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Glenn's Report for December 2013

January 4, 2014

Report for The Month of December 2013

©GLENN LONEY 2013

THIS-WAS-THE-MONTH-THAT-WAS…

With Chanukkah coinciding with Turkey-Time, instead of coming closer to Christian-Christmas—as opposed to Commercial-ChristmasAnno-2013 was an Unusual-Year in which One-Greeting-Card did not Fit-All.

Of course, it’s now almost Comical to connect any previously Religiously-Inflected-Holiday with its supposedly Original-Intentions.

There is so much Holiday-Merchandising in-play that even Hallowe’en is now a Billion-Dollar-Business.

Even Old-Englanders have ditched Guy-Fawkes-Day in favor of Witches & Goblins & Ghosts!

Anyhow, Who now worries about Dissident-Catholics plotting to Blow-Up-Parliament?

There’s No-Danger of a new Gunpowder-Plot threatening our own Capitol-Hill, for Dissident-Lawmakers may well Blow-Up-Each-Other as well as the Two-Houses-of-Congress

What did Shakespeare say? Something about A Plague on Both Your Houses?

Or was it Mercutio who said that…

In any case, Who now remembers that Christmas rose out of the Smoking-Embers of the Pagan-Roman-Saturnalia?

Or that Dr. Martin Luther’s WeihnachtsbaumO! Tannenbaum!, O! Tannenbaum!—had its Roots in Druidic-Tree-Worship?

Oy! The-Royal-Tennenbaums

PASSING-GLANCES AT SHOW-SCENES-SEEN:

Time was when few New-Shows ever opened in December.

Recovering from Too-Much-Turkey—as well as Looking-Forward to More-of-the-Same—slaked Ravenous-Appetites for Theatrical-Entertainments

Despite the Escalating-Ticket-Prices—even for Distinctly-Inferior-FareSpeculative-Producers now seem determined to Deck-Us-All with Superfluous-Serendipities.

Nonetheless, this Holiday-Season was indeed decorated with some Glitter & Sparkle!

Even if one had to get a Visa & go over to New-Jersey for an Outstanding-Musical-Revival

Lionel Bart’s OLIVER! [★★★★★]

Please, Sir, May I Have Some More? Audiences Can’t Get Enough of Papermill’s Oliver Twist!

Lionel Bart! Where are you now that we need you?

Some Major-Broadway-Musical-Playhouses are Empty—or soon to be so, when Big-Fish & Annie fold their tents.

Mama Mia! has finally finished its Endless-Run at the Winter-Garden.

But it’s Not-Dying! Rather, it’s moving to the smaller George-Broadhurst-Theatre.

Over in Milburn, NJ, there is a Terrific-Vintage-Musical that ought to transfer to Broadway when its Limited-Run is ended, soon after the Christmas-Trees are trashed.

This is Lionel Bart’s Award-Winning-Adaptation of Chas. Dickens’ Oliver Twist.

This Tuneful but Socially-Conscious-Show ran for over 2,600-Performances in London & won a Tony in Manhattan in 1963!

They don’t write Musicals like this any more—More’s-the-Pity—so it would be a New-Year’s-Mitzvah to transfer Oliver! from the Papermill-Playhouse to the Great-White-Way.

The Horrors of the Lower-Depths of Victorian-London have been Strikingly-Recreated—on a Revolving-Stage, no less!—by Mark Morton, with a strong-assist from Amanda Seymour, with wonderful Period-Costumes.

As with Dickens’ Hardy-Perennial, A Christmas Carol, Oliver! has a Happy-Ending, but, instead of Scrooge, we have the Villainous-Fagin, training Lost-Boy-Street-Lads to become Petty-Thieves & even Artful-Dodgers—as engagingly played by Ethan Haberfield.

Instead of a Pathetically-Crippled Tiny-Tim—God-Bless-Us, Everyone!—we have Oliver Twist, a Systematically-Abused Orphan, starved by Beadle-Bumble in the Workhouse-Orphanage & then sold to an Undertaker.

Oliver was born as his Mother was dying. Fortunately, she left a Locket with her Portrait in it…

That’s all very well, but, in the meantime, Oliver isn’t working out very well as a Pickpocket: "You’ve got to Pick a Pocket or Two…”

In fact, this Lively-Show is just jam-packed with Wonderful-Tunes & Engaging-Lyrics—all by Lionel Bart!

How About: Food, Glorious Food, Where Is Love? As Long as He Needs Me, I’d Do Anything, Consider Yourself, Oom-Pah-Pah, & Who Will Buy?

Not only is Tyler Moran Charming, Affecting, & Totally-Outstanding as Oliver, but he is backed-up by a wonderfully Energetic-Ensemble of Orphan-Boys & Thieving-Lads who can dance & sing as well as any of the Adults on-stage.

Even though Dickens infused a Fictional-Humanity into most of his Central-Characters, they were also often somewhat like Melodrama-Stereotypes.

So it is No-Surprise to see Bumble, Fagin, Sowerby, & the Murderous Bill Sikes overacting like Music-Hall-Performers.

Nonetheless, David Garrison has a certain Antic-Fascination as the Jewelry-Loving-Fagin.

Betsy Morgan, as the Ill-Fated-Nancy—who tries to protect Oliver, paying with her Life—does bring Humanity to what could easily have been Another-Stereotype.

For a Broadway-Transfer, there would have to be some Boy-Pruning.

With some 47-Performers in this Jersey-Dickens, it is just Too-Big, Too-Crowded, & Too-Expensive-To-Operate for Eight-Shows-a-Week.

Mark S. Hoebee, as Director, & Joann M. Hunter, as Choreographer, have brought Oliver! back to Vibrant-Life & recreated a Coal-Smoke-Polluted-London that you would never want to visit in Real-Time.

Frankly, I do believe Lionel Bart would love this Revival! Of course, wherever he may be Now, he won’t earn any Royalties.

Many years ago, it was my Good-Fortune to get to know Lionel, when he had unleashed on London-Audiences his Musical-Recreation of the Wartime-German-Bombings: Blitz!

I had been safely in High-School in the High-Sierras, but many of my London-Friends had lived through those Dreadful-Fiery-Nights, when most People slept in the Underground-Stations.

They proved to be Good-Bomb-Shelters, but that put an end to 24-Hour-Tube-Service

It would be interesting to see a revival of Blitz!, as well as of Lionel’s Maggie-May & Lock-Up Your Daughters.

As a Yank-Theatre-Prof—teaching in Britain—it never occurred to me that I shouldn’t seek-out Major-Talents & interview them about their Plays, Musicals, Stagings, Set-Designs, & Performances.

Sandy Wilson became a Friend—I even encountered him later in Athens, when I was teaching Classic-Drama there for Embassy-Personnel.

Why doesn’t someone revive Sandy’s The Boyfriend? We don’t have Twiggy, but we do have Taylor Swift!

I also interviewed & got-to-know Playwrights Robert Bolt, Christopher Fry, & Joe Orton.

Joe’s Loot is soon to be revived here. How about Entertaining Mr. Sloane & What the Butler Saw?

Joe Orton & I even became Pen-Pals, after Sloane flopped in Manhattan. Our Briefwechsel will soon be On-Line

Juilliard-Songfest’s CELEBRATING BENJAMIN BRITTEN [★★★★]

Had He Lived Longer, Britten Would Now Be 100-Years-Old, But He Lives-On in His Songs!

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright/In the Forests of the Night

So many of William Blake’s Visionary-Lyrics long to be Sung, as did the Ancient-Bards before there were Printing-Presses.

Fortunately, Benjamin Britten—that Most-British of Modern-Composers—created enchanting-settings for Blake’s Songs-&-Proverbs.

Just think of singing such lines as: The Pride of the Peacock is the Glory of God; or To see the World in a

Grain of Sand; or Prisons are built with Stones of Law/Brothels with Bricks of Religion…

Well, that last Proverb poses a proverbial Problem, because it is not a Sunny-Song. Nor is Blake’s Tale of the Poison-Tree.

Nonetheless, the admirable young Juilliard-Singers—under the leadership & inspiration of Brian Zeger, Curator & Pianist for this fascinating Britten-Concert—were indeed Impressive.

They included Jessine Johnson & Angela Vallone, Sopranos; Samantha Hankey, Mezzo; Eric Jurenas, Countertenor; William Goforth, Nathan Haller, Miles Mykkanen, & Michael St. Peter, Tenors, & Theo Hoffmann & Kurt Kanazawa, Baritones.

Among Britten’s Songs of Sorrowing are The Last Rose of Summer—which has an earlier, more Irish-Setting—as well as The Foggy, Foggy Dew, which, somehow, I always associate with Burl Ives & other American-Folk-Singers.

The Program in Alice-Tully-Hall began with the Canticle of Abraham & Isaac, sung by Jurenas & Mykkanen.

The Theological-Explanation for this essentially Horrifying-Tale of a Father ordered to Kill his Beloved-Son by his All-Seeing/All-Knowing/All-Powerful Father-God is that it is a Message to the Hebrews that Their-G-d no longer requires Human-Sacrifices.

This Cautionary-Fable, as set by Benjamin Britten, is still both astonishing & deeply-moving in performance.

Millennia-Later, however, God again required a Human-Sacrifice: This time, of His-Only-Begotten-Son…

Of course, it could be argued that, this time, the God in question was a Roman-Catholic, speaking in Latin, not in Tongues, so this was not really a Problem for the Jews.

Hearing once again these Britten-Songs, I was reminded of those serene summers at the Aldeburgh-Festival, where we could join Britten & Peter Pears on stage for Strawberries-&-Clotted-Cream.

Ah! The Maltings, at Snape! How Very-English that sounds!

August Wilson’s HOW I LEARNED WHAT I LEARNED [★★★★★]

Experience May Be The Best-Teacher, But You Can Also Learn About Life from Old-Black-Men!

Ruben Santiago-Hudson is remarkable as August Wilson at the Signature-Theatre.

