Archive for the ‘STAR’ Tag

PATTI LUPONE WITH SETH RUDETSKY—REVIEW   Leave a comment


 

Patti LuPone is of the ‘old school’. She talks about signing a contract–heavy emphasis on ‘contract’–to do 8 performances a week–“That is your job, that is your commitment, that is your contract.” She talks about how you can’t hear most lyrics in a Broadway show because the music is too loud and the singers of today don’t enunciate their words. She takes pot shots at Susan Strohan as a director, talks about her ‘sometimes I love him and sometimes I hate him’ talking about Steven Sondheim and her love and respect for the late Arthur Laurents. And she has quite a few things to say about rumors and rumor spreaders, tackling some of the rumors about her but, no, she doesn’t talk about the ‘elephant in the room’ the flashbulb incident that took place when she was doing “Gypsy”.

She is caustic, funny, direct and, obviously very much at home on the stage. You listen when she talks because she has something to say and says it! She and Seth Rudetsky have been working together for a few years now and they know how to play off each other and they, along with the audience, have fun with it.

When Patti LuPone gets up to sing you know you are in the presence of a star. She is a ‘belter’ more in the tradition of an Ethel Merman and Barbra Streisand rather than in the current American Idol belters. With each song she is telling a story and she is the person in that song.

She started off with “Come To The Supermarket in Old Peking” followed by the song she sang at ‘cattle calls’ when she started “Don’t Rain On My Parade”. After talking about the original “Hair” and not being kind to the revival, she did a song from the show. Next came a few stories about “Gypsy” and Arthur Laurents and how she saw Rose Havoc with her bringing the house down with “Everything is Coming Up Roses” going onto a number from “Woman On The Verge” which she feels was an extremely under-rated show and will be revived in the future to great success. “Stealing a song from Mandy Patinkin” she belted out a rousing “Trouble” from “The Music Man” then  her signature song from “Evita” called “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” after explaining what a hard score that show was to sing and telling why. She finished with 2 songs from “Company” doing a very moving “Being Alone” and angry/funny “Ladies Who Lunch” ending with an explosion fromtheaudiencethat I am sure was heard in Miami!

I have seen Patti LuPone on Tv–just recently on the “Girls”–but she started her stage career on Broadway in the 1970s, starring in “the Robber Bridegroom”, after I had moved to Memphis and I had never seen her on stage until this show. I did see the televised version of “Company” but now wish I had seen it in person. Patti LuPone is a legend and she showed why at the Parker Playhouse Thursday night.

Posted March 15, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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SOMEONE WRITE THIS LADY A HIT SHOW!!   Leave a comment

 

Megan Hilty is on the cusp of being a big star. Her fame up to this point has rested on her stepping into other people’s shoes from her debut on Broadway as Glinda, the good witch, in “Wicked” taking over the role from Kristin Chenoweth playing it for close to 2 years on Broadway, 2 years in Los Angeles and touring, to her latest Broadway gig in the Encores production of “Gentleman Prefer Blondes” as Lorelei Lee played, and made famous, by Carol Channing on Broadway and Marilyn Monroe in the movies version. In between she played the role of Doralee Rhodes in the Broadway version of “9 to 5” playing the role originated by Dolly Parton . Her biggest fame, though the show flopped, was the 2 years she starred in “Smash” on TV and even for that she had to sing “Happy Birthday Mister President” as Marilyn Monroe did in real life.

During her conversation with Pete Rudetsky, who is host and pianist, she talks about going to opera camp as a teenager and then to Carnegie Melon where she studied drama and learned how to ‘belt’ out her songs. She tells funny stories about Glindas getting stuck in the bubble, and how they swallow soap bubbles within the bubble, at one point suggesting a self help group for ex-Glindas and Elphabas.

Not only does she tell funny stories but she tells real stories of ‘pilot season’ regarding new TV shows and the work behind the TV shows like “Smash” and the recently cancelled “Sean Saves The World”. She talks about people she has worked with and how she was almost signed for a show but at the last minute, while in negotiations the role was taken away. As a talker you could listen to her for hours as within minutes she makes you feel like a good friend and then she gets up to sing in between the stories.

She sings “I Could Have Danced All Night” which soars with her opera trained soprano to her Grammy nominated “Moving The Line” from “Smash” to “Popular” from “Wicked” her singing knocks you out. She does Dolly Parton’s “Backwards Barbie”. At one point she invites her husband, Brian Gallagher, whom she married in November in what he says was planned in less time than it took him to get from his seat to the stage, to sing “Simply Seymour” from “Little Shop of Horrors” in a duet. After that she does “Bye, Bye Birdie” and “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” with her encore song “The Man That Got Away” leaving the audience standing and wanting more.

