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Glenn's Report for April 2014

May 1, 2014

Report for The Month of April 2014

©GLENN LONEY 2014

THIS-WAS-THE-MONTH-THAT-WAS…

April-Fool! April-Fool! April-Fool!

New Yorkers may have thought that Spring had already Sprung.

But they were still a Bit-Under-the-Weather by the Approach-of-May…

The Rotten & Ever-Changeable-Weather did not make Play-Going any easier either, both for Ticket-Buying-Theatre-Lovers & Press-Freebie-Drama-Critics.

What was Especially-Challenging, however, was the Oscar-Like-Proliferation of Play-Openings in the Two-Weeks leading up to Award-Nominations & Voting.

Speaking of Nominations, here are the Awards-Nominations made by the OCC—or Outer-Critics-Circle—for which Your Roving Arts-Reporter is both a Nominator & the Official-Historian:

[Insert OCC-Nominations-List]

Not to be Outdone—but by Mutual-Agreement, always Two-Days-Later, so the Press-Releases don’t Cross-File—the Drama-Desk has also issued its Annual-Awards-Nominations.

[Your Roving Arts-Reporter was once a Nominator, but the Process became Too-Complicated, though he remains a Drama-Desk-Voter & a Five-Decades-Plus-Member.]

[Insert Drama-Desk-Nominations-List]

PASSING-GLANCES AT SCENES-SEEN:

Not To Complain!

Most of the Plays, Musicals, Revues, Solo-Performances, & Revivals were well worth Braving-the-Elements, as well as the Epic-Fifth-Avenue-Traffic-Jams caused by Spring-Break & Easter.

Here is a List of some of the Outstanding-Productions more-fully-described below:

Woody Allen’s BULLETS OVER BROADWAY [ÖÖÖÖÖ]

David Ives’ THE HEIR-APPARENT [ÖÖÖÖÖ]

Bert Brecht & Kurt Weill’s THE THREEPENNY-OPERA [★★★★★]

Scott Z. Burns & Steven Soderburgh’s THE LIBRARY [★★★★★]

Martin McDonagh’s THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN [★★★★★]

John Cameron Mitchcell & Stephen Trask’s HEDWIG & THE ANGRY-INCH [★★★★★]

Charles Ludlam’s THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP: A Penny-Dreadful [★★★★★]

David Grimm’s TALES OF RED-VIENNA [★★★★★]

Now! On with the Shows!

Ted Shen’s A SECOND CHANCE [★★★]

Lovelorn-But-Wary-Singles Sing Their Way Into a Relationship—With Central-Park-Projections…

Seeing this Small-But-Sweet-Show on April-Fool’s-Day may have made me a Bit-Foolish…

When Brian Sutherland first ambled-out on the Shiva-Stage—furnished sparely with several White-Plastic-Chairs & Three-Sided by Black-&-White-Projections, largely of Central-Park—I was prepared for The-Worst.

Having recently been Visually-&-Verbally-Attacked by Wally Shawn on this Very-Same-Stage…

The Rigidly-Orthodox don’t call it Sitting-Shiva for nothing.

When Diane Sutherland strolled along, wearing some kind of Alarmingly-Patterned-Shoulder-Throw & began Singing about being at this Party, where she had been Set-Up-To-Meet-Someone, My-Heart-Sank.

Les Parapluies de Cherbourg Indoors or Something-Like-That at the Public?

Slowly, however, My-Heart-Began-To-Thaw, even, as the Latins & the Popes say: Sursum Corda!

I think I must have fallen In-Love with Diane/Jenna, partly because she so much reminded me of a Late & Good-Friend, with whom it would have been wonderful to have had a Relationship, had she not been Married to My-Best-Friend…

As for the Suffering-Sad-&-Lonely Dan, who feels a Weight-of-Betrayal, he seemed the Kind-of-Guy you would like to have for a Best-Friend.

Especially as he is really Interested-in-Architecture!

People who are Architecture-Fanatics & Preservation-Maniacs cannot be All-Bad. Even if they Sing-a-Lot…

In any case, Singing-Sutherlands were much more interesting than Another-Go with Wally Shawn, Singing or Not.

Jonathan Butterell staged, with Projections by Stacy Renee Morrison & Eric Weeks.

Lanie Robertson’s LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL [★★★★]

Audra Mcdonald Drunkenly-Deconstructs as Billie Holiday at the End of the Road…

How do you sing a Great-Song greatly when you are Already-High & Increasingly-Drunk?

Some Lucky-Ducks got Table-Tickets down in the Arena of Circle-in-the-Square, currently doing Double-Duty as a South-Philly-Dive, where Billie Holiday is making an Almost-Final-Appearance.

So they not only got to get Drinks with the Show, but also to see how Audra McDonald somehow manages to render Strange Fruit, God Bless the Child, When a Woman Loves a Man, & What a Little Moonlight Can Do, between Drinks, Collapses, & Recalling the Dire-Events of her Troubled-Life.

Not so long ago, Broadway already had a Billie-Holiday-Rerun, but this was DeeDee Bridgewater, beginning with Billie’s Early-Childhood & closing with an Elegant-Holiday in London.

Lanie Robertson based her Lady-Day-Play on a Memory of Billie & her Chihuahua, fading fast, at Emerson’s. Lonny Price staged, with Production-Values provided by James Noone & a Translucent-Rear-Scrim.

Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey’s IF/THEN [★★★★]

Idina Menzel Is Leading a Double-Life in New York: Pay Attention! It’s a Bit Confusing at First…

The Good-News is that Idina Menzel is Back-on-Broadway!

The Bad-News—at least for Older-Folks, who may not be paying Close-Attention—is that she is Leading-a-Double-Life.

Our Darling-Idina is Sleeping-Around!

She gets into Bed with One-Man, only to arise with Another-Guy at her side!

See, it’s like this: She has just arrived in New York, to hook-up with an Old-College-Buddy, who is into Activist-Protests, the kind where you get Handcuffed & Knocked-Around.

But she also hooks-up with Management-Types & proves a Natural in City-Planning & Urban-Architecture.

As we can see Every-Day in the Headlines—if you still can find a Newspaper—Protest is Going-Nowhere: Whatever became of Occupy-Wall-Street?

But Stuff like developing the West-Side-Yards & the Old-Domino-Factory over in Brooklyn is really Where-It’s-At.

Plus: Great-Graphics & Innovative-Displays…

In fact, the Production-Values of IF/Then are one of its Chief-Delights.

There is this Great-Mirror-Wall that can be a Reflective-Roof—wonderful for Doubling the Choreographic-Effects of Larry Keigwen’s Dancer/Singers—or Pivot to provide an entirely New-Landscape.

There are also Huge-Leafy-Trees onstage—a Feature of several new Broadway-Shows, including Bridges of Madison-County & Casa-Valentina—which suggest Madison-Square-Park, Where-It-All-Begins!

Idina Menzel & her Predominantly-Youthful-Cast can be grateful to Design-Wizards Mark Wendland [Scenic-Design], Emily Rebholz [Costumes], & Kenneth Posner [Lighting].

As for the Sound-Design of Brian Ronan: well, there is Room-for-Improvement…

A Longtime-Admirer of Idina Menzel—loved her as the Green-Faced Wicked-Witch in Wicked—I was a bit surprised to notice, for the First-Time, an Odd-Nasality in her Otherwise-Brilliant-Voice.

Later, it was pointed-out to me that she was Incorrectly-Miked—with that Tiny-Microphone just jutting a teeny-little-bit from her Front-Hairline, instead of being positioned by her Ear, which would have prevented the Nasal-Resonance from being So-Strong.

Among the Hit-Songs—which are Not-Listed in the Playbill-Program!—for which I want the Sheet-Music, so I can play them at home, is the rousing ditty, What the Fuck, delivered from Beth/Liz’s Bed…

What is it with Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey that they don’t want their Lively-Songs listed by Name in the Playbill?

Anyway, in addition to that Protest-Guy & those Management-Types, there is also a GI with whom Idina—or Liz/Beth—falls in Love, as well as into Bed.

But he is, unfortunately, Totaled in one of our Foreign-Wars, Iraq or Afghanistan—I forget which, as there was so much Interchangability going-on—so there is also the Problem of the Honor-Guard for his Returning-Coffin, etc.

Several Leading-Critics have hailed If/Then as the Herald or Forerunner or Harbinger of an Entirely-New-Kind-of-Musical!

Perhaps not exactly what Oklahoma! & Agnes de Mille meant to Broadway way back when, but, well, Something-New, not like Motown or Bridges of Madison-County.

Nonetheless, it would have helped to have had a Score-Card or a Road-Map to follow Liz/Beth’s Double-Life more carefully.

Still, it was Great-Fun to see the Likes of LaChanze, Anthony Rapp, Jerry Dixon, Jenn Colella, James Snyder & Jason Tam together with Idina Menzel up on the Historic-Stage of what once was the 46th-Street-Theatre, directed by Michael Greif, who once gave us Rent, but not Grief.

Woody Allen’s BULLETS OVER BROADWAY [★★★★★]

Golden-Oldies Musicalize Woody’s Film-on-Stage: No Composer/Lyricist-Credits!

If you are one of those Woody-Allen-Haters—who cannot forgive him for Breaking-Mia-Farrow’s-Heart, as well as being Incredibly-Clever—if you are a Paid-Critic, you will possibly dismiss this Hilarious-Musical as Contrived-Rubbish.

Nonsense!

It’s even More-Fun than the Movie on which it is based, especially thanks to the Brilliant-Choreography & Staging of Susan Stroman.

Her Colorful-&-Dynamic-Recreations of Jazz-Age-Dance-Routines—set to such Ditties as Tiger Rag, Runnin’ Wild, Good Old New York, & I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You—are worth Repeated-Visits to the St. James Theatre.

Frankly, I’d go again & again just to see Marin Mazzie as the Faded-But-Still-Twinkling-Broadway-Star, Helen Sinclair.

