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Posts Tagged ‘Bridget Everett’

The Broadway Blog’s Best and Worst of 2014

December 30th, 2014 Comments off

The Broadway Blog editor Matthew Wexler rounds up what we loved and loathed in 2014.

We witnessed standing ovations as well as patrons storming out of the theater (sometimes at the same show)! It was a polarizing year on Broadway and beyond—packed with enough theatrics and star turns to keep the Great White Way blazing through the season. We’ve highlighted our favorite moments: the good, the bad, and the ugly. One thing is for certain, though. There’s nothing like that moment when the house lights dim. And what happens next? Well… that’s the magic of the theater.

Neil Patrick Harris and the cast of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (photo: Joan Marcus) via The Broadway Blog.

Neil Patrick Harris and the cast of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” (photo: Joan Marcus) via The Broadway Blog.

When Life’s a Drag
Neil Patrick Harris’s star turn in John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s glam-punk musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch took Broadway by storm and with good reason. Based on his previous Broadway experience (Cabaret, Assassins and Proof) and four years as an Emmy-Award winning Tony Awards host, Harris clearly had the mastery and precision to make this character into even more of an icon than she already is, and that is no small feat. From head to toe, Harris was all Hedwig. The reimagining by director Michael Mayer introduced the show to a new generation, but for those with nostalgia, Mitchell returns to the role he originated January 21.

 

Terence Archie and Andy Karl in "Rocky" (photo: Matthew Murphy) via The Broadway Blog.

Terence Archie and Andy Karl in “Rocky” (photo: Matthew Murphy) via The Broadway Blog.

Sucker Punch
It takes a lot for a down-on-his-luck guy from Philly to pull off a $16.5 million musical. True, Rocky had heart, but it wasn’t nearly enough to have us believe why he’d break out into a song titled, “My Nose Ain’t Broken.” Speaking of which, the troubled book and score couldn’t be saved by director Alex Timbers or the monstrous sets by Chris Barreca. Rocky was a knockout; unfortunately it was the audience who was left with a concussion.

 

Steven Reineke and Stephanie J. Block (photo: Richard Termine) via The Broadway Blog.

Steven Reineke and Stephanie J. Block (photo: Richard Termine) via The Broadway Blog.

Defying Gravity
The Broadway Blog was privileged to interview some of today’s greatest talent, including Betty Buckley and Andrew Lippa, but none touched us as deeply as Stephanie J. Block on the brink of her performance with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. The California native now has a handful of Broadway credits under her belt due to her consistently grounded performances and a powerhouse voice that shakes the rafters. “I was a waitress for four months, and I was hideous at it! I’ve supported myself through the arts, sometimes many jobs at a time,” says Block. “I needed to respect and take nothing for granted. It served me well—people can get jaded and over it quickly. But I’m still in awe to be in the position to do the things I love.”

Ruthie Ann Miles in "Here Lies Love" (photo: Joan Marcus) via The Broadway Blog.

Ruthie Ann Miles in “Here Lies Love” (photo: Joan Marcus) via The Broadway Blog.

Papp Lives On
Joseph Papp conceived of the Public Theater nearly 60 years ago and through the decades it has established itself as home to an array of culturally diverse artists that push the boundaries of storytelling. Two of our favorite shows of the year appeared at the Public: Here Lies Love and The Fortress of Solitude. The former was an unconventional telling of Imelda Marcos’s life that relied on live video feed as well as archival footage—all seamlessly integrated into palpitating performances, a mobile set, and a catchy score by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim (with additional music by Tom Gandy and J Pardo). The latter, as described by the Public’s artistic director Oskar Eustis, embodied “the things The Public Theater strives to achieve: it is a tremendously personal story that takes place within a larger social context, and a story that reveals how our most intimate relationships are shaped by history, class and race.” We can’t wait for Fun Home to arrive on Broadway this spring.

