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Glenn's Report for June 2014

July 1, 2014

Report for The Month of June 2014

THIS-WAS-THE-MONTH-THAT-WAS…

Madison Avenue & 49th-Street was Clogged with Police-Cars, Fire-Trucks, & an FDNY-Ambulance.

Both Sides of Madison—between 49th & 50th-Streets—were Festooned with Disaster-Tapes.

Both Intersections were also Closed-to-Traffic.

A Body lay on the Pavement, immediately in front of a Black-SUV.

Mine was the Last-MTA-Bus permitted to let-off Passengers.

I rushed to the Opposing-Sidewalk, where Emergency-Medics were just loading the Body onto a Stretcher.

The Sidewalk-Crowd was busy taking iPhotos on their iPhones or iPads.

I took out my Canon-Digital, whereupon a Policeman came over to me—picking me out from all the rest of the Photo-Opportunists—saying: No Photos! You Fool!

At least he didn’t call me an Old-Fool

I have never been spoken-to like that by a NYPD-Officer in all my years in Manhattan.

At least, he didn’t Stop-&-Frisk…

But New-York-City-Citizens pay Taxes to pay the Salaries of such NYPD-Officers, so shouldn’t we be entitled to some Elementary-Courtesy?

Just asking…

As I waited in vain for the Next-MTA-Bus—No-One told me they were no-longer stopping near the Accident-Scene—Birds were already pecking at a Bloody-Cloth on the Pavement before the SUV.

The Cops didn’t tell Them to Move-On!

So June got off to an Interesting-Start.

Not exactly as in the Words of that Old-Familiar-Song: June Is Bustin’ Out All Over!

It wasn’t exactly Bustin’, either. It often Rained

PASSING-GLANCES AT SHOW-SCENES-SEEN:

Playwright Mario Fratti’s Portrait Painted with Wine, But He Isn’t Whining about the Fratti-Award!

Talk about Ethnic-Theatre—or should we say: Nationality-Specific-Theatre?—but New-Yorkers certainly have a Lot from which to Choose.

There’s an Irish-Theatre-Festival in the Fall. Then there’s the Pan-Asian-Theatre…

The Repertorio-Español is performing Spanish-Classics & Modern-Spanish-Language-Dramas almost Every-Night.

Whatever became of the Puerto-Rican-Traveling-Theatre of Miriam Colón? Did it travel Out-of-Town & Not-Return?

There used to be both French-Language & German-Theatres in New York. Also, amazingly enough, in San Francisco—where you could see, as well, Peking-Opera as it was performed in Peking, China.

But this June, Italy & Italian-Theatre took the Spotlight in New York: In Scena was to be seen in some form in All-Five-Boroughs!

All of this Initiative to make Italian-Culture in-general & Italian-Theatre in-particular Better-Known in New York & Across-America is owing to the Good-Offices & Dynamic-Vision of Signora Laura Caparrotti, Founder of KIT—which is an Anagram for Kairos-Italy-Theatre.

At the Italian-Consulate—on Elegant-Park-Avenue—Introduced by Sra. Caparrotti, the first-ever Mario-Fratti-Award was awarded to Emerging-Playwright, Carlotta Corradi, for her Drama about Italian-Prostitutes Renting-out-Rooms: Via dei Capocci.

In addition to an Award-Certificate, the charming Signorina Corradi also received a handsome Replica of the Portrait of Mario Fratti that had been made, somehow, with Wine & Other-Elements by Victoria Febrer.

My beloved Critic-Comrade, Longtime-Friend, & CUNY-Professorial-Colleague Mario Fratti received the Original—with a mixture of Pleasure & Bemusement…

Mario’s Socially-Conscious-Dramas have long been performed All-Over-the-World.

In fact, his Nine is now in-revival up at the Manhattan-School-of-Music!

Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey’s GREASE [****]

Over in New Jersey, It’s Still Raining on Prom-Night! But Greasers Are Not So Greasy in Revival…

Thanks to the Paper-Mill-Playhouse’s Program of Musical-Revivals, it is now possible to Open-the-Closet & Take-a-Peek into the Past.

Paper-Mill’s recent revival of Oliver! gave its 21,000-Subscribers some Time-Travel back to Dickensian-London.

The High-Powered Current-Revival of Grease gives a Frankensteinian-Electric-Jolt to a Vision of American-High-School-Days that Oldsters may have thought were Gone-Forever.

But as Heathers—across the Hudson in Manhattan—also demonstrates, the High-School-Cliques, the Teen-Age-Rivalries, the Lusts, the Hopes, & the Dreams seem to Live-On-&-On, in every New-American-Era.

Years & Years Ago, when Grease began its Long, Long-Run on Broadway, I was transfixed by It’s Raining on Prom-Night, remembering How-Awful my own Junior-Prom-Experience was.

But Beauty School Dropout was even more Hilarious: If you couldn’t make it in Beauty-School, what was left for you?

As for Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee, what current High-Schooler has ever even heard of Sandra Dee?

As for Poodle-Skirts? Please…

Nonetheless, Stage-Director Daniel Goldstein has brought the Rock-&-Roll-Fifties—the Era-of-Elvis & the Advent of Frankie Avalon, as well as of Sandra Dee—back from the Deep-Freeze into Rousing-Life.

In fact, the Sets & Costumes are still "based-on” the Original-Designs of Derek McLane & Martin Pakledinaz, although the Dynamic-Choreography is now the Domain of Joann M. Hunter.

The Press-Release describes Grease as "The World’s #1 Musical,” but watch-out for that Hashtag

In its Original-Broadway-Run, Grease won Seven-Tonys©, as well as a Drama-Desk-Award.

As Sandy Dumbrowski—the Shy but Lovestruck Teen-Heroine—Taylor Louderman is superb, especially when she undergoes a Stunning-Transformation into a Femme-Fatale.

Bobby Conte Thornton plays Danny Zuko, Sandy’s Destined-Mate. He has Good-Moves, but none of the Rydell-High-Men really look like a Fifties-Greaser.

In fact, despite the Thorough-Involvement of all Cast-Members, some of them must have been Held-Back Several-Semesters, for they look a bit Too-Long-in-the-Tooth for Rydell-Seniors.

But Telly Leung is especially appealing as Teen-Angel in the Beauty-School-Dropout Set-Piece.

Some Seniors in the Audience—who obviously hadn’t been High-School-Seniors for Decades—cheered the Cast-to-the-Echo, possibly remembering the Glory-Days of Drive-In-Movies & Curb-Service at Long-Vanished Burger-Palaces.

Looking-Forward: Paper-Mill continues its Excellent-Musical-Revivals with Can-Can in October, followed by Elf, for the Holidays.

One of the Spring-Shows will be Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame—never seen on Broadway, but given a Berlin-Premiere in a Julie-Taymor-Staging that required a Purpose-Built Mechanized-Stage!

Penelope Skinner’s THE VILLAGE BIKE [**]

Is Bike-Riding Really a Good-Idea When You Are Pregnant? Accidents Can Happen…

Penelope Skinner did not win the Prestigious Olivier-Award for The Village Bike, but she did earn the Evening-Standard’s Most-Promising-Playwright-Award for this Odd-Drama in 2011.

