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Entries in West Side Story (20)

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...

Click to read more ...

Friday
May052017

Today's 6: Jolie's Wedding, West Side Story's Dominance, and More

We promised you a few anniversaries a day, but with the new twist of mood-boosting inspiration. Here we go

6 Anniversary Mood Busters for May 5th

2000 Angelina Jolie married Billy Bob Thornton. She famously carried a vial of his blood around her neck.

In this honor: Remember how immature YOU were 17 years ago. Evolving is good but so too (in moderation) is uninhibitedness of youth. Do something you used to do 17 years ago for fun. Find out if it's still a thrill!

Five more after the jump

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Monday
Apr242017

OTD: Babs, Shirley, and "Cool" from West Side Story

On this very gay day (4/24) in history as it relates to showbiz...

1873 Silent film director Robert Wiene, best known for The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) born in Breslau (Note: other online sources disagree with the IMDb on this birthdate but it's always fun to think about Caligari)

1927 Oscar winning cinematographer Pasqualino de Santis born in Italy. Classics include Romeo and Juliet, The Damned, Death in Venice, and L'Argent

1930 Richard Donner, superstar director/producer of the 1980s, behind films like The Goonies, Lethal Weapon, and the first two Supermans. Apparently retired after 16 Blocks (2006) with Bruce Willis

1931 The Public Enemy starring James Cagney and Jean Harlow was enjoying its opening weekend at movie theaters. It was a big hit, ending in the top ten of its year. Variety claimed it was "low brow material" attempting to be high brow by its craftsmanship. If only critics knew in the moment -- they almost never do even now -- that "low brow" genres regularly produce classics.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan242017

8 Big Takeaways from the Oscar Nominations

Each Oscar nomination morning brings waves of hot takes. Here are seven things that stood out to me on first pass. What stood out for you?

Barry Jenkins directing his young cast in MOONLIGHT which received 8 nominations

Oscars No Longer So White (For Now)
As far as we are aware this is only the second year (other than 2004) where all four acting categories feature at least one actor of color. There are seven actors of color nominated this year, or 35% of the nominees. While I personally felt the anger last year was both justified and misdirected (there simply weren't that many options to feasibly nominate - and the Oscar nominees have been more diverse than Hollywood itself in years past which is where the problem truly lies), it's a great relief to see so much diversity this year. Not  every year has so many acclaimed hits starring people of color like Hidden Figures, Fences, Moonlight, Loving and Lion so let's hope the Academy has plenty of options next year, too. It's a good development. We also have the first black female nominated in editing (Joi McMillion for Moonlight) and the second black man ever nominated in cinematography (Bradford Young for Arrival -- the first was British Remi Adefarasin for Elizabeth) and, most famously, Viola Davis becomes the most Oscar nominated black woman of all time with her third nomination

Releasing After Christmas Just Doesn't Work
A24 had been there before with A Most Violent Year but the magical miraculous 20th Century Women met nearly the same fate of a shut-out...

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Monday
Sep262016

Gangster Chic & Patriarchy Toppling? Tell Me About It, Stud.

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

1877 Edmund Gwenn is born. Wins the Oscar seventy years or so later as Kris Kringle, helping adults to believe in Santa Claus again in Miracle on 34th Street (and yes, that's one of the all time best wins in Supporting Actor. Do you agree?)
1888 T.S. Eliot, one of the 20th century's great poets, is born. Though few movies are made from his work he did lead to Cats on Broadway. He was played by Willem Dafoe in the movie Tom & Viv (1994)
1898 A true musical genius George Gershwin is born in Brooklyn. Movies and TV shows still use his music today.

gangsters and musicals after the jump

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Thursday
Jun162016

Hamilton Mania, Pixar Short, Gay Rage, New Musical

• Variety Zac Efron possibly joining headliner Hugh Jackman in the new PT Barnum movie musical The Greatest Showman on Earth
Universal Studios Wicked, the movie has a release date. More on this tomorrow
Playbill Tony Kushner writing an adaptation of West Side Story for a remake by Steven Spielberg! Since that's my favorite movie of all time I feel very weird about this. Strangely the article stays that Kushner is "currently adapting the screenplay of August Wilson's Pulitzer-winning drama Fences" which would be really bad news for the movie since it's already done filming ;) 
• My New Plaid Pants ...reacts to the news with a shout out to PT Barnum look-alike Jim Broadbent

• THR The British Independent Film Awards, which helped Ex Machina along last awards season, and are adding award categories this year will try a new system to coincide with what voters have seen and where there are conflicts of interest. Interesting.
EW Tyler Hoechlin will play Superman for the CW
The Stake Batman v Superman gets a new trailer for its expanded DVD edition. It's LONGER now?!? Jesus Christ. 
• THR That Noah Galvin interview we discussed is still prompting news stories. Apparently ABC is coming down hard on him. Guess they're sensitive about Modern Family!  
• NYT She Loves Me will be the first Broadway show streamed live. One night only June 30th. It will cost you $10 instead of the normal $100+
• Vanity Fair on the making of the new Pixar short "Piper". The buzz is true. The short is super adorable / impressive after a patchy run for the most recent Pixar shorts
Awards Daily Oscar nomination frontrunners thus far?
• Facebook if you missed Jeffery Self's live feed "It's Awesome to be Gay" with lots of LGBT actors and performers all five parts are available to watch! I haven't finished watching it but there's much talking, funniness, and even some musical numbers. Loved Jordan Firstman singing "Smile," Brian Jordan Alvarez's story about Kevin Spacey, and Drew Droege and Sam Pancake talking about playing gay characters on TV, Darryl Stephens unconventional queer awakening via Prince's Under the Cherry Moon and more... 

Hamilton Mania
I was finally able to see the insanely popular  Hamilton on Broadway last night. For this I must thank the very talented Rory O'Malley (who broke through with Book of Mormon five years back) that's us on stage after the show to your left) who plays King George III. We met because of Into the Woods and this blog and long story.

King George III is such a fun role with perfect little comic interludes to comment on all the chaos in America. (That's the role Jonathan Groff originated but he had to leave the show early due to Looking and other commitments). Otherwise the original cast is still with the show -- for another couple of weeks at least. Good news: they'll be filming it soon for posterity! There will also be a Hamilton mixtape of cut songs and covers and a documentary later this year since people are insatiable.

We had excellent seats -- I nearly smacked the actor Josh Charles in the face (who happened to be sitting next to us) before the show while trying to send a selfie with too little wi-fi. The show lived up to the hype. Great energy, fun, and memorable music and an incredibly finessed marriage of content, form, and theme. 

Politics
Tis the season. With the recent tragedy in Orlando it's hard to not focus on politics, and how broken the GOP is, basically serving only as meat puppets for the NRA who are holding us all hostage (and executing thousands of people each year) via lax gun laws. So here are a few political pieces worth reading/watching:

BET an amazing open letter to straight people from Dominick Pupa which was banned from Facebook -- I guess because it upset sensitive straight people who don't like being reminded of the existence of gays? Not sure how Facebook can justify removing it
•  The Daily Beast "Admit it..." a thought provoking piece on religion and mass killings and theocratic community's culpability 
Gawker the essential Rich Juzwiack on Anti-Gay hatred and gay resistance