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Watch The Greatest Showman Live Commercial during #AChristmasStoryLive

Billed as the first live TV commercial for a movie, Hugh Jackman leads in this song-and-dance number to promote The Greatest Showman (Starts at the one minute mark) Watch for Zendaya, Zac Efron, and Keala Settle as the bearded lady!

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Farinelli and the King: Review, Pics of Mark Rylance as Mad King

Four years after their splendid debut on Broadway, Shakespeare’s Globe returns to the beautiful Belasco Theater with a show that in a few glorious ways resembles their spectacular Twelfth Night. Their production of Farinelli and the King, an original play by Claire Van Kampen based on an odd true story about an opera singer whose music helped heal a mad king, gives us the gift of another opulent set and authentic-looking period costumes, and of another fine British cast again starring the always watchable Mark Rylance.

If Van Kampen’s script unsurprisingly falls far short of Shakespeare, Farinelli and the King also features what should count as a secret weapon — the singing of Iestyn Davies, a countertenor who provides what surely is the closest possible version in modern times to the arias sublimely rendered by the superstar castrati of the 18th century such as Farinelli.

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph by Joan Marcus to see it enlarged.

Heavenly Voices: Legacy of Farinelli

#AChristmasStoryLive on Fox Tonight. Ranking How Rotten Previous Live TV Musicals

When A Christmas Story is broadcast live tonight on Fox (starting at 7 p.m. ET), a reworked version of the Broadway musical by Pasek and Paul, it’ll be the latest example of a trend that began four years ago, with NBC’s live broadcast of The Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood.

How has this new trend/tradition fared?

Below is a ranking of eight of these live musicals, with links to my recaps/ reviews (and/or features or photo galleries), and the shows’ scores on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Top 10 Lists of Top 10 Theater 2017: The Band’s Visit, Doll’s House, Bruce, Bette.

“The Band’s Visit” is a favorite of all but one of the drama critics whose top 10 lists for New York theater in 2017 are listed below. (The only critic to omit it this year, David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter, put it on his list last year when the musical based on an Israeli indie film was Off-Broadway. It opened on Broadway last month.)  Also popular this year:  “A Doll’s House, Part 2” (on eight lists). “Springsteen on Broadway” and “Hello, Dolly” (five each.) “Jitney” and “Mary Jane” (four each.)

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The Children Review: A Quiet Apocalypse, A Surprise Reckoning

“The Children” begins as what seems like a small, slow domestic drama about three aged friends in an English seaside cottage, but turns into an unsettling meditation on some very large themes — life, death, the responsibility of one generation to the next, the poisoning of the planet.

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Fiasco’s Twelfth Night: Review, Pics

Fiasco Theater offers a Twelfth Night for theatergoers who’ve never seen Twelfth Night or Fiasco Theater before.
For almost a decade, the ensemble company has been praised for its bare-bones productions of Shakespeare (and one Sondheim) that have been both intelligible and inventive. At CSC, they are delivering the Bard’s Christmas season comedy of mistaken identity with their customary clarity, but without that extra spark that characterized their Cymbelline or Into The Woods.

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Top 10 New York Theater in 2017 To Be Grateful For

For all the Broadway box office records set in 2017, the year in New York theater felt tentative, in transition, as if both theater artists and audiences were trying to figure out how to deal with the changed, and charged, political landscape. Some shows offered the escapist route, like Hello, Dolly with Bette Midler or SpongeBob SquarePants; these crowd pleasers generally didn’t please me enough to include in my top ten. Other shows went in the opposite direction, offering some form of social or political engagement. With one exception (see below), the less satisfying of these dealt directly with politics or political activism in the narrow sense (The Parisian Woman or Michael Moore’s The Terms of My Surrender) or previewed a political apocalypse (1984.) Many of my favorites of 2017 paint a realistic picture of people fighting against a sense of hopelessness; but in telling their stories, the shows paradoxically provide us with a sense of hope – and sometimes a blueprint for action. Theater at its best can function as both a place of refuge and a resource.

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