Archive for the NY Theatre Category

Mormons, Drag Queens, Nuns, and Motherf**kers!

Posted in NY Theatre on June 12, 2011 by Daddycatcher

Daddycatcher’s Oprah hosts the 65th Annual Tony Awards live from New York City tonight!

And it looks like it will be a huge night for The Book of Mormon!

Nominees for Best Musical

Nominess for Best Play

Tony’s and NPH – 2011 Edition

Posted in Daddycatcher's Oprah, NY Theatre on June 10, 2011 by Daddycatcher

The countdown to the Tony’s is on…here’s Daddycatcher’s Oprah on The View talking about the upcoming awards broadcast.

A Letter from Larry Kramer

Posted in Gay Rights, NY Theatre on April 27, 2011 by Daddycatcher

In honor of tonight’s Broadway opening of one of Daddycatcher’s favorite plays – The Normal Heart – comes this letter written by the play’s author, Larry Kramer, and distributed after each performance.

Thank you for coming to see our play.

Please know that everything in The Normal Heart happened. These were and are real people who lived and spoke and died, and are presented here as best I could. Several more have died since, including Bruce, whose name was Paul Popham, and Tommy, whose name was Rodger McFarlane and who became my best friend, and Emma, whose name was Dr. Linda Laubenstein. She died after a return bout of polio and another trip to an iron lung. Rodger, after building three gay/AIDS agencies from the ground up, committed suicide in despair. On his deathbed at Memorial, Paul called me (we’d not spoken since our last fight in this play) and told me to never stop fighting.

Four members of the original cast died as well, including my dear sweet friend Brad Davis, the original Ned, whom I knew from practically the moment he got off the bus from Florida, a shy kid so very intent on becoming a fine actor, which he did.

Please know that AIDS is a worldwide plague.

Please know that no country in the world, including this one, especially this one, has ever called it a plague, or acknowledged it as a plague, or dealt with it as a plague.

Please know that there is no cure.

Please know that after all this time the amount of money being spent to find a cure is still miniscule, still
almost invisible, still impossible to locate in any national health budget, and still totally uncoordinated.

Please know that here in America case numbers continue to rise in every category. In much of the rest of the world—Russia, India, Southeast Asia, Africa—the numbers of the infected and the dying are so grotesquely high they are rarely acknowledged.

Please know that all efforts at prevention and education continue their unending record of abject failure.

Please know that there is no one in charge of this plague. This is a war for which there is no general and for which there has never been a general. How can you win a war with no one in charge?

Please know that beginning with Ronald Reagan (who would not say the word ‘AIDS’ publicly for seven
years), every single president has said nothing and done nothing, or in the case of the current president, says the right things and then doesn’t do them.

Please know that most medications for HIV/AIDS are inhumanly expensive and that government funding for the poor to obtain them is dwindling and often unavailable.

Please know that pharmaceutical companies are among the most evil and greedy nightmares ever loosed on humankind. What ‘research’ they embark upon is calculated only toward finding newer drugs to keep us, just barely, from dying, but not to make us better or, god forbid, cured.

Please know that an awful lot of people have needlessly died and will continue to needlessly die because of any and all of the above.

Please know that the world has suffered at the very least some 75 million infections and 35 million deaths. When the action of the play that you have just seen begins, there were 41.

I have never seen such wrongs as this plague, in all its guises, represents, and continues to say about us all.

And everyone should make it a point to see this riveting, informative, and passionate play starring Joe Mantello, Ellen Barkin, John Benjamin Hickey, Jim Parsons, Lee Pace, Patrick Breen, Luke Macfarlane, Mark Harelik, Richard Topol, and Wayne Wilcox.

Spring Theater Round-Up #2: Musical Edition

Posted in NY Theatre on April 23, 2011 by Daddycatcher

Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Take an already gay 1994 motion picture and add some Broadway glitz, a few gay anthems, some incredibly attractive chorus boys and what do you get?  Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, is what you get!

One could really rip this show to shreds if one wanted to, like Ben Brantley in his review for The New York Times.  However, the show doesn’t try to be anything more than it promises: an outlandish and opulent extravaganza.

Tony Sheldon, Will Swenson, and Nick Adams star as three drag queens that make a cross-country trip across Australian a souped up old bus for a drag gig.  Swenson leads the trio as Tick, who takes on the endeavor as a way to meet his son for the very first time. Adams makes a delightful leading role debut (after many shows in the chorus) as Felicia, the buff Madonna-inspired drag performer.  But it is Sheldon (who’s been with the show since its original incarnation inAustralia) that is the heart of the show as the aging transsexual Bernadette who finds love along the way.

The physical production is an explosion of color and wonder.  Three singing divas are flown in and out of the story as the drag queens lip-synch to their vocals.  They sing amazingly and look fierce!  The show’s score is made up of disco anthems such as “I Will Survive,” “I Love the Nightlife,” “Go West,” and “Material Girl” for Adams’ Madonna-loving character. The title character, the bus Priscilla, sparkles and shines with technical wizardry.  The production team wisely recruited the Academy Award winning costume designers of the film to recreate their costumes for the stage.