But it would have been interesting indeed to have seen this Bio-Monologue back in 2003, when it was premiered at the Seattle-Rep, with Wilson playing Himself

It was written by the much-admired African-American-Playwright who now has a Theatre-Named-for-Him.

Santiago-Hudson‘s Astonishing-Impersonation has to be a Contender for Best-Solo-Performance!

One of many Wilsonian-Aperçus about Life-&-Race in the Show is this one:

When White-Guys see a Wide-Screen-TV, they want to know how wide it actually is.

Contrariwise, Black-Men want to know how much it Weighs!

That is something that Wilson could learn by Observation;

But he also learned from the Wisdom of Old-Black-Men.

One told him not to go through Life carrying-around a Ten-Gallon-Bucket.

"Instead, carry only a Cup!”

Clearly, this has to do with Expectations

In Wilson’s Case—with such brilliant dramas set in Pittsburgh’s Hill-District as Joe Turner’s Come and Gone or The Piano-Lesson—one could say, in retrospect: His Cup Runneth Over!

Richard Nelson’s REGULAR SINGING [★★★★]

Play-Four in The Apple-Family-Saga: This Is the Final-Chapter! Or So They Say…

At one point in the Apple-Family-Evening-Discussion—staged by Award-Winning-Playwright Richard Nelson, who also crafted the Four-Cycle-Exploration of the Lives of Ordinary-People up in Rhinebeck, NY—the Hundred-Year-Old Dinner-Table is apostrophized!

This is rather like Gaev’s Gallant-Salute to the Family-Bookcase in Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry-Orchard.

Is it remotely possible that Richard Nelson was inspired by Chekhov: that he may even think Chekhov’s Playwriting-Mantle has fallen upon His-Shoulders?

If so, could this Family-Drama be rechristened The Apple-Orchard?

Even though this play is titled Regular-Singing, the Apple-Family is no match for the Trapp-Family-Singers of Happy-Memory.

The Hills above Rhinebeck are obviously not alive with The Sound of Music

Is it a Crime that Brother Richard Apple is working for Andrew Cuomo in Albany?

His Three-Sisters are concerned about his Welfare.

Oh oh! Didn’t Chekhov also write a play called The Three-Sisters?

But they never got to Moscow & the Three-Apple-Sisters seem rooted in Rhinebeck.

Will they ever get down to Manhattan, where they might be able to see The Apple-Family-Plays at the Public-Theatre?

Apparently, they—the Plays, not the Apples—are Not-To-Be-Missed, for the NY Daily-News has saluted the Cycle as "A Master-Class in Acting!”

As Newspapers fade & die, Newsday still has enough Ink-&-Paper to let the Greater-Metropolitan-Area know that this Four-Play-Cycle is "One of the Major-American-Plays of Our Time!”

But then they said that of those Texas-Plays by What-Was-His-Name?

Even up in Albany, they must know that the Other-Three-Plays in the Apple-Cycle are titled: Sorry, Sweet & Sad, & That Hopey-Changey Thing.

The Apples are Ordinary-People, leading more or less Ordinary-Lives, but the Admirable-Cast—including Jon Devries, Steven Kunken , Sally Murphy, Laila Robins, Maryann Plunkett, & Jay O. Sanders—are extraordinary in portraying Rhinbeckian-Ordinariness.

Regular-Singing takes place on the Evening of the 50th-Anniversary of the Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kenney, which was really Nothing-To-Sing-About.

One of the Apple-Sisters has saved an Archive of the Newspapers & Magazines that chronicled that Death-in-Dallas.

But this Play is also a Meditation on Death & its Gradual-Approach: Every Day a Step-Closer

Hey! That sounds like a Sondheim-Musical!

Wm. Shakespeare or Chris Marlowe’s THE SCOTTISH-PLAY [★★]

A Tale Told by an Elizabethan: Full of Sound & Fury, Signifying Mis-Casting & Mis-Direction…

The Most-Wonderful-Inventions of the new production of Macbeth at Lincoln-Center are the Towering-Panels that fill the Immense-Stage-Space.

Designed by Scott Pask, they recall Adolphe Appia’s New-Stagecraft-Designs for Wagnerian-Operas.

Given the Roiling-Heavens, one almost expected to see the Red-Sails of the Flying-Dutchman’s Ship-of-the-Damned surge across the Threatening-Skies.

Considering all the Thunder-&-Lightning that fills this Cavernous-Space, it would seem that the Scottish-Highlands had Extreme-Weather long before Climate-Change was invented to annoy Republicans.

Less Design-Felicitous, however, is a kind of Cross-Thames Railroad-Bridge that goes up & down with Alarming-Frequency.

As for the Traditional-Three-Witches, Director Jack O’Brien has also intimately involved Hecate [Francesca Faridany] & assorted Diabolic-Creatures with the Brewing-Three—who also do Double-Duty in other Roles.

When they threw the Varied-Ingredients of the Witches’-Stew into the Metaphoric-Pot—including some Body-Parts from Toads & Adders—one could only hope that the Eye-of-Newt belonged to Newt Gingrich, giving him Something-to-do-in-Public, Post-Election

It’s sad to see such Admired-Actors as John Glover & Byron Jennings reduced to playing 19th-Century Melodrama-Farce

There’s an old Folk-Saying: Never send a Boy to do a Man’s-Job.

Ethan Hawke is sorely Overtaxed as the Thane-of-Cawdor.

As King, it gets worse, because he does not know how to use his Voice or his Diaphragm properly.

So, he Rants & Shouts himself Hoarse through the Scottish-Play

Unfortunately, there is a lot of Rant-&-Shout in this Ill-Fated-Production.

Generally, these Scots sound like Vintage-German-Players, in a National-Theater-Inzenierung.

At one point in the Drama, Lady Macbeth shouts to the Stormy-Skies: Unsex Me!

She already had her Wish, as portrayed by Anne-Marie Duff.

What was it that the Thane-of-Glamis—who, by Foul-Play, had become King-of-the-Scots—said?

She should have died hereafter.

But Birnham-Wood did come to Dunsinane, right on schedule!

That’s not a Tibetan-Mandala on the Production-Poster & on the actual Stage-Floor—from which Overloaded-Banquet-Tables & Floral-Displays frequently emerge.

No! No Indeed!

It is a Medieval Kabalistic-Mandala—the so-called Seal-of-God’s-Truth—which is composed of One-Pentagram, Two-Circles, & Three-Heptagons!

Although it is said to date from the 13th-Century, its Magical-Connection with O’Brien’s Macbeth dates back to Dr. John Dee, who was an Astronomer & Alchemist, as well as he was welcome at the Court-of-Queen-Elizabeth-I.

It was supposed—at least to those who knew anything about this Talisman—to enable Magicians to control the Lives-of-All-Creatures!

Excepting, of course, God’s-Archangels

The Lincoln-Center Vivian-Beaumont Playbill suggests that Scott Pask’s adaptation of the Dee-Device might create a "Magical-Space-for-Acting.”

Well, that Hope didn’t Work-Out.

Further, it implies that this could be a Safe-Talisman "for anyone still slightly suspicious of the Reputation of this Haunting, and Haunted, Play.”

This Mandala-Meditation concludes thusly: "A Company-of-Actors, standing in Conversation-with-Angels—whether we believe it or not—can be as Mysterious as it is Beautiful.” [Edited-for-Emphasis!]

Non Angeli, sed Diaboli…

Or, as our old Methodist-Pastor might have said to Jack O’Brien: "The Devil made you do that!”

Perhaps it was Kabalistic that O’Brien chose a Scott to design this Martial-Highland-Fling?

Nonetheless, this Staging was more Traditional than that shown at the Edinburgh-Festival some seasons ago.

Macbeth’s Letter: "We met them on a Day of Success” reached Lady Macbeth by FAX.

The Three-Witches stirring their Pot could easily have been mistaken for Girl-Guides-Matrons at a Cook-Out near St. Andrews Golf-Course.

The Fabled-Banquet at which Banquo appeared featured a Huge-Haggis, but the Guests had to BYOB: some had Glenfiddich; No-one brought Johnnie-Walker.

When the Assassins arrived to Terminate the unsuspecting Lady MacDuff & the Kiddies, she had her Hair-in-Curlers & was busy at her Ironing-Board.

The Kids were playing in an Inflatable-Plastic-Wading-Pond.

She was strangled with her own Ironing-Cord!

Macduff’s Unfortunate-Heirs were drowned in their own Pond

And so it goes, up in Bonnie-Scotland.

As for Lay-on, MacDuff!—well, he had Cause.

There used to be a Midtown-Ticket-Agency named MacBrides.

When a Production was really rotten, Critics would warn: Lay-off MacBrides!.

In a Shakespearean-Context, what best becomes O’Brien’s-Staging as an Apt-Analysis is: Untimely-Ripped!

Circus-der-Sinne’s MOTHER AFRICA [★★★★★]

US-Premiere of Talented-African-Performers Who Trained at the Artists’-College in Tanzania!

Eat Your Heart Out, Cirque-du-Soleil!

The Best-Contortionist-Ever is now performing at the New-Victory-Theatre!

He is Ersi Teame Gebregziabher & he is from Ethiopia & his Bones must be made of Rubber!

It is Biologically-Not-Possible to have your Head positioned below your Rectum

But what about the Amazing-Unicyclist called Baraka Juma Ferouz?

One of his Unicycles looks about Three-Inches-High off the floor.

Another has Three-Wheels mounted one above another, but the Highest-Unicycle needs a Step-Ladder to Mount at all.

Among the other Amazing-Acts are the Foot-Juggling of Sewasew Alemu Truneh; the Chair-Act of Yusuphu Ramadhani Fuko, and the Stilt-Dancer, Jean-Marc Kouassi Agbogea.

Had Winston Ruddle not set-up the Circus-School he calls The-Artists’-College in Tanzania to train Young-Potential-Talents from all over Africa, these Dazzling-Exploits would probably not exist.

