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Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category

‘Yoshimi’ to Battle Giant Robots on Broadway Soon

It was twelve and a half years ago that The Flaming Lips released their album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and now, it’s coming to Broadway!

The Broadway show is bound to be everything you envision when listening to the electronic, psychedelic rock. And you’ll be able to see the story unfold of the girl Yoshimi, that is not only battling cancer, but also trying to decide between two very different boyfriends coming to the hospital to save her. The Pink Robots of course, are there, as a representation of the disease, and the obstacles one of the men must overcome when trying to rescue her.

On stage the robots will take on the form of giant pink forms that stand fourteen feet high; and dancers come onstage throughout wearing costumes that actually glow! It’s no wonder why; they’re designed from LED lights. The projections also add to the storyline, and audiences will be able to hear and see some of their favorite songs from the album play out right in front of them onstage. Along with the biggest hits from the record, music from two other Flaming Lips albums will also be included.

The show has already premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in November 2012 where it was a huge hit with audiences. It starred Kimiko Glenn as Yoshimi; Paul Nolan as Ben Nickel; Nik Walker as Booker; Pearl Sun as Mrs Yasukawa; John Haggerty as Yoshimi’s dad; and Tom Hewitt as Dr. Petersen. It’s been announced that the show will continue on for another New York stint, but no dates have yet been confirmed.


Bodies: The Exhibition Answers the Ultimate Question

If you have ever wondered what happens to you when you die, then wonder no more.  “Bodies: The Exhibition” answers that question rather harshly, by presenting preserved human organs for museum display.  It’s quite ghastly and yet very informative.  It says, “These are your parts…they decay when you’re dead and you go back into the ground.”  The traveling tour exhibit reminds us that our bodies are just systems, parts, and decaying matter, to go back into the dust.  So, while the question of where your consciousness goes, and if life continues, is an unanswered mystery, the literal question of what happens to your body is fairly obvious.

How in the world do they preserve human bodies after natural deaths?  These bodies in particular are prevented from decaying by using a special rubberizing process invented in the 1970s.  The process sees all water and fat in the cells of the body replaced by acetone and eventually by plastic.

No, it’s definitely not for all tastes, and more than a few concerns have been raised because of the ethics of displaying dead bodies for educational purposes.  Ethics have been a question, and many religious figures have even suggested viewing such human frailty with a skeptical and objective eye could be damaging to teaching values, perhaps even training youth to be cynical about the value of human life.

The exhibit endured a challenge from the Florida Attorney General in Tampa, where it started, who wanted to shut the entire exhibit down.  Of course, the purpose is not intended to be objectifying.  If anything, seeing death and expired bodies up close may help to teach us reverence for life; learning its beauty, its frailty and its amazing functions.  Indeed, the exhibit could well help to teach spirituality to young minds, which have only learned about death from TV shows, movies, and gossip.  It’s best not to simply answer children’s questions dogmatically, but to stimulate their thinking processes by offering a scientific discussion.

The “Bodies” exhibit is touring around the nation and always bringing controversy its way.  If only people were this concerned about the living and not the dead, maybe we’d have a better crack at this peaceful society thing…

 


Broadway’s Next H!T Musical Lets Audiences Decide!

If you want to see a Broadway musical like you’ve never seen before, and actually be part of the show, then you’ve got to see Broadway’s Next H!T Musical! This show combines a little bit of everything that’s best about the theater — a little improv, a little audience participation, and a very talented cast that bring it all together. It all adds up to one very unforgettable show that’s never exactly the same as the one before it.

The show, which is currently traveling around the country, is very simple in concept. Before the show, audience members will cast their votes via a simple plain white piece of paper, for the songs that they want to see the cast perform. The cast then, through a random draw, selects songs and builds a story around them while still on-stage. Sometimes it provides for comic relief, sometimes it treads into tragic waters. Each time, it’s something spectacular.

The improvers on stage are: Deb Rabbai, Rob Schiffmann, Robert Z Grant, Kobi Libii, Stefan Schick, and Rebecca Vigil. Greg Triggs is the one that will be drawing the votes as he acts as host, and Eric March accompanies on the piano. The next shows will take place in Buckhannon, West Virginia on November 28 before the cast takes off to North Adams, Massachusetts on November 30. Both performances will take place at 8:00 p.m.

Broadway’s Next H!T Musical is one of the most exciting shows that you could attend. Just remember that it’s you who decides, and so the show is only as dynamic as you make it!


Avenue Q Has Muppets Behaving Badly – What More Could You Want?

Who doesn’t like Muppets behaving badly?  Whether its bloopers on TV, swearing Muppets in the movies (check out the movie The Happytime Murders if you don’t believe us), or even Elmo’s own untelevised shenanigans that got creator Kevin Clash put on extended leave, we all just relish the ideas of Muppets behaving badly.

Evil Muppets are a delicacy rarely observed outside of parody videos and soundtracks.  Oh sure, we get criticisms quite a bit in Muppet world.  We heard Republican members bashing PBS over free funding, just like we heard FOX News declare ultra-tolerant Muppets brainwashing communists.  We even suffered through Jason Segel’s 2000 era Muppet sequel, which featured his usual contributions to the arts, they of course consisting of fart jokes, bad music, and corny one-liners.

