Review - A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
by Ben Peltz - March 22, 2011
With a solidly funny book by Larry Gelbart and Bert Shevelove and a clever, under-appreciated score by Stephen Sondheim (It remains Broadway's only Best Musical Tony-winner with eligible music and lyrics that were not even nominated for Best Score.), A Funny Thing HapPened on the Way to the Forum is one of the more dePendable titles of musical theatre's standard repertoire. (more...)
Review - Penny Penniworth: Twisted Dickens
by Ben Peltz - September 17, 2010
I suppose it's about time someone came up with a name for that genre of plays where a handful of actors each impersonate a varied assortment of characters to tell a sprawling story, i.e., The 39 Steps, The Complete Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged). When that jolly day arrives certainly Chris Weikel's hilarious Charles Dickens send-up, Penny Penniworth: A Story of Great Good Fortune, should be regarded as one of its more sparkling examples. (more...)
Review - Coraline: The Threepenny Children's Musical?
by Kristin Salaky - June 4, 2009
I suppose if Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill ever took a crack at writing theatre for young Weimar audiences, their effort might have had a strong likeness to Stephin Merritt and David Greenspan's creepily enchanting fantasy, Coraline, receiving a production from MCC that's far too interesting for viewers to be overly concerned with the occasional bumps. (more...)
Review - 1776: SPOILER: They vote in favor of independence
by Kristin Salaky - April 21, 2009
As is frequently noted by lovers of strong book musicals, part of the brilliance of Sherman Edwards (score) and Peter Stone's (book) 1776, their 1969 Broadway tuner about the efforts of John Adams to convince the continental congress to vote for indePendency from Great Britain, is that the audience walks into the theatre knowing full well how it's going to end, and yet the authors (and history) keep you on The Edge of your seat wondering how the devil it's going to hapPen. With a unanimous vote necessary ('So that no colony be torn from its mother country without its own consent.') and Pennsylvania's John Dickinson leading the arguments for property-owners whose personal economy is protected by loyalty to the crown and South Carolina's Edward Rutledge keeping the deep south unified in favor of individual states rights that protect their practice of slavery, June of '76 concludes with half the congress against indePendence. (more...)
Review - Applause: The Show That Opened The Broadway Musical's Closet Door
by Michael Dale - February 5, 2008
There are several reasons I'm looking forward to this week's Encores! concert performance of Charles Strouse (music), Lee Adams (lyrics) and Betty Comden and Adolph Green's (book) 1970 musical version of All About Eve, retiled Applause, this weekend. Like hearing those mod Broadway rock orchestrations by the great Philip J. Lang played by a full assemblage of musicians. And seeing that crazy segment of the title tune when the cast does a series of parodies of Fiddler On The Roof, Funny Girl, Hello, Dolly! and other classic musicals, including a challenge dance between Oklahoma! and Oh! Calcutta! And, of course, to see the wonderful Christine Ebersole in her first major role since nabbing the Tony for Grey Gardens. (more...)
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