Monday, April 11, 2011

Short Takes

Victoria Clark Master Class. This is the second master class I've seen given by Victoria Clark. I've also seen Barbara Cook give one. All three were wonderful and occasionally awe-inspiring experiences. Both Clark and Cook are kind and smart and funny. Clark is a physical teacher. She'll have students sing a song while running, doing pushups, or trying to get through a wall of people, getting them to break out of their preconceived ideas. Cook, in contrast, will hold a student's hand and say, "Sing it to me," to get him or her in touch with a more natural, communicative way of singing. In both cases, most of the students were excellent to start with, and watching how much they grew in an hour or so was fascinating. (Master classes are sometimes free to watch. The most recent Victoria Clark one was $20 and well worth it. You can find out about them at websites such as

Photo: Joan Marcus

Good People. I saw this in an early preview with a tdf ticket, sitting upstairs. It struck me as a solid B-level play--nothing earth-shattering, but consistently interesting. Its reliance on people doing things they'd never do is one of the things that keeps it from being an A-level play. Frances McDormand is wonderful as Frances McDormand always is.

Drowsy Chaperone. Nyack High School hit a home run yet again with a funny, well-performed, attractive production of The Drowsy Chaperone.

Motherf**cker With the Hat. I saw this in an early preview with a tdf ticket, and it lacked luster. The main weakness was Chris Rock, who gave a one-dimensional performance of a complex character. Annabella Sciorra was underutilized, and the blocking had her with her back to audience left for much of the play. Bobby Cannavale was wonderful as Bobby Cannavale always is. (Hey, why doesn't someone produce a show with him and Frances McDormand?) Perhaps the show has improved since early previews, but it is far from a must-see.

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