This blog gives a look into the eternal sunshine of my ever roving mind.
I consider myself a social critic.
I believe in Film, Music, Theatre, Musical Theatre, Gay Rights, the Right to Choose, Human Rights and YES I still believe in Barack Obama.
I believe in most things left of center.
I don't get any organized religion.They are all a sham.
This is the gay pride flag. I am proudly gay.
These are the things this blog is about.
Love it, like it or leave it. We all have choices.
from the soundtrack of my life. since i showd the poster art for 'les miz' yesterday this beauty of a song needs a revisit.
and i was dared by another blogger to name my top 100 songs from musicals. i'm up to 136 as of today. HA! yet with a lot of thought i have come up with one that i must say is my favorite. 'on my own' from 'les miserables'
and here to sing it is the once and future eponine, samantha barks, brilliant rendering it. this is from the 25th anniversary concert of lez miz. miss barks will thankfully reprise the role in the film version coming in december.
the new cast recording was released a couple of weeks ago. i haven't seen the show but these vids have me intriqued. i had sworn off it after the disastrous showing on the last tony show. perhaps i can change my mind. fact: vocally patti lupone and mandy patinkin cannot be beat. visually madonna will not be beat. she in fact was born to play this role. she should play no other role...ever. this was a grand fluke for madonna. but i digress...
i love this revival. it's kind od amazing that a revival has run so long. the movie version has come and gone. it was a fairly good version of the show but can't compare to this well conceived version that is still a broadway killer.
some memories with bebe neuwirth and ann reinking
bebe and karen ziemba: 'hot honey rag' and 'nowadays'
for me it all began with the musical 'pippin'. jill played catherine. she had three songs. at that moment she had me forever.jill had two solos and one duet with john rubenstein portraying pippin. these songs will appear in my 'loving jill' video over the weekend and on my ipod forever.
the tv film 'hustling', 'gable and lombard' and 'silver streak' came next. but more on them later except to say that as carole lombard in the aforementioned 'gable and lombard' my love affair truly began.
and then in 1978....
the deal was cemented with her first major role as erica in 'an unmarried woman'. jill became the toast of the cannes film festival after it's premiere. she won best actress at that festival. the oscar money was on jill to win best actress in 1978. the oscar, heaven help us, went unwisely to jane fonda in the mediocre 'coming home'. another oscar crime.
i believe jill was too 'new york' for the mostly hollywood voter. it was this prejudice that cost her the oscar win. they just did not get jill or her character erica benton with their upper west side sensibilities.
about four minutes into the following scene you will see why she was at least oscar nominated. yes and why she should have won.
the following scene early in the film shows the dreams of the married woman. it's a charming and delightful scene that we have all imagined in some way or another. then dreams are shattered for awhile as she becomes an unmarried woman. erica benton as her portrayer would not let the bad permanently halt the future.
'an unmarried woman' began a string of roles for jill that showed smart,capable, independent women with a touch of the neurotic. hell that means she portrayed a real person. we all have our own nuerosis though try and hide them we might.
lauren won the tony award as best actress in a musical for 'applause' and 'woman of the year' and deservedly so. lauren represents what a living legend really is and means. to her friends she is betty bacall. so happiest of birthdays betty. and keep on keeping on.
'woman of the year'
'the grass is always greener' with the hysterically funny and dearly departed marilyn cooper
the 'woman of the year' herself
and not only did she deserve a tony for playing margo channing but all the 'applause' that went with it
this scene and song won her the tony. this clip from the tv adaptation does not give justice to the live performance. but i'll take what i can get.
'welcome to the theater'
and when lauren as margo tells you to 'fasten your seat belts' you had best listen!
