Oscar E Moore

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GEORAMA – a lively musical lesson in art appreciation

August 9th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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Chances are there are not too many people who have heard of the American artist John Banvard who found his fifteen minutes of international fame painting a three mile long “moving” panorama of the Mississippi River circa 1850.

As a struggling portrait artist he hooked up with Chapman (Nick Sullivan) an operator (entrepreneur) of a Mississippi showboat and impresario Taylor (Randy Blair).

With the assistance of his musical accompanist who later became his wife, he traveled far and wide with his original and unique idea – even presenting it to Queen Victoria.

So successful was he that many copied his idea least of all his friend Phineas “Taylor” Barnum who kind of pulled the wool over Banvard’s eyes and swept the canvas right from under his feet.

Also tintype photography came into vogue and moving panoramas were no longer popular with the fickle paying public.

Banvard quickly became a millionaire and then just as quickly lost it all – save for the love of his life – his wife – Elizabeth Goodnow.

Which brings me to the radiant Jillian Louis who portrays this feisty and adventurous woman opposite the handsome, naive and charming P. J. Griffith in the just closed New York Musical Festival production of GEORAMA – An American Panorama Told on Three Miles of Canvas which was first presented at the St. Louis Repertory Theatre.

The 1 hour and 30 minute production (without intermission) has just received a slew of NYMF “Outstanding” Awards of Excellence which should compel someone to continue its stage life so that many more can enjoy its merits.

Which are many.  First off the beautifully painted and projections of the panorama as backdrop by Scott Neale and Jason Thompson.

Then we have the story itself by West Hyler (who also directed) and Matt Schatz who wrote the music and lyrics (additional lyrics Jack Herrick).  The songs are perky and tuneful.  Skillfully played by Jacob Yates and Ana Marcu who also partake in the action.

The lyrics are witty and propel the story forward fleshing out the characters albeit with a sometimes repetitious three rhyme scheme.  Queen Victoria’s number, while amusing, seems a false fit for the show.

Nick Sullivan has his multi characters (including Queen Victoria) down pat.  And Randy Blair (a combination of Dom DeLuise and Jackie Gleason) as P.T. Barnum is delightfully manipulative.

And of course my favorite actress Jillian Louis who continues to enchant and amaze with her performances.  Along with a charismatic and dynamic P.J. Griffith they give heart to this quite entertaining artistic enterprise.

Photos: Jagged Edge Arts

http://www.georamamusical.com

 

 

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IN A HEARTBEAT – animated short is a must see

August 3rd, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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Beth David and Esteban Bravo have created an instant masterpiece.  It is magical and moving with a beautiful score.  Without a single word of dialogue it conveys what one’s heart truly desires and that you should follow it – chase after it – in four minutes flat.  Bravo!

Music by Arturo Cardelus

It’s on YouTube – in a heartbeat  https://youtu.be/2REkk9SCRn0

www.teenvogue.com/story/in-a-heartbeat-short-film-gay-crush

 

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Sam Gold’s HAMLET – Here’s mud in your eye

July 24th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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Are we at The Public Theater or La Mama or some Greek amphitheater to witness the revenge tragedy of Hamlet starring Oscar Isaac (scampering around barefoot in his black undies and tee shirt) with a mixed bag of supporting players including a cellist (Ernst Reijseger) supplying odd and mournful background musical accompaniment for the cast who sometimes portray multiple characters with confounding results skewered with a slew of accents not spoken so trippingly on the tongue or at a celebration of the undisputed talents of Sam Gold?

In the intimate arena-like Anspacher space where the in demand, imaginative and willing-to-try-just-about-anything director of the moment Sam Gold reigns it is both.  With an emphasis on Gold’s experimental ego.  One might even call Hamlet – Gold’s Folly.  Not everything works in this minimalist long drawn out almost four hour almost impossible to get a ticket version which runs through September 4th.

One of Gold’s better ideas is having Ritchie Coster portray the Ghost of Hamlet’s father and Claudius his uncle – who after killing Hamlet’s dad has married Gertrude (Charlayne Woodard) his mother.  A rather bland Ms. Woodard dressed in a purple lounging-pajamas-of-sorts outfit appears uncomfortable.  Perhaps it’s the mules she is wearing fearing they might slip off at any moment?  Perhaps she is attempting to decipher what Claudius is saying?