Had not Hubert Schober devised the Circus-der-Sinne-Framework & organized International-Tours, Cirque-du-Soleil would certainly already have contracted these Attractive-Performers.

But Mother Africa is not at all about the Spectacular-Stagings of Cirque-du-Soleil.

It focuses on the Performers in Smaller-Spaces.

Nonetheless, it does have some spectacular Production-Values with colorful Graphic/Photographic-Projections upstage: in a Cut-Out-Frame of the Dark-Continent, we see such Icons as a Beobab-Tree, the Pyramids, a Noble-Lion, Parched-Earth

Considering the Tribal-Conflicts that are periodically tearing some African-States apart, Mother-Africa is not so Unified nor so Nurturing as this Show may suggest.

In fact, training at the Tanzania-Artists’-College has been the Road-out-of-Poverty for many, as well as nurturing an Artistic-Kinship that flows across Borders.

If you want a change from the Rockettes over at Radio-City, this is the Holiday-Show to see!

Meghan Kennedy’s TOO MUCH, TOO MUCH, TOO MANY [★★]

Two Woman-Recluses, One Non-Pastor, A Dead-Dad Who Drowned-Himself, & An Apt-Title!

Although James Rebhorn is already dead in Meghan Kennedy’s curious new Family-Drama, as Emma’s Dad, James [they never have Last-Names in Many-Modern-Plays, it would seem], he keeps coming back into her Kitchen, often like a Madman.

Emma’s Mother, Rose [Phyllis Somerville], has Closed-the-Door on Emma & the World.

Perhaps it was Husband-James’ Suicide-by-Drowning that caused this, as she later apparently also Drowns-Herself. [Both these Implied-Events happen off-stage.]

Emma makes Muffins in her Kitchen from a Family-Recipe, but her Mother withholds One-Important-Ingredient.

How her Mother manages to Eat, over those years of Voluntary-Isolation, is a Mystery, as she never opens her Bedroom-Door to Emma, who must sit Outside-in-the-Hall.

Then a Mysterious-Minister appears, sent over from the Church, telling Emma that they are concerned that she doesn’t come to Church.

He also wants Rose to Open-the-Door.

But he is Not-What-He-Seems. He does get Rose to talk to him.

He has had his own Family-Tragedy.

Rose hopes he will bring Emma out of her Own-Isolation.

Her Final-Message to Emma is that Missing-Ingredient, on a Note pushed under the Bedroom-Door.

So the Muffins will be OK & so will Emma [Rebecca Henderson] & Fake-Pastor Hidge [Luke Kirby].

Sheryl Keller staged & Real-Water came out of the Kitchen-Tap!

Conor McPherson’s THE NIGHT ALIVE [★★★★]

Ireland’s Enfant-Terrible Stages His Own Dublin-Gothic-Tale: Knives & Hammers In-Play…

This is the Original Donmar-Warehouse Production of Conor McPherson’s Night-Alive, with the Original-Cast [on Equity-Waiver], including the Beloved-Irish-Actor, Jim Norton!

Norton plays Maurice [which here sounds like Morris], who owns an Edwardian-Era-Mansion in Phoenix-Park in Dublin.

Downstairs, in a mess & muddle, lives Tommy [Ciarán Hinds], whom he more or less raised.

Tommy brings home Aimee [Caiolfhionn Dunne], who is apparently famed for her Hand-Jobs. Tommy gets one…

His Friend & sometime Co-worker, Doc [Michael McElhatton], is a frequent Mooch & Crasher.

But he gets Crashed in the Head with a Hammer by Kenneth [Brian Gleeson], who drops by.

Ken isn’t quite right in the Head, but when he attacks Tommy & Aimee gets involved, it would seem that it was Aimee who plunged that Kitchen-Knife into Ken’s Back.

How & where they disposed of the Body is unclear at the close, but Maurice is leaving the Whole-House to Tommy when he passes-on…

This is not an Irish-Version of The Lower Depths, but it does suggest why Eire is in such an Economic-Mess in the Euro-Zone.

Good-Thing I didn’t get that Irish-Passport back when they were handing them out: My Grandfather was born in Ireland way back in 1832, so I qualified.

Curiously, in the Extensive-Bio of McPherson in the Playbill©, there is No-Mention of his Cripple of Innishman.

James Lapine & William Finn’s LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE [★★★★]

Push Your Wagon—Don’t Paint It: Dysfunctional & Dyslexic Family On-The-Road To Redondo!

Unfortunately, I never saw the Cinematic-Version of Little Miss Sunshine, so I have No-Idea how well this new Musical-Incarnation represents the Original-Inspiration.

From what transpired on the Transformed-Stage of 2econd-Stage, however, reminded me of one of those Christopher-Guest-Movies, like Waiting for Guffmann.

But the Only-Credit given for Filmic-Sources is "written by Michael Arndt.”

So Arndt is a Lucky-Man to have such Innovative-Talents as Director/Book-Writer James Lapine & Antic-Composer William Finn create Musical-Magic for his Intellectual-Property.

Finn came to Show-Biz-Prominence way Off-Broadway with In Trousers & March of the Falsettos, among Other-Tonal-Astonishments.

Lapine’s Lapidary-Production profits greatly from the Design-Ingenuity of Beowulf Boriit, who has transformed the 2econd-Stage-Auditorium into an Enveloping-Route-Map, covering the Arrid-Territory between Albuquerque, NM, & Redondo-Beach, in SoCal.

The Stage itself is the 3-D-Culmination of the Travel-Map, with some Upstage-Openings that are either View-Windows of the Great-Southwest or like TV-Monitors.

The Insane-Reason for making this Picaresque-Trek from NM to Redondo is that Ambitious-Young-Olive wants to participate in the Little-Miss-Sunshine Beauty-Pageant.

She has been Diligently-Coached in All-The-Moves by her Randy & X-Rated-Grandfather—recently ejected from a Senior-Enclave—who unfortunately Dies along the Interstate.

The Extended-Family decides to Make-Her-Dream-Come-True, but the Van dies along the way, so they end-up pushing it through the Desert & Mountains to the Pacific-Coast.

This is Ingeniously-Achieved with Kitchen-Chairs on Rollers, Cleverly-Choreographed by Michele Lynch.

As Teens, Mother & Dad were passionately In-Love—or maybe Just-Hot—but she got Pregnant, so they had to Tie-the-Knot.

Mom is the Glue that Holds-the-Family-Together.

Dad is a very Decisive-Guy, an Idea-Man, an Entrepreneur—which means he doesn’t have a Daytime-Job

Family-Life—not to say Family-Travel, as well—is complicated by the Awkward-Presences of not only Granddad, but also Mom’s Brother, who is recovering from Slashing-His-Wrists.

He was the Proust-Expert at Brown-University in Providence, RI, but he made the Academic-Mistake of inviting another Proust-Expert to Lecture.

This Distinguished-Professor promptly fell in love with the Designated-Grad-Student-Lover of Mom’s Brother.

What’s with Brown anyway?

Don’t the Faculty up there on The-Hill know that you never Hit on one of your Grad-Students?

Not only will Said-Students expect an A, they may also demand Significant-Other-Status

At least Uncle-Frank wasn’t the Oscar-Wilde-Expert.

But Suicide-Attempts are sure to Cancel-Tenure.

Oddly enough, along the Van-Route, we come to a Service-Station where the Off-Broadway-Audience is exposed to Men’s-Room-Urinals.

Oh oh! At the Next-Urinal is standing none other than that Fatal-Grad-Student, who exposes his Phenomenal-Abs for all to see.

Anyway, along the way, we also get to see some Twinkling-Pre-Teen-Meanies, who taunt Olive with their Talents & Glittering-Get-Ups.

But this is Nothing—even though they do emerge from a Trap-Door in the Stage-Floor—compared to the Talent-Contest on Redondo-Beach. Where there’s even a Miss-Costa-Mesa!

It is a Mini-Miss-America-Show, but you would never have seen Bess Myerson in Cowgirl-Garb prancing in on a Pogo-Stick-Horse.

Anyway, the Valiant-Olive—wearing her Mother’s Wedding-Dress & doing a Gypsy-Rose-Lee-Strip—ultimately does Not-Win.

But this Entire-Funny-Family has Learnt a Lot about Love & Life along the way…

Stephanie J. Block heads an Admirable-Cast that includes Rory O’Malley, Josh Lamon, David Rasche, & Hannah Nordberg as the soon-to-be Sun-Ripened-Olive.

If they still Publish-Sheet-Music, you might want to get some of these Lively-Songs to play on your Cell-Phone!

That Is: If you have the Piano-Keyboard-App…

Gertie Stein & Virgil Thomson’s THE MOTHER OF US ALL [★★★★★]

Votes For Women! But The Suffragettes Have To Suffer: Putting Susan B. Anthony on a Pedestal!

Gertrude Stein made a Literary-Career out of Simplistic-Linguistic-Formulations.

But that’s Part-of-the Fun in watching or listening-to The Mother of Us All!

The Rhymes are so Simple, so Obvious, so Repetitious, you can guess what they will be before they are Out-of-the-Mouths of the Actor/Singers.

This Pleasure is, however, Doubly, Triply, even Quadratically-Enhanced by the Accompanying-Score of Virgil Thomson, that most Quintessentially-American of Composers.

Unfortunately, Mother is seldom Performed, even in Concert.

So both Fans of Votes-for-Women & of American-Folk-Opera should be grateful for the Patriotically-Handsome-Production recently offered up at the Manhattan-School-of-Music.

Not only were Susan B. Anthony, her Supporters, her Opponents, & the Entire-Cast magnificently-costumed in Period-Garb, but they were surrounded by Noble-Greek-Fluted-Columns & Upstaged by an Immense Stars-&-Stripesian-Banner in Repose.

Noragh Devlin was both Stately & Unflinching as the Unmovable-Proponent not only for Women’s-Suffrage, but also for Women’s-Rights in general.

