Pippin, the musical (Five Photos, Five Stories #1)

The circus motif was quite effective in addressing Pippin’s search for meaning and purpose in his life.

pippinI’d been waiting to see Pippin, the Stephen Schwartz musical, for the last forty-plus years, ever since I was living in my college town of New Paltz in the mid-1970s, and saw the “first TV commercial that actually showed scenes from a Broadway show” on the New York City TV stations.

“The commercial, which ran 60 seconds, showed Ben Vereen [as the Leading Player] and two other dancers, Candy Brown and Pamela Sousa who were in the chorus of the show, in the instrumental dance sequence from ‘Glory’. The commercial ended with the tagline, ‘You can see the other 119 minutes of Pippin live at the Imperial Theatre, without commercial interruption.'”
Continue reading “Pippin, the musical (Five Photos, Five Stories #1)”

Mike Nichols

I found out about Mike Nichols’ death because my TV was possessed.

Mike NicholsI don’t what surprised me more: that our college undergraduate intern knew who Mike Nichols was (he’s a film buff and LOVES The Graduate) or a guy I know in this thirties who knows a lot of stuff but didn’t recognize the name.

When I was growing up, it seemed that Mike Nichols and Elaine May were on the TV talk shows and variety shows all the time. This followed 306 performances on Broadway of An Evening with… Continue reading “Mike Nichols”

The Anoinette Perry Awards 2013

In the past several seasons, by commercial necessity, a lot of product on Broadway is based on familiar concepts, just as film and TV tend to be.

The Tony Awards, championing Broadway’s finest, are on Sunday on CBS-TV. My wife and I and about 927 other people not involved in theater will watch them – it’s traditionally a low-rated program – despite the fact that, of all the award shows, the entertainment value is the greatest.

We also watch them because, when a Broadway show goes on tour – in our case, to Proctors Theatre in Schenectady – we will be more familiar with the offerings.

Back in March, Proctors gave a preview of what it would be offering this coming season. While Phantom of the Opera has been a perennial favorite, and Book of Mormon was a big hit, the production I’m most excited to see in 2013-2014 may be Continue reading “The Anoinette Perry Awards 2013”

Black girls’ hair

In Whoopi Goldberg’s Broadway Show from the mid-1980s, she wore a yellow shirt or sweater over her head, and talked about her being a kid pretending to have long, luxurious blonde hair.

That first week of the London Olympics 2012, when I wasn’t watching, the primary storyline apparently was about Gabby Douglas’ great accomplishments in the Olympics. And her hair. Yawn.

As long as I’ve been alive, how black girls and women wear their hair has been “an issue” with someone. Processed or natural – “proves” how “black” someone really was, at least when I was growing up. Dyed or not – hey, do they “want to be white”?

In large part, I’m less upset by it Continue reading “Black girls’ hair”

The Cats’ Meow

The theological implication of CATS?!


CATS was playing at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady this past weekend (July 16-18). I had never been to a production. Other than knowing that it was based on some minor poems by T.S. Eliot, and that Andrew Lloyd Webber and his ex-wife Sarah Brightman were involved, I knew surprisingly little about it. So the wife, daughter and I went; we got some seats on the side, about 2/3s of the way back, and we had a good sightline, especially since much of the action seemed to skew stage left (audience right), where we were. Separately, my brother-in-law, his wife and their two daughters also attended.

Did you ever see a performance, whether it be a band or orchestra or play, where you recognize the tremendous talent of the performers, the excellent technique of the stage crew (I rather liked the lighting, which was strewn into the audience section), the imagination of the set design, yet somehow feel really disengaged from the performance? That’s how I felt about much of the first act. Oh, there would be a song or two that gained my attention, followed by gaps where I nearly fell asleep. Then near the end of the first part, a song I recognized: Memory. Oh, THAT song.

The second act featured Continue reading “The Cats’ Meow”