One of his not so great ideas is having Ophelia (Gayle Rankin) in full Antigone mode burying Polonius with buckets of soil (Peter Friedman – one of the only actors aside from Isaac to come out smelling like roses) and then taking a garden hose bath simulating her drowning and then cuddling up next to him AND THEN BOTH becoming the muddied Gravediggers – in what is probably the most successful scene in this drawn out folly giving new meaning to “here’s mud in your eye.”

Then there is Polonius pontificating on his bathroom throne with his pants around his ankles that not everyone is privy to seeing due to the sightlines.  This is where the hose is hooked up to a sink that creates lots of mud on stage that got me thinking about Stanley Steemer as my mind wandered during this hodge-podge production where an over-the-top Play Within a Play has Keegan-Michael Key (AKA Horatio) having a drawn out inappropriate albeit comical in the extreme demise.

Oscar Isaac does himself and I am sure Mr. Gold proud in this marathon role.  He is best at being mad.  There really is a method to his madness.  Although after the second intermission (allowing patrons to empty their swelling impatient bladders) he becomes a bit long winded with some mighty monotonous sounds being emitted as we eagerly await the tragic denouement of revenge.

Unfortunately the play is not the thing here.  Sam Gold is.  A simple case of murder most foul.

www.publictheater.org

Photos:  Carol Rosegg

Visit www.TalkEntertainment.com

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NAPOLI, BROOKLYN – 1960 time capsule

July 8th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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Playwright Meghan Kennedy remembers Mama in her scattered memory kitchen sink drama NAPOLI, BROOKLYN – a series of short all-around-the-mulberry-bush scenes now playing off-Broadway at the Laura Pels Theatre through September 2nd.

Mama is Ludovica (Luda) Muscolino (a strong Alyssa Bresnahan) – an Italian immigrant with a slew of delicious recipes, a good heart, a thick accent and an even thicker husband Nic (Michael Rispoli).  A real stereo-typical brute.

Luda desperately wants to be able to cry again.  Even the cut onion she carries around and speaks with in lieu of God doesn’t do the trick.  Nor the cigarette burn Nic inflicts on her while shuffling around between the sheets.

They have bred three daughters.  Nic probably wanted sons so that they could follow in his mis-steps but that didn’t happen.  Luckily.  This is their two hour – one intermission story according to Meghan Kennedy via the Long Wharf Theatre, directed with acute details of the period by Gordon Edelstein – and now a Roundabout co-production.

Francesca, the youngest (a feisty and delightful Jordyn DiNatalie) wants to be able to run off to Paris as a stowaway with her best friend Connie Duffy (Juliet Brett) to seek adventure and develop their budding love for one another.  She has chopped off her hair that resulted in her sister Vita (Elise Kibler) being sent off to a reform convent as a result of Nic breaking her nose and a few ribs while protecting Francesca from his brutality.  She always wanted to be a nun but has changed her mind after losing her faith.

She wants to return home and communicates with her sisters by sending letters from the convent bringing back fond memories of Tracey Nelson as Sister Steve in FATHER DOWLING with her Brooklynese accent.

The eldest daughter Tina (Lilli Kay) wants to help out at home by working in a packing factory with her Afro-American friend Celia Jones (Shirine Babb) who attempts to help Tina with her self-esteem issues.

The neighborhood Irish butcher Albert Duffy (Erik Lochtefeld) the dad of Connie dreams of being with Luda wanting some sort of romantic relationship to develop.  It is their scenes together which are most memorable.  Along with those of Connie and Francesca.

So there is a lot of wants on the table.   And accents.  Which sometimes tend to obscure the dialogue.  All this is served on a serviceable realistic/symbolic set by Eugene Lee that features the Muscolino’s kitchen, a large Crucifix, Stained Glass Window, a large bed, a butcher block and boxes to pack up some the tiles at Tina and Celia’s place of employment.  A background of the block of houses and a lamp post set the scene precisely.  The costumes (Jane Greenwood) are an excellent representation of the time period.

And then it happens.  Near the end of Act I.  A catastrophic event that crashes down into the home and lives of all those involved and jolting the audience from its reverie.  This is explained during intermission with a news article of the tragic event projected on a screen.