As the Much-Put-Upon Titular-Susan of this Opera, she was in Excellent-Voice, but so were most of the Large-Cast, deftly-staged by Dona D. Vaughn, Artistic-Director of the MSM-Opera-Theatre-Program.

Unfortunately, just as with those remarkable productions imported to BAM & Student-Opera-Productions at the Juilliard-School, there were only Three-Performances

I wasn’t even born when Gertrude Stein was in her Heyday in Paris, in the Rue-de-Fleuris, being painted by Pablo Picasso—whose Stein-Portrait graced the MSM-Stage—as well as enjoying Hash-Brownies with Life-Partner, Alice B. Toklas.

But it was my Good-Fortune to come to know Virgil Thomson—in residence at the famed Chelsea-Hotel—late in his life & to learn about the influence of American-Folk-Music & Scottish-Imports on his own Compositions.

Virgil was always very Generous of his Time & his Knowledge with Young-Aspiring-Artists & even with Enquiring-Reporters & Interested-Academics.

Lillian Hellman’s THE CHILDREN’S HOUR [★★★★]

Banned-in-Boston Pre-Production: Concert-Reading of Lesbian-Themed-Drama at CUNY-Grad-Ctr

Amanda Goad looks like a Very-Attractive-Young-Man, Hair neatly-parted, but All-Business in Business-Attire.

Actually, she is a Staff-Attorney with the American-Civil-Liberties-Union, dealing with its National- Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/AIDS-Project.

She was onstage at the CUNY-Grad-Center to comment on the ACLU’s First-Gay-Rights-Case!

This was part of the Program—arranged by Dr. Frank Hentschker—to examine The Censorship of Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour.

Although Hellman’s Controversial-Drama had already had a Long & Successful-Run in Manhattan, it was Banned-in-Boston before it could even be produced there.

One of those Early-Instances of: "I don’t have to look at Porn to know it’s disgusting.”

In Children’s Hour, a spoiled, willful Teen-Age-Liar destroys the Lives-&-Careers of Two-Dedicated-Teachers, who are operating a Girls-School for the Privileged-Class.

She says she saw them Kissing!

To put this All-in-Context, Hentschker—who is Exec-Director & Director-of-Programs for CUNY’s Martin-Segal-Theatre-Center—had the Ingenious-Idea to bring the Play-back-to-Life in a Concert-Reading, together with Courtroom-Testimony from the Boston-Banning-Hearings.

Not the Whole-Play, you understand: Only the Climactic-Scenes

Combined with the 1936 Court-Case, this was Titled: The Intermeddlers.

Ashley Kelly Tata directed an Excellent-Cast, so effectively, indeed, that it seems a Good-Idea for her to stage the Entire-Drama in a Major-Off-Broadway-Venue.

Way back in the Depression-Era, most Decent, God-Fearing-People had No-Idea that Women could Fall-in-Love with each other.

At least, No-One talked about such Subjects: Perverted, Unnatural, Disgusting, a Crime-Against-Nature!

Oh, up in Beantown, they did have something called "Boston-Marriages,” in which Two-Ladies lived together, often wearing Coats-&-Ties, instead of truly Feminine-Apparel.

Frankly, when I first read The Children’s Hour in High-School, I was also shocked: I thought Everyone who could do so, had to Get-Married & Raise-Children, so that the White-Race would not Die-Out

As for all those Old-Maid-Aunts, my Censorious-Mother explained that No-One had asked them, so they had No-Chance to become Child-Bearers for God & the Nation

Robert Wilson’s THE LIFE & DEATH OF MARINA ABRAMOVIC [★★★★]

No! No! No! The Press-Reports of Marina Abramovic’s Death Have Been Artistically-Pre-Mature!

Jesus may be said to have made His-Life a Work-of-Art.

At the very least, it was an Heroic-Effort to Save-Humanity from Original-Sin.

As for Unoriginal-Sin, that’s why there are Internet-Porn-Sites

Considering the recent Over-Exposure to the Life, Loves, & Body-Politic of Marina Abramovic at the Park-Avenue-Armory, it might be imagined that the Patriarch-Abraham—backed by Isaac, in the Jesus-Role—was the First-Performance-Artist.

But, going back that far into Historical-Fiction, wouldn’t Adam & Eve qualify as the Original-Performance-Artists—backed, of course, by The-Serpent!

The Obvious-Problem with such Speculations is that The-First-Family—not to overlook the Performance-Art of Cain & Abel!—as well as that Heaven-Sent-Injunction for Israelis to End-Human-Sacrifice had No-Public-Audience & also No-Box-Office-Receipts!

Wait-a-Minute. Or a Millennium

Couldn’t One say—or Speculate—that God-the-Father was giving all these Human-Body-Performances something that might be called Heavenly-Oversight?

Anyway, the Ubiquitous-Robert-Wilson has worked his Customary-Formulary-Visual-Magic on the Life, Loves, Tsouris, & Public-Exposures of Marina Abramovic.

Your Roving Art-Reporter’s First-Awareness of the Potency of the Art of Marina Abramovic was experienced at the Salzburg-Festival, where Marina Abramovic had installed on a Grassy-Greensward, hard-by the Main-Bridge over the River-Salzach into the Old-Town—where Julie Andrews once heard The-Sound-of-Music—some Towering-Silver-Metal-Tiny-Chairs, on which only a Dwarf could sit, if only he could find a Ladder-Tall-Enough to reach them.

[Tough-Luck, Bilbo Baggins!]

The next Reporter-Sighting—I guess I don’t Get-Out-Enough—was at MoMA, better-known as the Museum-of-Modern-Art, where Marina Abramovic was On-View-in-the-Atrium-Round-the-Clock.

The Park-Avenue-Armory Press-Release notes that this Public-Exposure went on & on & on for some Seven-Hundred-Hours.

Does MoMA really stay Open that long at a Stretch

The Object of this Exercise, apparently, was to see if any Ordinary-Person—who had Paid-Admission to MoMA—could Break-Her-Concentration!

The Press-Release also notes that Marina Abramovic has established—in Hudson, NY, where that old Nabisco-Factory has been transformed into an Art-PremisesThe-Marina-Abramovic-Institute-for-the-Preservation-of-Performance-Art.

Short of actually Preserving or Embalming the Human-Body of Marina Abramovic in some Artistic-Posture, only Still-Photos & Videos can really do that, n’est-ce pas?

Oh, well. It is True that both The-Whitney & MoMA do often let Curious-Visitors look at Notebooks, Jottings, & Sketches of Proposed-or-Completed-Performance-Works.

What could be More-Revelatory than a Glance at the Journals & Occasional-Letters of Keith Haring!

Actually, both Christo & Robert Wilson sell their Project-Sketches & Jottings for Big-Bucks.

That’s how Christo has financed most of his Major-Projects, like those Magical-Gates in Central-Park!

On the Occasion of the Umpteenth-Anniversary of The-Oberammergau-Passion-Play—although not an Oberammer-GaunerRobert Wilson created some Astonishing-Dioramas of The-Stations-of-the-Cross.

These so alarmed those Devout-Alpine-Catholics that the Wilsonian-Images were hidden well behind the Passionspielhaus

The Current-Apotheosis of Marina AbramovicOn-Tour, so only briefly over at the Park-Avenue-Armory—was shown at the Manchester-Festival, as well as at the Salford-Festival & at the Teatro-Reál in Madrid, currently presided over by Gerard Mortier, once famed as the Bad-Boy of the Salzburg-Festival.

It is to Alex PootsArtistic-Director of the Manchester-Festival, as well as of the Park-Avenue-Armory-Programming—that we have to be Grateful for THE LIFE & DEATH OF MARINA ABRAMOVIC…

There is, Visually & Aurally, a Great-Deal for which to be Grateful!

The Signature-Wilson-Tropes are all On-View: Silhouetted-Figures against a Stark-White-Cyc; Stately-Figures slowly gliding across the Stage; Grotesquely-Garbed-Figures whirling-about; Figures in Repose; Figures soaring-aloft…

Near the Close, the Wide-Wide-Stage began to fill—from Both-Sides—with a Dense-Low-Lying-Fog!

Staging Jessye Norman in an Opera at one time, Wilson advised her to think of herself as a Great-Ocean-Liner, gliding across the Stage. At least that’s what the Press-Release said.

One Interesting-Figure was that Guy who stood there Masturbating—even during the Singing.

Then, he let it All-Hang-Out, flopping the Fake-Cock around & around.

Did this Military-Figure represent a Soldier in Kosovo or only one of those Spoil-Sports at the MoMA-Atrium who were trying to distract Marina Abramovic in her Deep-Concentration?

From the Very-First—when Harvey Lichtenstein began to Sponsor the Astonishing-Productions of Robert Wilson over at BAM—I was in Abject-Admiration: Robert Wilson had put-on-stage the Landscapes of My-Dreams & Nightmares.

His A Letter for Queen Victoria, as well as The Life & Times of Josef Stalin & Einstein on the Beach—with that One-Two-Three-Threnody of Philip Glass—were Magical.

Unfortunately, Al Einstein was not then actually Alive, so there had to be a Stand-by standing on that Metaphorical-Beach.

Although Einstein’s Family-Life had Its-Own-Problems, it’s Unlikely that he would have Exposed-Himself on-stage in the Manner of Marina Abramovic.

She has made an Entire-Career out of her Body-in-Motion & In-Repose

Who would have thought—way back when Marshall Tito was holding together all those Balkan-Entities, such as Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia, & Croatia—that a Simple-Young-Girl, with a Tyrannical-Mother, both of which Marina Abramovic plays in this Wilsonian-Epic, would fascinate Audiences-of-Thousands with her Life-&-Loves?

But Marina Abramovic isn’t the Whole-Show: there is also the White-Faced Willem Dafoe, who acts like a Wise-Cracking-Clown in moving the Narrative-Along.

