Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Just like network TV, I'm going to cop out and turn to the realm of 'reality' for material. You may have heard that Mario Lopez -- who, to be fair, was actually an actor before he became a reality show champ -- was going to step in (yuk yuk) to the role of Zach in A Chorus Line on Broadway. That's disturbing enough. But this article also reminded me that Michael Douglas was in the movie version. I was really trying to block that out of my memory...

In perhaps more refreshing news, India.Arie is going to be one of the stars of the Broadway revival of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf. Do you think they were maybe inspired by the good reception of VCU's recent version?

Closer to home, I'm not completely sure but I think Ms. Lewis might not have totally been comfortable with some of the aspects of Henley Street's Much Ado About Nothing. It sounds pretty great to me. Back in the early days, Richmond Shakespeare did more interactive kinds of productions and I loved them. I'm really starting to regret not being able to get to this show...


Thespis' Little Helper said...

Hmmm...not sure on why Mario Lopez going into A Chorus Line is disturbing, but India Arie going into ...colored girls... is refreshing?

An actor (whose reality TV work, I'm not familiar with...) vs. a recording artist (whose acting and movement work I'm not familiar with...if it exists...).

Wanting to poke at something here, Dave, but don't know that much about Ms. Arie and could have been subject matter and age that led me to think that Mr. Lopez' work in the Greg Louganis movie was impressive.

Regarding Much Ado: I thought it was odd that the review was as confusing as it was and that she wasn't more effusive. she seemed to be having a fantastic time at the show on Friday. But then again, she was on the front row in the center section and I purposefully asked for advice on where I could sit (in the far back of the stage right section) where I would not be required to be involved in the show.

Was interesting to revisit since I moved to Richmond a few years ago to take a job with Richmond Shakes on Tour doing Much Ado and Midsummer and to see my Don John/Beatrice/etc. (Cynde Liffick) sitting on the opposite side of the house.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Thespis about the 'Much Ado' review.
I found it poorly written and kind of vague.
How old is this reviewer?

Anonymous said...

In the reviewers defense, she could not really jot any notes, as she was on the front row, with actors sitting beside her for much of the evening. It would be hard to write anything specific, unless you have an outstanding memory. The actors are in the house when the doors open and they help people to "find good seats". Not knowing who she was, and her not saying anything they talked her into taking a front seat, maybe not the best idea for a reviewer to be in the middle of the scene... But I do agree with BC that she seemed like she was loving the show, every time I glanced over, she was smiling from ear to ear. Either way, I think it turned out pretty well. I would love for Dave and Mary B to come and see the actors play with audiences. It would even be appropriate to bring your child, Mary, I think the direction makes it all very clear and understandable even to the youngest audiences. I honestly think this is a great version to bring young people to, because it is less formal, and honestly, more fun.

Frank Creasy said...

I must say, I was also one of many who seem to be confused by the "Much Ado" review. There was a reference to an assurance the audience heard prior to the show stating the audience would be able to follow the story...but that the production retained "the Bard's outlandish language"??? (I may be paraphrasing, but I believe that was the word). Does that imply NOT changing Shakespeare's words (why WOULD you?) means you can't understand it? Huh? I wasn't expecting a John Hughes teen flick, I went to see and HEAR Shakespeare!

There was another mention of Billy Finn's performance as "predictable" and "realistic". Did she enjoy his performance or not? My opinion - he was OUTSTANDING. Related to that: Dean Knight as Dogberry (wonderful), playing one of Shakespeare's greatest buffoons, being compared to Barney Fife...a knock, or a compliment in the context it was used? Honestly, I couldn't tell!

Some things were more clear, as in her praise for Suzanne Ankrum (right on target), but in the same written breath knocking (I think) Kerry Wilson primarily because of the differences between the characters of Hero and Beatrice. Well, ya KNOW, Will did INTEND these characters to be very different - indeed, the pairs of lovers are very well matched but are kept at a distance throughout for VERY different reasons (and not meaning to spoil anything if there's anyone out there not familiar with the plot who has yet to see the show).

As for the director's choice to make the audience part of the action - okay, not for everyone, and no problem mentioning that in the review. For yours truly, I knew the deal was going down when my friends in the cast pretty much insisted I sit front and center (SOMEBODY owes me a pint, and SOON for that!) But I thought it was a blast. Man, what a well paced, well performed, well directed production. Still...I just couldn't tell from the review what was criticism and what was compliment. Very, very weird.

I could only surmise Ms. Lewis doesn't know the show, or doesn't know much about Shakespeare period, but if I'm wrong about that, well...nothing in the review convinced me otherwise.

Just go see it folks. Terrific!