Oscar E Moore

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METEOR SHOWER – A Steve Martin conundrum hits Broadway

December 16th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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Twenty minutes into this 80 minute puzzling and slight but bloated idea penned by Steve Martin, there I sat – fourth row on the aisle – at the Booth Theatre – wondering what was happening as other members of the audience giggled and guffawed at the nonsense happening on stage.

Had I entered some twilight zone where Beethoven’s Fifth blared and stars raced across the backdrop of the sleekly designed Ojai home (inside and out) by Beowulf Boritt of real life stars Corky (Amy Schumer perky and pony-tailed) and Norm (Jeremy Shamos – master of the quadruple take)  as they eagerly await their star guests for the evening Gerald (an over-the-top Keegan-Michael Key) and Laura (Laura Benanti – looking very First Lady Trump); wondering who sent the bouquet of three large eggplants without a card that sits alongside the stuffed celery sticks?

Celery sticks aren’t the only things stuffed in this production.  Jerry Zaks, King of “do anything for a laugh” and I mean “anything” attempts to even outdo himself.  Some things work, most things don’t.

I have a good sense of humor.  But it isn’t Steve Martins.  A comic who made a name for himself on SNL doing outrageous skits, employing sight gags and sexual innuendos that sometimes fell flat but that the audience adored.  So if you like all that stuff “Meteor Shower” is for you.

It’s a cliché-ridden sex fantasy farce about a married couple who have obvious problems and have been to joint therapy.  Corky has been a cannibal and Norm is Normal or as Normal as one can be in La La Land.

The other couple could be their subconscious selves or just two annoying newly made friends that cause sparks and unusual couplings before the evening is finished.  Gerald is a bombastic know-it-all braggart and Laura is a beauty with a razor sharp tongue and stare.

College frat humor at best.  The audience really started to perk up with the announcement that one of the men has “an enormous dick” – which can be a huge advantage or disadvantage depending on how one uses it.

How to get through a marriage circa 1993 Hollywood style.  Fight, therapy, make believe, do drugs, drink, fight, make-up, threesomes, switch mates or just try to write about it in a self-help way.

It’s all a surreal pseudo-intellectual gimmick portrayed in short quick and repetitive scenes of the arrival of the guests that wears thin very quickly.

Without the name of Steve Martin on the script and the four popular stars signed on I do not believe that the long list of producers would have given it a second thought.

Best line – “Just rub it around the rim.”   Enough said.

Limited engagement through January 21.

www.meteoronbroadway.com

Photo:  Matthew Murphy

Visit www.TalkEntertainment.com

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SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS – Palace Theatre transformed into Day-Glo theme park for Bikini Bottom

December 12th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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Who knew?  Who knew that a simple sponge living in a pineapple at the bottom of the sea in a town called Bikini Bottom could erupt on Broadway at the Palace Theatre as an ingenious, put-a-smile-on your-face, wildly imaginative, bouncy, pun-filled extravaganza that breeds one show-stopping production number after another – “a non-stop cartoon meets honest human feelings” with a score written by a slew of famous artists that somehow sounds cohesive and melodic that sets just the right tone all around?

Tina Landau knew, that’s who!  The mastermind behind this theatrical coup (conceived and directed) based on the Nickelodeon series by Stephan Hillenburg with a could-be-edited book by Kyle Jarrow that deliberately and successfully throws every gimmick into the pot, coming up with a delicious, savory and insane Day-Glo stew.

The not so simple sponge is SpongeBob SquarePants – the ever optimistic hero of this opus – portrayed by Ethan Slater making a tremendous, auspicious Broadway debut.

He is more than wonderful.  He is a lovable triathlon champion of the arts.  Singing, dancing, and gymnastics seem second nature to him.  He is charming to boot.   No better sponge to have as a friend.  And we all root for him to win!  And he does!

His fellow sea creatures all propel the plot along.  Mount Humongous threatens to erupt and destroy all unless someone can save the day.  It’s not Mighty Mouse but SPONGEBOB to the rescue.

