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Entries in Audra McDonald (9)

Monday
Jul142014

Aarrrr, matey. It's Captain Link!

John August Gregory Maguire (author of the novel "Wicked") looks at the original screenplay of The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Tom Huller look at this amazing commissioned poster for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Erik Lundegaard the first "Best Shot" entry elsewhere is up for tomorrow's Any Batman Movie fest. I love this article. Erik is so right about Adam West
Black Maria the nuance of silence in Ida  

Stage Buddy reviews the cast album of the Tony Winning "Lady Day"... won't someone please make it into a movie so Audra McDonald can have an Oscar?
Cinema Blend Stan Lee getting greedy in his old age - wants to cameo in DC movies, too 
The Film Stage Kurt Russell who starred in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof thinks The Hateful Eight will be going before cameras early in 2015 
The Playlist ranks all eight Planet of the Apes movies. Predictably Tim Burton's box office hit is dead last.
Previously TV 'disparate things' pits Parks and Recreation's party machine up against "that brief window when we thought Smash might be good." I trust you'll all vote for Smash. Do as your told!

Boyhood
Awards Daily thinks Boyhood leads the Best Picture race but I'd be surprised to see it even nominated myself. IFC doesn't really try for these things you know. I think there last nomination was in 2009 or something.
Guardian quibbling with Boyhood  

The Struggle
Film School Rejects has a think piece on the toxic culture of movie rumors as movie news. I've talked about this a lot myself as a way of describing what I don't want The Film Experience to be (just another site that cares more about movies that don't yet exist than movies that do) versus what it is (a movie site that cares about real movies from all eras and long after their opening weekend). As a generul rule we restrict ourselves when it comes to rumors (beyond quite often in these link roundups) much to the detriment of traffic since "future movies" is big business. I don't mean to pat myself on the back but I think it's a real problem for healthy film culture (which needs to be about actual films) and I'm always to curious to read articles like this from bigger sites which are news-focused on their feelings. It's a tough line to walk. I don't think we cover news enough at TFE but you have to be so careful that you're not just feeding into the meaningless of what's-next-what's-next at the expense of appreciating what there already is. Imagine if everyone in the US stopped reading every article about upcoming movies for an entire year. They'd have enough time left over to see a big group of classics and contemporary cinema and discuss them, too.

Christopher Walken in Pennies From Heaven (1981)

FINALLY...
You'd probably heard that Christopher Walken will be playing Captain Hook in the "Peter Pan Live!" event we should see sometime next year. "The Sound of Music Live!" set off a bunch of new plans for networks since live events are one of the only ways to get people to watch a program as its broadcast and thereby force them to sit through commercials. Walken is so amazing in musical roles which he almost never gets to do (see "Weapon of Choice" and "Pennies From Heaven" for starters). I don't remember this musical at all though I think my parents took us to a touring company when I was itty bitty to see it. Hopefully Hook gets to do some elaborate pirate jigs.  

Unfortunately it looks like they're looking for a female actress to play Peter Pan (Kristen Bell was an original choice) which is disappointing. Yes, that's the stage and film tradition but wasn't it originally the tradition only because of wirework technical issues and women being smaller and lighter. It's decades later now, time to get a real boy who won't grow up for the role. 

 

Monday
Jun092014

Miscellania: Moustache Banner, Reader Spotlight, Tony Hangover

Three Quick Things.

1. Enjoy the new banner, subject matter chosen by reader John who won the last round of "say what". It'll be moustaches all week (though not the same ones. If you're paying attention the banner changes fairly regularly.)

2. I am so appreciative of you readers. Not that many people signed up for subscriptons so I'll still be a wailing beggarwoman out of a tragic musical at nights but I received so many kind birthday wishes and that's wonderful, too. The fitness and self-improvement group that some of you signed up for is chugging along nicely, too...early stages. So it's time to bring back Reader Spotlight! We'll start again real soon so you can get to know each other, the TFE community.