The ensemble also deserves credit for playing multiple characters throughout the show – roughnecks, drag queens, and casino denizens.  A special shout-out has to go to ensemble member Keala Settle who kept Daddycatcher and the Big Man in stitches every time she appeared on stage!!  And the male ensemble has to be one of the hottest on Broadway right now!

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

The real question here is whether Daniel Radcliffe can sing and dance?  The answer is yes, he can.  Very well, indeed.

Radcliffe confidently leads a superb cast in this 50th anniversary production of the Pulitzer Prize winning musical.  As J. Pierrepont Finch, Radcliffe schemes, sings, prances, and deceives his way up the corporate ladder at the Worldwide Wicket Company.  He capably holds his own among a seasoned ensemble.  Radcliffe displays a thin but serviceable singing voice and dances up a storm as he executes Rob Ashford’s overly athletic choreography.  As written, the character of Finch is an anti-hero who lies throughout the entire show.  It is up to the actor to provide Finch with the necessary charm to make him captivating to the audience.  Robert Morse (Broadway’s original Finch and in the film version) and Matthew Broderick (1995 Broadway revival) brought their unique personalities to the role.  Radcliffe isn’t as zany as those two, but he has the face that makes little girls swoon and mothers want to protect.  Everyone wants Harry Potter to succeed!

John Larroquette also makes an impressive Broadway debut.  His duet with Radcliffe in the faux college fight song – “Grand Old Ivy” – brings down the house.  Rose Hemingway is solid as Finch’s love interest.  Christopher Hanke is much too attractive for the obnoxious Bud Frump, Finch’s rival.  Tammy Blanchard lands her scenes as the bosom-blessed but mentally deficient secretary Heddy LaRue.  Michael Park is just plain sexy as the head of personnel.  The male ensemble in the Mad Men suits and black frame glasses are the second hottest ensemble on Broadway.

Ashford has directed and choreographed this piece within an inch of its life.  His choreography is insanely athletic.  It is entertaining to watch but it detracts from some of the clever character songs that Frank Loesser has written, such as “The Company Way.”  The 11 o’clock number, “Brotherhood of Man,” brings down the house.  It is the perfect combination of Radcliffe, Loesser, and Ashford and it sends the audience out on a high!

The Book of Mormon

Nothing is sacred to Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of the long-running Comedy Central show, South Park.  And Broadway is all the better for it.  Stone and Parker, along with Avenue Q’s Robert Lopez, have created a good, old-fashioned musical comedy.  It just so happens that it’s one of the naughtiest things to play on Broadway since, well, Avenue Q.

The show follows two Mormon missionaries as the head on their pilgrimage to grief-stricken Uganda.  Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad are equally impressive as the handsome Elder Price and the coarse Elder Cunningham, respectively.  Rannells’ second act solo, “I Believe,” is a highlight.

The show starts strong with a catchy opening number and three more clever songs, culminating in the “Hakuna Matata” inspired number, “Hasa Diga Eebowai.”  You’ll have to see the show (or Google) to get the meaning of that term.  Once revealed, the audience went crazy!  Once in Uganda, the show slows a little bit but regains its momentum in the 2nd act.

The show is cleverly constructed and an uproarious good time for many people – if you are into the humor that Stone and Parker provide.  A lot of jokes are made at the expense of religion, not just the Mormons, but the message is that everyone needs something to have faith in something.

Anything Goes

The Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of the Cole Porter musical, Anything Goes, lacks an essential ingredient: a brassy leading lady.  Instead we have Sutton Foster who sings perfectly and dances like a dream.  However, the role of Reno Sweeney is built for a showtune belting, bulldozing diva like Ethel Merman or Patti LuPone.  Foster is technically great but she lacks the essential star power the role requires.

Set on a transatlantic cruise ship, Anything Goes follows the romantic misadventures of a couple of love-lorn travelers.  Whenever the melodies of Cole Porter take center stage, the show soars.  The book scenes, admittedly dated, don’t hold up as well.  The screwball comedy aspect of the show seems to have been lost at sea with the cast not able to make the jokes or comedic situations land.

Sharing above-the-title billing with Foster is Joel Grey as Moonface Martin, Public Enemy 13.  Grey relies on his impish qualities to no effect.  Colin Donnell lends a beautiful voice to such gems as “You’d Be So Easy to Love” and “All Through the Night.”  Laura Osnes continues to redeem herself after appearing on the Grease reality TV show.  As the ingenue Hope, she is an excellent soprano and looks beautiful in Martin Pakledinaz’s costumes.  Adam Godley, as Hope’s intended fiance Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, seems to be the only mining gold out of his book scenes.

Director/Choreographer Kathleen Marshall does create two show-stoppers with the Act 1 finale, “Anything Goes,” and “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” in the 2nd Act.  And the sailors in the third hottest male ensemble on Broadway need to do tons of Fleet Week promos!

