As it was at the overture and shall be at the exit music, bliss without end. Amen.

Theatre Aficionado at Large

‘The Bridges of Madison County’ on Broadway


Recently, I referred to the 1956 musical The Most Happy Fella, Frank Loesser’s lush romantic masterpiece, as a “grown-up musical for grown-ups.” Much of the current Broadway musical theatre is made up of subversive comedies, by-the-number adaptations of movies, and pre-packaged song catalogs. Sincere romantic musical plays tend to be a tougher sell these days. The most recent example I can think of is Giant with its sweeping score by Michael John LaChiusa. However, that show played a limited run off-Broadway at the Public (though it should have been on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont). Well, a new grown-up musical for grown-ups has come to Broadway and it’s Jason Robert Brown and Marsha…

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“Chronicle of a Closing Night” Revisited


I’ve been collecting Playbills for years. Not only for the shows I’ve seen, but also ones that I’ve picked up at the Broadway Flea Market or in various shops. It started initially with some of my favorite flops, but has expanded to include almost anything I can get my hands on. Last week, I was flipping through my Playbill for the original Broadway production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, one I picked up randomly for a spell-check, when I came across a fascinating feature article by Colette Dowling chronicling the closing of the musical Illya Darling, a 1967 screen-to-stage adaptation of the hit 1960 film Never on Sunday. Illya Darling…

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Posted on March 24, 2014 at 5:10 pm.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – The Original Broadway Cast Recording


One of my prized possessions is a copy of the 4-LP original Broadway cast album of Edward Albee’s masterpiece Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  It’s a handsomely packaged boxed set, with 4 LPs and a special booklet containing essays and commentary by Albee, Harold Clurman and Walter Kerr. The records are in mint condition and there’s not a crease in the booklet; this album was clearly cared for by a serious collector. I’ll never forget the first experience of hearing this cast album for the first time. I was just going to sample a few minutes before going about my day. I had a night shift at Barnes and Noble…

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An Open Letter to Emma Thompson

Dear Ms. Thompson, This past week, I had the unmitigated pleasure of witnessing you make your New York stage debut in the exciting New York Philharmonic concert of Sweeney Todd. I have long been an admirer of your work, ever since I first saw the 1993 film adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing in high school. Not long afterward, I fell head-over-heels for your Oscar-winning Margaret Schlegel in Howards End, which I stumbled upon on Bravo one weekend, back when that station had a more artistic bent. In the years since, I have come to admire your work as an actress, writer, humanitarian and activist. Your appearances at awards ceremonies and…

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Posted on March 10, 2014 at 5:26 pm.

‘Robert and Elizabeth’ – An Appreciation


I have a soft spot for depictions of romance between historical figures. There is usually a greater antagonizing force that heightens their intimacy significantly and also captures me on an intellectual level. These couples tend to not only share physical attraction, but they also respect and admire each other’s intelligence, wit, and talent. I doubt I would like 1776 as much were it not for the scenes between John and Abigail Adams, which anchor a great musical with humanity. Another show that comes to mind is the lovely British musical Robert and Elizabeth, which tells the story of how famed poets Elizabeth Moulton Barrett and Robert Browning came to be…

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The Year of Living Cinematically

Another year of movie watching gone! The same rules for my list like every year: each film was watched in its entirety and an asterisk indicates a film watched for the first time. Interestingly, I haven’t seen a single film released this calendar year. I can’t recall the last time that happened. *The Star (1952) 1/5 National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) 1/6 *Sleepwalk with Me (2012) 1/11 *Pitch Perfect (2012) 1/11 *The Sessions (2012) 1/11 *Mrs. Brown (1997) 1/16 Mrs. Miniver (1942) 1/17 *The First Wives Club (1996) 1/19 A Shot in the Dark (1964) 1/19 *Oh! What a Lovely War! (1969) 1/19 The Quiet Man (1952) 1/23 Blithe Spirit (1945) 1/24 Lili (1953)…

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Posted on December 31, 2013 at 11:06 pm.

