The dog days of summer get an extra spark with the arrival of Portland, Oregon-based singer Rebecca Kilgore at Feinstein’s at Loew’s Regency. Last year she celebrated the musical side of Marilyn Monroe. Now she calls her new show “The Jazzy Side of Judy Garland.” The lady has high ideals and lofty goals.
I didn’t know Judy had a jazzy side, but Ms. Kilgore proves it.
End of the Rainbow, a tragic reflection with music of the last sad, declining days of the legendary Judy Garland, arrives on Broadway after breaking records in London’s West End and winning a bushel of awards for its star, a supersonically gifted dynamo named Tracie Bennett. At first glance, prancing her way into a suite at the Ritz to begin rehearsals for a five weeks of concerts at the fabled Talk of the Town, she does not sound, speak, sing or look anything like the greatest entertainer of the 20th century. I have seen drag queens do better Judys, mimicking every stage of her turbulent career. But then, despite the overbite and the hoarse voice without a shine in it, she begins to grow on you, like moss. Slowly, the nuances take you by surprise. Like Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn, she begins to stake squatter’s rights on the role, not just imitating Judy, but channeling her. The book and direction of this show, by Peter Quilter and Terry Johnson, respectively, are as solid, filling and substantial as cracker crust. But by the time Tracie Bennett works her magic, captivates your imagination and captivates your soul, you know you are in the presence of someone electrifying.
Camera ready and slinging his rippled torso, with his undulating thighs drawing gasps and sighs from sold-out audiences nightly and white-picket-fence teeth catching the sparks from the footlights like diamonds, he hits the stage throbbing, and two hours later you leave with your knees shaking. You don’t know what hit you. But you know you’ve been to the theater.
There is nothing Hugh Jackman can’t do onstage—and in the one-man show called (what else?) Hugh Jackman—Back on Broadway at the Broadhurst, he pretty much does it all—frontward, backward and upside down. Except for early legends like Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor and Marilyn Miller, I’ve been present for most of the show business summits and I am here to tell you I have never seen anybody, male or female, who had it all in one package like this boy from Oz.
The Eight-Day Week
Wednesday, July 20
The Met’s Alexander McQueen wingding is due to close soon (Who’d have guessed that the summer’s biggest blockbuster would feature weird shape-shifting metallic entities, but not be the Transformers sequel?!), and we need a new British avante-garde type to turn the female shape into manic pointiness. Gareth Pugh it is! Read More
Shortly before taking the podium at the 2009 Matrix Awards ceremony honoring women in communications at the Waldorf Astoria on Monday, April 27, event emcee Meredith Vieira of NBC’s Today was explaining to the Daily Transom what female news anchors have over their male counterparts.
“You can’t totally stereotype it,” Ms. Vieira began, as if Read More
On Friday night, Salman Rushdie was talking about Dorothy—that is, the Dorothy portrayed by Judy Garland in the 1939 film version of The Wizard of Oz.
Her mantra—“There’s noplace like home!”—is apparently not shared by the literary superstar whose 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses, was banned in his native India and resulted in a fatwa Read More
The showcase for 34 new musicals on display during the New York Musical Theater Festival hasn’t thus far produced a longed-for miracle, though Flight of the Lawnchair Man—concerning a simple-minded soul who dreams of flying around the sky in a Wal-Mart lawn chair—certainly had its charms.
I thought very reluctantly, however, that its talented creators, Read More
Yesterday, Time‘s blogger Andrew Sullivan announced that the new editor of Out magazine is a heterosexual. “Seriously, I think it’s great that a straight guy is now heading up a gay magazine,” he wrote.
While that idea fits nicely with Mr. Sullivan’s theories on the continued blurring of straight and gay culture and identity, Read More
All in Good Time: A Memoir, by Jonathan Schwartz. Random House Trade Paperbacks, 283 pages, $13.95.
The title of All in Good Time, a memoir by Jonathan Schwartz-short-story writer, novelist and the most well-respected radio D.J.-connoisseur of American popular song in the world-is perfectly tuned to the wavelength of his book, which is being republished Read More
Mike Newell’s Mona Lisa Smile , from a screenplay by Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal, reportedly had as its genesis a magazine article about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s years at Wellesley College in the 1960′s. The screenwriters decided to go back a decade and set the film during the much-maligned 1950′s, the Eisenhower era-a time when Read More