Love Etc, a gently moving new documentary about all the many colors of the human heart, opens tomorrow in New York City following a successful run at film festivals. Given that one of the movie’s five segments centers on a famous theater director, the film offers Broadway lovers a treasure trove of intimate “backstage” moments.
Let’s take a closer look at the film and watch the trailer after the jump…
When there’s a month with a fifth Wednesday, I’ll be heading Way-Off-Broadway for a look at theatrical happenings outside New York City. So pack your duffels, grab your bug spray and get ready to romance a boy from the cabin next door; we’re off to summer camp…
Image via The O'Neill Theater Center.
The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT is magic. Not slight of hand “magic” but real, wondrous magic. Each summer, its ragtag assemblage of barns and cabins springs to life, like the gently sloping meadow on which it sits, and suddenly blooms with new works of theater.
Playwrights, notebook in hand, wander the grounds trying to talk out a scene–and not be tempted to the inviting stretch of beach just down the path. Composers, shuffling freshly printed pages, duck into makeshift rehearsal rooms to teach singers a song they just wrote. Visitors, instead of filing out of a theater after a play reading, stay put and engage in spirited conversations with the creative team. Shows, following in the footsteps of Avenue Qand The House of Blue Leaves, grow into fully articulated works.That’s the O’Neill magic; a place where artists and audiences, daytrippers and diehards, join together with a no-frills positivity that is, in my experience, unmatched in the world of theater development.
Michael Buchanan at "Broadway Sings Tori". Photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy.
Every Monday night in New York when most shows are dark, the best performers on Broadway take to the microphone at cabarets and benefits around the city. Beyond being a great way to get over the back-to-work blues for us poor 9-to-5 slobs, these concerts provide an amazing opportunity to discover fresh talent as well as see familiar stars in a new light.
Last night, I was lucky enough to catchBroadway Sings Tori: A Benefit for RAINN, a rock-solid evening featuring the music of Alt-goddess and flame-haired piano-humper Tori Amos. One of the biggest surprises of the show, hosted with wit and ease by Ben Cameron and Colleen Harris, was how well Tori’s compositions translated to theatrical voices. I’m actually a fan of her work but her notoriously idiosyncratic range and densely layered lyrics would seem ill-suited to anyone other than Amos herself . However, the actors’ crisp diction and storytelling acuity revealed emotional one-act plays within much of Tori’s impressive catalog. Consider me hereby completely converted and excited for her National Theater-bound musical, The Light Princess.
Even more exciting was the talent on display. You can always count on Tony-nominees Christine Andreas (The Scarlett Pimpernel) and Stephanie D’Abruzzo (Avenue Q); the former delivering a haunting, crystaline “Over the Rainbow” (as a nod to Tori’s famous cover version) and the latter socking-home a left-field bit of Tori juvenilia, the perky “Baltimore”. In addition, I was floored by three new (to me) performers that grabbed hold of some Amos classics and made them their own:
Mistress Page, Sir John Falstaff, and Mistress Ford of The Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo by John Tramper.
Avid theater fans who have dreamed of the days when Shakespeare ruled the Globe Theater are in luck; starting today, the stage is alive once again as The Merry Wives of Windsor, performed in the 1997 reconstruction of the historical theater, is screened in select movie theaters nationwide.
The series will continue throughout the year, with Henry IV part one playing Monday, August 1, Henry IV part two on Thursday, August 18, and Henry VIII wrapping the event up on Thursday, September 15.
And if you prefer your Shakespeare al fresco instead of “al popcorn,” Shakespeare in Central Park continues in New York in July, beginning with the recently-opened All’s Well That Ends Well. Alongside the NCM Fathom Series, anyone with an inkling of interest in the theater great will definitely find a place to get their fill this summer.
Watch a preview of what is to come after the jump…
The stars of the musical (about three fabulously attired drag queens driving and dancing across the Australian outback) kicked things off by headlining last Saturday’s Pride Rally. What’s next for the troupe? The parade, of course! The stars of the show, including Will Swenson, Tony Sheldon, and Nick Adams, will hop aboard the famed bus of the title and drive right down 5th avenue in full, show-stopping, Tony-winning-costume style. And with all those sequins and wigs, something tells me you won’t be able to miss it.