The standout cast includes Patrick Star (Danny Skinner) his BFF – Squidward Q. Tentacles (a scene stealing Gavin Lee) who sports four toe tapping legs – Lili Cooper as Sandy Cheeks a squirrel and scientist who comes up with the solution even though she becomes an outcast for being different – the money hungry Eugene Krabs (Brian Ray Norris) his daughter Pearl Krabs (Jai’Len Christine Li Josey with a voice that can be heard echoing in Hackensack) and the evil one-celled Plankton named Sheldon (Wesley Taylor).

Plus The Electric Skates, a corps of sardines and Patchy the Pirate (a show within a show standout) – all of them cavorting on the monumental set design by David Zinn bookended by a Rube Goldberg contraption that has to be seen to be enjoyed.

Mr. Zinn also did double duty on the inventive costumes in a kaleidoscope of colors of which there seem to be hundreds – not nearly as many, however, as the ever shifting light cues designed by Kevin Adams.

Tom Kitt has pulled all the various genres of music together by the various artists.  Favorites include “Hero is My Middle Name (Cyndi Lauper/Rob Hyman) “I’m Not a Loser (They Might Be Giants) and “(I Guess I) Miss You (John Legend) and the amazing “Bikini Bottom Day” (Jonathan Coultron) that allows choreographer Christopher Gattelli’s dancers to strut their stuff to thunderous applause.

This is a fun musical for everyone:  Young and those old but still young at heart.

Stand up and cheer for optimism, persistence, friendship and imagination.  Highly recommended.  One intermission.  2 ½ hrs.

www.spongebobbroadway.com

Photos:  Joan Marcus

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THE PARISIAN WOMAN – Bland: 4 yawns starring Uma Thurman

December 11th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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You might be interested in the fact that ultra-cool socialite Chloe (Uma Thurman) one half of a Washington D.C. power couple – the other half being her successful well connected tax attorney truly understanding husband Tom (Josh Lucas) have an open marriage – fooling around with others is acceptable.

And at the age of 25 spent some time in Paris where she obviously learned the art of using her assets to manipulate others to obtain what she wants; boasts a tattoo of a baguette (location not divulged) lending little credence that she is truly a Parisian woman.

That’s about as Parisian as she gets.  Although she is sleek and chic it is difficult to believe that everyone falls madly, insanely in love (or is it lust?) with her at the drop of a beret.

Case in point:  Peter (Martin Csokas) a banker and long-time tortured to the point of distraction lover who has been given a key to her lovely Town house for their trysts (most probably in Georgetown) beautifully appointed by Derek McLane.

What a bamboo fire-screen is doing atop a piece of furniture in the barely visible offstage room is questionable.   No matter.  Any distraction from the stilted soap opera dialogue and contrived plot is most welcomed.

The hard to be believed plot centers around her husband wanting to be nominated to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and devious Chloe using all her wiles to get this accomplished – threatening to blackmail a new friend Jeanette (Blair Brown) who adds some spice of her own to the proceedings.  She is close to the President and has “influence.”  Her smart Harvard educated daughter Rebecca (Phillipa Soo) soon falls under the spell of Chloe…

In this drawing room dramedy playwright Beau Willimon can’t decide if it’s a comedy or a drama.  We get a little of both.  I suppose he’s made so much money with his HOUSE OF CARDS that he feels he doesn’t have to deliver the theatrical goods if he’s delivered Uma as its star – peppering the plot with snide Trump barbs and bits of “infamous catch phrases” that the audience desperate for something to latch onto laps up like parched kittens.

The direction by Pam MacKinnon is boring.  It’s a long 90 minutes without a break.

The characters are not believable.  Nor are their relationships to one another.  They appear to be play acting.  Not real human beings.  They drink a lot.  And lie a lot.  Only Ms. Soo makes a vain attempt to flesh out her role.

