Archive for the ‘ENTERTAINER’ Category

“School of Rock”–Broadway touring musical–review   Leave a comment


Rob Colletti who stars, and deservingly so, as Dewey, a wannabe rock star who is a loser in life, better watch his step because any one of the 12 children starring opposite him is ready, and sometimes do, to steal the spotlight from him.

Theo –Mitchell Penner, as uncool Lawrence, sees himself as the king of rock, plays the keyboard while Theodora Silverman as Katie plays bass and adopts the look of a rock winner and Phoenix Schulman as Zack can step into any rock band out there and play the guitar as a professional but has the moves of one. One who brings the house down is Gilberto Moretti –Hamilton as the drummer Freddy, who seems to have learned from the masters.

Olivia Buckner as Shonelle and Chloe Anne Garcia as Marcy are the backup singers to soon be joined by Gianna Harris, as Tomika, who stops the show with her rendition of “Amazing Grace”. Though not playing musicians Billy, played by John Michael Pitera, who is in charge of the costumes and gets one of the biggest laughs with a reference to Barbra Streisand, Ava Briglia as the know-it-all Summer becomes the manager, Tommy Ragen as James becomes a security guard for the band and Sophie, played by Gabriella Uhl dives into her role as a roadie. Carson Hodges, plays the lighting designer Mason makes up the 12th kid of this group of children attending an upscale school all having personal problems, mainly with their parents.

The story is a simple one of how Dewey lies himself into the school as a teacher and surprises himself by helping each of the kids turn themselves around with music. Rob Colletti holds the cast, along with the audience, in the palm of his hands with the former enjoying each moment on stage with him and the latter loving him each moment on stage, no matter how outrageous he is on stage.

Along with the kids, Lexie Dorsett Sharp, as the school principal, Matt Bittner as Dewey’s best friend Ned and Emily Borromeo as Ned’s wife an ensemble of adults playing various roles from parents to teachers provide strong support for the 12 kids and Rob Colletti.

Never having seen the movie I don’t know how much the book by Juiian Fellowes follows it and I understand, with Glenn Slater writing the lyrics with new music by Andrew Lloyd Webber there are 14 new songs. Two are standouts: “Stick It To The Man” song and reprieved twice by Colletti and the kids with “Where Did The Rock Go?” sung beautifully and full-voiced by Lexie Dorsett Sharp.

The production end, from sets to costumes including lighting and direction, are all first rate with only the choreography being a bit disappointing but then what does a hard rock band do but jump up and down? (Okay heavy metal and hard rock fans forget the hate letters!)

There are many shows from “Annie” to “Oliver” to “The Music Man”, “The Sound Of Music” and “Finding Neverland” but “School of Rock” is in a class of their own. As Andrew Lloyd Webber’s recorded voice says at the beginning of the show, “Yes, these kids are really playing their instruments along with doing their own dancing, singing and acting.”

 

 

Show is 2 hours and 45 minutes including a 22-minute intermission. Next show coming to the Broward Center of the Performing Arts will be “Riverdance20” January 5-7, 2018 followed by “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” January 9-21, 2018.

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I got myself a 2018 New Year’s present now   Leave a comment

Chita and Tommy collage

Chita Rivera and Tommy Tune “Two for the Road” at the Parker Playhouse January 19, 2018

 She is 84–he is 78 and who knows when/if we’ll get a chance to see either again. I love the Parker Playhouse and even in the last row the acoustics and sightlines are perfect–the tickets range from $43-$173 –okay I wanted to get the $173 but Allen and Anthony outvoted me so we got the $58 which is fine. Tickets went on sale today and half the house is sold so far.

If you go to the box office tell Leland I sent you. No, I won’t get anything but he is one of the best at customer service!

Broadway legends Chita Rivera and Tommy Tune will hit the road this fall in a new concert act entitled Chita & Tune—Two for the Road. “I am thrilled to be joining my dear friend, the incomparable Tommy Tune on this concert tour,” said Rivera in a statement. “When we performed together in my benefit concert for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS in 2013, we knew then that we had something special.” Tune added, “I love Chita Rivera. This is a dream come true!”

Chita Rivera has won two Tony Awards as Best Leading Actress in a Musical and received eight additional Tony nominations. Her career is highlighted by starring roles in West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie, The Rink (Tony Award), Chicago, Jerry’s Girls, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony Award), The Visit, and the original Broadway casts of Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Seventh Heaven, and Mr. Wonderful. She was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by President Barack Obama. In 2002 she received the Kennedy Center Honors, becoming the first Hispanic woman ever chosen to receive this award.

Tommy Tune has been honored with 10 Tony Awards recognizing him as an outstanding performer, choreographer, and director: Best Actor in a Musical for My One and Only; Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Seesaw; Best Choreography for A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, My One and Only, Grand Hotel, and The Will Rogers Follies; and Best Direction of a Musical for Nine, Grand Hotel,and The Will Rogers Follies. In 2015 he was the recipient of the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. 

 

 

Chita in 2 roles she originated on Broadway: Anita in West Side Story and Thelma in Chicago

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2E30HG5QNs

Tommy Tune tapping up a storm “Putting on the Ritz”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-xmVjr570k

“THE WATER DIVINER”–A MOVIE REPORT   4 comments


Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, “The Water Diviner”, shows that he has learned enough about films after being in them for 25 years not to embarrass himself plus he shows a good hand at directing actors including himself. He, also, as a first time director, makes the usual mistakes.

“The Water Diviner” is, basically, an anti war and father-son saga, telling the story of a father who goes looking for the bodies of his 3 soldier sons lost in the battle of Gallipoli during World War 1 to bring their bodies home and bury them next to his wife (Jacqueline McKenzie) who commits suicide over their death.

The story is based, very loosely, on the true event of Joshua Connor (Crowe) being the only father who came looking for the bodies of his sons of the millions lost there. In flashbacks and/or imaginary scenes we meet his sons Arthur (Jack Patterson as a young boy, Ryan Corr as a soldier), Henry (Ben Norris/Ben O’Toole) and Edward (Adian Smith/James Frasier).

Along the way we meet Orhan, a preteen played charmingly by Dylan Georgiades, and his mother played by Olga Kurylenko, leading to a completely unnecessary romance between her and Connor, though she is used to show some of the ways women are treated and are expected to live in Turkey at that time. Steve Bastoni, as her brother-in-law, is a stereotype of Turkish males. 

Along with the romance, director Crowe and writers Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios, bring in some very cryptic and mysticism regarding Connor’s ability as a water diviner in his attempt to find the bodies of his sons. There is also the introduction of the father reading “The Arabian Night” to his young sons that really doesn’t pay off.

Along the way we meet military men such as a British officer, Dan Wyllie, who tells the father to return home , Jai Courtney who attempts to help him, and Turkish war veterans Yilmaz Erdogan and Cem Yilmaz are standouts, especially the former, supporting Connor. 

Aside from some fake, extraneous war scenes and one very ‘Hollywood’ love scene director Crowe does a good job while he reigns in actor Crowe’s tendency to be a ’star’.  

Next time Russell Crowe directs a film he should pay more attention to the story line and what is believable and what isn’t. Oh yes, though the production is fine that bombastic score is jarring.

TRAILER

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-hU96CwWHI

Posted April 28, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINER

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