On Broadway a revival of Gore Vidal's The Best Man is perfect
entertainment in this election year. The cast is simply wonderful, and
it is a joy to see veterans like Angela Lansbury and James
Earl Jones steal every scene in which they appear. It is one of the
most enjoyable evenings of the season. The opening night celebration at
Brasserie 9 was filled with stars like Rachel York, Gina Gershon,
Joan Rivers and many more too numerous to name.
End of the Rainbow, by Peter Quilter,
features an astonishing performance by Tracie Bennett as Judy
Garland. She is sensational and all avid theatregoers should see her.
The opening night party at the Plaza Hotel was wonderful with guests
like Richard Kind, Montego Glover and Edward Hibbert.
Newsies The Musical, music by Alan
Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, book by Harvey Feirstein,
takes place in 1899, when a group of children who sell newspapers in the
street begin a strike against the publisher. It is an energetic
entertainment, where the choreography is acrobatic, with the young boys
constantly spinning, turning and doing somersaults.
The first revival on Broadway of Evita,
lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, features
an outstanding Michael Cerveris as Juan Peron, a rock star
Ricky Martin as Che and a hard working Elena Roger as Eva
Peron. Fans of one of Webber's best scores will welcome the opportunity
to see this modern operetta again.
Off-Broadway, The Morini Strad, by Willy
Holtzman, is based on a true story of a renowned violinist, Erica
Morini (a superb Mary Beth Peil), and her valuable violin, which
is still missing after her death. The opening night party at 48 Lounge
was attended by Victoria Clark, Zach Grenier, Tony LoBianco and
A revival of Lost in Yonkers, by Neil
Simon, is a splendid, well acted production, headed by Cynthia
Harris as the tyrannical grandmother. It is worth a visit.
New York City Encores! is always a delight, and
Pipe Dream. music by Richard Rodgers, book and lyrics by
Oscar Hammerstein II, shows why. Although it has a convoluted story,
no one composes better music than Rodgers or write more charming lyrics
than Hammerstein. To hear the music played by a full sized orchestra,
splendidly conducted by Rob Berman, and see a magnificent cast
,headed by Leslie Uggams, is to hear Broadway musicals at their
best. I would not miss one single production.
I attended a photo op. with the cast of The
Common Pursuit. It opens May 24. I'm looking forward to seeing it.
The beautiful French film star Catherine
Deneuve received the 39th Annual Chaplin Award at the Film
Society of Lincoln Center's Gala. Her daughter Chiara Mastroianni,
Martin Scorsese and Susan Sarandon spoke at the stage
presentation and numerous clips were shown from her many films. A
cocktail reception was held to begin the festivities and a dinner
followed the award.
The beautiful French film star Catherine Deneuve received the 39th Annual Chaplin Award at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Gala. Her daughter Chiara Mastroianni, Martin Scorsese and Susan Sarandon spoke at the stage presentation and numerous clips were shown from her many films. A cocktail reception was held to begin the festivities and a dinner followed the award.
Film Society of Lincoln Center's 19th New York African Film Festival April 11-17 held press screenings. Mama Africa, by Mika Kaurismaki, Finland/South Africa/Germany, 2011, is a documentary about the wonderful South African singer Miriam Makeba, who was exiled from her country and actively fought against apartheid. It is a superb film, with many scenes of her performances over fifty years. Relentless, by Andy Amadi Okoroafor, Nigeria/France/Spain/Germany 2011, has an appropriate title. It relentlessly repeats scenes and constantly changes out of focus shots into focus making one's mind and eyes weary. It shows the effects of war on a soldier, who returns to Lagos and runs a security company, and ends tragically. The Education of Auma Obama, by Branwen Okpako, Kenya/Germany/Nigeria, 2011 is a fascinating look at President Obama's half-sister, who is an activist and teacher in Kenya. She is bright and intelligent and a joy to watch as she inspires young people to become self reliant. It is interesting to see scenes of a young Obama visiting her and other members of his extended family in Africa.
The documentary is highly recommended. How to Steal 2 Million, by Charlie Vundla, South Africa, 2011, is about a thief released from jail, who needs money and engages in a home invasion with a young woman as his accomplice. Things go from bad to worse. It is a typical underworld film, that holds your attention throughout, with lots of violence and unsavory characters. Outside the Law, by Rachid Bouchareb, Algeria/France, is the story of three brothers, who leave Algeria and reside in France, where they become involved in the Algerian fight for independence. It is an engrossing, powerful story, well acted, and was a 2011 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. Fire in Babylon, by Steven Riley, UK, 2010, is a documentary about the West Indies cricket team, that rose from a weak to the most powerful team in world cricket, never losing a game in 10 years. During that time, we see their fight for equality in an era filled with racism. It is a fascinating look at a seemingly gentlemanly genteel sport filled with tension.
I recommend highly a charming film Late Bloomers, by Julie Gavras, 2011, starring William Hurt and Isabella Rossellini. It opens April 13 at Cinema Village. A successful married couple are approaching 60-years of age. After 30-years of marriage, their life begins to fall apart with the realization that they are in the senior citizen category. Their children try to prevent them from separating. It is a serious, intelligent, penetrating view of the problems of a longer life generation. The two stars are excellent.