It is now—as you may have noticed—2014, so it has taken some time for Manhattan’s Avant-Garde MCC-Producers to import this Sexual-Saga from the Royal-Court-Theatre, as produced by the English-Stage-Company, which once gave the World the Kitchen-Sink-Playwrights.

While there is indeed a Kitchen-Sink in Village-Bike, there is also a terrible Clanking of Exposed-Overhead-Pipes.

At one point, a Large-Pipe bursts open, spilling Filth on the Table below…

But, as this Drama of Hormonal-Urges totally Out-of-Control progresses, for some Decent, God-Fearing-Christians there may also be some Metaphoric-Filth involved.

The Pregnant-Anti-Heroine’s Sexual-Needs & Whims are more or less Ignored by her Self-Centered-Husband.

When she demands that he Perform Fellatio—Oops! Wrong-Term for the Wrong-Organ: that should read Cunnilingus—on her Vagina, he does not Rise-to-the-Occasion.

[This is what we used to refer to—Post-World-War-II—as Muff-Diving…]

She seems Obsessed with some of his old Smut-Sex-DVDs that she finds lying-around, playing them on the TV-Monitor & on her Laptop, while trying to Abuse-Herself.

Actually, the Bike-Seat could do that for her, as it was long thought that it could function as a Dildo for Dedicated-Women-Bikers.

This Village-Biker, however, is No-Relation to that Dike-with-a-Bike in Andy Warhol’s Chelsea-Girls Film-Classic.

Soon she is playing-out some Vintage-British-Porn-Scenes—such as the Naughty-Schoolgirl—with the Bike-Seller & a Flesh-Sagging-Plumber.

The most Interesting-Event of the Evening came at Intermission, when a Bustling-Stage-Crew dismantled the Set from Part-One, replacing it with a Much-Larger-Set.

This was especially Impressive for the Modest-Lucile-Lortel-Thrust-Stage has No-Fly-Gallery & virtually No-Wing-Space!

Unfortunately, my Take-Away from Village-Bike was that it showed me more about British-Sexual-Fantasies & Hang-Ups than I really wanted to know.

That Grande-Dame of the American-Theatre, Lucille Lortel, would have been Shocked & Appalled at what was up there on the Lucille Lortel-Theatre-Foundation-Stage.

Sam Gold staged in Laura Jellinek’s Movable-Settings, Clanking-Pipes & all…

Joanna Chan’s THE STORY OF YU-HUAN [****]

Strangled-with-Silk: Emperor’s Favorite Does a Delicate-Dance-of-Death as Tang-Dynasty-Dies…

The Traditional-Chinese-Court-Costumes are both Elegant & Eccentric.

The Luxuriously Sheened & Patterned Fabrics Gleam & Dazzle.

As Yu-Huan—the Doomed-Favorite of the Doomed-Tang-Emperor—Choreographer/Dancer Ashley Liang was Liquid-in-Movement, Sadly-Graceful in Death…

The Story of Yu-Huan, over the Centuries, has taken-on something in the Nature of a Legend.

In Joanna Chan’s Re-Telling of the Ancient-Story—shown at Theatre-for-the-New-City, in a Poster-Like-Chinoiserie, designed by Edward Morris—both the Costumes & the Choreography are compelling.

But the fact that much of the Dialogue is in Mandarin-Chinese—with the Tang-Emperor’s Cuckolded-Son [Charles Pang] speaking English to both the Audience & to the Inflexible-Emperor [Eric Zhang], who speaks only Mandarin—does tend to weaken the Dramatic-Effect.

At times, the Experience is rather like going to a Peking-Opera-Production at the Fashion-Institute-of-Technology in the Good-Old-Days.

Fortunately, The Story of Yu-Huan is not as Stilted as the Restored-Historic-Stagings now on-view in Beijing, which had been swept away during the Great-Leap-Forward by Mme. Chiang-Ching, Mrs. Chairman-Mao…

Jonathan Slaff’s Press-Release assures Reviewers that the Production "…will be completely understandable to English-Speaking-Audiences.”

This wasn’t Quite-the-Case…

Had I not been Chinese Many-Lives-Ago—My Mother always said: "That’s why you like Rice so much!—I probably would have understood much less, both about the External-Threats to the Tang-Empire & the Emperor’s Infatuation with his Daughter-in-Law, whom he seizes from his Appalled-Heir.

Nonetheless, this was a Beautiful-Production to Witness & a Handsome-Farewell to Joanna Chan, who is retiring as the Founding-Genius & Guiding-Spirit of the Yangtze-Repertory-Theatre.

Nancy Harris’ OUR NEW GIRL [*****]

In the Shadow-of-Ibsen? Naked-Knives, a Tarantula, an Italian-Holiday? Elitist-Lives in London…

It’s called Foreshadowing: when a Naked-Knife or a Loaded-Pistol is just lying-around on-stage.

Remember Hedda Gabler & those Dueling-Pistols?

How about that Italian-Vacation in which Nora learned how to dance the Tarantella?

Henrik Ibsen knew how to write a Well-Made-Play. In fact, George Bernard Shaw insisted that Ibsen invented this Modern-Dramatic-Structure.

Not that Nancy Harris has necessarily Followed-the-Form, for Audience-Expectations are somewhat Cheated at the close.

See, there’s this Knife-Rack over by the Kitchen-Sink in Hazel & Richard’s Post-Modernist London-Flat.

Just in case you didn’t notice those Knives, before the Play-got-Underway, the Silent-Young-Scion, Daniel, softly enters in his PJs. He rubs his Ear with Alcohol, using one of those Round-Cosmetic-Mirrors.

Then he goes over to the Kitchen-Sink, stands on a Chair, removes a Knife from the Rack, returning to the Mirror, preparing to Slice-Off-His-Ear.

Blackout!

Daniel’s Highly-Strung & Very-Pregnant Mother, Hazel, has the Flat filled with Boxes of Olive-Oil she has been Importing from Italy, after a Happy-Holiday.

She is hoping, somehow, to Market all these Bottles, which keep on arriving: a Stay-at-Home Occupation, of sorts.

Daniel had been begging for a Pet, so she took him to a Pet-Shop, where he selected, of all possible Choices, a Tarantula!

Shades of Nora’s Tarantella, in A Doll’s House

An Ethnic-Dance that Nora learnt after a Happy-Holiday in Italy!

Husband Richard is a Celebrated-Plastic-Surgeon, specializing in Repairing-Ravages of Severe-Burns.

He is very Full-of-Himself, always On-Camera & On-the-Go…

A bit like Ibsen’s Torvald Helmer, he thinks that Hazel really cannot Cope.

So, without informing her, he engages an Irish-Girl, Annie, to come over & help-out.

Annie ingratiates herself with the Strange & Moody Daniel, who is often In-Trouble at School & who does not Respond-Well to Hazel’s Ferocious-Demands for Obedience & Good-Behavior.

At least, the Irritable & Pregnant Hazel is not always Riding-a-Bike as the Pregnant-Wife was in Last-Week’s Village-Bike

Anyway, Annie has some Scars, reminders of how her Father-Beat-Her. They stir the Compassion of the Cosmetic-Surgeon, after which they have Sex on Hazel’s Kitchen-Table.

