Pretty Woman: Photos, Video, review

Vivian (Samantha Banks) is a hooker, Edward (Andy Karl) is a killer corporate raider who meets her on Hollywood Boulevard, and if the ensuing romance is no less a fable than it was in the hit 1990 movie, there are fewer charms and almost no surprises in Pretty Woman The Musical.

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph by Matthew Murphy to see it enlarged.


The Week in New York Theater: All-Female Mamet. Snoop Dogg in a Play. Bryan Cranston Is Mad As Hell.

With two Broadway shows opening this week — “Gettin The Band Back Together” and “Pretty Woman” — it’s hard to say we’re in the Dog Days of August. Yet, these hot and humid days do encourage thoughts of the Dogg Days of October: See below for details about Snoop Dogg’s theatrical debut in Brooklyn.

Also below: news of Bryan Cranston’s return to Broadway, Michael C. Hall’s to Off-Broadway, a Maria Irene Fornes festival for free; a Tony-winning actor (Christian Borle) turning into a director, and a Tony-winning director (David Cromer) returning to acting; a musical turning into a novel; and an all-male macho Mamet play turning all-female. I guess theater really is transformative!

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Shakespeare in the Theater at the Brick: “Dreamers Often Lie” and the Queering of Romeo and Juliet.

“Shakespeare in the Theater” is the not-quite-clever title of a festival at the Brick Theater that presents itself as an alternative to New York summer staples, Shakespeare in the Park and Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. It’s different because it takes place inside an air-conditioned theater, rather than outdoors, and, more importantly, because it offers new takes on the Bard’s plays.

To get a taste of the festival, which runs through August 27th (see schedule below) I attended the first performance of the first of the eight productions. The hour-long show, produced by the Neon Nature theater company, is entitled “Dreamers Often Lie,” which makes it different from any of the other adaptations in the festival: Writer Lukas Papenfusscline supplied his own title, rather than using Shakespeare’s. Given what I witnessed, this seems an honorable choice.

Click on any photograph by Walls Trimble to see it enlarged.

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Be More Chill: pics, video and review

To outsiders, “Be More Chill” is a hyper-energetic pop-rock musical opening tonight Off-Broadway, starring Will Roland (“Dear Evan Hansen”) as a high school student named Jeremy Heere who sees himself as a loser but then swallows a pill containing a supercomputer and becomes cool.
Jeremy’s journey is of course a sci-fi fantasy. But thanks to its fans, the odyssey of the musical itself is also fairly far out…You don’t have to be 15 to be thrilled by the best moments in the Off-Broadway production of Be More Chill, a musical about high school, presented by a terrifically talented cast, that is too quirky and clever to be dismissed as the standard high school musical bestiary. But it might help to be a teenage fan in order to enjoy all two and a half hours of Be More Chill…

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

New song added to the Off Broadway production:

Click on any photograph by Maria Baranova to see it enlarged

Shame or the Doomsday Machine. TNC’s Free Street Theater

For the 42nd summer in a row, the Theater for the New City’s touring Street Theater Company is presenting an original show for free in the streets and parks throughout New York City. (see schedule below.)

This year’s hour-long musical, “Shame! or The Doomsday Machine,” presents a tuneful and anarchic mix of rock, rap, physics, politics, satire and vaudeville, featuring scenes as varied as a classroom in New York City, a Black Hole in the Universe, and Club Mad, 2000 feet below Mar-a-Lago (Trump’s Florida estate,) each presented in hand-painted scenes on a hand-cranked scrolling backdrop.

Click on any photograph by Jonathan Mandell or Jonathan Slaff to see it enlarged

Twenty-eight performers portray a dizzying array of characters, from a group of protesting students carrying picket signs to Melania in her “I Don’t Care Do U?” jacket. Trump makes multiple appearances, first in a bright orange wig, then transformed into a black man, a woman, and a Mexican.

Ok, so the show is not subtle. But it is fun, and entertaining, and there is even something of an arc, and a loud, clear and hopeful message.

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Watch Rosie’s Broadway’s White House Protest

Wearing t-shirts that said “Now showing: Truth,” Rosie O’Donnell and dozens of other performers who had traveled from New York for the day participated in the 22nd day of protests outside the White House, in front of a bright orange “Treason” sign, making speeches and singing Broadway tunes (such as “A Brand New Day” from The Wiz) and patriotic songs, ending with “America the Beautiful.”
Watch the event below, which was live-streamed last night.

Women Center Stage, NYMF Award Winners, Singing Truth to Power: The Week in NY Theater

Ruthie Anne Miles performed for the first time after her terrible loss, Julia Roberts visited the musical adaptation of the movie that made her a star, Rosie O’Donnell is leading a busload of Broadway performers to protest in front of the White House, and the theater community said goodbye to Charlotte Rae. Details below.

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2018 New York Musical Festival NYMF Awards for Excellence

Four musicals in the 2018 New York Musical Festival tied for the most awards, five apiece: Between the Sea and the Sky, Emojiland, Interstate and Pedro Pan. Below the list of winners and nominees.


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NYMF Review Sonata 1962: A Lesbian Daughter, A Mother’s Mistake

Margaret, a widow and well-meaning mother, is dressed in pearls while making her special buttermilk biscuits for her daughter Laura, who’s back home listless with severe memory loss after her mother sent her away to be tortured.

That of course is not how Margaret sees it in “Sonata 1962,” one of the last of the shows in the 15th annual New York Musical Festival. Written by Patricia Loughrey and Thomas Hodges, the musical takes us back to an era when suburban housewives baked with Crisco, watched Jackie Kennedy give a White House tour on a black and white set, shopped at the Green Stamp store in town, and believed the family doctor that their daughter’s lesbianism was a mental illness, but one that could be cured.
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NYMF Review Between the Sea and Sky: Two Sisters Lured and Trapped by a Mystery

“I am tall when I’m young but short when I’m old. What am I?”
That’s the first of the three riddles that Sam (short for Samantha) poses to the mysterious woman in white in order to free her sister Emily from the woman’s clutches.
“A candle,” the woman answers in triumph.
What’s not as easily solved is the riddle of “Between the Sea and Sky,” a musical written by an Australian named Luke Byrne being presented in a competently directed (and lovingly lit) production as part of the New York Musical Festival. Byrne’s music is impressive in its variety and appeal – from a classical-sounding art song to 1930s song-and-dance number to funky jazz to sea shanty, many suggesting the mysteries and allure of the sea. His lyrics are largely straightforward if undistinguished, except when he tries for the lyrical; then they’re incoherent. But his book is all over the place — an over-flavored stew of young adult novel, mystery, Grimm’s Fairy Tale, satire, even a primer on Shakespeare’s The Tempest – and winds up making no sense at all.
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