New York (March 2015)

New York (March 2015)

  • Semele, 3/8/15 (Sun), BAM
  • The Audience, 3/10/15 (Tues), Broadway
  • On the 20th Century, 3/11/15 (Wed), Broadway
  • Honeymoon in Vegas, 3/11/15 (Wed), Broadway
  • An Octoroon, 3/18/15 (Wed), Off Broadway
  • An American in Paris, 3/19/15 (Thurs), Broadway
  • Paint Your Wagon, 3/20/15 (Fri), Encores!
  • The King & I, 3/21/15 (Sat), Lincoln Center
  • On the Town, 3/21/15 (Sat), Broadway
  • Finding Neverland, 3/22/15 (Sun), Broadway

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Much Ado About “Comet”

  • Much Ado About Comet

A producer trying desperately to save a sinking show removes a relatively unknown actor (with full compensation) in exchange for a major box office draw. Seems straightforward enough.

Now try it again: A producer trying desperately to save a sinking show removes a relatively unknown black actor (with full compensation) in exchange for a major Caucasian box office draw. If that sounds different to you, then the problem may be you.  Continue reading

Phantom of the Opera (Japanese)

  • オペラ座の怪人 (Phantom of the Opera)

7/22/17 (Sat), Yokohama

I hadn’t seen the stage version of Phantom since Las Vegas in 2007 (and before that in NY in 1997 – there’s a pattern there). This was the first time to catch the massively successful Japanese version. I was invited by a friend who’s seen the show, by his estimate, around 120 times (!!) and had secured extra tickets for this sold-out-as-usual run. The Shiki Theatre Company, the keeper of the Japanese version, has multiple casts in the main roles and, to prevent a bias in sales toward the more popular performers, doesn’t announce which cast is appearing until a week in advance, way too late to score tickets. Pretty slimy. (Shiki’s uncomplaining fans, like my friend, simply buy tickets for multiple performances in hopes of landing their preferred actor/actress.) Unfortunately for my friend, the phantom this time was his fourth choice among the five playing the role. But the rest of us were happy just to be there.  Continue reading

Kabuki: Daemon and the Flower Palace (駄右衛門花御所異聞)

  • Kabuki: 駄右衛門花御所異聞 (Daemon and the Flower Palace)

7/18/17 (Tues), Tokyo

This is a rarely seen drama about the real-life gangster Nippon Daemon first produced in 1761 (under the name Akiba Gongen Kaisen Banashi) and apparently drastically rewritten for Ebizo. More accurately, it has been reworked as a vanity piece for the star. A villain has stolen a precious manuscript and magical religious heirloom from a noble family in hopes of toppling it and taking over the country. The rest hardly matters.  Continue reading

Onibaba (鬼婆)

  • 鬼婆 (Onibaba)

7/11/17 (Tues), DVD

This singular 1964 film by Shindo Kaneto about two country women scraping out a life in the turmoil of 14th-century Japan was described to me as a horror flick, but that description doesn’t seem quite right. Horror can be easily forgotten once the thrill is over. That is not the case with this movie.  Continue reading

The Deep Blue Sea (1955 film)

  • The Deep Blue Sea (1955 film)

7/8/17 (Sat), Tokyo

My second viewing of last year’s National Theatre production the previous day inspired me to seek out the old film version, which appeared just a few years after the original 1952 stage show and was scripted by Rattigan himself. (There are also several BBC television adaptations, most recently in 1994, and a bizarre film deconstruction from 2011 that I turned off after five minutes.) This first film stars Vivien Leigh, just coming off Streetcar, as well as the original stage performer Kenneth More as the lover Freddie.  Continue reading