They do not know that Daniel is hiding beneath them…

There is a Confrontation: the Marriage is Over. Annie is Ordered-to-Leave.

That Initial-Scene, with Daniel, the Mirror, & the Knife is repeated.

Blackout, again!

This Modern-Domestic-Drama closes with Hazel & Daniel closing-ranks against the World.

All those Bottles of Olive-Oil are going Back-to-Italy!

But that Knife is Never-Used for a Daniel-Version of a Vincent-van-Gogh-ish Ear-Slicing.

So much for Foreshadowing.

So much for Cheated-Audience-Expectations…

Gaye Taylor Upchurch directed the Excellent-Cast: Lisa Joyce [Annie], Henry Keleman [Daniel], Mary McCann [Hazel], & Ci Wilson [Richard].

Chris Marlowe or Bill Shakespeare’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING [*****]

Don’t Mess-Around with the Women-of-Messina! Benedick Bested by Beatrice; Hero Harmed…

Not Fair that Awards-Time is Past: Lilly Rabe deserves not only a Nomination for Best-Actress, but Acclamation as well!

Considering how Prettily-She-Prances & how Sweetly-She-Sings, perhaps that should be a Nomination for Best-Actress-in-a-Musical…

It seems as True of Rabe as it does of her Stage-Persona, Beatrice, that …A Star Danced & Under That Was She Born…

The Wonder of Jack O’Brien’s Much Ado in Central-Park is that it seems a Natural for Musical-Theatre.

After O’Brien’s Punitive-Excursion into the Scottish-Borderlands at Lincoln-Center, it is, at the very least, Admirable that he has cast the Excellent Hamish Linklater as Benedick, rather than Ethan Hawke—with his Raucous-Macbethian-Squawk.

But, with Directorial-Sleight-of-Hand, O’Brien has transformed John Glover from a Hideous-Highlands-Hag into the Magisterial-Leonato, Governor-of-Messina!

Shakespeare, of course, never visited Messina—although, who knows, Chris Marlowe may have been there, when he tired of Hiding-Out-in-Padua—but the Always-Elegant John Lee Beatty has created a Gubernatorial-Residence worthy of a Fodor’s Travel-Guide-to-the-Italian-Boot.

Nonetheless, Leonato is not so Grand that he cannot have a Kitchen-Garden in front of the Villa-Palazzo, with its Mysteriously-Gliding-Trellised-Wall.

For some Bardophiles, the Plot-Complications of Much Ado may be brushed-aside, reducing the Comedy to a Verbal-Sparring-Match between the Confirmed-Bachelor, Benedick, & the Sworn-Spinster, Beatrice.

But then, there’s all that Nasty-Business about the Bastard, Don John [Pedro Pascal], having Hero-Humiliated & his Hated-Brother, Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon [Brian Stokes Mitchell], Definitively-Diminished by Accepting an Arranged-Deception, in which the Blameless & Lovely Hero [Ismenia Mendes] is made to seem a Wanton.

Indeed, the Prince of Aragon—so very far away from his Native-Spain—does seem a bit Arrogant in the Certainty with which he Denounces-Hero.

Not to Overlook the Cloddisness of Claudio [Jack Cutmore-Scott: Gawd! Another Scot!], who should have Married the Innocent-Hero, but who, instead, Repudiates her at the Altar.

Beatrice & Hero are not the only Witty-& Charming-Ladies in this Delacorte-Theatre-Staging: Zoe Winters & Kathryn Meisle—even though they are but Hero’s Waiting-Gentlewoman & Hero’s Governess—are also Apt-Foils for Masculine-Thrusts.

All the Ladies & Women-of-a-Lesser-Social-Order wear Jane Greenwood’s Strikingly-Period-Costumes with Great-Panache.

Although the Bardic-Text refers to Doublet-&-Hose, we seem to be seeing a Gilbert-&-Sullivan Victorian-Army-Corps in Victorious-Retreat from the Field-of-Battle.

Nor are the Low-Comedy Rustic-Comedians of the Messina-Night-Watch neglected: Here are Dogberry, Verges, Seacoal, & Oatcake in all their Oafish-Tackiness!

Not only is Much Ado About Nothing a very-well-crafted Play-Machine, but it is also—even after the Passage of Four-Centuries—still a Laff-Riot!

The Capacity-Audience in the Delacorte was/were almost literally Falling-About with Innocent-Merriment.

One of the Best-Stagings of Much Ado that I’ve eveer seen was the one that Franco Zeffirelli mounted at the Old-Vic in London, many years ago, starring Maggie Smith & Robert Stephens, as Beatrice & Benedick.

It was rather like Street-Fair in an Italian-Town…

Now, however, I Vote for Jack O’Brien’s Much Ado, with Lily & Hamish, abetted by John Lee Beatty, Jane Greenwood, & All-Those-Street-Musicians!

But there is an Audial-Oddity in this Production: Everyone Speaks or Shouts at the Same-Level of Audible-Acuity.

You won’t have to bring Hearing-Aids…

Moises Kaufman & the Tectonic-Theatre-Project’s THE LARAMIE PROJECT [*****]

Matthew Shepard Shall Not Have Suffered & Died in Vain! Gays Do Not Go Straight-To-Hell…

Laramie, Wyoming, is a Long-Way-Off from Manhattan.

But it’s not exactly Out-of-Sight, Out-of-Mind…

That’s because Matthew Shepard was cruelly, spitefully Tortured, Beaten, Lashed to a Barbed-Wire-Fence, & Left-to-Die by Two-Laramie-Lads.

Matthew’s Offense was that he was Gay.

Wasn’t it Nancy Reagan who advised Us to: Just Say No!

If the Tiny-&-Friendly Matt—he was just 5’2”—had really Made-a-Move, couldn’t His-Tormentor/Executioners have just pushed-him-away?

The Image of the slowly-dying Matt Shepard—Crucified against a Fence—caught the Imagination of News-Hungry-Viewers around the World.

Some even saw a Jesus-Parallel, though Religious-Fundamentalists were sure that Matt was now burning in Hell-Fires, as God-Intended.

Didn’t God’s Holy-Writ condemn Sexual-Transgressors?

Almost immediately, Journalists, TV-Cameramen, & Talk-Show-Pundits descended en-masse on Laramie, poking their Noses, their Cameras, & their Microphones into the Faces of the Astonished & occasionally Agonized Locals.

Was Laramie—way out there under the Big-Sky—a Locus of Hatred & Intolerance of the Other?

Moises Kaufman & Members of the Tectonic-Theatre-Project decided to go out to Laramie & Interview as many Laramieans as would talk to them, On-the-Record.

Eventually, after Six-Trips, they had amassed over Two-Hundred-Interviews.

These they crafted into The Laramie Project, first shown in Denver, at the New-Play-Summit, which is where I first witnessed this Powerful-Indictment of Murderous-Intolerance.

It has lost None-of-Its-Force in the current-revival at theSEEINGplace, where Brandon Walker & Erin Cronican have mustered their own Tectonic-Projectors to recreate the Original-Events as the Locals, both High & Low, experienced & reacted to them.

