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Entries in Bernadette Peters (6)

Friday
May172013

Smash: "The Phenomenon" & "The Transfer"

Dancin’ Dan here, wishing I could say that I was coming here not to bury Smash, but to praise it. Truly. I have been a huge Smash apologist ever since that (amazingly, awesomely) ridiculous Bollywood number last season, but the show’s two most recent episodes, “The Phenomenon” and “The Transfer”, are just awful. I can't defend them. Any goodwill I had left for the show has gone pretty much completely out the window. Which is all the sadder considering we will soon be laying eyes on the series's final episodes.

SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP

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Wednesday
Apr032013

Smash: "The Bells and Whistles" & "The Parents"

I'm short on time and Smash is trying to burn off its episodes given that two will air this very week. But we've got two to catch up on as well so let's rush through like we're running out of breath on a big note.

Ivy is back to being Marilyn in "Bombshell"

more...

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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.

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Tuesday
Mar202012

Smash: "The Workshop"

We cover Smash each week. Are you watching?

Bernadette dreams of stardom for Megan Hilty... sort of.

In last night's episode Eileen (Anjelica Huston) presented her workshop of "Marilyn The Musical" to potential investors but though no one literally broke a leg, things went wrong. The building had major heat problems souring the mood. Ivy (Megan Hilty) was plagued by her insecurity and distracted by her legendary showbiz mother Lee Conroy (very special guest star Bernadette Peters. Yes!), Karen (Katharine McPhee) fell during a big number distracting focus from Ivy. Julia (Debra Messing) and Michael's (Will Chase) affair came to a tearful end after Julia realized her son knew. 

The building heat made the investors uncomfortable and immediately we're smelling blood. Who gets blamed? The show dangled more "star" rivals for Hilty (Uma Thurman will appear in 5 upcoming episodes) including Sutton Foster and Scarlett Johansson. And in a sharply acted gutpunch moment, the episode's most interesting beat, unspoken discomfort with Julia's affair resulted in Michael being blamed for the workshop's failure. Overall an uneven episode that felt more like a pivot point than a peak. What comes next? Besides new love affairs for Eileen and Tom, that is, which are being super-telegraphed in advance for some reason.

Set List: Originals - Medley of all the tunes we've heard thus far (company), "Lexington and 52nd Street" (Chase); Jukebox Tunes - "Brighter than the Sun" (McPhee); Showtunes: "Everything's Coming Up Roses" (Bernadette Peters), 
Best ? Moment: Bernadette's uncomfortable exit. This showbiz mom has trouble with feelings but gives it a go anyway. Someone is gunning for a Best Guest Actress Emmy. 
Gay Gay Gay: The chorus boys total delight watching Bernadette Peters perform. I relate.
Anjelica Awesomeness: "That's enough. I won't pretend this isn't useful information but if I hear that you've repeated this..." Eileen is willing to use sneaky evil Ellis, but she knows when to show him who's boss. 
Curtain Call: I've already forgotten exactly how this episode ended. It petered out? But speaking of curtains... Loved that bit when Sam moved the curtain to show the ensemble that Ivy could hear them. Ouch. 
Grade: B

-Guys you wanna maybe shut up? She can hear you."
-Sorry." 

Previous Episodes
1 Pilot 2-3 The Callback and Enter Joe DiMaggio 4-6 The Cost of Art, Let's Be Bad, and Chemistry 

Thursday
Jan122012

Cast This! Rob Marshall and "Into the Woods"

As frightening... as bewildering... as wrong as it is to say after a decade of breakthroughs (Moulin Rouge!), critical triumphs (Dancer in the Dark, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and box office hits (Chicago, Dreamgirls, Hairspray) and problematic but Oscar nominated efforts (Nine, Sweeney Todd, Phantom of the Opera) ... the movie musical is still in trouble. It probably will be until another Vincente Minnelli or Bob Fosse arrives on the scene, someone who understands and breathes and trusts the very cinematic language of the musical. Until then we'll get bored directors detouring or novices who think it might be "fun" to try one... or Rob Marshall.

Will no young director challenge Rob Marshall as King of the Musicals?

Stage turned film director Rob Marshall was initially seen as something of a savior of the form when Chicago (2002) became a smash hit and Best Picture winner. It had been 34 years since a movie musical had had that honor. But his musical follow up Nine (2009) proved a massive flop and a target of critical derision. Though I thought it was better than it got credit for being (how could it not be given the vitriol?) in tandem with Chicago it revealed too little range and an inherent distrust of the form he had been handed, without competition, to rule; the music in both films emerged on sound stages as hallucinations or performative fantasy. His two subsequent non-musicals (Memoirs of a Geisha and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) were much worse, with listless dramatics and overstuffed weightless business for plot. Nevertheless, Hollywood logic prevails. Disney, looking at the colossal gross of On Stranger Tides, has obviously forgiven Marshall for Nine's red ink and rewarded him with the reigns of the film version of a bonafide masterpiece, Stephen Sondheim's twisted fairy tale classic Into the Woods. Never mind that I could have directed On Stranger Tides (it would have been all about the mermaids and they would have drowned Captain Jack in the first half hour) and it would still have been a top grosser. In Hollywood you get credit for blockbuster grosses even if you are obviously replaceable since anyone helming a long running franchise will produce a similar size hit. Audiences are lemmings when it comes to those big franchises. 

So though I weep that Into the Woods isn't getting a world class auteur, and I shudder most of all to think of those glorious songs sung by people who can't handle the intricacies of the music -- Marshall casts for stardom first even if they can't sing and Sondheim obviously writes only for great singers who can act -- we should try and stay positive. Let's play...

Bernadette Peters leads the cast of the original INTO THE WOODS (1987)

CAST THIS!

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