Advertisement

Archive

Posts Tagged ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’

There to See: June — Tony Edition

June 4th, 2015 Comments off

At the beginning of each month we take a look at new productions opening on (and off) Broadway, offering our highly opinionated take on where you should spend your hard-earned theater bucks. This month we’re revisiting our three favorite shows of the season and suggesting you quickly scramble to get tickets before they run away with Tony honors.

Alex Sharp (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Alex Sharp (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Whether you’re a fan of the original book by Mark Haddon or are experiencing Simon Stephens’ adaptation for the first time, Curious Incident is one of those rare evenings of theater that will make your heart skip a beat. Director Marianne Elliott (who helmed the Oliver Award-winning production at the National Theatre) along with choreographers Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett utilize the 10-member ensemble in ingenious and infinite ways—as animate as well as inanimate objects. But it is the design team’s sensory framework that catapults the play from spectacular to pure genius.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Barrymore Theatre
243 West 47th Street

 

"An American in Paris" (photo: Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.)

“An American in Paris” (photo: Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.)

An American in Paris
For anyone who danced around the bedroom as a child, listening to cast recordings and dreaming of the day he or she might be on Broadway, An American in Paris is that dream come true.

Directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, there isn’t a show on Broadway that comes close when it comes to storytelling through dance. Carried along by George and Ira Gershwin’s score, the musical is a sweeping celebration of musical theater.

An American in Paris
Palace Theatre
1564 Broadway

Kelli O'Hara ('The King and I' on Broadway/Facebook)

Kelli O’Hara (‘The King and I’ on Broadway/Facebook)

Kelli O’Hara in The King and I
She’s received six Tony Award nominations (including this year’s notch for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical), but O’Hara has yet to snag the coveted prize… until now. Her star turn as Anna Leonowens leads a cast of 50 in Barlett Sher’s gorgeous staging of the Rodgers and Hammerstein 1951 classic. O’Hara is magnetic from the moment she appears on a magnificent ship sailing into Siam. And while that famous dress worn during “Shall We Dance?” took 20 yards of satin to create and delivers a circumference of nearly 30 feet, the actress is light as air. Her soaring soprano envelopes the rich score, but make no mistake—O’Hara is a superb actress on all fronts and delivers a performance of a lifetime.

The King and I
Vivian Beaumont Theater
Lincoln Center

Matthew Wexler is the Broadway Blog’s editor. Follow him on Twitter at @roodeloo.

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…

Read more…

Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

October 5th, 2014 Comments off

Broadway Blog editor Matthew Wexler reviews the Olivier Award-winning play based on a novel by Mark Haddon.

'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

The opening tableau of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a new play by Simon Stephens based on the novel by Mark Haddon, is so shocking that it elicited audible gasps from the audience. Gasps that eventually melted into laughter, tears and an extraordinary emotional journey that follows the escapades of 15-year-old Christopher as he attempts to solve the “incident” that has occurred in his neighbor’s yard.

Alex Sharp (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Alex Sharp (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Christopher (played by Alex Sharp with some performances by Taylor Transch) is a special boy. Most will recognize his behaviors as signs of Asperger’s syndrome, but Haddon is quick to point out that this is not the central focus of the character, saying that it’s a novel about “difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way. It’s as much a novel about us as it is about Christopher.

Playwright Simon Stephens transforms the storyline into a piece that feels as if it was originally intended for the theater, weaving the adults in Christopher’s life into a complicated 21st century algorithm of fractured relationships. Director Marianne Elliott (who helmed the Oliver Award-winning production at the National Theatre) along with choreographers Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett utilize the 10-member ensemble in ingenious and infinite ways—as animate as well as inanimate objects. Ian Barford as Christopher’s prone-to-violence father, Enid Grahm as his less-than-maternal mother Judy and Francesca Faridany as his educator lead the company of actors that is the primary conduit for Christopher’s emotional journey.

Curious1Providing a sensory framework Christopher’s hyper-focused journey is an ingenious set by Bunny Christie (who also designed costumes), video design by Finn Ross, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Ian Dickinson and music by Adrian Sutton. Yes—they all deserve mention because it is the sum of the parts that makes Curious so compelling.

Mr. Sharp, a recent Julliard graduate making his Broadway debut, taps into Christopher’s mathematically driven consciousness with voltage and vulnerability. It’s a nearly impossible task, given the seemingly vast social limitations of the character. Prone to social anxiety, Christopher lives comfortably in his calculated inner world, avoiding physical touch and eye contact wherever possible. He often lacks empathy, instead, concerned only about the next step in his linear and hyper-focused plan. But buried deep within these characteristics often associated with Asperger’s, Mr. Sharp reveals a vulnerable boy on the brink of manhood—one who (in the briefest of moments) feels love, hurt and the infinity of emotions that seem like a privilege to the rest of us.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of those rare evenings of theater that is both joyous as well as heartbreaking. Christopher is the unlikeliest of heroes, but one you can’t help rooting for. And when the final bow is taken (be sure to stay for the “encore”), perhaps those in the audience will carry with them a tad more compassion, empathy and love for those who are considered “different.”

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Barrymore Theatre
243 West 47th Street
Open-ended run.