Not to Overlook Antony—of Antony & The Johnsons—whose Resonant-Voice enhances the Proceedings.

Indeed, the Music & the Singing are Major-Charms.

The Musical-Cries-&-Calls & General-Hubub of any Balkan-Village is often recalled in this Evocation of Marina Abramovic.

Oh! Did Robert Wilson also stage The Secret Life of Juanita Castro?

Or was that one of those Ronnie-Tavel-Exposures down at LaMaMa—back in the Golden-Days of the New-York Avant-Garde

Too-Bad that Robert Wilson was not Born in the Time of Lola Montez & Franz Liszt!

Lola—with her Sensational-Spider-Dance—was famed for Self-Exposure.

Indeed, her most popular Performance-Art-Presentation was the Life & Loves of Lola Montez!

What Bob Wilson could have done with Lola & Her-Stuff!

Actually, Max Ophuls has already Done-the-Honors in a his Magnificent-Film, Lola Montez, which features Peter Ustinov as Ring-Master of the London-Circus in which she Re-Enacted her Life-&-Loves.

Thinking about Performance-Art—inspired, of course, by the Example of Marina Abramovic—would it be Unfair to cite Jesus-Christ as one of the most Outstanding-Performance-Artists of All-Time?

The-Crucifixion was certainly a Very-Public-Performance, although it was Orchestrated by the Romans

But Consider the Staging of Jesus’ celebrated Passover-Week-Entrance-into-Jerusalem!

He chose to Ride into the Holy-City on the back of an Ass—just as the Holy-Family had done on the Flight-into-Egypt!

But He was deliberately fulfilling Biblical-Prophecy, regarding the Coming-of-the-Messiah, Palm-Waving & All.

As for The-Last-Supper—surely a Catered-Affair?—it could be somehow related to the Gourmet-Gala at the Armory, honoring Worthy-Patrons-of-the-Arts & Marina Abramovic.

But no Bitter-Herbs for Lovers of Performance-Arts, it’s to be Hoped?

Note: From 10-13 July 2014, one of the most Impressive-Opera-Productions will be presented at the Armory.

This is David Pountney’s handsome Bregenz-Festival-Staging of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s Auschwitz-Inflected work of Musik-Theater, Die Passagiere.

A former Female-Guard—who decided who would Live & who would Die, on a Daily-Basis—is on a Luxury-Ocean-Liner, bound for a New-Life in South-America.

Suddenly, she sees on-board a Veiled-Woman who escaped Her-Clutches

It was my Good-Fortune to see this Stunning-Production-on-Rails at its World-Premiere in Bregenz in 2010.

Not only that: I was able to interview Festival-Director-Pountney—whom I already knew from years-ago when he was Head-of-Production at ENO, the English-National-Opera—as well as to record the Memories of Zofia Posmysz, an Auschwitz-Survivor whose Semi-Autobiographical-Novel provided the Basis for Weinberg’s Harrowing-Libretto.

For a Full-Account, check-out my Arts-Rambles Bregenz-Festival-Report for July 2010. This should be Archived on NYTheatre-Wire.com, as well as on GlennLoneyArtsArchive.Com.

This Memorable-Music-Drama is Not-to-be-Missed this coming July!

Phoebe Legere’s SHAKESPEARE & ELIZABETH I: The Reality-Show [★★★★]

The Elizabethan-Era Lives-Again, Set-To-Music, Thanks to Multi-Talented Phoebe Legere:

With Period-Costumes, Armada-Cannons, & The Bardic-Canon—Wherefore Art Thou, Dudley!

OK! OK!

Shakespeare or Someone-of-That-Name did not write the Plays commonly-attributed to him.

No, indeed!

It was The-School-of-the-Night, empowered by Queen-Elizabeth I, herself a Notable-Writer-Poet-Translator-Linguist.

The Altogether-Remarkable Phoebe Legere—who wrote & composed the Dynamic-Music for this Merry-Ride of a Reality-Show—is the Sole-Begetter of this Rapid-Romp through English-Spanish-Relations in the Elizabethan-Era.

How many On & Off-Broadway-Productions this season have invoked Romeo-&-Juliet?

Well, here’s One-More—but With-a-Difference: It is Hilarious!

Not only Elizabeth, but also Most-of-the-Cast are quoting from the Bardic-Canon.

But then, the Rejected-King-Philip-of-Spain decides to Get-Even with Liz, by Invading-England with—what else?—the Spanish-Armada.

So the Audience is suddenly Blindsided by Two-Booming-Cannons!

There’s also Canon-Law to consider: How can a Bastard-Queen sit on a formerly Catholic-Throne?

It is well-known that Mary-Queen-of-Scots—despite her Extra-Marital-Sexual-Romps—is the Legitimate-Roman-Catholic-Heir, not only to the Scottish-Crown, but also to the Orb-&-Scepter of Merrie-England.

So, it’s Off-with-Her-Head

The Queen’s-Astrologer, Dr. John Dee, has a Prominent-Role, as he also does over at Lincoln-Center, not On–Stage, but as the Creator of the Mysterious-&-Mythical-Mandala that informs their Misbegotten-Mounting of The-Scottish-Play.

Huzzahs for David Mansley, who is a Man-of-Many-Faces & Facets in this Elizabethan-Romp.

But Nowhere is Christopher Marlowe mentioned in a Major-Way, although he may well have written all those Comedies, Tragedies, & Chronicles, leaving the Sonnets to Edward de Vere?

Only One-Aspect of this Production is a bit Out-of-Kilter: There is an Amateur-Black-&-White-Film-Intrusion that adds nothing to the General-Hilarity

The Designated-Run of this Delightful-Show—with Period-Instruments, no less—at Theatre-for-the-New-City was All-Too-Short, but it did give Crystal Field, Chief-Honcho at TNC, the opportunity to Lop-Off-Heads as Bloody-Mary, Liz’s Legitimate-Royal-Sister.

Alex Bartenieff—Field’s Son—designed the Lighting, with Mark Marcante on Sets & Jennifer Anderson providing those Hand-Sewn-Gowns & Doublets.

Google or Wikipedia or Facebook or Twitter for More-Info on the Award-Winning, Path-Breaking, Multi-Talented Phoebe Legere!

She plays a Mean-Accordion, as well as Keyboarding

The Czech-American-Marionette’s THE REPUBLIC, OR, MY DINNER WITH SOCRATES [★★★★]

Thank-Zeus! Dinner-with-Socrates Is Nothing Like My-Dinner-with-André—Starring Wally Shawn.

In Effect, Dinner-with-Socrates was rather like The-Last-Supper for the Sorrowing-Disciples of Athens’-Greatest-Philosopher.

Jesus had Wine, but Socrates had Hemlock to drink: this was the Athenian-Idea of a Definitive-Last-Goodbye, way back in the Fifth-Century-BC.

Jesus could turn Water into Wine, but Socrates couldn’t, wouldn’t, turn Hemlock into Nectar-&-Ambrosia.

Entering Socrates’ Mythical-Cave & sharing Choice-Socratic-Dialogue about the Nature of a Just-Society—as Outlined in Socrates’ The Republic—is quite a Challenge, even for Human-Actors, but it’s even more difficult for Marionettes.

Of course, it’s a Cheap-Shot to say that their Acting was Wooden

Actually, with the Visible-Puppet-Manipulators taking-part in the Final-Chapter in Socrates’ Memorable-Life, this New-Production of Vit Horejs’ Czech-American-Marionette-Theatre is fraught with Amazing-Allusions to Modern-Times—especially to the Way-We-Live-Now: in what appears to be an Unjust-Society.

This Stark-Contrast is High-Lighted by stunningly-designed Rear-Lit-Shadow-Puppets & Current-Newspaper-Headlines.

As for the Philosopher-King that Socrates envisioned, such an Impartial-Autocrat was not to be found, then or now. Mitt Romney certainly didn’t fit the bill…

As most College-Educated-Americans must know, Socrates was Condemned-to-Death for "Corrupting the Youth of Athens.”

His Real-Crime, however, was Challenging them to Think-for-Themselves.

The Socratic-Dialogues, as recorded by Plato—we don’t have any Carved-in-Stone-Copies from Socrates himself—are sometimes Heavy-Going for University-Freshman, so it’s to the Credit of both the Wooden & the Live-Actors that the Issues-Raised are not Boring.

It’s been suggested that the Athenians who Hated—possibly, even FearedSocrates would have been satisfied if he had departed for Corinth, Thebes, or Sparta.

But he was an Athenian-Born & he was going to Die an Athenian.

He believed that the Soul is Immortal, so he thought he was going to a Better-Place, as he told his Disciples—as well as his Distraught-Wife, Xantippe, who is always off-stage in the Actual-Dialogues.

The Ground-Floor Theatre-Space of LaMaMa ETC was turned into a Cave, thanks to Tom Lee, with Shadow-Puppets & Costumes by Theresa Linnihan.

The Major-Marionettes were the Creations of Jakub Krejicí, with the Toy-Marionettes—including Racks-of-Troops—made by Milos Kasal.

Clifton Hyde devised & performed the Accompanying-Music, with Lighting by Federico Restrepo.

The Altogether-Admirable Bonnie Sue Stein produced this Philosophical-Enchantment.

Not only did Socrates live long before Gutenberg or Scriptoria, he also had to rely on Plato to record what he taught the Youth-of-Athens.

He worked in an Oral-Tradition, always Questioning his Auditors, rather than Pompously-Preaching

Indeed, the Great-Homeric-Epics were shared with the Public & Transmitted-Orally by Rhapsodes, who were specially-trained to Perform them.

Of course, Athenians could also Learn-a-Lot by attending the Tragedies, Comedies, & Satyr-Plays at the Annual-Festival-of-Dionysus in a Special-Stone-Theatre at the foot of the Acropolis.

But that was a Once-a-Year-Affair.