Unfortunately you may well remember the event more than the rest of NAPOLI, BROOKLYN.  Certain aspects are not believable (particularly Nic’s transformation) and because there has not been a truly focused through line – too many stories going on – the not fully cooked production is ultimately unsatisfying with the onion making a return albeit under different circumstances.

www.roundabouttheatre.org

Photos:  Joan Marcus

Visit www.TalkEntertainment.com

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1984 – Back to the future

July 6th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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When does two plus two not equal four?  When you are being subjected to torture till submission.  That is the horrific answer that George Orwell proposed with his ground breaking 1949 novel “1984” that has been given an extraordinary, frightening, theatrical and thought provoking production by the team of Robert Icke and Duncan MacMillan (adapters and directors) that runs through October 8 at the newly refurbished and reopened Hudson Theatre on West 44 Street.

The new seats may be more comfortable and supportive.  The ability to bring an entire bottle of wine to your seat is possible – for $48.00 (is this really a good idea?) The producers seem to have gone out of their way to make this production as palatable as possible.  But the words and actions speak volumes in this visionary work that seems to reflect where we are headed if not careful.  In fact, we may well be on our way without fully realizing it.

Big Brother is watching over the characters in “1984” – spying on them would be a better description.

Winston Smith (Tom Sturridge) writes in his secret diary in opposition to the in control regime.  He of a slight build and strong willed passion seeks to resist.  The party in power is taking away certain words, trying to obliterate the past, changing facts to suit their own needs and yet Winston resists.

He is confused.  But has a strength of purpose.  A quiet dignity.  Throughout.

Love is illegal and yet he has a secret affair with Julia (a calm and careful Olivia Wilde) who has slipped him a note stating that she loves him while seemingly ignoring him in front of others.  In a brilliant stroke the directors and adapters have their affair off stage but projected on an on stage screen.

O’Brien (Reed Birney) is head honcho for Big Brother.  Mr. Birney is cool, controlled and calculating.  Against all odds he comes off as a likable slimy villain.   He offers to help them.  If they are willing to give up most of what they believe in.  They only hesitate when “love” comes into question.  They will not give up their love for one another.

Real chocolate.  Real coffee are highly sought after commodities.  As is real truth.

Much has been made of the graphic torture of Winston in Room 101.  Yes it is truly horrific.  But we know this is not real on stage as opposed to the nightly newscasts from around the world.  But the torture looks real.  It could happen.  It has happened.  It is happening.  All too often.

“Pain compels truth.”  So if you experience a little discomfort watching this production perhaps that’s a good thing – the truth of what is happening around us might become clearer and we might feel more inclined to resist the rampant corruption and lies being spewed by our very own Big Brother.

The staging is magnificent.  The acting superb.  The Video Design (Tim Reid) a break-through in stage craft.  Sound (Tom Gibbons) Lighting (Natasha Chivers) Scenic & Costume Design (Chloe Lamford) are completely in sync with the overall vision of “1984.”  Highly recommended.  101 riveting minutes without intermission.  Through Oct 8th.

Photos:  Julieta Cervantes

Visit www.TalkEntertainment.com

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THE TRAVELING LADY – Horton Foote abridged?

June 24th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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Condensing Horton Foote’s 1954 three act play (which starred Kim Stanley) into a one hour forty five minute intermission-less one act is akin to Cinderella’s step sisters trying to fit their feet into the infamous glass slipper.  It’s a tough go.

Some things just don’t make complete sense and there are some awkward transitions.  Director Austin Pendleton does his best to make amends by having many of the actors enter and exit via the center aisle of The Cherry Lane Theatre where THE TRAVELING LADY is spreading its homespun tale that takes place in the lovely garden of Clara Breedlove’s Texas home.  Set design by Harry Feiner.

Despite this Readers Digest version (upon investigation it appears that Mr. Foote along with Marion Castleberry revised the script before his death in a California production 2011)  the voice of Horton Foote rings true with his characters that appear to be real and believable as they gossip and go about their lives and wait to see the fate of Georgette Thomas (Jean Lichty – The Traveling Lady) who has arrived via bus with her seven year old daughter Margaret Rose (Korinne Tetlow) in tow to meet up with her estranged husband Henry (a charismatic PJ Sosko)  who is to be released from the State Penitentiary after his seven year stint for stabbing someone in a drunken frenzy.  Problem is Henry has been released earlier and is now working for Mrs. Tillman (Jill Tanner) whose aim in life is to rehabilitate lost souls.

