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Report for April 2012

5/1/2012

Report for The Month of April 2012

 

©GLENN LONEY 2012

 

 

THIS-WAS-THE-MONTH-THAT-WAS…

 

Yes! April is still the Cruelest-Month!

 

A Thought for Holy-Week…

 

Watch-Out for Blood-Libels in this Easter/Passover-Season!

 

Super-Orthodox-Jews DO-NOT eat Easter-Bunnies in Revenge for the Holocaust!

 

What Would Jesus Do? He certainly would not be Rolling-Easter-Eggs on the White-House-Lawn!

 

Crunch-Week & Other Theatrical-Overloads…

 

By now, we’re all familiar with that Old-Ploy of Opening-Major-New-Films five-minutes before the Oscar-Nominations.

 

This Season, something similar has happened on Broadway.

 

Who now remembers a Potentially-Best-Musical that opened Last-October?

 

Of course, we all know what the Best-Musical-of-the-Century is: Ben Brantley, of the NY-Times, insists that it is The Book of Mormon.

 

But Century-21 is still Young: something better could be down-the-road—or Spawning-Upstream—by 2020? That’s going to be The Year of Good-Vision: 20/20

 

Your Arts-Reporter is a Nominator for the Outer-Critics-Circle, as well as a Voter for the OCC-Awards & a Voter for the Drama-Desk-Awards.

 

For anyone to even Notice the OCC-Nominations, we need to be out-there before the Drama-Desk & the Tonys.

 

So here’s what’s scheduled for the First-Three-Weeks of April & a bit Beyond:

 

Newsies at the Nederlander, Being Shakespeare at BAM, Obama 44 at LaMaMa, Regrets, The City Club, The Moroni Strad, The Big Meal, Now.Here.This., Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, at the Schoenfeld, End of the Rainbow at the Belasco, Evita at the Marquis, 4000 Miles at the Newhouse, The Lyons at the Cort, One Man, Two Guvnors at the Music-Box, A Streetcar Named Desire at the Broadhurst, Ghost: The Musical at the Lunt-Fontanne, Nice Work if You Can Get It at the Imperial, The Columnist at what was once the Biltmore, Leap of Faith at the St. James, Don’t Dress for Dinner at the American-Airlines-Theatre, Magic/Bird at the Longacre, & Satan’s Whore: Victoria Woodhull down at Theatre for the New-City…

 

Friends often ask: Why don’t you watch Television?

 

All of the Above!

 

Important Bulletin:

 

For anyone planning to mount an Authentic-New-Musical—based on a Best-Selling-Book or a Hit-Movie about Airports & Flying, such as The High & The Mighty—there is Absolutely-No-Truth to the Widespread-Rumor about Enhanced-Security-Measures at America’s Major-Airports!

 

President Obama has definitely Not-Mandated that Airport-Security-Specialists conduct Rectal-Searches for Concealed-Handguns!

 

But Tea-Party-Republicans are adamant that Vaginal-Searches for Potential-Aborted-Fetuses should be immediately instituted.

 

This may not affect future revivals of Carrie, but it could spell trouble for any Theatre-Producer contemplating another Musical-Version of Little-Women or Valley-Girls

 

 

PASSING-GLANCES AT SCENES-SEEN:

 

Noël! Noël! Noël! Singing the Praises of Noël Coward in STAR QUALITY in Lincoln-Center…

           

From the Evidence on view in the Oenslager-Gallery of the Shelby-Cullom-Davis-Museum at the NYPL’s Library for the Performing-Arts at Lincoln-Center, Noël Coward never threw anything away.

 

Certainly not his Dressing-Gowns & Celebrity-Autographs!

 

The Whole-Record is here, in Star Quality: The World of Noël Coward, on-view until 18 August 2012.

 

For some unexplained-reason, Your Roving Arts-Reporter seems to have fallen-off the NYPL’s Press-List, so I wasn’t invited to the Press-Preview of this show, nor of Shelley’s Ghost, down at the NYPL on 5th & 42nd.

 

Nonetheless, this Exhibition offers the Grand-Tour of the Career of the Multi-Faceted-Genius who said of himself that he had "a Talent to Amuse…”

 

Sir Noël was a Composer, Lyricist, Playwright, Screen-Scripter, Actor, Artist, Painter, Director, Raconteur, Fabulist, & You-Name-It.

 

My Late Good-Friends, Ray Mander & Joe Mitchenson, were close-friends of the man they called The Master & they were Chroniclers of the Coward-Career. So, it was through them that I made the acquaintance.

 

Although Sir Noël spent a lot of time in Jamaica—to avoid Taxes at Home—he maintained a Flat in Bayswater, with a matching-apartment next-door for his Good-Friend, the handsome actor, Graham Payne.

 

Although I was never one of Sir Noël’s Intimates, I did get to know his Private-Secretary, Cole Leslie, who wrote a book about The Master.

 

Cole’s Bedroom—across the stair-landing from the other two apartments—was covered almost completely in Mirrors: on the Walls & the Ceiling.

 

Obviously, The Master couldn’t have Mirrors in his own Bedroom, entertaining the Likes of Gertrude Lawrence, Elaine Stritch, & my old friend, Irene, Baroness Ravensdale of Kedelston, daughter of Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India & Lord Cinque-Portes

 

One aspect of the Lincoln-Center-Show that caught my eye: Color-Reproductions from Play-Pictorial.

 

This was a weekly/monthly Illustrated-Theatre-Magazine that essentially included the Lobby-Programs from all Major-West-End-Productions.

 

I have a Complete-Run of Play-Pictorial from inception to its Final-Publication in the 1930s. The Worldwide-Depression killed it off…

 

This important Archival-Resource will soon be in the The Arts Archive physically & eventually—when we can afford to Scan all the volumes—on-line at TheArtsArchive.com.

 

           

Stop the Presses! Pulitzer is a Prize-Asshole, Abusing New York’s Newsies!

 

News-Flash! Newsies has just won Seven Outer-Critics-Circle Award-Nominations!

           

Initially, the Constant-Perambulations of the Three-Steel-Stairway-Towers that dominate the stage of the Nederlander-Theatre—now featuring Disney’s Newsies—threaten to turn this fascinating, Dance-Crazed-Show into a Musical about Nuts & Bolts.

 

For a moment, I feared that the Designer of the Metallic-Scenery-Cursed Jesus Christ Superstar had come down to West 41st Street.

 

Not to Worry! Tobin Ost—working with Stage-Director Jeff Calhoun—has ingeniously made this Trio-of-Steps into something almost Brechtian!

 

Not quite Mother Courage, but what can you do when you have a Score by Disney’s House-Composer, Alan Menken & a Book by Harvey Fierstein?

 

The Site-of-the-Action is Lower-Manhattan.

 

The Time is 1899, the Turn-of-the-Century, with Costumes to match, by Jess Goldstein, no less!

 

Those were the Days when Homeless, Motherless-Kids sold Newspapers on the Streets for a Penny apiece. What they didn’t sell was a loss to them, but not to the Newspaper itself.

 

They were all exploited by Publishers such as Joseph Pulitzer, for whom that Journalism-Prize is now named…

 

In the so-called "Gilded-Age,”  Under-aged Boys & Girls—many of them Orphans—worked for almost Nothing in Dangerous "Factories” & other Establishments.

 

Governor Theodore Roosevelt—who appears like a Deus-ex-Machina, to save the Leader of the Newsies—later, as President Roosevelt, helped protect these Street-Kids with Child-Labor-Laws.

 

The Chorus of All-Singing, All-Dancing—Taps is Tops in this lively production!—Newsboys are almost the Ensemble-Stars of the Show, but Jeremy Jordan, as their Leader, Jack Kelly, is Dynamite!

 

He’s well-backed-up by the quasi-intellectual Davey, ably-played by Ben Fankhauser.

 

The Plutocratian-Pulitzer [John Dossett] has a Reporter-Daughter, Katherine, charmingly impersonated by Kara Lindsay.

 

Guess What? She falls in love with Jack Kelly, who is also a Talented-Artist!

 

[If only Patti Hearst had been working for Hearst’s San-Francisco-Examiner, instead of fooling-around over at the Red-School at Berkeley…]

 

Print Is Dying: Long Live the World-Journal-Telegram-&-Sun!

 

Your Roving Arts-Reporter has, over time, had the Boy-on-the Burning-Deck Sensation of being on-staff when the following Publications Went-Under: Theatre-Arts, Theatre-Crafts, The Educational Theatre-Journal, Theatre-Week, Other-Stages, Opera-Monthly, Ballet-News, Cue-Magazine, The New-York Herald-Tribune, etc, etc, etc, etc…

           

 

One-Picture Is Worth a Thousand-Words: One-Photograph Can Be Worth Thousands-of-Dollars!

           

The Houston-Museum of Fine-Arts is selling-off incredibly memorable Vintage-Photographs at Christie’s.

 

Over at 450 Park-Avenue, at Phillips-de-Pury, Photographs that are, by now, indelibly-etched on the Memories of anyone who loves Fine-Photography are up-for-grabs

 

At Phillips-de-Pury, two splendid catalogues show what‘s on-offer: The Face of Modernism—A Private West-Coast Collection & more-simply, Photographs.

 

By the time you read this, the Dual-Auctions will already have taken-place: 4 April 2012, to be exact.

 

So, if you’d like to see what Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Peter Beard, Cindy Sherman, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Imogen Cunningham, Man Ray, Constantin Brancusi, Alexander Rodchenko, Brassai, André Kertéz, Cartier-Bresson, Berenice Abbott, Robert Frank, Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, Diane Arbus, Lisette Model, Weegee, Horst P. Horst, Bert Stern, Andy Warhol, Helmut Newton, Carl Van Vechten, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evens, Adolf Sander, Philippe Halsman, Lee Friedlander, David Hockney, Robert Mapplethorpe, Herb Ritts, Chuck Close, Bruce Weber, Louise Lawler, William Eggleston, Anonymous, Nan Goldin, Andres Serrano, Larry Clark, Larry Sultan, Gilbert & George, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Robert Polidori, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Elliott Erwitt, Andreas Gursky, Edward Burtynsky, David LaChapelle, Loretta Lux, William Wegman—he of the Weimariner-Dogs, & Annie Liebovitz had to offer Auction-Bidders, get these two handsome Catalogues from Phillips-de-Pury

 

The Phillips-de-Pury Catalogues are so ingeniously-designed & splendidly-produced that they are Keepers!

 

They are always much more impressive than the Catalogues of Christie’s, Bonham’s, & Sotheby’s.

 

Oddly enough, most of the same Photographers are also on-offer over at Christie’s. Some, in fact, in larger Formats than at Phillips-de-Pury…

 

Would you like to find out how much that Snapshot your Dad took of Albert Einstein down at Princeton is now worth?

 

Get the Auction-Results from either Phillips-de-Pury or Christie’s. They both had the same shot.

 

Google for their respective Websites & Auction-Results.

 

Christie’s-Bulletins:

 

At Christie’s, the 19th-Century-European-Paintings Auction brought-in more than Six-Million-Dollars. Among the Artists: Eugène Delacroix, Arnoldus Bloemers, & William Adolphe Bouguereau.

 

The Auction for Prints & Multiples brought nearly $8 Million!

 

A complete set of Andy Warhol’s Flowers—10 screen-prints—was sold for $266,500.

 

One plate of Andy’s Marilyn fetched $218,500, with a Roy Lichtenstein Two Nudes going for $206,500.

 

Picasso’s Femme au Corsage à Fleurs placed far behind Warhol, Lichtenstein, & even Marc Chagall, going for only $110,500…

 

In a special gallery, where Violinists could try out the amazing range of Violins, Violas, & Bows, the sales totaled nearly $2 Million.

 

There were no Strads or Amatis on-offer, but a 1690 Guarnarius sold for $302,500.

 

For Connoisseurs, there’s nothing like a French-Bow, apparently.

 

A Gold & Tortoise-Mounted Violin-Bow, made by FX Tourte in Paris set a World-Record for a Tourte-Bow, at $182,500.

 

Some of the fine Bows on-offer sold for more than some fine Violins…

 

Despite the absence of any Amatis or Strads, there were Violins from Landolfi, Rogeri, & Lupot.

           

 

Gustav Klimt in Vienna: MAK Shows His Designs for the Mosaic-Frieze in Palais-Stoclet!

           

In Vienna, it’s officially the Museum fur Angewandte-Kunst, or MAK.

 

Originally, this name applied to the Applied-Arts, as in Architecture, Design & Decoration

 

But now the focus is more on Contemporary-Arts, as in Amsterdam, at the Stedlijk-Museum.

 

This is the Centenary of Vienna’s famed Artist/Designer Gustav Klimt.

 

Klimt’s the Genius who painted that Portrait of Adèle Bloch-Bauer, for which Ronald Lauder paid Millions for his Neue-Galerie on Fifth-Avenue.

 

When he bid for it, Die Schoene Adèle was the most-expensive Modern-Portrait ever.

 

But they still have Lots of Klimts in Alt-Wien.

 

To celebrate his Birthday, MAK is now showing his fascinating Designs for the Mosaic-Frieze in the Dining-Room of the Palais-Stocklet in Brussels.

 

This splendid Villa—still surviving with all of the Wiener-Werkstätte-designed Carpets, Furniture, Fabrics, Hangings, Crystal, Ceramics, & Silver—was commissioned by Adolphe Stoclet from Viennese Architect-Designer Josef Hoffmann.

