Friday, August 31, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Sorry I fell behind on these, folks. Here's my summation of the season finale of everyone's favorite god-fearing, chastity-respecting TV show!
Alby's a traitor
Barb's got polygamy pride
Ana?!!? What happened?!??!?
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Check this out: one of Moxie's favorite bands, Old Springs Pike, was featured today on MTV, in a much-deserved resurrection of the old "you heard it here first" format that MTV did so much of in the network's heyday. I can't figure out how to get the video into blogger, but click here to see all the MTV fancyness. I'm so, so fond of these folks, and can't say enough about the joyful rambunctiousness of their shows and the soul-searing harmonies they regularly bust out. If you don't believe me, take MTV's word for it. John Norris calls them "a brilliantly distinctive musical force".
Just as a little taster, here's a video of the band playing their song "Hometown Hero" at Ars Nova. They're gonna be playing the Spiegelworld tent on September 10th, info here.
Monday, August 27, 2007
David Rooney is really taking director Francesca Zambello to task in his review of The Little Mermaid. Nobody gets off easy in his 10-lashings-for-poor-design review, but he really seems to have it in for Zambello. Check out my little mashup of his mentions of the acclaimed opera director:
Zambello has allowed emotion, charm and enchantment to be drowned in a sea of bewilderingly over-stylized designs... The joyous calypso frolic "Under the Sea" and gloriously romantic "Kiss the Girl" are wonderful songs but Zambello has compromised both with chaotic presentation... Despite Zambello's much-quoted creative choice of "no water, no wires," it's the simple wire work of Prince Eric's near-drowning in the storm or Ariel's underwater transformation from mermaid to human that come closest to engendering a sense of wonderment... if Disney Theatrical chief Thomas Schumacher's aim in enlisting Zambello and team was to develop another eye-popping theatrical event to transcend the kid-fare label, he needs to keep fishing.
Both Francesca Zambello and Asolo AD Michael Edwards (see Suckwatch: A Tale of Two Cities) are opera directors turned theater pros, and I'm glad to see Rooney hinting that a strong background in opera doesn't make someone a great director of musicals. The mediums have vast differences, and I'd hate to see a stylistic return to the 1980's because a new generation of opera/theater directors rely on sweeping, epic, gigantic productions instead of quality, character-based storytelling.
P.S. Check out Zambello's own website for a lot of pics of her productions. The photo gallery is really gorgeous, so it's not so hard to see why Disney was smitten. But is she really the best person to direct the upcoming First Wives Club musical?? Not so sure, Frannie, not so sure.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Derek Keeling, a handsome competitor from TV's "Grease: You're the One That I Want," will play French aristocrat Charles Darnay in the Broadway-aimed musical A Tale of Two Cities when it world premieres in Florida this fall.
Key phrases: Competitor from TV, French aristocrat, Broadway-aimed. A nefarious combination.
...the twentysomething actor who was known as "wholesome Danny" in the 2007 reality competition...
Guess "French Aristocrat Danny" was taken.
The serious-minded pop epic in the tradition of Les Misérables was previously announced for an early 2006 commercial launch that never transpired...
Hmm... serious-minded epic in the tradition of Les Miz. Class, what did we learn from The Pirate Queen?
"The musical's sweeping score embodies the emotional pyrotechnics that ceaselessly explode throughout the show's breathtaking two hours. This is an emotionally drenched evening that encompasses unconscionable conspiracies, life-threatening schemes, countless betrayals, secret designs, complete political upheaval, pre-meditated mass murder, mob violence, survival against inhuman odds, unconditional love, unrequited love, indescribable love, heroic courage, breathless bravery and human sacrifice."
And somewhere, a producer just blew their load.
Tale of Two Cities, you're on SuckWatch.
Just tried the actual Moxie soda for the first time. Tastes like Jagermeister, meaning it tastes like freshman year of college, getting tarted up in skanky outfits for the drama department's notorious theme parties, while listening to Janet Jackson's "If" and doing shots. Strange associations.
at 1:08 AM
Friday, August 10, 2007
Playbill "has learned" (I love it when they get all insidery) that comic Stephen Kramer Glickman is playing Shrek in the today's workshop, with Robert L. Daye Jr. as Donkey, Celia Keenan-Bolger as Princess Fiona, and Christopher Sieber as Lord Farquaad. Again, good casting, especially Celia and The Seiber.