It is the day of the funeral of the woman who raised Henry as the play begins.  An elderly Judge (George Morfogen) tries to make conversation with the elderly and feisty Mrs. Mavis (Lynn Cohen) who chomps on dates and makes wise cracks that add immensely to the humor of the piece.  Her spinster daughter (Karen Ziemba) is heard calling for her off stage – as she is wont to disappear at odd times.

Slim (Larry Bull) lives with his sister Clara Breedlove (Angelina Fiordellisi) and is hard at work on some sort of gizmo and has lost his wife under odd circumstances and is at once attracted to the new lady in town and her daughter.

Henry finally shows up and the couple are reunited.  He also sings with a guitar at the request of Mrs. Mavis…

So there is a lot going on in this small town that sometimes verges on being a small town Texas soap opera.  But Horton Foote always comes to the rescue with his quirky and fine-tuned dialogue that charms despite other factors that diminish the production somewhat.

Will Henry and Georgette make a go of it?  Will Henry overcome his alcoholism?  Will Slim have a happy ending?

You have until July 16th to find out.  Although you might already know the answers.

Perfect period costumes by Theresa Squire enhance THE TRAVELING LADY as well as the nice lighting effects by Harry Feiner – especially the fireflies at dusk.  At the Cherry Lane Theatre.

www.cherrylanetheatre.org

Photos:  Carol Rosegg

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THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR – Red Bull’s recipe for mayhem

June 3rd, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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A provincial Russian town.  1836.  Corruption is rampant.  Cover-ups follow.  Bribes disguised as loans (the new reimbursement program) flow freely.  From the Mayor to the Judge to the School Principal to the Hospital Director to the Doctor to the very fey and nosy Postmaster who opens and reads everyone’s mail and then distributes the information.

Everyone is rightfully worried as it has been leaked that an Inspector has arrived incognito to infiltrate and unearth the rampant corruption.

This new, unnecessarily long adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher of Nikolai Gogol’s REVIZOR seems to have been penned with the Marx Brothers in mind.  Director Jesse Berger has picked up the reins and directs the fine cast of actors at a full gallop.

The basic plot is clever enough but Mr. Hatcher goes off on tangents that are extended and extreme and the actors follow suit by going overboard in their performances.  Characters become caricatures.  Especially Bobchinsky (Ryan Garbayo) and Dobchinsky (Ben Mehl) straight out of a Mel Brooks sketch.  The dialogue has plenty of bah-dah-boom! Borscht Circuit jokes that land like lead matzo balls.

The costumes by Tilly Grimes are splendid.  The double decker set by Alexis Distler is interesting until one notes that if sitting up front one will have a stiff neck watching most of the production that takes place on the upper level.

In the lower level environment we discover the almost destitute Ivan (Michael Urie) about to commit suicide with the help of his servant Osip (Arnie Burton – who doubles as the Postmaster).  And it is this Ivan who is mistaken for the incognito Inspector and taken under the wing of the Mayor (Michael McGrath) and his wife Anna (an amusing Mary Testa) and treated royally.

Anna aims to be alluring and fashionable in her lovely pink frocks.  She has an odd way with the French language.  And has one of the funniest lines in the show.  I kept thinking about the late Charles Ludlam founder of The Ridiculous Theatrical Company for obvious reasons.

Michael Urie could fool a cow.  He is charming and handsome and falls right into going along with the charade.  But he becomes tedious in the Act I finale of “toasting” and getting drunk by drinking glassfuls of wine and vodka.  I half expected him to break out and sing “Goodbye” Prince Cherney’s Farewell from “Little Me.”

In Act II he does croon a tune to the Mayor’s sexually repressed daughter (the lovely Talene Monahon) reminiscent of “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” – Groucho’s old standby.

It’s all a bit overboard.  They all try too hard.  Broad humor yes.  Doors slamming yes.  Mayhem abounds with fine performances all around especially that of Mary Lou Rosato.  But it is ultimately underwhelming and overstuffed.

Through June 24th at The Duke 229 West 42 Street.  Tickets 646 223 3018 x 8.  2 hours 1 intermission.

Photos:  Carol Rosegg

Visit www.TalkEntertainment.com

www.redbulltheater.com

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WAR PAINT – Tennis anyone?

May 8th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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I had a dream.  A wonderful dream…during the second act of the quite slow going WAR PAINT.  Christine Ebersole had morphed from Elizabeth Arden into Mame and Patti LuPone from Helena Rubinstein into Vera Charles and they were singing “Bosom Buddies” a real song and not some imitation sung exposition posing as such.

