Sunday, April 26, 2015
STAN MAZIN's NEW YORK THEATRE SCENE 2015
AGATHA CHRISTIE’S UNEXPECTED GUEST at the Harold Clurman Theatre, produced by TBTB (Theatre Breaking Through Barriers). I wasn’t planning to see this show until a friend told me he was in it. The production company is made up of many handicapped actors… but their acting ability is certainly not handicapped. Although I found the first act a little slow paced, my surprise was that the quality of the production was exceptional. For anyone who adores ‘whodunits’, this show will not disappoint.
CLINTON, THE MUSICAL, book by Paul Hodge & Michael Hodge, with music & lyrics by Paul Hodge. With a cast of 9, this delightful send-up stars Kerry Butler, Tom Galantich and Duke Lafoon, playing Hillary, and 2 Bills: a ‘good’ William, and an ‘evil’ Billy. It is funny, clever, but not particularly favorable to the Clintons or the Democratic party. But hilarious it is, and it is cleverlydirected and choreographed by Dan Knechtges. It plays at the New World Stages on West 50th Street.
DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, the musical, book by Michael Weller, lyrics by Michael Korie & Amy Powers, and music by Lucy Simon. It is so difficult to mount a true classic, while adding songs, staging (more staging than choreography), and still maintaining the epic story. What I felt this lacks is a little humor. There should be a couple of humorous numbers. Remember Les Miz had the Innkeepers number which was a delight, as well as West Side Story’s ‘Officer Krupke’, both wonderfully humorous. Just because this is a serious classic, it does not mean there is no room for comedy. That being said, the sets by Michael Scott Mitchell, the costumes by Paul Tazewell, and the music direction by Ron Melrose are all ten out of ten. Des McAnuff directed a talented cast including Tam Mutu as Zhivago and Kelli Barrett as Lara. Of course the period is during the Bolshevik Revolution (in which my own grandfather fought), so there are many battle scenes. The lighting by Steve Rankin is also very good, keeping the various elements of the story alive. Overall, perhaps not the best musical, but certainly a good interpretation, all things considered. It plays in the Broadway Theatre.
IT’S ONLY A PLAY by Terrence McNally. With great direction by Jack O’Brien, this show stars F. Murray Abraham, Mathew Broderick, Stockard Channing, Katie Finneran, T.R. Knight, Nathan Lane, and introducing Micah Stock. I found this play to be absolutely wonderful… but I’m not sure if it was because of the play, or the performances. I must say the person who did the most with his role has to be T.R. Knight, playing an eccentric English director, never letting his character down, and constantly moving everywhere, and rightfully so. Of course no one has comic timing like Nathan Lane. But in all honesty I enjoyed EVERYONE in this play. Albeit slightly dated, they incorporated many of today’s famous performers as well as a bit of today’s slang. Still, with a cast this great, how can anyone not enjoy this play?!!!
SOMETHING ROTTEN! book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, with music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick. What an absolute surprise!!! What an absolute delite!!! What a creative piece of theatre with more humor than ever expected!!! Starring Brian d’Arcy James (Shrek, the Musical… oh, so that is what he looks like without the green paint), Christian Borle (TV’s Smash), John Cariani,Heidi Blickenstaff, Brad Oscar, with great humorous support by Brooks Ashmanskas, Peter Barlett, Gerry Vichi, and Michael James Scott, this new musical is cleverly and beautifully directed as well as choreographed by Casey Nicholaw. I cannot tell you how funny this show is. Nor will I give you any advance warnings as to how humorous the musical references are, of which there are plenty. Anyone who doesn’t enjoy this show has no sense of humor. I can’t wait to see it again, and hopefully they will have a road company soon. All I will say is that it is about the creation of the ‘first musical’ during Shakespearean times. It is so delicious, I don’t want to give anything away. The cast is brilliant! The numbers are brilliant! AND THE SHOW IS BRILLIANT!