Brandon Walker—who also staged with Erin Cronican—is Outstanding in a Wide-Variety of On-Site-Roles.

But Erin is really Impressive, as well, recreating Mercedes Herrero’s Oral-History-Archive.

Indeed, all the theSEEINGplace Cast-Members are Arresting in their Incarnations.

Just in case you don’t Get-the-Point of some of the Interviews, Key-Words are written in Chalk on Two-Vertical-Blackboards behind the Musical-Chairs Stage-Environment. Words like: HATE, Muslim, Homo…

Although Tickets are priced at only $12 for a Powerhouse-of-a-Show, The Laramie Project will definitely close on 29 June.

So, if you don’t want to miss out on a Minor-Theatre-Miracle, hurry on over to the theSEEINGplace at ATA’s Sargent-Theatre, 314 West 54th/4th-Floor. Or Click on Theatermania or info@seeingplacetheater.com.

Urinetown had its World-Premiere next door in that Old-Courtroom…

One of Matt’s Killers was Sentenced to Two-Life-Terms, to run Consecutively, not Concurrently.

But how could he Serve the Second-Sentence, if he was/were already Dead?

One Thing Is Certain: if he Hated-Homos, he was going to End-Up Somebody’s-Bitch in the Big-House.

Don’t You Just Hate Intolerance?

Rosenstock, Connolly & Mitnick’s FLY BY NIGHT [***]

The Night of the Big-Bad-Blackout Helps Heal Some Other Major-Power-Failures…

The Best-Thing about this Mini-Musical is that it either Encourages or Permits Henry Stram to do a Lot of Funny-Voices!

As well as to Provide an On-Going-Narration, to bind-together all the Kooky-Characters & Fractured-Dreams…

As "Conceived by Kim Rosenstock,” there are these Two-Sisters from South-Dakota: One wants to be a Broadway-Star, but she needs her Sister as Moral-Backup.

Unfortunately, this is not another My Sister Eileen, nor is the Star-Stricken-Lassie a "Little-Girl from Little-Rock.”

Both Girls fall in love with the same Feckless-Guitar-Player, Searching for His-Song…

That Infamous-NYC-Blackout of 1965 helps Put-a-Period to some of the Stories.

Nonetheless, there are some pleasant Set-Pieces, especially the Lament of the Traviata-Loving-Dad, who carries a Record-Player under his Arm everywhere he goes.

Sarah Treem’s WHEN WE WERE YOUNG & UNAFRAID [**]

Who is Cherry Jones Hiding Down in the Cellar, Underneath that Braided-Rug? A Runaway?

The Name of Sarah Treem did not Ring-a-Bell when I saw it in the Playbill©-Program.

It did have, however, a Euphonious-Sound, rhyming as it does with Dream, Cream, Team, Gleam, Meme, & Scream.

Euphony, unfortunately, does not have the same Mandate as does another E-Word: Empathy

Much as I & Many-Others admire Cherry Jones, as Treem’s Dream-Play progressed, I could not develop much Empathy for Jones’ Agnes, who seems to be operating a kind of Safe-House on an Isolated-Island for Abused-Wives, Runaways, & Other-Lost-Souls.

Periodically, the Rebellious-but-Brainy Teen-Ager—who seems to be Agnes’ Fatherless-Daughter—asks for her Birth-Certificate!

That did, however, Ring-a-Bell!

This must be, I thought, one of those Ibsenian-Foreshadowing-Devices which—when the Real-Dramatic-Discovery arrives—helps you to have an O-My-Gawd!-Moment: So That is Why there’s No-Birth-Certificate!

Agnes is at the Storm-Center of a Dramatically-Contrived-Household in which the Central-Figures are a Runaway-Abused-Wife, who still yearns for her Violent-Hubby, & a Mild-Mannered-Man with a Guitar who has run-away from all those Noisy-Hippies in San Francisco…

The Time is 1972. The Place is "a Bed-&-Breakfast on an Island off the Coast of Seattle.”

At one point, this Unfortunate-Female kneels in front of the Guitar-Man to give him a Blow-Job.

This is not the kind of Foreshadowing you find in Ibsen, or even in the Unpleasant-Plays of George Bernard Shaw. GBS labeled some of his Dramas as Pleasant; others as Unpleasant

Are Blow-Jobs a Big-Feature of those Reality-Shows on TV? Like Real-Housewives of Seattle’s Off-Shore-Islands…

I’m so busy going to the Theatre that I do not have Time to watch the TV, so such Shows are Terra-Incognita for me.

The Reason for My-Query is the Discovery in the Playbill©-Program-Bios that Sarah Treem Wrote & Produced the HBO-Series In Treatment & How To Make It in America.

Not to Overlook Netflix’s House of Cards

Even though the Play-Title—When We Were Young & Unafraid—doesn’t seem to have very much to do with what seems to be Happening-On-Stage, as only One or Two of the Characters is Really-Young, it must refer to the Failed-TV-Pilot for which this was Originally-Drafted.

There are so many Loose-Ends & Too-Much-Foreshadowing…

Pam MacKinnon staged in Scott Pask’s Basic-American Living-Room-&-Kitchen-Setting.

Jules Romains’ DONOGOO, A Comedy [****]

Is That Video-Train Leaving from Paris’ Gare-du-Nord or the Gare-d’Orsay?

What Train Would One Have Taken To Get To Marseilles for the Ile-de-France to Brazil?

Who now remembers Jules Romains, whose Francophone-Comedies once delighted Thousands—many of them Parisians?

At least Three-People now Alive & Well in New-York-City!

Gus Kaikkonen, for one.

Gus has translated & directed Romains’ Satiric-Spoof of Parisite-Banksters-&-Fraudsters promoting Huge-Investments in a Non-Existent-Nexus in the Rainforests-of-Brazil.

Jonathan Bank—the Founder/Artistic-Director of the Mint-Theatre—is another Romains-Kenner.

Under Bank, the Mint has won a Well-Deserved-Reputation for discovering & reviving Forgotten-Dramas of the Twentieth-Century.

Jules Romains’ Dr. Knock was an earlier Mint-Revival.

Glenn Loney is another Romains-Kenner.

When I was but a Sophomore at UC/Berkeley, I translated Dr. Knock for a UC-Theatre-Production.

So, when I heard that The Mint was going to Mint a New-Issue of Dr. Knock, I was almost at the Head-of-the-Line for Press-Tickets.

The Mint had earlier mounted a Brilliant-Production of Edith Wharton & Clyde Fitch’s dramatization of Wharton’s Best-Selling-Novel, The House of Mirth, a Previously-Unpublished-Drama that I had discovered in Two-Versions: Detroit’s & Broadway’s.

If you can still find a Copy, it’s titled The House of Mirth: The Play of the Novel. [Associated-University-Presses]

Anyway, back to the Mythical-Donogoo:

George Morfogen plays an Ancient-French-Geographer who desperately-desires to be Elected to the Academie or one of those Francophone-Elite-Institutes with Gold-Braided-Uniforms that make the Electors look like Major-Generals.

Unfortunately, he has written about Donogoo in his Most-Recent-Major-Work.

But No-Such-Place exists in Brazil, where he had Notionally-Sited/Cited Donogoo!

