All posts filed under: Theatre

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2015: ANOTHER FINE YEAR!

So it’s the time of the season, when I get into that reflective mood and begin working my way backwards over the year’s music, books, movies, etc.  And 2015 was equally as rich as 2014 was, so I thought I’d share some of what I feel are the highest of nearly-innumerable high points over these last twelve months.  I acquired quite a lot of music – some purchased, some sent for review; I saw as many shows as my schedule would allow and read as much as my free time would give – which, of course, also means that my own new album is slower in coming along than I’d hoped (actually, it’s just stalled at the station for the time being), but it’s worth it.  And this year-end review is to help turn some of you on to these good/great/amazing things, in case you hadn’t heard about them previously.  So let us begin: TOP 3 ALBUMS FOR 2015:  these were the three albums that I listened to most often, after their respective releases.  There …

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THEATRE REVIEW: “The Iceman Cometh”, BAM Harvey Theatre, Brooklyn, New York

If you’re going to attend a 4-plus hour stage performance of Eugene O’Neill’s dark and timeless classic, The Iceman Cometh, you’d better hope you’ll be seeing the finest actors to attempt the roles.  Luckily, that’s exactly what you get in this current revival, which stars the always-powerful Brian Dennehy as Larry and the simply incredible Nathan Lane as Hickey, set in a decrepit saloon/flophouse in Greenwich Village, around 1912.  I don’t think it’s necessary to have to give a synopsis of the story, as it’s been part of theatre curriculum and essential reading/performance – it’s one of those plays that everyone knows the background of.  I will simply stick to the evening and what I witnessed. A story mired in gloom, depression, raging alcoholism, self-loathing and desperation, it takes some kind of mettle to bring these characters to life and make them convincing.  The entire cast did just that.  Spread out over four acts (and three intermissions), you’re left breathless by how intense these tragic figures are, mired in their own shortcomings – or living …

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THEATRE REVIEW: “Fish In The Dark”, Cort Theatre, New York, NY

You can make a lot of arguments as to whether or not Larry David’s acerbic wit could play successfully on Broadway.  Sure, being the mastermind behind Seinfeld (which I always disliked) and Curb Your Enthusiasm (which I do find funny) may work in short doses on television.  But will people accept his brand of humor on Broadway?  WHO CARES?  The answer is “yes”.  Certainly from the audience response and my own reaction. Being that I always knew/remember David from his days on Fridays (especially “Matzoi!” – “live and be well…” – look it up), I think he’s funny.  And a lot of what he does, as teeth-gnashing as his character can sometimes be on Curb…, I get it.  The thing is, I went into this with no pre-conceived notion of what this play may be.  The bottom line – it’s goddamned funny.  Simple premise:  neurotic Jewish family becomes even more unhinged when the patriarch dies – hilarity ensues.  Now, whether or not you get the Jewish humor, it’s a universal theme.  And this is one …

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THEATRE REVIEW: “Of Mice And Men”, at the Longacre Theatre, New York, NY, Friday, May 23rd, 2014

True, Steinbeck’s 1937 masterpiece has been done many times and in several variations – plays, films, television productions – but this timeless and tragic story still conveys its message with a freshness on the stage of New York’s Longacre Theatre.  I think it can be attributed to the youthfulness of its leading players, James Franco and Chris O’Dowd.  While Franco is known for his tongue-in-cheek pretentious “I’m an art guy” persona (exemplified by his character, “James Franco”, in This Is The End), his no-nonsense, world-weary portrayal of George Milton is powerful and gripping.  Chris O’Dowd, the brilliant comic star of HBO’s now-cancelled Family Tree, amongst other parts, plays Lennie Small with a charm and childlike innocence that is intense, emotional and heartbreaking.  The chemistry between the two lead actors is believable and strong which propels the story along with a greater sense of urgency. Of equal worth and applause is Jim Norton, the Irish theatre and film actor for his portrayal of the elderly but still-hopeful-for-a-better-life Candy; Ron Cephas Jones as the cynical, yet wryly …