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Entries in Stage Door (66)

Tuesday
May212019

Stage Door: "Beetlejuice" and "Pretty Woman"

by Dancin' Dan

Adapting a non-musical film to a stage musical is always a dicey proposition. Leave the story exactly as is and just add songs, and you risk the show feeling rote and uninteresting. Change the story so that it fits a musical structure better, and you may alienate fans of the source material. This Broadway season has practically been a study in how to adapt a film to a musical. We’ve already talked about Tootsie, but this season saw three other screen-to-stage adaptations of varying levels of quality: BeetlejuiceKing Kong, and Pretty Woman: The Musical. Each has proven divisive in varying ways, and they had much different degrees of success with the Tony nominations. I’ve recently seen two of them, and what one lacks, the other has in spades...

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Tuesday
May142019

Stage Door: A startling new take on "Oklahoma!"

by Deborah Lipp

Gabrielle Hamilton, nominated for a Chita Rivera award, for a very different take on the dream ballet in "Oklahoma!"

Wow, that was a lot.

Leaving the new Broadway revival of Oklahoma!, a reconceptualization of the show that pulls no punches, I felt a little staggered, like it was too soon to have a celebratory dinner afterwards. (Context: I’m assuming you know the basics of this classic of musical theater, and I won’t consider any of its points “spoilers”. I will hold back potential spoilers, though, for this version.)

Daniel Fish’s unique production changes not one word, either spoken or sung, but it all feels very new...

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Friday
Apr192019

Stage Door: Burn This, Hadestown, and King Lear

by Eric Blume

It’s pre-Tony Awards time here in New York, which means new shows are opening left and right.  Here’s a quick look at three of them…

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Friday
Apr122019

Stage Door: Hillary and Clinton 

We're seeing a lot of theater in the run up to the Tonys. Here's new contributor J.B.

For the last twenty years or so, and probably longer, well-crafted stories about women in politics told on stage or screen have frequently been described with words like “timely” or “vital.”  These stories, in many cases, are ones we haven’t heard before, and to the extent we as a society want our art to imitate life (and indeed, vice versa), they are, now more than ever, ones we need to hear.

It is for this reason that Hillary and Clinton, a well-crafted story about the quintessential woman in American politics now playing at the John Golden Theater in New York, feels like such an anomaly. The play, written by Lucas Hnath and directed by Joe Mantello (his SEVENTH production on Broadway in just the last three years), takes place in a hotel room during the thick of the 2008 New Hampshire Democratic Primary and offers an imagined glimpse into what exactly the titular characters (played by Tony-winners Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow, respectively) may have been thinking, feeling, and communicating to each other at that precise place and time in history...

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Thursday
Apr112019

Stage Door: "The Cher Show" and "Aint too Proud"

by Nathaniel R

Musical theater has its own version of limited and wide release / indie and blockbuster if you will. The analogy is far from perfect but those movie groupings are sort of comparable to Off Broadway and Broadway. Every Broadway show is trying to be a four-quadrant blockbuster.  

One of the safest routes to a quick buck (if not necessarily continuous sales) is the jukebox musical. Not all of them try to double as biographies of whoever's songbook it is but many do. That way they're easily marketable, excessively familiar, and can rely on nostalgia and sight-unseen goodwill to fill the house...

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Tuesday
Apr022019

Stage Door: Isabelle Huppert is "The Mother"

Since we're in the thick of theater season with the Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle, and Tony Awards coming up, that means an extra stage review here and there! Here's Eric Blume...

One of TFE’s favorite actresses, Isabelle Huppert, currently stars off-Broadway in writer Florian Zeller’s new play, The Mother.  As you might guess, she kills it in Zeller’s non-linear play. The Mother is challenging and archly theatrical, with scenes being acted and re-enacted, timelines being blurred, and reality and fantasy being blended in gloriously unclear ways to achieve both a distancing and an immediacy.  This is intelligent and precise writing, not an easy ride for theatergoers, and demanding in its shifts both temporal and stylistic.

But Huppert is deep in character as always, sinking into the skin of the matriarch in the four-person family play...

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