Self-professed evil Muppets though are sometimes hard to find.  We see a lot of imposter puppets that are evil, and even some parody Muppet creatures that seem familiar but are not official Henson continuity.  For example, Avenue Q, which features angry, swearing Muppets attempting to cope with grownup life and lost ideals.

Avenue Q, the multiple Tony award-winning musical, is still on tour and features unfortunately catchy but hilarious numbers that are definitely safe for children.  The production was co-written by Robert Lopez, who has since found a creative sanctuary with Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame, not only helping out with the show, but also The Book of Mormon, which also won some Tony awards.

The real joke of Avenue Q is not just badly behaving Muppets–or Muppet like puppets, not of Jim Henson quality–is that these former children’s entertainers are now discovering that they aren’t as “special” as all that TV programming suggested.  The real world is tougher than they thought, and their options are limited.  However, the production is too obscene and goofy to be depressing.  This is a show that will crack you up and entertain all of your friends over the age of 18.

As for the R-rated Muppet movie, we will sure keep you updated because we can’t fathom the idea, much less wait for it!


Bob Fosse’s Cabaret Experience – A New Generation

Bob Fosse is often celebrated as one of Broadway‘s greatest, if not THE greatest talent to ever hit the industry. This is no small statement, considering the theater also made Mel Brooks, Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber and other “greats.” And granted, Fosse only choreographed his musicals. He gave John Kander and Fred Ebb songwriting and musical duties.

However, Fosse’s vision was tight, and his coworkers always made sure to bring his magic to life in the precise way he wanted. He was a gifted choreographer and dancer and made sure that the dancing and story boarding of each scene was always pitch perfect–even surpassing the music, if that’s at all possible.

Two of Fosse’s greatest hits were Cabaret and Chicago (which is technically a reimagining of All That Jazz). Even going to the productions today is a Fosse-esque experience, as producers and directors always follow the story model Fosse left behind, not only from the musicals but also from his films.

Consider Cabaret. Many people forget that Fosse did actually throw his swiftly conducting hands into theater, and did the unthinkable: he made the best movie of 1971, surpassing even Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. Fosse was able to transform depressing “real life” into a musical stage using the backdrop of a small cabaret bar and show and the patriotism of 1930s Nazi Germany. And to this day, even with productions directed by the likes of Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, you can still feel Fosse’s strong influence in every scene.

Chicago has also enjoyed a revival and has enjoyed renewed interest thanks to Rob Marshall’s Chicago film starring Richard Gere and Catharine Zeta Jones. Chicago‘s favorite hits include “Razzle Dazzle” and “Mister Cellophane” and a revamped “All That Jazz.”

While Fosse purists will see differences between modern retellings and the original, these changes are actually of aesthetic interest. For instance, in the latest Marshall interpreted play, rather than a fadeout that follows “Life is a Cabaret” by Liza, we are given an update as to the dark fate of the various singers and dancers of the cabaret. Many of which were Jewish and living in Berlin living during the pre-war period.

Fosse’s works, featuring bright sets and catchy tunes, are always about something socially relevant; racism, religion, court justice and perhaps even basic human morality. They’re not only a fun history lesson, bitingly satirical at every turn, but quite brilliant in the way they force you to think much bigger.


Tom Hanks Makes His Broadway Debut!

What’s better than Tom Hanks finally coming to Broadway? How about him playing the lead role of a journalist in New York City during the 1980s, at the height of its corruption and scandal? That’s just what you’ll see as Hanks steps into the shoes of Mike McAlary, a fictional character from the play Lucky Guy, written by the late Nora Ephron.

As McAlary follows the lives of the residents and some of New York’s biggest politicians, he uncovers some of the deepest police corruption; writing about it in a way that would compel anyone all the while. The biggest story uncovered by McAlary surrounded Abner Louima, an immigrant from Haiti that had been beaten and brutalized by New York City police in a station house in 1997. While that story landed him in a libel suit for defamation against the NYPD, it also won him a Pulitzer Prize.

Hanks was in talks to take on the role of McAlary when Ms. Ephron passed away this summer. She also wrote hit films When Harry Met Sally, and Sleepless in Seattle, in which Hanks also starred.

Lead producer of the play, Colin Callender, said that he could “think of no more fitting tribute to her extraordinary writing and remarkable body of work” than to continue on with the play as scheduled. In addition to Callender and Hanks, the play also has a director, which will be George C. Wolfe.

Previews for the play will begin on March 1 at the Broadhurst Theatre, with an opening night set for April 1.


Come See Dog Expert Cesar Millan Live!

It can be hard for many to see their beloved furry member of the family as they really are — a dog. We like to think they have human needs, such as a need for the fanciest collars and a want for top of the line toys. It can be frustrating then when your dog barks and nips his dog collar and chews your shoes rather than his toys. Luckily, there is an expert when it comes to dogs that can help you see that your precious pup has dog needs rather than human needs, and who can teach you how to make your dog the happiest it can be. We are talking about none other than the dog whisperer himself, Cesar Millan. If you are dying to learn more about his calm-assertive energy approach, you may be in luck, as he is now doing a tour across Canada and the US.