 

"Bullets Over Broadway," set design by Santo Loquasto. (photo: Paul Kolnik via The Broadway Blog)

“Bullets Over Broadway,” set design by Santo Loquasto. (photo: Paul Kolnik via The Broadway Blog)

Bum Deal
We admit it. We were one of the few who enjoyed Susan Stroman’s staging of Bullets Over Broadway. The flashy spectacle received mediocre reviews but we felt the director/choreographer nailed the style and humor of 1920s New York City with some flashy help from costume designer William Ivey Long and set designer Santo Loquasto, who collectively delivered some of the most lush and period-perfect designs of the season.

 

"Allegro" at Classic Stage Company (photo: Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.)

“Allegro” at Classic Stage Company (photo: Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.)

Shades of Grey
No, we’re not talking about the “erotic” novel by E.L. James, but rather the conflicted season at Classic Stage Company. While we were bewildered by Bertolt Brecht’s A Man’s Man, easily one of the snooziest and poorly staged productions of the year, the off Broadway company bounced back with a stellar revival of Allegro, proving that a little faith goes a long way. We have high hopes for the upcoming production of A Month in the Country starring Peter Dinklage and Peter Sarsgaard’s take on Hamlet.

There’s more! Take the leap…

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Review: Bridget Everett Hits “Rock Bottom”

September 18th, 2014 Comments off

Broadway Blog editor Matthew Wexler gets “exposed” to one of New York’s hottest cabaret performers, Bridget Everett. This article contains adult themes and language.

Bridget Everett in "Rock Bottom" (photo: Kevin Yatarola ) via The Broadway Blog.

Bridget Everett in “Rock Bottom” (photo: Kevin Yatarola ) via The Broadway Blog.

I was first exposed (quite literally, in fact) to Bridget Everett at a benefit cabaret performance about a decade ago. She had been added to the roster by one of the event chairs who had a penchant for downtown performers. Even at that time, Everett’s alter ego stage persona was swilling chardonnay and waxing poetic about her white trash upbringing in Manhattan, Kansas, and her affection for black dick. Oh, how things change yet stay the same. At the end of the performance, one of the board members scrambled backstage to see if Everett was available for an encore—to the tune of a $10,000 donation to the charity beneficiary. If memory serves me, I believe the response was a resounding, “Fuck, yeah” and a star—at least in my eyes—was born.

Bridget Everett (photo: Kevin Yatarola) via The Broadway Blog.

Bridget Everett (photo: Kevin Yatarola) via The Broadway Blog.

Cut to Everett’s latest incarnation, Rock Bottom, which opened last night at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater. Developed from New York Voices, an artist-commissioning program that matches master artists with developing talent, Everett has taken her bawdy, shock-value act to stratospheric levels with the mentorship of co-creators Marc Shaiman (Hairspray, NBC’s Smash), Scott Wittman (Catch Me If You Can), Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz (original member of the Beastie Boys) and pianist songwriter Matt Ray. Cumulatively, the team’s musical compositions are framed by a shock value premise that leaves nary a rock unturned. She goes for the jugular with sex toys, a can of whipped cream and several revealing onstage costume changes (designed by Larry Krone for House of Larreón).

Everett’s Rock Bottom rants don’t necessarily follow a linear plot, but her recurring themes of body empowerment, the class system (she mentions her “slave job” several times throughout the evening) and dysfunctional relationships simmer like a batch of crystal meth in a trailer park kitchen. “Bridget’s ferocious femininity and unapologetic embrace of her sexuality are at the forefront of her work,” says Joe’s Pub director Shanta Thake in the program notes. “The feeling of female empowerment is palpable in the room every time she takes the stage.”

In order to hit those marks, Everett is well equipped with a brand new songbook that showcases her smoky alto range. Shaiman and Wittman are masters of the hook and don’t disappoint with arrangements that draw from Motown, R&B, gospel and beyond. On a rare occasion, the hooks venture into hokey, but for the most part Everett benefits greatly from the more sophisticated musicality than her previous shows, including a number of well-placed key changes that allow the performer to soar into her higher register—proving that there’s more to Bridget Everett than “them low rider titties.”

