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Report for May 2016

6/1/2016

Report for May 2016

©Glenn Loney 2016


At The Fisher Theatre at  BAM:

Carlota Santana?s FLAMENCO VIVO  [*****]

Longing, Loving, & Loss?

La Verdadera Flauta-Magica/The Truly Magic-Flute?

Fantastic Flamenco Flowers in Brooklyn!

 

Olé! Olé! Olé! Olé!

 

Brava! Brava! Brava! Carlota Santana!

 

Flamenco Vivo is one of the most Powerful Emotional & Dance-Experiences ever to be Born-in-Brooklyn!

 

Of course, Flamenco?s Eternal-Homeland is Far-Off Al-Andaluz?where the Gitanes still proudly Prance & Dance to a Thrumming, Drumming Beat, Singing-Guitars, & Wildly-Soaring Flute-Notes?

 

When Traditional-Flamenco was seen in Manhattan at City-Center, the Stage was often filled with Fiery Flamenco Females, flouncing their Long, Long, Trains with Abandon.

 

Not so over in Brooklyn, where the Men?s & Women?s Garbs are more Spare & Severe.

 

Thus, the Visual-Focus is concentrated on the Dynamic-Dancers?who seem to Generate even More-Energy & Muted-Passion as they Approach each other & then Retreat.

 

Watching the Stabbing, Stamping Feet of the Dancers?Rapid Rat-a-Tat-Tatting?I thought this World-Class-Wonder made the Taps-Is-Tops over in Manhattan at Shuffle-Along look both All-Too-Routine & Lacking-Hispanic-Passion.

 

Just watch the Arm-Movements! But also watch the Hands!

 

Aha! Not just the Fluid-Hand-Moves, but also the Fingers!

 

There is a Language, a Magic, in the Flamenco-Fingers!

 

It is the Jack Cole Isolation-&-Placement, something that Cole actually learned from studying & emulating Spanish & African-Dance?

 

But what makes Flamenco Vivo especially engaging & attractive are its Hommages to Pablo Picasso & Federico Garcia Lorca.

 

Alas, Federico?

 

Brutally-Murdered in Granada by Francisco Franco?s Fascisti?

 

All the Dancers & the Musician/Singers are Outstanding, so, rather than List-Them-All for you here, why not Google the Flamenco Vivo Website?

 

Nonetheless, we do need a Shout-Out for the Virtuoso-Flautist, Diego Villegas, who coaxed such Plaintive-Sounds from his Andalusian-Inflected Magic-Flute that Mozart?s Prince Tamino should be driven Wild with Envy?or, even more appropriate, Admiration!

 

It?s to be Devoutly-Hoped that Flamenco Vivo will have a Much-Longer-Run at BAM?s Fisher-Theatre next Season than a Mere 3-8 May?

 

 

At The Pearl Theatre:

 

Mark Shanahan?s Adaptation of Georges Feydeau?s Le Dindon as THE DING-DONG  [****]

 

Ooh-La-La-Naughty-French-Farce Reborn on West-42 Is a Long-Way-Off from Gay-Paree?

 

Donald Trump surely has a Big-Ding-Dong, but his Farcical-Conduct during his Current-Campaign is No-Joke, unlike the Plot-Permutations of this Supercharged-Revised-Feydeau.

 

What would a French-Farce be without All-Those-Doors?

 

Opening, Closing, Slamming: Suddenly disclosing What-Should-Not-Be-Seen!

 

Thanks to the Design-Genius of Sandra Goldmark, the Charming-Set-Frame can be speedily changed from Home to Hotel to yet Another-Hotel with the Rapid-Switching of Decorative-Panels.

 

Costume-Designer Amy Clark is even more resourceful because she has to provide Rapid-Change-Outfits for a Cast-of-Five who actually portray a Multitude-of-Roles.

 

So, Multi-Bravos for Rachel Botchan, Brad Cover, Kelly Curran, Brad Heberlee & Chris Mixon.

 

The Men are generally Dowdy?even Middle-Aged-Unattractive, because the Major-Men in French-Farce are generally Lecherous-Buffoons?but the Sexually-Starved-Women are often Elegance-Personified, even when they are in Undress-Mode.

 

With Lone-Exception of a Dowdy-Deaf-Wife, spoofing Physical-Oddities & Handicaps being a Farce-Staple?

 

Yes, there is a fair amount of Pants-Dropping, Farts, Hot-Water-Bottle-Enemas, & other usually Taboo-Tactics.

 

Aside from the General-Comic-Mayhem?Deftly-Orchestrated by Director Hal Brooks?there are also some really Impressive-Athletics!

 

The Aged-Audience at this Wednesday-Matinée seemed Amused but not Sexually-Aroused?