'kiss of the spider woman' opened in 1993 on broadway. the cast starred brent carver as molina, anthony crivello as valentin and chita rivera as spider woman/aurora (see sidebar) all of whom won tony awards.
the show itself won best musical, book and music and lyrics.
not long after liza minnelli recorded the 'day after that' which she premiered live at the un on world's aids day. it became an anthem in the fight against aids.
i've chosen to post two of liza's versions here.
however the best version of all was the original by anthony crivello who won a most deserved tony award for his role as molina. this is the best i could do. it's not about the pictures or the video. it's all about the music, the lyrics and anthony's amazing voice.
it's really not fair to judge a documentary on the same playing field as a movie. so 4 stars for 'every little step is appropriate. it stands high above other 'theatre' documentaries released.
let's go back to 1975 when choreographer/director michael bennett had an idea after recording hours and hours of broadway dancers or 'gypsies' experiences on why they became dancers and their experiences getting work. he wanted to make a musical of it all. enter marvin hamlisch and joe papp and more an idea would come to life.
in 1976 this 'little' show opened off-broadway at the joe papp theater where many 'little' shows had their start. this show was 'little' as it han no setpieces except for a mirror, minimal props and they were mostly hats and dancers bags and it had no stars. no names. no above the title name recognition. well this 'little' show became the must see show of the 1975 season and made it's move to broadway where it became the longest running show until those idiot 'cats' came along. it took home a basket full of tony awards that year 9 out of the 12 it was nominated floor including bennett as director, the amazing kelly bishop as for best featured actress and of course best musical. unfortunately kelley's win meant a loss for the equally amazing priscilla lopez...it was a coin toss. then there was the featured actor win by sammy williams who tells his story on how and why he became a dancer. his was an amazing performance that goes down in history as a monologue to remember.
slow forward to 1985 when hollwood decided it was time to film this brilliant piece of musical theater. enter acclaimed director richard attenborough. we know mr. attenborough never directed a musical before this. upon seeing the movie it is conceivable that mr. attenborough never ever never saw a musical prior to this time. wgat a frackin' mess. here we have a show about dancers and this director forget the actors have feet. enough of this piece of toxic celluloid.
now a real slow forward to 2006 when a broadway revival is mounted. it was real good. it was not the original but stood on it's own merit. it did win two tony's including best revival of a musical.
so now we go back to the beginning of this little bit of history. the documentary 'every little step'. it traces the audition process for the revival...it becomes the real 'chorus line' story. intermingled with this audition process of high hopes, shattered dreams and a dream come true is archival footage of the original tapes, the original show and it's original conception and creation.
it is brilliant. it is truth. it is sad and joyous at the same time. please please please rent or buy this dvd. if you love or even like musical theater you owe yourself this pleasure. if you don't like or love musical theater i'm not sure why the hell you are reading my blog in the first place.
if you have netflix and a compatible blu ray or play station it is also available on streaming video.
i can't recommend this enough...so now i will stop...no i won't...SEE THIS FILM!
the revival of course....i was kind of worried about this revival...the original seemed musically dated before it even closed. but i must admit the updated orchestrations surprised me. the time is the same the sound looks forward. they could have gotten rid of the 'turkey lurkey time' thing but but then again they never needed it in the first place.
kristin and sean are wonderful vocally. their harmony on 'what do get when you fall in love' is flawless. the rest of their vocals are on perfect pitch.katie finneran shines in her tony award role with sean in 'a fact can be a beautiful thing'.
the supporting cast sounds great.
i guess i must make the trip to ny to see this before the leads take leave.
i love to revisit film yesterday. i pulled out my dvd of 'hair' and much to my surprise i hated it. i can only say i must have been stoned or tripping when i first saw this. though the locations shots were mostly authentic the wardrobe came right out of costume. show me one real hippie and/or flower child that had 'designer hippie' clothes. the orchestrations though serviceable killed a few of the numbers and a few bars in almost every number.
the acting was appalling thus i apologize but treat williams you sucked. and beverly d'angelo got the career she deserved following her portrayal of shelia...no career...gone...forgotten...take a hint anne hathaway.
john savage as claude was almost redeemable but just almost.
i have no idea what i was on the night i went with my friends to see this in 1979 but i'd love to get my hands on some of it, well a lot of it, today.
p.s. 'hair: a tribal musical' opened in 1967 off broadway. in 1968 it transferred to broadway and caused a sensation and quite a stir. waiting until 1979 to film it was so untimely as those days were well gone. at best some musicals should never be filmed. this stands atop a semi long list. this milos forman directed movie was so far from tribal and as close to hollywood mediocrity as one could get. what was i thinking or yet again what was i on?