3. I don't really have a Tony hangover -- I was good last night but for the birthday cake devouring -- but the Tonys linger. (I am still annoyed that they played a commercial for a new Katharine McPhee TV series. That's like an insult to Megan Hilty to air that during the Tonys! Even if she only bested McPhee at the fictional Tonys within  Smash).

I'm desperate to see Sutton Foster's show Violet (I never miss her unless she's doing a big expensive corporate musical like Shrek. I skipped that one) and I may try the lottery for Hedwig though there are 300ish people each day and it probably will explode in size again. It's sold out of regular seats for the remainder of its run and is now only selling the premiums (hundreds of dollars each). Sales are up for a few of the big winners, too. But today is all about Audra McDonald who broke her tie with Angela Lansbury for most Tony wins last night. I'mma listen to all her records today and dream of her getting a movie musical. She tells Vanity Fair she's "not anywhere near the planet right now" and the New York Times is looking back on her charmed and unusually lauded career on the stage to ask how she won six Tonys.

Monday
Jun092014

Tony Award Winners

Did you watch the Tony Awards last night? The evening began with Hugh Jackman proving his physical fitness -- his knees get such a workout -- by hopping through his entire continuous shot production number, basically a tour of the backstage and upcoming performers in costume.

That led to a night of high energy but strange and touristy musical number choices like numbers from ancient top-selling shows (Les Miz and Wicked) rather than new ones that need the sales help and non-Broadway celebrities like Sting and Jennifer Hudson taking up a lot of room to sell shows that aren't even open. It'd be a bit like the Oscars going "how about Interstellar?" while giving prizes to Gravity back in March. 

Hugh Jackman also rapped with LL Cool Jr via the famously chatty opening number of "The Music Man" Hugh Jackman has now spent 14 years of his career playing Wolverine and at this point he's really wasting his life (I mean once you have 100s of millions, what's 20 million more?). He needs to commit and make only movie musicals before he's too old.  

Highlights and winners of the night after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec072013

American Horror Story: Sound of Music

This thing on my DVR was the 4th season pilot, right?  

I kid I kid. But horrified I was. If you miss live "events" it's difficult (one might say pointless) to write about them later so I promise to be quick about this. What I enjoyed far more than the show, which I caught a day later, was catching up on the articles and tweets about the show wherein people either hilariously skewered it or contorted themselves memorably to find nice things to say or excuse its Carrie Underwoodedness. Her acting was far far worse than I'd been told, recalling Julianne Moore's dead on approximation of porn star acting in Boogie Nights only dumber and with less of a nose drip to help with the dead eyes. I initially was surprised that Carrie wasn't oversinging it but the surprise soon faded because after the hills came alive with the sound of music she decided to shout-sing the rest. Not a wise choice when the poor girl couldnt even make it up and down the Von Trapp family staircase without breathing heavily. It was absolutely mean to pair her with musical performers as gifted as Laura Benanti and Audra McDonald, two of Broadway's richest voices... neither of whom ever need this silly oxygen thing to get through a long-ass musical phrase. Vampire Bill was a better match for Carrie (albeit not chemistry-wise) with his shaky voice bringing him down to her shaky-acting level (somewhat). 

I should say that I was less surprised than most people seemed to be that the stage musical is so different from the film. I've seen it performed live before and though critics are generally unkind to the film version it's one of those rare adaptations that improves on virtually everything from its source material structurally in terms of song order and character arcs and even in pacing though it's longer. Plus it's got Julie Andrews who you know, owns all when it comes to twirling around on mountaintops or believably portraying both sexual longing and religious piety in equally wholesome and relatable ways as Maria. I know it's uncool among cinephile's to consider it great cinema or whatever. But I do. Full stop. The Sound of Music became its best self in the translation to the big screen. 