Almost any day, you could go into the Agora & hear the Peripatetic-Philosophers, as they walked to-&-fro, Questioning & Propounding

No-Registration-Fees, as we know them, & No-Student-Debt!

Oh, you might now & then might want to bring along some Veggies or a Chicken for your Favorite-Teacher.

Speaking of Fowl, the last thing Socrates said, before the Hemlock had made him Rigid-in-Death was: I Owe a Cock to Aesclepius.

Riabko & Seltzer’s WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT:Bacharach Reimagined [★★★★]

No-Narrative-Line, But None-Needed:

With Great-Bacharach-Blockbuster-Songs like Raindrops Keep Falling & Do You Know the Way…

Kyle Riabko, even as a Youth, was apparently smitten with the Music of Burt Bacharach.

Then, one day, he showed The-Master-Tunesmith how he had arranged Selected-Songs for Performance.

He got the Green-Light & the Current-Blockbuster-Show down at the NY-Theatre-Workshop is the Foot-Stomping-Result.

Actually, only the Melodies of such Evergreen-Hits as Raindrops Keep Falling, I’ll Never Fall in Love Again, Do You Know the Way to San Jose, & Alfie are by Bacharach. He didn’t Devise the Words

The often Unforgettable-Lyrics are—as cited in the Playbill©—by Hal David & Others.

The Boxy-Room that is the Premises of NYTW has been Transformed!

Rather like the Pearl-Theatre’s current Terence-McNalley-Show, the End-Stage is crammed with all kinds of Lamps-&-Lighting-Devices, Salvation-Army-Thrift-Shop-Furniture, & a veritable Cascade of Musical-Instruments, descending Center-Stage.

But the Walls!

Both Onstage & around the Entire-Auditorium, all the Carpet-Rejects from Recent-Bankruptcies seem stapled in-place. One hopes they have been treated with Fire-Retardant

Kyle Riabko & Six-Other-Lively-Young-Musicians perform with Zest on Two-Roundtables, one inside the other, scooting Instruments & Furniture around as Needed.

Four of them are first discovered on Two-Battered-Sofas, nailed high-up on the Back-Wall of the Stage.

As with the Globe-Theatre-Shows over at the Belasco on Broadway, some of the Audience even sits on On-Stage-Sofas

This is a High-Energy & Infectiously-Engaging–Entertainment.

The engaging & attractive & talented Cast certainly infuses Bacharach’s Songs with more Wistfulness, even Passion, than Dione Warwick ever did.

Even without a Narrative-Thread, it deserves a Commercial-Transfer, On of Off-Broadway.

Actually, there is indeed a Thread, but it’s in the way that Kyle Riabko has dispersed & re-ordered the Lyrics, so there is a Definite-Emotional-Line.

Unlike the Theatre-Workshop’s Tony-Winning Musical-Transfer, Once, you cannot get Drinks up on Stage.

But who needs a Beer when there’s so much going-on?

How many Broadway-Shows will greet you out in the street with an Encore?

As the Happy-Crowd surged out onto East-Fourth, the Entire-Cast was across the Street, in front of LaMaMa, serenading their New-Fans!

Way-To-Go!

Opera-Feroce’s MAGDALENE’S-DILEMMA & CEREMONY-OF-CAROLS [Not-Rated]

Musical-Riches in an Intimate-Space: Benjamin-Britten in an Upper-Room…

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa-Claus!

But, in Manhattan, we tend to celebrate the Holiday-Season with Large-Scale Musical-Events like the Many-Messiahs that abound.

Then there’s that Christmas-Spectacular over at Radio-City-Music-Hall, featuring the Rockettes

Talk about Cultural-Throwbacks: Radio-City?

How long has it been since Radio was the National-Information-&-Entertainment-Obsession?

As for Music-Halls, weren’t they really more of an English-Thing?

We once had Vaudeville & where has that gone?

Fortunately, New-Yorkers can Celebrate-the-Holidays in much more Intimate-Settings & on a much Smaller-Scale.

So, it was a Seasonal-Joy to amble over to West-108th-Street & Amsterdam to the Chapel at Grace-House to savor the Holiday-Concert of Opera-Feroce.

They didn’t seem all that Ferocious, however, as they shared Giovanni Bononcini’s Magdalene’s-Dilemma & Ben Britten’s Ceremony-of-Carols.

This was the First-Time I’d heard them, but I was assured that they are dedicated to Going-for-Baroque.

As for The-Magdalene’s Dilemma, she is torn between Earthly-Love & Heavenly-Love.

This is an Italian-Baroque-Vision: when the Holy-Roman-Catholic-&-Apostolic-Church still regarded The-Magdalene as a Repentant-Sinner.

Rather than as Jesus’-Closest-Disciple—or possibly even His-Wife & The-Mother-of-His-Children, whose Holy-Blood/Royal-Blood-Descendants may still be found Close to some Surviving-European-Thrones

Soprano Beth Anne Hatton sang The-Magdalene, with Counter-Tenor Alan Dornak as Earthly-Love.

You could easily recognize how Earthly he was, for he kept sipping what might have been Champagne & nibbling at Goodies, all the while dressed in a Renaissance-cum-Baroque-Costume.

But, for me, the Revelation was Heavenly-Love!

Not because Hayden De Witt kept clutching a Clunky-Wooden-Crucifix to demonstrate Where-She-Came-From—surely Celestial-Realms?—but because Hayden is a Marvelous-Mezzo!

Personal-Disclosure: Bi-Weekly, Hayden comes over to Palazzo-Loney—across from the Frick-Collection—to help me Bring-Order-Out-of-Chaos

Madeleine George’s THE [CURIOUS CASE OF THE] WATSON-INTELLIGENCE [★★]

Artificial-Intelligence Cannot Function If The-Batteries-Are-Not-Included: Plug-In The PC!

The Playwrights-Horizons Playbill© lists Madeleine George as the Author of "A New Play.”

After watching some Scenes of Utter-Bafflement, it became clear that the Real-Author must be someone named Prof. Myecroft Moriarty

How else to account for the Visual & Textual-References to Sherlock Holmes & Elementary, My Dear Watson?

But then there’s that Other-Watson, the One who helped Alexander Graham-Cracker develop the Edible-Telephone.

Not to be Confused with that Watson of IBM-Fame… Or was it Main-Frame-Fame?

Certainly some Members of the Audience were confused, as they packed-up & went out into the Snowy-Night at Intermission.

Actually, there are some Really-Moving-Observations about Love & Trust in this Watsonian-Exploration.

Jumping Backward & Forward in Time & in Literature is, to say the least, Disorienting.

Possibly, Ms. George or Professor Moriarty has more than One-Play in this Script?

Does He or She or an Artificial-Intelligence need an Editor? Or some more Workshops

Louisa Thompson’s Ever-Changing, Ever-Transmuting Setting was, perhaps, the Most-Fascinating-Aspect of this Leigh-Silverman-Staged-Production.

Nonetheless, Amanda Quaid, David Costabile, & John Ellison Conlee were interesting in a Variety-of-Roles. Or, perhaps, in Variations of the Same-Role?

Whether Human or Robot, Conlee comes across as Someone-You-Could-Trust.

In a Seven-Page-Interview-Handout, Tim SanfordArtistic-Director of Playwrights-Horizons—explores Ms. George’s Influences & Achievements.

She "loves listening to People talk.”

She also has "a delight in the Surface-Topography of Language as spoken by Human-Beings.”

This is Good, as she has been able to Transpose that kind of Language into the Vocal-Mechanism of a Robot who looks a lot like Dr. Watson or John Ellison Conlee.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT-MARINER [★★★★]

Wedding-Guests! Beware of Salty-Old-Guys with a Tale-to-Tell! Stay Near the Wedding-Cake!

When Fiona Shaw was impersonating the Virgin-Mary on Broadway recently, she actually received Death-Threats!

Possibly some Catholic-Action-Fanatics were distressed to see the Blessed-Virgin smoking Cigarettes?

There should be No-Problem over in Brooklyn—at BAM’s Harvey-Theatre—because she is no longer playing a Virgin & she is Not-Smoking.

Indeed, there couldn’t be that many Irate-People eager to Phone-In any Death-Threats, for the Entire-Balcony & Most-of-the-Mezzanine were Empty.

As the Audience was settling-in, Fiona Shaw brought various Laddies up on stage to try on Two-Hats & Lean-on-a-Staff.

This Spectator-Interaction was but a Prelude to her selection of her Rehearsed-Wedding-Guest & Significant-Actor-Other, Daniel Hay-Gordon.

Then, as a Great-Canvas-Sail rose up behind her, Shaw launched into Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s English-Epic, The Rime of the Ancient-Mariner.

Yes, yes!

This is that Very-Long-Victorian-Romantic-Poem in Rhyme—or Rime—in which a hapless Wedding-Guest makes the mistake of wandering-off from the Cake & Punch to encounter an Windy-Old-Salt who regales him with his Tale of Death-&-Disaster at Sea.

Yes, this is the Very-Poem in which the Garrulous-Narrator has shot an Albatross, only to have it hung around his Neck.

That’s where we get the Popular-Negative-Image: Like an Albatross around his Neck…

We also get such Maritime-Images as: Alone, Alone on the Wide, Wide Sea

As well as: Water, Water Everywhere, nor not a Drop to Drink

Fiona Shaw has not only Memorized the Entire-Poem, but she has also—with the aid of Director Phyllida Lloyd & Choreographer Kim Brandstrup—been able to bring the Entire-Doomed-Adventure to Life on the Harvey-Stage.

Fortunately, although the Actual-Poem is rather Long, it doesn’t seem so, thanks to Shaw & Hay-Gordon, who does a very Good-Albatross-Imitation in Silhouette.

Oddly enough, I found myself Mouthing-Shaw’s-Lines.

Suddenly, I remembered what I had long forgotten: I once also Knew-It-by-Heart!

At the University-of-Wisconsin/Madison, part of my MA-in-Oral-Interpretation-Requirement was the Interpretive-Performance of an Epic-Poem.