If so inclined, this banal production is at the newly renovated Hudson Theater through March 11 where the seats are comfortable.  At least.

Adapted loosely from Henry Becque’s 1885 “La Parisienne” – a comedy in three acts.  It has lost a lot in translation.  It might even be sub-titled “Jumping on the Trump Bash-Wagon.”  But jumping on that wagon does NOT even a mediocre play make.  Pretending to be a pot-boiler this is a very slow cooker.  Quel dommage!

www.parisianwomanbroadway.com

Photos:  Matthew Murphy

Visit www.TalkEntertainment.com

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ONCE ON THIS ISLAND – spreading an aura of enchantment

December 7th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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A perfect cast.  A perfect score.  A perfect story of forbidden love on a hurricane ravaged island in the French Antilles.  There are no commercials and no intermission at Circle in the Square – just 90 enchanting minutes of clear sailing from start to finish in a production directed by the imaginative Michael Arden that oozes truth and honesty with more than a few Caribbean flourishes.

Based on the novel “My Love, My Love” or The Peasant Girl by Rosa Guy – this musical adaptation by Lynn Ahrens (Book & Lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (Music) was first produced in New York in 1990.  We must be thankful for its return in a perfect theater to house it.  It was well worth the wait to hear this magical, sensual and mystical tale seamlessly retold.

As the survivors of a massive hurricane literally pick up their lives around the sand covered stage – cleaning up debris and fearful of any further sound of thunder – they are smiling – happy to be alive after such a disaster – drying out their clothing, tending the chickens and a goat, cooking in a kettle drum and singing an anthem to life “We Dance.”  What better way to overcome what the god’s have delivered to them.

A quartet of gods: Agwe – God of Water (Quentin Earl Darrington) Pape Ge – Demon of Death (Merle Dandridge) Asaka – Mother of the Earth (a sensational Alex Newell – halting the proceedings with roars of approval from the audience) and the lustrous Erzulie – Goddess of Love (Lea Salonga) that the superstitious inhabitants both fear and honor on this island of “two different worlds” – the peasants “black as night” and the lighter skinned descendants of the original French planters.

As a survivor – a little girl Ti Moune (Emerson Davis) is adopted by Mama Euralie (Kenita R. Miller) and Tonton Julian (Phillip Boykin) whose story is then retold as an older Ti Moune (a ravishing and feisty Hailey Kilgore) saves the life of Daniel (Isaac Powell) a wealthy light skinned boy and then falls helplessly in love with him.

A love that cannot be.  If you cannot believe in this love then all is finished but in the casting of these two excellent performers there is no doubt about their heartbreaking love for one another.

The native choreography by Camille A. Brown is exceptional and thrilling to watch.  Costumes by Clint Ramos whimsical, brightly colored and true to character.  Lighting by Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer transforms the various moods and locations beautifully.  Scenic design – Dane Laffrey.

So what are you waiting for?  An invitation from the gods?  Please go see this beautiful production of ONCE ON THIS ISLAND.   Highly recommended.

www.OnceOnThisIsland.com

Photos:  Joan Marcus

Visit www.TalkEntertainment.com

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LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS – too much of a good thing at Studio 54

November 21st, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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Remember the ad campaign for real Levy’s Jewish Rye Bread?   “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s Real Jewish Rye.”  Well you don’t have to be Latino to love John Leguizamo’s one man marathon, semi bi-lingual, semi-autobiographical mostly entertaining history lesson – but it wouldn’t hurt.

He is charismatic, funny, and knowledgeable.  A great storyteller and mimic.  Full of energy.  Fully in control of his adoring fans as he makes his entrance nattily dressed in crumpled slacks, vest and tie like some tired professor right off of the Santa Maria.

As it turns out he is not a fan of Columbus and all that we’ve been told about him in school only skims the surface.  Professor Leguizamo is here to set the record straight.   And to make certain we honor Latinos and all their accomplishments.

And in doing so to find a suitable Latino hero for his son who has been bullied at school.  This is the very slight plot line that sets Leguizamo off on his diatribe of almost two hours without an intermission.

