Monthly Archives: March 2012

Glee, Spiderman (the musical) and Carrie (not the musical).

OK

So Babs is a Gleek, was a tad obssesed about Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark (in earlier days) and – well what more can he say about CARRIE?

more it seems…..

Well I thought I might give up on the Carrie obsession for a while but some news has cropped up that I cannot ignore.

A rumoured remake of the classic film of the Stephen King novel “Carrie” directed by the brilliant (at times) Brian DePalma has been on the radar for a little while. Now comes a tweet on a casting choice to go along with the director and writer attached. Babs is intrigued.

Kimberly Pierce is to direct – she of the acclaimed “Boys Don’t Cry” (another tortured female saga).

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is writing the screenplay he is a producer on “Glee,” and recently re-worked the Broadway tuner “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark”, after the dismissal of Julie Taymor.

And who may be the next Carrie?

Chloe Moretz –  she of “Kick Ass”, “Let Me In” & the recent Scorcese film “Hugo” – the best thing about that film I say!

“Thank you Kim Pierce and thank u MGM for the chance of a lifetime!” Moretz tweeted this Tuesday.

I don’t think the film should be remade, but if it is to be done then perhaps the right people are gathering to at least make a decent attempt at it.

Moretz can next be seen opposite Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer in Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows.” She sure makes some interesting and edgy career choices.

Babs can’t wait to see who will be cast as Margaret White (Carrie’s mum) – Charlize Theron anyone?

Cinema’s original Carrie White – Sissy Spacek.

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Should I see Superstar?

Jesus Christ Superstar is a musical I hold very close to my heart. It was the first show I ever saw live on stage, you can read all about that experience here.

I have never seen another production on stage since that fateful night 4 decades ago! (the film I have seen multiple times) and it is a favourite musical of mine. Last time I was New York I went to see a revival of my favourite musical Hair and it was a real treat – a good production. This time it is Superstar  being revived and offers me a chance to hear those great songs live on stage once again.

The latest revival of the legendary rock opera with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice comes from a sold out production at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada, followed by a follow-up run at the LaJolla Playhouse in San Diego, California, directed by Des McAnuff the man responsible for the mega hit Broadway production of Jersey Boys – still playing at the August Wilson theatre across the road from the Neil Simon theatre where Superstar will preach. I must admit that judging from the stills of the staging that I have seen I expect it has a similar amount of showbiz pizzaz that made Jersey Boys an enjoyable experience.

Andrew Lloyd Webber was planning his own revival but got wind of the Stratford production, went to see it, and decided it was good enough for Broadway. Here is my chance to decide for myself, do you think i should?

 

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It takes two

Babs likes a bit of useless trivia.

A couple of stars, a couple of coincidences, a couple of shows to catch……

Two shows that will be playing on Broadway in May/June when I visit share a few coincidences of sorts.

The shows are  – Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz  and The Lyons by Nicky Silver

Both plays have will have transferred from hit off-Broadway engagements to Broadway houses. Both feature leading actresses that I have seen on Broadway on a past visit 21 years ago  – yes that long ago!!!

One of those actresses is Stockard Channing (West Wing, Grease) whom I saw in the brilliant play Six Degrees Of Separation by John Guare which was another production that transferred from an off-Broadway venue to Broadway. Six Degrees and Other Desert Cities are/were both presented by The Lincoln Centre.

Stockard Channing as Betty Rizzo in the film Grease

and as Polly in Other Desert Cities

The other actress is Linda Lavin (tv’s Alice, Tony winner for Broadway Bound) who co-starred in the off-Broadway presentation of Other Desert Cities but declined to make the transfer to Broadway so she could take on the leading role in The Lyons which gave her glowing reviews to go along with the ones she recieved in the production she departed – are you following?   I saw Linda Lavin back in December 1990 in the role of Mama Rose in a revival of the hit musical Gypsy (she replaced Tyne Daly who won a Tony for the role). Incidentally Dick Latessa (Hairspray) co-stars as Linda’s dying husband and is an actor I have seen once before – in the revival of the musical Promises Promises in 2010.