 

Seeing Le Dindon in Effective-Translation reminded me of the Late-1950s, when I was Teaching-Our-Troops in Eastern-France.

 

Early Friday-Mornings, I?d drive my VW-Blue-Beetle from Verdun to Paris, always staying at the Hotel-Cité-Berg?re, around the corner from the Folies-Berg?re.

 

On the Same-Étage, along with Folies-Lovelies, was another Permanent-Guest, the Famous-Farceur, Robert Hirsch?who has just passed-over into Theatre-Heaven?

 

I will never forget Bobby Hirsch as Scapin, Moli?re?s Famous-Farcical-Rascal, recalled on Broadway years later by Jim Dale.

 

 

At The Howard Gilman Opera-House at BAM:

 

Daniele Finzi Pasca?s LA VERIT?  [*****]

 

Salvador Dali?s Mad Tristan Comes Alive Again: Amazing-Athletics Confront Red-Nosed-Clowns!

 

How many Ostriches had to Die in order for Daniele Finzi Pasca to fill the BAM-Stage with so many Dancing, Prancing Sally-Rand Fan-Dancers?

 

Able-Bodied Bearded-Men in TuTus?or dressed for a Folies Kick-Line, with those Flamboyant Can-Can Skirts?

 

Actually, the Ensemble Compagnia Daniele Finzi Pasca is composed of some of the Most-Amazing-Aerialists outside of Cirque-du-Soleil?

 

This should be hardly-surprising for Daniele Finzi Pasca actually wrote & directed Corteo in 2005 for Cirque-du-Soleil.

 

What is now different from Cirque-du-Soleil?in the Visually-Disorienting-Productions of Daniele Finzi Pasca?is that even the Most-Amazing-Aerial-Acts are being Hilariously-Upstaged by Clever-Clowning or Ambitious-Actors not knowing when to Get-Off-Stage!

 

At first, when a Field-of-Dandelions was evoked by Fluttering-Fans & Puffy-Poles, it was clear that Something-Wasn?t-Quite-Right: Some Ostrich-Heavy-Dancers couldn?t seem to find their Proper-Place in the Line-Up!

 

Initially, I was Torn between watching the Bumptious-Clowning & Gasping at the Feats-of-the-Athletes?possibly even Annoyed that my Gaze-&-Interest were being pulled This-Way-&-That.

 

Truth is that La Verit? as been Inspired not so much by the Idea-of-Truth as it is by an old, forgotten, Stage-Drop, created in 1944 for the Metropolitan-Opera for Leonid Massine?s Choreography of Mad Tristan, based on a Wagner-Theme.

 

But this was not just any old Sheet-of-Painted-Muslin!

 

No, Indeed!

 

Salvador Dali devised this Surrealist-Scene of Two-Twisted-&-Cracking-Lovers kissing in a Bizarre-Landscape of Scary-Dreams.

 

Finzi Pasca believes that the Language-of-Acrobatics?of Physical-Theatre?can help us leave the World-of-Reality for the Surreal-Land-of-Dreams.

 

"The Language-of-Acrobats titillates our Unconscious, making us see Inner-Landscapes that appear Truer than Reality.?

 

The Haunting-Dali-Landscape now on-view & in-action over at BAM is not, however, the Original, which was found rolled-up in some Basement-Storage & is now being Restored.

 

No! This is a Copy!

 

But the Entire-Production of La Verit??with Credits to Julie Hamelin Finzi [Co-Creator], Maria Bonzanigo [Music & Sound-Design], & Hugo Gargiulo [Sets & Props]?is not a Copy of Cirque-du-Soleil, nor any other Theatre-Dreamers.

 

How many Cirque-du-Soleil Productions have you ever seen that were Peopled with Riotous-Rhinos, a Raging-Bull on Wheels, a Giant-Horse-Head floating above the Stage, or so many Silhouetted-Scenes?

 

By-the-Way, is Daniele Finzi Pasca related to those Unfortunate-Finzi-Continis?who once had a Garden somewhere in Fascist-Italy?

 

 

At The John C. Borden Auditorium of the Manhattan-School-of-Music:

 

Carolyn Marlow?s DEFYING GRAVITY: The Magical World of Stephen Schwartz  [*****]

 

Dynamic Musical-Stars-of-Tomorrow Strut Their Stuff to the Tunes of A Really Wicked Composer!

 

In case you don?t already have a Copy, Defying Gravity is the title of a New-Book about the Amazing-Career of  Stephen Schwartz, the Music-&-Lyrics-Genius who gave us Wicked, still running on Broadway since its Auspicious-2003-Opening.

 

In fact, Stephen Schwartz is the Only-Broadway-Composer to have had Three-Shows running for more than 1900-Performances.

