Edouard Vuillard: A Painter and His Muses, 1890-1940 (Jewish Museum, up through Sept. 23). A wide-ranging, thoughtfully curated, and unusually beautiful show of fifty paintings and works on paper by the most underappreciated of post-impressionist masters. Very strongly recommended, especially if you suffer from the sorely mistaken notion that Vuillard’s later portrait were created merely to please his high-society clients (TT).
Archives for May 17, 2012
Mr. Charles Laughton. Now on home video for the first time, an ultra-rare kinescope of a Christmas special originally telecast by NBC in 1951 in which Laughton presented a shortened version of the much-admired program of prose and poetry readings that he performed throughout America during the Forties and Fifties. Not only is it hugely entertaining, but it’s touching–almost hurtfully so–to see what network TV executives once thought suitable for mass consumption (TT).
Man and Superman (Irish Rep, 132 W. 22, now extended through July 1). George Bernard Shaw’s marvelously excessive 1905 philosophical comedy, skillfully trimmed from five hours to three and staged by David Staller with the kind of propulsive comic force that makes a long evening feel short. The cast is first-rate, but the play’s the thing (TT).
Here’s my list of recommended Broadway, off-Broadway, and out-of-town shows, updated weekly. In all cases, I gave these shows favorable reviews (if sometimes qualifiedly so) in The Wall Street Journal when they opened. For more information, click on the title.
• Anything Goes (musical, G/PG-13, mildly adult subject matter that will be unintelligible to children, closes Sept. 9, reviewed here)
• The Best Man (drama, PG-13, extended through Sept. 9, some performances sold out last week, reviewed here)
• The Columnist (drama, PG-13/R, extended through July 1, many performances sold out last week, reviewed here)
• Evita (musical, PG-13, nearly all performances sold out last week, reviewed here)
• Godspell (musical, G, suitable for children, reviewed here)
• Once (musical, G/PG-13, nearly all performances sold out last week, reviewed here)
• Other Desert Cities (drama, PG-13, adult subject matter, closes June 17, reviewed here)
• Venus in Fur (serious comedy, R, adult subject matter, closes June 17, reviewed here)
• Avenue Q (musical, R, adult subject matter and one show-stopping scene of puppet-on-puppet sex, reviewed here)
• The Fantasticks (musical, G, suitable for children capable of enjoying a love story, reviewed here)
• 4000 Miles (drama, PG-13, extended through July 1, reviewed here)
• Million Dollar Quartet (jukebox musical, G, off-Broadway remounting of Broadway production, original run reviewed here)
• Tribes (drama, PG-13, closes Sept. 2, reviewed here)
“Read Jennette Lee’s ‘The Ibsen Secret,’ perhaps the most successul of all the Ibsen gemaras in English, if you would know the virulence of the national appetite for bogus revelation. And so in all the arts. Whatever is profound and penetrating we stand off from; whatever is facile and shallow, particularly if it reveal a moral or mystical color, we embrace. Ibsen the first-rate dramatist was rejected with indignation precisely because of his merits–his sharp observation, his sardonic realism, his unsentimental logic. But the moment a meretricious and platitudinous ethical purpose began to be read into him–how he protested against it!–he was straightway adopted into our flabby culture.”
H.L. Mencken, A Book of Prefaces