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The Work / Re: SWEENEY TODD, Broadway 202...
Last post by scenicdesign71 - Feb 21, 2024, 09:42 PM
Two weeks ago someone posted video of the show's first act, with Groban and Ashford. 

And someone else posted this Roblox version, compressing an hour of Act I highlights into 15 minutes while capturing all the theatrical intelligence and nuance of the actual production: literally, if you could just watch the whole show animated this way, you'd save yourself the cost of a B'way ticket without missing a thing.  Though the design and staging aren't always an exact match for what's happening at the Lunt, they're not far off -- and more importantly, this digital "toy theatre" tribute captures the vibe, and even the performance style, of Kail's revival with astonishing accuracy.  (I'm not even being snarky here.  Well, okay, maybe a little; but I'm not being hyperbolic: from my jaundiced perspective, the creators of the revival, and of this video homage to it, get the exact same things wrong about Sweeney Todd, in exactly the same ways and with exactly the same painfully misguided theatre-kid enthusiasm.  They're doing what they're doing with absolute love and no shortage of talent — and not a clue how badly their efforts are trivializing the material).

The Work / Re: SWEENEY TODD, Broadway 202...
Last post by scenicdesign71 - Feb 19, 2024, 04:31 PM
NYT piece on Sutton Foster, who recently took over Mrs. Lovett for Sweeney's likely-final three months; she's been rehearsing off and on since last fall, while juggling concert appearances and the recent Encores! Once Upon A Mattress:

Daily Threads / Re: 15-FEB-24 I Should Be Wor...
Last post by KathyB - Feb 16, 2024, 07:23 PM
I fully support your procrastination, for as long as you can manage to do it. :)
Movies / Re: Wicked (movies)
Last post by scenicdesign71 - Feb 16, 2024, 12:30 AM
This is a few days old, but I suppose I should put it here...

Daily Threads / 15-FEB-24 I Should Be Working...
Last post by DiveMilw - Feb 15, 2024, 03:59 PM
I should be working on a micro-learning presentation I'm doing on Monday.  Instead, I seem to be procrastinating a little bit.  I will continue to work on the PowerPoint in a couple of minutes, I promise.  It is about how to use the Badge Printing feature on our network printers.  The rest of the buildings on campus have been using this since our main headquarters building opened up a few years ago.  For some reason it just recently got turned on in our building.  But I am glad it happened this way because it gave me a topic for my micro-learning lesson.   ;D
Daily Threads / Re: 11 February 2024 Superb Ow...
Last post by scenicdesign71 - Feb 13, 2024, 04:28 PM
Judging by photos and video, I'd say that's a real car modified for the stage.  It's not an area where I have much personal experience, but cars are such complicated sculptural objects that, in general, if you're looking for realism, you just use the real thing and modify it for the production's needs.  A rare exception would be something like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, where (a) all the tricks it needs to do, and (b) its being a period magic automobile, make starting from scratch the logical choice.

The few times I've dealt with cars onstage were all much lower-budget than either of those examples — lower-enough to rule out detailed realism from the start.  On several occasions I've used real car seats to represent the whole vehicle -- one time surrounding the front and back seats with a sort of cat's-cradle of thin aircraft cable in the shape of a mid-1970s T-bird (talk about a "car skeleton"!).  At the hokier end of the spectrum, I've done painted cutouts of cars (and a truck, and an Airstream trailer), either in profile or frontal view.  The only times I've attempted any sort of in-the-round, built-from-scratch "car" were for Fame and Ragtime.  For the former, realistic danceable scale and cosmetic detail (researching the right NYC-cab yellow for 1981, plastering it with all the appropriate license numbers and checker tape, etc.) went some tiny way toward distracting from the distinctly made-by-loving-hands-at-home quality of the (sculpted-foam) "auto body" itself; taxis of that period did tend toward boxiness, but it was a small blessing that the car was almost always surrounded by dancers helpfully impeding our view of it.  For Coalhouse Walker's Model T,  I jettisoned realism entirely and came up with a pair of modular mahogany (faux-finished) risers which flipped and folded to become (highly "theatrical" representations of) Coalhouse's piano as well as his car.

Oh, and there was a summer-stock Greased Lightning about which the less said, the better.

So, yeah: cars onstage are tricky, but in situations where any kind of realism is important, it's almost always best to start with the real thing — or at the very least, with real car parts.  If that's not feasible, then in most cases building a convincing replica will be even less so — in which case your best bet is probably to abandon realism altogether, find a way to represent a car more abstractly, and then design the rest of your set accordingly.  (Those cheesy old-fashioned cutouts fit beautifully into a flat, painterly Rodgers & Hammerstein world; aircraft-cable sculpture worked nicely for an avant-garde Chuck Mee fantasia at La MaMa; swapping those two solutions, or setting either of them in a cinematically-real environment, would make no sense).

