Hearts are broken in the Broadway musical version of The Bridges of Madison County, but the tears hardly show. The great director Bartlett Sher and the composer Jason Robert Brown have finally found a way to wash away the weepy sentimentality and corny soap-opera romance-novel detritus that plagued the book and movie to my discontent. Nothing lachrymose here. I didn’t hear any sobs in the orchestra, either. Kelli O’Hara, as Francesca, the Italian immigrant who found a home in the Iowa farmlands but never really acclimated, and Steven Pasquale, as Robert Kincaid, the Texas-born National Geographic photographer who stops to ask directions and stays to fall in love, have dusted off the emotional baggage, toughened up the heartstrings and opted for strength and pragmatism instead of crying in their beer. In this production, they prefer brandy.
The Manhattan Theatre Club production that just opened at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on Broadway is mostly dull and only occasionally entertaining. Read More
Last week, Jerry Seinfeld participated in one of those Reddit AMAs, where celebrities interact with teeming Internet masses to mixed results. Mr. Seinfeld revealed during questioning that he had worked with longtime collaborator Larry David on a new project that would be “big, huge, gigantic.”
“We never obsess over anything that isn’t mundane,” he teased out. “Most recent was intentional mumbling.” Which, shit, was going to be the name of our memoir.
fall arts preview
It would appear that there is an unwritten rule in show business which states that anything related to the festive season must be as suffocatingly cheesy as possible, and The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City certainly delivers. In a show consisting of live camels onstage, 3-D interludes and costumes that made Joseph’s Technicolor Dreamcoat look like a potato sack, the all singing, all dancing troupe undeniably put on a show. But that show felt a bit like being on an acid trip in Lapland.
Opens September 10
THINGS THAT ARE COMPARED TO TERRORISM
In the early 1990s, Woody Harrelson went on Jay Leno’s show and put out an all-points-bulletin for Frankie Hyman, a friend he’d spent a summer in the summer of 1983; while Mr. Harrelson was starring on Cheers, the private investigator he’d hired told him that Mr. Hyman was not using his Social Security Number.
“I Read More
New York Times drama critics, protect your neck: Bill O’Reilly is now reviewing The Theatre for Fox News, and doing it with such urgency that he must join the network by phone to do so. This week, Bill took the time to review Jesus Christ Superstar, currently playing on Broadway.
And during that review, he Read More
The Scene: A bunch of high schoolers, in a room full of their parents, teachers, and friends, performing a musical. In the musical, they play a bunch of teenagers not too unlike themselves.
And they are simulating masturbation, unprotected sex, abortion, teenage homosexuality, teenage lesbianism, group masturbation, masochism, child abuse, insubordination, and out-and-out total adolescent rebellion, all to the rapturous tune of musical numbers with titles like “The Bitch of Living” and “Totally Fucked.”
Oh, if Tipper Gore could see them now.
Sleep No More
There’s an early scene in CQ/CX—a new off-Broadway play about The New York Times that does not pretend any character’s resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental—in which the guy based on Jayson Blair encounters a veteran editor at the paper’s favored watering hole.
“Started as a copy boy 43 years ago in March,” the old-timer brags as he fetches Jayson a Glenlivet. “Only job I ever had.”
Mistaking Jayson for a news clerk—one rung above the copy boy—the editor can hardly believe such a young man had written all those page one stories. (For good reason, it turned out.)
“Used to take years to get a byline,” he remarks. “Now they hand them out like candy.”
Well, maybe not that easy. But cultural changes at The Times over the past 20 years mean the newsroom grunts probably aren’t angling for bylines, anyway. Job openings dwindled with the economy, hiring scrutiny ramped up (thanks, Jayson), and the career track that gave the Times copy boy job its retroactive glamour (Arthur Gelb, Gay Talese and Robert Rosenthal all did stints) ceased to exist.
Nothing screams “The Mayans will be proven wrong this year!” quite like watching a young man swing from the rafters after hanging himself in a very loose adaptation of Macbeth, but for fans of the interactive production Sleep No More, there was no better way to ring in 2012. After getting an invitation from the Thane himself asking for our attendance a special gold and silver party at the McKittrick Hotel–where Sleep No More has been in residence since March with co-production companies PunchDrunk and Emursive–we arrived up not knowing quite what to expect.
Would we be allowed to remove our Eyes Wide Shut Italian Renaissance-style masks and talk after midnight, or, going with the show’s traditional rule, would we be forced into an anonymous silent cheer when the countdown reached zero?