Mazzie/Sinclair is an Elegant-Comic-Wonder: Nominations are Necessary!

Also Sinister/Wonderful is Nick Cordero as Gangster-Cheech, who Snuffs-Out the Dumb-Blonde-Would-Be-Star who is ruining his World-Premiere.

Cheech didn’t start-out to be a Playwright. He’s supposed to be Shadowing his Mob-Boss’s Dumb-Blonde-Mistress Onstage & Off.

Unfortunately, she can’t act worth Shite

Even less Competent is Zach Braff, as David Shayne, who has just written a Bad-New-Play that a Desperate-Producer—Hungry for Production-Money—is desperate to Produce on Broadway.

Wait! Wait a minute!

That doesn’t sound quite right: it is the Playwright David Shayne who is incompetent.

Zach Braff’s Problem—even though he is supposed, somehow, to be the Leading-Man—is that, while he is generally OK, playing a Nerdish-Dweeb, is that he doesn’t Radiate-Enough-Energy-&-Charm out into the Audience.

During the Hilariously-Disastrous-Rehearsals, it’s all too clear that The-Play-Isn’t-Working.

So Cheech begins making Helpful-Suggestions to the Frantic-Playwright.

So They Have a Hit & One-Dead-Dumb-Blonde…

Fortunately, in addition to Cheech, the Ensemble also had Woody Allen on-hand every night of Rehearsals & Previews, adding Jokes. But not Snuffing-Dumb-Blondes…

Stroman & Allen have been good to most Cast-Members, including the always-admirable Karen Ziemba.

Why Woody thought it was a Laff-Riot to have the usually-amusing Brooks Ashmanskas—impersonating a Self-Loving & Gourmandizing-Character-Actor—push around an Immense-Bulging-Belly in front of himself must remain a Broadway-Mystery…

John Steinbeck’s OF MICE & MEN [★★★★]

Depression-Era Salinas-Valley Lives Again: George & Lennie at the Longacre, Not the Gabilans…

Thanks to the Banksters & Fraudsters, we are on the Margins of another Great-Depression, although No-one seems to recognize that.

There is also a Drought in California’s Great-Valley. The Broccoli-Crop is dying…

What’s Bad for the San-Joaquin-Valley is even Worse for the Salinas-Valley, the Historic-Setting for John Steinbeck’s Of Mice & Men.

But it’s surely not the Endangered-Broccoli—nor the Shrivelling-Rivers around Salinas, Watsonville, & Monterey—that have impelled The Shuberts & a Host of Other-Producers to revive Steinbeck’s Minor-Classic on Broadway?

No, No! It must be the Necessity for James Franco to show his Acting-Chops on the Great-White-Way, along with the admirable Chris O’Dowd, as the Giant-Retard, Lennie.

Franco, as George, a Depression-Era Migrant-Worker, travels from Farm-to-Farm, from Ranch-to-Ranch, hoping for some Employment.

George hikes along the dusty California highways & side-roads with his Chum & Burden, Lennie.

He looks-after Lennie, who has no one else in the World to care for him.

There is No-Suggestion of Homosexuality in their Relationship. That’s not Steinbeck-Territory…

Lennie likes to pet Soft-Things, especially Rabbits.

Unfortunately, he often Crushes them with his Affection…

When Lennie & George finally find Temporary-Employment at a Ranch, there’s a Problem.

The Rancher’s Son has married a Slutty-Blonde, who likes to come down to the Bunk-House to present herself for whatever…

Lennie likes her Soft-Blonde-Hair. He wants to Stroke-It.

Well, you can Guess-the-Rest.

If you cannot, you can Buy-a-Ticket to the Revival at the Longacre-Theatre.

But it would be much, much Cheaper to buy Of Mice & Men in Paperback!

Anna D. Shapiro staged in the Bunkhouse of Todd Rosenthal, who also offered a grimly-dark Salinas-Valley for On-the-Road & By-the-River—near Soledad, which means Solitude.

Incidental-Information: There is also an Operatic-Version of Of Mice & Men.

When this Powerful-Work was given its European-Premiere at the Bregenz-Festival in Austria, I was asked to provide a Slide-Show relating to Steinbeck & the Salinas-Valley.

Soon, these Print-&-Slide-Images will be On-Line in an Interactive-Photo-book, to be called Steinbeck-Country.

On Facing-Pages will be Glenn Loney INFOTOGRAPHY™ Images of what is often called "The Long-Valley,” as well as of the Gabilans, the Pacific-Coast, Monterey, & Carmel.

Anyone who knows & loves Steinbeck’s Salinas-Stories will be invited to post—on the Blank-Page-Opposite—an appropriate-but-brief Illustrative-Quote from a Steinbeck-Source that relates to the Photo.

Added-Info: I should note here that My-Mother’s-Family—who Emigrated from Ohio to Salinas—definitely did not like John Steinbeck nor his Salinas-Novels & Stories.

Cousin Ruth Clough was outraged when I took her to see that impressive Steinbeck-Film, East of Eden.

"We were the First to ship Lettuce back East in Refrigerated-Box-Cars! Not Adam Trask!”

Forget about Raymond Massey, James Dean, or Julie Harris…

We shipped that Ice-Cold Iceberg-Lettuce First!

Steinbeck had a Bad-Habit of using Local-Folks’ Real-Names & True-Stories.

My Cousin Carl Abbott was the Sheriff of Monterey-County.

He’s that Law-Officer who was always harassing Madame Flora & Her Girls at the Cat-House in Cannery-Row, as well as the Bums in Sweet-Thursday.

Pace!, John Steinbeck—who is buried only a few yards from Cousins Carl & Bertha Abbott…

David Ives’ THE HEIR-APPARENT [★★★★★]

Misers-Galore: Jonson’s Volpone, Molière’s Miser, Now an Old-Ivesian-Skinflint, Waiting To Die…

If you didn’t look at your Playbill before those Bewigged-Players came out into that Mini-Versailles-Salon in Heir-Apparent, you could easily believe this is a CSC-Production of Molière’s Malade-imaginaire.

But No! No, Indeed!

This is David Ives’ ingenious new version of Le Légataire universel, which was, in its Era, something of an Elegant-Rip-Off [©1708] of Le Malade-imaginaire.

It was crafted by Jean-François Regnard, who is currently fortunate not only to have Ives bring him Back-to-Life, but also to have Paxton Whitehead impersonate his Commedia-Inspired-Character, Geronte, a Rich-Old-Geezer, who looks ready to Die-at-Any-Moment.

The Central-Problem of this Comic-Clockwork-Plot is that Geronte has named No-Heir!

The Heir-Apparent is his Clever-Nephew, Crispin [an equally clever Carson Elrod], who wants to make certain that he will be Properly-Named in the As-Yet-To-Be-Written-Document.

To-That-End, he enlists Geronte’s Clever-Servants, Lisette [Claire Karpen] & Eraste [David Quay].

Eraste will dress-up like Geronte, to deceive the Comically-Short Lawyer, Scruple, who is played by David Pittu—shuffling-about on his Knees, under his Legal-Gown.

No-One knows where Geronte has hidden his Wealth, but there is this Chest with Heavy-Chains on it.

There is also an Ugly-Old-Grandfather-Clock, but what of that…

The Charming Crispin is in love with Isabelle [Amelia Pedlow], the Lovely-Daughter of the Grand-Dame, Madame Argante [an imperious Suzanne Bertish], but he does need an Inheritance to finance his Plans for Wedded-Bliss.

Oddly enough, Crispin presents himself as Geronte’s American-Nephew—dressed as a Backwoodsman—at one point in Ives’-Revised-Plot.

From New York, no less!

Unfortunately, after a Will is written to Crispin’s Satisfaction—with Eraste making-sure that he & Lisette are well-remembered—Geronte appears, wonderfully-restored, in Elegant-Court-Costume.

He is by no means prepared to Shufffle-Off-This-Mortal-Coil.

But, as Mme. Argante is a Handsome-Widow, All will Work-Out-Very-Well!

Not exactly the way Ben Jonson’s Volpone deals with his Greedy-Would-Be-Heirs or how Puccini’s Gianni Schichi manages to impersonate an Intestate who’s already Dead

What makes Le Légataire universel such a Charming-Comic-Interlude is the way in which David Ives has somewhat Modernized some Eighteenth-Century-References, as well as Englished some of Regnard’s Elegant-French-Rhyming-Couplets. Or Doubled-Couplets…

How about: She whom the Prince-of-Darkness couldn’t daunt,

She next to whom a Rock looks Nonchalant.

Who makes Godzilla seem a Mad Bacchante…

You can be sure that neither Molière nor Regnard had ever heard of Godzilla.

How about: Oh, he’s a tetchy one, thanks to his size,

A Kaiser’s Ego in a Pygmy’s guize.

Well, you get The-Idea.

Bert Brecht & Kurt Weill’s THE THREEPENNY-OPERA [★★★★★]

Brecht Might Have Problems With Martha Clarke’s Highly-Eroticised-Vision of London-Thievery…

Nonetheless, Martha Clarke has at least adopted a Fundamental-Element of Brecht’s own Staging-Practice: the Half-Curtain which slides across the Stage to reveal Scene after Scene.

When Brecht had finally established his Berliner-Ensemble in the former Revue-Theatre on Schiffbauerdamm in East-Berlin, there were Stalinist-Inspired Moral-Constraints that discouraged Brecht from evoking Weimar-Era-Berlin, as well as the Criminal-Aspects of Victoria’s London.

Fortunately Martha Clarke is no Stalinist, nor is she a Prude.

Even though her Threepenny-Opera is essentially a Stripped-Down-Period-Piece, she gives the Peachum-Family, "Pirate” Jenny, Tiger Brown, & Macheath a very Modern-Sexuality-&-Sensibility.