Thanks to a Bizarre-Prognostication, a Would-Be-Suicide seizes the Opportunity to save The-Geographer’s-Reputation & possibly Enrich-Himself by enlisting Parisian-Spin-Meisters to Promote & to Create Donogoo.

Even though this Real-Estate-Development-Parody is set in the 1920s & is based initially in Paris, The City-of-Light-Fingers, it could as easily be imagined in Ad-Offices on Madison-Avenue or in the Corporate-Offices of Bank-of-America.

As always, the Mint-Cast is Pure-Gold-Standard—including James Riordan, Mitch Greenberg, Scott Thomas, Megan Robinson, Brian Thomas Vaughan, & the aptly-named Vladimir Versailles.

The Bois-du-Boulogne is the closest we come to Versailles in this Multi-Sited-Show, however.

But the Most-Amazing-Element in this Astonishing-Production is/are the Rear-Projected Walls-&-Ceilings of Various-Locales in Paris, Marseilles, San Francisco, & even in Saigon.

Not only do we see Paris Metro-Trains scooting through Famous-Stations, but we also get to see the Bordeaux-Express depart from the Gare-d’Orsay.

As a Satire, Donogoo loses its Edge & Savoire-faire when it moves from Paris to a Godforsaken-Ravine in the Wilds of Amazonian-Brazil.

But those Fantastic-Wall-Projections of Roger Hanna & Price Johnson are well worth the Price-of-Admission to the Mint’s Donogoo!

Andre Aciman’s TRAVEL & MIRAGE: The Lure of Place [*****]

What Was the Real-Historic-Paris, Before Baron Haussmann Built the Broad-Boulevards?

This World-Monument-Fund-Sponsored-Lecture was much more than just a Narrated-Slide-Show—although Prof. Andre Aciman had some very Provocative-Images to Project.

How about that Hodge-Podge of Trolley-Tracks & Traffic-Jams?

Some-Years-Later, it becomes Columbus-Circle!

Where in the World would you find such Narrow-Streets, with even Narrow-Houses?

Why it’s Medieval-Paris, before Baron Haussmann received his Mandate from Emperor Napoleon III to Raze-the-Past & let some Light into the Ancient-Alleys of the City-of-Light!

What was Rome before there were Popes?

Before there was Mussolini & Fascist-Art-Deco?

If you are going off to Rome for the First-Time, what are Your-Expectations?

Will they be Disappointed?

Were you Thinking-Historical? Or maybe Thinking-Mythical?

Prof. Aciman grew up as a Jew in Alexandria, a Hellenistic-City, where you can still see a Ptolemaic-Cleopatran-Palace Underwater. Where the Library-Burned! Where the Lighthouse—or Pharos—stood-tall…

A World-Traveler & Epic-Photographer, Aciman invited his World-Monument-Fund-Audience at the Morgan-Library to consult their Inner-Freuds when thinking about International-Travel & their own Sense-of-Identity.

How does the Information that we Consume actually Work-in-Our-Minds to Create-Expectations, Fantasies, & Images about Certain-Places that may or may not Reflect-the-Reality of the Actual-Place?

Just-Ask-Yourself: What is Perth-Amboy, New Jersey, really like?

Andre Aciman seems to have Been-Everywhere & he has made some Great-Photos, as well as amassed a Remarkable-Archive of Historic-Images:

Wow! Here’s Sixth-Avenue—long before it was The-Avenue-of-the-Americas—with the Sixth-Avenue-El!

Quite aside from the Amazing-Images that Andre Aciman produced for us, his Presentation was as Impassioned as it was Poetic: I’d like to have a Print-Out of it!

Prof. Aciman is a Specialist in 17th-Century-Literature, but he’s also the Founder/Director of the Writers’-Institute at CUNY-Grad-Center—where I was once a Professor-of-Theatre…

Author of Novels & Essays, he’s a frequent-contributor to The-New-Yorker, which contributed the Goodie-Bags for all who attended this Freudian-Event.

This was the First in a Series of Fiftieth-Anniversary-Celebration-Events for the World-Monument-Fund, which is partnered with Local-Communities at 600-Sites in 100-Countries, helping them to Save-the-Past!

Here I am in Lisbon, at Angkor-Wat, in Yangoon, at the Taj-Mahal, always making Archival-Photos for INFOTOGRAPHY™ & what do I find? A Team from the World-Monument-Fund helping with Preservation!

Scott Siegel’s BROADWAY BY THE YEAR: Broadway Musicals of 1990-2014 [*****]

Another All-Star-Night at Town-Hall! Next-Season: Format Repeated, with Different Musicals!

Encores at City-Center may offer Potted-Versions of Long-Forgotten-Musicals, with several Stars, but Scott Siegel at Town-Hall presents a Parade-of-Stars in a wonderful Long-March through American-Musical-Theatre-History!

Who now remembers the Hit-Musicals of 1906? Of 1918 & The-Armistice? Of 1929 & The-Crash? Of 1941 & Pearl-Harbor?

Scott Siegel has taken us all Through-the-Years, with the Greatest-Songs from Great-Musicals.

Through-the-Years… Doesn’t that sound like a Song-Title?

In fact, now that we have all Traversed-the-Theatrical-Territory from AD 1915 through to 2014, the Format of Broadway-By-the-Year has proved so Popular that Scott is going to repeat it next Season.

But with Different-Songs from Different-Shows! There is So-Much from which To-Choose!

Adam Jacobs may have seemed a bit Tame in Aladdin, but he was Overpowering in Why, God, Why? from Miss Saigon. Even without that Helicopter…

Lucas Steele sorrowfully sang The Winner Takes All—a Woman’s-Song—from Mamma, Mia!

The ever-popular Bobby Steggart—fresh from Mothers & Sons—queried What More Can I Say?, from Falsettos.

Amazingly, some of the Songs were sung for us by those who Originally-Sang-Them: Jack Noseworthy, for instance, with One Track Mind, from Sweet Smell of Success.

Not only does Scott’s Adoring-Audience get Background-Info on the Songs themselves, but also Backstage-Secrets & Box-Office Horror-Tales.

Sunset Boulevard, for example, was an Epic-Loss-Leader.

Nonetheless, Natalie Toro transfixed us with With One Look. Look-Out! Norma Desmond!

The Lion King—on the Other-Hand, or Paw—has so far taken-in over a Billion-Dollars at the Box-Office.

That might help make-up for Lion-Director Julie Taymor’s Miscalculations with Spiderman

She should have Loved the stirring-rendition Marva Hicks gave of Circle of Life.

Not all the Broadway-Stars in this High-Octane-Evening actually Sang:

Mark Stuart & Mindy Wallace were breathtaking in Libertango, from Forever Tango—a misplaced Stabbing-Stiletto-Heel could geld a Macho-Partner…

Proving once again that Taps-Is-Tops, the Super-Speedy-Staccato-Tapping of Jimmy Sutherland was Amazing: How-Does-He-Do-It?

The Multi-Talented Broadway-by-the-Year-Chorus are surely The-Stars-of-Tomorrow, but Chorister Oakley Boycott—is that a Real-Name?—was also Hilarious in He Vas My Boyfriend, from Young Frankenstein.