 

Stephen Schwartz came to Wide-Public-Attention with Godspell, for which he wrote both Lyrics & Music.

 

Some Devout-Christians were Offended by this Charming-Popularization of the Bible-Story, but it has proved Very-Durable at the Box-Offices of various Regional-Theatres, not to Overlook the Hordes of College, High-School, & Community-Theatres!

 

With Disney?s Alan Menken, he co-created Pocahontas & The Hunchback of Notre Dame?

 

Other Shows which can claim Stephen Schwartz as either Lyricist or Composer?or Both!?include Pippin, The Magic Show, Rags, Children of Eden, Working,  & The Baker?s Wife.

 

With Leonard Bernstein as His-Composer, Stephen Schwartz wrote the Lyrics for Mass, obviously inspired by a Religious-Model of Musical-Construction.

 

Fortunately, many of his Hit-Songs can be extracted from their original Broadway, Film, or TV-Formats to provide Dynamite-Material for Musical-Revues.

 

That is exactly what Director/Impressario Carolyn Marlow has done for Stephen Schwartz over at the Manhattan-School-of-Music.

 

The Marlow-Twelve of Schwartz-Singers is Outstanding, but, if you missed the Three-Performances-Only of Defying Gravity at MSM, you are now Out-of-Luck, for there are No-Plans to present this Delightful-Revue as a Summer-Treat in such venues as The Public Theatre.

 

Joe Papp would have Loved-This-Show!

 

 

At The Duke Theatre:

 

Wendy Beckett?s A BETTER PLACE  [****]

 

Better To Live on the Upper-East-Side: Your Luxury-Condo Wouldn?t Face a Run-down Walk-Up!

 

Pity the Poor Roberts Clan!

 

They live in a "Modern-Glass-Hi-Rise??which is how Playwright Wendy Beckett describes their Eminent-Domain?but they are Naked-to-the-Gay-Neighbors across the Avenue, who can see Everything that Mary, John, & Lusty Young Carol are Up-To!

 

John Plays-the-Ponies On-Line & is, apparently, a Winner & a Very-Rich-Man, but this is all a Sham, which is a Shame for Folks who want to Sell & move to Florida.

 

Mary enjoys Lavish-Outfits & indulging their Spoiled-Daughter, as well as Sexting-On-Line in her Free-Time, when she in not Out-Shopping,

 

Carol is a Lovely-Lady but she only Achieves-Climax when Real-Estate-Salesmen give her Full-Descriptions of Interior-Amenities, including Marble-Counter-Tops?

 

Across the Avenue, a Pudgy-Peeping-Tom?who is named Les Covert, which may be a Play-on-Words?is having Hissy-Fits of Imaginary-Ecstasy by watching the Roberts at Work & at Play.

 

Les is Paired with?or possibly Married to?an Older-Dry-Witted-Man, named Sel Trevoc, which also may be a Play-on-Words

 

For this Peeping-Critic, the Basic-Problem with A Better Place was that None of the Characters nor their Life-Style-Problems were of Impelling-Interest, although the Energetic-Cast worked very hard.

 

I do, however, appreciate the Problems-of-the-Rich, looking out on what could well be a Down-at-the Heels Five-Floor-Walk-Up!

 

When I moved into my Smart-Upper-East-Side-Co-op?Living in the Rear-Line?I looked out on the Toilets-of-the-Rich on East-Seventy-Second-Street.

 

When His-Holiness, The Vatican-Based-Pope, was in town, I could see His-Bathroom from My-Bathroom.

 

But I tired of looked at the Rear-Ends of High-End Condos & Co-ops, so I pasted Translucent-Sheets on all Windows, thus Missing-the-Chance to glance at Pope Francis at His-Ablutions.

 

Oh, well? Ablutions, Absolutions? Whatever?

Too bad Wendy Beckett couldn?t have had her Better Place enjoy its World-Premiere on Theatre-Row at the Beckett Theatre, but it probably couldn?t accommodate the Elaborate-Facing-Sets, ingeniously designed by David Arsenault.

 

The Premiere-Audience sits in Bleachers on either side of the Protruding-Real-Estate-Mock-Ups, which could not be built at the Beckett, whereas the Duke is ideal for Odd-Performance-Conformations.

 

Wasn?t it WC Fields who said: On the whole, I?d rather be in Philadelphia?

 

Or was it Calvin Coolidge, talking about Pittsburgh?

 

Shakespeare-Said-It-Better: When I was at home, I was in a Better Place?

 

 

At New World Stages:

 

Dena Blizzard?s ONE FUNNY MOTHER  [*****]

 

Not Just a Blizzard, But a Full-Scale-Avalanche of Hilarious-Hi-Jinx about Motherhood!