Cesar is well known for being behind the notion that there are few people with dog problems, but instead mostly dogs with people problems! While it is fine to love your pets and want what is best for them, we can’t actually give it to them if we are treating them like miniature humans rather than dogs. Going to the Cesar Millan Live show will give you all sorts of new ideas on how you can make your dog the happiest he can be, while curbing bad behaviors. He always starts out with the basic principles of exercise, discipline and affection in that order. You will also learn the power of the energy you project, the instinctual world of the dog, how to read your pets body language, and how to understand the issues your pet may be going through.

Will the live show be stopping in your hometown? Currently scheduled stops in the US include Utah, Arizona, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California and more. These shows sell out fast so be sure to book your tickets online today so that you can see the dog whisperer himself live and in person. Your relationship with your pooch is sure to be all the better once you gain insight into how his/her doggy mind works.


“Kinky Boots” Comes to Broadway!

Theater, shoes, and a little bit of kinkiness thrown in — what’s not to love? Add to this the fact that one of the hottest shows currently running on Broadway is also based on a true story, and you’ve got a sure-fire winner on your hands. These are the things the show Kinky Boots are all about; and while it’s currently playing in Chicago, it’s set to come to Broadway in 2013!

Kinky Boots is a true story about a shoe factory in Northampton, New England that has hit hard times. Unable to lure customers in with even the newest designer trends, the owners turn to a different demographic — drag queens and “female illusionists” looking for fetish footwear. If you think the concept is enough for a hit show, wait until you actually see the boom this brings to business. With some of the most comedic characters making up the ensemble of customers and staff, and lots of music along the way, Kinky Boots has already opened to rave reviews in Chicago.

The show premiered last night at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre, with the official opening being held on October 17. The show will run in Chicago until November 17, but it will only have a few months of rest. On April 4, 2013 it’s set to open on Broadway.

Jerry Mitchell is directing and choreographing the musical, Harvey Fierstein wrote the book for the show, and Cyndi Lauper has written the songs. And while that name may surprise some, while it’s Lauper’s first time stepping in as composer, she performed on Broadway in 2006′s The Threepenny Opera.

While some have wondered about how well Kinky Boots will debut on-stage, this talented cast and crew are just the ones to pull it off!


‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ Turns 50, Returns to Broadway

On October 13 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf will be turning 50. And to celebrate the anniversary, the show is making its return to the Broadway stage. But this revival is unlike any other, and not just because it will be the third revival of the play in the past seven years. What makes this one so unique is the original cast will be performing, exactly 50 years from the date it originally opened.

Uta Hagen, Arthur Hill, Tracy Letts, George and Amy Morton, and Carrie Coon will all be on stage at the Booth Theatre on October 13, 2012 to pick up all their original roles they donned half a century ago. The show originally performed at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, and it landed there once again in 2005. It was in 2005 that it first made its way to Broadway, when Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin took the starring roles.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is a story of an older couple that invites a younger couple over for drinks one evening. But while the younger couple thinks they’re going over to get to know some colleagues better, they have no idea the evening they’re in for. The older couple, George and Martha, spend the entire evening bickering and arguing, name-calling and making accusations that for the most part, are completely imagined. All the while, the younger pair are caught in the crossfire. It’s hysterical and theatrical, and makes for great entertainment — year after year.

The play is presented by Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel and produced by Susan Quint Gallin, Mary Lu Roffe, and Pam MacKinnon.


Paul Rudd Comes Back to Broadway in “Grace”

Best known for playing “the goofy guy” in movies and TV shows such as “40 Year Old Virgin,” and “Friends,” Paul Rudd is ready for a change. But while the genre and the character type might be a different take for Rudd, the medium he’s chosen is not. He’s going back to Broadway in the show “Grace” and it’s not his first return to the stage.

“Grace” is a show about a couple that moves to Florida wanting to open a chain of motels that were centered around the church and the gospel. Soon after meeting their rocket scientist neighbor, and another who’s an exterminator, their plans quickly unravels. And so does Rudd, who plays the Christian husband.

“I was drawn to this character because it’s different for me and certainly different than anything I’ve played in the last several years,” says Rudd when talking about the show. “I thought it was bold and fresh and something I hadn’t seen before.”

Not that he needs it, Rudd will have tons of support on-stage. Multiple Emmy Award winner, Edward Asner takes on the role of the bug-squishing friend; while Michael Shannon will play the part of the scientist. Kate Arrington, who has made her name at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, will be playing alongside Rudd as his wife.

It’s been six years since Rudd was last on Broadway, when he played opposite Julia Roberts in “Three Days of Rain” in 2006, but he couldn’t be more excited to be back.

“One of the things I love about doing plays in New York is to feel a part of the city and part of a community that’s really vital and tight-knit. I wanted to be back in that,” he says.

Rudd has many credits backing up his stage presence including “Twelfth Night,” “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” “The Shape of Things,” and “Bash.”