When John Gay originally brought his Beggars’-Opera to Mr. Rich, at the Drury-Lane in London, this Astute-Manager was delighted:

Not only had Gay replaced Traditional-Upper-Class Heroes & Heroines with Commoners, but he had also used Folk-Tunes, with New-Lyrics—so there were No-Composer-Issues.

It is said that the Thunderous-Success of Beggars’-Opera made Gay Rich & Rich Gay…

Brecht’s own Composer/Collaborator Kurt Weill—who left Berlin for Broadway long before Hitler—would surely admire what Martha Clarke has done with a Cast that includes F. Murray Abraham as Peachum, Leader of a Gang-of-Thieves & Street-People, with Laura Osnes as his Daughter Polly, who weds the Womanizing Macheath of Michael Park.

Yes, this is the Show with Mack the Knife!

But it’s also the Odd-Musical with the Ballad of Sexual-Dependency, sung by Mary Beth Peil as Mrs. Peachum.

In German, Sexual-Dependency is rendered as Sexualle-Hörigkeit, which somehow sounds even more Depraved…

The talented John Kelly is Filch, with Jenny wonderfully embodied by Sally Murphy.

Queen Victoria—whose Coronation is going to help the Peachum-Gang make a Killing—is played by Romeo, a Happy-Hound.

Somewhere in all this Rumble-&-Jumble, Macheath is Betrayed, Arrested, Incarcerated, & Condemned-to-Death.

Will this leave Unhappy-Polly a Widow?

You need to rush off to the Atlantic-Theatre to find out how It-All-Comes-Out,

As well as to savor some great Kurt Weill/Bert Brecht Jazz-Age-Songs…

Scott Z. Burns & Steven Soderburgh’s THE LIBRARY [★★★★★]

Most-Outstanding-Lighting-Design-Award To David Lander for Another-School-Shooting-Fest!

The Stark-Stage is outfitted with two rows of Morgue-Tables: the Blazing-Light is Pitiless—until it dies-down.

Watching & Hearing this Clinically-Stripped-Down-Production, I was initially certain it was about a School-Shooting that we’d already heard too much about some time ago.

Didn’t some Unhappy-High-School-Crazy go Berzerk & Shoot Teachers & Students at random in a School-Library somewhere Out-West or Down-South?

You never hear about Shooting-Sprees at, say, Dalton, Chapin, or Collegiate in Manhattan.

Not because their Privileged-Students cannot afford Colts, Lügers, Magnums, or a Smith-&-Wesson…

No Amount or Kind of Gun-Control is going to stop this Wide-Spread-Scholastic-Mayhem

But Multi-Award-Winners Burns & Soderburgh aren’t dredging-up some Almost-Forgotten-Tragedy.

The Library is set in The-Future!

What they may have Neglected-to-Notice, however, is that, in the Very-Near-Future, it will no longer be necessary to have School-Libraries, as all the Class-Texts the Already-Disaffected-Students will need will be readily-available on their Mobiles & their iPads, if not quite yet on their Wristwatches.

But The Library isn’t really so much about The-Dead & The-Dying as it is about a Lie, a Fib, or an Incorrectly-Observed or Reported-Event, which then becomes a Viral-Truth.

Which Girl really told The-Shooter that the Students were hiding in that Closet?

As revealed in The Library, the Girl who tried to Save-Her-Life by telling The-Shooter, is transformed into a Minor-Saint, with her Grieving-Mother getting a Big-Book-Deal.

But the Girl who didn’t tell & who is gradually dying of Her-Wounds is named instead & becomes something of a Villain, whom No-One will believe.

So, in a subtle-way, this Play becomes a Sly-Indictment of Mega-Church-Evangelical-Pieties.

Forget about Gun-Control & School-Libraries!

How about some Piety-Control?

Will Eno’s THE REALISTIC-JONESES [★★]

Look Where Will Eno Comes Again! Clichéd-Comments Provide Dialogue for Human-Burn-Outs…

When you seem to live on the Edge of a "Smallish-Town not far from Some-Mountains”—rather than in a Doorman-Condo in the Big-City—as do The-Elder-Joneses, as impersonated by Tracy Letts & Toni Collette, then you really have No-Choice about New-Neighbors moving-in Next-Door.

Realistic-Joneses No. 2—the New-Neighbor-Horrors—are John Jones, impersonated by Michael C. Hall as a Thoughtless-Fuck-Up & Pony Jones, totally-inhabited by Marisa Tomei, as a Mindless-Fuck-Up.

Tracy Letts, as Bob Jones—not that Reverend-Bob-Jones that founded Bob-Jones-University, however—seems to be an Unhappy-Senior, Waiting-to-Die.

His Bob Jones is Mean-Spirited & Indifferent by turns, both to his Patient-Wife, Jennifer Jones—whose Name-Choice reminds us of Wonderful-Movies such as Duel in the Sun & Producer David O. Selznick, who married Jones, after being initially-wed to Louis B. Mayer’s Daughter, Irene—as well as to the Unwelcome but Always-on-Hand Second-Hand-Joneses.

Tracy’s Spiteful-Bob also reminds Regular-Theatre-Goers of another Will-Eno-Anti-Hero, on-view down at Signature-Theatre, where Will Eno is a House-Speciality.

Enough-Eno for One-Season, One might think, but Eno has been Singled-Out as an Emerging-Playwright, enough so to make him Residency-Five-Playwright at the Signature, so there is sure to be More-To-Come!

I wish I liked Will Eno’s Suburban-Dramaturgy more, for his Middletown—premiered at Manhattan’s Vineyard-Theatre—won the Horton-Foote-Award.

Way back when, Eno’s Thom Paine (based on nothing) was a Pulitzer-Prize-Finalist.

It did not win in 2005, but Greatness is sure to be Thrust-Upon-Eno ‘ere long.

Gnit—obviously Demonically-Inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt—was premiered at the Humana-Festival down at Actors-Theatre-Louisville in 2013.

It seems like Only-Yesterday!

Ibsen would have Hated-It…but he has No-Agent to protect him now.

Will Eno made the New York Times’ Best-Plays-List Twice in 2013!

Signature’s Title-&-Deed, as well as the current Realistic-Joneses, made the List!

There must be Some-Kind-of-Fix operating here?

The Admirable & Award-Winning Sam Gold staged, as he has done for Fun Home, Picnic, Seminar, The Flick, The Big Meal, & Circle Mirror Transformation.

What does Sam see that I cannot Grasp?

Just like most Middle-Class-Americans in Will-Eno-Plays, I’m afraid of not "Keeping-Up-with-the-Joneses.”

Don’t Forget the Anagram: One-Neo-Eno!

Kander, Ebb, & Masteroff’s CABARET [★★★★]

Tomorrow Belongs To the Liquor-Sales: Studio-54 Reprises Alan Cumming, with Drinks at Tables!

Studio 54 was long-ago re-conformed from Traditional-Theatre-Seating to Tiny-Tables, with Four-Chairs scrunched-in between Other-Tables, so that Drinks-Can-Be-Sold.

As well as Theatre-Tickets…

This wouldn’t Work-Well for King Lear or Clytemnestra, but it’s OK for shows like Cabaret, which thrive on a Cabaret-Set-Up.

This surely must have been The-Reason that The-Roundabout decided to bring back to Studio 54 the Original-Revival-Production of Sam Mendes & Rob Marshall’s Cabaret?

Starring, of course, Alan Cumming!

A smirking Alan Cumming—with Rouged-Nipples—in somewhat Informal-Formal-Undress as the MC of the infamous Weimar-Era-Berlin Kit-Kat-Kabaret; Alan Cumming in Sexy-S&M-Black-Leather; Alan Cumming in a Nazi-Inflected-Outfit; Alan Cumming in Swaggy-Black-Dress-Drag, with Drooping-Diamond-Earrings; & Alan Cumming in Striped Konzentrations-Lager Prison-Uniform, complete with Yellow-Jewish-Star & Pink-Homosexual-Triangle: the Whole-Nine-Yards, so to speak…

But Jewish-Homosexuals? How could that be Possible? Jewish-Boys can’t be Homos; their Mothers won’t let them.

Maybe the David-Stern & the Pink-Triangle on the same Prison-Drag are Symbolic?

Anyway, you have Alan Cumming & Going, at a Frantic-Pace, with a somewhat Semi-Nude-Mostly-Male-Orchestra, preening-about, with Kit-Kat-Maedchen baring a Tit-or-Two, totally Erotic & Abandoned.

Also: a Male-Drag-Chorus of High-Kickers!

The kind of Colorful-Production-Numbers you have Come-To-Expect from the Always-Ingenious Rob Marshall.

Then there’s the Sally Bowles of the very blonde Michelle Williams.

She Sings-&-Dances with Erotic-Dynamism.

Even near the End—which should be the End-of-the-Road for Sally Bowles—Michelle has a Radiant-Pre-Final-Sub-Finale, which suggests that Sally Bowles will somehow Survive.

You don’t want Studio-54-Audiences going-home Depressed, do you?

After Exposure to Suggestions of Male-Female, Male-Male, & Female-Female Sexual-Encounters Onstage, some in the Audience might well be Ready-for-Action?

Even if Christopher Isherwood—No-Relation to The-New-York-Time’s-Critic Charles Isherwood?—as the Fictional-Cliff-Bradshaw [Bill Heck], shelters the Pregnant Sally Bowles, it is made Clear that Chris/Cliff is a Pink-Triangle-Candidate.

The Doomed/Shattered-Romance of Fräulein Schneider & Herr Schultz is lovingly Made-Real by Linda Emond & Danny Burstein.

With the Triumph-of-Hitler’s-Will & with Dachau & Auschitz looming in the Middle-Distance, even the Lilting-Tunes of Kander & the Witty-Lyrics of Ebb, Ebb-Away if Anyone with an Historical-Memory confronts this Horror-Story with Candor.

Meanwhile, on the Level below my Cramped & Crowded-Table, there were Three-Sisters, One of them in a Wheelchair. Her Two-Loving-Siblings were feeding her Fresh-Berries from a Plastic-Bowl they’d brought with them into Studio 54.