Opera Feroce’s ARMINIO IN ARMENIA [*****]

Pope-Mandated-Crusader Sets-Sail for Infidel-Territory, But Ends-Up In Puritan-Massachusetts!

If you’ve never heard of the Baroque-Composer Nicola Porpora, you will surely Savor his Arias, Duets, & Trios in Opera Feroce’s Barocco-Inventido-Libretto for Arminio-in-Armenia.

Yes! The Melodies are Echt, but the Story is an Historisches-Fantasia invented by the Marvelous-Mezzo & Prodigious-Parodist Hayden DeWitt.

The Pope has Commissioned the Crusader-Knight, Arminio—rather like Richard-Lionheart, off to the Holy-Land—to convert those Rascally-Infidels to The-True-Faith.

Unfortunately, His-Galleon is wracked & wrecked, leaving him stranded on the New-England-Coast, where a Treadway-Inn-Sign announces that Massachusetts has a Population-of-16.

But the Locals are All-Pilgrims, not the least interested in The-Church-of-Rome.

Hayden DeWitt is Arminio as well as Genovinda, an Innocent-Pilgrim-Girl.

Alan Dornak is Norberto, the Governor-of-Massachusetts, who is also a Passionate-Witch-Hunter.

But with a Kwik-Change of Costume, he’s suddenly Adalberto, "the Identical-Twin-Brother of Norberto.”

This Identical-Sibliing is a Simple-Country-Fellow, in love with Clorofilla, a Simple-Country-Lass.

The Linch-Pin of the Opera Feroce Triad is Beth Anne Hatton, who—in a moment—can switch from Clorofilla into Tusnilda, a Wicked-Witch, with a Letch for Norberto, but who settles for Arminio.

Meanwhile, Back-in-Rome, the Pope is Clemently-Innocent about all this Hugger-Mugger or Fuss-&-Feathers…

Not only are All-Three of these Accomplished-Operatic-Farceurs Excellent-Singers, but they are also Hilarious-Mimes, even adapting their Voices to the Peculiarities of Their-Characters!

With a Few-Amusing-Props & Period-Costumes, they fill the Raw-Stage-Space—at the Blue-Building on East-46th-Street—with Comic-Flair & Precision-Musicianship.

But they are also Ably-Assisted by their Own-Mini-Met-Baroque-Orchestra: Harpsichord, Viola-da-Gamba, Traverso, & Two-Violins.

If you missed this Precocious-Parody, this Operatic-Orgasm, this Baroque-Bombshell at the Blue-Building, Look Where & When It Comes Again!

Follow Arminio & Opera Feroce On-Line: Hayden, Beth, & Alan will send you e-Mails & Updates.

In fact, they will be back at the Blue-Building—on 10 & 11 August 2014—with their Magnum-Opus, Amor & Psyche, concocted from Moments-Musicaux of Campion, Coprario, Durante, Dowland, Handel, Krieger & Kreiger, Lotti, Mancini, Porpora—again, Savatelli, Soresina, & Stradella.

But, alas, No Shoshtakovitch [sp?]…

Frankly, Arminio-in-Armenia is so Well-Imagined, Well-Conceived, Well-Crafted, Well-Produced, & Well-Performed that it is Ready for a Nation-Wide-Tour!

But Who now actually Books such Operatic-Barnstormings?

In a Recent-Note, Hayden DeWitt Outlined her Curriculum-Vitae with this Caveat: "Better-Known as Glenn Loney’s Cleaning-Lady.”

James Levine or the Royal-Opera, Covent-Garden, should be So-Lucky!

Talk about Whistle-While-You-Work!

Hey! Hayden, Alan, & Beth!

I want to see All-Three-of-You up-on-stage at the Met—Very-Soon—preferably in Arminio-in-Armenia.

But I fear that Peter Gelb, the Met’s-General-Manager, doesn’t have a Sense-of-Humor.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi…

Oh! On the way-up Third-Avenue to the Blue-Building, I saw a Huge-Banner warning All-of-Us that every Fifteen-Hours a New-Yorker dies for want of an Organ!

How many over in New-Jersey die for want of a Harp? Or even a Harpsichord…

Tupac Shakur’s HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME [**]

Actually, As Shakur’s Already Dead, This Is Really Todd Kreindler’s Rapper-Invention

If you have Long-Loved-Rap-&-Rappers, then This-Is-Your-Show!

It features Tonya Pinkins as Mrs. Weston & Saul Williams as the Dreadlocked-John, just released from Prison.

John/Saul now knows the Futility of Avenging-Shooting-Deaths with More-Street-Shootings…

But Not His Homies: so there is, at the Close, another Unnecessary-Street-Shooting.

This could be Brownsville—over in Brooklyn—right Here-&-Now, but it is fictionally-set on "MY BLOCK, in a Midwestern-Industrial-City.”

Perhaps Detroit?

John Earl Jelks is an Addled-Street-Preacher, with Ben Thompson—the Only-White-Boy in the Cast—as Griffy, who is operating his Dying-Father’s Auto-Wreck-Repair-Shop.

The Machine-Gun-Delivered Rap-Lyrics are by the Late-Rapper Tupac Shakur, who also died of Gunshot-Wounds: a Drive-By-Shooting in Las-Vegas when he was only 25-Years-Old…

One of the Producers is Afeni Shakur!

Although some of the Non-Rapped-Songs are Appealing, the Plot is Not.

Oddly enough, the Vast-Orchestra of the Palace-Theatre—recently Home to Annie—has been Closed-Off, replaced by a Section-of-Stadium-Seating, stuck in front of it.

This reduces the Possible-Sensation of Empty-Seats in the Original-Orchestra-Conformation.

Could this be some kind of Vanity-Production?

Or just a New-York-Tryout for a Nation-Wide-Tour of Post-Industrial-Cities?

Kenny Leon staged with the Occasional-Choreographies of Wayne Cilento…

Benjamin Scheuer’s THE LION [*****]

A Ballad of Seven-Guitars:

By a Music-Man Who Has Learned How To Become a Lion—If Not Yet The-Lion-King…

Years-Ago, there was a Nostalgic-Drama on Broadway called I Never Sang for My Father.

Ben Scheuer’s Father-Problem was rather Different.

They both Played-the-Guitar, but Dad was a Math-Prof & Ben was a Math-Failure, angering Scheuer-Senior, who also didn’t like the way Ben strummed his Guitar.

There were Harsh-Words & Dad-Died before Ben could Make-It-Right.

Surviving Life-Threatening Bone-Cancer gave Ben not only a New-Lease-on-Life, but also a New-Appreciation of the Gifts-He-Had-Been-Given & an Eagerness-To-Share.

Which he is now doing in The Lion at the Manhattan-Theatre-Club over at City-Center.

How many of us could have Epic-Family-Problems & a Killer-Disease, yet Live-to-Sing so Sweetly, Sadly, & yet Strongly about Such-Sorrows?

Robert Wilson’s Vision of Mikhail Barishnikov & Willem Dafoe in THE OLD WOMAN [*****]

Please! Would You Say That Again? And Again! And Again! And Again! And Again! And Again!

Oho! That’s Magdeburg way back in the Distant-Background!