Linda Lavin as Alice with Beth Howland  (left) and Polly Holliday (right)

Linda Lavin as Rita Lyons with her dying hubby Ben – Dick Latessa

This could mean that Miss Lavin & Miss Channing may be competing for the coveted best actress trophy at the Tony awards!!!

Both were brilliant the last time I saw them so I will definitely will go see them tread the boards again and I expect to be thrilled by these wonderfully talented ladies once more.

Here is the synopsis for both plays

Other Desert Cities – Brooke Wyeth , a once promising novelist, returns home after a six year absence to celebrate Christmas in Palm Springs with her parents (Stockard Channing and Stacy Keach), former members of the Reagan inner-circle, her brother , and her aunt (formerly played by Linda Lavin now it’s Judith Light). When Brooke announces that she is about to publish a memoir focusing on an explosive chapter in the family’s history, the holiday reunion is thrown into turmoil and the Wyeths are both bound together and torn apart as they struggle to come to terms with their past.
The Lyons – A play about about a family grappling with the impending death of its patriarch. When Ben Lyons’ wife, Rita, and their grown children gather to say goodbye, they learn that despite being a family, each of them is utterly isolated. Afraid of closeness and afraid of solitude, they are propelled into foreign territory – human connection.

I like the sound of both of them and the critics and public seem to like them, so off I go.

* Rachel Griffith starred as the daughter in ODC replacing Elizabeth Marvel who was in the OBC cast, Griffith has since departed and has been replaced by Marvel – sorry to confuse you with senseless trivia again – Griffith is eligible for a Tony.

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Starry starry night!

As Babs plans a trip to New York in a couple of months he has his eyes on a few productions on the Great White Way. So expect a few posts on what may be on the agenda…..

First up is a revival of Gore Vidal’s 1960 play THE BEST MAN.

The Best Man is a political melodrama about a U.S. Presidential election and for this particular revival (the second on Broadway) a starry cast has been assembled.

James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Candice Bergen, Eric McCormack (TV’s Will & Grace), Michael McKean (Lenny from Laverne & Shirley), Kerry Butler (Tony nominee for Xanadu), John Larroquette (Tony winner for the recent revival of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying), Jefferson Mays (Tony winner for I Love My Wife). There are a hell of a lot of award winners or nominees on board this campaign trail.

How can Babs resist?

Here is how the producers bill the show – “A play about power, ambition, political secrets, ruthlessness and the race for the presidency, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man is set at the national convention where two candidates are vying for their party’s nomination during the primary season. It’s an inside look at the dirt-digging, double-dealing, triple-crossing chicanery of presidential electioneering and what could be more fun in a presidential campaign season than these theatrical fireworks.”

I love a political drama, most recently experienced with George Clooney’s film “The Ides Of March”, so it is pure bait for me.

Imagine seeing the great 5 time Tony award winning Broadway legend Angela Lansbury treading the boards!!! Even though the part is apparently small I am sure she will leave her mark. Then there is the other legend – the great James Earl Jones, a two time Tony award winner for The Great White Hope & Fences and of course well known as the voice of Darth Vader! Candice Bergen has always been a favourite actress especially in her Emmy winning role as Murphy Brown, will be very interesting if she can carry it off on stage. Whether it is a dog or not at least there is a galaxy of stars to ogle.

Theatre legends James Earl Jones & Angela Lansbury. Photo by Bruce Gilkas

Candice Bergen looks very excited about her upcoming Broadway role – Photo by Walter McBride

The show is in previews right now and 0pens on April 1, so no reviews out yet.

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Meryl you are a witch???

No I am not complaining about my disappointment in Meryl Streep’s Oscar win last week for “The Iron Lady“.

This post is much more of a delight.

Meryl Streep is rumoured to be cast as the Witch in a film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical “Into The Woods”. The film is to be directed by Rob Marshall who brought “Chicago” to the screens successfully (in box office terms-not artistic) but we must remember he is also responsible for bringing “Nine” to the screen which was a disaster (box office and artistically!) I do love his TV remake of “Annie” that was a success in my own opinion.