My dream quickly changed into a nightmare as WW II broke out and I was back to sloshing through the remainder of this ill-conceived tennis match starring two of the best leading ladies of the musical theater.

Traversing the decades from 1935 to 1964 book writer Doug Wright basically gives us the same information found in the Playbill.  The score (and I use the word loosely) by Scott Frankel (music) and Michael Korie (lyrics) is disappointing.  These two extraordinary stars deserve much better.  Can anyone remember “No Thank You”?

After a weak opening number “Best Face Forward” each star has a STAR entrance that is greeted with wild applause.  Expectation is high as we know that these two ladies can deliver the goods IF they are given some worthwhile goods to deliver.  Sadly that is not to be the case.

Arden and Rubinstein are already at the top of their game in the cosmetics business.  Each successful.  Each jealous of each other.  Appealing to women’s insecurities to amass fortunes for themselves.  Jewels for Rubinstein.  Horses for Arden.  Bitter rivals that avoided each other like the plague.

So it is hard to believe they would sit in adjoining booths at the St. Regis on a couple of occasions.  Drinking champagne, dining and eavesdropping…

Ms. Ebersole is the height of blue-blooded Upper East Side chicness.  La Diva LuPone unfortunately has decided to use a thick Polish accent making it impossible to decipher what Madame is saying or singing.  A word or two slips through as she faces forward to issue a lethal barb or two.

They both have a few tricks up their couture sleeves.  The spanning-the-decades costumes by Catherine Zuber are knock-outs.  As are the spectacular hats.   But when hats and haute-couture upstage the book and score you’re in trouble.

John Dossett is Tommy Lewis better known as Mr. Arden.  Douglas Sills is the right hand advertising executive of Rubinstein, Harry Fleming.  His predilection for young sailors eventually does him in with her despite his brilliant idea of making the same face cream do double duty.  By packaging and marketing them as one for day and one for night.  NO spoiler here – they both switch bosses.

Mr. Arden escapes to Rubinstein and Harry is hired by Arden.  And so the tennis match staging by Michael Greif goes on – stage right – stage left.  And then Arden did this.  And then Rubinstein did that.  And then Harry did this.  And Tommy did that.  And then Charles Revson swoops in upsetting the apple red lipstick cart when the two titans opt out of advertising on TV.  He does and the rest is history.

Eric Liberman as the opportunistic and crass Revson takes full advantage of this situation both as the character and performer.  His “Fire and Ice” is a highlight.  Can I hum it?  No.  Do I remember the gowns? Certainly.

WAR PAINT is a tedious singing documentary that does give each entrepreneur an 11 o’clock number “Pink” by Arden & “Forever Beautiful” by Rubinstein where they both make a valiant effort in rescuing the production.

They finally meet face to face, stooped, lonely and resigned but still beautifully feisty and decked out delivering the duet “Beauty in the World” but not before the intrusion of a young valley girl type that totally deflates the beauty of the moment.  Tennis anyone?

At the Nederlander Theatre.

www.warpaintmusical.com

Photos:  Joan Marcus

Visit www.TalkEntertainment.com

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OSLO REVISITED – bigger but not necessarily better

May 6th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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OSLO an excellent production of an excellent play has moved upstairs from the smaller Mitzi E. Newhouse to the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center – original cast intact.  Through June 18, 2017.

It has lost one intermission but has gained a bigger audience on a much larger acting space that gives the actors a mighty workout – moving around set pieces and dashing about the acting area at a frisky pace.  And shouting louder than ever.

Whatever happened to “speak softly but carry a big stick”?

Here is my original review 7/26/16.  I stand by it 100%.

 

Oslo – Political intrigue behind closed doors

Oscar E. Moore “from the rear mezzanine” for TalkEntertainment.com

You. Are. There. Oslo, Norway. April 1992 – September 1993. Behind closed doors. The characters are real. The situation fraught with intrigue and champagne and egos in this smart, theatrical, longish but never boorish lesson in history. Eavesdropping on the fragile, secret negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians hosted by the Norwegians.

Namely Terje Rod-Larsen (the excellent as usual Jefferson Mays) and his wife Mona Juul (an incredibly accomplished Jennifer Ehle) who is also the narrator. Together they have hatched a plot to bring the two opposing sides together in the hope that they can bring about a peace accord. He to fulfill his ego and she to hold everything together when all seems lost. To facilitate – not meddle.

