Reality television has a way of worming itself into every niche of the television world that it can.
In 2007, it made it’s way to Broadway. Grease: You’re the One That I Want!aired for one season. The purpose of the program was to use the reality show format to cast another revival of Grease. Using the competition show as a backbone, the format was not unfamiliar: the contestants would perform every week. One by one they are eliminated until the winners are cast as Danny and Sandy.
At the time, it was good television. Looking back I can see that it was not that good. It was not completely lifeless, but it was one of the shows that was only destined to last one season.
Last month, in my review of Something Rotten (which was excellent and I highly recommend), I wrote that I believed that there was a dearth of new ideas in Hollywood and on Broadway. I had hoped that Something Rotten would be opening the door to new ideas and new stories instead of the same revivals year after year.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Fiddler On The Roof. I’ve long since memorized the songs and the screenplay. While it is set in a specific time and place with a specific group of people, there are elements within the story and characters that can be applied to any place and time.
I just wish that instead of another revival that only returned to Broadway eleven years ago, that a new voice with a new story to tell might have been given the opportunity to see their vision become a reality.
In one eventful week, a musician who believes that his dream is dead meets a woman who by the end of the week, sees the beauty and the potential of his music. Their love is mutual, but life may tear them apart.
I did not have the opportunity to see the original cast, but the more recent cast with Arthur Darvill and Joanna Christie.
It’s not the typical musical, which makes it stand out among the cornicopia of musicals currently on Broadway. It is also un-typical is the audience is allowed to walk up to the stage and order from the bar. Most shows have a fourth wall, which is only broken after the show. Before the show starts, while the actors are warming up on stage, the audience is allowed to walk on stage and order from the bar, as well as going up during the intermission.
What I enjoyed was unorthodox and informal staging of the show and un-Hollywood ending.
Talley’s Folley is a one act, two character play set in Lebanon Missouri, 1944 in a dilapidated Victoria era boathouse. Written by the late Lanford Wilson, it is about an immigrant attempting to rekindle a romance with a woman fighting her own insecurities.
It is in short, one of the most brillant, simplest, well done plays I have ever seen.
Salley Talley (Sarah Paulson) is the daughter of an old money Missouri family. At age 31, she is presently single with little hope of marriage. Matt Friedman (Danny Burstein) is 42 and a Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Europe. They had a brief romance the year before, Matt has returned to Lebanon to extend the relationship.
Their chemistry is just palpable. These are two damaged people, finding a refuge from their pasts in each other.
I didnt expect this play to be as brillant as it is, but it blew me away. Good writing, whether it is a book, a movie or a play stays with you, this play will stay with me for a long time.
A Streetcar Named Desire has always been one of my favorite plays and Blanche Dubois is one of my all time favorite characters.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing the latest revival of the classic Tennessee Williams play staring Blair Underwood, Nicole Ari Parker, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Wood Harris.
Needless to say I was very happy when I walked out.
To the uninitiated, A Streetcar Named Desire is about a faded southern Belle, Blanche Dubois (Nicole Ari Parker) who comes to visit her sister, Stella (Daphne Rubin-Vega) in New Orleans. Blanche clashes with Stanley (Blair Underwood), Stella’s working class husband and is attracted to Mitch (Wood Harris), Stanley’s friend.
The play is hot and steamy and everything A Streetcar Named Desire should be. I had the pleasure of seeing the last revival several years ago with the late Natasha Richardson as Blanche and I look forward to the next revival.
The show is running on a limited engagement, I would highly reccomend seeing it.