But there is more rumour-mongering about Meryl as the Witch…..

The Public Theatre’s Shakespeare In The Park Festival are mounting an outdoor production of the Sondheim musical this July and rumoured to play the Witch is none other than the reigning Oscar Queen Meryl. Is this an audition?

I am a big fan of this show and was very very lucky to see the original Broadway production way back in 1987 – Bernadette Peters played the Witch and she was fabulous. Of the course the role to steal the show belongs to the Baker’s Wife. Who will be cast in that coveted role? Joanna Gleason won the Tony that year and she was also fabulous! I recall turning to my partner and said – “she will win the Tony, not Peters!”

Brilliant Bernadette Peters – the original Witch of the woods.

In the meanwhile…..

Sondheim has announced that he is collaborating on a new musical with playwright David Ives who is currently represented on Broadway with the hit show “Venus In Fur” – of which Babs has on his list of “shows to see” when he is in town in May.

He has apparently written 20-30 minutes of the piece and says of it – “Having spent the better part of four years writing two books [Finishing the Hat and Look I Made a Hat], I’m really rusty,” Sondheim humbly said of his process. “I sit at the piano and think, ‘Where’s middle C?’ Any muscles, as you know, atrophy when you don’t use them, and I haven’t been using my musical muscles.”

Who cares? Any thought of another Sondheim musical certainly gets my muscles into action. I am so excited about this.

And what does he say about Streep the Witch? Sondheim neither confirms nor denies the rumours. “We will see,” the composer said. “I think she’d be great.”

My hero Stephen Sondheim.

Nina Arianda & Hugh Dancy star in David Ive’s “Venus In Fur”.

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American Horror Story season 2 – casting announced.

Ryan Murphy the co-creator of the smash hit series “American Horror Story” of which Babs is a huge fan has revealed some of the returning cast for the show’s sophomore season.

Jessica Lange who was a huge success as supporting character Constance will return as a entirely new character and he says the series will focus on her as a lead.

“We have designed the second season of American Horror Story completely around her character. Last year Jessica came in with Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott. This will really be the Jessica Lange show so I’m very excited about it. We are designing this amazing new opposite of the Constance character for her. She and I have spoken about different things. She has a lot of ideas, and has a lot of input into her character. She told me some things she has always wanted to play as an actress. She’s a great collaborator and a great friend.”

Jessica has had major award success with the role picking up a Golden Globe and a SAG award, she has to be the hot tip for the Emmy.

Joining her will be Zachary Quinto who was a scene stealer as one of the gay characters last year. He to will be playing an entirely different role as will all according to Mr Murphy.

Zachary Quinto

Also confirmed to return is Sarah Paulson (who I loved in the movie “Martha, Marcy May Marlene” – she played Elizabeth Olsen’s uptight sister) as well as Evan Peters and Lily Rabe (the very talented daughter of playwright David Rabe and actress Jill Clayburgh)Peters had previously played Tate, Constance’s son a Columbine-like killer. Rabe played Nora Montgomery, a woman who had lost her baby to a hideous tragedy. Paulson played the psychic Billie Dean Howard. I am quite pleased as all of the above were my favourite characters last season. Murphy commented no further on what characters the actors will be playing but said they’ll be playing the opposite of characters they’ve already played. The second season of American Horror Story will be set somewhere on the East Coast in an undisclosed “horror institution”. Filming will start shooting this July for an October premiere.

Sarah Paulson

Lily Rabe

Evan Peters

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Chookas to Carrie !!

The Off Broadway revival of Carrie The Musical premieres in just a couple of hours at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in Greenwich Village, NYC.

Chookas!!  to all the cast and crew.

I hope it will be a massive hit and extend past the April 22 closing date, then Babs may be in with a chance and catch it.

Enjoy these production stills from the show.

Photos credit: Joan Marcus

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