Dena Is a Lily Tomlin for Troubled-Times in an American-Suburbia That?s No Longer Great!

 

Just imagine the Psychological-Trauma of Folding-the-Same-Laundry Eight-Times-a-Week!

 

That?s just one of the Homemaker?s-Tasks that Dena Blizzard has designed for herself as she explains to a Fascinated-Audience what it?s like to Raise-Three-Kids with not much help from an Indifferent-Hubby.

 

Actually, few American-Moms have to do the Laundry Eight-Times-a-Week, as there are only Seven-Days in an American-Week.

 

But, as Dina explains, if you have a Toddler, Dirty-Nappies are a Constant-Problem.

 

A Support-System of Girl-Friends & Suffering-Mothers helps, as does a Glass-of-Wine, then Another, & Another, as well as a few nips from small Craftily-Concealed-Bottles of some kind of Liquid-Relief.

 

But the Charming, Attractive, & Altogether-Hilarious Dena Blizzard is not just your Run-of-the-Mill Monologist.

 

No, No, No! Having already been Miss New Jersey of 1995, she is now Very-Big over in Atlantic City for the Miss America Pageant.

 

That Awakening-Experience has led to a Career in Radio & TV, so?also having a Hubby & Three-Kids?One Funny Mother may well have seemed a Natural.

 

Although sometimes confused with Idina Menzel?her Personal-Joke?Dena Blizzard is a Wizard with Cute-Videos, some of which are in this Delightful-Show, while a Lot-of-Others are Online!

 

Just Google Dena Blizzard?not Idina Menzel?to Unlock these Video-Moments!

 

In the Very-Best-Stand-Up-Comedy-Tradition, Dena Blizzard is also a Whiz with Audience-Interactions.

 

Remember Art Linklater?s Signature-Laugh-Line: People Are Funny!

 

When she chose to become Dena Blizzard?which is not her Birth-Name?did she pause for a moment to consider that it Rhymes with Lizard & Gizzard, not to mention Eddie Izard?

 

 

At The Classic Stage Company Theatre:

 

Hank Ibsen?s  PEER GYNT  [****]

 

Well, No. This Is Actually John Doyle?s Peer Gynt, as "Directed & Adapted? by The Music-Man?

Doyle-Directorials Always Feature Actors Who Also Play Instruments, But Not Melodies of Grieg?

 

The Dynamic-Doyen of Classical-Innovations, John Doyle, has given Manhattan-Audiences an Updated-Vision of Ibsen?s Chronic Boaster & Liar, Peer Gynt.

 

There are Rotomontades-of-Relevancies to Current-Events, but Doyle could have made this CSC-Staging even more Relevant by presenting Peer as Donald Trump, filled with an Excess-of-Himself.

 

Peer?s Pressing-Problem?pursued through Many-Scenarios around the World?is to find out Who-Peer-Really-Is.

 

When Peer has finally peeled-off all the Layers of that Essential-Onion, What-Is-Left, after all the Fuss-&-Feathers?

 

Nothing, really?

 

Peer?s Essence is ready for the Button-Moulder?at the Ready, with his Mould-Ladel.

 

Fortunately, down at the CSC on East-Thirteenth-Street, John Doyle has Done-It-Again!

 

On a Raised-Central-Stage?flanked on Four-Sides by Spectators?he has Unleashed the Mimetic-Powers of Gabriel Ebert, who embodies Essential-Trumpism with Athletic-Ardor.

 

Although the Legend of Peer Gynt was already enshrined in Norwegian-Folklore, Ibsen revisited it to discover how an Essential-Selfishness can prevent a Fervent-Seeker from finding His-Real-Self.

 

Is there, after all, Anything-Inside the Outward-Shell?

 

Did this Verse-Drama have anything to say to Ibsen?s Norwegian-Contemporaries?

 

The Fact that Ibsen spent most of his Productive-Life in Rome & in Munich?Summering in Bavarian-Bertchesgaden?suggests that Cold-Norway was not warm enough for the Fevered-Imagination of the Author of Hedda Gabler, A Doll?s House, John Gabriel Borkman, An Enemy of the People, The Master-Builder, & When We Dead Awaken.

 

What do The Dead discover when they Awaken?

 

That They Have Not Lived!

 

After so many Dramas-of-Realism, at the End, Ibsen reverted to Antic-Fantasy?

 

Nonetheless, he was Nominated for the Nobel-Prize-in-Literature in 1902, 1903, 1904!

 

If, at first, You Don?t Succeed?

 

But, if Ibsen now awakened to see John Doyle?s Vision of Peer Gynt, he might well stroke His-Long-Gray-Mutton-Chop-Whiskers in Astonishment.