 

The Concept of a Basic-Style-of-Design for every aspect of furnishing a specially-designed house was introduced in Vienna by such Architects as Otto Wagner & Josef Hoffmann.

 

In Germany & Austria—at the Jahrhundertwende—this was called Jugendstil. In France, it was l’Art-Nouveau: The New Style, the Style of Youth…

 

Frank Lloyd Wright adopted this Concept in designing & furnishing his own Prairie-Houses.

 

Wagner & Hoffmann created some splendid Villas for the Wealthy of Vienna—especially on Himmelstrasse before World War I—but the Palais-Stocklet was something more special, having been commissioned so far away from Vienna.

 

When Your Roving Arts-Reporter was writing, editing, & photographing for The Art-Deco News—later, The Modernist—he photographed Palais-Stocklet from the street on several visits to Brussels.

 

But it was not Open-to-the-Public & I didn’t know anyone in the Stocklet-Family.

 

I was assured, however, that all the Décor, Furnishings, China, Silver, & Crystal remained as they were when Hoffmann had finished his Masterpiece. Showing, perhaps, a bit of wear, over time…

 

Perhaps the Palais will be opened for Klimt’s Anniversary?

 

If not, you can still see his Mosaic-Designs at MAK in Vienna…

 

 

Amsterdam’s Stedlijk-Museum Comes to Time-Warner: Magnificent Modern Enlargement!

           

When next you visit Amsterdam—as surely you must, now that the historic old City-Museum has been enlarged & modernized—you may well be astonished to see a huge sleek white hulk hugging the fin-de-siècle façade of the 1895 Stedlijk-Museum…

 

This Aerospace-Inspired-Exterior—contrasting with the Brick-&-Mortar of the older building—is made of a Synthetic-Fiber named Twaron©. The same stuff they use for Boat-Hulls & Hockey-Sticks!

 

Mels Crouwel—of Benthem-Crouwel-Architects, designers of the new Museum-Addition—was on-hand recently at Time-Warner’s Landmarc-Restaurant [no k] to make a Power-Point-Presentation of the results.

 

These include repositioning the Museum’s Entrance—formerly facing away from the great lawns of the Museumsplein—so that it joins the Ring-of-Culture that includes the Concertgebouw, the Van-Gogh-Museum, & the Rijksmuseum.

 

Ann Goldstein also greeted the Press at Time-Warner as the Stedlijk-Museum‘s new Director.

 

Almost all Dutch speak excellent English, but Ms. Goldstein has even a whiff of LA in her speech. She was previously at the Los-Angeles Contemporary-Art-Museum, a fiefdom of Eli Broad.

 

Not only will the Stedlijk‘s Permanent-Collection be easy to view, but emerging Netherlands & Foreign-Artists will have their Day on the walls as well.

 

Opening on 22 September 2012, the Museum will feature Beyond Imagination, a showcase for International-Artists who have found Amsterdam a welcoming home in which to experiment.

 

A Mike Kelly Retrospective is coming-up, but Robert Rauschenberg & all the Usual-Suspects are already in the Museum’s Collections.

 

It’s getting so that you can find Jeff Koons, Franz West, Keith Haring, Anselm Kiefer, & Robert Motherwell anywhere you rove.

 

Amsterdam is the City with Three-White-Crosses on its Coat-of-Arms. These are Welcoming-Symbols.

 

In many American-Cities, you need to watch-out for the Double-Cross

 

Just in the Post: Handsome Brochures from Kunsthaus-Bregenz—where Koons & West are Great-Favorites—news of Herstory, shown originally at the Brooklyn-Museum in the Liz Sackler Feminism-Galleries.

 

Her-Story—in case you were baffled—is not His-Story, or History. Get It?

 

           

No Menotti at the Manhattan-School: Kent Tritle Offers Mendelssohn, Brahms, & Merryman…

           

Looking forward to a performance of Gian-Carlo Menotti’s The Unicorn, The Manticore & whatever just downhill from Grant’s-Tomb, Your Arts-Reporter was a bit dashed to discover that the estimable Kent Tritle had changed the MSM’s Chamber-Choir Program to some minor Mendelssohns & Brahmsian Gesänge & Lieder.

 

Leider Lieder, as they say in Deutschland

           

Nonetheless, this offered the Opportunity for Tritle’s Grad-Assistants to conduct.

 

Sophia Vastek was companionable at the Keyboard, with Mezzo Gina Perregrino, interpreting Lass’, o Herr, mich Hilfe finden.

 

Do you think the Lord was really listening-in during Felix Mendelssohn’s Time-on-Earth?

 

 

Plethora of Press-Previews at Met-Museum: Ancient-Egypt, Al Dürer, Naked-Ladies, Rembrandt.

           

If you think you’ve seen some of the quaint Primitive-Egyptian-Sculptures & Inscriptions now on-view in the Met-Museum’s Lehman-Wing, you may well be right.

 

They are from the Museum’s Own-Vast-Holdings. But it might be wiser to refer to them as Archaic, rather than Primitive, as that word so Offends these days…

 

The Dawn of Egyptian Art will be on-view until 5 August 2012.

 

Dürer & Beyond will close 3 September 2012.

 

This is a fascinating Introduction—at least for some who know little about Renaissance Wood-Blocks & Dry-Points in Nuremberg & Beyond—not only to some works by Albrecht Dürer, but also to Fellow-Artists working in the same period, with similar Concerns & Commissions.

 

Also on-view: Martin Schongauer, Albrecht Altdorfer, Urs Graf, Hans Holbein the Elder, Joseph Heintz the Elder, Wenzel Hollar, & Joachim von Sandrart the Elder,

 

Dürer once made a kind of Walking-Tour westward from Nuremberg to the Lowlands.

 

So there’s at least a Land-Link between his works & those of Rembrandt, whose Self-Portrait is in the Met-Museum.

 

But now—until 20 May 2012—the Met has Two Rembrandt Self-Portraits!

 

The Visitor is from England’s handsome & historic Kenwood-House, now undergoing Preservation-Measures.

 

Kenwood is one of those Stately-Homes that are so Grand, they can hardly be called either Houses or Homes

 

If you cannot really afford Hefty-Dutch-Lady-Models, it is a Money-Saver to paint your own face, provided you have a good Mirror at hand.

 

We do have Flemish-Nudes, but it’s perhaps a Blessing that Rembrandt & his Peers didn’t paint themselves in the Nude.

 

Instead, the Met is now offering Naked before the Camera, some Vintage-Akt-Fotos that owe their existence not only to Esthetic-Prurience but also to the Development of the Camera!

 

Nude-Photos of Women far Outweigh those of Naked-Men.

 

Considering the Heft of some of the Nude-Ladies & the Spare-Muscularity of the relatively few Men on-view, Weight does come easily to mind.

 

Of course, we have Male-Nudes by Eadweard Muybridge

 

But only until 9 September 2012, when they must go back into the Acid-Free File-Boxes.

 

           

Ana Tzarev Pre-empts Masterpiece-Theatre for Kabuki-Visions…

           

For Your Roving Arts-Reporter, one of the most interesting things about Ana Tzarev’s Painterly-Exploration of Japan’s Traditional Kabuki-Theatre is that she invited an Old Brooklyn-College-Colleague of Mine—Prof. Dr. Samuel Leiter—to pen the Forward & the Exhibition-Catalogue!

 

Titled Masterpiece-Theatre: Legends of the Japanese Kabuki-Stage, this colorful, vibrant, explosive show of Ana’s vivid Kabuki-Portraits owes nothing to the TV-Dramas of the same name.

 

Founded by the fabled Okuni in the 17th-Century—under the Tokugawa-Shogunate—Kabuki has since developed into an almost Rigid, Ritualized Performance-Style, in which the rich Costumes are as important as the Dance-Movements & Chanted & Ranted-Texts.

 

A Bonus in this show are actual Kabuki-Costumes & even the long, flowing Wig for the Lion-Dance.

 

Ana Tzarev has been watching & studying Kabuki in Japan for four-decades. She is especially close to the Kabuki-Family of the Ichikawa.

 

Nothing to do with Bunraku, the Puppet-Dramas, with their Black-Clad-Handlers

 

This fascinating show will be on-view at 24 West 57th only until 5 May. For more Info & Images, see the Website: Anatzarev.com. Or call: 212-586-9800.

 

           

Being Shakeseare at BAM—But What About Being Chris Marlowe in Exile?

           

Simon Callow is anything but Callow, or Shallow.

 

He brings a Lifetime-of-Experience as an Actor in the Dramas & Comedies of that Man from Stratford-Upon-Avon.

 

Using The Bard’s "Seven-Ages-of-Man” Monologue from the Forest-of-Arden play, he imagines Shakespeare’s own Lifetime-Experience, with Apposite-Quotes from various dramas, including the Inspirational Henry V. Once more unto the breach…

 

In the First-Section, three trees are dimly-glimpsed in the background of the Harvey-Theatre at BAM. Some leaves flutter

 

In the Second-Section, three rather different trees stand bleak, white, & leafless in the background.

 

They may recall that Passage about "That time of year thou mayest in me behold, when…,” as the Poet compares himself to a bare or leafless Tree.

 

Still, it must have cost Money to fly those six tree-props over from London!

 

The Immortal-Lines do not need Propping-Up, do they?

 

Nonetheless, the Audience-Loved-It, congratulating themselves with Laughter or Sighs, on recognizing Lines they must once have read aloud in School

 

 

Obama 44 at LaMaMa—My Mama Done Tole’ Me:

           

Mario Fratti has gone & written yet another Play!

 

This one is about Our-President: Baruch Obama.

 

Oh oh! Wrong Hard-Right-Israeli-Jewish-Name: That should be Barak, as in Ehud Barak

 

Unfortunately, on the Appointed-Evening—when I arrived at LaMaMa on East Fourth-Street—there was No-Performance.

 

An Auto-Accident & No-Understudy

 

As soon as Obama 44 recovers, you will be the First to hear about its Mysteries!

 

Well, no, in fact.

 

The Actress was out for a week, but no-one notified me when she returned.

 

The Anyway-Limited-Run production is closing even as I write this…

 

But there’s another Obama-Play coming up at LaMama—or is it Theatre for the New-City?—called Obama in Napoli. Or is this a Musical?

 

           

Regrets Underneath the Shrine-Temple: Reno Quickie-Divorce for Young-Commie?

           

There are these plain Wooden-Cabins on-stage at the Manhattan-Theatre-Club, down in the basement of New-York City-Center.

 

Four quite Disparate but Desperate Men are waiting-out Reno Quickie-Divorces. It’s 1954, so Reno was the place to go…

 

The newest & youngest is married to a Rising-Hollywood-Starlet, but he’s a Commie—amazing as he’s only 18-years-old—so he wants to protect her by divorcing.

 

The Greatest-Good for the Greatest-Number, as Karl Marx used to say…

 

If you are too young to remember The-Red-Scare, consider yourself fortunate.

 

Are you now or have you ever been…

 

Words to Strike-Terror into American-Hearts, especially those in the Performing-Arts!

 

Excellent-Ensemble in Matt Charman’s Divorce-Charade, staged by Carolyn Cantor.

           

 

Buried in Southwark-Cathedral, Victoria Woodhull Is Exhumed at Theatre-for-the-New-City!

           

To do Justice to the amazing Career of Victoria Claflin Woodhull would require a Major-Motion-Picture.

           

As Children, both she & her sister, Tennessee Claflin, were presented by her Snake-Oil-Peddling-Father as Clairvoyants.

 

He may have been More-Than-a-Father to Victoria, who, over time, had Sexual-Congress with an astounding array of Men, some Very-Influential, like Commodore Vanderbilt.

 

Long before Hillary made the Effort, Victoria was the First-Woman-Candidate for the Presidency-of-the-United-States.

 

But Free-Love was not a Platform-Plank many American-Men were willing to endorse. At least, not in Public

 

Victoria made Common-Cause with Susan B. Anthony & Elizabeth Cady Stanton, demanding Votes-for-Women. Also a Platform-Plank most Men viewed with Distaste, even Horror.

 

As Your Roving Arts-Reporter left the New-City’s Premises, an Older-Woman said to him: "That was a Terrible Play!”

 

Her Friend added: "Too many Scenes. For what?”

 

Playwright Richard Geha’s Problem was/is that Victoria’s-Life was Too-Complicated for just one Play.

 

Many Scenes had to be introduced by what were, in effect, Lantern-Slides, explaining Location & Date. Or were they supposed to be Silent-Film-Titles?

 

The Most-Effective of these many Scenes was Victoria’s-Trial in Manhattan for publishing Naughty-Things in her Weekly-Newspaper, brought into Court by the Ferocious-Foe of Pornography & Smut, Anthony Comstock [Robert Colpitts].

 

Even worse, she had—it was alleged—besmirched the Saintly-Reputation of the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, the famous Pastor of Plymouth-Church-of-the-Pilgrims, over in Brooklyn-Heights.

 

The Good-Reverend—slyly & sexily played by Richard A. O’Brien—was, in fact, Guilty-as-Charged. He’d debauched the wife of his Dear-Friend, Theo Tilton [handsome Robert Homeyer].

 

Among many other Good-Christian-Ladies that he had consoled outside his Pulpit

 

Kate Tenekto was both sexy & vibrant as the Crusading-Victoria.