Chris Noth has signed on for the Sex and the City movie, per Variety. Not much info on the plot yet, but one Apartment Therapy commenter imagined Carrie struggling with life in present day NYC by facing the quintessential nightmare of every New Yorker - a bed bug infestation. Gross, but accurate!
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Endeavor has dumped somewhere between 15% and 25% of their client roster. Comedy writer and super-blogger Ken Levine says:
The next time you watch ENTOURAGE and laugh at Ari Gold and think that character is such a funny exaggeration, just know that the real Ari (Emanuel) heads up the endeavor agency and this week they dumped 25% of their clients – writers, directors, actors. Endeavor now wishes to just represent “the best of the best”. Yeah, that Ari is a stitch!As usual, Variety is singing a slightly more conservative tune:
Endeavor has trimmed over 100 clients from its roster, covering talent and lit clients in both film and TV... Insiders said this round of herd-thinning will claim less than 15% of the agency roster... Agents were told two months ago to begin jettisoning clients "whose interests are not being well served by the agency," to use the usual tenpercentery lingo.Huh. I wonder who's been axed? Probably not Jessica Alba, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, or any of the other standard Endeavor hotties. But what of the fate of Hank Azaria? Heather Goldenhersch? MACAULAY CULKIN????
UPDATE: Jesse Metcalfe got the boot, and if anyone actually cares about Jesse Metcalf, he's with Gersh now.
There. I said it.
She chews her gum REALLY LOUD, and she rolls her eyes and huffs and puffs whenever anyone asks her to do something. Right now she's smacking her gum and picking her split ends. Worst of all, she thinks of me as her confidante in the office, and thinks it's cool to use me as a sounding board for all her grievances whenever we're alone together. She complains when there's nothing to do, and she complains when we give her things to do. She complains about having to order lunch for our bosses, having to pick up their dry cleaning, and generally having to do all the shit that EVERY intern EVER in the history of casting has had to do, myself included. This is so totally not cool.
Deep breath. Exhale. Okay I'm done now.
at 4:43 PM
I watched The U.S. Vs. John Lennon last night, and (shocker) it made me think.
The film focuses on the period when Lennon transitioned from pop star to political activist, using his worldwide fame to make himself a sort of bullhorn for the anti-war movement. Lennon realized that when he played "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", the whole world heard it, and so if he played something with the message of peace, the whole world would hear that, too. And so he and Yoko began saying it, "Peace", as loudly as possible, whenever possible, galvanizing millions of fans with the message that violence isn't the answer, and giving them a singular, condensed message to sing to their foes - "All we are saying is give peace a chance".
The U.S., led by Nixon's administration of deceipt and illegality, wasn't too keen on Lennon's simple, concise demand that they "Declare peace." It was idealistic, uncomplicated, and a powerful response to the fearmongering of the Vietnam era that rings frighteningly familiar today. Conservatives organized bonfire burnings of Beatles albums, and immigration tried over and over to send Lennon "back to Liverpool". In fact, Lennon's FBI file shows that the correspondence to deport him went as high as the oval office. Once Lennon started singing about revolution and peace, Nixon wanted him out!
Lennon was so effective as a political activist because he was already famous. There are SO many parallels between that era and our current situation, and many are saying "where is the outrage?" "where are the protesting students?" "Where are the protests songs on the radio?" Well, in the 60's and 70's, Lennon was a familiar celebrity that young people were willing to be led by. He wasn't just more popular than Jesus - he was fiercely intelligent and fiercely skeptical of the system, and people listened to him.
Today the political climate again cries out for protest, but who will lead in Lennon's style? Our biggest celebrities aren't serious artists, but reality television personalities, child stars grown into substance abusers, and hotel heiresses who can barely speak. Sure, we have celebs like George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio, but they aren't as compelling, and their celebrity is nowhere near that of Lennon's, or of Britney Spears' for that matter. We've abandoned real artists for corporate-manufactured idols, and now we are a generation desperately in need of an eloquent, popular voice. We are outraged, but there is nobody in sight to tell the world about it.
[The photo up there is of Lennon and Yoko Ono's "bed-in", during their honeymoon in 1969. They knew the media would follow them wherever they spent their honeymoon, so the couple decided to spend it in bed, surrounded by signs for peace, and invite the media in to talk about their message. Journalists expecting saucy "John and Yoko's honeymoon frolic" photos were disappointed. The couple, surrounded by guests, recorded "Give Peace a Chance" during the bed-in.]
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
In celebration and appreciation of HBO's Big Love, Moxie is instituting a weekly Big Love haiku. Think you can do better? Post in the comments, and don't forget to keep sweet.