 

The CSC-Ensemble does both Peer & Ibsen Poetic-Justice, but this might not have worked without the Ingenuity of John Doyle, who may be becoming a CSC-House-Director, for Next-Season, we are promised John Doyle?s Dead Poets Society & Pacific Overtures, a remarkable Stephen Sondheim vision that was Not-Understood nor Appreciated on Broadway.

 

John Doyle first excited Critical-Attention with his Ingenious-Mountings of Sweeney Todd, & Company, compressing what had been Full-Stage-Productions into Intimate-Verticalities, with Actors playing the Show-Music, as well as Strutting-Their-Stuff.

 

 

At BAM?s Harvey Theatre:

 

David Hare?s THE JUDAS KISS  [*****]

 

Rupert Everett Is Oscar Wilde?An Aesthete Betrayed by His Own Infatuation & Genius?

 

Someone once wrote: Each Man Kills the One He Loves. The Brave Man does it with a Sword; The Coward, with a Kiss.

 

Was this Romantic-Cynic the Allegorical-Aphorist we know as Oscar Wilde?

 

One thing is certain about the Fascinating-Staging of The Judas Kiss at BAM?s Harvey-Theatre: All the Bright-Young-Men are Impeccably-Tailored, except when they are Buck-Naked.

 

Of course, it is also a Joy to hear Elegant-English-Accents over in High-Rise-Brooklyn, the Borough-of-Tomorrow!

 

What was once The Daily-Telegraph but is now merely The Telegraph [UK] has declared: Rupert Everett was born to play Oscar Wilde?

 

Aha! Didn?t Hamlet?or Someone-Worth-Quoting?once say: There is a Destiny that shapes our Ends, rough-hew them though we may?

 

When Rupert Everett was a Handsome-Young-West-End-Leading-Man, who would have imagined that he would one day look like the Dissipated, Disappointed, Desperate, Dying "Sodomite,? Oscar Wilde, once the Darling of the Drama-Critics?

 

Yes, we welcome every Revival of The Importance of Being Earnest, even when it is Recycled as The Importance of Being Oscar.

 

Homo or No, Oscar Wilde continues to fascinate as do his Fairy-Tales, Novels, & Comedies.

 

In an Odd-Sense, Wilde might himself have sat for The Picture of Dorian Gray?

 

In a Verdant-Park in Dublin, a Bronze-Wilde sprawls atop a Huge-Boulder: Its Local-Title is The Fag on the Crag.

 

Ah, those Dubliners!

 

The Bronze-Molly-Malone is known as: The Tart with The Cart.

 

The Wildes of Merion-Square were among the Leading-Anglo-Irish in Dublin, but, to become really Widely-Known-as-a-Playwright, Oscar had to move to London, as had other Irish-Playwrights such as Richard Brinsley Sheridan & George Bernard Shaw.

 

Initially, Oscar did all the Right-Things, including making a Loving-Marriage with Constance & fathering Children who would?after His-Disgrace?have to undergo a Name-Change?

 

When Oscar arrived in the Port-of-New-York, he famously told the Customs-Clerk: I have Nothing-to-Declare but my Genius!

 

Unfortunately, Fame, Money, Success, Adulation, Admiration, Dining at the Café-Royale were not Enough for Oscar.

 

He liked to have Sex with Postal-Boys & other Available-Urchins?

 

But he also Fell-Desperately-in-Love with the Son of the Marques-of-Queensbury, who was a Real Man?s-Man & Originator of the Queensbury-Rules for Boxing-Matches.

 

By all accounts?as well as Surviving-Portraits?Lord Alfred Douglas, Oscar?s "Bosie,? was a Lovely-Young-Lad, but effectually using Oscar to Irritate his Easily-Irascible-Father.

 

So it was that the Angry-Marques left a Card at Oscar?s Club, accusing Oscar of being a "Notorious-Sodomite.?

 

Now, over at BAM?s Harvey Theatre, we meet Oscar at a Fatal-Junction. His Dear Friend, Robert Ross [Cal MacInich], has arranged a Carriage to take Oscar to the Railway-Station so he can catch the Evening-Boat to France & Freedom.

 

He is certain to be charged with "Gross-Indecency,? or some such Post-Victorian-Locution, if he remains in England.

 

Robbie Ross has packed everything Oscar will need abroad & is eager for him to "Get-a-Move-On,? but Oscar?egged-on by Bosie [Charlie Rowe]?will not Budge.

 

This Initial-Scene is dominated by a Magnificent-Brass-Bed & a Swooping-Overhead-Drape. As the Lights come up, we see Naked-Young-Woman & a Naked-Young-Man having Sex on the Bed.

 

But No, these are not some of Oscar?s Young-Fun-Friends. They are but Servants in the Swell-Hotel where Oscar has been brought to prepare for his Continental-Escape.