In the Middle-Ground of this 18th-Century-Engraving, Two-Teams of Dray-Horses are Unsuccessfully-Attempting to Pull-Apart Two-Iron-Hemispheres.

Otto von Gierke! Thou shouldst be Living-in-This-Hour!

Robert Wilson has employed this Famed-Engraving of your Experiment with the Magdeburg-Spheres as a Decorative-Front-Curtain for his Fascinating-Visualization of The Old Woman.

This Ancient-Engraving may be a Kind-of-Metaphor for This-Wilsonian-Production, for Baron-Otto was trying to Test-the-Power of Atmospheric-Pressure on the Two-Hemispheres, from which all the Air had been Sucked-Out, leaving an almost Perfect-Vacuum

Wilson surely did not mean to imply that what he has Imagined-on-Stage occurs in a Perfect-Vacuum.

Or that All-The-Air has been Sucked-Out of The Old Woman.

By No Means!

The Essence of The Old Woman has been Endlessly-Recycled in the Verbalizations-&-Physicalizations of Mikhail Baryshnikov-&-Willem Dafoe.

This Engaging-Duo appear in Black-Suits, but with White-Faces—a Kind of Garish-Clown-Makeup, suggesting Silent-Film-Actors, even Buster Keaton…

But back to Otto & the Magdeburg-Hemispheres!

Wilson has Differenced the Original-Engraving with some Cute-Touches, including what appears to be a Moveable-Man in a Blue-Coat, opposing a Reddish-Beast above him.

After this Distraction-Curtain rises, Baryshnikov & Dafoe Work-in-One, Crossing & Re-crossing the Stage with various Odd-Props.

We actually get to see One of the Duo as an Old Woman who "holds a Clock that has No Hands.”

Actually, it has One-Hand, Two-Fingers pointing to the Correct-Time!

How About That!

In Scene-One, the Verbalization begins with the Hunger Poem.

In Scene-Three, One of the Duo tells the Other about Old-Women Falling-Out-of-Windows, smashing into the Street-Below.

Scene-Five is a Dream-Poem: Dream-Poem 1.

Scene-Nine is another Dream-Poem: Dream-Poem 2.

In Scene-Four, the Old Woman has entered the Writer’s Room, where she Orders-Him-About & then Dies in a Strangely-Surreal-Bauhaus-Constructivist White-Chair.

In Scene-Ten, the Writer puts the Body of the Old Woman into a Giant-Suitcase.

In Scene-Twelve, the Old Woman appears again, holding a Clock that has No-Hands.

Then, There Is an Epilogue!

The Wonder of all this Odd-Entertainment is that Baryshnikov & Dafoe work so well together, considering that Dafoe was never known as a Ballet-Dancer par-excellence

They Sing! They Shout! They Scream! They Dance!

They Gesticulate! They Pose! They Posture…

Among the Musical-Accompaniments are: Here’s Charlie, Good Night Sweetheart, Randy Newman’s I’ll Be Home, & Tiger Rag—also used in Woody Allen’s current Broadway-Hit, Bullets Over Broadway.

Robert Wilson—who recently also employed Dafoe, over at the Park-Avenue-Armory, in The Life & Death of Marina Abramowic—has based his Amazing-Moving-Stage-Pictures on the Russian-Text of Daniil Kharms, as adapted by Darryl Pickney.

Kharms Died in 1942—Imprisoned-in-Leningrad.

His Surviving-Manuscripts were Hidden-in-a-Suitcase!

But That’s Another-Story, of which the BAMbill-Program is Full—including Artistic-Statements by Wilson, Baryshnikov, Dafoe, & Darryl Pickney.

The Ornate-Stage-Boxes of the Howard-Gilman-BAM-Opera-House—in the Peter J. Sharp BAM-Building—were left Unsold.

Considering the Public-Clamor for Tickets—the Line for Will-Calls, those Art-Loving-People who had already Paid-for-Their-Seats, stretched out of the Peter J. Sharp BAM-Building, down the Entrance-Steps & into the Avenue—at first, it seemed Strange that the Ornate-Stage-Boxes were not also Crammed-with-Spectators.

Aha! The Better-to-See the English-Translations of Baryshnikov’s Russki-Utterances in Supertitles above the Stage & in the Ornate-Stage-Boxes!

Of course, the Direction, Set-Design, & Lighting-Concept were all Pure-®obert-Wilson!

The Lighting-Concept was Especially-Interesting, for Objects-Hanging-Overhead—or even Sitting-Silently on the Stage-Floor—could change from Stark-White to Bold-Basic-Red, or Bold-Basic-Blue, or Bold-Basic-Green in An-Instant.

With No-Color-Overspill!

The Bold-Basic-Black Stage-Floor facilitated that Stunning-Effect.

The Wilsonian-Stage-Props—including that Collapsed-White-DADAist-Surrealist-Bauhaus-Constructivist Stage-Bed, which was repeatedly replicated in Smaller-Versions at the Close—had Echoes of Charles Rennie Macintosh, Art-Nouveau, Art-Deco, Adolphe-Appia-Lighting, Edward Gordon Craig, Suprematism, even Italian-Futurism.

Repeated Standing-Ovations for Baryshnikov & Dafoe!

But this was not their First-Time-Out.

No, Indeed!

The Old Woman Production had been Co-Commissioned from Baryshnikov-Productions & Wilson’s Watermill-Center by the Manchester-International-Festival, the Late Gian-Carlo Menotti’s Spoleto Festival-dei-Due-Monde—now Logo-ed as 2Mondi—as well as by Théâtre-de-la-Ville-Paris/Festival-d’Automne-à-Paris, & deSingel-Antwerp.

Salzburg-Festival! Eat-Your-Heart-Out!

Leos Janácek’s THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN [***]

The Manhattan-School-of-Music Tries Not To Be Out-Foxed by the Juilliard-School!

During the Regular-School-Year, both the Juilliard & the MSM mount Excellent-Productions of Challenging-Operas: One each in the Autumn; One each in the Spring…

Some of the Student-Singers go on, soon after, to appear in Major-European-Opera-Festivals.

Some Seasons ago, the Juilliard produced a Magical-Vision of Leos Janácek’s Cunning Little Vixen, enhancing its effect with the Participation of Juilliard-Dance-Students.

This MSM-Staging is not one of the Regulars.

Rather, it is part of what is called a "Summer-Voice-Festival.”

For some Arcane-Reason, Conductor J. David Jackson decided to turn his back on the Max Brod German-Version of Das Schlaue Füchslein, "adapting” the Original-Czech-Libretto by himself.

Well, OK.

But I would have felt more Secure had the Maestro shown himself more Czech-Oriented in the Opera-Program.

He describes Janácek’s Original-Libretto as "Monrovian-Influenced.”

Actually, Monrovia is the Capital of Liberia, taking its Name from Pres. James Monroe.

The Original-Illustrated-Vixen-Series was published in Brno—or Brünn—the Capital of Moravia—or Mähren.

But what is especially frustrating about the Maestro’s Program-Materials is that he provides No-Synopsis of the Stage-Action.

If you did not already know Vixen/Füchslein from Other-Productions that did have a Synopsis in their Programs, you would have almost No-Idea in this MSM-Mounting of Who-Was-Who & What-Was-Going-On.

