Off to the Richard Rodgers Theatre last night to see William’s masterpiece Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, directed by Rob Ashford, who I love, and starring Scarlet Johansson, who I do not.
The set design by Christopher Oram was fantastic, and extremely well used (not surprising from a director with a choreographic brain) and to be perfectly honest, the performances paled in comparison to the grandure of the setting. There was so much shouting in this production, and many of the casts voices were hoarse, making it even more difficult to understand their fast talking, southern accents.
Overall, it was unfortunate to realise that a brilliant script, some film/TV stars and a huge wad of money doesn’t always add up to great theatre. It takes more than that.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Off to the Golden Theatre to see Sigorney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce lead a wonderful cast in the ultra silly, but insanely clever Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Constantly referencing Chekov’s masterpieces, this play follows two siblings: Vanya (Hyde Pierce) and Sonia (Kristine Nielsen) Simple, don’t-get-around-much-anymore folk who live in the country.
When their movie-star sister Masha (Weaver) returns home with her young, idiot stud boyfriend Spike (played by the hilarious Billy Magnussen) to attend a party and announce that she plans to sell their childhood house, inner fears and obsessions are released.
The whole production is a marvel. While some of the directing choices were perhaps a little undercooked, the performances were solid, the script is knockout, and the audience was rolling on the floor. A joy to watch.
Shut Up and Dance
Off to Philadelphia yesterday to catch the dancers of the Pennsylvania Ballet performing a collection of their own works in the 21st annual Shut Up and Dance season at the Forrest Theatre.
The night is a chance for the dancers to flex their choreographic muscles, while raising awareness for MANNA, who prepares meals and counsel to those suffering life-threatening illnesses.
With 15 works on offer, they were all short, sharp and punchy, with some interesting ideas for pieces that could go into further development…and of course, some not. The two standouts of the night were actually the guest performances. From Ballet X, performing ENNUI, a charming duo performed in underwear with deadpan faces, Matthew Neenan and Brooke Moore were hilarious as dull playfulness and monotonous sexual chores entered the clockwork relationship with clever, quirky choreography.
The other standout was Air On A String from Koresh Dance Company, featuring two articulate and very slick dancers Jessica Daly and Asya Zlatina. Choreographed by Roni Koresh himself, the two girls suspended, flopped, and bounced their way around the stage, eating the space and obviously loving the feeling of the movement.
Other works by the dancers of Pennsylvania Ballet were understandably less developed (only having a week since their season of Mid-Summer Nights Dream closed) but there was some real potential, particularly from choreographers Chloe Felesina and Eric Trope.
Take a step (or a quick subway ride, as it were) away from the bright lights of Broadway to the lower East side of Manhattan and you’ll find tucked away The Slipper Room, the notorious burlesque venue with bucket loads of character, quirk and edge.
The performance of the evening was Glitter Gutter, a collection of varying acts from solo performers, all linked together by a very dry and rather funny man for no particular reason pretending to be Walt Whitman.
Large-breasted space girl on trapeze, bedazzled lady singing dirty songs on the piano, and a male stripper dressed as a crab. Yep. Glitter Gutter had it all.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
I was so delighted to catch the sensational Emilia Clarke and equally engaging Cory Michael Smith in Broadway’s newest revival of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. at the Cort Theatre.
This show is FANTASTIC. The performances are stellar, and is told with love, humour and style that you’d be forgiven for falling in love with the mysterious call girl yourself.
Cory Michael Smith was loveable and sweet in the role of Fred, turning to the audience often to narrate the strange, but charming tale of his experiences with holly Golightly. But make no mistake, it was the woman herself that stole the show. Clarke just fizzed with an infectious joy that won the audiences hearts from the moment she climbed into Fred’s window. A treat to witness. What a performance.
This gala is the joining of two major organisations: Equity Fights AIDS and Broadway Cares, both who are particularly active in researching and making a difference in the GLBT community.
The event (held once a year – on a Monday night because that’s the only evening these people have off!) is a night where stars from many of the current and recent Broadway shows congregate onto one stage, to perform show tunes usually sung by characters of opposite gender.
The highlight of the night was undoubtedly a Dream Girls scene performed entirely by men. Tituss Burgess brought the house down with his rendition of ‘And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going’ and brought the crowd to it’s feet. Also lots of fun was Malcolm Gets and Bruce Vilanch singing ‘The Grass Is Always Greener’ from Woman Of The Year.
The lowlight was definitely the rather weak attempt to make a story out of the whole evening, with Tony Sheldon and Jim Brochu used to try to link it all together. It just didn’t need it. The performances were strong enough.
It was a great night for the gay community of New York, and by the looks of the audience, everyone was very proud.
Dance Australia Article
Dance Australia catches up with the winner of the 2013 Tanja Liedtke Fellowship, Joseph Simons. Simons says that he almost changed his mind about going for the prize. “I found the application quite overwhelming, so overwhelming in fact, I very nearly didn’t apply,’ he admits…
After getting to know some of the dancers by doing class with them on the stage of the San Francisco Opera House, it was a lovely touch to then see them perform in their Program Three season.
The evening started with a sensual, slinky mood with Road To Strange Places choreographed by Ashley Page. The movement was weighted, broad and strong with some really unique partnering skills. There was a particular group of four girls, no doubt from the Coprs de Ballet, who exuded sass and attitude that some of the leading – albeit more complex – pas de deux didn’t manage to get across the front of the stage.
The second piece was Beaux. Nine men in pink camoflaugue unitards performing dull choreography. It was painful to watch.
Thank goodness for the final work, the undeniable showstealer of Yuri Possokhov’s Rite Of Spring. A brilliant play of quirky, clever choreography, matching the music beautifully to tell the horrible tale. Particular mention must go to Jennifer Stahl who I couldn’t take my eyes off. When she wasn’t on stage, Garen Scribner and James Sofranko as the elders (who were literally joined at the hip) danced with such power, articulation and intensity. The entire piece was engaging throughout the emotional story of human sacrifice.