 

But, even though she’d been pilloried as Satan’s-Whore, Victoria died a Lady!

 

She is buried in Southwark-Cathedral, near Shakespeare’s Third-Globe-Theatre.

 

A handsome Heraldic-Shield on a Pillar of the Church attests to Her Ladyship. This is near a Memorial to Oscar Hammerstein II, who was too young to have been Seduced by Lady-Victoria.

 

 

The Morini-Strad Is Not a Guarnarius! Nor Is Its Aged-Owner Going Gently into That Good Night…

           

The former Child-Prodigy-Violinist, Erica [Mary Beth Piel], needs her Stradivarius repaired.

 

She’s very Old, so she doesn’t want it to fall into the Hands of a Collector, for then it will never be played again.

 

Michael Laurence plays a testy but brilliant Restorer-of-Fine-Instruments. But he’d rather be making Violins than refurbishing them.

 

In Willy Holtzman’s drama—complete with the Young-Prodigious-Erica playing in the background: Tchaikovsky’s Violin-Concerto—Erica dies in a Hospital-Bed, not knowing that the Almost-Priceless-Strad has disappeared from her apartment…

 

Primary-Stage’s Founder, Casey Childs, staged sensitively.

 

Now, The Morini Strad can join that Long List of Plays that feature a Hospital-Bed as a Major-Prop: The Lyons, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, & Wit, among others…

 

           

Don’t Eat at Ollie’s Before The Big Meal at Playwrights-Horizons Across the Street: Nosh-After

           

It’s a bit like Thornton Wilder’s The Long Christmas-Dinner. Or Pete Gurney’s The Dining-Room.

 

Even—in some Endless-Moments—suggestive of The Last Supper

 

Generations of a Family meet-to-eat, to interact, & to act-up, either in what look like Cheap-Restaurants or At-Home.

 

A lively Cast-of-Nine makes this work—very noisily at times—in Dan LeFranc’s The Big Meal, ingeniously staged by Sam Gold.

 

When it’s Time for Someone to Die, a Big-Meal is plonked-down before Him or Her. Each eats slowly, in dead-silence, brightly spotlighted.

 

Then the Plate is yanked away…

 

The Production has been selling-out at Playwrights-Horizons. Some believe this to be the Best-Play, so it will surely transfer to a larger Venue.

 

 

May The Best Man Win! Splendid-Production! Outstanding Star-Turns! Dirty-Politics!

           

Gore Vidal’s The Best Man was extremely Topical in the Election-Year of 1960.

 

Now revived at the Schoenfeld-Theatre, it seems almost Quaint, considering the Vast-Quantities of Mud & Slime that are being dumped on the Nation’s TV-Screens.

 

Thanks to a Corrupt-Supreme-Court ruling that Corporations "are People,” Billionaire-Fascists like the Brothers-Koch can now fund Million-Dollar-Superpac-Attacks on Candidates they wish to Destroy.

 

Central to Vidal’s fictional Nomination-Convention in Philadelphia is the Character of William Russell [an imposing John Larroquette], who—although he has the Documents to Destroy his sleazy Opponent, Senator Joseph Cantwell [Eric McCormack, who cants very well indeed!]—finally refuses to Stoop-That-Low.

 

Throwing his Delegates to a virtually-unknown Third-Presidential-Aspirant, he thwarts the Power-Hungry & Desperately-Dishonest Cantwell.

 

It is his Finest-Hour!

 

This is a Star-Studded-Cast. It includes Candice Bergen, as the estranged wife of Russell, who is a former Secretary-of-State.

 

James Earl Jones plays the blustery—but Dying—former US-President, Arthur Hockstader.

 

Angela Lansbury adopts a smothering Southern-Accent, as Sue-Ellen Gamadge, representing the Party’s Women’s-Division.

 

How about Rudy Giuliani’s abandoned Wife, Donna Hanover!

 

"America’s-Mayor” may have made a Big-Mistake by dumping her. The Lady can Act!

 

Jefferson Mays—who once played a famed German-Drag-Queen on Broadway—is affecting as the Gay-Man who will Blow-the-Whistle on Cantwell’s own Homosexual-Dalliances.

 

Director Michael Wilson keeps the Scenes Fast-Moving & the Tension Taut.

 

But the elegant Hotel-Suites & the red-white-&-blue garishness of the Campaign-Scenes are Powerful-Political-Statements in themselves. Kudos to designer Derek McLane!

 

This is such a stunning & timely Production, that its Limited-Run should be extended.          

 

 

Judy! We Love You! Even at the End of the Rainbow! Tracie Bennett Is Terrific!

           

My Nomination for Most-Amazing-Broadway-Debut is Tracie Bennett, now channeling Judy Garland at the Belasco-Theatre.

 

Because we are seeing Judy at the End-of-Everything—including that Wizard-of-Oz-RainbowPeter Quilter’s unsparing Book is a bit of a Downer. Judy is willfully Self-Destructing before our eyes…

 

The only Human-Glue to hold her together during her Last-Engagement—at London’s Talk-of-the-Town—is her long-suffering & unpaid Gay-Accompanist, Anthony [Michael Cumpsty] & her Husband-to-Be, Mickey Deans [Tom Pelphrey].

 

This is, essentially, a Play-with-Music, but it has so much of Judy-Singing, that it ought to classified as a New-Musical!

 

Although Judy knows she needs to stay Dry & off-the-Pills, she’s always cheating—effectually, On-Herself.

 

Bill Dudley—who designed Peter Hall’s Bayreuth-RING many seasons ago—has confected a Lavish-Suite at the Ritz, with Talk-of-the-Town behind its back-wall.

           

The sensitive staging of Terry Johnson lets it all Hang-Out, with Judy on a Rampage or Collapsing in Fear-of-Performing. She’s Losing-It & she knows it.

 

Tracie Bennett delivers Eight-Times-a-Week!

 

[But it’s reported that Bennett has been doing this show—or previous-versions of it—for some seasons in Britain…]

 

The Loving/Worshipping Anthony wants to protect Judy. Arrogant Mickey thinks he has found a New-Meal-Ticket.

 

At the close, Judy dies of an Overdose-of-Seconal…

 

But she may well have died by stealing Someone-Else’s-Pills.

 

When Judy & Mickey Deans were in Copenhagen after a Brief-Appearance—before flying back to London & Her-Death—Danish-Radio’s Hans Vangkilde invited them out to his farm-house in the Suburbs for a late-night Interview.

 

Hans was The Man to interview Important-English-Speaking-Celebrities when they came to Denmark’s Capital. He taped Josephine Baker & Teddy KolleckMayor-of-Jerusalem—among others.

 

That Fatal-Evening, when he chatted with Mickey & Judy—What a Team, like Rooney & Garland!—Judy was ebullient, looking forward to a Renewal of her Fading-Career & to Married-Bliss with Potential-Husband, Mickey.

 

On the Tape—which Hans gave to me, along with the Tapes of Baker & Kolleck—Judy is always pushing Mickey forward.

 

He was, she said, launching a Fashion-Line! As if His-Career were more Important than hers…

 

She also consumed two entire bottles of Vodka.

 

Before they departed, she used Hans’ Bathroom to "freshen-up.”

 

When he went to get his Essentially-Toxic Pain-Pills, they were gone.

 

Judy had stolen them. The next day, she was found dead in London.

 

For years after, Hans felt that he had Killed-Judy-Garland

 

These were not Ordinary-Pain-Killers. They were Real-Killers.

 

During the Nazi-Occupation of Denmark, Hans Vangkilde was one of the brave young Danes who risked their lives to ferry Danish-Jews over the waters to Neutral-Sweden.

 

One night, however, the Gestapo caught him, with a small boat full of fearful Jews.

 

The Jews were Disappeared, but Hans was punished in an especially vicious way.

 

He had trained as a Concert-Pianist, so the Gestapo-Torturers shoved Wooden-Splinters into each Finger, between the Nail & the Flesh.

 

Then they set fire to each Splinter, one at a time.

 

Hans was never able to play again. Even Typing was an agony for him, with his Ruined-Fingers­

 

The only Pain-Killer strong enough to ease the Constant-Pain—which grew worse, over time—was so strong that it would be Toxic to anyone not so afflicted.

 

These were the Pills that Judy found in Hans’ Bathroom…

 

That Judy-Tape is now in my Bedbug-Storage. I need to dig-it-out & put it On-Line while End of the Rainbow is still running!

 

 

Don’t Cry for Me, Andrew Lloyd Webber! Evita’s Doing Just Fine at the Marquis!

           

When Hal Prince originally staged the Bookless Evita for Broadway, he made it a very simple, even bare-bones, production.

 

Director Michael Grandage has made this revival at the Marquis considerably Grander. Monumental, even, thanks to the designs of Christopher Oram.

 

Where Hal had the Argentine-Colonels fight for Power by playing Musical-Chairs, in this incarnation, they do Arm-Wrestling.

 

In the Original, you knew who Che Guevara—the Narrator—actually was. Ricky Martin is excellent, but he doesn’t suggest Che, or what he meant to Audiences at that time.

 

Michael Cerveris is a cold & calculating Peron, but the Evita of Elena Roger is Naked-Ambition personified. She is slight & even a bit shrill, but this may have been the Director’s calculation.

 

Rob Ashford’s Choreography is central to the smooth-functioning of this complicated production.

 

Many years ago, when I interviewed Lloyd-Webber about both Evita & Jesus Christ Superstar, he asked me what song in Evita I liked most.

 

For me, Night of a Thousand Stars was the most Outstanding.

 

He laughed, not the least bit disappointed that I’d not chosen Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina, the Show’s Hit-Song.

 

Andrew explained that, because Pit-Orchestras no longer played all the tunes from a Musical’s-Score as an Overture to the show, he wanted Audiences to feel that they’d always known the Big-Number.

 

So Night of a Thousand Stars is Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina upside-down & backward…

 

To enlarge on the Book-lessness of Evita, let me recycle what I wrote last month about Superstar:

 

Years & Years Ago, the Editor of Opera-News asked me to do an Interview with Andrew Lloyd-Weber about the New-Operas he was composing for Broadway & London’s West-End.

 

I’d already planned to talk with him about Evita & Superstar for After-Dark, so this would be metaphorically Killing-Two-Birds-with-One-Stone. Or One-Interview…

 

Andrew received me in his Suite in the Carlyle-Hotel. He’d already read some reports I’d written for After-Dark on Broadway-Musicals.

 

He was both amused & flattered that Opera-News believed he was composing Operas.

 

Why did my Editor think he was intentionally composing Operas?

 

Well, because there’s no Book. No real Dialogue, aside from what’s sung. No Recitative

 

Truth was, when Andrew & Tim Rice were working on Jesus-Christ Superstar, they didn’t think it would ever get a Professional-Production, owing to its Concept & Content.

 

So there was no real Book: just an Outline.

 

Actually, they really did have a Book. It’s called The-Good-Book!

 

Their Best-Hope was, they thought, to make a really excellent Recording.

 

The Superstar-Album took-off, with Worldwide-Consequences.

 

So the Producer Robert Stigwood approached them about a commercial-staging.

 

Tim Rice told him there was no actual Book; that he’d get-to-work to create one.

 

"No,” Stigwood told them. "The Songs tell the story. It doesn’t need a book.”

 

The Rest is History: Tom O’Horgan gave Superstar a totally Trendy-Treatment for Broadway.

 

The same thing happened with Evita.

 

Although they had thoroughly-researched the Life of Evita Peron, once again the Team feared that the unusual story of this Third-Rate-Actress eventually becoming the Dictatress-of-Argentina would not Make-It at the Box-Office.

 

But as an Album, it was, once again, a Worldwide-Success.

 

But this time, the ingenious Stage-Direction of Hal Prince took the place of a Conventional-Musical-Book.

 

           

Icebergs Ahead! Auctions Afoot: Souvenirs of R. M. S. Titanic! Centenary of Its Sinking!

           

The great Cunard-White-Star-Line Unsinkable-Ship, the RMS Titanic was launched in Belfast, 31 May 1911.

 

It went to the Bottom-of-the-Ocean one-hundred-years ago, in 1912

 

A Victim of Icebergs & Incompetence

 

Belfast now has its very own Titanic-Museum.

 

Exhibitions of Artifacts reclaimed from the Sunken-Hulk seem to be on Constant-Tour, rather like those Human-Body-Parts shows.

 

If you are eager for a Titanic-Souvenir, however, some of the Items up for Auction at Bonhams are, instead, Relics of Major-Motion-Pictures. Not dredged-up from Davey-Jones-Locker

 

But there are also actual Marconi-Cables, Newspaper-Front-Pages, Photographs, & other Period-Survivals.

 

For many, the Best-Souvenir could be Bonhams’ Catalogue: R. M. S. Titanic: 100 Years of Fact & Fiction.

 

It is richly-illustrated: the Cables alone tell a Terrifying-Story.

 

That handsome brass Titanic-Bell, however, comes not from the Unsinkable-Molly-Brown’s Collection, but from the 1958 Movie, A Night To Remember.

 

For more information about the articles up-for-auction—as well as the Jerry-Garcia-Collection & the forthcoming Space-History-Sale—you can Google Bonhams!

 

 

UBS—Undamaged by Financial-Disasters—To Fund Guggenheim MAP Global-Art Initiative!

           

MoMA: Watch Your Back!

