Archive for March, 2010


Despite not reading the Harry Potter novels until last fall (and in a three week period, no less), I have come to join the wagon of excitement.  And with the final movies on their way, there’s a particularly delightful sequence that Emma Thompson’s character, Professor Trewlawney, has in the final climatic battle.  There were rumors that she wasn’t going to be in either of the final installment’s two parts, but, alas, she is.

Thank goodness.  I will now giggle.


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Jose wrote a lovely summary over at the Film Experience, celebrating Sarah Jessica Parker’s 45th birthday today, given that the former square peg is now a style icon.

But, she’s far from the only icon who has today as birthday.

See who joins her & hear some honorary music after the jump. (more…)

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Do you ever wish actors made better career choices?  Do you think they’re chasing the wrong career path?  Well, I’ve got some answers for them.  Entirely unsolicited.

Since my former career was in Human Resources, and I did a bit of talent management, I’ve got a pretty solid feel for placing people in the path of success.  And being that I have zero experience with Hollywood casting other than what I saw on Project Greenlight, I’m going to use my powers for good and goose up some careers that seem to be going off the rails.  And I’m not only going to pick people whose careers not only need a nudge in the right direction, but people whose careers I’d love to see flourish.

My inaugural candidate is Jennifer Garner.  No longer Sydney Bristow, prepare to get Career Counseling.

Career Summary
Plucked from obscurity (like one of “the girls” in the seminal epic “Dude, Where’s My Car?”), she rocketed to fame as the star of J. J. Abrams’s Alias, for which she won a Golden Globe (with a few more nominations) and was nominated for four Emmys.

Transitioning back to the screen, she took on Marvel Comics’ Elektra, first as a side note in the ill-delivered Daredevil film and then in her own titular box office failure.  She made a modest hit with “13 Going on 30”, and has become a rom-com staple over the last few years.  Made Broadway debut in Cyrano de Bergerac, to good reviews and a sold-out run.  Had a well-received supporting role in Juno.

Career Problems

  • Once considered an heir to Julia Roberts for her easy charm, winning smile, and ability to look good in whatever she wore
  • Trapped in the female rom-com roles with no end in sight

Career Potential

  • Box Office Draw: Moderately high
  • Awards: Needs a good role, hasn’t proven to be able to make something out of nothing


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Seeing actors play multiple characters onstage isn’t all that unique.  Frankly, its fairly par for the course these days and Xanadu had a delightful zinger about it.  However, when the doubling is used as a dramatic device, it creates a point of comparison, of assumed juxtaposition, that makes for an interesting experience.  In Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride, that experience is beyond interesting, bordering on true excellence.

Campbell has structured his performers to play the same core character across different timelines, 1958 and 2008.  And this being a gay play, the inherent cultural changes help shade the character transitions with more than just “people seeming different yet being the same” pathos that would be expected given the construct.  And as with most plays about character traits, what goes unsaid is so much more important that what is said.


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Seeing a new musical in its development cycle is something relatively new to me.  While I’ve seen things at Playwrights Horizons & Second Stage, I’ve never seen one so clearly still being worked on.  In fact, apparently during the run at the York Theatre Company, a song was dropped.

Yank! A WWII Love Story (as so printed on the ticket, so spoiler-phobes beware) is ultimately about a young man come to terms with being gay while serving in the military during World War II, and does indeed fall in love.  Given that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” hearings are ongoing and a major political plot point in the news, its not all that surprising that someone (or some people as they case in fact is) has written a musical about someone who was gay in the military.


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While it can be delicious for an actor to chew scenery and toss out bon mots for two hours, if that’s all the play consists of, its disappointing.  And at the seemingly cursed Lyceum Theatre, Valerie Harper is giving a magnificent impersonation of Tallulah Bankhead in Looped, but is ultimately let down by an unfocused play.

Looped recounts a fictionalized version of Bankhead’s notorious looping of a single line over an entire day.  A fervent lush on the way to her alcohol-fueled death, at this point in her career, she was doing whatever it took to pay her bills and garner a modicrum of fame.  Which would have been an interesting character development to explore, but it wasn’t – although there was a recognition of it when Bankhead’s film editor lashes back with “you gave up being an actress to be a celebrity”. (more…)

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Arthur Miller’s classic masterwork, A View From the Bridge, is reaching the tail end of its intense production’s run with a flourish. A truly excellent piece of work, the play’s central theme of the power of bonds come through brilliantly at times in Miller’s words.  While some of the performances come off as very actorly, overall, the work is done more than justice to the piece in the current production running now at the Cort Theatre.

Focusing on an Italian family in Red Hook, the tale of a man drawn to his wife’s niece while harboring illegal alien cousins brings modern parallels and the power of the relationships and desired relationships bring forth so much drama its daunting to imagine a play this powerful and intimate getting developed today.  Liev Scheieber, giving his usual full force performance, inhabits the patriarch quite well and delivers a dynamic, melancholic character that haunts the audience.


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