One of the greatest testaments to Bridget Everett’s endurance and endearment is her dedicated audience, who return time and again to see what she may pull out of an orifice next. They come from all walks of life (Patti LuPone is a notable fan—so much so that the Tony Award winner asked her to perform a number at her recent Carnegie Hall concert). They come to laugh and surprisingly, sometimes cry. Most have them have probably hit rock bottom at some point or another. And rising like a phoenix, Bridget Everett is there for them—inevitably with a glass of chardonnay.

Rock Bottom
Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater
425 Lafayette Street
Through October 11

"Rock Bottom" at Joe's Pub (photo: Kevin Yatarola) via The Broadway Blog.

“Rock Bottom” at Joe’s Pub (photo: Kevin Yatarola) via The Broadway Blog.

Three to See: September

September 4th, 2014 Comments off

The Broadway Blog’s editor Matthew Wexler rounds up our top three picks of the month.

After a quiet summer and theater vacancies (so long, ROCKY, Bullets Over Broadway and Holler If Ya Hear Me), new productions are slowly rumbling onto the stage. It’s proving to be an eclectic season. Which shows will win the hearts of critics and audiences? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, we’ve got our eyes on three openings this month worth a second glance:

Bridget Everett and The Tender Moments (photo: Kevin Yatarola)

Bridget Everett and The Tender Moments (photo: Kevin Yatarola)

ROCK BOTTOM
Downtown’s bawdry broad Bridget Everett returns to the Public Theatre with the premiere of Rock Bottom. Conceived with the help of heavy hitters Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Matt Ray, Everett tells the story of what happens when you’re too passionate to give up, and too big to fail. In it, she barrels through life tiptoeing toward disaster, wine bottle by wine bottle and man by man. However, instead of succumbing to a chardonnay-induced stupor, Everett embraces a series of revelations that lead her and her voice of an angel to redemption. Originally commissioned as part of Joe’s Pub 2013 New Voices series, Everett and her entourage have moved beyond cult status into the “see and be seen” of New York’s theater world.

Rock Bottom
Joe’s Pub at The Public
425 Lafayette Street
Opening night, September 17
Through October 11

Take a peek at Patti LuPone crashing one of Bridget’s performances at Joe’s Pub last year.

 

YouthTHIS IS OUR YOUTH
Hollywood stars come out to play in the revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth, directed by Anna D. Shapiro. The play follows three wayward youth, played by Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson, as they stumble their way through life and love via 1982 New York City. The New Group originally produced the play Off Broadway back in 1996. This revival got its footing at Steppenwolf in Chicago earlier this summer in their intimate Upstairs Theatre. Hopefully those performances will translate to the 1,082-seat Cort Theatre.

This Is Our Youth
Cort Theatre
138 West 48th Street
Opening night, September 11
Through January 4, 2015

 

2020at20
With too many Off Broadway shows to pick from this fall, we couldn’t limit ourselves and why should you? The Off Broadway Alliance’s bi-annual promotion enables audience members to snag $20 tickets at 20 minutes prior to curtain for dozens of shows. Revisit old favorites like Avenue Q and Naked Boys Singing, or check out a new production such as Port Authority or Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story (closing September 14).

For a full listing, visit, 20at20.com.
September 9–28

The cast of "Piece of My Heart" (photo: Jenny Anderson via The Broadway Blog).

The cast of “Piece of My Heart” (photo: Jenny Anderson via The Broadway Blog).

Larry Krone BRAND and the House of Larreon Arrive at the Public

August 26th, 2014 Comments off
Bridget Everett and Larry Krone (photo by Todd Oldham via The Broadway Blog).

Bridget Everett and Larry Krone (photo by Todd Oldham via The Broadway Blog).

As part of Joe’s Pub at The Public’s new artist-in-residence initiative, artist/entertainer Larry Krone will premiere a selection of photos from his forthcoming art book, LOOK BOOK. The book showcases the inspired creations of Larry Krone BRAND and the House of Larréon in photos by designer and photographer Todd Oldham. Running in conjunction with The Public Theater’s 2014-15 season presentation of Bridget Everett’s Rock Bottom, the exhibition will be on view from September 2-25 on The Public Theater’s Philip and Janice Levin Foundation Mezzanine. There will be an opening night party on Tuesday, September 2 at 5:30 p.m.