 

The Guggenhiem may be stealing your Thunder

 

The Big-Wigs at the Guggenheim have joined-forces with UBS—represented at a recent Press-Presentation by Jürg Zeltner—to launch a Five-Year-Project to Identify & Support a Network of Curators & Artists from South & Southeast-Asia, Latin-America, the Middle-East & North-Africa.

 

Identified-Curators are to have Residencies at the Guggenheim.

 

Identified-Art-Works that they have selected will the shown in the Focus-Regions, plus "A Major City elsewhere in the World,” after being first unveiled at the Guggenheim.

 

Both Hong-Kong & Singapore are "Target-Cities.”

 

Extensive "Audience-Driven” Educational-Opportunities are also envisioned.

 

Three-Exhibitions are to visit Three-Venues each, for a Total of Nine-Exposures!

 

Then all the Artworks will enter the Guggenheim’s Permanent-Collections

 

The Guggenheim seems to have an Affinity for Banks & Bankers. Its Berlin-Incarnation is a co-effort with the Deutsche-Bank, not far from the Brandenburg-Gate!

 

Then there’s that Bilbao-Frank-Gehry-Guggenheim. I’ve not been there yet, so I do not know what Bank may be Bank-Rolling it.

 

The efforts of the Guggenheim’s former Director, Thomas Krens, to have a Salzburg- Guggenheim sited inside the mighty Mönschberg, were, however, frustrated.

 

Had he enlisted the Financial-Support of The-World-Bank or the IMF, who knows what Might-Have-Been?

 

 

Night at the Museum! 2 Boys & 2 Girls Defy Creationists! Evolution Also Involves Growing-Up!

           

The Charming-Quartet of Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell, Heidi Blickenstaff, & Jeff Bowen open their new Musical—down at the Vineyard-Theatre—in the American-Museum-of-Natural-History.

 

Creationists will be horrified to learn that they evoke the Darwinian-Notion of Evolution to take a closer look at the Problems of Growing-Up & Being-Yourself.

 

If you can figure-out who You really Are

 

They also invoke the words of Thomas Merton, the famed Trappist-Monk who insisted that we should try to Live-in-the-Now. Each Minute, each Moment needs to be savored, experienced, Lived

 

Or: Now.Here.This.

 

Trappists don’t Talk. They have a Vow-of-Silence. They also bake Good-Bread

 

Silence does not prevent Monks from Meditating or Writing.

 

So Merton wrote that Best-Seller, The Seven Storey Mountain.

 

The Hopalong-Freud-Satirist, Ira Wallach, parodied it as the 14-Carat Molehill

 

Once-upon-a-Time, I made a Pilgrimage to Merton’s Monastery, Our Lady of Gethsemane.

 

The Bread was Good, but the Music for the Mass was Glorious: Trappists are allowed to Sing!

 

So, also, the Now.Here.This. Quartet.

 

It’s not easy Growing-Up, especially if you can never seem to meet your Parents’-Expectations. Or you may be Gay but are still trying to be OK

           

 

Walk a Mile in Someone’s Moccasins, But Just Try Cycling 4,000-Miles: Left-Over Hippie…

           

"Hey! Werner Herzog’s written a play!”

 

Thus Spake a Colleague, who had not carefully-read the Press-Release.

 

Actually, 4,000 Miles is the fiction of Amy Herzog, who has imagined a Hippie-Type [Gabriel Ebert] from Long-Ago, in Greenwich-Village in "September of a recent year.”

 

The lanky ingenuous Ebert plays Leo, who has cycled all the way from Seattle to Manhattan, losing, along the way, his Friend, Micah, who is reported to have suffocated in some mud by the Roadside.

 

He has taken, briefly, as he thinks, Shelter with his Widowed & Lonely Grandmother, Vera [tartly played by Mary Louise Wilson].

 

He has Women-Problems, represented by Zoë Winters & Greta Lee.

 

Lauren Helpern designed a commodious Rent-Controlled Village-Apartment to contain the Play’s Activities.

 

There was No-Intermission, so, after a while, it seemed like the Play might go on for 4,000-Miles itself…

 

How about walking 4,000-Miles in every pair of Imelda Marcos’ Shoes?

 

I admired Amy Herzog’s After the Revolution—which showed us Vera when she was still an Unrepentant-Communist—so I don’t know what went wrong here.

 

           

How About $133,000 for the Nuremberg Weltchronik, Printed 1493? Rare-Books at the Armory!

           

A Touchstone for the Ever-Climbing-Prices for Rare-Books—at least for Your Roving Arts-Reporter—is the Latest-Figure demanded for Hartmann Schedel’s Nürnberg Weltkronik, printed in 1493, the Year after Columbus made that Famous-Voyage…

 

At this year’s New-York-Antiquarian-Book-Fair—at the Park-Avenue-Armory—it was priced at $133,000.

 

Long, long ago—in 1956, to be exact—I could have bought a Pristine-Copy of the Weltkronik in Barcelona, for only $250. But I was saving-up to buy a Volkswagen-Blue-Beetle, so I passed-up this Golden-Opportunity.

 

This Spring’s Book-Fair had more Dealer-Booths than ever before, with a Cornucopia of Rare-Books, Modern First-Editions, Medieval-Illuminations, Authorial-Manuscripts, Vintage-Photographs, & Antique-Maps.

 

This year’s Fair was the 52nd, which must mean that it began way back in 1960?

 

If so, I’ve been a Regular for most of those years, but—although Mightily-Tempted—I’ve never bought a Rare-Book at the Fair.

 

The Reason being that I have, over time, acquired a considerable Collection of Early-Printed-Books, including a huge Two-Volume Josephus’ History of the Jewish-Wars.

 

Not only is it a thrill to be able to see & handle Famous-First-Editions, but it’s also gratifying to be given handsomely-designed recent Catalogues from Famous-Booksellers.

 

When the Books, Maps, or Manuscripts are richly-illustrated in bright Colors, complete with Comprehensive-Descriptions of their Content & Provenance, having the Catalogues is almost as good as owning the books.

 

Especially if you don’t have any more Shelf-Space in a tiny Manhattan-Apartment

 

If you want to know Who was exhibiting at the Book-Fair, go on-line to www.nybookfair.com.

 

But, for the Record, I’d like to mention some of the handsome Catalogues I was given:

 

Jarndyce’s Books & Pamphlets: 1522-1817 offers reproductions of often titillating Title-Pages of Long-Forgotten-Books, but the summaries of Content & History are also rewarding.

 

When you are next in London, you’ll find Jarndyce across from the British-Museum.

 

From Antiquariat-Winfried-Geisnheyner comes the fascinating Kinderbuchkatalog XXXV, with many colorful illustrations of German Children’s-Books, as well as famed-titles from France & England.

 

Librairie Benoît Forgeot in Paris offers a handsome Catalogue of Fêtes & Entrées. Some of the Royal & Imperial Celebratory-Floats make your average Fourth-of-July Floats look laughable.

 

The Princely-Pleasures of the Divinely-Ordained were once Super-Splendid indeed…

 

But here, all the way from Beverly-Hills, is the Heritage-Book-Shop Holiday-Catalogue 2011. The impressive Book-Bindings are especially attractive. From Don-Quixote to Christmas-Carol & beyond…

 

By far the Most-Impressive of all the Catalogues I collected are Omnium-Gatherum & Pictorial-Blake, from John Windle Antiquarian-Bookseller, whose shop is on San Francisco’s Theatre-Street, the Geary.

 

Even if you don’t have the Cash to buy Rare-Books & Prints, you might well want to have the Blake-Catalogue, as it has some excellent reproductions of Blake’s Plates for The Book of Job, The Grave, Night-Thoughts, & Blake’s Plate of his famed Fresco of The Canterbury Pilgrims

 

San Francisco was once excited by the Discovery of Drake’s-Plate—later exposed as a Fraud—but Windle’s Blake’s-Plates are not fakes.

 

Windle’s Omnium-Gatherum is richly-illustrated with colorful pages of Medieval-Manuscripts. Not to overlook remarkable Book-Bindings

 

For your copies of either—or both: www.johnwindle.com.

 

For Printed & Manuscript America, you may want to contact Ian Brabner, Bookseller, of Wilmington, Delaware, where the Air is full of DuPont & Joe Biden, noted for Hot-Air.

 

You may be appalled to read a Poster for a Slave-Auction. But it’s amusing to read about a Two-Headed-Lady. Much more interesting than a Two-Faced-Politician

 

To obtain a copy of Brabner’s Catalogue 9, try: www.ibrarebooks.com.

 

If you happen to have $45,000 lying-around, you might just get a fine copy of Profiles in Courage, allegedly-written by Senator John F. Kennedy, from Raptis-Rare-Books.

 

I once knew a Georgetown-University-Professor who tearfully claimed he had drafted this book for Our-Martyred-President. But, then, everyone needs to have 15-Minutes of whatever…

 

Raptis is located in Brattleboro, VT, in an Italianate-Villa—far from the Action in Our-Nation’s-Capitol—but they have some other Book-Bargains as well:

 

For only $37,500, you could perhaps purchase James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice.

 

In these Troubled-Times of E-mail & FedEx, he doesn’t need to ring at all, as the Post-Office seems about to Go-Under.

 

Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger is priced at $29,500.

 

If you would name your First-Born-Son after Novelist Ayn Rand, you might well want to have a First-Edition of Atlas Shrugged, priced at a reasonable $3,000.

 

Other Book-Bargains: Philip Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus, for $4,000; Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, for $6,500; James Joyce’s Ulysses, for $25,000, & Noble-Laureate Milton Friedman’s Price Theory, for $3,500.

 

Next time you buy a New-Book that might just take-off, be careful to remove the Dust-Jacket, so it won’t be soiled or torn when, many years later, you sell it for $55,500.

 

Just think of the Money you could have made if you had bought five-hundred copies when Catcher in the Rye first appeared!

 

There isn’t enough Space to list all the Book-Bargains or all the Important-Booksellers at the Armory.

 

Well, actually, On-line on the Internet, there’s All the Space in the Ether, but I’m tired of typing & not Paid, either, so here are a few other Outstanding-Book-Dealers:

 

Ars Libri ltd; High Ridge Books, Inc; Meda Riquier Rare Books, Inc; Studio Bibliografico Paolo Rambaldi; Adrian Harrington Rare Books; Paul Foster Books; Jeff Hirsch Books; Eric Chaim Kline Bookseller; Libreria Comellas Barcelona; Librarie Nicaise Pierre Walusinski; Lorne Bair; Susanne Schulz-Falster Rare Books, & Aleph-Bet Books.

 

Not to Overlook such Manhattan-Outlets as Bauman Rare Books & the Old New York Bookshop.

 

The estimable London-Firm of Maggs Bros stirs Distant-Memories.

 

Long, long ago, I bid against Maggs for a First-Edition of Nahum Tate’s Tragedy of Brutus. I wanted to own a First-Edition of a Play from the Restoration.

 

I won the book, as one page was missing & had been replaced with a Photo-Copy

 

 

At the New Vic: DO JUMP! Circus-Arts-Kids Astonish & Delight in Ahhhh…Ha!

           

Even if there were no Cirque-du-Soleil Performance-School up in Canada, you cannot stop bright, attractive, talented, Young-People from doing Circus-Turns on-stage.

 

Robin Lane—Founder-Mentor-Director-Choreographer of DO JUMP!—likes to call her Co-Workers Actorbats.

 

Not only do the Standard-Circus-Skills such as Aerial-Turns, Hoops, Juggling-Bar-Bells, Somersaults, Jumping, Leaping, & Balancing come into play, but there’s also a lot of Ballet involved.

 

One of the most amusing sequences has the Ballet-Dancing-Legs of one set of Performers seen below the Upper-Bodies of different Performers. There’s a Blue-Bar in-between.

 

When the Wrong-Legs become attached to a Different-Dancer, hilarity ensues.

 

This segment is aptly-titled: Divided We Fall.

 

The shaggy Dog-Walk—with two performers in-Sync—is charming. At times, it recalls those Tiger or Lion-Dancers of the Kabuki or the Chinese-Opera.

 

The varied Acts are greatly assisted by the Klezmocracy Musical-Accompaniment of Ralph Huntley & Joe Janiga. Without this lively music, some of the Turns would not be so interesting.    

 

 

Linda Lavin Is Back on Broadway: As Nicky Silver’s Appalling-Jewish-Mother in The Lyons

           

Here’s what Your Roving Arts-Reporter wrote about The Lyons when it was showcased down at the Vineyard-Theatre, months ago:

 

Linda Lavin Creates the Quintessential Jewish-Mother-from-Hell!

 

This Tony-Time, there should be a Special-Award for Jewish-Motherness.

 

Unfortunately, the hilariously voluble Rita Lyons of Linda Lavin won’t be eligible

 

Unless Nicky Silver’s no-holds-barred Dysfunctional-Jewish-Family, The Lyons, moves to Broadway.

 

The Tonys©™© are reserved for Broadway-Shows, even though the best of Manhattan-Theatre is often to be found Off-Broadway, in Limited-Runs

 

That’s certainly true of Lavin & the entire Lyons Family, whose bitter, mean, angry old Dad [a fiercely-amusing Dick Latessa] is dying of Cancer in a sparely-appointed Hospital-Room, while Rita rattles on about redecorating their Ugly-Living-Room as soon as Dad is dead.

