I refuse to be a critic. I refuse to be a journalist. However, for all those who insist that I write (oh God), I figure a compromise in the form of a blog is in order. That way I can avoid formality and staid observations and allow myself to a means of expressing what it is I have to say about things.
Mostly I’ll be discussing theatre. Maybe some film. Okay. I love the genre too much not to discuss it, especially if its related to theatre or if it features some of the better actors of past and present. I may also be into discussing certain books or even socio-political climates in our world. Basically, if I want to rant about anything and everything, I will.
I have enjoyed live theatre, particularly musical theatre, ever since I can remember. My first show, at least in my memory, was a local production of Peter Pan when I was in first or second grade. That was almost killed by an excruciating production of Annie I witnessed a mere year later. (How bad? I rooted for Miss Hannigan). My first film musicals were Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, respectively. (I always thought Julie Andrews was more attractive with an Edwardian upsweep than with a tomboyish blonde crop). From those films, I immersed myself in the remainder of the Rodgers and Hammerstein canon, as well as anything shown on AMC, when it was still good, and later on, TCM.
You’d think with such an appreciation, I’d have immediately gone to Broadway, especially growing up so close to it in Westchester County. But, I never made it there until the Ides of March, 2000. I had a terribly feverish flu that day as I attended a Wednesday matinee of Miss Saigon with my class. I was practically hallucinatory during the famed helicopter scene and ended up being out of a school for a week as a result. But there was no way I was going to miss my first trip to Broadway. It could only improve from that experience.
My next show was Cats…
Moving on… so here I am seven and a half years later, much more well-versed in the art form, much more opinionated and with a Jeopardy-like ability to recall names, dates and other such trivialities that most people have long stopped caring about. There is a soft spot for many of the flop shows and scores of past, with a particular interest in Juno, Donnybrook!, The Girl Who Came to Supper, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Dear World, A Time for Singing and Darling of the Day. (That Patricia Routledge did not have a successful career in the American musical theatre remains one of the greatest enigmas known to man).
My favorite musicals are: She Loves Me, The Light in the Piazza and Sweeney Todd. Numerous runners-up include: Follies; A Little Night Music; The King and I; South Pacific; Fiddler on the Roof; My Fair Lady; Grey Gardens; Carousel; Mame; High Spirits; Gypsy; 1776; Show Boat; Sunday in the Park With George; How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; Kismet; Kiss Me, Kate; The Music Man; West Side Story; The Most Happy Fella; 110 in the Shade; Parade; Ragtime. I am always willing to hear new scores as well as past obscurities that may have slipped by the wayside.
Favorite plays: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; The Pillowman; Doubt; Long Day’s Journey Into Night; The Lieutenant of Inishmore; Noises Off; The Man Who Came to Dinner; Arsenic and Old Lace; Mary, Mary; The Crucible, Mister Roberts; Auntie Mame; Hamlet; Proof; Barefoot in the Park; The Little Foxes and The Heiress.
Favorite actors/performers (theatre and film) include, in no particular order: Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Katharine Hepburn, Cherry Jones, Bill Irwin, Kathleen Turner, Victoria Clark, Kelli O’Hara, Madeline Kahn, Angela Lansbury, Dorothy Loudon, Anthony Hopkins, James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Cary Grant, Jack Nicholson, Peter O’Toole, Helen Mirren, Greer Garson, Zero Mostel, Maureen O’Hara, Deborah Kerr, William Holden, Audrey Hepburn, Glenda Jackson, Barbara Harris, Barbara Cook, Peter Sellers, Vanessa Redgrave, Lynn Redgrave, James Mason, Gregory Peck, Tammy Grimes, Rosalind Russell, Ethel Merman, Mary Martin and a slew of others.
People I do not care for as performers (and you may be surprised): Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda, Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, Julia Roberts (and some others). There are more, but why dwell so heavily on the negative? I have my reasons and that’s all I need.
That about covers a brief introductory. Like I previously stated, I will comment on things I’ve seen and expound my opinions on varying subjects. Plus, I would love to hear your thoughts as well.