Spring Theater Round-Up #1

Posted in NY Theatre on April 17, 2011 by Daddycatcher

That Championship Season

This starry revival of the 1972 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama seemed like it would be one of the major events of the season.  The tale of four former high school basketball stars and their coach who gather for a reunion that ultimately leads to the disintegration of their relationships seems ripe for dramatic mining.  The big draw of this revival is the testosterone-laden A-list cast led by Brian Cox as the grandiose Coach and featuring Kiefer Southerland, Jim Gaffigan, Chris Noth, and Jason Patric.

Patric, along with director Gregory Mosher, were instrumental in bringing this revival back to Broadway.  Patric is the son of the playwright, the late Jason Miller.

All the ingredients seem to be in place for a gripping night of theater.  Unfortunately, the players seem to be acting in different productions, never coming together to form a uniformed ensemble.  As a result, it shows the dated aspects of the play.  It also proves to be a very boring evening as each character is a standard archetype with a secret or problem.  There’s the chauvinistic millionaire (Noth) who is sleeping with another character’s wife.  The meek school principal (Southerland) with a cynical drunk of a brother (Patric).  And an unpopular (and unfunny) mayor played by Gaffigan.  Only Brian Cox attempts to inject some life into the piece, but as the rest of the company is sorely lacking in fiery portrayals, he comes off as a little hammy.

The Whipping Man

Matthew Lopez’s off-Broadway drama provides a glimpse into the lives of three characters at the tail-end of the Civil War.  In a ravaged Southern estate, two liberated slaves tend to the wounds of a former master who’s returned from the war.  The opening scene, with it’s graphic depiction of an amputation, is alternately breathtaking and nausea-inducing.

But what sets this play about from a regular Civil War drama is the portrait of slaves who adopt the religions of their owners as their own.  In this case, former slaves Simon (powerfully portrayed by André Braugher) and John (André Holland) were taught in the Jewish faith by the DeLeon family, whose son Caleb has returned to the estate.  The twists and turns of the plot all build to a Passover seder, lead to thrilling effect by Braugher, where secrets are revealed that tear the three men apart.

Doug Hughes brilliantly directs the piece that also has a marvelous set design by veteran designer John Lee Beatty.

Cactus Flower

Some plays gain relevance over time.  Some are just relics from the past.  Cactus Flower will always be remembered for its film adaptation which won Goldie Hawn her Academy Award.

This off-Broadway revival seems more like a regional theater production than a first-rate New York production.  Maybe that’s not saying much for regional theaters.  Let me take that back! If Daddycatcher saw this on vacation in a little summer town as a way to beat the heat for a little bit, then he’d probably would have forgiven it’s amateurish qualities.

Maxwell Caulfied, so hot in Grease 2, is a leading man trapped in a character actor’s role.  He is ultimately defeated by the material as is the rest of the cast.  Don’t rush to see it.  It closes on April 24th.

Hello Again

The Transport Group’s site-specific revival of Michael John LaChiusa’s musical Hello Again provided a red-hot respite from the unusually long winter that plagued New York City.

An adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s controversial 1897 play La Ronde, LaChiusa creates a world of passion, sex, and longing as he tracks 10 affairs through 10 different decades.  The play starts with The Whore seducing The Soldier at the turn of the century; The Solider looking to bed The Nurse before he ships out to World War II in the 1940’s;  The Nurse teaching The College Boy a biology lesson in the 1960’s; The College Boy coercing The Young Wife to go down on him in a 1930’s movie theater; The Young Wife remembering a past affair while having sex with The Husband in their suburban 1950’s home; The Husband enticing The Young (male) Thing with a romp before their cruise ship (the Titanic!) sinks; The Young Thing providing “inspiration” to The Writer in a 1970’s gay disco; The Writer who would do and write anything for The Actress in the 1920’s; The Actress who must come to terms with the end of her fling with The Senator in the 1980’s; and finally in the present where The Senator dials a phone sex operator to talk with The Whore.

The cast performs the material around a bed in a midtown loft and uses the round tables the audience sits at as playing areas.  It was not unusual to see a bare rear end up close as the actors performed simulated sex acts on the round tables.  But it is when they sing that the actors bare their souls.  Each performer brought a sense of longing to their portrayals.  Yes, each scene ends with a sexual act, but these characters are looking for connection with a fellow soul.

The yearning can be felt in the show’s most popular song, “Tom,” sung by Alexandra Silber as The Young Wife.  Notable performances also include Jonathan Hammond as The Writer, Elizabeth Stanley as The Nurse, and Bob Stillman as The Husband.  Plus, it is nice to view cuties Max von Esson and Robert Lenzi dancing shirtless on top of your table.

Neil Patrick Harris + Stephen Sondheim = Brilliant

Posted in Daddycatcher's Oprah, NY Theatre on December 10, 2010 by Daddycatcher

Daddycatcher’s Oprah will be starring in a concert version of Daddycatcher’s favorite Stephen Sondheim show, Company, with the New York Philharmonic in April.

Model Behavior

Posted in NY Theatre on November 4, 2010 by Daddycatcher

Daddycatcher caught a performance of the new Broadway musical Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown this weekend.  And while, it is an enjoyable piece of musical theater, it’s still feels a little half-baked.

But the cast is stellar!  And Laura Benanti, as the ditzy model Candela, steals the show!!!