FRANK LOESSER: ‘GUYS AND DOLLS’ (REVIEW PICK, UK) and more...


FRANK LOESSER: ‘GUYS AND DOLLS’ (REVIEW PICK, UK)

 

(Mark Lawson’s article appeared in the Guardian, 8/22.)

After West End-transferred productions of a neglected American show (The Pajama Game) and a modern classic (Sweeney Todd), Chichester turns to a revival of a work with strong claims to be the most perfect Broadway musical.

Failures in this genre often result from scenario and speech being treated as golf-tees for the big drive of the songs, but Frank Loesser's Guys and Dolls is a series of sharp comic sketches that dissolve into great numbers. Like its title, the plot divides between the men – chancer Nathan Detroit and high-roller Sky Masterson – and the women: dancer Miss Adelaide, Nathan's fiancé for 14 long years, and Sarah Brown, the Salvation Army sergeant who, in one of numerous narrative and lyrical overlaps between the main topics of gambling and romance, Nathan bets Sky he can't seduce.

The writer Damon Runyon had a remarkable ear for street-speech and Loesser's lyrics brilliantly reproduce that vernacular tang – the words "I", "Me" or "My" stud the songs – while establishing that, among paradigms of rhymes, he was the bridge between Cole Porter and Stephen Sondheim. Loesser also smuggled some slyly sexual lines past his times (Sarah's love-ballad "If I Were a Bell" is filled with images of slickness and opening) and Carlos Acosta, a choreographer known for erotic energy, creates routines that never forget that dance was a socially acceptable version of what guys and dolls really wanted to do.

(Read more)

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/aug/22/guys-and-dolls-review-chichester-acosta

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10 GREAT BOOKS BY IRISH WOMEN

(From the Irish Times, 8/19.)

The Last SeptemberElizabeth Bowen (1929) 
Set against the backdrop of the Irish War of Independence, Elizabeth Bowen’s novel was published less than a decade after the conflict had ended. Noting the huge impact it had on her as a writer, Bowen says in a preface to the work that of all her books and short stories The Last September was “nearest to my heart, and had a deep, unclouded, spontaneous source. It is a work of instinct rather than knowledge.” Centred on the lives of the Naylor family, resident in the Cork country mansion Danielstown, the book is big house fiction at its best.

Without my Cloak, Kate O’Brien (1931) 
A Victorian family saga, O’Brien’s debut novel tells the story of an upper class Irish Catholic household from the fictional town of Mellick. Set in the 1870s and drawing heavily on the author’s Limerick background, the book was awarded the James Tait Memorial Prize for its powerful portrait of family life and the tensions that exist between duty and self-fulfilment. The Considine dynasty begins with horse-thief Anthony and is passed down to his son Honest John and again to John’s eight children, each of whom must come to terms with their role within the clan.

(Read more) 

http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/10-great-books-by-irish-women-1.1901693

Visit Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http://www.stagevoices.com/ .  If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com .

 

     

DAVID LETTERMAN REMEMBERS ROBIN WILLIAMS

(Ariana Bacle's article appeared 8/19 in Entertainment Weekly. Via Pam Green.)

David Letterman wasn’t the slightest bit intimidated by Robin Williams the first time he met the comedian 38 years ago at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles. That is, until Williams got on stage. “It’s like nothing we had ever seen before,” Letterman remembered. “We’re like morning dew. He comes in like a hurricane.”

(Read more)

http://popwatch.ew.com/2014/08/19/david-letterman-robin-williams/?hootPostID=3f8ff1966f28e931ceee5ef3188199c6

Visit Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http://www.stagevoices.com/ .  If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com .

     

SHAKESPEARE’S FIRST FOLIO AT THE MORGAN LIBRARY IN NY

Shakespeare’s ‘First Folio’ holds some of the playwright’s earliest and most celebrated work

Although many of William Shakespeare’s plays had been published individually during his lifetime, the First Folio — published seven years after his death in 1623 — marked the first time that a collected edition of his works was printed.

Of the 36 plays that were included in the manuscript, half of them had never been in print before. Without the First Folio, it’s very likely that plays such as Macbeth, Julius Caesar, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It would have been lost to us forever.

The copy of the First Folio on display at the Morgan was the one originally given to the Bodleian Library at Oxford, England in 1623. However, just over forty years later, it left the Bodleian’s shelves for over two centuries.

According to John McQuillen, the curator of the “Marks of Genius” exhibit, the Bodleian sold their copy of the First Folio around 1664 when the Third Folio of Shakespeare’s plays was printed. “It was, in 1664-eyes, a better edition,” said McQuillen. “It was modern. It was brand-new. Why keep your old book around?”

The Bodleian’s First Folio remained in private hands for many years after that and its whereabouts were unknown until 1905, when it suddenly popped up in the hands of an Oxford undergraduate who had taken it to the Bodleian Library to ask for advice about having it rebound.

Once word got out about the recently discovered manuscript, an anonymous buyer offered the owners a bid of 3,000 pounds to purchase it (over $531,000 by 2014 standards). The owners offered the Bodleian the chance to match the offer, but lacking the funds to match such an extraordinary sum at the time, the Library decided to launch its first public fundraising campaign.

Although Oxford graduates were approached about donating to the campaign, many of the donations came in the form of small sums from people with no connection to the Bodleian Library at all, both from the United Kingdom and from US. “It was… what you might call an early ‘Kickstarter’ campaign,” McQuillen said.

Through these donations, the Bodleian was able to raise enough money to purchase back the book that had been lost to them for nearly 250 years.

And the anonymous buyer who offered the initial astronomical sum? He was later revealed to be Henry Clay Folger, who would go on to found the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, which houses the largest collection of First Folios in the world. Learn more on the Bodleian’s website.

(Read more)

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/shakespeare-first-folio-sappho-fragments-genius/

Visit Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http://www.stagevoices.com/ .  If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com .

     

BEAUMARCHAIS: ‘THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO’ (LISTEN NOW ON BBC RADIO 3—LINK BELOW)

Beaumarchais: ‘The Marriage of Figaro’

Listen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wlj9b

Duration:

2 hours

First broadcast:

Sunday 26 December 2010

A rare chance to hear the original play that inspired Mozart's now more famous opera. Written by French writer Beaumarchais, and considered too dangerous to perform in its own time.

Bristling with social and political conflict, behind the comic intrigues of da Ponte's libretto lies a drama that is edgy, political, dealing with class and stroppy servants sensing the smell of Revolution in the air.

The author, Beaumarchais, led a life as colourful as the world of his plays. At the height of the French Revolution, as he had been a royal servant, he was brought before the Revolutionary council. His life was spared when he declared in his defence that he was the creator of Figaro. This character epitomised the underdog striving to be free and was hugely popular with the revolutionaries. Napoleon realised its power when he declared it to be 'the Revolution in action'.

Cast:
Figaro ..... Rupert Degas;
Count ..... Nicholas Rowe;
Suzanne ..... Joannah Tincey;
Countess ..... Clare Wille;
Antonio/Double-Main ..... Sean Barrett;
Marceline ..... Frances Jeater;
Bazile/Pedrillo ..... Hugh Dickson;
Brid'oison ..... Stephen Thorne;
Bartholo ..... Anton Lesser;
Fanchette ..... Gina Bramhill;
Cherubin/Gripe-Soleil ..... Charlie Morton.

Adapted and directed for Radio 3 by David Timson and first broadcast in 2010.

Produced by Nicolas Soames

Visit Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http://www.stagevoices.com/ .  If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com .

     

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