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Thursday, April 08, 2021

The Untold Stories of Broadway: Volume 4 (book review)

 My latest review is up at Talkin' Broadway.


According to their interviews in The Untold Stories of Broadway: Volume 4, Ed Dixon has great affection for The Scarlet Pimpernel; Krysta Rodriguez saw Assassins at Studio 54 three times; and Arbender J. Robinson auditioned 30-plus times over many years before being cast in The Lion King. At 8 years old, Andrew Keenan-Bolger was so moved by Les Mis that he cried when characters died. Liz Callaway misses "when theatres were grungy and the area was in danger" (as do I). There were columns in the set of Grand Hotel because there were columns in the rehearsal room. As a kid, William Finn thought that My Fair Lady had always existed, like the Talmud. Longtime stagehand Manny Diaz has never seen a Broadway show from the audience. Twelve-year-old future-director Lynne Meadow thought her first Broadway show (Destry Rides Again) wasn't that good. Pretty much every other interviewee was gobsmacked by their first.
To read more, click here.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Tom Stoppard: A Life (book review)

My review of Tom Stoppard: A Life appears on Talkin' Broadway.




Hermione Lee's Tom Stoppard: A Life is a formidable achievement. Not only does Lee cover the story of Stoppard's life in great detail, but she also examines the genesis of each of his plays, offers social and political context, and provides thumbnail bios for dozens of the people in Stoppard's life. The result is 872 pages long, including copious notes; it is simultaneously fascinating and a bit of a slog. 

To read more, click here.

Monday, February 01, 2021

Myths and Hymns (Chapter 1): Flight

I'm going to cut to the chase here. I highly, highly, highly recommend the MasterVoices streaming production of Myths and Hymns, chapter one of which is available right now. The music, by Adam Guettel, is gorgeous. The lyrics are often lovely, sometimes silly and funny, occasionally grand. The designs are graceful and beautiful. The cast is amazing. And it's free, although you can certainly give a donation. I did.


Here are some excerpts from the press release to give you all the info you need:

Mastervoices Presents Flight, The First Chapter Of Adam Guettel’s Four-Part Theatrical Song Cycle Myths And Hymns, In A Digital Production Conceived And Supervised By Ted Sperling

Flight features the MasterVoices Chorus; singers Julia Bullock, Renée Fleming, Joshua Henry, Capathia Jenkins, Mykal Kilgore, Norm Lewis, Jose Llana, Kelli O'Hara, and Elizabeth Stanley; the a cappella gospel music group Take 6; actress Annie Golden; and pianists Anderson & Roe. It can be found at the ensemble's YouTube channel and on mastervoices.org.

Myths and Hymns - CHAPTER ONE: FLIGHT
Music and Lyrics by Adam Guettel
Additional lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh
Orchestrations by Don Sebesky and Jamie Lawrence
MasterVoices, Ted Sperling, ​Artistic Director and Conductor​ 



Prometheus
Anderson & Roe, piano duo
Greg Anderson, arranger and director




Saturn Returns: the Flight
MasterVoices
Joshua Henry, soloist
Ted Sperling, director   



                                               

Icarus
MasterVoices
Mykal Kilgore, soloist (Icarus)
Norm Lewis, soloist (Daedalus)
Sammi Cannold, director
Lucy Mackinnon, designer


Migratory V
MasterVoices
Julia Bullock, soloist
Renée Fleming, soloist
Kelli O'Hara, soloist
Lear deBessonet, director
Danny Mefford, co-creator
Yazmany Arboleda, co-creator and illustrator
Cloud Chatanda, animation 



Pegasus
Annie Golden, narrator
Jose Llana, soloist (Bellerophon)
Capathia Jenkins, soloist (Pegasus)
Elizabeth Stanley, soloist (Gadfly)
Ted Sperling, director
Steven Kellogg, illustrations



Jesus, the Mighty Conqueror
MasterVoices
Take 6, soloists
Mark Kibble, arranger
Khristian Dentley, director


Mastervoices Presents Work, The Second Chapter Of Adam Guettel’s Four-Part Theatrical Song Cycle Myths And Hymns, On February 24, 2021

With the MasterVoices Chorus; Singers Shoshana Bean, Daniel Breaker, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Michael McElroy, Ailyn Pérez, and Nicholas Phan; and actor John Lithgow.

Wendy Caster