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Poll: Best Cast Recording of 2017

It’s no secret that original cast albums were the gateway drug for many lifelong theater addicts. Just ask Lin-Manuel Miranda or Todrick Hall.

Choose your favorite recording from among the 10 below, listed alphabetically, which were released in 2017.
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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!

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. Ranking 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 nine of these live musicals, with links to my recaps/ reviews (and/or features or photo galleries), and the shows’ scores on Rotten Tomatoes.

Update: Rotten Tomatoes has now included A Christmas Story, and it isn’t pretty. Preliminary reports also reveal the show had the lowest viewership of any of the live musicals since 2013.

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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