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Entries in Broadway and Stage (283)

Thursday
Nov292018

Months of Meryl: Into the Woods (2014)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep.  

#48 —The Witch, a witch.

JOHN: In his reserved review of the original 1987 Broadway production of Into the Woods, Frank Rich summed up the plot of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s beloved musical as such: “Cinderella and company travel into a dark, enchanted wilderness to discover who they are and how they might grow up and overcome the eternal, terrifying plight of being alone.” Rich noted that, “in remaking Grimm stories, Mr. Sondheim's lyrics and Mr. Lapine's book tap into the psychological mother lode from which so much of life and literature spring.” Sondheim and Lapine’s dextrous, intertwined reimagining of classic Grimm fairy tales, from Little Red Riding Hood to Cinderella, offers a subversively adult version of these hallowed childhood fables and an artistic vision that seems fundamentally at odds with family-friendly Disney, the machine behind Rob Marshall’s 2014 screen translation.

When unhappy fans pressed Sondheim upon the film’s release to defend what felt like a compromised adaptation, he admitted that concessions were in fact happily made to secure a PG rating...

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Thursday
Nov152018

The Links of Grindelwald

• Feedspot This is nice. The Film Experience has been listed as one of the top 40 movie podcasts.
AV Club the Random Roles series grills Sarah Jessica Parker about her defining roles
• THR goes deep on The Favourite's power plays
Rotten Tomatoes Ouch. Reviews for Fantastic Beasts 2 are brutal
Pop Sugar the casting of Nagini in Fantastic Beasts was controversial but here's where you've seen the actress before
Stephen Colbert Jude Law discuss fan nicknames for Dumbledore. Very cute

• Awards Daily Rob Marshall "wanted to bring a gift of hope into this climate" with Mary Poppins Returns
• /Film the effort to save Filmstruck has now gotten some big name directors behind it
• The Playlist opinions are divided in Hollywood about whether Netflix's theatrical play with Roma is playing by the rules or a con
• Variety ...speaking of. Italy is cracking down on streaming service with new laws about theatrical windows
• Film School Rejects Kiersey Clemons (Hearts Beat Loud) lines up a biopic which could take her career to the next level
• Coming Soon the Jack Reacher franchise is dead for now. They hope to reboot in TV series form with an actor who is more faithful to the character (who is 6'5"... nearly a full foot taller than Tom Cruise!)

Today's Must Read
Critics Notebook "The End of Endings" I bow to this great piece. And I worry like ∞

Stage Diversions
EW Tom Hiddleston will star in a revival of Harold Pinter's 70s classic Betrayal in the West End in the spring
Playbill Caroline or Change returns to NYC at the Astoria Performing Arts Center next summer. I saw their production of Follies last season and it was really strong so I have high hopes that they'll do this great musical justice. I still think if they ever make this into a movie, whoever plays Caroline will win the Oscar. 
Playbill Broadway grosses for the week: New shows Network with Bryan Cranston and Tatiana Maslany and To Kill a Mockingbird with Jeff Daniels are already hits, playing to 100% capacity. The emptiest houses are unfortunately for the Go-Gos musical Head Over Heels (which we loved but which has been struggling to find its audience). Head Over Heels will be one of the Thanksgiving performances at the Macy's Day Parade so we'll see if that helps get them through the holidays. 

Wednesday
Nov142018

Podcast: El Angel, The Front Runner, Oscar's Screenplay Race

Nathaniel R and Murtada Elfadl talk new films and the Oscar race


Index (58 minutes)
00:01 The story of Gary Hart in The Front Runner starring Hugh Jackman
16:25 El Angel starring Lorenzo Ferro and Chino Darín which is Argentina's Oscar submission
27:22 Sidebar: My Fair Lady on Broadway
34:24 Best Adapted Screenplay: Bradley Cooper, Barry Jenkins, Gillian Flynn, Nicole Holofcener, Spike Lee, Armando Iannucci, Paul Dano & Zoe Kazan could all compete here but which of them will?
45:23 Best Original Screenplay: Roma, The Favourite and Green Book and...?
54:40 Beck claims he's recording a score for Roma... which has no score.

 References / Further Reading
The horror of Beck's Tweet about Roma
Chris's review of The Front Runner
Foreign Language Film Submission Chart 
Screenplays Oscar Chart

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunesContinue the conversations in the comments, won't you? 

El Angel and The Front Runner

Thursday
Nov082018

Months of Meryl: August Osage County (2013)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep.  

#45 —Violet Weston, the cancer-stricken, drug-addicted matriarch of an Oklahoma family.

MATTHEW: Tracy Letts’ high-octane, Pulitzer Prize-winning family drama August: Osage County was the toast of the 2007-2008 Broadway season, which made a cinematic adaptation all but inevitable and the star involvement of Meryl Streep an equally foregone conclusion. The vituperative, pill-popping Violet Weston is the crowning achievement of Letts’ play and arguably the meatiest dramatic role to come along for sexagenarian actresses in the past 15 years. The part has been previously interpreted on stage by the Tony-winning Deanna Dunagan (who originated the character in the initial Steppenwolf production), Estelle Parsons, and Phylicia Rashad, any one of whom could have bowled us over in an alternate film, as might have rumored candidates like Jessica Lange, Sissy Spacek, and Glenn Close. This isn’t to take away a single merit from Streep’s no-holds-barred work, but rather acknowledge that Streep herself is the rare and defiant exception who proves the rule that actresses over the age of 50 are anathema to Hollywood’s gatekeepers.

Before falling in love with the eye of the camera, Streep was first and foremost a creature of the theater...

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Monday
Oct292018

Stage Door: Bernhardt/Hamlet

by Dancin' Dan

It's a tall enough order to write a play about one of the greatest actresses the world has ever known. It's quite another to write a play about that same actress taking on one of the most famous plays ever written. But Theresa Rebeck has never been one to back away from a challenge. Her delightful new play Bernhardt/Hamlet imagines what it must have been like for the great Sarah Bernhardt to assay the role of none other than Hamlet, all the way back in 1897. To say the least, it was difficult.

Bernhardt (Janet McTeer), in her fifties, was past the point where she could believably play the dying ingénues that made her famous (and also far past the point where she wanted to). Out of money but full of ambition, she decides that Shakespeare's melancholy Dane will be her vehicle for a comeback after her last play, written by Edmond Rostand (Jason Butler Harner), flopped with audiences despite love from critics. But she is having difficulty "finding" the Prince, frustrated by his ease with flowery verse and his inability to take action.

Can a powerful woman play a powerful man? Bernhardt is absolutely sure of it. She says...

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