A Cabaret-Costumed-Waitress remonstrated: No Outside Food or Drink!

So One of the Three-Sisters went over to the Nearby-Bar to fulfill her Drinks-Duties with Cash.

Life may be a Cabaret, but the Reality over at Studio 54 is that it’s also about Catering.

For the Record: Arts-Archive’s Scott Bennett & I saw an Astonishing-Production of Cabaret this past Summer in Munich, where it had never before been performed.

So, here is My-Report:

Historic Gärtnerplatz-Theater Now in Disused Bavarian-Cavalry Reithalle

Kander & Ebb’s CABARET [★★★★★]

Stunning Evocation of the Rise-of-the-Nazis, Never Seen Here Before, Shocks German Audiences!

Joel Grey, you never came near the Real-Decadence of Weimar-Era-Berlin that is so vividly suggested on the simple Mirror-Walled-Stage set-up in Munich’s Reithalle

Both the Boys & the Girls—garishly made-up & near-nakedness—look readily-available for any kind of Kinky-Fun you might have in mind.

They can surely show you how to do Things you had no idea Decent-Germans could even imagine.

As the Boys gripped & stroked their Crotches, the Girls shimmied in 1920s-Style & stuck out their Tongues.

Hal Prince! Your Broadway-Vision of Jazz-Age Berlin-Decadence was much too sanitized!

Liza Minelli! Your Sally Bowles was a Sentimental-Softie, compared to the dissolute & desperate Sally of the shattering Nadine Zeinti.

Her final Farewell is not just The-End-of-the-Line, but The-End-of-the-World

The current Munich Cabaret production is the most Overtly-Sexual & Implicitly-Violent that I’ve ever seen.

I suspect that Christopher Isherwood—whose I Am a Camera & Goodbye to Berlin inspired Kander & Ebb—might himself feel both Sexually & Politically-Threatened by Werner Sobotka’s savage staging.

The Conférencier of Dustin Smailes makes Joel Grey’s look like a Pussy-Cat in comparison.

His Wilkommen is more of a Challenge than an Invitation.

As Fräulein Schneider & Herr Schultz, those two Aging-Love-Birds—so memorably once played on Broadway by Lotte Lenya & Jack Gilford—that wonderful Veteran-Actress, Gisela Ehrensperger, & Franz Wyzner were both superb & touching in their Loss…

Of course, New-Yorkers in Munich for the Opera-Festival know all about the Rise-of-the-Nazis. As well as knowing various versions of Cabaret, both on Broadway & on the Silver-Screen.

But just imagine what a Shock this Staging was to German-Friends who had never before seen Cabaret or, for that matter, had not lived through the Thousand-Year-Reich that lasted only from 1933 to 1945.

When the genial Ernst Ludwig [Ferdinand Stahl]—who had been so helpful to the Young-American-Writer, Cliff Bradshaw [Dominik Hees]—revealed his Swastika-Armband, there was an Audible-Gasp.

Even more horrifying for our Friends was the very Blond, very Aryan Hitler-Jugend singing Tomorrow Belongs To Me… [Not in the Broadway-Production, for some Odd-Reason of Deliberate-Omission!]

This was a Doomed-Period in German-History that had been Blacked-Out in Post-War West-Germany.

In the Schools, one read almost nothing about it. Nor did Families talk much about it at home.

"What did you do in the War, Daddy?”

That was a Question you did not ask…

When I was teaching in West-Germany in the Late-1950s, all the Wehrmacht-Vets I met had fought on the Eastern-Front, against Godless-Atheistic-Communism.

After our Landing on Omaha-Beach, why did it take us so long to reach Berlin—if all the Good-Germans were fighting the Soviets?

Jeanine Tesori & Brian Crawley’s VIOLET [★★★★]

Not The-Color-of-Purple: As Initially-Damaged-Goods, Sutton Foster Not Quite a Shrinking-Violet.

When we last saw Sutton Foster on Broadway, she was a dynamic Reno Sweeney, in Anything Goes.

What a Difference another Broadway-Musical can make!

Also produced by the Roundabout & quite a Difference from its Vivid-Revival of Cabaret, this Hill-Billy-Production of Violet presents Foster as a Non-Violent-Violet, who is nonetheless surging with Inner-Anger.

In her Almost-Orphaned-Childhood—with a Difficult-Dad—her Face had been marred, so much so, that she fears No-One will ever Want-Her.

Watching a Charismatic-Faith-Healer on TV, she believes Only-He-Can-Heal-Her, but not via Broadcast-Wave-Lengths.

So Violet begins a Transformative-Bus-Ride through the Southeastern-States, in which she bonds with Two-GI’s.

One of them is Black—or Colored—which Violet Verbally-Notes, meaning No-Offense, for she sees through to the Essential-Good-Person that he really is.

No-One-Else, even in his Family, has seen the Real-Flick [Joshua Henry], his Real-Monicker, not a Movie.

Violet also sees the Shallow-But-Charming-Essence of the Army-Corporal, Montgomery [Colin Donnell], who insists on being called Monty—possibly after Clift, not Python…

When I entered the Ornate-Selwyn-Theatre—now renamed the American-Airlines-Theatre: No Baggage-Checks!—I was astonished to see a Hill-Billy-Stage-Band in a Honky-Honky-Tonk I’d seen before.

Was this a Setting—by David Zinn—from a Show I’d seen long before, somewhere else?

The Humana-Festival, perhaps?

Often, nowadays, when the Curtain-Rises or the Lights-Go-Up, I have the Sense that I must have Dreamt about what I see Onstage sometime before. I somehow know what is Going-To-Happen.

Not so much Déjà-Vue as Pre-Ja-Vue

But not this time out: No, No, No!

I had already seen & enjoyed Violet down on Theatre-Row, at Playwrights-Horizons, way back in 1997!

But the Southern-Roots of Violet go all the way back to that Intriguing-Novel: Doris Betts’ The Ugliest Pilgrim!

Jeanine Tesori composed the Often-Affecting & Hill-Inflected-Music for Violet, quite a Change from her Scores for Thoroughly Modern Millie, Caroline, Shrek, & Fun Home. [Wasn’t’ Sutton Foster a Modern-Millie?]

Brian Crawley—who crafted the Book & Lyrics for Violet—did likewise for A Little Princess, not in the same Ballpark…

Nonetheless, for his work on Violet, he won/shared the Lucile-Lortel-Award for Outstanding-Musical, the Kleban-Award, the Richard-Rodgers-Musical-Production-Award, & the prestigious Drama-Critics-Circle-Award for Best-Musical.

It has taken a long time for Violet to move East on Forty-Second-Street—with a City-Center-Encore in between—but the Wait-Was-Worth-It!

Essentially based on that Encore-Production—all of the Encores deal in Bare-Bones-Essentials—as staged by Leigh Silverman, this is a Bus-Ride of Self-Discovery worth the Ticket-Price.

Violet believes, passionately & hopelessly, that she is Ugly.

What she does not see is that she is Elementally-Beautiful, inside & out. Despite her Self-Doubt & Plain-Speaking.

Flick sees this; Monty does not…

When Violet finally reaches the Stage of the TV-Healing-Broadcast, she believes she’s Had-a-Healing. She also realizes that that Charimatic-Preacher is a Fraud.

Violet is healed by Faith, not by a Faith-Healer.

When a Whole-Violet again meets her Men-Friends, Flick sees this; Monty does not…

So she Pairs with the Loving-Flick: even back in 1997, a bit Daring & Risky in the Southeastern-United-States.

In the meantime, however, American-Airlines-Ticket-Holders have had their Flight-Cancelled, in favor of a wonderfully Revelatory-Greyhound-Bus-Ride, made both amusing & intriguing by a Talented-Ensemble who assemble Metal-Chairs in Story-Theatre-Conformations, to take us through Shreveport, & other Bus-Stops on the Southern-Route.

Not only do they Learn-a-Lot along the way about Southerners, but—like Violet—possibly also Something-About-Themselves…

With some Wonderful-Songs between Bus-Stops!

Martin McDonagh’s THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN [★★★★★]

Being Harry Potter Has Not Crippled Daniel Radcliffe as an Actor: He Totally-Inhabits Cripple-Billy!

Once again, Irish Poet/Playwright William Butler Yeats is proven right about the Irish in the West-Country: They are all Crazy.

But Martin McDonagh makes the Locals of Inishmaan seem especially Insular & Dotty.

Among the Generally-Ignorant-Natives, is the Orphaned-Cripple-Billy, ably embodied by Daniel Radcliffe, who is definitely Not-Making-a-Harry-Potter-Star-Turn.

Being a Cripple, Cripple-Billy has never had much hope of Going-Out-Walking with a Girl.

So he Looks-at-Cows…

Cripple-Billy’s Doting-Aunties, Eileen & Kate Osbourne, look after him in their Small-Shop & Home.

But Cripple-Billy can read & imagine Other-Lives, Other-Places…

The Time is 1934 & Robert Flaherty has been busy filming Man of Aran—later projected for the Villagers.

The Hollywooders give Cripple-Billy the chance to go off to Hollywood for a Screen-Test.

Cripple-Billy fakes a Doctor’s-Note about a Presumed-Fatal-Illness to get Babbybobby to help him escape the Island & his Doting-Aunties.

But Cripple-Billy’s Dreams of a Hollywood-Career go up in Peat-Smoke when he is told it’s cheaper & easier to engage an Actor who can act a Cripple than a Cripple who can’t act.

On his Unexpected-Return, the Angry Babbybobby beats him severely for deceiving him.

This doesn’t much help Cripple-Billy, who now seems to be spitting-up-blood.

Staged by Michael Grandage, this looks very much like the Visual-Production—designed by Christopher Oram for a Revolving-Stage—that I saw some time ago in England & Ireland.