Megan Hilty is a step away from being an A listed bona fide star who just needs that one show to put her over the top. It is time for Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who wrote the songs for her in “Smash”, to write that show where she introduces an original character as her own.

If you get a chance to see her cabaret show or singing with your city’s philharmonic go see her!

Posted February 22, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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A MUST SEE TV AND/OR DVD–WILL MELT YOUR HEART   Leave a comment

HBO is now showing a very powerful and moving documentary about Vito Russo who wrote “The Celluloid Closet”, a bestseller about gays in the movies. The film starts off on the light side showing a young boy growing up naturally, loved by his parents and brother, knowing he was gay in a time it wasn’t safe or easy being gay. The film sees him loving life in New York, being an activist for gay rights and when he becomes a best selling writer he started traveling around the world and continued on the lecture circuit. You will rejoice when he finds love and, even if you are a stone, you will have compassion for the twists and turns in his life.

 

Seeing this movie you will see the history of a movement, of a generation, of people who faced up to AIDS, fought it, fought the government and got results. It will present a New York, a generation, many of you may not be familiar with.

 

Whether you are gay, straight, male, female, Christian, Atheist, black, white, old or young, I defy you not to become awash  in tears the last 45 minutes in the life of this man who gave his all for others and, yet, feel hope for mankind that such a person lived among us.

 

SEE “VITO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF VITO RUSSO”–IT IS A MUST SEE FOR ALL–IT WILL BE REPEATED ON HBO AND IS AVAILABLE ON DVD.

Posted July 23, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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DONNA MCKECHNIE IN “MY MUSICAL COMEDY LIFE”   Leave a comment

The house lights come down and the stage lights come up to reveal Alex Rybeck at the piano, Dave Wilkinson on the bass and George Mazzeo on drums and as they start playing you hear Donna McKechnie backstage singing “Everything Is Coming Up Roses” and 30 seconds later she comes swirling from behind the curtain in a red dress and everything IS coming up roses for me!

   

     She talks, and sings, about her life in show business from running away from home to Broadway, getting a role in “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” and her attaining recognition from critics for her dancing in the “Turkey Lurkey Time” number in “Promises, Promises”–the show I saw her in  during a snowstorm in New York city in February 1969. She briefly, one liners, talks about her battle with arthritis and her divorce but mainly she sings songs from shows she has been in like “Company”, “Follies”,  “State Fair”,  being taught by the original Charity, Gwen Verdon, when she was doing a revival, also talking about Ann Miller, not name dropping but telling about people she has worked with.


And then, much too soon in her act, we, her audience, see her at the age of 35, all of us 37 years younger and “Cassie” is on stage. She sings the original song, “Inside The Music”, that Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban, wrote for her, segueing into the show stopper it would become called “The Music and The Mirror” where for 8 1/2 minutes she held the Shubert Theatre audience (and many others in the following years) spellbound as she acted, sang and danced in  a role that would earn her a Tony Award.

I remember sitting in the second row of the Shubert’s mezzanine and being taken in by her for all she was doing but even more so identifying with the words of the song and how she felt. Now, in 2012, I am once again mesmerized by Donna McKechnie as Cassie in “A Chorus Line” and my eyes fill with tears as it always does when I hear this number. I remember sitting in the Shubert on September 29, 1983, when “A Chorus Line” became the longest running show on Broadway, and once again she did “The Music and the Mirror” with other ‘Cassies’ but none moving like her and certainly none moving me like she did.


She went on to sing about “Lies Of Handsome Men” and a medley about the movies but I was stuck on her “Music and the Mirror”. Sure she doesn’t move like she did but she gives the illusion of doing just that. It’s not the full 8 and 1/2 minutes but in my head, as she moved and sang, I saw her doing it all.


The show ended too soon. It was suppose to have been 90 minutes but only ran about 70. I suppose with the opening the night before, where she signed autographs for all 250 people that were there, then doing the master class this afternoon and now this evening show she may have been drained of energy but she didn’t show it. I was hoping she would do the signing again but that was not to be.


For her encore, and final number, she did a tribute to Fred Astaire and told her story of meeting him the first time. She has told it thousands of times over the years, and has added a little to the story  each time, but it felt as if she was telling it for the first time. You could see the thrill she felt when he asked her to dance and held out his hand to take hers. She was a fan who was tongue-tied, in awe, at meeting her idol and that is how she left her audience.

THANK YOU DONNA MCKECHNIE FOR ALL THE JOY, AND TEARS, YOU HAVE GIVEN ME OVER THE YEARS AND BEING HERE, IN MY LEAP YEAR BIRTHDAY MONTH, FOR ME—AND NO ONE WILL CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE. IT IS A DAY AND EVENING I WILL NEVER FORGET.

Posted February 23, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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