SONDHEIM/SHEVELOVE/GELBART: ‘A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM’ (REVIEW PICK, CHI) and more...


SONDHEIM/SHEVELOVE/GELBART: ‘A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM’ (REVIEW PICK, CHI)

(Hedy Weiss’s article appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, 4/22.)

Porchlight Music Theatre’s all-Sondheim season began with tragedy (“Sweeney Todd”), moved on to autobiography (“Sondheim on Sondheim”), and is now drawing to a close with “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” the zany 1962 “comedy tonight” romp that marked the first time the Broadway master created both the music and lyrics for a show. (He had earlier written the lyrics only for “West Side Story” and “Gypsy.”) As if any further proof were needed, this lineup has demonstrated Sondheim’s brilliance at capturing the distinctive “voice” of myriad theatrical styles.

With a book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart — who took their inspiration from the farces of the ancient Roman playwright Plautus, but infused it with all-American vaudevillian hijinks — “A Funny Thing Happened” conjures chaos out of the fervent dream of a clever, ever-endangered slave, Pseudolus, to win his freedom. Pseudolus’ pursuit of that dream depends on his helping his virginal young master, Hero, woo the equally virginal Philia — a newbie courtesan who already has been promised to the macho general, Miles Gloriosus, and also is being hotly pursued by Hero’s father, Senex.

(Read more)

http://entertainment.suntimes.com/music/funny-things-happen-way-forum/

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DAVID ALVAREZ ON ‘BILLY ELLIOT,’ THE ARMY, AND ‘ON THE TOWN’

 

(Gia Kourlas’s article appeared in The New York Time, 4/24.)

“Are you O.K.?” the choreographer Joshua Bergasse asked his newest dancer during a recent rehearsal for “On the Town” at the Lyric Theater. “Do you want to breathe for a minute? Take a minute. Get some water.”

In other words, if you don’t tell David Alvarez, a swing in the show, to take a break, he won’t.

Being a swing, a performer responsible for learning multiple ensemble roles, for “On the Town,” an athletic, jazz-influenced ballet show, is grueling, yet not even close to some of the punishing physical acts Mr. Alvarez, 20, has put himself through. Mr. Alvarez spent three years of his childhood at another Broadway theater starring as Billy Elliot, the irrepressible British boy seduced by ballet. When he was nearly 16, he took his final bow and finished high school. And then he joined the Army.

Continue reading the main story

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SECOND STAGE BUYS HELEN HAYES THEATER, ENDING DISPUTE

 

(Michael Paulson’s article appeared in The New York Times, 4/18; via Pam Green.)

A nonprofit theater company on Friday purchased one of the last independently owned Broadway houses, promising to bring more plays by living American playwrights to an industry dominated by musicals, movie adaptations and British imports.

Second Stage, an Off Broadway company since its founding in 1979, said it had paid just under $25 million to purchase the Helen Hayes Theater from Martin Markinson and Jeffrey Tick, settling litigation between the nonprofit and the theater owners over whether the long-planned sale would proceed. Second Stage hopes to begin producing shows in the Broadway theater during the 2017-18 season.

(Read more)

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/theater/second-stage-buys-helen-hayes-theater-ending-dispute.html

Visit Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015://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.

     

AMERICAN ACADEMIA IS LOWERING THE CURTAIN ON WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE--HAPPY 451ST BIRTHDAY, BILL

(Nanette Asimov’s article appeared in the SF Gate, 4/23).

American academia is lowering the curtain on William Shakespeare more than 4½ centuries after his birth.

Happy 451st birthday, Bill.

A new study finds that English departments at just four of 52 top-ranked universities require English majors to take a course on the 16th century playwright and poet who is considered the English-speaking world’s greatest man of letters.

UC Berkeley is one of the four. 

(Read more) 

http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Shakespeare-getting-little-love-from-American-6217819.php

Visit Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015://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.

     

PATTY SAFFRAN ON ‘THE KING AND I’ AT LINCOLN CENTER

 
 

(Saffran wrote her thoughts after a recent performance.)

At Lincoln Center--we saw last night.  Superb cast except for Tuptim who was singing flat at first.  Kelli is wonderful as is Ken and everyone else.  Great costumes and only a drab dull crumbling gray palace wall in the set was out of place.  We know from Julia Dent Grant's descriptions that old world royalty was splendid beyond belief. Also, apparently the king was educated and the original book makes an intentional error about this.  He was only backward about women and absolute control.  Anna never was present when the king died unlike the play and book.  Years later, when the Crown Prince became king, he went to visit Anna in London and asked why she wrote such terrible things about his father.  She had no answer for that.

Visit Lincoln Center: http://www.lct.org/shows/king-and-i/

Visit Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015://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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