lincoln center

Podcast- The King and I: Look at You, Rufio! Edition

Norma and I bought our LincTix for The King and I way back when it was first announced, when our baby podcast was just a gleam in our eyes. We saw the show back in April, in the throes of busy Broadway season. We were covering shows we were contractually obliged to cover (aka they actually let us see them for free), and were pumping our reviews every fricking night, so The King and I stayed on the backburner for a bit.

That being said, this is one of our best episodes thus far, and we’re super excited to finally upload it. In this episode, we cover the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the strange gossip surrounding Madonna’s texting at Hamilton, and cell phone use in general. Then (around 12:45) we totally nerd out on The King and I, with special guest and King and I expert, David, a once total stranger and now our bffl.

LMezz Guide to Watching Theater On Screen

It’s hard to find filmed theatrical performances! Of course, there’s nothing like being part of a live audience. But when a show is either too expensive or too far away or already ended, it’s nice to know that filmed performances last for us to see. Feel free to comment below with other links or tools you use to watch filmed theatrical performances!

Digital Theatre is amazing for watching shows from across the pond. For a small charge you can rent filmed performances from hot West End tickets and there’s a really wide selection to choose from. I watched last year’s acclaimed production of Merrily We Roll Along, and not only was the show excellent, but the platform was super accessible. Lots of theater companies are featured too, like the RSC, the Menier Chocolate Factory, The Young Vic, and more.

RSC’s Live From Stratford-Upon-Avon broadcasts performances to cinemas around the world. So does Globe On Screen Check their online schedule for participating theaters in your area. DVDs are often released of these tapings.

Because why wouldn’t you want to see Tom Hiddleston take a shower on a 50 ft. screen?

Okay, honestly, the West End is on their game and Broadway needs to take note. National Theater Live is yet another British-based resource for watching hot West End performances. I’ve seen a number of these productions (Coriolanus, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Frankenstein, Habit of Art) and they’re all pretty awesome. The price of the ticket a bit more expensive than a normal movie ticket (usually $20-25), but it’s so worth it!

Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson in Sweeney Todd

Unfortunately PBS is the only legal way that we know of to watch American Broadway productions. Watching fully-staged productions is even harder. Unless you get a magic pass to the New York Public Performing Arts Library, or you find magic bootlegs on Youtube, or your show gets a magic DVD release (like Passing Strange or Memphis) it’s kind of impossible.  New York Philharmonic’s March production of Sweeney Todd with Emma Thompson will be aired on PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center series later this year. Great Performances is also amazing for catching filmed performances, and it looks like PBS is also amping up its digital game– you can now watch tons of recent performances, like Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, Sting’s The Last Ship, David Tennant in Hamlet, and about 25 other full episodes (plus many more scenes and clips). Opera lovers have lots more options, since the Met Opera has an On-Demand service.


Alan Cumming’s Scottish General (And Company)

A retraction from my previous post about Alan Cumming’s “one-man Macbeth” — it actually has a cast of three. Cumming’s backline support consists of two other actors, Myra McFadyen and Ali Craig. They play the hospital attendants to Cumming’s crazed patient, who is doomed to repeat Shakespeare’s dark verse anew.

Cumming’s interpretation of the text is fascinating to behold. His switch from character to character occasionally feels like an exercise in madness, as he assumes the pose of a character he has just finished speaking to moments before. More often though, Cumming is an engaging figure, with his dimwitted King Duncan and sensual Lady Macbeth providing vivid layers to well-known characters. His Macbeth though was far less interesting, and I could not understand his motivations for the crown and his ultimate resignation to his fate.

The production, helmed by directors John Tiffany and Andrew Goldberg, is just as inventive as Cumming’s performance. Video monitors above the stage help to personify the Weird Sisters, and the set, designed by Merle Hensel, provides all sorts of surprises, including a bird trapped in a vent that Cumming later uses for a disturbing blood ritual.

What I found most interesting about the production was the relationship between Cumming’s madman and the the attendants. They watch his ravings from an upper window, dress and carry him to bed, and even provide lines upon occasion. It’s almost a take on theatre itself–we can do a show alone in a cell, but why should we?

Macbeth played as part of the Lincoln Center Festival at the Rose Theater, July 5-14.

Our Arts Picks for the Summer

Kate’s picks:

Alan Cumming’s One-Man Macbeth

It was only a matter of time before this Scottish actor had to tackle this piece. And with his guests stints in Sleep No More, he’s had plenty of practice. Running July 5-14 as part of the Lincoln Center Festival.

Into the Woods at the Delacorte

The Public Theater is pulling no punches with its 50th Anniversary season at the Delacorte Theater. This Woods features film stars and theatre greats including Amy Adams, Donna Murphy, and Dennis O’Hare. But I’m most looking forward to Ivan Hernandez’s turn as Cinderella’s Prince and the Wolf. Yum. Previews begin July 23.

Sweet Charity in Harlem

A classic musical gets a new twist, as the New Haarlem Arts Theatre reinvisons Cy Coleman’s Sweet Charity as a Latina narrative. Previews begin July 26.

Sara’s Picks:

This year’s TONY Award winning plays almost make up for an unexciting year in musical theatre, and also showed that comedy can be just as revolutionary an experience as drama. There’s the giddily energetic Peter and the Starcatcher which will leave you feeling like a kid again. Though the show’s hilarious scene-stealer, Christian Borle, is leaving the show June 30, it will be interesting to see how his replacement, Matthew Saldivar, dons the ‘stache. Another show to keep on your radar is One Man, Two Guvnors, which will be the funniest thing you’ve seen in ages, I promise. And lastly, this year’s winner for Best New Play, Clybourne Park, is a bit slow getting started, but once matters switching from living room drama to racially charged discourse, it’s edge-of-your-seat explosive and riotously funny. Cheap morning rush tickets are available for all three shows.

The statement that Too Much Light Makes the Baby Blind is not new to Off Broadway this year is only half-correct, because, in fact, it’s new every week! TMLMBB tries to perform all 30 plays (written by the cast) in 60 minutes in a race against the clock with audience members choosing the order in which they are performed. The plays range from humorous to poignant and the downright absurd. Then, after every performance a die is rolled and the sum equals the numbers of plays that will be changed for the following week. Make it an ongoing favorite!

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