 

If not before

 

Rita never loved Ben Lyons. She even vomited when they had Sex

 

That may be why their Daughter [Kate Jennings Grant, as an Alcoholic] & Son Curtis [Michael Esper, as a feckless, talentless Gay Would-be-Writer of Short-Stories] have turned-out so badly. Detested by their Father…

 

Mark Brokaw staged.

 

I stand by what I wrote then…

 

Except that the Subsequent-Scene in which the Crazy Curtis has trapped his Fantasy-Peter [an Imaginary-Lover, for Family-Consumption], embodied in an Unemployed-Actor/Real-Estate-Agent, Brian [Gregory Wooddell], seems an Add-On.

 

But it does permit Curtis to end-up in his Dad’s Hospital-Bed—deserted by both Mother & Sister—but learning to Make-Nice with the all-suffering Nurse [Brenda Pressley].

 

It is often said—mostly by Chinese—that One-Picture Is Worth a Thousand-Words.

 

But to be up-close & watch Linda Lavin’s Facial-Expressions is to understand that One-Lavin-Grimace is worth a thousand words of Silver-Dialogue.

 

I was so close—on the far-left-side, in Row B—that I could also see the Gilded-Plaster of the Cort-Theatre’s Proscenium-Frame in great detail…

 

           

Way Down on Minetta-Lane: The City Club as a Memphis-Clone?

           

The Time is said to be 1934, when Prohibition had bit-the-dust.

 

Chaz Davenport is re-opening his Dad’s destroyed Club—possibly once a Speakeasy—seeking to make it really Fine & Attractive to Big-Spenders.

 

The Best-Thing about this new Musical-Show—with Noirish-Overtones—is the Piano-Player, Parker Brown [Kenny Brawner], who sees all & says little.

 

In fact, all the Musical-Numbers are just fine—even in Context—& could almost Stand-Alone, without the Complicated-Plot.

 

Apparently, this show was a Big-Hit at the Edinburgh-Festival, but it looks more like a Festival-Fringe-Entry.

 

The Big-Problem—at least for Your Roving Arts-Reporter—was the fact that Chaz was almost completely lacking in Charisma.

 

Yes, he can sing & dance, but I didn’t really care whether he succeeded with his Club & the Women-Who-Love-Him. If you are not rooting for the Protagonist, why bother?

 

As for the Plot, with almost Everyone Dead at the End—it seemed like a Parody of Old-Italian-Melodramas: Il Trionfo della Morte

 

The Songs—by James Compton, Tony De Meur, & Tim Brown—were generally Period-Effective. But Boogie-Wooogie-Fever seemed out-of-place for 1934?

 

I was born in 1928 & I remember Boogie-Woogie as much later than 1934.

 

How about The Boogie-Woogie Bugle-Boy from Company B, as we were preparing for the Second-World-War

 

 

British-Humor at the Music-Box: Hilarious-Clown James Corden Spews-Soup in Goldoni-Rewrite!

           

Max Wall, Knockabout-Farce, Buster Keaton, Arthur Askey, Music-Hall-Memories, The Marx-Bros, Willie-West-&-McGinty, Jim Dale, Servant-of-Two-Masters, Harold Lloyd, Coarse-Acting, Tits-&-Ass, The Three Stooges, Vaudeville-Turns, Buskers, Mixed-Up-Letters, Boobs & Bums, Dual-Identities, Sub-Beatles-Combos, Noises-Off, Washboards, Chromatic-Honking-Horns, Freud’s Feces-Comedy, Pride-Before-a-Fall, Seaside-Brighton-in-2D

 

All of the Above?

 

These are all Names & Terms that come readily-to-mind in attempting to describe the Sure-Fire-Hit Laff-Riot that’s now-playing at the Music-Box-Theatre.

 

James Corden stars in the National-Theatre-of-Great-Britain’s Nicholas Hytner-staged rewrite of

Carlo Goldoni’s Classic-Italian-Farce—inspired by the Commedia-dell’ArteThe Servant of Two Masters.

 

This Hilarious-Show comes to Broadway on a Tsunami-Wave of Bravos from Leading-London-Newspapers:

 

It has garnered Five-Stars [*****] from both The Times & The Sunday-Times, The Daily-Mail, The Telegraph [or Torygraph, to some Liberals…], The Daily-Express, The Guardian, The Financial-Times, The Independent, & even Time-Out.

 

In a City & a Nation in which Newspapers are dying-out, this Unanimous-Praise for One Man, Two Guvnors excites Interest, not so much for the Kudos, as for the Astonishing-Fact that London still has at least Eight-Major-Print-Media-Outlets!

 

In London, People still read Print

 

What’s more, both London & Theatre-Goers in the Provinces still love Knockabout-Farce, Coarse-Acting, & Smuttily-Suggestive Visual & Verbal Comedy.

 

For Your Roving Arts-Reporter, this is Old-Stuff, as I’ve been a West-End & Provincial-Regular since 1956, making a Point of seeing Christmas-Pantos, where Knockabout & Sexual-Suggestiveness are Staples: Coarse-Farce for the Kids, with Smut for the Grown-Ups.

 

I won’t even attempt to describe all the Antics on-view at the Music-Box.

 

A current Back-Grounder, by John Lahr, in The New-Yorker, will do much to Fill-You-In.

 

John—although a native American [but not a Native-American]–has spent most of his Mature-Years in London.

 

So he knows-whereof-he-writes.

 

Not only that: His Hilarious-Old-Man, Bert Lahr, was one of our own Most-Famous-Clowns!

 

But, perhaps a Word is in-order, regarding Sigmund Freud’s Concept of Feces-Comedy?

 

It is also called the Comedy of Befoulment

 

Pride, it is often said—if not-exactly in these words—Goeth Before a Fall.

 

Even in Imperial-Vienna, Freud understood how much Ordinary-People loved to see the Rich, Pompous, & Famous step into Dog-Shit.

 

Or to have their Impeccable-Suits, Gowns, & Hairdos ruined by a Bucket-of-Paint dropped from above. Tripping on a Brick & falling-face-forward in the Mud was also Hilarious.

 

We like to believe that even the Greatest have Feet-of-Clay, so it’s always rewarding to catch them with their Flies-Unzipped or their Bras & Panties drooping.

 

Think of the Great-Satisfaction many New-Yorkers have already had from the Unsavory-Antics of Anthony Weiner & Eliott Spitzer, the Governor-that-Was

 

Wouldn’t it be Load-of-Fun to see Newt Gingrich fall into a Manure-Pit!

 

How about an Animated-Cartoon—featuring Mitt Romney’s Famous-Poochletting-loose on Our-First-Mormon-President?

 

Among my Critic-Colleagues—most of whom were doubling-over with Gusts-of-Laughter & Bopping-Along to all the Musical-Interludes—the only Reviewers who were, clearly, Not-Having-a-Good-Time were Brit-Born Celebrity-Photographer Aubrey Rubin & Bloomberg-News’ John Simon.

 

John & I go back a Long-Way

 

All the way back to the Death of Theatre-Arts-Magazine, for which John was Broadway-Critic & I was Theatre-Book-Reviewer.

 

That famous Journal died because the Publisher was a Crook, who didn’t pay the Printer.

 

He took John’s Press-Tickets & my Reviewer’s Book-Copies for himself.

 

John bought his Own-Ticket & I read the Jacket-Screeds of new books on the Doubleday-Counter

 

 

Look Where It Comes Again! Streetcar Arrives on-Schedule, But With a New-Look!

           

Guess What?

 

Tennessee Williams’ Basic-Polack, Stanley Kowalski, is now Black!

 

The Broadhurst-Theatre-Program simply Cast-Lists him as Stanley.

 

Although Blanche identifies herself as a Du Bois on-stage, the Program gives No-Indication of her actual Provenance. Or Familial-Descent

 

Some Fellow-Critics—or would it be More-Accurate to call them Play-Reviewers?—were horrified by Director Emily Mann’s Decision to re-imagine the Ethnicity of some of the Residents of a really run-down section of the French-Quarter, in New Orleans, circa 1952.

 

It was a Stroke-of-Genius to have all the Central-Characters of Streetcar Named Desire—excepting Eunice & Steve—be Vibrant, if occasionally Violent, Desperate, & Challenged, African-Americans!

 

As a Radiantly-Illusionary Blanche, Nicole Ari Parker is both Beautiful, Delusional, & Heartbreaking!

 

Her beloved, but baffled, Sister, Stella-for-Star is wonderfully embodied & en-souled by Daphne Rubin-Vega!

 

Blair Underwood is a Force-of-Nature as Stanley, his Home & Marriage—as he sees things—threatened by all those Airs & Graces trailing Blanche’s every movement in their cramped & cruddy Flat.

 

Wood Harris is also excellent as the Lonely & Love-Lorn Mitch.

 

We even have the great Carmen de Lavallade, selling Flores para los Muertos

 

This Production is one of the most moving I’ve seen all Season. It’s even better than most Streetcar-Revivals I’ve seen in years.

 

[In a recent Salzburg-Festival staging, Stanley, Mitch, Steve, Eunice, Stella, & Blanche all ended-up in a Motel-Room, on a fold-out-bed, watching American-TV!]

 

Some Colleagues rejected Mann’s Vision because, as they insisted, Blacks could not have Owned a Plantation like Belle-Rêve.

 

Guess What?

 

There were actually Free American-Blacks who did own Plantations, complete with Black-Slaves

 

 

Our-Man-in-Venice: Painter Peter Harvey Glides Serenely-by, à-la-Gondola

           

In the Theatre, Peter Harvey is already in the Record-Books. He long-ago designed Dames at Sea & Boys in the Band.

 

More importantly, he also designed George Balanchine’s Jewels for the New-York City-Ballet.

 

Then he was invited to the former Leningrad—now restored to Imperial-Glory as St. Petersburg—to replicate those Stunning-Settings.

 

More recently, he did the same feat for La Scala, Milan

 

But, last summer, he outdid himself: Peter Harvey had a glorious Residency in La Serenissima, the former Republic of Venice!

 

His Painterly-Achievements from this Fabulous-Adventure are now on-view down at 537 Broadway @Spring-Street, in the Emily Harvey Foundation-Gallery.

 

There are Sepia-Visions of Venice that recall 18th-Century-Views. There are miasmic Floods-of-Color, evoking some Great-Façades & Historic-Canals.

 

My Favorites, howevere, are those ingenious Geometric-Abstractions that make both Canals & Churches seem shot-through with Angles & Curves of a Pythagorean-Divine-Geometry.

 

I bought one of them & also the Centerpiece of Peter’s Show, featuring the Campanile, flanked by San-Marco & the Doges’-Palace. I love its blocks of Gold-Leaf, highlighting that splendid brick Bell-Tower.

 

Peter Harvey’s Finding Venice will be showing Tuesday-thru-Saturday, 1pm-6:30. But only until 28 April!

 

So, do call 212-925-7651

 

As I write this, I’m looking at Peter’s Painting of the Death of Garcia-Lorca: Colorful, Beautiful, & Desperately-Sad…

 

This is one of a Series of Canvases Peter painted to Remember not only Victims of AIDS, but also those Men & Women who have been savaged by various Morally-Main-Stream & Sexually-Correct-Societies.

 

Yes, I’m not only an Old-Friend of Peter Harvey, but I also collect his Remarkable-Works when I have Wall-Space & Cash-on-Hand.

 

 

At the Lunt-Fontanne, There Are Ghosts, But Not Those of Alfred & Lynne…

           

Digital-Madness might be a good way to describe the Stage-Make-Over of a Paramount-Pictures-Film called, I believe, Ghost.

 

I cannot remember seeing this Movie, but—while watching the Fantastic-Digital-Dances on-stage of Ghost: The Musical—I had the haunting-sensation that I’d already seen this.

 

Could it all have been a Dream? Déjà-vu, all over again…

 

Anyway, the Digitals are astonishing: worth the Price-of-Admission in themselves, thanks to Designer Jon Driscoll.

 

Then there’s that Haunting-Tune, Unchanging-Melody

 

Both Richard Fleeshman—who rapidly becomes a Ghost—& Caissie Levy sing Very-Loudly, thanks to the Sound-Design of Bobby Aitken.

 

In the Whoopie-Goldberg-Role of the quasi-fake Clairvoyant, Oda Mae Brown, the gaudily-attired Da’vine Joy Randolph is both a Joy & Divine!

 

Although Whoopie is not involved monetarily in this Production, her nearby-show, Sister-Act, is saluted when Oda Mae drops a check for $10,000,000 into the Begging-Bucket of a pair of Black-Clad-Sisters.

 

One exclaims: Holy-Shit!

 

Bryce Pinkham sneakily plays the False-Friend-Financial-Manipulator-Murderer

 

He could be working for Goldman-Sachs-Fifth-Avenue!

 

The famous Matthew Warchus staged, with Design by Rob Howell.

 

Actually, Whoever is at the Controls of the Computer is the real Star of this Show.

 

 

Recycling The Gershwins: Nice Work, If You Can Get It! Pastiche-Parody of Twenties-Musicals…

 

Important News-Flash: Nice Work won Nine-Nominations for the Outer-Critics-Circle-Awards!

           

OK, already!

 

Matthew Broderick is just fine as a kind of Song-&-Dance-Man in a Vintage-Pastiche of a 1920s Flapper-Era-Musical.