 

In the Process of this Act, we learn much about Hotel-Routines & Edwardian Codes-of-Conduct: Worth the Price-of-Admission alone!

 

Of course, we also get to know Oscar rather better than He-Knows-Himself, thanks to Playwright David Hare & Director Neil Armfeld.

 

In the Second-Act, we are now in Naples?in Distinctly-Reduced-Circumstances?but with Bosie still around, although cavorting in front of the Sadly-Drooping-Oscar with a Naked-Neapolitan-Street-Lad, named Galileo.

 

Bosie, however, has Reconciled with his Family & stands to gain a Small-Fortune if he returns to The Mother-Country?

 

So Bosie Kisses Oscar Goodbye: The Judas Kiss?

 

When I was a Lad, no one talked about Oscar Wilde, but everyone laughed at The Importance of Being Earnest.

 

Somehow, when I first read Wilde?s The Ballad of Reading-Gaol, I thought the Title was Wrong: This was about being in Prison, not about Soccer-Goals?

 

Oddly enough, although Oscar?both as Admirable-Author & Self-Destructive-Genius?fascinated me, I made No-Effort to learn about his Later-Life in Exile.

 

The Prevalent-Cautionary-Story was that Wilde died Alone & Forgotten in a Miserable-Room in Paris, where his Corrupted-Body Exploded, Splattering the Patterned-Wallpaper.

 

 No Bosie? No Naples?

 

The Judas Kiss is a Magnificent-Production, but why did it take so long to reach American-Shores?

 

The Judas Kiss originated at the Hampstead-Theatre, moving on to The Chichester-Festival?at which I used to be a Premiere-Regular?where Sir John Clements & Maggie Smith were often on-view.

 

As for Brit-Theatre-Memories, I find the Name of Sue Blane [Costumes] in the Credits. I knew Sue way-back-when: she was doing Daring-Designs for the Citizens-Theatre of Glasgow, premiering at the Edinburgh-Festival.

 

Later, in London, in a Ruined-Movie-Theatre, she created costumes for The Rocky Horror Show.

 

I met & interviewed Director Neil Armfeld years & years ago, in Sydney, in his Native-Australia, but I especially remember him asking me to Look-After his Gracious-Parents as he made his Directorial-Rounds?

 

Memories, Memories?

 

 

At The Lyric Theatre:

 

Cirque-du-Soleil?s PARAMOUR  [****]

 

Ziegfeld-Follies on Forty-Second-Street?

No, No, No! Busby Berkeley & a Madman-Barnum on a Hollywood-Sound-Stage?

 

Who knew that those Québecoise Circus-Innovators?the Cirque-du-Soleil?lusted after both Broadway & Hollywood?

 

Wasn?t enough for them to show the Cirque-du-Soleil all over the Known-World Under-Canvas?

 

No, No, No!

 

How about a Vintage-Broadway-Musical at the aptly-named Lyric Theatre?

 

But Paramour is not about Broadway-Babies, nor is Musical-Comedy its Essential-Aim.

 

Nonetheless, Ruby Lewis, as Indigo?a Little-Girl with a Big-Voice?is clearly an Outstanding-New-Broadway-Star.

 

Doesn?t the Name of Ruby sound like a Dames-at-Sea Moniker?

 

The Basic-Problem?even though the Cirque-du-Soleil?s Canadian-Based Producers have Re-branded for this Overstuffed-Event as Cirque-du-Soleil-Theatrical?is that their Core-Entertainment-Offering has always been Death-Defying Circus-Acts: High-Wire, Slack-Wire, Trapeze, as well as less High-Risk-Challenges as Juggling, Balancing. & Contortionism.

 

The Core-Cirque-Corps is still there, but it is often Upstaged by the Big-Budget-Hollywood-Movie-Musical in which it is Uneasily-Embedded.

 

No, No, No! AJ, the Madman-Movie-Mogul does not want to be associated with Mere-Movies!

 

AJ, aside from being an Egomaniac who would make Donald Trump Blush-for-Shame, is a Film-Maker, a Maker-of-Films.

 

As AJ, Jeremy Kushner initially looks like a Cirque-du-Soleil Ringmaster, which indeed he effectually is, as he guides an Eager-Unknown from the American-Hinterlands toward Hollywood-Stardom.

 

And, he fondly hopes, Into-His-Arms?

 

Even though Indigo/Ruby?what a Color-Combination!?really loves that Lovable-Pianist-Composer named Joey, sweetly played by Ryan Vona.

 

When Your-Roving-Reporter entered the Lyric Theatre?once Threatened-with-Demolition to Make-Way for a High-Rise?his Heart-Rose-Up!