Because this is the Production of the Michael-Grandage-Company, I assume it is Always-on-Tour?

In the Excellent-Cast are Gillian Hanna & Ingrid Craigie, as the Aunties, one of whom communes with a Stone; Pat Shortt. as the garrulous & drunken Johnnypateenmike; Conor MacNeill & Sarah Greene, as Cripple-Billy’s Occasional-Tormentors, Egg-Haired Bartley & Red-Haired Helen McCormick; June Watson, as Johnnypateenmike’s Drink-Sodden & Foul-Mouthed Mammy, & Gary Lilburn as the Village-Doctor, the only Sane-Irishman of the Lot.

It’s all too easy to make fun of the Irish of the Western-Isles, but Martin McDonagh is no John Millington Singe nor Sean O’Casey.

Nor is Cripple-Billy the Playboy-of-the-Western-World.

Nonetheless, Daniel Radcliffe’s Performance as Cripple-Billy is worth a Night-Out.

You may well ask: What does Harry Potter look like, as a Cripple?

Buy-a-Ticket!

Speaking of Cripples:

Amazingly, there are No-Cripple-Toilets in the Cort-Theatre, where Cripple-of-Inishmaan is playing!

Being myself somewhat of an Irish-American-Cripple, bumbling-about with a Cane, I was told to go across Traffic-Challenged-48th-Street to Chipotle—apparently a sort of Fast-Food-Mexican-Restaurant—to use their Handicapped-Toilet.

Unfortunately, their Men’s-Room had but One-Urinal, all broken & taped-up.

The Actual Handicapped-Toilet—the Sole-Toilet in the Men’s-Room—had No-Toilet-Paper & a Broken-Door-Latch that could not be Locked.

One Guy—in the Line waiting for me to finish-up—apparently couldn’t Wait & was Urinating in the Wash-Stand when I came out…

So, it would seem that whether you are in Ireland or in Mexico, you are always Shite-Out-of-Luck…

Metaphorically-Speaking, of course!

John Cameron Mitchcell & Stephen Trask’s HEDWIG & THE ANGRY-INCH [★★★★★]

Botched East-Berlin Sex-Change-Operation Leaves Hedwig with an Itch & an Angry-Inch!

Years & years ago, there were Long-Lines outside the Historic-Jane-Hotel: Everyone was trying to get in to see John Cameron Mitchell as the Tragic-but-Triumphant-Hedwig Strut-&-Rock His/Her Way to Transgender-Glory.

Now, there are every night, Long, Long-Lines stretching outside the Historic-Belasco-Theatre around the Corner & Up-Sixth-Avenue.

Everyone is trying to get in to see Neil Patrick Harris Rock-the-Sox off the Eager-Audience, as Harris’ Hedwig—with many a Wig-Change—musically-explains how an East-Berliner Girlie-Boy fell in love with an American-Army-Sergeant.

He wanted Hedwig to have a Sex-Change-Fix, but it didn’t work, leaving Hedwig with Nothing down there but an Angry-Inch.

As often happened, when an American-GI in Occupied-Berlin knocked-up a Local Girl or Boy—Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell!—Hedwig’s Ticket-to-America moved-on.

But Hedwig isn’t about to Give-Up!

So it is that we now see Hedwig Onstage-Live at the Belasco-Theatre, in the Abandoned-Setting for Hurt-Locker: The Musical—Strutting Her Elegant-Glittering-Stuff, with Wig-Changes-Galore!

Who knew that Neil Patrick Harris could Outfox, Outshout, & Outstomp both Lady Gaga & Madonna!

And he doesn’t even have Tits!

Nor Pecs nor Abs…

Talk about Glamour! Talk about Heartbreak!

Talk about Fantastic Rock-Show Sounds-&-Lights!

Talk about Pounding, Thumping, Stomping, Heart-Attacking-Music & Singing!

Talk about Ticket-Prices! Talk about Long, Long, Long Lines!

Talk about David Belasco, the "Bishop-of-Broadway,” & his Ghost, whom Hedwig invokes, while telling the Audience some History about this Famous-Broadway-Theatre, that is really Not-on-Broadway, but just a bit to the East…

Famous-Players have appeared on the Belasco-Stage, Hedwig informs us, breathing deeply when mentioning Barrymore & Mark Rylance, but expectorating when remembering a Female-Semi-Star who also Trod-These-Boards recently…

The Elaborately-Designed Hurt-Locker Settings—a Shattered-Baghdad, as imagined by Julian Crouch—Hedwig dismissively shoves-aside, revealing the Naked-Back-Wall of the Belasco-Stage.

This will be a very Stripped-Down Night-to-Howl!

Among Hedwig’s Show-Stoppers: Tear Me Down, Sugar-Daddy, Angry-Inch, & Wicked Little Town.

When the Expectant-Audience enters the Belasco, up on the Open-Stage are not only the Ruins-of-an-Ancient-City—like Berlin, destroyed by American-Military-Interventions—but also a Ruined-Automobile, with hundreds of Auto-Parts scattered about in the Air above.

The Hood of this Abandoned-Auto provides a Mini-Stage for Hedwig, but it also recalls those Abandoned-East-German-Trabant-Autos that strewed the Streets of East-Berlin, when the Infamous-Berlin-Wall was torn-down in November 1989.

With the Wall gone, it is, as the East-Germans used to say: Bahnfrei für Hedwig!

Abused, Assaulted, Abandoned, Attacked—Hedwig is going to Put-the-Past-Behind-Her…

What else could she do about the Past when it is definitively Past?

So Hedwig is on her way to Rock-Show-Glory!

To borrow an Old-Berliner-Phrase from Leni Riefenstahl, this is Hedwig’s Dancing-Demo of Die Macht des WillenThe Triumph of the Will!

Hedwig is ably supported onstage by a Super-Dynamic-Five-Person-Combo, headed by Yitzhak [the admirably Cross-Dressed Lena Hall], for whom an Understudy is listed.

But there is No-Understudy for Neil Patrick Harris!

If you can even manage somehow to get Tickets to Hedwig, pray that Hedwig-Harris’ Vocal-Cords are OK-on-the-Night…

Oh! Not to overlook Martin Mayer, who staged what is essentially a Rock-Concert with a Narrative-Line…

Incidental-Information: Long, long before Hedwig & the Angry-Inch packed people into the Performance-Space of the Jane-Hotel—just across the West-Side-Highway from the Hudson—it was once filled with the Surviving-Crew of the Ill-Fated "Unsinkable” Cunard-Ocean-Liner, The Titanic!

Added-Info: Scott Bennett & Your Roving Arts-Reporter—aka Prof. Dr. Glenn Loney—have made a Video-Report about the Restoration of the Historic-Interiors of the Belasco-Theatre by the Shubert-Organization.

You can Check-This-Out, Free-of-Charge, at: [Web-Address?]

Harvey Fierstein’s CASA-VALENTINA [★★]

Why Do Straight-Men Who Cross-Dress Look Like Parodies of Middle-Aged-Harridans?

It was mildly-interesting, if not fundamentally-revelatory, to see such Broadway-Talents as Patrick Page, John Cullum, Larry Pine, & Reed Birney don Female-Attire—Awful-Wigs & all that Frumpery—to bring to the Non-Profit-Broadway-Stage Michael Hurst & Robert Swope’s book, Casa-Susanna.

Was this costly Scott-Pask-Designed-Production really Necessary?

Was there something Especially-Compelling in that True-Story-Book that made Harvey Fierstein believe it was his Moral-Duty to bring its Message to the Non-Profit-Public?

Wouldn’t it have been both Cheaper & Easier to have given all Manhattan-Theatre-Club-Subscribers Paperback-Copies of Casa-Susanna, so they could read about it in the Privacy-of-Their-Own-Homes?

Truth is, Page, Cullum, Pine, & Birney all look better in Male-Drag.

How about casting them in a Revival of 1776?

The Point is repeatedly made that the Men in Drag are not Homosexuals.

Some even Hate & Despise Homosexuals, possibly fearing them?

What’s more, most of these Heterosexual-Men seem to be Married, with Page/Valentina wedded to an apparently Super-Understanding Rita [Mare Winningham], who helps him run a Run-Down-Resort in the Catskills that caters to Heterosexual-Cross-Dressers & Deer-Hunters, in Season.

As the Fight to Establish Nationwide-Sororities of Cross-Dressers like Valentina raged, my Interest & Attention waned.

Piqued, now & then, by an Unspoken-Question: What is in all this for Rita? Why is she so cheerfully enabling her Husband George/Valentina?

At the somewhat Unresolved-Close, she asks him if he really is George? Or Valentina?

Patrick Page goes upstairs to shed his Male-Drag & put on some Lipstick…

Really somewhat Sad, after all, but So-What?

The Previous-Evening, I had just seen Neil Patrick Harris don Fabulous-Drag—in Hedwig & The Angry-Inch—which was Transformative!

Why is it that Gay-Drag-Queens so often look so Glamorous: not at all Middle-Aged-Pathetic, like the Men in Casa-Valentina?

Do Cross-Dressing-Gays possibly have a Smarter-Fashion-Sense than Hetero-Trannies?

Just Asking…

As for Poor Rita—who once ran a Woman’s-Wig-Shop—when she fell in love with George, did she perhaps believe that Love was Enough?

Did she—as so many Hopeful-Brides—think that, over time, she could Change-Him?

Just Asking…

Joe Mantello directed, with Frocks by Rita Ryack & Hair, Wigs, & Makeup by Jason P. Hayes.

Eric Coble’s THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN [★★★]

For the Over-Eighties, Autumn Comes Along All-Too-Fast—But Estelle Parsons is Still On-Stage!

Alexandra is now very Old & Crochety & Forgetful, not to Overlook her Incendiary-Tendencies…

Alexandra has Barricaded herself in her Very-Valuable Park-Slope-Town-House, which she threatens to Set-on-Fire with Photo-Developing-Fluid in Bottles equipped with Home-Made-Wicks.