Roman ain't dead yet
Wives place bets on Bill's gamble
BINGO spells trouble
A few gems from Playbill Q&A with Jesse Tyler Ferguson:
Favorite show tune: "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"
Last good movie you saw: I loved "Knocked Up." Genius comedic performances.
Worst flubbed line: I completely blanked on my lyrics to "Come Up to My Place" from On The Town. I basically forgot all my lyrics to the first verse. The orchestra just kept going without me. The first lyrics that were actually sung were Lea DeLaria singing: "Did I hear right? Did you say the Hippodrome?"
If you could star in any movie musical, which would it be? "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."
I don't know about a MOVIE musical, but I think a revival of H2$ might be a really good idea. If only the off-broadway scene was healthy enough, they could put it up somewhere snazzy like 37 Arts, have Jesse star, make it really dark and skewer American values, and it could run for ages. And hello, he would be GREAT in it. This is the part where I start getting wicked pissed at the downward spiral the theater scene is headed into. Back to work....
Monday, August 06, 2007
I hear that Spring Awakening's Brian Johnson is playing one of the three little piggies in the Shrek workshop. So cute! So cute!
Also, if you're curious, Jason Moore (Ave Q) is directing, with book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire (has he done lyrics before? he wrote the book of High Fidelity, but not the lyrics) and music by Jeanine Tesori (Millie, Caroline, or Change).
I'm not all about turning cartoons about animals and mythical creatures into fully staged musicals, but I'd be first in line to see Brian with a twirly tail.
Which reminds me...
Spider pig, spider pig, does whatever a spider pig does.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
I hesitated to write anything at all about Gypsy. Everybody's already covered it, and said all the things that I would say, only better articulated and more concise. But then I thought, no, I have to write about it, because it was the show that made me fall in love with Broadway musicals, and it really did change my life in a more dramatic way than most big events of my life so far.
My parents saw the Tyne Daly revival in the 80s, and brought me back the cassette tape to listen to. I fixated on it the way 6-year-olds are apt to do - Mama Rose was my Dora the Explorer, and I memorized every word of that recording, strutting across our front porch, belting out, "Some people sit on their butts! Got the nerve, yeah, but not the guts!" Listening to that dazzling overture, choreographing "All I Need is the Girl" in my living room, and performing Rose's Turn for an audience of teddy bears ignited a flame somewhere inside me, and twenty years later when the orchestra at City Center played that opening "I had a dream" melody that begins the overture, that flame was burning brighter than ever. Until then, I had still never seen the musical onstage.
Brantley described Patti Lupone's Rose as "the sort of pushy but likable woman you might compete with at the supermarket for that last perfect sole fillet. (You’d lose, but you wouldn’t hate her.)" He's right - Patti is earthy, funny, and likable even as she's shoving her kids onstage and stealing the silverware from dingy chinese restaurants. But contrary to what Ben says, her likablilty is not the downfall of the performance, or the production. It has the opposite effect - Rose is so darn likeable, in spite of her craziness, that we can't fault the few people who stick with her through her stubborn, relentless pursuit of her "dreams".
In fact, Rose's warmth and caring gives Herbie and Louise a real reason to stick around, rather than just ditching her when they have the chance. This gives Herbie and Louise credibility, when it seems like they often come across as weak, spineless people who can't work up the nerve to ditch Rose. Herbie and Louise are sensitive, delicate souls, and any such person would have a really hard time telling Rose, "thanks a lot, and out with the garbage." All the acclaim for Boyd Gaines and Laura Benanti wouldn't be half as strong if Patti's Rose didn't give them so much room to be real, credible characters. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Brantley's review sucks, in case you didn't know.
There are millions of little moments that I'll spare you from my raving about. Here's just one: An insider told me that Arthur Laurents had Patti improvise little bits of choreography during the sweet "Together" number, doing it differently every time. It played really well - Gaines and Benanti looked like they were having a blast keeping up with LuPone's zany steps, and it was a simple way of articulating how Herbie and Louise are constantly struggling to keep up with Rose. P.S. - Check out this sweet interview with Boyd Gaines from Broadwayworld.
So that's my Gypsy religious experience. It was like The Big Voice - seeing the spinning lights and hearing "Sing out, Louise!" was more of a spiritual communion than I've ever had in a church, for sure. I was hoping that it would transfer for a nice Broadway run, but now I just want the whole thing to burn bright and untouched in my memory, just the way it was that night.