Tuesday, October 26News That Matters

Tag: Theater

How to Decorate Your Apartment Like an Artistic Director

How to Decorate Your Apartment Like an Artistic Director

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In 1971, Charlotte Moore auditioned for “A Little Night Music” on the stage of the Winter Garden Theater, where the musical “Follies” was playing. (Readers will soon see that this is not an irrelevant detail.)Ms. Moore, who tends toward the dramatic, a trait that has likely served her well as a founder and the artistic director of the Irish Repertory Theater, insists to this day that her tryout, in front of the director Harold Prince, was “a disaster, a complete disaster — I was in tears and ruins, absolute ruins, embarrassed and humiliated.”But maybe not such a disaster. A year later, Mr. Prince phoned her with an invitation to join the fledgling New Phoenix Repertory Company. “When I decided to throw everything away and come here without knowing anyone at all, it was a ridiculous idea,” ...
Andrew Lloyd Webber Plays the Hits

Andrew Lloyd Webber Plays the Hits

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It was the reopening night of “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway, and Andrew Lloyd Webber was D.J.-ing the after-party.From a booth built earlier that day on 44th street in Manhattan, Mr. Lloyd Webber, the play’s composer, whose career has lasted decades and who has won four Tonys and an Oscar, mixed music, clapped on all four beats, waved his hands in the air, and bobbed his head before a crowd gathered outside. (He was sporting paprika-hued Beats by Dre headphones for the occasion.)The party followed the first performance of “Phantom” since the pandemic began, which was attended by Laura Linney, Joel Gray, several contestants of “The Bachelorette,” some “Real Housewives of New York” and Senator Chuck Schumer.Outside the theater after the show, throngs of “Phantom of the Opera” devote...

As Broadway Returns, Shows Rethink and Restage Depictions of Race

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“The Lehman Trilogy,” about the rise and fall of a financial family, added new references to the businessmen’s relationship to slavery after earlier versions of the play were criticized for playing down that connection. “Everything that was built here was built on a crime,” a character now warns.Broadway is addressing concerns about race in a variety of ways as it reopens — the current season features a record number of plays by Black writers; many shows are creating new diversity-related staff positions; and industry leaders have pledged to create more opportunities for artists of color. But race, although the primary focus of the protests last year, is not the only subject being reconsidered.“Jagged Little Pill,” a musical adapted from the blockbuster Alanis Morissette album, has simulta...

Review: In the Disturbing ‘Dana H.,’ Whose Voice Is It Anyway?

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And your own: While mimicking Higginbotham’s mental dissociation, the uncanniness of the lip-sync destabilizes most other notions of normalcy in the world as well. It suggests an underlife, parallel to the comfortable, familiar one, that threatens at any moment to erupt through the rather thin barrier of routine, just as Higginbotham’s voice seems to erupt through O’Connell’s body in the process of possessing it.The question of voice is obviously central to Hnath’s concern here, only in part because Higginbotham — it’s no spoiler to say — is his mother. At the time of the abduction, he was a thousand miles away, a freshman at New York University, apparently knowing nothing of what was going on in Florida. She did not want him to know: Jim held her son’s safety over her head, she says, to e...

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at 50: What Was the Buzz?

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“A lot of that has to do with how you plant themes and how you deal with them,” he said. “My idea for the overture was to introduce every ingredient that I could think of within the musical palette we were going to hear through the rest of the recording.”And then those themes recur, one by one, as when the whole of the overture is mirrored in the trial of Jesus before Pontius Pilate, or when a song reappears with a twist, like “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.” To Mary Magdalene it’s a love song about Jesus; when it returns as a motif sung by Judas as a lament, the lyrics change: “He’s not a king, he’s just the same/As anyone I know/He scares me so.”“Judas understood Jesus, and he obviously was clearly obsessed and loved him,” Lloyd Webber said. “And then at the same time, you’ve got this wom...
Review: In ‘Chicken & Biscuits,’ a Sweet but Dated Comedic Recipe

Review: In ‘Chicken & Biscuits,’ a Sweet but Dated Comedic Recipe

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Such insight and provocation is otherwise rare in “Chicken & Biscuits.” So is any real tension. Whether the family will accept Logan, whether the sisters will reconcile, whether the mystery guest at the funeral (NaTasha Yvette Williams) will be explained are barely even questions; they’re more like a packing list. In that sense, the play feels dramatically complacent and underdeveloped, suggesting that its trip to Broadway after a pandemic-foreshortened run at the Queens Theater in 2020 might have benefited from a stop along the way.Yet it’s at least a little unfair to look at a family comedy that way. Lyons, an actor himself before turning to playwriting — this is his Broadway debut as an author, and Levingston’s as a director — is operating here in a different tradition from most con...

Aneesa Folds, Back on Broadway, Is Still Getting Used to This

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There has been an am-I-dreaming quality to Aneesa Folds’s life lately. That much she wanted to make clear.Yes, that was her in the glittering gold jumpsuit at the Tony Awards, performing in knockout voice with the troupe Freestyle Love Supreme. But a few mornings later, sitting in a booth at a hotel restaurant in Manhattan’s theater district, she was still doing a mental double take at the memory of Broadway stars saying hello to her backstage “as if I wasn’t a pedestrian.” And meeting a reporter for a profile interview? That wasn’t normal either.“I love that you’re talking to me as if this is regular for me,” she said, and laughed.On the other hand, she is on her way back to Broadway with Freestyle Love Supreme. Founded by Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Anthony Veneziale, the longsta...
An Acclaimed Playwright on Masks and the Return to the Stage

An Acclaimed Playwright on Masks and the Return to the Stage

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Greek masks in ancient theater were both practical and ritualistic; they allowed performers to change roles and genders, and also to let an immortal howl out of a face that became more than mortal with artifice. From African masks in theater and dance, to Tibetan masks in ceremonial traditions, to commedia dell’arte masks in 15th-century Italy, masks were thought to unleash an almost supernatural power in the actor. But masked theater in the West is now rare, and the particular genius of most New York actors is they can make us believe that they are revealing themselves fully while they are in fact masked by a role. So, two weeks ago, we in the audience sat in actual masks, in reverent silence, seeing the actors’ naked faces once again, feeling the incredible warmth of communal theater.Fin...

Ladies and Gentlemen, Daniel Craig

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More than a year and a half ago, Daniel Craig and I met at the Museum of Modern Art to talk about his final James Bond movie, “No Time to Die,” and bid farewell to that suave superspy he’d been playing since 2006.When we sat down at our table in a private room at the Modern restaurant, Craig offered me the use of a hand-spray dispenser he was carrying. “That stuff is gold dust,” he said offhandedly. “It’s some crazy thing — people are selling it for like $25 a pop.”As it turned out, that might have been the most significant part of our interview. We spent the next hour engaged in a polite conversation about the making of “No Time to Die” (which then was scheduled to open in a month), and how pleased he was both with the work he had done and to be finished with his duties.We said goodbye an...

And the Award for Best Actor in a Tux Goes to …

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Thus the evil spell was broken and Broadway was reborn, following a gestational period roughly equivalent to that of an elephant. And, if a Tony Awards marking the comeback of one of the larger drivers of New York’s cultural economy and an enduring emblem of the city was not, as is so often the case with these shows, a case of elephant gives birth to mouse, its monumentality was largely symbolic.There were highs without doubt, foremost among them Jennifer Holliday’s reprise of her epochal performance at the 1982 Tony Awards of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” from “Dreamgirls,” which was not only showstopping but may briefly have thrown the earth off its axis. Yet, overall, the event was homely and modest by the standards of spectacles increasingly staged less for real-time effects th...