 

But he’s no Fred Astaire

 

The otherwise-excellent Kelli O’Hara is, at times, a bit too Stanislavski-Earnest as the Other-Side-of-the-Tracks Girl-Bootlegger, Billie Bendix:

 

Does he really love me? Oh, what a Fool I’ve been to trust him…

 

What’s best about this handsomely-mounted & costumed production is—for my taste—the elaborate Sets of Derek McLane & the lavish, even outrageous Costumes of Martin Pakledinaz.

 

Paul Huntley’s Wigs, as usual, are as stylish as the costumes…

 

The Outstanding-Lyrics & Memorable-Melodies are the results of Long-Ago-Collaborations by Ira & George Gershwin.

 

No, Nice Work If You Can Get It is not a Definitive-Revival of a long-forgotten Gershwin-Broadway-Hit.

 

Instead, Joe DiPietro has collected a number of Gershwin-Song-Hits & organized them to illustrate the Fable he has concocted from Ideas by PG Wodehouse & Guy Bolton.

 

Not exactly Bertie & Jeeves, but Michael McGrath—as Jimmy Winter’s Dancing/Singing Bootlegger-Butler, Cookie McGee—would certainly delight both Bolton & Wodehouse!

 

As would Judy Kaye, as the Duchess Estonia Dulworth, & Estelle Parsons, as Jimmy’s Mother, Millicent, the real Boss-of-Bootlegging on Long-Island-Sound.

 

Many of the 1920s-Musicals were little more than Tuneful-Excuses for Great-Production-Numbers, which featured Popular-Stars, showcased Fresh-Young-Faces—especially for Men-About-Town & Stage-Door-Johnnies—& introduced New-Fashions for the Matinée-Ladies.

 

Of course, we’ve had Imitation-Flapper-Musicals before: The Boy Friend was very popular in the 1960s.

 

But it had a Sandy Wilson Score. Not the Gershwins…

 

The justly-admired Kathleen Marshall both directed & choreographed, but how many variations can you devise on Flapper-Era Chorus-Routines?

 

Nonetheless, there was Tremendous-Energy surging forward from the Stage, as though the Entire-Cast was willing this new show to be a Big-Success!

 

Judy Kaye—swinging & singing from a Chandelier—could be the Signature-Image from this show.

 

 

Joseph Alsop Was a Powerful & Much-Feared DC Columnist, Now Embodied by John Lithgow.

           

Time was when a Furious-Column by the widely-syndicated Political-Know-It-All, Joseph Alsop, would make the Mighty Tremble.

 

A Blue-Blooded, Best-Schooled, Well-Grammared Public-Scold, he was both the Mentor & the Terror of Presidents, Secretaries-of-State, Justices, & Senators.

 

Joe Alsop was a kind of Neo-Con War-Hawk before there were Neo-Cons. Actually, he was a Democrat, but with a Pugnacious-Belief in America’s Exceptionalism

 

But The Columnist—a new Biographic-Drama by David Auburn—is not so much about Alsop’s Influence on both the Powers-That-Were & the Reading-Public as it is about Homosexuality in High-Places.

 

When Alsop was in Soviet-Russian-Atheistic-Godless-Moscow—ostensibly Fact-Finding—he was picked-up by a young Russian-Man with very good English.

 

This Stupid-Act of Alsop’s now permits Broadway-Audiences to see John Lithgow in a Luxurious-Bed, flabby-naked to the waist. With a Great-Mirror slanted above the bed…

 

Alsop didn’t know he was being photographed in-flagrante.

 

But, back in DC, as Host to the Great & Famous in his Townhouse, he did realize he needed a Hostess.

 

So, he Married for Convenience.

 

Margaret Colin is sympathetic, if frustrated, as Susan Mary Alsop.

 

Boyd Gaines is frustrated, if sympathetic, as Joe’s younger-brother, the less-famous Stewart Alsop.

 

Stephen Kunken is Truth-Telling David Halberstam, with the Soviet-Photos & the Power to Destroy Alsop.

 

John Lithgow gives an almost Monumental-Performance as the Overbearing & Mis-Understanding Alsop.

 

But, while Alsop tutors his new Step-daughter, Abigail, in Latin, he also learns some Lessons from her.

 

We should have seen Meryl Streep’s remarkable daughter, Grace Gummer, as Abigail, but she was out.

 

Nonethless, Adria Vitlar, was radiant in the role.

 

The Multi-Moving-Settings of John Lee Beatty were, as usual, also remarkable. With Words, Shadows-of-Words, & Letters floating about.

 

Daniel Sullivan elegantly-orchestrated all this Public & Clandestine-Activity.

 

It is clear in Auburn’s play that Joe Alsop listened to no-one. Not even to State

 

The Embassy surely knew of Alsop’s Proclivities.

 

But he should also have realized that, Behind the Iron-Curtain, you have Sex with No-One who is not your Lawfully-Wedded-Wife.

 

Even in Our-Nation’s-Capital—at least way back in the JFK-EraHomosexuals had to be careful.

 

Being Married-with-Children was no protection.

 

Consider the Plight of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s White-House Chief-of-Staff, Walter Jenkins.

 

He was caught in a Crapper in the Young-Men’s-Christian-Association Basement-Toilet

 

The Local-Joke was: "Do you know why there won’t be any Turkey at the White-House this Thanksgiving?”

 

"No, why?”

 

"Their Old-Gobbler is gone…”

 

On Arrest, Jenkins collapsed & had to be taken to a Hospital.

 

But his Old-Friends, J. Edgar Hoover & Clyde Tolson, sent him a big Bouquet-of-Roses!

 

When Jack Ruby shot J. Harvey Oswald in Dallas—before he could be definitively-questioned—there were those in DC who claimed that Ruby & Oswald had been an Item

 

Some of these Gay-Guys were also frequent-visitors to the YMCA-Accommodations.

 

But they knew how to avoid Entrapment by Blond-Police-Officers: No Wide-Stances, while seated!

 

 

Raul Esparza—in Snazzy-Jackets—Makes a Leap of Faith at the St. James…

           

No, this is not a Musicalization of the Evangelical-Career of Aimee Semple McPherson.

 

Most people don’t even recognize that Name, so why bother?

 

There are enough Religious-Frauds out there right now that need Exposure.

 

Raul Esparza is a Human-Dynamo in Leap of Faith, playing the God-Fraudster, Jonas Nightingale.

 

He Sings & he Dances. He’s just terrific & he does this eight times a week!

 

Jonas is also expected to perform Miracles, but that’s really beyond him.

 

Had he trained as a Roman-Catholic-Priest, he would have been able to do Two-Miracles—Wine into Blood; Matzoh into Flesh!—every day…

 

Leap was once a Paramount-Movie, which I did not see, so I don’t know if it also had Music.

 

At the St. James, however, Alan Menken has provided Gospel-Rock, Country & Western, Rhythm & Blues, & All-Purpose Stuff, which the foot-stompin’ Chorus lustily sings.

 

Jonas’ Gospel-Bus is stranded in drought-parched Sweetwater, TX, where all are Poverty-Stricken & Ill-Educated: Ideal "Marks” for a Rousing-Religious-Revival.

 

The Lady-Sheriff—who hates Jonas on sight—has a Crippled-Little-Boy who believes in Jonas.

 

But Jonas finally admits he’s a Fraud who cannot make the Boy walk nor the Heavens burst with Rain.

 

Guess What! He’s wrong & he gets the Girl!

 

Jessica Phillips is fascinating as the Sheriff, in a generally Outstanding-Cast.

 

Chris Ashley staged, with the foot-stompin’ Choreography of Sergio Trujillo.

 

 

Don’t Dress for Dinner, Especially If You Are Flying at the American-Airlines-Theatre!

           

We are now a long-way-off from the delightful & titillating French-Sex-Farces of Feydeau.

 

But with Marc Camoletti’s Don’t Dress for Dinner, we are even Beyond-the-Pale of Jasmin Reza.

 

Sophistication & Wit have been replaced—especially owing to the Bumptious, Knockabout-Farce of Director John Tillinger—by Coarse-Acting & Rampant-Mugging.

 

The best things about this show are the charming French-Provincial-Set of John Lee Beatty & the stylish costumes of William Ivey Long.

 

Indeed: that wonderful Bouffant-Dress he made for Patricia Kalember is the only bit of Sophistication on-stage.

 

Nonetheless, Spencer Kayden is hilarious as the Cook who came to Play a Variety-of-Roles.

 

Perhaps her Best-Moment comes when she is almost stripped of her Maid’s-Uniform, turning it into a Sexy-Frock!

 

The Time is 1960, for some reason…

 

This Production was rather like One Man, Two Guvnors, but with less Obvious-Zest in Knocking-People-About.     

 

 

Not Roasting at the Friars’-Club: Instead, the Annual Outer-Critics-Circle Awards-Nominations!

 

When Jerry Stiller & Anne Meara came up to the Podium to present the Outer-Critics-Circle’s Special-
Award for the New-York Shakespeare-Festival, no-one thought to mention that Anne had once won the Circle’s Prestigious John Gassner Award!

 

Both Anne & Jerrry were hilarious, recalling the very early days of Joe Papp’s Shakespeare-in-the Park.

 

This was long before the construction of the Delacorte-Theatre in Central-Park.

 

Initially, they performed on a Flatbed-Truck, which Joe had towed from City-Park to City-Park: Shakespeare-in-Summer for everyone!

 

As soon as the Truck arrived in, say, Mount-Morris-Park or Prospect-Park, a lip on the truck was unfolded to provide a Deeper-Stage.

 

Ming-Cho Lee was Joe Papp’s initial-designer, working with a Budget of virtually nothing. So he began using Scaffolding to suggest Scenery.

 

In time, he became—as he once told me, in an interview for Theatre-Crafts"The Pipe-Man.”

 

The generously-bearded Oskar Eustis accepted the OCC’s Bardic-Award.

 

Eustis is responsible for both Summer-Shakespeare in the Delacorte & Year-Round Theatre-Productions down at Astor-Place, in Joe Papp’s Public-Theatre.

 

[Does anyone now remember when Joe Papp also took-over the so-called Lincoln-Center Repertory-Theatre? It was then thought that Joe could do anything…]

 

Later—when the charming Lily Rabe & the amusing Richard Thomas were presenting the Nominee-Names for the forthcoming Outer-Critics-Circle’s Annual-Awards—Anne Meara was sitting by me, in the Edward-Albee-Chair at the Friars-Club.

 

John Gassner had been my Mentor when I first came to New York & began writing about the Broadway, the Off-Broadway, & the Off-Off-Broadway-Theatre.

 

So I made a point of recalling Anne Meara’s winning of the Gassner-Award to her. "Why didn’t they say something about that?” she asked me.

 

What we need to do for Arts-Rambles is to Videotape a Session with Anne & Jerry, recalling not only their early years as Shakespeareans, but the wonderful scope & span of their work in the theatre.

 

Last season, after enjoying the work of Lois Smith & David Margulies, in After the Revolution, my Webmaster, Scott Bennett, & I ran into them at Ollie’s, across the street from Theatre-Row.

 

We vowed to Videotape a Session with them, but we still haven’t had the time to do so, as developing the new Website TheArtsArchive.com is taking more time & resources than we had imagined.

 

But both Scott & I intend to Record-the-Memories of a variety of Longtime-Manhattan-Troupers for this new Website…

           

[Insert List Here!]

 

 

At The Astor-Gallery: The Great American Revue Passes in Review: Flo Ziegfeld, George White…

           

Here are the Costume-Sketches for all those fabulous outfits for the Ziegfeld-Girls

 

Also, Photos, Posters, Programs, & Props from such long-vanished Broadway-Revues, as George White’s Scandals, Earl Carroll’s Vanities, The Shuberts’ Passing-Parade, & Irving Berlin’s Music-Box-Revues.

 

Yes! The Music-Box—where One Man, Two Govnors is now playing—was built for Revues, not for Plays.

 

There are also some impressive Set-Designs for the Ziegfeld-Follies, as well as for other long-running Revue-Institutions.

 

Don’t forget the Hippodrome-Revues, the Midnight-Frolics, George M. Cohan’s Revue, the Century-Theatre-Revues, Hitchy-Koo, the Garrick-Gaieties, & the Greenwich-Village-Follies

 

Through 27 July, The Great American Revue will be on-view in Lincoln-Center, exploring—as its Subtitle suggests—How Florenz Ziegfeld, George White, & Their Rivals Remade Broadway.

 

           

At The Asia-Society:  Inundation of the Arts from Shanghai: Plus Paintings of Wu Guanzhong!

           

Suited-Officials, representing many Aspects-of-Culture in Shanghai, recently spoke to the Press on the occasion of the Opening of REVOLUTIONARY INK: The Paintings of Wu Guanzhong.

 

It was impressive to see color-photos of the Shanghai-Art-Museum & its varied Collections—including Western-Masters such as Millet & Courbet!—as well as the new Shanghai-Contemporary-Art-Center, on the other side of the Huangpu-River.

 

Actually, the Art-Museum is being reconstituted in the astounding Red-Beamed China-Pavilion, erected for the Shanghai-Expo-2010. It is opening 1 October 2012 & We are All-Invited!

 

The Contemporary-Art-Center will be even bigger, a vast expanse, for which one hopes there will be enough Contemporary-Art to fill it.