Daily Threads / 11 February 2024 Superb Owl Su...
Last post by KathyB - Feb 11, 2024, 05:18 PM
I have such an enormous craving for chicken wings. I had the opportunity to pre-order them, but yesterday I decided I was not going to get anything special for the game. I am trying to see how long I can go before I feel I need to see what's going on (if I can make it through the entire game without seeing any of it).

Yesterday I saw a play called Cebollas (Español for "onions"). It was billed as a comedy, although the playwright refers to it as a dramedy. The play was about three sisters who transport a body from Albuquerque to Denver. The body was a life-sized dummy (I guess the same kind that's used for CPR and the like, because it looked reasonably heavy) and was almost like the fourth actor in the show.

The show was good, but not great. I enjoyed it, although not as much as I enjoyed Fun Home. The set and projections were terrific. The set included a life-sized "car skeleton" (I don't know how to better describe it--it was like the body and hood of a car without the doors or the roof or the trunk, and I wondered if it was made from a disassembled car, or if it was built from the ground up). Most of the play took place in the car. The three actors playing the sisters were excellent.

It didn't snow as much yesterday as I was expecting, so I stopped at the supermarket on the way home. I was going to buy some Coke (they had a Buy 2, Get 3 Free special, but they raised the price of a 12-pack of Coke so it's now $1 more than it used to be just last week, so buying 5 would not have saved me anything from the deal I got last week, so I decided not to get it after all) and Lean Cuisine. The store was very crowded. I forgot to bring my reusable bags in, and I thought I would just pay 10¢ for a plastic bag, but this store is phasing out plastic bags, which is good in a way, but it was awkward to carry six boxes of Lean Cuisine to my car. Wow, that store was crowded.

I'm figuring that halftime is happening now, so I've got about an hour and a half to go.
Musicals / Re: R.I.P. Chita Rivera 1933-2...
Last post by scenicdesign71 - Feb 06, 2024, 02:01 PM
I believe the only theatre work of Ms. Rivera's that I ever saw live was The Visit, in its (and her) final Broadway performance, on June 14, 2015.  While the show itself may not have been quite first-rank Kander & Ebb, I thought she carried it quite capably -- commandingly, even -- despite a slight cold which, she confessed in her curtain speech afterward, was making her voice even huskier than usual.  There's a full slime tutorial of that production on YouTube.

Ed.: My bad: a quick scan of IBDB reminds me that I had also seen Ms. Rivera two years prior in the Roundabout's Mystery of Edwin Drood revival at Studio 54. 

Both honorable performances in respectable material, there are far worse ways to make a graceful B'way exit.  Her cabaret act at 54 Below, which I saw in October 2019, was obviously more pure-Chita, but I came away feeling that her many-peaked career had (sadly but, at 86, hardly surprisingly) passed its final peak.  Ms. Rivera's 2021 cameo as one of the "Legends" in tick, tick... BOOM!'s Sunday-brunch scene made a moving, albeit vanishingly brief, final screen appearance.

Among the roles she created, the only one I could have seen (but didn't) prior to The Visit was her Aurora in Kiss of the Spider Woman, whose entire two-year run I missed while flailing my way through graduate school (and walking past the Broadhurst, four blocks from my apartment at the time, probably half a dozen times a week en route to and from the Times Sq subway).  On the basis of its OCR -- admittedly only a handful of hearings over many years -- Spider Woman's score has never really grabbed me.  But a movie adaptation, written and directed by Bill Condon, is slated to begin filming this spring with J.Lo in the title role.

Musicals / R.I.P. Chita Rivera 1933-2024
Last post by scenicdesign71 - Feb 06, 2024, 12:09 PM
I didn't get to this last week, but the NYT published six pieces in two days:


A Life in Photos

An Appraisal

9 Memorable Performances

Her Ballet Roots

Reactions and Tributes

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Dance Magazine:  Remembering Chita Rivera

Last post by scenicdesign71 - Feb 06, 2024, 12:50 AM
I should have started a thread for this show two years ago, but when someone posted this on Facebook recently I figured better late than never:

Old Friends finished its limited West End run one month ago, but a recording of the original May 2022 tribute concert was released this past December.  A year earlier, on New Year's Eve 2022/3, a video capture of the concert had been broadcast on BBC2.

Hopefully that capture will make it across the pond eventually as a cinecast, streaming or PBS offering.  (For some reason a Broadway transfer, at B'way prices, actually interests me less).