All silliness aside, Priscilla‘s story of acceptance and friendship is a perfect fit for this weekend’s festivities. Check out the cast’s “It Gets Better” ad and be inspired, after the jump…
Some news briefs from the week in theater; click the links for more info:
The Wednesday night performance of How to Succeedwas cancelled following the death of a crew member just before curtain. The cause of death is officially still under investigation. Our thoughts go out to the family of the stagehand and to the entire staff and cast of the show as they face the difficult task of moving forward without one of their own.
A number of shows announced big moves this week: LCT3′s well-reviewed 4000 Milesis getting an Off-Broadway run, the next Frank Wildhorn musical Bonnie & Clyde heads for Broadway this fall and, according to Playbill, the Transport Group hit Lysistrata Jones is rumored to be on the same road to the Great White Way.
The film version of The Sound of Musicis so iconic, so ingrained in our collective consciousness, that it feels immovable, inviolate–a solid totem of granite clothed in floral-curtain lederhosen. It is, has been and always will be.
That’s what makes this brief audition video all the more shocking and hilarious and unsettling. Someone other than Charmain Carr could have played Liesl! And one of those someone’s was Mia “Rosemary’s Baby, Woody Allen, a singing troupe worth of children of her own” Farrow! I need my smelling salts. Next thing you know, someone will tell me that Julie Andrews has a wickedly funny potty mouth and…what? She does? I need to lie down and think of whiskers on kittens.
After the jump, watch this special feature from The Sound of Music 40th Anniversary DVD, a young Mia Farrow sing a little ditty about not quite being 17…
You won’t often hear a theater major say this but–dude, math is cool.
We all know that Book of Mormon tickets are ultra-expensive and nearly impossible to get, but the smart folks over at SeatGeek are on the case. Using their expertise in aftermarket ticket sales for all kinds of events, they’ve whipped up the chart above showing the eye-popping difference between average face value price and the average actual price tickets are being sold for at weekend performances. (Click to enlarge it.) Any guesses as to when reviews hit?
So besides being just plain fascinating information and cool visually (not to mention stretching my college “Math For Trees 1 & 2″ knowledge to its limits), what’s the point? Seatgeek uses their data to forecast the prices of sports, concert and theater seats and guide consumers to the best deals. Look up their page for The Book ofMormonand you’ll find listings for upcoming shows and a color-coded rating system.
If you’re feeling extra geeky, they’ve got a great article about how they arrived at these figures (that I promise I could actually follow without anguished Algebraic tears) and Business Week just published a great profile of the guys behind Seatgeek. But for now, check out the chart below for weekday performances of The Book of Mormon. Am I the only one who loves this kind of stuff!?
Every fourth Wednesday of the month, the “VIP Access” column will serve up advice on how to make your theater-going experiences cheaper, easier and more fulfilling with inside scoop from the experts. This month, we’re acting like the birdies on Jaybird Street…
Tom Cruise in "Rock of Ages". Image via @adammshankman.
Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. With its 140 character limit, rabid followers and echoing retweets, Twitter is either a revolutionary communication force or the end of civilized interaction as we know it. Or maybe it’s just a great way to feel like you’re chatting with the theater’s brightest stars. Given The Broadway Blog’s mission to welcome everyone into a theatrical cocktail conversation, I’ll vote C for now and let history be the judge.
As a newbie–@BroadwayBlogTom–I spent the last week diving in headfirst and trying to learn the rules of the road (and, clearly, mixing metaphors haphazardly). Other than the possibility of getting lost in a T-Hole for hours, Twitter turns out to be a pretty amazing way to learn about ticket deals, hang out with your theater idols and meet some new ones as well. Here are my top ten recommendations for twitter feeds to “follow”:
Broadway lovers, it’s that most theatrical day of the year: the Summer Solstice! From Shakespeare to Strindberg, Sondheim (via Bergman) to indie gay filmmakers, writers have long found the longest day of the year to be the perfect setting for magic, drama and romance. Perhaps it’s something about perpetual twilight? (The golden light, not the vampire books.)
And who better to capture the madcap, sexual ambiguity of a summer bacchanal than elementary school children. Performing Shakespeare. With television’s Valerie Mahaffey. Uh, yeah.