The Egregiously Overlooked

While I have seen my fair share of theatre in 2013, work and life managed to get in the way of my blogging. These are three productions that meant a great deal to me, and I felt compelled in these waning days of December (now that work is on the back-burner for a spell) to write about them. She Loves Me (6/23/13, Caramoor). One of the most charming musicals ever written turned 50 this year. Ideally, this landmark event would have meant a full-scale Broadway revival, but instead it was the classy Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah who did the honors. The celebrated concert venue, which I…

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‘The Sound of Music Live’


How do you solve a problem like Maria, that chipper almost-nun turned nanny who saves a broken family and outwits the Nazis? Not only is she based on an actual person, but she’s a star turn requiring killer vocals and unlimited amounts of charm and pluck. If these demands weren’t enough, anyone who plays her must live in the shadow of two indelible portrayals: Julie Andrews in the film, and to a lesser extent, Mary Martin in the original stage production. It’s a tough gig that invites comparisons and stirs up quite a lot of nostalgic emotion. NBC took a huge risk last night, dedicating its entire primetime slot to a live performance…

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‘Matilda’ – Original Broadway Cast Recording


When asked if I thought there would be a Broadway cast recording of Matilda, my response was “Don’t hold your breath.” Not that I didn’t want one; I believe all musicals deserve to be recorded. However, British imports – especially those retaining original West End cast members – rarely get recorded anymore. There was a time when this wasn’t the case, with shows as diverse as Irma La Douce, Oliver!, and Les Miserables getting a new recording on this side of the pond. However, during the last 25 years we’ve seen The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Mamma Mia, Mary Poppins and Billy Elliot come to NY and not get…

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Posted on November 7, 2013 at 11:06 pm.
A place where I can rant and rave about theatre,
theatre history, plus books, film and anything
else that strikes me as entertaining, interesting
or important. Feel free to chime in. If you'd like
me to have a look at your show or have any
interest in advertising, feel free to contact me. Membership
director of the Independent Theater Bloggers Association.

Photo by Kari Geltemeyer

Walking Among My Yesterdays


1/9 - Patty & Emily &... (54 Below)

1/19 - Machinal

1/23 - Cinderella

2/9 - After Midnight

2/9 - Little Me (Encores!)

2/28 - Patty & Emily &... (54 Below)

3/5 - Rocky

3/5 - Sweeney Todd (NY Philharmonic)

3/6 - All the Way (opening night)

3/7 - Sweeney Todd (NY Philharmonic)

3/22 - Three Wishes for Sondheimas (54 Below)

4/1 - The Bridges of Madison County

4/3 - Guys and Dolls (Carnegie Hall)

4/6 - The Most Happy Fella (Encores!)

4/15 - The Bridges of Madison County

Walking Among My Yesterdays


1/7 - Turandot (Met Opera)

1/22 - The Mystery of Edwin Drood

1/27 - Renée Fleming & Susan Graham (Carnegie Hall)

2/3 - Fiorello! (Encores!)

2/7 - My Name is Asher Lev

2/19 - Rigoletto (Met Opera)

2/21 - Passion (Classic Stage Company)

2/23 - Much Ado About Nothing (Theatre for a New Audience)

2/27 - Carousel (NY Philharmonic)

3/1 - Carousel (NY Philharmonic)

3/4 - Matilda (first preview)

3/7 - Ann (opening night)

3/24 - It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman (Encores!)

4/18 - One Man, Two Guvnors (West End)

4/19 - Once (West End)

4/20 - Darling of the Day (The Union Theatre, London)

4/22 - The Audience (West End)

4/23 - Top Hat (West End)

4/23 - Merrily We Roll Along (West End)

4/30 - Song of Norway (Collegiate Chorale)

5/12 - Bull

5/12 - On Your Toes (Encores!)

6/5 - Matilda

6/10 - Nice Work If You Can Get It

6/11 - Matilda

6/23 - She Loves Me (Caramoor)

6/30 - Ann

7/23 - The Assembled Parties

7/25 - Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

8/23 - Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

8/26 - The Bluest Ink (le poisson rouge)

9/1 - Matilda

10/14 - Disaster!

10/16 - Newsies

10/30 - Two Boys (Met Opera)

11/6 - Becoming Dr. Ruth


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