we must've done something good to deserve the 1965 classic

The gargantuan ratings suggest that more "live" musical events are on the way. It has to be family friendly so why not Oliver! which could use the legacy resuscitation? Since giving the stuff away never seems to hurt actual sales of entertainment (weird, that) they could even do something that's about to be a movie like Annie or Into the Woods. Or why not something more contemporary that not everyone can afford to see on Broadway. Why not The Lion King or Wicked even since that movie is clearly never going to happen. I'm thinking about Wicked constantly these days because of its doppelganger Frozen and "Defying Gravity"'s doppelganger "Let it Go" , and because of these drawings by Oscar nominated animator Minkyu Lee, and the rumored Idina & Taye breakup (sniffle. is that true? they were so adorbs together) and the possibility that Idina might perform on Oscar night. I'd rather think about Wicked right now, okay?!  My beloved Sound of Music is in a hospital in Austria somewhere recuperating. It's a survivor. I have confidence it will live to spin on mountain tops once more.

Wednesday
Jan162013

Stage Door: "Picnic" Packs a Lot of Starpower

Occasionally on Mondays, Broadway's "dark" night, or uh... It's Wednesday (oops!)... we'll talk theater.

As I sat waiting for the revival of William Inge's "Picnic"  to begin in its new Broadway run, I noticed that I couldn't keep my mitts off of Sebastian Stan. Playbills can get so smudgy if you keep pawing at them but it couldn't be helped with his face so blown up big on the program. The collection of actors onstage was about to experience the same handsy problem with Sebastian Stan as "Hal" the hunky drifter in this classic drama about the power of beauty and the complications of sexual attraction. Only it wasn't his face they wanted to rub themselves all over.

No sooner had the play begun than Ellen Burstyn was talking him out of his clothing (please to note: Sebastian Stan has been working out. A lot. God bless, presumably, Captain America: The Winter Soldier in which he'll square off with Chris Evans as his former friend 'Bucky' now resurrected/brainwashed as an arch enemy.) He spends the better part of the three act play sweaty and shirtless or half sweaty-shirted if you will.

more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun112012

Tony Awards 2012

Neil Patrick Harris sang and danced and wisecracked and otherwise hung out (har dee har har... see Spider-Man gag to the left) at the Tony Awards last night.

Did you watch?

 If so what delighted you most? I'll admit right up front that this may be the season from which I'd seen the least amount of nominated shows in the past decade. I only saw three: Bonnie & Clyde (terrible), Porgy & Bess (strong) and Follies (genius/wondrous I saw it twice despite barely going to Broadway shows this year.) Porgy & Bess and Once (based on the great movie about the budding romance between two musicians) stole many of the trophies Follies might have won if the Tonys loved Stephen Sondheim shows as much as his legion of obsessive fans do. 

Since I am very very tired today, herewight ten highlight tweets via me (and photos and winners) from last night as sort of retroactive fake live blogging...

Awww. it's Mrs Hugh Jackman. (According to Hugh, she's terrible at keeping secrets)

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May012012

Stage Door: Tony Award Nominations

They're here. The 2012 Tony Award nominations. For your perusal and discussion the nominee list. Unfortunately this year I saw relatively few shows: Follies (genius), Porgy & Bess (strong), Bonnie & Clyde (errrr). The stage adaptation of the film musical Once (2007) led the nominations with 11. I still haven't seen it (sniffle) but I love the film. Porgy & Bess is close behind with 10 nominations including a possible record-tying fifth win from the one and only Audra McDonald.

Audra McDonald & Norm Lewis (sensational) in Porgy & Bess

Best Play

  • Clybourne Park
  • Other Desert Cities
  • Peter and the Starcatcher
  • Venus in Fur

 Best Musical

  • Leap of Faith
  • Newsies
  • Nice Work If You Can Get It
  • Once

Yes, three movie adaptations out of four. 75% which is about right given what gets produced these days.

