Time has just published its annual list of the one hundred “world’s most influential people.” I don’t know which says more about the state of print-media journalism: the people on the list, or the people whom Time picked to write about the people on the list. (Four words: Michael Bloomberg on The View.) Either way, you can sift through the 2009 Time 100 here. I commend it to your attention.
Archives for May 1, 2009
“It was the self-evident uneasiness in his own skin that helped to make Guinness more than just an uncommonly gifted actor. The characters he played came over time to be seen as symbols of England’s own postwar uncertainties, sharply drawn parodies of a fearful middle class that continued to cling to the empty shell of manners in order to ward off its final demise…”
The Norman Conquests (Circle in the Square, 235 W. 50, closes July 25). Alan Ayckbourn’s 1973 comic triptych–three farces about adultery and its discontents, set on the same weekend in different rooms of the same house–is a jolting combination of laugh-till-you-choke lunacy and deep melancholy. This long-awaited Broadway revival by London’s Old Vic does it full justice. The three plays can be seen individually and in any order, but the best way to see them is in a single day-long sitting. Specially priced marathon performances of “Table Manners,” “Living Together,” and “Round and Round the Garden” take place each Saturday and on May 17 and June 28. Break the piggy bank and go while you can (TT).
The Broadway season is over at last, and in today’s Wall Street Journal I review the last two shows to open in 2008-09, Waiting for Godot and 9 to 5: The Musical. One is better than the other. Guess which? Here’s an excerpt.
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It says much about modernity that the most admired play of the 20th century should be a baggy-pants comedy about the meaninglessness of life. “Waiting for Godot,” Samuel Beckett’s dark parable of two bowler-hatted tramps who await a long-deferred rendezvous with a man who may or may not be God, is one of those works of art that is not diminished but enhanced by familiarity. The more you see it, the better it looks, though I doubt that it’s ever looked much better than it does on Broadway right now. The Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival, which stars Nathan Lane, Bill Irwin, John Goodman and John Glover, is beautifully simple and straightforward–and very, very funny, as “Godot” should be. Every aspect of the production, directed by Anthony Page, serves the script faithfully, and none of the performances gets between you and what Beckett wrote….
Not having been at the rehearsals, I can’t tell you what Mr. Page did to coax such magnificent performances out of his cast. I can only report that his staging, like David Cromer’s Off-Broadway production of “Our Town,” seems to show you the play itself, plain and true….
“9 to 5” is a Big Mac musical, a surprise-free entertainment machine based on a hit movie. Buy a ticket and you don’t have to guess what you’ll be getting: You already know, right down to the number of pickles on the sesame-seed bun that is Joe Mantello’s ultra-efficient staging. From start to finish, it does what it’s supposed to do–and no more….
The one good reason to see “9 to 5” is Allison Janney, who plays the role created in 1980 by Lily Tomlin. Not only is her comic acting mouth-puckeringly tart and her stage presence strong and sexy, but she can sing–not just well enough, either, but very well indeed. Might she be the next big musical-comedy star? I wouldn’t be at all surprised….
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Read the whole thing here.
“For the artist, who does not deal in surfaces, the rejection of friendship is not only reasonable, but a necessity. For the only possible spiritual development is in the sense of depth. The artistic tendency is not expansive, but a contraction. And art is the apotheosis of solitude.”
Samuel Beckett, Proust