ticketed events. They have performances year-round.

The next free events are this Friday, 22 July. You can go to Open Mic with La Bruja (Caridad dela Luz) at 7 PM, watch the movie Hasta El Ultimo Trago...Corazon at 8 PM, or get tango lessons at the Annual Milonga Night, also at 8 PM.
July 18, 2011

Potter Pals



Being a Potter devotee, I have to admit that I am still composing myself from the emotional impact of the last Harry Potter installment. In the meantime, here's a video from the Harry Potter premier where Potter Pals Matt Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) talk about seeing Daniel Radcliffe as a song and dance man in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.
July 17, 2011

Harry Potter, We say goodbye for the present,


I went to see Winnie the Pooh yesterday morning, and while waiting in line, a woman was getting tickets to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. She asked how busy it will be, and the man at the box office said it was not too bad yet. She said, "oh all the crazies have watched already?" Lady, if I'm crazy, then I don't want to be sane. Yes, I was one of those people who bought my midnight screening ticket weeks ago, and lined up at least two hours to see the finale of this saga even though I had to be at work at 8 AM that morning. I also went to the midnight release of the final book. It's always a festive atmosphere, some people dressed in costumes, or the simple scar over the eyebrow, waving wands, wearing HP t-shirts. There was even a duel at the theater I was in. There was lots of cheering, hooting & hollering & carrying-on, and clapping inside the theater.

This last HP film was everything I hoped it would be: a fitting conclusion to the enthralling tale of The Boy Who Lived that has held popular culture hostage for several years now. Director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves have again condensed JK Rowling's book into an elegant and terrifying epic film. There were some plot changes in the interest of good story-telling but I didn't mind them at all. Because it is all-out war in the wizard world, the action is intense and fierce. The production design and cinematography? Outstanding! The muted, gray but beautiful tones blend in nicely with the unobtrusive special effects. The best parts are still the human struggles our wizards and witches go through. Don't forget the tissues or hankies. Or at least conjure up a little vial to catch your tears.

Most familiar characters return. Each sighting brought a smile to my face. The 3 main characters are excellent of course, as well as Ralph Fiennes's vile Voldemort. Noteworthy moments or scenes? Plenty! Professor McGonagall's (Maggie Smith) reaction to Harry. The grief, bitterness, anger, and cynicism of Aberforth Dumbledore (Ciaran Hinds, who I didn't recognize under the make-up). Helena Bonham-Carter's brilliant and funny portrayal of Hermione pretending to be Bellatrix Lestrange, and of course her crowd-pleasing duel with Mrs. Weasley (a ferocious Julie Walters). Kelly MacDonald's scary Grey Lady. The awesomeness of Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis). The worry and anguish of the Malfoys (Jason Isaacs and Helen McCrory). (Death Eaters love their children, too.) Albus Dumbledore with Harry at King's Cross. The Lord of the Rings-esque view of the battling armies. Ron and Hermione's first kiss. And of course, Alan Rickman's heartbreaking Severus Snape. The brutality with which the vulgar Dark Lord dispenses of him makes the Prince's Tale even more tragic.

Having re-read the book from where Part 1 left off, I was surprised at how quickly the plot moved. (It is a short 130 minute movie.) I wanted things to slow down, so I can savor every detail, every moment. It was hard to watch knowing that this was it. Like my sister's text message said after: "What are we going to do with our lives now?" So with a sense of loss, joy, sadness, and nostalgia, we bid our magical friends adieu. We honor JK Rowling for her imagination and genius; obvious affection for her characters and the world they lived in; and her respect for us readers. Harry Potter world was a place like no other, yet very much like our own Muggle-verse. It is populated by characters noble/ignoble, heroic/cowardly, intelligent, selfish, ambitious, racist/accepting, courageous. People are good and not so good. Things are black, white, and somewhere in between. It is this polarity in society that the author and filmmakers have reflected back to us. There's a little devil in all of us. The fact that we can conquer and overcome this darkness is what gave the series its power.

To those mourning the end, do not fret. We can always return to their world and momentarily escape our humdrum lives by picking up the books, or putting on the DVDs. Some wise person said after all, that "Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it." So thank you JKR for your help---we didn't even know we needed it.
July 16, 2011

The Addams Family goes Green

July 15, 2011

Enough Said



(photos from SciFi Mafia)
July 14, 2011

Final Battle

Comedy Repression Therapy

We interrupt our Harry Potter mania with this great bit from The Daily Show with special guest Jerry Seinfeld, with bonus The Book of Mormon reference.



July 13, 2011

David Yates and The Deathly Hallows Part 2

July 12, 2011

Harry Potter - Book of Mormon Mash Up




In lieu of all the Harry Potter hoopla, I'd like to post this very clever mash-up of Harry Potter and Book of Mormon. It's creatively done by former Billy Elliot ballet girl Tessa Netting, singing the opening song, Hello from the Book of Mormon to introduce the Harry Potter characters. Check out the details that she adds to each character:

  • Hermione cutting her hair like Emma Watson
  • Harry wearing the bow tie and doing dance steps from How To Succeed as well as an Equus reference
  • Ron saying "Hermione can't draw" a reference from A Very Potter Musical
  • Luna with a lion hat
  • Dumbledore with a "blackened" hand
  • Hagrid with a dragon
  • Snape singing Snape, Snape Severus Snape from Potter Puppet Pals
  • Voldemort tweeting, a reference to a very funny twitter page Lord_Voldemort7
  • Ms. Weasley holding out a Billy Elliot playbill as Julie Walters who plays Ms. Weasley was also Mrs. Wilkinson in the Billy Elliot film
Best lyric: If you read this book and not twilight you will be ok (in around 2:15). What a remarkable feat! Tessa Netting you are a genius!