Alexandra’s Unseen-Son, Michael, & Daughter, Jennifer, are down in the Street, threatening to Call-the-Police, Break-Down-the-Front-Door & Cart-Her-Off to an Assisted-Living-Facility.

Alexandra prefers Death-Before-Dishonor: she is prepared to Go-Up-in-Flames with her Town-House!

Alexandra is Positively-Wagnerian!

But, over in Park-Slope, the Town-Houses are Brick-&-Stone, which do not burn readily…

Fortunately for Real-Estate-Values & the Whole-Park-Slope-Block, Alexandra’s Wayward-Son, Chris [Stephen Spinella], climbs up a Tree & through the Window.

They Bond once again. Trips to the Brooklyn-Museum & the Guggenheim loom…

What’s especially wonderful about this Theatre-Experience is that the Over-Eighty-Alexandra is played by Another-Over-Eighty: Estelle Parsons is said to be 86 or 88.

Even Older than I am, at 85!

The Always-Feisty-Estelle is Alexandra Eight-Times-a-Week!

Wow!

I just wish the Play were more Interesting…

Too many Home-Truths about Aging: like Daggers into My Heart!

Eugene Lee designed for Director Molly Smith, who is surely younger than both Estelle & Your Roving Arts-Reporter.

Stephen Cole’s INVENTING MARY MARTIN: The Revue of a Lifetime [★★★★]

From Sugar-Daddies in Hollywood To Enchanted-Evenings, Flying-Peters, & Singing-Nuns…

Over at the York-Theatre—a Living-Musical-Theatre-Archive—there’s a Charming-Revue of the Career of Broadway’s Beloved-Musical-Star, Mary Martin.

As Mary is buried in her Texas-Hometown of Weatherton—beside her Loving-Husband, Richard Halliday—she is Divided-into-Thirds for this Photo-Projection-Enhanced Performance-Survey.

The Martin-Triad is enthusiastically-embodied by Cameron Adams, Emily Skinner, & Lynne Halliday.

Jason Grae makes a Debonair-Musical-MC, but he’s also capable of some Mary-Martin-Clowning.

Because My Mother disapproved of Motion-Pictures on Religious-Grounds, I had No-Idea of the many Hollywood-Films Mary Martin had made—with Bing Crosby, yet!—before she found her Proper-Place on the Broadway-Stage.

But once she reached her Venus—long before she reached her Zenith—she was Courted to sing the Songs of such Musical-Masters as Irving Berlin, Noël Coward, Cole Porter, Jule Styne, & Kurt Weill, as well as those of Dietz & Schwartz, Duke & Dietz, Jones & Schmidt, & Rodgers & Hammerstein—for whom she was More-Than-a-Muse.

Mary Martin became a kind of Singing-Rival to Ethel Merman, but she was Never-a-Belter.

Although Julie Andrews is best remembered as the Singing-Nun in Sound-of-Music—thanks to the Magic-of-Movies—Mary Martin was Maria-First.

Not the First-Maria, of course, for the Salzburg-Maria was only a Novice, a Postulant, not The-Mother-of-God, although She has also been seen Flying-Over-the-Mönschberg by Pious-Salzburghers.

Nonetheless, it was actually from the Motion-Pictures that Maria made her way to the Broadway-Stage.

Only afterward, back onto the Silver-Screen…

Way back when, Ruth Leuwerick—a Beloved West-German Film-Star—appeared in a modest movie called Die Trapp-Familie, which became so popular that it was soon followed by Die Trapp-Familie, Zweiter-Teile.

These Two-Films about the Singing-Von-Trapps inspired Rodgers & Hammerstein to create one their Greatest-Hits. Also, one of Mary Martin’s!

"What do you do about a Girl like Maria? How do you hold a Tony-Award in your hand?”

To Paraphrase…

Charles Ludlam’s THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP: A Penny-Dreadful [★★★★★]

The Ghost of Charles Ludlam & The Theatre-of-the-Riduclous Hovers Over the Lucile-Lortel!

Lucile Lortel would never have done anything the Least-Bit-Ridiculous, but she surely would have loved what Quick-Change-Artists Arnie Burton & Robert Sella are currently pulling-off on her Own-Personal-Stage, down on Christopher Street

Directed by Ludlam’s Longtime-Muse & Co-Star, Everett Quinton—who has been, since Ludlam’s Tragic-Death from AIDS, keeping The-Flame-Alive—Sella & Burton embody, by Frantic-Turns, Jane Twisden, Nicodemus Underwood, Lady Enid Hillcrest, Lord Edgar Hillcrest, Alcazar, Pev Amri—don’t ask, don’t tell, with the Mysterious Irma Vep, whose Over-the-Mantle-Portrait actually Bleeds, portrayed by ???????.

Those Question-Marks are taken from the actual Playbill, itself now Steeped-in-Mystery, if only down on Christopher-Street…

Obviously, as the Original-Playwright of Irma Vep, Charles Ludlam was steeped in the Swirling-Fogs & Hysteric-Winds that once engulfed Manderly, haunted by the Memory of Rebecca, so the Isolated-Manor-House of Hillcrest surely must be a Stand-In for a Daphne-DuMaurier-English-Estate.

In an Odd-Way, Arnie Burton, as Lady Enid—preening herself graciously as she swirls about the Intimate-Stage of the Lucile Lortel, possibly recalling Long-Ago-Stage-Triumphs, before she replaced the Mysteriously-Dead-but-Not-Dead Lady Irma, whose Ghost & Portrait still Haunt both Hillcrest & Lord Edgar—is a Ringer for Everett Quinton in this very same Role.

There is a Werewolf-at-Large on the Desolate-Heaths-of-Hillcrest, striking Without-Warning: Who or Whom can it be?

Could it be Lady Irma, returned from her Unmarked-Grave, or Lady Irma, possibly Imprisoned-Alive behind that Trick-Bookcase, next to that Mantlepiece featuring both Lady-Irma’s-Bleeding-Portrait & a Votive-Candle that Lord Edgar has finally blown-out, at the Behest of Lady Enid, who does not want any Remembrances-of-Things-Past in her New-Domain?

Charles Ludlam was a Devoted-Devourer of the Romantic-Classics & Poe-Inspired-Poetry, so Irma Vep is rich with Borrowed-Quotations.

The Mystery of Irma Vep is a Hoot!

Do-Not-Miss-It. On Pain of Werewolfian-Fangs

Or, as Charles-Himself might well have said: Fangs for The Memory!

Jules Massenet’s CENDRILLON [★★★]

Why Dump Cinderella Down in the Drab Postwar-Paris of 1947? Past the Time of French-Princes…

There are certainly more than enough Stage-Versions of the Folkloric-Cinderella-Tale, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella—now on Broadway—being one of the Most-Recent.

So it makes a Certain-Sense for the Juilliard-Opera to explore in the Archives of Western-European-Music for Forgotten-Cinderellas.

After all, what Big-Time Opera-Company—The Met? Chicago’s Lyric? The Houston-Grand-Opera?—is going to waste Time-&-Money on such Raisings-from-the-Dead?

They have Season-Subscribers to think about.

The Juilliard-School & the Juilliard-Opera, on the other hand, are ideally-positioned for such Exploratory-Adventures: One Fall-Production & One Spring-Production.

Nor do either have to worry about Subscribers, for their Admission-Prices are geared to the Social-Security-Purses of many Manhattan-Seniors. Not to overlook the Juilliard’s many Free-Performances!

Speaking of Seniors, Shock-Headed Opera-Innovator Peter Sellers was in attendance at the Juilliard Cendrillon!

Rossini’s Cenerentola is already in the Met’s Repertoire, so there was no real Opera-Performance-Experience to be gained from the Juilliard-Ensemble mounting a Rossini-Echo.

But Massenet’s little-known Cendrillon has been neglected or forgotten for a Reason.

It is, unfortunately, not all that Wonderful, Musically or Theatrically.

A Music-Critic seated near me announced that he’d completed a Wikkipedia-Search, only to discover that, even in Massenet’s Time, there had never been many Productions of Cendrillon, nor many Performances of those Productions…

True, there are some Delicate-Duets, but the Score seems somehow Impressionistic, rather than Romantic.

But, that being so, why choose to revive Cendrillon in Post-War-Paris, in a Grungy, Drab 1947?

The Rationale—according to Stage-Director Peter Kazaras & Costume-Designer Gabriel Berry—is the Introduction of the New-Look in Parisian-Fashion, which occurred way back in 1947.

That being so, why, then, was the Wicked-Step-Mother wearing the only really Stunning-Fashions to be seen onstage?

Avery Amereau—as the Overbearing-Café-Owner, Mme. de la Haltière—was an amazing Fashion-Plate for the Prince’s Ball, wearing a Flowing-Black-Pants-Skirt-Ensemble, set-off with Fluttering-Pink-Ribbons on each Shoulder.

The Unkind-Stepsisters were generally Dowdy, but for the Ball, they had Unflattering-Bouffant-Ball-Gowns—which is OK, for their Advances to the Prince should repel him anyway.

Elizabeth Sutphen, as La Fée, looked rather like a 1947 High-School-Librarian on her Night-Out.

For some Odd-Reason, her Attendant-Spirits were all costumed as Red-Capped-Hotel-Bellboys, but then some of the Fantasy-Scenes took place in a 1947-Paris-Cinema, with the Juilliard-Chorus dressed as Dowdy-1947-Parisites.

The Program suggested that they might be watching Les Enfants du Paradis, a popular Art-Film of that Period.

An Annoyed-Viewer near me said he’d rather be watching Les Enfants du Paradis than looking at Cinderella in Such-Surroundings.

Indeed, although Massenett’s Cendrillon dates from 1899—almost the Jahrhundertwende, the Fin-de-Siècle, the Turn-of-the-Century, the Dawning of a New-Age—it does have a faintly Modernist-Impressionist-Quality about it.

This being so, why 1947?