 

Sursum Corda!

 

The Central-Focus of Center-Stage was a wonderful Art-Deco-Image, echoed on Large-Projection-Screens at either side of the Proscenium.

 

As the Creator/Editor/Photographer of Art Deco News?sadly now defunct?my Visual-Passion has long been the World-of-Art-Deco.

 

When those Follies-Girls came prancing, primping, dancing down those Golden-Stairs, I thought we?d be off on a Wonderful-Deco-Journey.

 

But No!

 

AJ wanted us to Relive Great-Hollywood-Movie-Moments, complete with Actual-Production-Posters!

 

No, No, No! Not Movies! Films, Films, Films?

 

Just looking at the Tons-of-Built-Scenery?Wow for Production-Values!?suggested to me that Paramour?not to be confused with Paramount?must have Cost-a-Bundle.

 

But in Service-of-What?

 

There is just Too-Much-Going-On, Visually & Audially.

 

Without Warning, Antic-Performers crash through the Aisles. One of them kicked me in the legs, one of the Penalties of having Aisle-Seats, as befits a Longtime-Drama-Critic.

 

Those Two-Big-Projection-Screens?at either side of the Frenetic-Stage-Action?have their own Black-&-White Movie-Story to tell.

 

This Added-Movie is Starring AJ in his Orson-Welles-Mode & Moods!

 

A Closing-Production-Number high-atop a New York HOTEL?the Neon-HOTEL-Sign is Huge!?features Amazing-Jumps-Leaps-&-Springs by Brilliant-Athletes, but it seems to Go-on-Forever?

 

There is so Much-That-Is-Good in Paramour that one hopes its Canadian-Creative-Team wiil take a Metaphoric-Blue-Pencil to some of the Visual-Excesses.

 

But didn?t one of Shakespeare?s Comic-Characters disparage Paramour as "a Thing of Naught??

 

 

At The Alice Griffin Theatre of the Signature Theatre-Complex:

 

THE SIGNATURE PLAYS:

 

Edward Albee?s THE SANDBOX  [****]

 

Grandma! Don?t Get Sand in Your Eyes!

Mommy & Daddy Want You Dead, but That Muscled-Young-Man Is Worth-Looking-At!

 

Whatever else you may think of the Casting of the Signature-Revival of Edward Albee?s early One-Acter, The Sandbox, Ryan-James Hatanaka is not only Superbly-Supple but also a Charming-Flirt.

 

Obviously, Albee was himself fascinated by Available-Young-Men with Well-Defined-Abs, but he turned this predeliction to advantage in The American Dream, in which a similar Young-Man embodies The Dream & a now Incompetent-Grandma is threatened by The-Man-with-The-Van?who will Take-Her-Away.

 

Edward Albee was/is the Adopted-Son of the Heir of the Keith-Albee-Orpheum-Circuit, who, with his Nattering-Wife, are the Original-Models for Daddy & Mommy.

 

The Original-Production was staged by Alan Schneider, an early Advocate, not only of Albee, but of other Playwrights-of-the-Absurd, as these Innovative-Outliers came to be known.

 

Also an Adoptee, when I first interviewed Edward, we found Common-Ground, with Albee insisting that Mommy & Daddy were Not-Made-Up?

 

Albee?s Adoptive-Parents were Somewhat-Disappointed by the Way in which Edward was Developing.

 

Instead of a "Little-Bundle-of-Joy,? they believed they had been given a "Bumble,? a Real-Mistake, which Albee also uses in Satirizing Straight-Expectations?

 

Alison Fraser & Frank Wood impersonate Mommy & Daddy in the Current-Version, with Phyllis Sommerville, brining up the rear, as Grandma.

 

Oddly enough, Hatanaka sounds a bit Japanese, but he doesn?t Look-the-part: More Lt. Pinkerton than Ken Watanabe?

 

 

Maria Irene Fornés? DROWNING  [***]

 

Who Are These Oafish-Clumpish-Creatures? Is This a Satire on Being-Black? What Gives?

 

From the First?possibly at the Now-Defunct American-Place-Theatre??I was never a Big-Fan of the Absurdist-Efforts of Maria Irene Fornés, although she was the Darling of the Avant-Garde at that time.

 

How about Fefu & Her Friends? Anyone now living remember that one?

 

 

Adrienne Kennedy?s FUNNY HOUSE OF A NEGRO  [****]

 

Long Before Black Lives Matter, Adrienne Kennedy was On-Board,

Absurding Vexing-Problems of Being Black, White, & In-Between,

Imagining Ancienne-Régime Relationships, with Four-Posters & Long, Flowing-Gowns?

 

Whatever else you may say about Funny House of a Negro, you will surely have to admit that it has PRODUCTION-VALUES to spare.