Kristin Chenoweth, the Promises, Promises star who was nominated for three Broadway.com Audience Awards on May 7, has stepped up on her soapbox. The Broadway favorite logged onto Newsweek.com to comment on an article on the website called “Straight Jacket” that suggests that gay actors struggle with playing straight characters. Ramin Setoodah, the openly-gay author of the article, specifically singles out Chenoweth’s leading man, Sean Hayes (calling his casting a problem--”the big pink elephant in the room”), and the recent appearance on TV’s Glee by Tony nominee Jonathan Groff.
"I couldn't stay silent on this one," Chenoweth wrote on Twitter after posting the response. Because she deserves as big as a soapbox as is available, we reprint Chenoweth’s comments below, with thanks to Newsweek.com.
As a longtime fan of Newsweek and as the actress currently starring opposite the incredibly talented (and sexy!) Sean Hayes in the Broadway revival of Promises, Promises, I was shocked on many levels to see Newsweek publishing Ramin Setoodeh’s horrendously homophobic “Straight Jacket,” which argues that gay actors are simply unfit to play straight. From where I stand, on stage, with Hayes, every night — I’ve observed nothing “wooden” or “weird” in his performance, nor have I noticed the seemingly unwieldy presence of a “pink elephant” in the Broadway Theater. (The Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and Tony members must have also missed that large animal when nominating Hayes’ performance for its highest honors this year.)
I’d normally keep silent on such matters and write such small-minded viewpoints off as perhaps a blip in common sense. But the offense I take to this article, and your decision to publish it, is not really even related to my profession or my work with Hayes or Jonathan Groff (also singled out in the article as too “queeny” to play “straight.”)
This article offends me because I am a human being, a woman and a Christian. For example, there was a time when Jewish actors had to change their names because anti-Semites thought no Jew could convincingly play Gentile. Setoodeh even goes so far as to justify his knee-jerk homophobic reaction to gay actors by accepting and endorsing that “as viewers, we are molded by a society obsessed with dissecting sexuality, starting with the locker room torture in junior high school.” Really? We want to maintain and proliferate the same kind of bullying that makes children cry and in some recent cases have even taken their own lives? That’s so sad, Newsweek! The examples he provides (what scientists call “selection bias”) to prove his “gays can’t play straight” hypothesis are sloppy in my opinion. Come on now!
Openly gay Groff is too “queeny” to play Lea Michele’s boyfriend in Glee, but is a “heartthrob” when he does it in Spring Awakening? Cynthia Nixon only “got away with it” ’cause she peaked before coming out? I don’t know if you’ve missed the giant Sex and the City movie posters, but it seems most of America is “buying it.” I could go on, but I assume these will be taken care of in your “Corrections” this week.
Similarly, thousands of people have traveled from all over the world to enjoy Hayes’ performance and don’t seem to have one single issue with his sexuality! They have no problem buying him as a love-torn heterosexual man. Audiences aren’t giving a darn about who a person is sleeping with or his personal life. Give me a break! We’re actors first, whether we’re playing prostitutes, baseball players, or the Lion King. Audiences come to theater to go on a journey. It’s a character and it’s called acting, and I’d put Hayes and his brilliance up there with some of the greatest actors period.
Lastly, as someone who’s been proudly advocating for equal rights and supporting GLBT causes for as long as I can remember, I know how much it means to young people struggling with their sexuality to see out & proud actors like Sean Hayes, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris and Cynthia Nixon succeeding in their work without having to keep their sexuality a secret. No one needs to see a bigoted, factually inaccurate article that tells people who deviate from heterosexual norms that they can’t be open about who they are and still achieve their dreams. I am told on good authority that Mr. Setoodeh is a gay man himself and I would hope, as the author of this article, he would at least understand that. I encourage Newsweek to embrace stories which promote acceptance, love, unity and singing and dancing for all! --Kristin Chenoweth
a silly romp that takes on some serious topics in a retelling of 'adam and steve'. the music and lyrics are mostly inane and definitely forgettable. i think it can only appeal to those who enjoy camp. if i want camp i'll revisit 'valley of the dolls' or 'the legend of lylah clare' which are sooooo bad that they are make good camp.