In addition to an awesome cast, including Al Pacino in a different role from the one he played in the cinematic adaptation, the new Broadway production of Glengarry Glen Ross announced today that its latest salesman on the team would be none other than John C. McGinnley…better known to most of us as Dr. Cox from Scrubs.
Alas, poor Richard Fleeshman, we knew thee not-quite-well. After only 136 performances, Ghost The Musical–based on the 1990 Patrick Swayze film about a Manhattan couple with a kinky clay fetish, trying to make their relationship work even if it means bringing in Whoopi Goldberg for a possessed threesome– will take its final Broadway bow Aug. 18.
Wonders never cease. Who ever dreamed I could (or would, even on a dare) sit through a two-hour movie about Mark Wahlberg and a talking teddy bear? Or that I would (or could, even at gunpoint) possibly enjoy it so much? But here is Ted—a genre-screwing Donnybrook that defies description and guarantees, I swear, open-mouthed hilarity. It is refreshingly oblivious to the kind of political correctness that is going to be the death of us all. It is rude, raunchy and repellent to the point of almost being a send-up of the Farrelly Brothers, Judd Apatow, Adam Sandler and the rest of the ozone polluters giving movies a bad name. (Address your complaints to the nearest sewer.) It contains dialogue and depicts situations that cannot be described in a family newspaper—including the ones that are read only by the Addams family. It has nudity, profanity and X-rated detritus unsuitable for anyone with an I.Q. of 50. It is also creative, adorable, ingenious and devilishly, thigh-slappingly hilarious. Do not take my pulse. It must be the heat.
Spike Lee Joints
We’re starting to believe that Spike Lee is either a genius or has gone absolutely insane. (Kind of like Peter Jackson, n’est pas?)
First he spends years jerking us around about an American version of Old Boy, even threatening to put Steven Spielberg in charge and giving Will Smith the lead role of Oh Dae-Su. (For those who haven’t seen the film, that’s akin to doing a remake of Schindler’s List where Zac Efron plays Oskar. And it’s directed by Rob Reiner.)
Thankfully, this idea was scrapped and the two leads will now be Josh Brolin and the South African guy from District 9. Still iffy, but it has the potential for genius.
And then we read what Mike Tyson is saying about his upcoming Broadway show, which Spike Lee directed, and the needle swings back to “crazy.”
Harvey is the one about the amiable 39-year-old dipsomaniac Elwood P. Dowd and his best friend and constant companion Harvey, a white rabbit, standing tall at six feet three and a half inches, who, to the mortification of his family, is invisible to everyone but Elwood—or almost. The play by Mary Chase was a big hit in 1944 (inexplicably, it won an undeserved Pulitzer Prize) starring Frank Fay (Barbara Stanwyck’s first husband) and the fabulously ditzy character actress Josephine Hull, who recreated her role in the critically acclaimed 1950 film, sharing the screen with a triumphant performance by James Stewart, whose wife, Gloria, said at the time, “You stay at the studio—send Harvey home to me.”
In the genial Roundabout translation currently on view at Studio 54, the eccentric Elwood is essayed by the stage play’s star, Jim Parsons, he of the curiously abortive and alarmingly overrated five-years-and-still-running television sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. He is no Jimmy Stewart, but he has a wiry charm air-brushed with a dusty Texas twang that is perfectly suited to a borderline mental patient with impeccable old-world manners. If you’re up for some warm and gentle whimsy in a charmingly fanciful farce peppered with a tiny touch of pathos, Mr. Parsons gives a droll performance and the play is a nice dose of tonic.
It’ll be a hard-knock life for the Broadway cast of Annie, which were announced today to be headlined by 11-year-old Lilla Crawford. The team of precocious moppets, who were handpicked after over 5,000 auditions, will be opening at the Netherlander theater at a date T.B.D.
With nothing on its tiny mind but pulchritude and parody, Nice Work If You Can Get It, a dumping ground of cornball clichés woodenly directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall with tinned arrangements of early tunes by George and Ira Gershwin, has landed on Broadway at the Imperial with a mechanical thud. Except for one or two exceptions, it is so vulgar, boring and stupid that it will probably be a hit.
The stars are Matthew Broderick, who sings weakly, can’t dance and is 20 pounds overweight, and Kelli O’Hara, who does everything musical with welcome panache but ends up wasted in a role so dumb it would have been rejected by Martha Raye.
“When it seems as if I’m sabotaging my own career,” Jeff Goldblum was saying, leaning back in his booth at Josephine Café Français in Tribeca, “you find out that it’s still very much alive and flourishing. I’m in a growth spurt. I’m actually very open to this new creativity.”
In a black leather jacket and a faded pink Thelonious Monk shirt, Mr. Goldblum looked astonishingly young for a man who will be turning 60 this year. But the bigger surprise was his candor about his career. After becoming an unlikely sex symbol in the ’80s and ’90s for movies like Jurassic Park, Independence Day and David Cronenberg’s The Fly, Mr. Goldblum had fallen into semi-obscurity in the new millennium—popping up in the occasional indie film (Igby Goes Down, The Life Aquatic) or Broadway show (Pillowman), but mostly languishing in a number of unremarkable flops.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is too young to play Willy Loman, the worn-out failure in Mike Nichols’s new revival of Arthur Miller’s masterful tragedy Death of a Salesman. Despite his drooped posture, crippling exhaustion and inability to stand proud—not to mention his preppie haircut, white as snow—he often looks no older than the two actors playing his sons. Still, he’s such an inventive and resourceful young character actor that he is never less than fascinating. To paraphrase the most famous line in the play, attention must still be paid.
Thank goodness Mr. Nichols is so obviously respectful of this high-water mark in American theater that he is reluctant to change, modify or jazz it up in any way to suit contemporary audiences. He has even restored much of Jo Mielziner’s moody set design, Alex North’s somber music and Elia Kazan’s electrifying direction from the original 1949 Broadway production starring the incomparably powerful Lee J. Cobb—all to brilliant effect, illuminating a sad, deeply analytical portrait of the death of the American Dream. And if Mr. Hoffman is not Lee J. Cobb or even Brian Dennehy in the latest Broadway revival, he serves the play in an oddly benevolent way.
“Pulitzer and Hearst, they think we’re nothing! Are we nothing?”
The opening chords of “The World Will Know,” the anthem of 1992’s live-action Disney film Newsies, are as recognizable to a generation of cult fans as “A Whole New World,” “Under the Sea” or Celine Dion crooning “Beauty and the Beast.”
Led by Christian Bale’s horrendous “New Yoik” accent, first-time director Kenny Ortega’s film about the 1899 newsboy strike was, superficially, a huge flop. It cost $15 million to make and brought in only $2 million at the box office. And the critics hated it: Roger Ebert called it “warmed-over Horatio Alger” and included his review in his 2000 book, I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie!
David Rooney of The New York Times was even harsher, saying that the film “suffers from sluggish storytelling, a vocally challenged cast (led by an uncomfortable-looking Christian Bale) and poorly shot dance numbers bursting with anachronisms.
“It’s Oliver! meets Annie with quasi-breakdance moves,” he added derisively.
Yet somehow the cult of Newsies survived the film and now, two decades later, it’s back and headed for Broadway; the show begins previews next week at the Nederlander Theater. And this time, it has the whole world on its side.