 

That the newly-inaugurated Close-Cooperation of the Asia-Society & the Shanghai-Art-Museum should be celebrated in Manhattan with an Introduction to the Long-Officially-Despised Art-Works of Wu Guanzhong is, in itself, a Signal of a Sea-Change in Chinese-Culture, interacting with the Outside-World.

 

Wu—unlike many would-be Chinese-Artists of his Generation—went to Paris to study.

 

This was excellent-preparation for the Virtuosic-Works in Oil & Ink that he would later create back at home.

 

But his Timing was Wrong: Chairman-Mao came to Power & Sino-Soviet-Socialist-Realism swept away Ancient-Chinese Traditional-Scroll-Painting, as well as Decadent-Western-Influences.

 

Wu was forced to abandon painting altogether. He burned most of his Oils.

 

Exiled to the Countryside for "Re-education” at Hard-Labor, Wu continued to sketch & paint when he could manage to do so.

 

Now, many of his surviving & more recent works are Central-Treasures of the Shanghai-Collections!

 

Nonetheless, at the Asia-Society, his Son spoke of his Father’s bitter-experience under Mao, with some sense of both Loss & Pride.

 

The Ink-Paintings speak for themselves: [see some examples here!] There’s not even a hint of Socialist-Realism

 

Wu’s Works will be on-view only until 5 August 2012 in Manhattan, but you can see them again in

Shanghai, when the new Museum-Complex is opened.

 

Whatever you may have thought of Monolithic-Red-China, when Mao’s Purges of Intellectuals & Artists were at their Height, all that Regimen-of-Terror seems to have passed.

 

True, the Authorities did Bulldoze the Studio of Ai Weiwei—but that has only made him More-Famous in the West.

 

I still have my Free Ai Weiwei Red-Bag from his big show in Bregenz last summer, at the Kunsthaus.

 

But it’s an Odd-Contrast between China & America that the Arts are Honored & Supported there, but they are being starved & denigrated in the United-States, with all kinds of Arts-Programs being slashed.

 

The Last-Time I was in Shanghai—some seasons ago, when I made the Yangste-River-Journey to the great Three-Gorges-Dam—there was already a modern State-of-the-Art Opera, a new Theatre, & a handsome Concert-House!

 

But one wonders what will become of such Maoist-Stage-Works as The Taking of Tiger-Mountain by Strategy, Red Detachment of Women, Raise High the Red-Lantern, & other Anti-Traditional-Entertainments endorsed by Madame Mao, Chiang-Ching, & the Gang-of-Four?

 

 

Also at the Asia-Society:

 

The Shanghai Kunqu-Opera-Troupe, with The Lanke Mountain & The Monkey-King: Journey to the West.

 

How about excerpts from the new Opera by Huang Rao, titled simply Sun Yat-Sen?

 

Dr. Sun is a National-Hero.

 

His WidowMme. Chiang’s estranged Sister, Ai-Ling-Soong—during her Lifetime, as she never abandoned her Homeland, was kind of Living-Hero of the Revolution!

 

I made a point of visiting her House

 

I once climbed all those hundreds & hundreds of stairs up the mountain to Dr. Sun’s Tomb. I hope the Opera will be a less-strenuous experience!

 

Princes & Painters in Mughal Delhi, 1707-1857 ends 6 May 2012 at the Society…

 

 

A Festival of Old-Film-Clips: Shooting-Hoops with Magic Johnson & Larry Bird!

           

Documentary-Playwright Eric Simonson had the idea to somehow dramatize the Friendship of Basketball-Heroes Magic Johnson & Larry Bird.

 

He has been fortunate in having the robust & genial Kevin Daniels as Magic & the tall, stalwart, silent Tug Coker as the Bird.

 

It’s also been his Good-Fortune to have an all-purpose Gang-of-Four to play all the other roles in Magic/Bird. They are ingenious in their various Manifestations.

 

Peter Scolari is especially good, nowhere more so than when he is a Coaching-Scold.

 

Dierdre O’Connell almost matches his Feats of Impersonation

 

The Downer in this essentially-elemental production is the exhaustive use of Old-Film-Clips of Games-
Gone-By.

 

Had they been sharper-in-focus, the Experience might not have been so wearing.

 

It was rather like watching Tapes of Old-Rosebowl-Games at New-Years, out in California, with The Cousins

 

 

Ghost on Broadway, But Also on Upper-Broadway: Ghosts of Versailles at Manhattan-School.

           

Too Bad!

 

You Missed It!

 

You can still see Ghost on Broadway, but it’s too late to see the remarkable revival of The Ghosts of Versailles at the Manhattan-School-of-Music.

 

Not only was this a physically-stunning-production—with elaborate Wigs & Gowns from the Last Days of Louis & Marie-Antoinette—but it was wonderfully sung & acted by a very large cast.

 

Composer John Corigliano—who was in-attendance & won an Award—long ago had the ingenious Idea to create an Opera-Buffa, in which the Ghosts of the Beheaded King & Queen would haunt the stage, Marie-Antoinette longing to be Reborn & not make the same Mistakes which led her to the Guillotine.

 

He was ably-assisted in this by Librettist William Hoffman, who was, in turn, inspired by Pierre

Caron de Beaumarchais’ La Mère Coupable.

 

This is the seldom-performed third drama in the Figaro-Trilogy, which includes, of course, The Marriage of Figaro.

 

In La Mère, Rosina, the Countess Almaviva, has a child spawned by Cherubino, not by the Count.

 

Corigiliano’s Ghosts begins with the veiled Figures of the King, Queen, & Courtiers seated like dusty Statues at either side of the Stage.

 

Beaumarchais himself attempts to Reverse-History, invoking the assistance of Figaro & Susanna, as well as defying Revolutionary-Terrorists.

 

Designed by Steven Capone [sets], Daniel James Cole [the remarkable Costumes & Wigs], & Lee Fiskness [lighting], this amazing production was shown only three times…

 

The Entire-Cast was Virtuosic, almost too numerous to list, but Kudos certainly to Jay Lesenger, as Director, & Steven Osgood, as Conductor.

 

 

At the Neue-Galerie: Heinrich Kuehn’s Pictorialist-Photographs—Like Modern-Masters…

           

When you look at some of the Haunting-Photographs by Heinrich Kuehn—now at the Neue-Galerie—you may well believe that they are not photos at all, but Soft-Focus Artworks.

 

Born wealthy in Dresden, Kuehn won entrée into the Secessionist-Art-Circle in Vienna. At the Jahrhundertwende, he was aspiring to elevate mere Photography into an Art-Form in its own right.

 

Although he lived until 1944—escaping the rigors of Nazi-Volkskunst—his most impressive work was done before The-Great-War.

 

Kuehn was influenced by Alfred Stieglitz & Edward Steichen, who urged him to abandon Landscapes, in favor of more intimate photos of his Family.

 

All well & good, but this may be a reason why we know so little of Heinrich Kuehn…

 

 

Look Where Chekhov Comes Again! Three Sisters at BAM: Maly-Theatre’s Real Russian-Version!

           

Why all this Fuss about going to Moscow?

 

Leningrad is Lovely at this time of year…

 

Chekhov’s Three-SistersOlga, Masha, & Irina—hopelessly dream of returning to Moscow, from which their now-defunct Father was posted to a dismal town in the Provinces to command the Tzar’s-Brigades there.

 

In fact, Three Sisters now comes to us, at BAM, not from Moscow, but from the former Leningrad, now reborn as St. Petersburg!

 

It is a Repertory-Staging of the Maly-Theatre.

 

Maly means Small, while Bolshoi means Big or Grand.

 

But there’s nothing small about the Conception of this Celebrated-Production—widely-toured on the Continent—staged by the Russki-Genius, Lev Dodin.

 

The last time I saw Dodin & one of his unusually Spare-Stagings was when he was awarded the European-Cultural-Prize. But I cannot now remember whether that was in Turin or in Thessaloniki

 

Along with Eimuntus Necrosius—of Lithuanian-Vilnius—Dodin is regarded as one of the most important & innovative Stage-Directors in Eastern-Europe.

 

Although Three Sisters is fairly often staged in the United-States—along with The Cherry Orchard & Uncle Vanya—its essentially-unhappy but oddly-optimistic Characters are usually portrayed without much imagination.

 

They often look & sound like Americans in Period-Costumes

 

Dodin’s Prozorov-Sisters aren’t like any Stateside Olgas, Mashas, or Irinas I’ve seen in recent memory.

 

This Production was a Revelation of the Intricacies of the Interrelationships that can be inspired by Chekhov’s Dialogue & Situations.

 

The Masha of Elena Kalinia was fascinating. Ordinarily, she’s played throughout the drama as being "In Mourning for My Life.”

 

Not so with Dodin in-charge: Here, she’s Amusing, Wry, Changeable, Passionate

 

When the Moscow-Art-Theatre brought its Three Sisters to Manhattan, years ago, much was made of the completely-set Dinner-Table: Silver, China, Crystal, Samovar steaming.

 

Dodin’s Prozorovs also set-the-table, in four-sections. But they do it behind the Plain-Board-Façade of their House, so that the Action is sometimes obscured, but also framed in the Four-Windows & Doorway of their home.

 

In fact, so important are these Five-Frames that Individual-Characters are often highlighted in them, speaking their Lines toward the Audience.

 

Or to Empty-Space, rather than to the Person for whom their remarks are intended.

 

As the Drama progresses, the Façade moves forward in increments.

 

Kudos for Designer Alexander Borovsky & Lighting-Designer Damir Ismagilov!

 

Initially, I was surrounded by hordes of Russian-Speakers. But—after the Intermission—there were many Empty-Seats in the Orchestra of the Harvey-Theatre.

 

Had the Hopeless-Travails of Chekhov’s Characters worn them out?

 

Not only the Philosophizing Col. Vershinin, but others, as well, look forward to an Improvement in Human-Life that will be realized in 200-Years or so.

 

In the meantime, They Must Work.

 

In Uncle Vanya, Work is the Answer, but the Reward will come only when Vanya & his beloved Niece, Sonia, are in Heaven.

 

 

Drama-Desk Awards-Nominations at Michael Feinstein’s: But No Michael at the Keyboard…

 

It was exciting to see Donna Murphy & Brian Darcy James up-front, reading the Long-List of Drama-Desk Award-Nominations.

 

The Events-Room of Michael Feinstein’s—at the Loews-Regency, on Park-Avenue—was crammed to Capacity & overwhelmed with Video-Cameras & the ubiquitous Cell-Phones & other Photo-Op-Devices that now enable both Journalists & Theatre-Critics to share with a Waiting-World

           

[Insert Nominations-List]

 

 

Don Giovanni Gets What He Deserves at Lincoln-Center: This Time, at the Juilliard-School!

           

The new Metropolitan-Opera production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni is a stunner: the Wicked-Don goes down to Hell in a burst of wild, searing Flames that would do credit to an American-Assault on Taliban-Forces in Afghanistan!

 

Across the street at the Juilliard-School, however, the ingenious stage-director Stephen Wadsworth practices Fuel-Economy. His Juilliard-Opera-Theatre Don-Juan is confounded by the Stone-Guest & then the Scene blacks-out.

 

You have to imagine the Hell-Flames: rather like imagining a Mitt-Romney-Presidency

 

Charlie Corcoran’s imaginative Drop-&-Wing Settings lend a charming Period-Flavor to one of Opera’s most Salacious-Tales of Naughty-Men exploiting Vulnerable—if occasionally more-than-willing—Women.

 

The extremely talented & totally youthful Cast was Outstanding: JeongCheol Cha as a flamboyantly-sexual Don Giovanni, Karen Vuong as an outraged Donna Anna, Yujoong Kim as a valiant Don Ottavio, Takaoki Onishi as a baffled Masetto, Ying Fang as a charming but willing Zerlina, Alexander Hajek as a servant-for-all-seasons Leporello, Devon Guthrie as a desperate Donna Elvira, & Ryan Speedo Green as the murdered & understandably-vengeful Commendatore.

 

Although Seville is the Nominal-Scene of Lorenzo Da Ponte’s intriguing—if now familiar—Libretto, with an able Internationally-Ancestored-Cast such as this, it might well have been set in some Asian-City…

 

There were some delightful Hi-Jinx in the events: it was not all Seduction & Abandonment. As Leporello, Hajek was a charmer: we should soon see him at the Met!

 

As for the standing-tall Ryan Speedo Green, he’s already a Met-Opera Lindemann-Young-Artist, in development.

 

Conductor Gary Thor Wedow & Stage-Director Wadsworth used the Vienna version of Don Giovanni, not the original Prague Fassung. But there were some variations in the program, as in Mozart’s own time.

 

Once again—as with the brilliant Ghosts of Versailles at the Manhattan-School—it’s really unfortunate that there are, every Fall & every Spring, only three-performances of these Schools’ outstanding Opera-Productions.

 

But those who missed the Juilliard Don could catch the Mannes-School’s Don the following week…

 

 

Did We Need Yet-Another Production of Christopher Marlowe’s Midsummer-Night’s-Dream?

           

Having long, long ago edited & introduced the Official Royal-Shakespeare-Company Production-Book of Peter Brook’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, I thought I’d never have to see another staging of this Crazed-Comedy.

 

How wrong I was…

 

But I did see a Definitive-Staging—by Kent Thompson—at the Denver-Theatre-Center recently.

 

This was achieved with a great Simplicity, allowing the Actors to bring the play to life, rather than depending on Unusual-Stage-Environments & Outrageous-Costumes.