Act I sets the stage and eventually brings the Israelis and the Palestinians to talk on either side of a table. One of the many pieces of furniture on casters enabling the director of this sometimes extremely amusing documentary-like theatrical excursion – Bartlett Sher – to have three hours whiz by.

It is a masterful accomplishment. As is the casting of this large ensemble. Each and every actor as near to perfection as is possible delivering the dialogue that is a barrage of verbal bullets that ricochet off the whiskey glasses and waffles as these uncomfortable diplomats attempt to loosen up and negotiate that seemingly elusive prize called “peace.”

Act II brings in the charismatic Uri Savir, (an outstanding Michael Aronov) Director-General of the Foreign Ministry of Israel who takes the words of playwright J.T. Rogers to new heights colliding head-on with Ahmed Qurie (Abu Ala) Finance Minister for the Palestine Liberation Organization – an equally impressive Anthony Azizi. And then we’re off!

Act III gets more complicated with details but is never unclear thanks to Mr. Sher and his expert actors culminating in the video projection in the White House Rose Garden on September 13, 1993 of the iconic image of President Bill Clinton presiding over a handshake between Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Chairman Yasser Arafat – signifying Peace!

Unfortunately, as it turns out, more of the same continues. On and on it goes. We can only hope for a better outcome one day. Call me a cockeyed optimist.

At the Mitzi E. Newhouse – Lincoln Center Theater.

Photos: T. Charles Erickson

www.lct.org

www.osloonbroadway.com

 

 

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CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY – Lots of yummy fun

May 5th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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“Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew – Cover it with choc’late and a miracle or two?”  Christian Borle as Willy Wonka can!  ‘Cause he mixes it with love and wacky humor with deft comic timing splashed with a dose of Groucho Marx and Mad Hatter in this uneven but purely entertaining production at the Lunt–Fontanne Theatre for the kids and for those of us who want to be kids again.

The above quoted lyric is from “The Candy Man” – written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newly for the Warner Brothers movie upon which this musical is based from the novel by Roald Dahl.

It wisely opens the show directed with panache and slap-shtick by Jack O’Brien who also wisely includes the beautiful “Pure Imagination” in Act II.

The rest of the score is written by the dynamic duo of HAIRSPRAY – Marc Shaiman (Music and Lyrics) and Scott Wittman (Lyrics) with a book by David Greig that teeters towards the brink of ridiculousness that resolves with a lovely message – to create something out of nothing – to use your imagination and make something beautiful.

To be honest, to be content with whatever you have and yet never lose the ability to dream, to be able to use ones imagination and make life brighter, happier, zanier, funnier and just plain good.

With tons of kids excited and expectant in the audience.  The feeling is contagious.  How wonderful to be able to feel what a child feels and enjoy for the first time – seeing ideas come to life on stage.

Just imagine you are that kid again.  And enjoy the pleasures that are about to unfold in this adventure that Charlie Bucket (a terrific Jake Ryan Flynn who alternates with two other young boys) goes on in his quest to find one of the golden tickets to visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory where the totally wonderful and hysterical Oompa Loompa’s work.

A chorus of miniature puppet bodies with human actors heads created by Basil Twist (who definitely lives up to his name) that sing and tap dance to some zany choreography by Joshua Bergasse.

Imagine seeing some awful kids on stage getting their just desserts and I don’t mean chocolate.  The obese sausage boy, the vain ballerina, the obnoxious Queen of Pop, Mike TeaVee and their equally obnoxious parents who have found their “Golden Tickets” along with Charlie – an honest, earnest and totally endearing Jake Ryan Flynn who is accompanied by his delightful Grandpa Joe (played by understudy Paul Slade Smith filling in beautifully for John Rubenstein) while his mother (Emily Padgett) remains at home – cooking leftover cabbage and doing laundry to make ends meet.  Guess who comes out on top?

Imagine a Tonka Toy set with gaudy colored costumes (Mark Thompson).  Imagine witnessing wonderful special effects.  With the amazing Christian Borle leading the way down the rabbit hole, so to speak.  Cavorting and singing with strong vocals and settling down to deliver a heartfelt message for Charlie on how to get along in life.

Just seeing all those kids wide eyed and attentive eating up all the goodies on stage is worth the price of admission.  Intermission is like being in the middle of school recess.  And it’s all good.

It has to be believed to be seen!

www.charlieonbroadway.com

Photos:  Joan Marcus

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