My Mentor, Prof. Harriett E. Grimm, suggested The Iliad or The Aenead.

Too-Classical, for my taste. Give me the Romantics every time!

At least, I didn’t have to Act like the Ancient-Mariner—just suggest

Hey! Didn’t Coleridge also write that thing about Xanadu?

In Xanadu did Kublai-Khan a Stately Pleasure-Dome decree…

Something like that? I can’t find my Oxford-Companion to English-Verse to check-it-out.

Wasn’t that supposed to have been an Opium-Inspired Fever-Dream?

Something like that: Long before LSD & Allen Ginsberg.

Sean O’Casey’s JUNO & THE PAYCOCK [★★★★★]

Poor Juno! With "The-Troubles” Outside in the Streets, Who Needs Domestic-Dysfunction?

When you see a Dublin-Irish-Tenement-Family in action—as New-Yorkers have recently, down at the Irish-Rep, in Charlotte Moore’s strongly-directed & fiercely-acted staging—you will understand why Window-Signs with the Warning: No-Irish-Need-Apply were posted all over Boston & New-York, when Waves of Irish-Immigration first engulfed Our-Shores.

The Passionately-Pious but Resolutely-Realist Juno Boyle [the excellent J. Smith-Cameron] is holding her Entire-Family together, despite little help from any of them.

Her Boastful, Oft-Drunken-Peacock of a Husband, "Captain” Jack Boyle [the remarkable Ciarán O’Reilly, who is also Irish-Rep’s Producing-Director] wastes his time with his Best-Buddy, the sleazy, treacherous Joxer Daly [the "darlin’” John Keating].

Juno’s Son, Johnny Boyle [an understandably sullen Ed Malone] has been seriously-maimed fighting for Irish-Freedom. Later, he will Pay with his Life at the Hands of Irish-Freedom-Thugs.

After Centuries of Occupation & Oppression at the hands of English-Overlords—despite occasional Futile-Uprisings—when Organized-Irishmen finally rose-up to Oppose-the-UK in the Wake of World-War-I, a lot of Innocent-Blood was shed.

Some of that Blood was not so Innocent, however…

The Action—or In-Action—in Juno takes place in September 1922, during the Irish-Civil-War, which would lead to the establishment of the Irish-Free-State [so-called] that later evolved into the Irish-Nation of Eire.

Juno’s pretty—doesn’t she know it: always primping & making-up!—Daughter, Mary Boyle [Mary Mallen] has fallen for a real Anglo-Type-Gentleman [James Russell], who brings News of a Bequest to Captain Jack, which will make the Whole-Clan wealthy.

So their Tenement-Neighbors begin loaning them Small-Sums, in hopes of a Larger-Harvest when the Cash-Comes-Home.

Juno & Jack rapidly transform their Miserable-Two-Room-Flat into a Marks-&-Spencer-Paradise. Complete with a Gramophone with a Golden-Horn!

A Neighborhood-Celebration of the Forthcoming-Fortune is a Culture-Shock for Mary’s Boy-Friend.

He may well be amazed at the Vocal-Talents of Maisie Madigan [Terry Donnelly].

Nonetheless, he Decamps, leaving His-Intended unfortunately Pregnant, but Mary is Too-Proud—or Too-Ashamed—to accept the frequently-proffered Love of a Lad who has always admired her…

The Will was Improperly-Drawn. The Boyles are now Poorer than ever before…

Wouldn’t you know! Being Dublin & Ireland & all that!

For Captain-Jack, this calls for a Drink. What else can he do?

Yes, there is that Popular-Irish-Slogan that: Guiness is Good-for-You!

But for Juno’s Paycock, One ought to be Enough

Speaking of Guinness, why don’t they have a Full-Page-Ad in the Irish-Rep-Program?

Aer-Lingus does!

If you have never seen one of the always Handsome, Colorful, & Vital Productions at the Irish-Rep, please Make-an-Effort.

They are now Raising-Money to have their very own Permanent-Theatre-Home. You could put Your-Name-on-a-Seat—even if you are not Irish or of Irish-Extraction!

Sean O’Casey was unsparing in his presentation of Irishmen on-stage. This did not make him Beloved, either by Abbey-Theatre-Audiences or Irish-in-General.

Nonetheless, he should be greatly-pleased by this Excellent-Production—with lots of Irish-Singing & Erse-Dancing—in which the Boyles go from Rags to Riches & back again.

I first read Juno & The Paycock at UC/Berkeley, when Fred Harris—our Drama-Department-Chairman—decided to stage it on Wheeler-Hall-Lecture-Stage.

It took me a while to understand that there was no such Irish-Profession as a "Pay-Cock.”

Oh! I soon discovered that O’Casey meant that "CaptainJohnny Boyle is a Peacock, always showing-off…

After we had wrestled with Irish-Accents, Irish-Angst, & Irish-Pretension, I began to understand why Sean O’Casey—having been charged with Defaming-the-Irish in his Dramas—decided to retire across the Irish-Sea, in Torquay in Devon.

So, when I was teaching US-Troops in the English-Midlands in the 1950s, I decided to drive down to Devon to see Sean in the Flesh.

A Salty-Old-Charmer, he was.

But O’Casey was similarly surprised to meet an Authentic-Californian-Irishman, whose Grandfather was born on the Ould-Sod way back in 1832

George Bernard Shaw’s SAINT JOAN [★★★★★]

Joan Had To Wait Until 1920 for Sainthood: Will the World Ever Be Ready for Its Saints?

It was, for me, an American-Abroad, many, many years ago, an Unforgettable-Experience to stand on the Exact-Spot in Rouen—near the Cathedral—where Joan-of-Arc was Burnt-at-the-Stake for being either a Witch or an Heretic.

Take-Your-Choice: The English-Forces in France wanted her Dead, no matter what the Legal or Clerical-Excuse.

On the Other-Hand, Joan’s French-Comrades-in-Arms wanted her Saved, but could do nothing as she was an English-Prisoner.

On yet Another-Hand, the Holy-Roman-Catholic-&-Apostolic-Church’s Holy-Inquisition wanted, above all else, to Save-Her-Soul. If not Her-Body

So, La-Pucelle, Joan, The-Maid, had to be Burnt-Alive at the Stake—more for Political-Expedience than for Religious-Reasons.

Everything was Reduced-to-Ashes save Joan’s Heart: It did not, would not, could not, Burn!

The Historical-Record of Her Military-Triumphs & Her Clerical-Trial are both the Stuff of High-Drama.

So it’s Good that that famed Irish-Playwright, George Bernard Shaw, brought his Fabian-Intelligence to the Daunting-Task of dramatizing Her-Story.

Saint Joan is nothing like Pygmalion. It’s nothing like Man & Superman, although it is a Super-Script.

It is such a Super-Show, as well, that it really needs None of the Visual-Production-Values that usually adorn a Major-Revival of an Official-Modern-Classic.

Both Shaw & St. Joan can Speak-for-Themselves!

That is certainly the Belief of Bedlamnot London’s old Bethlehem-Hospital-for-the-Insane—who are a Group-of-Players who do affirm that The-Play’s-the-Thing.

What’s more—not needing Fancy-Costumes, Elaborate-Settings, Impressive-Props, or Orchestral-Accompaniments—they are content to find Odd-Spaces & fill them with Thought-&-Passion-in-Action.

So it is that Eric Tucker, Edmund Lewis, & Tom O’Keefe, with Andrus Nichols, have banded-together to present both Saint Joan & Hamlet in Rotating-Rep down at 45-Bleecker-Street.

Their Stagings—directed by Tucker—are Right-in-Your-Face.

I found myself sitting right next to Tucker, who, as a Noble-Lord, plotted with a High-Ranking-Cleric to Trap, Condemn, & Execute Jeanne d’Arc, a Simple-Village-Maid from Domremy, who thought she was hearing Angelic & Saintly-Voices, telling her to Free-France from the English-Invaders by Raising the Siege-of-Orleans.

This Physical-Sensation is even More-Potent than seeing an Already-Powerful-Drama in a Theatre-in-the-Round Confrontation.

What is even More-Impressive, however, is being Right-Next-To or Right-in-Front-of these Dynamic-Actors, who are so deeply Inhabiting-Their-Roles that they do not Break-Concentration for a Second.

More-Astounding yet is the fact that any of the Four-Players can Switch-in-a-Second into a Quite-Different-Character & then instantly resume the Former-Earl, Cleric, or Plebe.

Whether a Seasoned-Performer is Method or Pure-Stanislavski, once he or she is In-Character, it’s not easy to Vault right out of it into a Different-Body-Language & Mind-Set.

Not only the Physical-Proximity of the Players, but also their deliberate Inclusion-of-the-Audience in various Actions-&-Arguments raise the Emotional-Stakes for all concerned.

These Bedlamers are also High-Octane-Performers. Their Fierce-Energy is infectious: even the Dead would come Awake!

As for the Deaf, you won’t need Hearing-Aids down at Bleecker-Street

After the Saint-Joan-Matinée, we were originally scheduled to have the Bedlam-Hamlet in the Evening.

Considering the Concentration & Energy required for One-Show-Alone, I cannot quite comprehend how they thought they could play these Two-Challenging-Dramas back-to-back.

Frankly, I was so Emotionally-Wiped-Out that I couldn’t have managed Hamlet a few hours later.

Nor could they, in fact: the Sunday-Evening Hamlet was cancelled…

Please, St. Margaret, St. Catherine, & St. Michael-Archangelo!

Protect-These-Players!

Do not let them Go-Broadway!

Do not let them go the Way of The-Nature-Theatre-of-Oklahoma

Do not let them revive Any-Play by Neil Simon, especially not The Last of the Red-Hot-Lovers.