 

In Denver—for the first time in my long Play-going-Experience—the Agonies of the Quartet of Young-Lovers in the Athenian-Woods were made Real & Believable. There was real Sexual-Chemistry at work…

 

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the new MSND production at the Classic-Stage-Company.

 

As conceived & directed by Tony Speciale, both Helena & Hermia seemed a pair of Shrill-Barbie-Dolls.

 

Their Substance-Abused Would-be Lovers, on the other hand, seemed to have spent a lot of time at the Gym, working on their Abs.

 

For a moment, when they were grappling, I feared Spontaneous-Emissions

 

How could it be that Seasoned-Performers of the quality of Bebe Neuwirth, Anthony Heald, Christina Ricci, & David Greenspan would find themselves so ill-used in MSND?

 

Actually, Greenspan—who is usually hilarious in Drag—seemed more-at-home in this staging than some others.

 

Set-Designer Mark Wendland’s decision to suspend a slanted & sectioned Mylar-Mirror over the Peat-Moss-Packed stage-floor was ingenious, at least in reflecting some of the compositions of Folding-Chairs & Sprawled-Bodies.

 

At one point, what seemed like a Ton of Fake-Rose-Petals showered down on the already spongey Acting-Surface. The Players had to wade through them…

 

Every time Puck appeared, he was attired in a different, but intentionally Outrageous-Costume.

 

But, to what Purpose?

 

Most of Andrea Lauer’s imaginative costumes deserve to be in a Costume-Museum, but they don’t really help expose or enhance the Characters who wear them.

 

They seem to exist for Themselves-Alone

 

It used to be a Commonplace that even High-School-Students cannot ruin the Rehearsal of the Rustics in the Athenian-Wood.

 

Somehow, in this staging, it falls flat, despite Volleys of Coarse-Acting.

 

One suspects that this CSC-Production is really less about We Are Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made Of as it is about the Conceptual-Genius of Tony Speciale, who obviously wants to be seen as Something-Special!

 

 

Oh My God! Yet-Another Chekhov-Play! Uncle Vanya, as Imagined by Target-Margin.

           

A Month in the Country [that’s by Turgenyev, not Chekhov] with all the Characters in Anton Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard, Seagull, & Uncle Vanya would surely drive you around-the-bend.

 

Chekhov was writing in a Naturalist/Realist-Mode, but he thought of his works as Comedies, not Tragedies.

 

But when they were definitively-produced by Constantin Stanislavsky—at the Moscow-Art-Theatre—however, their Tragic-Elements were laid bare.

 

Since those celebrated Moscow-Productions, however, many directors have tried to unearth Hidden-Subtexts or different ways of looking at the Plays & the Characters.

 

Lev Dodin—whose vision of Three Sisters was just shown at BAM—is one of the more successful Contemporary-Directors to explore the Chekhovian-Ouevre imaginatively. His Vanya is spare in the extreme…

 

Now, down at HERE, David Herskovits has staged a very spare but somewhat strange Uncle Vanya.

 

In the past, Your Roving Arts-Reporter has been, variously, Amazed, Appalled, & Astounded at Herskovits’ Re-Visions of Classics from the Past with his Target-Margin-Theatre.

 

But why he chose to cast Chekhov’s Russians as Multi-Ethnic & Cross-Gender, however, is a Mystery.

 

It adds nothing to our understanding of the Elemental-Characters & the Basic-Situation in which they find themselves Trapped.

 

Why should Vanya’s Aged-Mother be played by a Grotesquely-Costumed-Man? How does this Illuminate the Character or enrich the Exploration of the Plot?

 

Why should the Pedantic-Professor—the Father of Vanya’s beloved niece, Sonia—be played by a Woman, in another Gender-Switch?

 

The Spoken-Text is not actually that of Chekhov-in-Translation, but a Mash-Up created by the Cast, which includes Modern-Slang & Expletives rather out-of-place in a Chekhovian-Countryside.

 

Here’s a portion of what David Herskovits has written about Text-Creation:

 

…we devoured every version we could find in English, old, new, and in-between, to establish a rigorous foundation for our work. That foundation supported workshops of improvisation, free-writing exercises, and structured exercises to force our cast to reforge the language in each moment. We created an enormous reservoir of dialogue, expressing the scenes multiple different ways. All this material was then culled, discarded, revised, and assembled into a cohesive draft for rehearsal. Finally, another round of editing and rewriting grew out of the formal rehearsal process.

 

Unfortunately, although some of the Characters speak their lines with understanding & conviction, others seem to be merely articulating-carefully the words they have crafted. They do not seem to be inhabiting the People they are supposed to be…

 

If you do not already know Uncle Vanya—either from reading it or from seeing various productions, over the years—you may well wonder just what is going-on down at HERE.

 

Instead of a hitting a Bulls-Eye in the Heart-of-the-Target, they do not even seem to be aiming at its Margins

 

 

Bring Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt’s Fascinating Colette Collage To a Wider-Audience!

 

The bare-bones Encore staging of Chicagosans Scenery—was so successful that it transferred to Broadway, where it is still running, after many a year. It’s also a Worldwide-Success

 

Over at the York-Theatre—in the bowels of the Citicorp-Building—the Musicals-in-Mufti Series bare-bones production of Colette Collage has just closed.

 

Like Chicago, it should attract a wider-audience if it could be transferred & fleshed-out for Off-Broadway.

 

Colette is far more interesting than Roxie Hart.

 

Not only was she a successful Novelist, dealing in sexy-situations & steamy-passions—think Cherie—but she was also a consummate Performer & had herself a fascinating Love-Life.

 

What’s more, Tom Jones’ Book & Lyrics—with Harvey Schmidt’s Captivating-Melodies—bring her story to Vibrant-Life.

 

Especially when Colette is being embodied by the vibrant Christine Andreas!

 

This Mufti-Musical was ingeniously staged by Michael Montel & it included such Talents as Jo Ann Cunningham, Peter Land, Patrick Lane, Bill Nolte, & Scott Willis.

 

This show concluded the 27th Series of Musicals-in-Mufti, as well as its Salute to the Musicals of Jones & Schmidt—whose epically-running Fantasticks is still playing on Broadway at the Snapple-Theatre.

 

Tom Jones was himself in the audience for the Final-Performance, after which there was a Reception to which even Critics were invited.

 

The Lobby-Walls of York-Theatre were covered with Posters & Memorabilia from the Jones/Schmidt-Collaboration: How about I Do! I Do!, 110 in the Shade, Roadside, Celebration, Harold & Maude, The

Game of Love

 

Other Events at the York-Theatre:

 

There were only two-performances of Villa Diodati at the York.

 

This is a Chamber-Opera, presented by Bank-Street-Films, which was filming the Stage-Action & Libretto & Lyrics of Mira J. Spektor & Colette Inez.

 

That famous Villa was the haunting Summer-Rental of Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, & Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein between meals…

 

York-Theatre recently hosted Celeste Holm—one of its first Artists, before it was the York of today. She is now 95 & going strong…

 

Founded by the late but remarkable Janet Hayes Walker, it was initially a Theatre of the Second-Chance for Musicals that had failed on Broadway.

 

Janet was able to convince Steve Sondheim that she should give Anyone Can Whistle a Second-Chance.

 

For one show, Celeste Holm & Wesley Addy starred in the Nave of the Church of the Heavenly-Rest, instead of the Church-Hall behind, where most of the shows were mounted…

 

 

Masterworks at the Frick:

           

When they dug-up an Antique Bronze Statue of Apollo in Cardinal della Rovere’s Vineyard, little did the Diggers realize that this would become famed as the Apollo-Belvedere.

 

The Cardinal became Pope Julius II, placing the Apollo in the Belvedere-Courtyard of the Vatican.

 

Among those Contemporary-Artists who were fascinated with this Discovery was Pier Jacopo Alari, who believed that Antique-Sculpture represented the Model of Artistic-Perfection.

 

He even adopted the name of Antico, when he began to recreate Classic-Works as small bronzes.

 

Antico’s good-fortune was to win the Patronage of the Gonzagas, the Ruling-Dynasty in Mantua.

 

The Gonzagas had no access to Ancient-Statues, but they certainly could afford the smaller versions that Antico created for them.

 

Now, at the Frick-Collection, almost three-quarters of Antico’s Known-Works are on-view—until 29 July 2012.

 

They include Reliefs, Medals, Statuettes, & Life-Sized-Busts.

 

Two rectangular Reliefs are especially powerful, depicting the Labors of Hercules. In one, he is lopping off the Many-Heads of the Hydra—who has a Woman’s-Face.

 

There is another Woman’s-Face on a large bronze bust that is a fanciful Image of Cleopatra. Below the Face on the Pedestal is a tiny Snake, supposedly Cleo’s Asp.

 

Cleopatra certainly didn’t look anything like this, but no-one was digging up Egyptian-Antiquities in Cardinals’ Vineyards.

 

The Heroic-Marble of Nude Hercules wrestling with Anteus—a life-sized Shocker for visitors to the Palazzo-Pitti in Florence—Antico reproduced beautifully in miniature.

 

Antico’s remarkable bronzes are on-loan from such famed Museums as Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches-Museum, Firenze’s Museo Nazionale del Bargello, London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, Boston’s Museum of Fine-Arts, Washington’s National-Gallery, & the Frick itself, which owns a fine Hercules!

 

           

STARS IN THEIR CROWNS:

This Month’s Rational-Ratings—

 

Disney’s NEWSIES  [★★★★]

 

Jonathan Bate’s BEING SHAKESPEARE  [★★★]

 

Mario Fratti’s OBAMA 44  [wait for it]

 

Matt Charman’s REGRETS  [★★★]

 

Richard Geha’s SATAN’S WHORE: VICTORIA WOODHULL  [★★★]

 

Willy Holtzman’s THE MORONI STRAD  [★★★]

 

Dan LeFranc’s THE BIG MEAL  [★★★]

 

Gore Vidal’s THE BEST MAN  [★★★★★]

 

Peter Quilter’s END OF THE RAINBOW  [★★★★★]

 

Andy Webber & Tim Rice’s EVITA  [★★★★★]

 

Bell, Blackwell, & Bowen’s NOW.HERE.THIS  [★★★★]

 

Amy Herzog’s 4000 MILES  [★★]

 

Nicky Silver’s THE LYONS  [★★★★★]

 

The City-Club-Development LLC’s THE CITY CLUB  [★★]

 

Richard Bean’s ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS  [★★★★]

 

Tennessee Williams’ A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE  [★★★★★]

 

Stewart, Ballard, & Rubin’s GHOST: THE MUSICAL  [★★★★]

 

The Gershwins & Joe Dipietro’s NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT  [★★★★]

 

David Auburn’s THE COLUMNIST  [★★★★]

 

Leight, Slater, & Menken’s LEAP OF FAITH  [★★★★]

 

Marc Camoletti’s DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER  [★★★]

 

Eric Simonson’s MAGIC/BIRD  [★★]

 

John Corrigliano’s GHOSTS OF VERSAILLES  [★★★★★]

 

Tony Chekhov’s THE THREE SISTERS  [★★★★★]

 

The Juilliard’s DON GIOVANNI  [★★★★★]

 

Marlowe or Shakespeare’s MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM  [★★★]

 

Tony Chekhov’s UNCLE VANYA  [not-rated]

 

Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt’s COLETTE COLLAGE  [★★★★★]

 

 

BETWEEN-THE-BOOK-ENDS:

 

Hey! It’s not a Book, but it could prove to be even more enjoyable!

 

It’s not yet out-in-stores, but here’s an "Advanced-Copy, for Promotional-Use Only,” of Queen of the Mist!

 

In case you missed it—in its Initial-Incarnation, down in the basement of Judson-Memorial-Church—this is the Forerunner of the CD of John Michael Lachiusa’s admirable New-Musical about the Woman Who Went Over Niagara-Falls in a Barrel.

 

She lived to tell about this Feat & to sell Postcards at the World’s-Fair

 

Mary Testa is Superb!

 

How about There Is Greatness in Me for a Show-Song?

 

It could be a Republican-Campaign-Song for either Mitt or Newt

 

 

Other Production-Related CDs, Scripts, & Sheet-Music from Broadway & Off-Broadway:

 

In the week leading-up to OCC-Nominations, my Mail-Box has been almost literally flooded with Big-Packets from Major-Theatrical-Press-Agents!

 

Among the valued CDs are Death Takes a Holiday, One Man, Two Guvnors, Jesus Christ Superstar, Bonnie & Clyde, Follies, & Once.

 

Lavish Lobby-Programs include: Death Takes a Holiday, Follies, & Jesus Christ Superstar…

 

I even now have a handsome book with the Sheet-Music for Death Takes a Holiday.

 

Here are the Playbooks for David Auburn’s The Columnist, David IvesVenus in Fur, Lydia R. Diamond’s Stick-Fly, One Man, Two Guvnors, Relatively-Speaking, & Artie Miller’s Death of a Salesman [this is the Viking-Critical-Library Edition, no less].

 

There are even a couple of Compendiums of ReviewsDeath of a Salesman merits a handsome Large-Format-Collection!

 

Once is not neglected, but the fattest of all is the Collation of Playbills, that features the Many-Shows represented by the estimable Agency of Boneu/Bryan-Brown.

 

I will have now no difficulty referencing who should be Nominated in Various-Categories

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