New York: Hello, Dolly!, etc.

New York

  • Indecent, 5/9/17 (Tue), Broadway,
  • Groundhog Day, 5/10/17 (Wed), Broadway
  • A Doll’s House Part 2, 5/10/17 (Wed), Broadway
  • The Emperor Jones, 5/11/17 (Thurs), Off Broadway,
  • The Golden Apple, 5/12/17 (Fri), Encores!
  • Hello, Dolly!, 5/13/17 (Sat), Broadway
  • Oslo, 5/13/17 (Sat), Lincoln Center
  • The Great Comet, 5/14/17 (Sun), Broadway
  • Sleep No More, 5/14/17 (Sun), Off Broadway

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Tel Aviv: Kazablan, Cabaret

  • Kazablan, 11/15/14 (Sat), Cameri
  • Cabaret, 11/16/14 (Sun), Cameri

I didn’t look at the theater columns until a few days after arriving in Tel Aviv, and realized too late that I had missed a Hebrew version of Fiddler on the Roof. Drats. It only played 2-3 performances before making way for the next show, which sounds like a waste of a lot of rehearsals (presumably they keep the sets in stock). Anyway, I wanted to see something Israeli, and the next weekend offered a show called Kazablan, a 1966 musical based on a play and movie – not Casablanca, but a 1954 Israeli play and its highly popular 1964 screen adaptation about a kid of Moroccan heritage struggling to fit into Israeli society. It was performed in Hebrew with English subtitles. I’d never heard of it, but I was evidently the only one judging from the reactions of all the Israelis I talked to. So it seemed a good choice.  Continue reading

On The Town (オン・ザ・タウン)

オン・ザ・タウン (On The Town)

9/28/14 (Sun), Tokyo

At long last, On The Town reached Japan. It featured three pop stars from the super-popular music group V6 (managed by the legendary Johnny’s Office), which was a mixed blessing. On the one hand, the show’s success was ensured from the minute it was announced: apparently, getting three of these guys together for this period of time is a near miracle given their sundry activities individually and as a group, and the show was sold out for the entire run before it even opened. So commercially this was a gold mine. On the other hand, this was clearly a Johnny’s crowd, with an audience that was 95% young and female. I haven’t seen such a female-heavy auditorium since Takarazuka. There was no room whatsoever for fans of Broadway musicals who may have wanted to see this Bernstein classic for the first time. It didn’t matter to this audience what they were seeing as long as their idols were there. So it pretty much establishes this show as a star vehicle, a very different approach from the US. Whether it will enter the repertory, and whether anyone would risk doing it now with normal musical actors, is an open question. Continue reading

Hairspray (NBC Live)

Hairspray (NBC Live)

1/21/17 (Sat)

Hairspray was a surprising choice as one of the NBC Live offerings. It seems too new for reinvention: it closed on Broadway less than ten years ago, and a (misguided) film version was released around the same time, meaning that a good portion of the audience will have seen it in some form or other in the not-too-distant past. Also, it is not an iconic title like past productions The Sound of Music or Grease, nor were there many big names in the cast as in The Wiz. As much as I personally love musicals, I had to wonder where NBC thought they were going to find an audience. It does deliver a feel-good message in roughly the same musical style as the popular Grease, which maybe they thought would be an attraction. In any case, it’s a terrific stage show, and they had the very good sense to retain the inimitable Harvey Fierstein as the mother. Despite the low ratings from the actual broadcast last month, I was eager to catch it.  Continue reading