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Entries in Stage Door (49)

Sunday
Nov262017

Stage Door: The Hilarious Cast of "Desperate Measures"

by Nathaniel R

Before we plunge into the deep end of movie awards season, which tends to consume our every waking moment from right now through Oscar night each year, a wee theater break.

Though we love movies with all our hearts, the one thing live-action movies don't really have an equivalent of is the grand theatrical tradition of the musical comedy. I'm talking inspired silliness as goddamn raison d'etre. I recently fell hard for Desperate Measures, a hilarious wild west riff on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. The show has now been extended three times at the York Theatre in Manhattan and will close on New Year's Eve so get to it! (The York specializes in helping develop new musicals and I'm happy to call attention to this noble cause as a bonafide fanatic of the genre.)

I sat down recently to talk to with two of the musical's stars, strapping Peter Saide and rockstar feisty Lauren Molina, who both really "outta be in pictures" as they say though we're happy they're killing it on stage, don't misunderstand! The interviews are after the jump... 

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Monday
Aug282017

Stage Door: "Prince of Broadway"

by Nathaniel R

Though I don't cherish the form I've seen quite a few jukebox musicals in my day. Sometimes they take the biographical route like Jersey Boys. Often they'll sift through the lyrics of some artist's catalogue hoping to yank out phrases and threads from which they can stitch together a frankenstein story. Mammia Mia is either the apotheosis or the nadir of that latter form, depending on your perspective. But what if the jukebox isn't beholden to one composer? Prince of Broadway, which just opened at the Samuel Friedman in NYC, is devoted to the producer Harold Prince who did not write music. So what you have is a greatest hits of, uh, dozens of different composers from a wide range of musicals. If this were a CD it might be called "Now That's What I Call Broadway, Vol. Whatever"

Prince backed a TON of über famous shows in his illustrious career including Phantom of the Opera, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret... you name it! None of the musicals sound alike so there's little hope of cohesion in the show. Wisely Prince of Broadway  doesn't try to create a "story" from these disparate musicals in a career that stretches all the way back to 1950 (Prince is 89 years old and directed this production).What they've come up with instead is much less intrusive even if it doesn't totally work...

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Thursday
Aug032017

Stage Door: Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane in "Angels in America" 

by Sean Donovan

 

Roy Cohn, the devilish super-lawyer towering over Tony Kushner’s epic two-part play Angels in America, is introduced to the audience at his favorite place, his office telephone, shifting between various calls, screaming at his clients and associates, and relishing his position of supreme power and influence. In between calls he leans over to his protégé, closeted Mormon lawyer Joe Pitt, and remarks

I wish I was an octopus, a fucking octopus. Eight loving arms and all those suckers, know what I mean?”

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Wednesday
Jul122017

Stage Door: An Ode to S. Epatha Merkerson 

Editor's Note: I've been away at the National Critics Institute in CT but will be back in a few days to regular blogging right here at The Film Experience. In the meantime please enjoy this review of one of the shows I saw in my absence, starring two of television's best actresses. The Roommate is playing through July 16th at the Williamstown Theater Festival and you should expect a transfer to NYC stages. - Nathaniel R

S. Epatha Merkerson in rehearsals. Photo by Daniel Rader

She wanted to be a spy… or a baker if espionage didn’t work out. It’s tough to square these  interchangeably silly abandoned dreams with timid Iowa retiree Sharon, standing right there in her well-stocked suburban kitchen. Sharon dreamt of being a spy? — Sharon!?!  Her new roommate doesn’t seem trustworthy but is right about at least one thing: Sharon shouldn’t “mummify” herself this early and needs to get out there and live.

I’m speaking like you know Sharon because I do. Sharon is fictional, you see, but the glorious actress S Epatha Merkerson and the playwright Jen Silverman have breathed such life into this rich idiosyncratic character in the new play The Roommate that for two hours I was convinced otherwise...

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Thursday
Jul062017

First Look: Sienna Miller in "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof"

Why is it that Sienna Miller has had quite a successful and diversified stage career, but can't seem to break from the suffering wife roles that have marked her film work? Miller always gives these roles more than they ask of her, so you would think she would be given a role with more narrative heavy lifting. This year, she got to flex a little more muscle in The Lost City of Z (out on DVD next week) within the trope, giving the film its haunting final note.

Miller's next stage role is a similar suffering wife, but of the iconic sort: she will be playing Maggie in Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in London's West End beginning next week. Miller joins a growing list of actresses like Scarlett Johansson and Anika Noni Rose that have played the role in recent years - this play never seems to go away. Unbroken's Jack O'Connell plays her closeted husband Brick. Take a look at Miller in rehearsals and muse on her career in the comments.

Wednesday
May312017

Stage Door: Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812

by Dancin' Dan

Broadway has never seen anything quite like Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Oh, pieces of it have been seen before - the modern-meets-traditional costumes were done in Hamilton, ensemble members have been playing their own instruments since at least John Doyle's landmark revival of Sweeney Todd, and actors have been performing in the aisles since time immemorial. But still, it's never been done quite like this.

For one thing, for an adaptation of mammoth Russian novel War and Peace, it's amazingly entertaining.

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