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TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE: “Chaplin: The Musical”

September 11th, 2012 Comments off

Zachary Unger & Rob McClure in “Chaplin”. Photo by Joan Marcus.

CHAPLIN: THE MUSICAL

Silent film’s beloved “Little Tramp” gets the full Funny Guy treatment in a new bio-musical directed by Warren Carlyle (Follies) and written by Thomas Meehan (Hairspray) and Christopher Curtis.

“The lens through which we see most of Chaplin, though, is blurred, as if with Vaseline.” New York Times

“As a musical, Chaplin is squarely in the middle of the middle of the pack; as the canny redeployment of an icon, it sometimes flirts with excellence.” New York Magazine

“The producers of Chaplin…have passed that difficult test, with relative newcomer Rob McClure proving a small wonder as the Little Tramp.” Variety

“…a curiously flat affair.” Entertainment Weekly

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TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE: Fall Preview 2012, The Musicals

September 5th, 2012 Comments off

The Cast of "Chaplin". Photo by Joan Marcus.

Buckle up, boys and girls! The theater season is about to get up and rolling so we’ve got a two part preview of the tunes and tears the Great White Way has to offer through the end of the year. Since the first show out of the gate post-Labor Day is a musical, let’s start with a closer look at the originals and revivals singing and dancing onto Broadway during the rest of 2012.

On a quick glance, the slate is…well…a bit like the island of misfit toys; a curiosity chest of pieces with unusual histories from less than name brand writers. But one never knows until the curtain goes up what we truly have in store; the oddest ducks (or Cats) can sometimes turn out to be blockbusters.

Chaplin (September 10): One of Hollywood’s first mega-stars gets the first slot of the season in what promises to be a splashy theatrical biography. The biggest news is that the lead is being played by a relative unknown (almost unheard of in these marquee driven times), Rob McClure. Also in the plus column, a book co-written by musical vet Thomas Meehan (Hairspray) and supporting turns from the recent Closer than Ever dynamic duo Jenn Colella and Christiane Noll…as well as our very own Theater Buff, Wayne Wilcox.

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TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE: “Closer Than Ever”

August 1st, 2012 Comments off

Every first Wednesday of the month, get caught up with what’s on stage with our review round-up. And that vaguely hollow, clinking sound you hear at the end of each segment? That’s me tossing in my two cents. This month, we have two shows worth cheering about. Let’s look at one today and one when it opens tomorrow…

Jenn Colella & Danny Weller in "Closer Than Ever". Photo by Carol Rosegg.

CLOSER THAN EVER

The classic Maltby & Shire musical revue — if you are a theater lover over the age of 35, you probably know the original cast album by heart — gets revived in a new production at Off-Broadway’s York Theater Company.

“…among the abundant charms of this pocket-size 1989 revue, now getting a polished revival by the York Theater Company, is its assertion that folks with a few miles on the odometer also have stuff to sing about.” New York Times

“…a wonderfully performed revival …” New York Daily News

“…bejeweled masterpieces … The texture is unmistakably eighties—but, in case you haven’t noticed, that’s the decade we appear to be reliving.” New York Magazine

“…its 26 exquisitely crafted songs – each of which presents distinct scenarios about various middle-aged individuals – together make for an absolutely exquisite and exhilarating theatrical experience.” AM New York

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