Mark Rubinstein, Brett Haylock & et-al’s LA SOIRÉE [★★★★]

Something for Everyone—Except Impressionable-Under-Agers:

Sally Rand without Her Fans, Gypsy-Rose-Lee without a G-String & So Much More…

Who now remembers Sally Rand, that Fan-Dancing Semi-Stripper-Sensation of the Golden-Gate-International-Exposition, on Treasure-Island, in San-Francisco-Bay?

Or, for that matter, who really remembers that Sophisticated-Stripper, Gypsy-Rose-Lee, unless they’ve seen a Revival of Rose, The Musical

Time was when Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia would have closed-down a show like La Soirée.

Among Other-Treats, it features a Svelt-Stripper who Exposes-It-All, even extracting a small Red-Hankie from her Most-Intimate-Region.

The Male-Acrobats & Aerialist show Stunning-White-Bodies with almost every Surface-Muscle in High-Definition.

For the Kinkier-Tastes, there is a Round-Female-Posterior in what looks like Tight-Red-Rubber or Spandex.

Not to overlook the Soaking-Wet-Levis of that Man-in-the-Bathtub

Then there’s that Long-Haired-Guy in Motorcycle-Black-Leather—with a Fake-Moustache—who can juggle like a Demon while Lip-Synching to Freddy Mercury: he styles himself Mario, Queen of the Circus.

But this Show is not so much about Sex as it is about Cirque-du-Soleil-Style Athletic-Prowess-&-Skill.

I mean, what’s Ejaculation-Inducing about swallowing the Metal-Leg of a Coffee-Table?

At least it’s a change from Sword-Swallowing

That Throaty-Artiste is called Miss Behave!

The only real Downer is an Unfunny-Comedy-Act, in which a Caricature pretends to be an Aspiring-Actress.

Nonetheless, it was clear that some Members of the Audience were delighted to have Sexy-Performers rub up against them.

When those Amazing-Acrobats, the Two-English-GentsDenis Lock & Hamish McCann—abandoned their Proper-British-Attire & Rolled-Umbrella for only Bowlers & Union-Jack-Briefs, there was an Audible-Sigh: Is there a Surface-Muscle they have not Super-Developed?

If you failed to Buy-Refreshments during the Show, you can have Free-Popcorn on departure. They don’t hold it over until the next performance.

Martha Clarke’s CHERI [★★★]

Colette’s Cheri Dances Down at Signature; Amy Irving Provides Narration; Clarke’s In-Residence!

Is Martha Clarke really more of a Choreographer than a Stage-Director?

Or is she something More than either of those Job-Slots would suggest?

Early-on, she helped Moses Pendleton found Pilobolus, but she first came to Critical-Notice as a Conceptual-Creator with Garden of Earthly-Delights, inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s fantastic Medieval-Horrors.

Other Performance-Pieces that I have extravagantly-admired include Vienna: Lusthaus & The Hunger-Artist.

Even more impressive was the Miracolo d’Amore that she created for the Spoleto-Festival-Charleston.

Not only did she have Tiepolo-Commedia-Clowns in those Odd-White-Oblong-Hats, but she also had Bare-Breasted Baroque-Beauties on display.

I thought these Images were breath-taking, but a very angry Alice Tully stormed out down the aisle, off to Italy, withdrawing her Support from the American-Wing of Gian-Carlo Menotti’s Festival dei Due-Mondi.

Not mentioned in her Playbill©-Bio is that Civil-War/Walt-Whitman-Inflected show she created over at BAM for the Harvey-Theatre.

It featured—for some Unknown-ReasonFlora, the Baby-Elephant-Star of the Flora-Kiddie-Circus in Charleston.

I was alerted to come to the Third & Last-Performance. I met the Avant-Garde-Composer, Richard Peaslee, outside.

He was disgusted: "This isn’t Broadway! This is Experimental-Theatre. But we are being closed just like a Commercial-Flop!

Martha Clarke has, however, Survived.

She has staged Opera in Major-Houses. What’s more, she is a MacArthur-Genius & has just won the Dance-Magazine-Award for 2013!

Now, she is In-Residence down at Signature on West-42. Soon, she will stage Bert Brecht’s Threepenny-Opera for the Atlantic-Theatre.

Cheri, at the Signature, stars the Romantic-Dancer Herman Cornejo, supported by Alessandra Ferri as Lea, his Older-Love.

It is essentially an aspect of Dance-Theatre, but Useful-Narration is provided by Amy Irving, as Cheri’s Permissive-Mother.

For Clarke, the Period-Music of the Era of The-Great-War—from which Cheri returns, devastated & destroyed—is of Central-Importance.

So Sarah Rothenberg plays the Grand at the side of an Off-Kilter Paris-Apartment, lending a Special-Quality to the dancing of Cornejo & Ferri—with such Composers as Federico Mompou, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Francis Poulenc, & even Richard Wagner.

This Vision of Colette’s Cheri is quite a Contrast to the Signature’s Stagings of Works by Romulus Linney & August Wilson!

Amanda Peet’s THE COMMONS OF PENSACOLA [★★★★]

Bernie Madoff! The Stolen-Cash is OK: Blythe Danner Has Hidden It in the Fridge!

It’s bad enough to be the Widely-Hated-Wife of an Imprisoned-Investment-Scam-Schemer—who bears a Passing-Resemblance to Bernie Madoff, even though we do not see him here in her Pensacola-Condo—but also to be suffering from Diabetes does seem Loading-the-Deck against the Unrepentant-Judith, better known to her Many-Fans as Blythe Danner!

But Danner is Not the Only-Star in Amanda Peet’s Confrontation-Packed Family-Drama, set in the Northwest-Corner of Florida: Pensacola

No, Indeed!

We also have the Star-Power of Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays Becca!

Both Parker & Danner were being mobbed by Fans outside City-Center after the Show.

Lynn Meadow directed her Excellent-Cast in a handsome Santo-LoQuasto-Condo, the Sliding-Doors of which could not be forced open by anyone on stage.

Although Sugar is Death to Diabetics, Judith is always sneaking a spoonful or two of Forbidden-Sorbet from her Fridge’s Freezer-Compartment.

This is also where she has deposited her Stash of Madoff-Money: Cold-Comfort when you are slowly dying of Diabetes

Stevie Holland Sings Cole Porter’s Songs in LOVE, LINDA: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter [★★★★★]

It Wasn’t Easy Being Married to a Guy with a Roving-Eye & a Gigantic-Talent…

As the Elegant-Socialite, Linda PorterHostess-with-the-Mostest in Paris, Venice, Manhattan, & Hollywood—the Elegant-Jazz-Singer Stevie Holland is Linda-Personified.

But this is no Cole-Porter-Songbook-Show, although some of Porter’s most Potent-Hits are here deployed to Tell-the-Tale of a Strange-Partnership.

Both Linda & Cole—like Scott Fitzgerald & Zelda, if not quite like Gertrude Stein & Ernie Hemingway—were among the Lost-Generation, living-it-up in 1920s-Paris.

Linda adored Cole, but There-Was-a-Problem.

Cole Porter was, essentially, Gay: He had a Wandering-Eye & a Truant-Heart.

The handsome Stevie Holland takes her Audience from Paris, to Venice, to New York, & to Hollywood—where there was a Lot of Love-for-Sale, even around the Porter’s-Pool.

Somehow, Linda Soldiered-On, until she Fled-to-Paris & Filed-for-Divorce.

In a Disastrous-Riding-Accident, Cole’s-Horse fell on him, crushing his Right-Leg.

This brought Linda back to him, to care for him, even though her Own-Health was beginning to Decline.

Cole told her: "Fifty-Million-Frenchmen can’t be Wrong! They don’t ride their Horses. They eat them!”

Ultimately, Linda’s Saga is not a Jolly-Romp, but a thoughtful attempt to explain how she inspired Cole & how they managed to Interact in a very Special-Kind-of-Love.

Not only was she Spiritually-Supportive, but Linda also had Elegant-Jeweled-Art-Deco-Cigarette-Cases specially-designed for each of his Broadway-Hits.

These were donated to the Lincoln-Center-Library/Museum-of-the-Performing-Arts, where they were once briefly on-display. Later, they dispersed, Sold-at-Auction to raise funding for the Varied-Collections.

Backed by a Trio, Stevie Holland shines in such Porter-Stunners as Night & Day, What Is This Thing Called Love, So in Love, Love for Sale, I Love Paris, Wunderbar, & Miss Otis Regrets.

After the Accident, Cole was always in Pain, but he continued to compose Haunting-Melodies to Ingenious-Lyrics that he devised.

It is amazing that Stevie Holland—assisted by Gary William Friedman—has been able to tell the Whole-Story so frankly & yet so Elegantly!

She celebrates what Cole Porter created, as well as explaining how a Real-Love can run deeper than Passionate-Sex.

Nota-Bene: No sooner will York-Theatre strike the Sets for Love, Linda, than it will be time for Musicals-in-Mufti.

From Mid-January to Mid-March, it will offer Celebrating Sheldon Harnick—who is now Ninety!

This will be launched by the World-Premiere of Sheldon Harnick’s A World To Win—effectively a Shelly-Sampler.

Four Shows with Harnick-Scores will follow in Rapid-Succession: Dragons, Malpractice Makes Perfect, Smiling, the Boy Fell Dead, & Tenderloin.

Malpractice is a Musical-Spoof based on Moličre’s The Doctor in Spite of Himself, or Le Medecin malgre Lui

Chris Marlowe or Will Shakespeare’s HAMLET [★★★★★]

Back to Bedlam Down on Bleecker-Street: The Fabulous-Four Have Done It Again!

Brilliant! BRILLIANT! BRILLIANT! BRILLIANT! BRILLIANT! Brilliant!

BRILLIANT! BRILLIANT! BRILLIANT! BRILLIANT! BRILLIANT!

Brilliant! BRILLIANT! Brilliant! BRILLIANT! Brilliant! Brilliant!

BRILLIANT! Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! BRILLIANT!

BRILLIANT! BRILLIANT! BRILLIANT! Brilliant! Brilliant!

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