The Actual-Student-Singing was generally Good, with the Forester of Isaac Assor especially admirable, although he did have difficulty with the Strap on his Rifle.

But the Varied Bug, Bird, & Chicken-Behaviors of Various-Cast-Members—despite some Cute-Costumes—suggested Community-Theatre.

If you do not already know about the Interesting-Interactions of the Forester & the Füchslein, I have No-Intention of Providing what Maestro Jackson withheld from his MSM-Audience.

Historical-Notes: After the Break-Up of the Austro-Hungarian-Empire—following the Epic-Defeat of the German & Austrian Kaisers in "The Great War,” or "The War To End Wars”—the Czech-Speaking-Provinces of Böhmen & Mähren, or Bohemia & Moravia, became Two-Thirds of the Newly-Invented-Nation of Czechoslovakia.

The Unfortunate-Slovaks—who were not Czech-Speakers nor Czech-Fans—found themselves Oppressed-by-Prague, but at least they were now able to call their Capital-City by the Slovakian-Name of Bratislava instead of the Austro-Germanic Pressburg!

As for Monrovia, it was named for James Monroe—famed for his "Monroe-Doctrine.”

It became the Capital-City of the Newly-Invented-African-Nation of Liberia, where Freed-American-Slaves were Re-Settled, to Govern-Themselves & not Annoy-Abolitionist-Northerners, who were—Post-Civil-War—not Eager to have them Hanging-Around-Boston…

Monrovia is a Long-Way-Off from Moravia!

Mario Fratti & Maury Yeston’s NINE [*****]

Better-Than-on-Broadway—Almost—With Outstanding-Semi-Pros & Mario Fratti in the Audience!

It was—I hope—a Real-Surprise for the MSM-Cast of Mario Fratti’s Nine to have him come Back-Stage after their Excellent-Performance.

But this would not have happened had I not Phoned Mario to Alert him about the Production.

Neil Rosenshein & Elizabeth Young are the Co-Directors of MSM’s Summer-Voice-Festival.

When they were selecting the Two-Works to be Staged, why didn’t they Google the Name: Mario Fratti?

Mario lives just a few doors up-the-street from New-York-City-Center, after all…

What about Bill Fabris—who economically-staged Nine’s Almost-All-Female-Cast in a Bare-Bones-Stage-Space? Could he have called Mario?

Then there’s Dan Gettinger, Musically-Directing from his Grand-Piano, up above all the Percussions down in the Pit? Could he have called?

Anyway, both Mario & I liked this Mini-Revival a Lot.

The Previous-Evening may have looked like Community-Theatre, but this Cast were all Real-Pros.

They Looked Great; They Moved In-Character, & They Sang Like Broadway-Stars.

Best of All was Drew Santini, who as Guido Contini—Mario’s Stand-In for Federico Fellini, the Italian-Movie-Director who is making a Film to be called 8-1/2—was both Sexy & Frustrated, surrounded by So-Many-Women: All of them with Some-Kind-of-Claim-on-Him…

Drew Santini is ready for Broadway-Stardom!

Maury Yeston crafted the Catchy-Melodies for Nine, which include Not Since Charlie Chaplin, Coda di Guido, The Germans at the Spa, My Husband Makes Movies, A Call from the Vatican, & Nine, the Title-Song, half-a-notch-up from Eight-&-a-Half.

Mario & Maury worked on this show in Lehman Engels’ BMI-Musical-Workshop, which is where I first heard some of it.

I was doing a Report on how Broadway-Musicals Come-into-Being, so Lehman invited me to sit-in. He also came to talk to my PhD-Theatre-Class on Musical-Theatre, which included Opera, Operetta, Revue, & even Cabaret.

So it was that I found myself one Snowy-February-Morning down at Ellen Stewart’s LaMaMa ETC, where Edward Albee was to present the Glowing-Duo with the Richard-Rodgers-Award for Best-New-Musical still awaiting Production.

As the Award was administered by the American-Academy-of-Arts-&-Letters—of which Albee was now a Member, for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?—there were also Other-Luminaries on-hand.

Over by the Coffee-Maker, a Tall-Distinguished-Lady in a Warm-Overcoat offered me both Coffee & Cream.

"I’m Barbara Tuchman,” she said, extending her hand, but Not-to-Shake, as she had My-Cup in its Grip.

I was Astounded!

"Barbara Tuchman! The Guns-of-August!

"I just loved your The Distant-Mirror, about the Middle-Ages! I couldn’t put it down!”

Pulitzer-Prize-Winner Barbara Tuchman laughed: "I find that difficult to believe. My husband says it Weighs-a-Ton!”

Anyway, Bravo, Mario & Maury!

Gerry Alessandrini’s FORBIDDEN BROADWAY Comes-Out-Swinging [*****]

From Maria to Mary Poppins, No Musical-Icon Is Safe!

Popular-Parodies, Witty-Lyrics, Great-Voices, Dynamic-Mimes, & Split-Second-Costume-Changes!

Now that Broadway-Musicals cost so much that Only-Tourists-Can-Afford-Them, you can catch-up on the Entire-Season in Just-One-Night over at Forbidden Broadway.

Not-Quite on the Great-White-Way, Gerry Alessandrini’s Hilarious-Franchise also takes Pot-Shots at such Musical-Methuselahs as Sound of Music, Pippin, & Les Mis.

But I did miss that Phantom-of-the-Opera Unmasking of Long-Ago…

Actual-Show-Tunes are used by Alessandrini, but he devilishly-devises Devastating-New-Lyrics.

No-One is Suing for this Music-Appropriation as it has always been Great-Free-Advertising for such shows as Rocky, Once, Cabaret, Kinky-Boots, Book-of-Morons, Matilda, & Cinderella.

Fortunately or Unfortunately, The Bridges of Madison-County could not Profit from this Unique-Form-of-Sung-Drama-Criticism, as it had already Closed—by Popular-Demand.

The Epic-Self-Regard of Mandy Patinkin was Fastidiously-Recycled by Marcus Stevens.

Nor did the Nipple-Rouging of Alan Cumming in Cabaret escape Notice.

Speaking of Cabaret & Recycling, Lisa Minelli joined a Supremely-Self-Confident Michelle Williams, who really didn’t Get-the-Point about Sally Bowles…

Quite aside from the Brilliant-Impersonations of such Broadway-Personalities as Cyndi Lauper, Woody Allen, Harvey Fierstein, Audra McDonald, Andrea Martin, Sylvester Stallone, & Neil Patrick Harris, one stands—or sits—in Amazement at the Parodic-Correctness of the Character-Costumes & the Wonderful-Wigs which the Parodic-Quartette don & doff with such Panache, Dispatch, & Ado!

The Amazing-Graces of Forbidden Broadway are Carter Calvert, Mia Gentile, Scott Richard Foster, & Marcus Stevens.

Although seated at the Pianoforte, David Caldwell is also Deeply-Involved-&-Implicated in this Show-of-Shows!

Loved the Parody-Poster for Teeny-Todd, but Sweeny didn’t Make-the-Cut in this Ingenious-Edition of Forbidden Broadway…

©GLENN LONEY 2014

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