Thursday, June 09, 2011

"In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, but now, God knows, anything goes. Good authors, too, who once knew better words, now only use four letter words, writing prose, anything goes." ~cole porter

Today's a day for show reviews! I'm seeing another one tomorrow, so there'll be more to come soon.

Anything Goes
This show is pure joy. I had a smile on my face the entire time. Where do I start? I guess with the unparalleled Sutton Foster. Is there anything this woman can't do? I think she's superhuman. She's been nominated for five Tony Awards in nine years (five in nine years!). She's a true triple threat; she's an incredibly talented actor, singer, and dancer. Brantley's New York Times review is a complete love letter to Ms. Foster, and it's all true. I believe she's the best musical theater actor of her generation. I can't get over how amazing she is. She's the heart and soul of this production of Anything Goes. This show has a lot going for it, though. First of all, it features some of Cole Porter's best songs (including "You're the Top," "It's de-Lovely," and "I Get a Kick Out of You"). Second of all, Sutton Foster, Joel Grey, John McMartin, Adam Godley, and Jessica Stone are singing those songs. Third of all, Kathleen Marshall is the director/choreographer. I really hope she wins the Tony for best choreography, because the dance numbers really bring this show to life. I was transported me back to the 1920's for a few hours, and I didn't want to leave (actually, that reminds me of Woody Allen's charming new movie Midnight in Paris; review to come, but for now I'll just say it's wonderful). Go see this if you're able to; trust me, it's de-lovely (I'm sorry, I couldn't resist). Take a peek:

Measure for Measure
I went to this summer's first performance of Shakespeare in the Park. The show was Measure for Measure, one of Shakespeare's "problem plays." I definitely see why it's categorized as a "problem play," and I wish Shakespeare were alive so I could question him about his intentions. A few aspects of the ending confuse me; am I really supposed to be happy that two men are basically tricked into marrying women against their (the men's) will? Why does the Duke seem like he's putting on a show at the end; why can't he just reveal himself and what he knows instead of letting Isabella suffer in believing her brother is dead? (I understand the deception up to a certain point, but I think it goes on for too long.) Does Isabella really want to marry the Duke, and what about her commitment to the convent? Anyway, I have lots of questions for Mr. Shakespeare. Putting aside my hesitations regarding the play, I enjoyed this production very much. It's strength is in the comedy. Reg Rogers is particularly hilarious. Lorenzo Pisoni is a charming Duke, and I really liked him in disguise as the Friar (the glasses and a slight awkwardness made him a bit Harry Potter-esque to me). It's obvious that director David Esbjornson is trying to highlight the ambiguity and darkness of the play as well, but I don't know that that worked as well as the comedy (I didn't really understand the creepy demons wandering around). The curtain call music also seemed like a very odd choice (The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil 1"). Tonya Pinkins and John Cullum, two incredibly talented actors, are severely underused and I hope they have much more stage time in this season's other show, All's Well That Ends Well. Overall, though, I thought this was a strong production of the play. I was thrilled to be back in the Delacorte. It's one of my favorite places in the world.

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