The House of Larréon was born in 2010 when Krone joined forces with his friend and muse, alt-cabaret superstar Bridget Everett. His mission was to create gowns that would thrill Everett’s audiences while underscoring her identity as a supremely powerful woman, fearless in body and soul. Before all this, inspired by the contradictory yet fundamental relationship between showmanship and authenticity in mainstream country music, Krone introduced Larry Krone BRAND in 1997 with Western costumes he made for his Larry Krone and Family shows.

Todd Oldham brings his trademark vision of vibrant, uncomfortable beauty to the main photos of LOOK BOOK, which are accompanied by photos by acclaimed concert photographer Kevin Yatarola and snapshots taken by Krone. LOOK BOOK’s primary model for House of Larréon is Everett, while Krone models his own Larry Krone BRAND Western wear. Other models in the book include Jim Andralis, Becca Blackwell, Kathleen Hanna, Erin Markey, Neal Medlyn, Adrienne Truscott and more.

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Interview: Star Quality Goes Rock Bottom with Bridget Everett

October 30th, 2013 Comments off

Broadway Blog editor Matthew Wexler chats with Bridget Everett about booze, Broadway and the secret of success. This post contains adult content.

Bridget Everett and The Tender Moments (photo: Kevin Yatarola)

Bridget Everett and The Tender Moments (photo: Kevin Yatarola)

This now established icon of New York City’s cabaret scene (and not of the Andrea Marcovicci variety) has been pounding the pavement for more than a decade and A-listers are starting to notice.

“I moved to New York and wanted to be a singer,” says Everett, who ironically earned her Actor’s Equity card doing children’s theater. Work was slow to come her way so she started singing in karaoke bars and “going ape shit.”

She developed her signature character, a big-busted, wine-guzzling woman who walks a fine line between female empowerment and battered vulnerability, out of necessity. “It’s not like there’s part for me on Broadway, it’s not coming across my desk. I started singing and telling stories, doing whatever I could to get on stage,” Everett says.

Bridget Everett (photo: Allison Michael Orenstein)

Bridget Everett (photo: Allison Michael Orenstein)

A big break came from off Broadway’s Ars Nova Theater and artistic director Jason Eagan, who gave Everett a performance slot to further develop her show. She created “At Least It’s Pink” and slowly started to gather a cult following from theatergoers craving boundary-pushing antics with the musical chops to back it up. While performing a number at a New Year’s Eve show hosted by Dina Martina and Murray Hill at Joe’s Pub, Everett caught the eye of the Public Theater’s staff and has continued to find a creative home at the venue, which continues to cultivate her unique brand of talent.

“[The Public] is such a great place for developing art, they let me do what I want. They never say no. They feel like friends and family,” says Everett. The feelings are mutual. The Public recently commissioned Everett and her band The Tender Moments to create a new theatrical event as part of its New York Voices series, which lets musicians explore different ways of storytelling, narrative and songwriting while connecting them to the Public Theater’s artistic staff and a wider theater audience.

Everett has partnered with Tony-winning writing duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman as well as Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys to create Rock Bottom, which explores “what happens when you’re too passionate to give up, and too big to fail. “It has been a unique pleasure to watch Bridget’s career develop over the years and to see her audience continue to grow,” says Joe’s Pub director Shanta Thake.

If you can’t catch Rock Bottom, head to Carnegie Hall on November 7, where Everett will be appearing as a special guest performer for none other than Patti LuPone. And if you think the sweeping success has gone to Everett’s head, just ask her what she thinks about her Carnegie Hall debut: “Holy shit. I can’t believe it.”

Click Here for tickets to Rock Bottom at Joe’s Pub.
Oct. 30, Nov. 1, 2
9:30 p.m.

Take the jump for a sneak peek at what happened when Patti LuPone crashed Everett’s recent show at Joe’s Pub as well as performance captured for HBO Canada.

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The New Divas

August 30th, 2013 Comments off

Contributor Lindsay B. Davis takes a look at today’s up-and-coming divas from NYC and around the globe.

