Tuesday, June 15, 2010

...And I will not be shamed

That's right, I love Aerosmith, and what could be more hilarious than watching Matthew Morrison and Neil Patrick Harris duke it out to "Dream On"? I'm late to the Glee bandwagon, but I have to admit, I do enjoy singing of almost any kind, and they are by turns hilariously campy or enjoyably sentimental. I absolutely love Jonathan Groff -- here's hoping that they find some way to bring him back next season.

On the other hand, it was a little sad to see the Tony Awards desperately clinging to other forms of art in an attempt to resuscitate box office. Let's see now: Tonys to Scarlett Johanssen, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Denzel, and Viola Davis? They even tossed the rock world a couple, with lighting and scenery going to American Idiot. And Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele's "return" to Broadway from Glee teased until people under rocks knew that they were going to be performing.

There has to be a better business model for Broadway that doesn't involve hauling in Hollywood stars or alternately selling rush tickets and ridiculously overpriced full-price tickets. Far be it from me to suggest that the Great White Way rethink its practices, but they're having a tough time now, and it shows just as clearly at the Tonys than it does with all the dark theaters and early closings and postponed openings.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Di-va! Di-va!

Oh, I love it. Infighting, finger-pointing, he-said, she-said, hiring, firing, damaged reputations. No, it's not just Capitol Hill, it's opera.

Leonard Slatkin, who left the Metropolitan Opera's production of Traviata under a cloud of disgrace this season after one disastrous performance. His ill preparation or general ill-suitedness to the repertoire was blamed. But now, Slatkin strikes back. He blames Angela Gheorghiu, the famous beautiful diva nicknamed Draculette by her detractors. Who knows? But I want more gossip! More scandal! More backstage tales!

For what it's worth, I like listening to Gheorghiu but have never warmed up to watching her act. She has never found a head tilt or a facial expression she didn't like. Sometimes you can get dizzy just looking at her.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Recent hits

John Hart's The Last Child, a gritty modern mystery with a compelling young boy as the central character, searching for his kidnapped sister. Excellent read.

Nine, the Rob Marshall musical with Daniel Day-Lewis and every Oscar-winning woman ever, was indeed quite bad. Marshall failed to motivate the musical numbers as Guido's imagination the way he managed to make Chicago all happen in Roxie's head; besides that, he apparently forgot that not every musical number has to have bells, whistles, a cast of thousands, and mostly-naked women.

Michelle Moran's chick-littish series set in ancient Egypt is quite good because of the use of historical events and detail, though the interpersonal plots are on the level of girl likes boy, girl puts on makeup, boy notices girl.

Isabel Allende's Daughter of Fortune reminded me how great an adventure story can be when someone is writing it well and creatively. It also contains the seeds of her fascination with the Zorro legend, which she reworked so well in her recent novel (shockingly entitled Zorro). I may have to go back and try her famous House of the Spirits again. I didn't like it when I first read it, but I was very young, and maybe there's even an alternative translation now.

Leonard Bernstein's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has some musical gems in it, and even some hilarious lyrics. But among other reasons the show isn't put up often, some of the interpolated scenes of African American characters are less than politically correct. "The Money-Lovin' Minstrel Show," ye gods.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Who'd be an actor?

Was just doing a little harmless procrastinating and came across this wonderful list of onstage disaster anecdotes, courtesy of Opera News. Doesn't really matter if you know opera; it's hilarious.