 

But So-Sad that Everyone seems to be Losing-His-or-Her-Hair!

 

My Brooklyn-College Office-Mate, J. Scott Kennedy, insisted that Adrienne Kennedy was his Sister, which well may have been the Case, for another Kennedy-Sister was Provost of a Southern-California-University.

 

A Very-Talented-Family. Scott insisted that Adrienne had also had a Brief-Fling with John Lennon, but you know how Those-Claims proliferated at that Time?

 

Anyway, April Matthis was an Elegant-Stand-In for Queen-Victoria-Regina, with January LaVoy as the Duchess-of-Hapsburg?

 

Sahr Ngaujah was a Convincing Patrice Lumumba, whose Body-Parts were Never-Found. It was believed, at that time, that, after his Violent-End, he was Eaten by Jungle-Folk.

 

Crystal Dickinson was Negro-Sarah, whose Teeming-Mind seems to be Haunted by Phantoms-of-the-Past.

 

Altogether, this was a Stunning, Troubling Production: All That Loose-Hair!

 

Stage-Hands! Man?or Woman?the Brooms & Dustpans?

 

Lila Neugebauer staged All-Three-Revivals!

 

 

At The York Theatre:

 

Clark Gesner?s Musical-Adaptation of Charles Schulz?s

World-Famous Comic-Strip: YOU?RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN  [****]

 

Kute-Kidz Belt-Out Kute-Toonz, Along with Kartoon-Dialogue That Slows-Down The Show?

 

The Entire-Cast of Charlie Brown could move over to School of Rock & Hold-Their-Own.

 

They are both Relentlessly-Kute & Multi-Talented: Great-Voices, especially that of Charlie Brown [Joshua Colley].

 

My Favorite, however, was Aiden Gemme?s Lovable-Snoopy. Her Red-Baron-Sequence was Outstanding! Red-Muffler flying in the Winds of a World-War?

 

The Audience enjoyed this Peppy-Revival Hugely, but I was a bit more Dyspeptic: Juvenile-Overkill?

 

Nonetheless, this Charlie Brown is an Ingenious-Staging that Ought-to-Tour!

 

Michael Unger directed, with Kiddie-Koreography by Jennifer Paulson Lee.

 

 

At The Upgraded Irish Repertory Theatre:

 

Conor McPherson?s SHINING CITY  [****]

 

In Gothic-Dublin: Dead-Woman in Red-Coat Appears to Widowed-Husband, Who Seeks Help?

 

Matthew Broderick is the Big-Draw in Conor McPherson?s Odd-Irish-Tale of Two-Lonely-Men [John & Ian], who Cannot-Connect with the Women-in-Their-Lives.

 

After John?s Wife dies in a Horrible-Auto-Accident, he begins to see her Red-Clad-Ghost lurking about their Flat.

 

So the Guilty-&-Apologetic John comes to Unsure-Ian [Billy Carter], who has just set-up-shop as a kind of Mental-Health-Therapist, though he doesn?t seem Remotely-Qualified to give Anyone Advice.

 

Ian has Issues, not the least of which is that he no longer Loves-His-Wife, Neasa [Lisa Dwan].

 

Somehow, John is Healed by Talking-Things-Out with Ian, who is going from Bad to Worse.

 

Packing-Up & moving out of Dublin to Limerick is not going to Change-Anything?

 

Both John & Ian are Much-Given to punctuating their Banal-Conversations with: "You Know,? "You Know,?

"You Know,? "You Know?

 

It sounds like an Irish-Tic?

 

I didn?t Much-Like Shining City when it debuted in Manhattan, some time ago, but it nonetheless managed to win a Tony© Nomination!

 

The Big-News on West-Twenty-Second-Street is that Charlotte Moore?s Irish-Repertory-Theatre is back in its Old-Home, after a Brief-Exile to the Daryl-Roth down on East-Fifteenth-Street.

 

What was before an Awkward-Performance-Space now features a Balcony, with both Stairs & Elevator.

 

What especially surprised me was that the Solidly-Built Stage-Set?designed by Charlie Corcoran?was almost as Industrial-Strength as the Enlarged-Auditorium!

 

Charlotte Moore?s Production-Partner, Ciar?n O?Reilly, elicited Interesting-Performances from Broderick, Carter, & the baffled, angry, frustrated Neasa, who cannot understand why Ian has Turned-Cold.

 

Something to do with Babies, maybe?

 

Anyway, you can Win a "Magnificent-Trip-to-Ireland,? if you have the Lucky-Raffle-Ticket at the Irish-Rep?s 2016-Gala, at Town-Hall, on 13 June, when Finian?s Rainbow will have a One-Night-Concert-Performance.

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