But, if being 1947, why were the Towering, Skewed, Empty-Windowed-Walls Expressionistic?

The Viewer-Experience was rather like looking at a Fritz-Lang-Setting for Metropolis

Nonetheless, the Singer/Actors were generally admirable, especially Elizabeth Sutphen as the Overbearing-Stepmother.

Julia Bullock’s Cendrillon/Lucette was visually & vocally engaging & endearing, even if almost always costumed in a Dowdy-Dress.

As Le Prince Charmant, Lacey Jo Benter was Cross-Dressed, but not Star-Crossed, singing stoutly.

Curiously, Cinderella’s Beaten-Down-Father, Pandolfe [a stalwart Szymon Komasa] looked Younger than his Wife, his Step-Daughters, & even Cinderella.

When he took her on his lap to console her, I feared she might crush him…

Direct from Paris, Emmanuel Villaume conducted briskly, but he had a Surprise-in-Store for the Juilliard-Audience.

Approaching the Climax of this Cinderella-Story, he donned an Official-Cap—as a Huge French-Tricolor plummeted down from the Flies; then he turned to the Spectators & delivered an Impassioned-Prelude to the Events-to-Follow: the Arrival of the King, the Prince, & the Glass-Slipper!

Nonetheless, at the Intermission, several Couples near me took up their Coats & Departed.

"You’re not going already?”

”We know how it comes out.”

Incidental-Information: I can forgive Massenet a lot, not only because he composed an attractive Manon & an interesting Werther, but also because he created the Score for Thaïs, which gave us that Famous-Meditation-Melody which I early learnt to play on the Pianoforte.

Also: Massenet’s Operatic-Muse was Sybil Sanderson, born in Sacramento, CA, as was I, but much, much earlier.

Sybil is not to be confused with Emma Nevada, who was born near my Home-Town of Nevada City, CA.

Emma—the First-American-Soprano to Triumph-in-Europe—was Muse to Ambroise Thoma, who composed Mignon for her.

Emma returned the Favor, not only by starring as Mignon, but also in naming her daughter Mignon Nevada!

David Grimm’s TALES OF RED-VIENNA [★★★★★]

Austro-Hungary Is Over: Commies Control Vienna: Honorable Women Become Streetwalkers…

What can a desperate Austrian-War-Widow do when her Main-Anchor-&-Defender is gone?

Not only the K.u.K Austrian-Empire but also War-Widows’-Pensions: Vom Winde verweht

Gone-with-the-Wind, as they say

So, even in her stark black Widow’s-Weeds, Heléna Altman [an intriguing Nina Arianda], is receiving Ungentlemanly-Callers in her Handsomely-Wiener-Werkstätte-Jugendstil-Decorated Vienna-Apartment.

One of them, the charming Béla Hoyos [a rascally Michael Esper], an Investigative-Journalist & Lusty-Lover, becomes infatuated with her.

And she with him…

Meanwhile, her elegantly-clad friend, Mutzi von Fessendorf [Victoria Frings, on this performance-night], also Available, has become Pregnant.

Heléna’s Housekeeper & Best-Friend, Edda Schmidt [a stalwart Kathleen Chalfant], does what she can to protect Heléna & help sell-off the Biedermeier-Furniture to make ends meet.

Thanks to Set-Designer John Lee Beatty, Imperial-Vienna & Innovative-Jugendstil are instantly evoked in Heléna’s Apartment, although she has too many Competing-&-Complicated-Patterns on the walls.

Beatty also remarkably recreates an Historic-Section of Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof, where Heléna has gone to pray at her Late-Husband’s Grave-Marker.

That charming Austro-Hungarian Béla finds her here & they have Lusty-Sex at her Hubby’s Memorial.

Mutzi turns up, with Heléna’s Not-Yet-Dead-Soldier-Husband in her Wake.

What is Heléna to do?

It is now Too-Late for you to discover that In-Person, for the Limited-Run of this Wonderfully-Designed & High-Powered-Production has come to an End.

Nonetheless, you should know that the Reds didn’t stay in Power in Vienna so very long as a new Political-Faction was on the rise: the National-Sozalist-Arbeiter-Partie

Few on This-Side-of-the-Atlantic really understand that the Nazis were essentially a Socialist-Workers-&-Farmers-Party.

Although the Nazis—led by the Austrian-Corporal, Adolf Hitler—were first Elected-into-Office in Germany in the late 1920s, they were strongly supported across the Austrian-Border from the first.

Anschluss with Grosses-Deutschland finally occurred in 1938, Two-Decades after Heléna’s Love-&-Marital-Problems began.

But the Political-Pot was always simmering, after that Lost-War & Lost-Empire…

The Czech-American Marionette-Theatre’s

DON JUAN, OR, THE WAGES OF DEBAUCHERY [★★★★]

Mozart Returns to Prague—with Puppets, But Don Juan Goes Down to the Pyt-of-Perdytion!

In the Midst of all Manhattan’s High-Tech, High-Gloss, High-Amp, High-Tension Theatre-Productions, it’s always Refreshing to spend an evening with something Folkloric & Unpretentious.

Vit Horejs’ Czech-American-Marionettes—some of them Very-Old—are Very-Special.

But they usually Dance-to-Tunes that are not Distinctively-Czech: most recently, we were with the Puppets at Socrates’ Last-Supper—the One where Hemlock was served!

Vit Horejs is Socially-Conscious, even if his Marionettes have No-Say in such Matters: How about Lee Harvey Oswald or Ethel & Julius Rosenberg as Wooden-Stars?

Now, however, the Czech-American-Marionettes are dancing to a Mozartian-Tune that belongs especially to Prague: Mozart’s Don Juan, which was premiered in Prague at the Tyl-Theatre. Not in Vienna!

If you’ve ever seen Don Giovanni at the Met, you might be a bit surprised to see that Famous-Fable acted-out by a Handful-of-Marionettes, plus their Always-in-Evidence-Handlers.

This is in an Old-European-Tradition: Kids get to see how & why the Puppets Move, Fall-in-Love, Fight-Duels, & even, as with Mozart’s Don Juan, Fornicate…

The Puppeteers are always in-view, agonizing with their Little-Friends, whose Voices they provide.

In the current Don Juan, the somewhat Demonic Vit Horejs is ably-assisted by Deborah Beshaw-Farrell, Otis Cotton, Tess Wonson, & Theresa Linnihan.

Cotton even offers some Mozartian-Melodies!

Best of All: The Czech-American-Marionettes are performing in Jan-Hus-House, named for the Famed-Czech-Protestant-Martyr.

Wasn’t Hus Defenestrated from a Window in the Hradschin in Prague? Or was that Someone-Else?

Robert Sickinger & Alaric Jans’ NICHOLAS NICKLEBY: A New Musical [★★★★]

Chas. Dickens’ Sprawling-Story Makes a Musical Crammed-with-Incident & Sentimental-Songs!

There are those of us who still remember that Three-Evening-Marathon, which made Roger Rees an American-Star, if imported from Britain, as was that Memorable Nicholas Nickleby.

Robert Sickinger has managed to Compress—or Edit-Out-Some-of—the Epic-Sufferings of the Naïve-Young-Nick, His Widowed-Mom, sadly & suddenly Reduced-in-Station, & His Pretty-Sister—forced into Manual-Labor & exposed to the Naked-Lusts of London-Dandies—at the Hands of an Unscrupulous, Unfeeling, & Unctious-Uncle.

Although the Printed-Program—possibly produced on an HP-Inkjet-Printer—celebrates Robert Sickinger inside its Decorative-Cartouche, flanked by Victorian-Images of High-Society, it is the Music-&-Lyrics of Alaric Jans that really make this "New-Musical” a Possible-Contender!

When the Flimsy-Curtain at Theatre-for-a-New-City "went-up” or "drew-back,” at first it seemed that a Huge-Community-Theatre-Group had decided to Honor-Chas-Dickens with whatever Props, Furniture, & Costumes they had-at-hand.

In fact, this looked very very much like a really Low-Low-Budget Les Mis

It took me a while to realize that I had seen many of these Lusty-Performers before, Off & Off-Off-Broadway.

Even with some Young-Performers initially scuttling & cavorting about the Performance-Space—or Launching-Handsprings—as Events-Unfolded, I soon understood that there was actually some Interesting-Choreography involved, not to Overlook the Intuitive-Direction of Lissa Moira, who had to deal with some Major-Performers in Doubled or Multiple-Roles.

What especially surprised me were some of the Lilting or Sentimental-Songs of Alaric Jans—No Alaric-the-Goth, he!—that could be Broadway-Show-Stoppers!

How about: Let Me Be an Angel, Learn To Improvise, A New Day, Tracking the Wind, Sail, Sail Away?

What this Nicholas Nickleby now needs is/are Broadway-Production-Values, as well as some Revised-Crowd-Management.

Although Avenue Q moved to Broadway from the Vineyard on East-15th, & with Once moving to Broadway—where it remains to this day—from NY-Theatre-Workshop on East-Fourth-Street, a Broadway-Move from Theatre-for-a-New-City way over on First-Avenue & East-Ninth seems Highly-Unlikely.

What Nicholas Nickleby now needs is a Newly-Devised-Staging, with Broadway-Production-Values, such as Lionel Bart’s Oliver recently received at the Paper-Mill-Playhouse, over in Milburn, NJ.

Oliver, as many Book-Readers will remember was also filched from the Charles-Dickens-Archives & charmingly Musicalized—with Long-Runs both in London & on Broadway years & years ago.

Sadly, Paper-Mill’s Oliver did not move to Broadway—though it should have—to delight hundreds & hundreds of Theatre-Lovers who aren’t fond of Juke-Box-Musicals.

Theatre-for-a-New-City’s new Nicholas Nickleby has a Monster-Cast, with only a Few-Performers actually impersonating Human-Monsters—which throng Dicken’s-Fictions, but which were based on Real-Victorian-Life.

