Friday, November 21, 2008

Sad News Friday

I've been in a good mood lately. It's almost Thanksgiving. It's time for gingerbread and eggnog. But I'm sad about two things today:

Sorry for yet another post about Hair, but Playbill reports that Jonathan Groff will not be making the move with the show to Broadway. He was replaced during the extensions at the Delacorte run (due to a prior commitment) by Christopher J. Hanke. Hanke was good in the role, but I didn't think he connected to the material or cast the way Groff did. The real shame is that there wasn't a Delacorte cast recording. No casting announcements have been made yet, but I'm sure this will still be a production worth seeing.

I also read that the television show Pushing Daisies has been canceled, which is a real shame because it was an original concept with a good cast and endearing characters.

Of course, there are worse things that could happen, and I'm sure the cast and crew of Pushing Daisies will find other projects. Also, I think my blog has become too theatre-dominant since I moved to New York and I'll try to change that soon. In the meantime, here is something that I wrote that has nothing to do with theatre (unless Conor Oberst was in a regional production of West Side Story that I don't know about).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

3 War Shows, Just In Time For Veteran's Day

I didn't plan this, but in the 4 days before Veteran's Day, I saw 3 shows related to wars and military--The Roundabout Theatre production of Streamers, The National Theatre of Scotland's Black Watch, and a York Theatre Company reading of Yank!.

This season, both on and off Broadway is all about the testosterone, with two Mamet shows and Billy Elliot, to name a few. Perhaps this is a reaction to last year's season of women, with shows like August: Osage County and Top Girls. The only woman in any of the three shows I saw was Nancy Anderson in Yank!, who played all the female roles. It's a boy's life, indeed.

Though very different in their approach, the three shows deal with questions about what it means to be a man. Streamers, directed by Scott Ellis and written by David Rabe in 1976, takes place during the Vietnam War. Though it is the only one in which the characters are not actually fighting, but waiting to go to go to war, it is the goriest of the three. Black Watch, directed by John Tiffany and Gregory Burke, is about members of the Black Watch regiment of the Scottish Army during the Iraq War. Although it is not a musical, the whole piece is beautifully choreographed. Yank!, directed by Igor Goldin with music by Joseph Zellnik and book and lyrics by David Zellnik, mostly focuses on the relationship between two men in the army during World War II.

It's sad how little has changed in the over 60-year time span during which the three shows take place. We're in a war with many similarities to Vietman. In Yank!, the main character wants homosexuality to become acceptable and makes a comment about how things will change probably by 1949 or 1950, which gets a laugh from the audience. In light of the passage of Proposition 8, there is still a long way to go.

I'm looking forward to seeing what change President-elect Barack Obama will bring in the future. For now, I think I'll take a break from all this heavy war stuff, at least until Prayer for My Enemy opens at Playwrights Horizons next month.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Election Day

Out of all the election-related videos on YouTube, I think this is my favorite because Mr. McFeely is awesome. Enjoy.

By the way, my polling station still used the lever machines and they did not have any "I Voted" stickers, which I'm still a little bitter about.