The End is Nigh *sigh*

July 11, 2011

It All Ends 15 July

July 10, 2011

Harry Potter and Larry King

Larry King's special, Harry Potter: The Final Chapter, airs tonight on CNN at 8 PM.

Happy Summer!

Broadway in Bryant Park has begun! Enjoy the free shows on Thursdays through August.

July 9, 2011

Seth Obsessed! with Kerry Butler

July 7, 2011

Wicked Good


I love ice cream! And what better way to melt away the summer heat than with some Wicked sundaes? I probably would like Elphie's Defying Gravity sundae because I love mint chocolate chip.

Ask for these special sundaes at these locations.
July 6, 2011

An American Writer in Paris


Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen's latest film, an enchanting tale of self-discovery and ode to living in the Now. It stars a very charming Owen Wilson as Gil, a Hollywood screenwriter engaged to Inez (Rachel McAdams), visiting Paris on a business trip with her stuck-up parents. The opening sequence was picture postcard perfect, clearly another one of Mr. Allen's love letters to a great city.

Increasingly dissatisfied with his career, Gil is trying to finish a novel. He is nostalgic for what he considers the Golden Age, the Roaring Twenties. He is enthralled with the City of Lights and can see himself living there. His self-absorbed fiancée has very different plans for their future together. If not out shopping with her pompous mother, Inez spends time with Carol (Nina Arianda) and an old professor of hers (a wonderfully arrogant Michael Sheen).

After he declines an invitation to go dancing with Carol and Paul, he drunkenly wanders the streets and finds himself picked up by a mysterious vintage car at the stroke of midnight. He is brought to a party where he meets F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston and Allison Pill), Cole Porter (Yves Heck), and Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll). His midnight strolls become a nightly thing, and pretty soon, he is getting literary advice from Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), and crossing paths with Salvador Dali (a very amusing Adrien Brody), Pablo Picasso, and more importantly, his lover/muse/model Adriana (Marion Cotillard). Gil is captivated by Adriana, who herself wishes she could have lived during La Belle Epoque. Meanwhile, back in the present, things look worse and worse when juxtaposed with his alluring Parisian nights spent with artists, philosophers, and writers.

I won't divulge the other 1920s icons that he meets so as not to spoil YOUR viewing experience, but each encounter was entertaining and clever. Also be on the look out for France's First Lady, Carla Bruni. The supporting cast must have had so much fun shooting this film.

The film is not only a celebration of life, creativity, art, and culture. Our hero learns that while it is not necessarily bad to idealize days gone by, one runs the risk of missing out on the present. So Carpe Diem, No Day but Today, Be Present, and all that. Enjoy this fanciful work of art from Mr. Allen.
July 5, 2011

Broadway Barks 13


Broadway Barks is this Saturday, 09 July. Scheduled to present the dogs and cats from New York City animal shelters are the following Broadway performers: Sutton Foster, Edie Falco, Victoria Clark, Heidi Blickenstaff, Yul Vazquez, Jackie Hoffman, Nikki M. James, Michael McGrath, Patina Miller, Michael Mulheren, Brad Oscar, Andrew Rannells, Norbert Leo Butz, Bobby Cannavale, Will Swenson, and Joel Grey.

The adopt-a-thon will be held from 3:30 to 6:30 PM.

Independence Day 1801

Every year, the Van Cortlandt Manor at Croton-on-Hudson celebrates the 4th of July as it was celebrated in the early days of the new nation. It was 1801 in 2011.
making pinwheels
the blacksmith and his apprentice
brickyard
an Inn/ bed and breakfast stop on the way to Albany
cannon shot opening the day's festivities
Croton River
the militia encampment
reciting the Declaration of Independence
the Captain of Doughty's Artillery Company giving the toast. The toasts were drawn from newspaper accounts from that period. We responded with "huzzah!"
Singing Adams and Liberty, another song from that era.
18th century country dancing

second floor of the Van Cortlandt Manor
Storytelling with Jim Keyes
July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

Celebrate the 4th of July by watching Lt. Dan Band: For The Common Good documentary starring Lt. Dan himself, Gary Sinise. You can watch the film online starting July 4th until the end of the month. One out of every 4 dollars will be donated to the Gary Sinise Foundation, which helps the military, veterans and their families.

Here's Stephen Colbert interviewing him last week on The Colbert Report.



Support the troops! Thank you for your service.
July 3, 2011

Firework

On this 4th of July weekend, here are the girls of Baby It's You!'s version of Katy Perry's Firework.

July 2, 2011

Seth Obsessed! with Andrea Martin

July 1, 2011

Brave

Here's the brand spanking new trailer for next year's Pixar film, Brave, featuring their first female protagonist.

Michele Bachmann's America

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