So, to avoid all those Key-Strokes, I’m hoping Interested-Readers will Click onto the Nicholas-Nickleby-Website, for Further-Details.

For-The-Record: Nicholas Nickleby was stalwartly played by Douglas McDonnell, both a Lover & a Singer!

His Uncle-Antagonist—the fearsome William Broderick—was a Metaphorically-Moustache-Stroking Unfeeling-Villain, with Deep-Grease-Paint-Lines on his Forehead to Prove-It.

Admirable-Others: Karen Kohler, Becca Gottlieb, David F. Stone, Esq., Stephanie Leone, Jonathan Fox Powers, Rachel Day Adams, Chris Neher, &&&&

James Lapine’s Adaptation of Moss Hart’s ACT ONE [★★★★]

How To Break into the Broadway-Theatre: Either by the Stage-Door Or by Writing-a-Play!

Just imagine! Moss Hart—a Desperately-Poor-Kid from the Bronx-Tenements—believes he can become Rich-&-Famous by becoming an Actor!

Well! It didn’t turn out that way at all!

Instead, Moss becomes Rich-&-Famous by collaborating with George S. Kaufman, Broadway’s Most-Celebrated Play-Doctor!

Moss & Kaufman have their First-Big-Success in 1930, just after the Catastrophic-Stock-Market-Crash.

Through the Depression-Era, onward through World-War-II, & into the Glorious-Post-War-1950s, Moss has Hit-after-Hit, also winning Awards & Laurels as a Stage-Director: notably My Fair Lady & Camelot.

Then, in 1959, he recalls his Early-Struggles in Act-One, on The New-York-Times Best-Seller-List for almost a Year.

There is to be no Act-Two, for Moss dies in 1961, from Heart-Failure.

It is said that Act-One has inspired many a Lad & Lassie to seek a Life-in-Show-Business. Even Frank Rich, former "Butcher-of-Broadway” Drama-Critic for The New-York-Times

The Travails of Writing, Rewriting, Casting, Rewriting, Rehearsing, Rewriting, Previewing-Out-of-Town, Rewriting, Having-Second-Thoughts, & Rewriting the Initial Kaufman & Hart Broadway-Hit, Once in a Lifetime, are all Frenetically, Amusingly, & Heart-Breakingly-Documented in Act-One.

James Lapine—like His-Idol, Moss Hart, also a Playwright & Director—has brought All-of-Those-Travails to the Immense-Revolving-Stage of the Vivian-Beaumont-Theatre.

Nor has Lapine neglected the Early-Life-Struggles of Moss Hart, providing not One but Three-Editions of Moss Hart: Matthew Schechter, Santino Fontana, & Tony Shaloub!

On the Beaumont’s Immense-Revolve, the estimable Beowulf Boritt has constructed what is surely one of the Most-Complicated-Metropolitan-Architectural-Surveys seen in Recent-Years.

Nor has Interior-Decoration—from the Meanest-Tenement to the Grandest-Hotel been Overlooked.

The Visual-Problem—as this Real-Estate-Merry-Go-Round Swirls back & forth—is that it is Much-Too-Complicated for the Artistic-Effect it surely must have been Intended-to-Achieve.

The same may be said of Lapine’s Faithful-Reproduction of the Details of the Process-of-Preparing Once in a Lifetime for Broadway-Greatness: that it is Much-Too-Complicated for the Artistic-Effect it surely must have been Intended-to-Achieve.

Surely the Focus would have been Sharper, the Effect more Striking, had there been Less-Detail in both Set & Plot.

At one point, One almost wished for a Period-Revival of Once in a Lifetime, rather than Marching-Through-All-the-Steps-Leading-Up-to-It…

Nonetheless, not just the Three-Moss-Harts, but All the Cast were admirable, especially Chuck Cooper, as Charles Gilpin, as Eugene O’Neill’s Emperor Jones.

Just Imagine! Moss Hart making a Stage-Debut in a Drama by Eugene O’Neill!

Not only that: Dore Schary is also in the Cast, but as a Character, not an Actual-Actor of that Famous-Name…

One could wish that the charming Kitty Carlisle Hart could have been Brought-Back-to-Life in this Show as well, but that’s really more Act-Two—which Moss didn’t live to write.

Joseph Haydn’s ORLANDO-PALADINO [★★★★]

Orlando Has Every Right To Be Furious: What’s All This TV-Show-Business Anyway?

It must be Catching, this Fad of Modernizing Historic-Operas completely out of their Original-Contexts?

Not only has the Juilliard-Opera updated Massenet’s Cendrillon to a Grim-Post-War-Paris of 1947, but, only days later, the Manhattan-School-of-Music has transplanted Haydn’s Orlando-Paladino from a Romantic-Neverland to a New-York-Reality-TV-Studio!

Director Robin Guarino—who is Very-Big at the Met-Opera—has set the First-Half of Orlando-Paladino on the Sound-Stage of The Bachelor & the Bachelorette, "…somewhere between reality & ‘Reality.’”

As Guarino explains her Production-Concept, the Idea came from an Article in The New Yorker, by Andrew Marantz, entitled "Unreality-Star,” describing the impact of Technology & the Culture of Surveillance, Reality-TV, & Instant-Celebrity on "informing the Content of Delusion.”

Apparently, Watching-Too-Much-TV not only Makes the Baby-Go-Blind, but it also drives John Q. Public over-the-edge into Certifiable-Madness.

Because Orlando-Paladino was inspired—at One-Remove—by Ludovico Ariosto’s Epic-Poem, Orlando-Furioso, MSM’s Orlando, a Truculent-Giant [a resonant Elliott Page], seated alone, apparently Meditating, in a Chair, Downstage-Left, must also be deemed Mad.

Furioso doesn’t mean that Orlando is Furious—although he is Very-Angry that his Love-for-Angelica is Blocked—but that he has indeed been Driven-Insane.

In that New Yorker Article, Marantz described the Treatment of a Man who believed he was the Star of a Reality-Television-Show, being Broadcast-Live Twenty-Four-Hours-a-Day!

Not only to avoid Madness, but also to stave-off Boredom, when I retired, I swore-off watching TV.

So I must have missed that Real-TV-Show that had in its Décor a number of Panels with a kind of Updated-Art-Deco-Eye on them, thanks to Set-Designer Laura Jellinek.

The Visual-Problem with this All-Too-Busy-Design-Concept is that the Stage is filled with TV-Technicians—some of them having Coffee now & then—as well as Wall-Mounted-TV-Cameras & Hand-Held-TV-Cameras.

At one point, the TV-Crew seems to be filming the Back of Angelica’s Hair-do, as they have to be Upstage of her, not in Front, blocking the Audience-View.

It is, however, a Cute-Idea to have that Mythical-Sorceress, Alcina [Margaret Newcomb: a Thrilling-Voice-&-Presence], as a Show-Runner!

All this Visual-Fuss-&-Feathers distracts from Our-Focusing on the Central-Romantic-Plot—which is, unfortunately, Itself rather Boring & Formulaic.

But it would be Good to Sharpen-the-Focus on the Actual Actor/Singers, especially Angelica [Leela Subramaniam, she of the Divine-Voice!] & the fascinating & Totally-Athletic Pasquale [Cameron Johnson: already Clearly-a-Star!], who Lights-Up-the-Stage with his Clowning & Many-Moves.

The Audience clearly Loved-Him, especially the MSM-Students, who were often Shrieking-with-Laughter, as well as Cheering-On their More-Accomplished-Classmates in the Opera-Theatre-Program.

In the Interval, all those Eye-Panels disappeared.

Suddenly, the Stage was a Clinical-White: we seemed to be in a Nervenklinik, as the Germans say.

But this could have been an Ante-Room in the Klingenstein-Pavilion of Mount-Sinai, or down some Corridor of the Mayo-Clinic.

At any rate, Orlando is finally Healed of his Madness & his Hopeless-Infatuation with Angelica & All-Is-Made-Well-with-All…

Thomas Mulder was Angelica’s Shy-Love-Interest, but His-Voice seemed Turned-Down-a-Few-Decibels, compared with the other Student-Singers. Perhaps he should be working on Diaphragmatic-Breathing & Projection?

Kerstin Bauer & Kidon Choi completed the Admirable-Cast, which was enthusiastically conducted by Christian Capocaccia.

Oddly enough, although there are Cast-Bios, as well as Professional-Credits for Costume-Designer Gabriel Berry, Lighting-Designer Mark Barton—who kept changing colors on that Rear-Vertical-Venetian-Blind for No-Apparent-Reason, & for Cookie Jordan, who did the Hair & Makeup, there was Absolutely-No-Bio for Joseph Haydn!

That does seem Unfair, both Musically & Historically…

After all, didn’t Mozart plunder that Papageno-Theme, as well as that Leporello-Catalogue-Aria-Melody, from Orlando-Paladino?

Poor Old Papa Haydn!

He came into His-Own, when he came to London, but back in Eisenstadt, as Court-Composer for the Great Austro-Hungarian Magnates, the Eszterhazys, he had to wear Court-Livery, just like his Court-Orchestra.

Poor Old Haydn!

When he Died, they Cut-Off-His-Head!

In Vienna, at last they Understood that Haydn was a Genius, but Phrenology was then Very-Big, so why not Explore-the-Bumps-on-His-Skull?

The Remainder of Haydn’s Remains were Ceremonially-Entombed in Eisenstadt, virtually across the Avenue from the Magnificent-Eszterhazy-Palace.

But, at the End of World-War-II, when the Soviet-Troops came to Occupy-Vienna, the Russkis took Haydn’s Head back to Leningrad or Moscow.

Shortly before the Collapse-of-Communism, they gave it back to Austria, some Authorities of which then opened Haydn’s Sarcophagus in Eisenstadt, to put Haydn’s Head back where it belonged…

However Miserable Mozart was in his Last-Days & Final-Hours, at least they didn’t Decapitate-Wolfie!

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