Best Revival of a Play

  • Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
  • Gore Vidal’s The Best Man
  • Master Class
  • Wit

Best Revival of a Musical

  •  Evita
  • Follies
  • The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
  • Jesus Christ Superstar

 Bernadette Peters Loses Her Mind -- she's the only lead Follies player without a nomination

Three of the four have had movie adaptations made of them.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov042011

Stage Door: Audra's Toes, "Sweeney Peron", Busch's Hepburn and "Big Fish" 

Audra McDonald rehearsing for "Porgy & Bess"Theater geeks who read The Film Experience (there be crossover!) might have been wondering what happened to the stage door column. The truth is we just haven't been seeing much. This is never a question of "nothing to see" but always a matter of finances and for one quarter of each year the the not-so-small matter of Oscar Mania keeping us busy with pre-recorded actors instead of live ones. But when I'm not seeing it I enjoy it vicariously through avid theatergoing friends and through blogs. My favorite is The Broadway Blog so if you're into theater, check it out. Here's four quick film / theater crossover tidbits I wanted to share. 

AUDRA in Rampart
I practically shrieked with surprised delight when Broadway baby Audra McDonald showed up in Oren Moverman's Rampart. She just kills her one scene role as Woody Harrelson's latest conquest. Woody's bad cop gets good love from multiple ladies and as Woody was sucking on her toes (no, really) I kept thinking, 'Audra is a star on any platform: small screen, big screen, stage, boudoir... (ahem. in this movie).' I'd love to see her in the current revival of Porgy & Bess and am hoping the opportunity presents itself.

CHARLES BUSCH does Katharine Hepburn. 
Late this month, legendary drag artist Charles Busch is doing a one night only reading of Matthew Lombardo'snplay about Katharine Hepburn, Tea at Five. The tickets are too steep for me but Busch is always wonderful when he's channelling the classic divas... and Lombardo has an actressexual's taste for them too having written the Kathleen Turner vehicle "High" and the Tallulah Bankhead play Looped. I'm curious how Charles Busch will be as Kate the Great (pictured left) given that my favorite Busch channeling is Greer Garson -- that voice! Old Hollywood and Theater History aficionados might also enjoy Mr. Busch's name droppings in this New York Times article about his apartment renovation.

BIG FISH
Were you aware that Tim Burton's 2003 movie is becoming a stage musical? The story, or to put it more accurately stories, does seem like a natural fit for musicalization. It's already heightened and fantastical which musical theater can really feed on. The score will be by Andrew Lippa but the best part of the news is that Michael C. Hall, though not officially announced, is intended for the lead role in 2013. He's got a wonderful singing voice and he's needed to do something other than Dexter for a few years now. Not that he hasn't found a surprising amount of ways to keep that particular performance lively despite the death-dealing but enough's enough -- love the show but I really think they'd be wise to wrap up; time for a little song and dance break!

EVITA Again
One more thing... Papermag amusingly wonders what Ricky Martin is thinking in this promotional still for the upcoming spring revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita


I don't know what he's thinking but what I'm thinking every time I see Michael Cerveris (the bald one, playing Juan Peron) is that time in early 2008 when I listened to my Broadway revival cast recording of Sweeney Todd  (in which he starred) after having recently seen Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd and just tearing up. The amount of nuance and drama and acting notes and beauty a singer/actor can put in to a musical performance as opposed to an actor who learns to sing a few bars.... I tell you the difference is astronomical. Hollywood is tone deaf.

Oh, and uh, Elena Rogers plays Eva Peron... will Madonna send her hydranges?

EXIT MUSIC

Audra McDonald singing Jason Robert Brown's "Stars and The Moon"... love this song. 

 

I met a man without a dollar to his name 
Who had no traits of any value but his smile 
I met a man who had no yearn or claim to fame 
Who was content to let life pass him for a while 
And I was sure that all I ever wanted 
Was a life like the movie stars led 
And he kissed me right here, and he said,
`I`ll give you stars and the moon and a soul to guide you 
And a promise I`ll never go 
I`ll give you hope to bring out all the life inside you 
And the strength that will help you grow.
I`ll give you truth and a future that`s twenty times better 
Than any Hollywood plot.`
And I thought, `You know, I`d rather have a yacht.`