Barbra. Bernadette. Diana. Ask someone his or her favorite diva and you will often get a single, one name answer that carries the majesty and aura of a goddess. Purists know the word ‘diva’ has early roots in the opera world and believe a girl’s gotta be able to siiiiing to earn the title. Others feel a diva’s performance ability and theatricality is as important as the voice when it comes to firmly affixing oneself amongst the diva ranks. The association between ‘diva’ and ‘prima donna’ —  see Phantom of the Opera’s ‘Prima Donna’ for entertaining context — also explains why divas are known to be a bit, shall we say, fussy.

Who better to talk to about divas than Newsical The Musical’s Christina Bianco, whose Diva Impressions ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ YouTube video went viral a few weeks ago and as of August 30th is approaching 3.9 million views. Bianco’s parade of the most iconic divas (and a few additions like Zooey Deschanel thrown in for comedic effect) captures each female star’s essential quality, from Adele’s guttural alto to Christina Aguilera’s runaway melismata.

BB: How do you define a diva?

Bianco: There are two types of divas. One is a performer who demands your attention because she excels at her craft, has achieved a significant level of fame and is highly respected for her talents. For example, Patti LuPone. The other is a performer who has been so successful and popular that she is viewed as an icon, so even if her career falters, it doesn’t shake her foundation of fame. A good example is Brittany Spears. Divas are a force to be reckoned with.

BB: Which divas do you find most compelling?

Bianco: The ones who stand the test of time. I love Bette Midler and Dolly Parton because no matter the medium (music, stage or screen), they have triumphed. They continue to pack houses and entertain audiences, decade after decade, with no sign of stopping!

BB: Who do you have the most fun impersonating?

Bianco: Definitely Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Bernadette Peters and Kristin Chenoweth. Those four women give me a lot to work and are fiercely talented, so I enjoy the challenge of singing their material.

BB: Do you have a favorite diva performance?

Bianco: Yes, it is Shirley Bassey singing ‘Goldfinger’ live at Royal Albert Hall, which I’ve only seen on YouTube. Her outfit, gestures, command of the stage, ownership of the song, impeccable vocals and not to mention the fabulous orchestra behind her, make it what I think is the most perfect diva moment ever! They just don’t make divas like that any more.

Meow Meow (photo credit: Karl Giant)

Meow Meow (photo credit: Karl Giant)

And then there are the divas breaking the mold and reinventing the term by busting out of tradition. I spoke to Australian born, international performance artist Meow Meow (real name Melissa Madden Grey) who The New York Times calls “a spiritual offspring of Sally Bowles (via Liza Minnelli) from “Cabaret,” filtered through the German chanteuse Ute Lempe.” Meow Meow believes she has “exploded the term diva” and with respect to diva terminology itself, “the post-modern Diva will not be defined or limited, clearly!”

Explosive is an appropriate word to describe Bridget Everett, whose August 28th performance at Joe’s Pub was audacious and beyond wild. Her Broadway caliber vocals are applied to profanity laden songs which she belts — at times completely bare chested —  with fists pumping and legs kicking through the air, as if she is channeling an arena rock band front man. Everett flips the term on its head, a deconstructionist diva on a bender, and one of the most dynamic and entertaining women currently (un)gracing the NYC stage.

When it comes to divas and their fan bases, one of the most loyal and passionate are drag queens. The intersection of drag and diva culture, from Dina Martina to the ladies of Lips, is one that continues to attract and fascinate audiences. Ask Miss Kiki the Hot Mess who his favorite divas are and you will get a list that includes J. Lo, Eartha Kitt and Miss Piggy. Says Miss Kiki, a regular fixture on the NYC drag queen circuit, “Personality trumps voice and there is a grandeur that differentiates a diva from a regular performer.”  When I asked Miss Kiki the difference between a diva and a drag queen, he said, “A Queen Diva usually has been in the game longer…they also come with a WHOLE lot of personality and drama, more so than a drag queen would.” A diva will always reign supreme.

Lindsay B. Davis is a journalist, actress, playwright, producer and director. She resides in New York City.