Although some of his most ardent fans in the audience do not need an official intermission as they freely get up, leave and return as if they are at some rock concert with drinks in hand to help them guffaw at the various characters that the Professor brings into existence with the help of some hats and wigs and a double sided blackboard that becomes a tool to inform with various pastel colored chalks.

The performance covers almost all of Hispanic History – which reminded me of my school days in Social Studies class when my teacher who was also charming and charismatic went on a bit too long and I couldn’t wait for the bell to ring to change classes.

Senor Leguizamo no matter how good he is and he is very good – has not learned that brevity is the soul of wit and probably is unaware of KISS – Keep it short and simple.

A couple of Trump and Weinstein references are thrown in for good measure.  But too much time is spent with the Incas and his son slamming his bedroom door.  I think that was when the natives got restless.

A few instructions on how to behave as an audience might be in order.

Mr. Leguizamo also does a mean cha cha cha, rumba and samba dance break that had his fans ready to join in, in this sometimes very funny but overly long production where he keeps his obvious anger in check.  Briskly directed by Tony Taccone.

I left the show thirsty for a cold beer and some nachos.

Extended through Feb 25    www.latinhistorybroadway.com

Photos:  Matthew Murphy

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A MUST SEE PERFORMANCE – DEC 11 & 12

November 18th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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TULIS McCALL   ALL IN GOOD TIME

Tulis McCall is unbelievable and unabashedly honest and funny to a fault.  If you are feeling the onset of old age (and who isn’t) you will definitely get a shot of adrenalin in seeing ALL IN GOOD TIME expertly written and performed with great élan.

A one woman of a certain age (WCA) rant about death, life, blow jobs and not letting another precious moment of your very precious life be put off.  Do not postpone.  Do pass GO.  Do collect whatever you want to collect.

Live life to the fullest. NOW.  Do what you have always wanted to do if you haven’t already done so.  And write your own obituary!  Forget about – “all in good time” – the expression NOT this very astute and hysterically funny one hour one woman diatribe.

Written and performed by Tulis McCall.  Directed by Jon Lonoff.  United Solo 2017.  DO NOT MISS THIS.  Oops!  You already have.  Hopefully additional performances will ensue.

The Playroom Theater  December 11 & 12 Tickets $13.00

www.allingoodtimetheshow.com

151 West 46th Street

#8th Floor

New York, NY 10036

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THE BAND’S VISIT – the universal language of music

November 12th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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You will not soon forget THE BAND’S VISIT.  Nor should you.  In a small Israeli town (circa 1996) in the desert – its people are waiting for something different – anything – to happen.  The regularity of their daily life has become tedious and uneventful.

They get their wish fulfilled and then some when unexpectedly an Egyptian band – The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Band arrives by mistake after confusing the names of their intended destination Petah Tikva with this quiet and unassuming village Bet Hatikva.  Lucky for us they made the mistake.

There are no buses until morning.  No hotel.  And so the Band’s conductor Tewfiq (a wondrous Tony Shalhoub) and its seven members are welcomed with generosity – sharing food, overnight accommodations and the all-important universal language called music with various households in the village.

In this world in which we now live you will see that it is possible to understand each other within 24 hours.  One day.  Where acceptance and music translates what is not literally understood.

The language barrier is dealt with charmingly, haltingly and with wry humor as Tewfiq attempts in broken English to explain to Dina (Katrina Lenk) a café proprietor his predicament.  She is beautiful.  She is bored.  She is waiting for her Knight in Shining Armor to rescue her from her stagnant life.

He is controlled.  Gentle.  Kind.  Resisting her charms in this blissful, quietly romantic and absolutely magical journey where we get to savor every economical spoken and sung word by book writer Itamar Moses and score by David Yazbek (music and lyrics) – where the sounds of Israel and Egypt co-mingle with Gershwin and Chet Baker.

Chet Baker plays a very important part in this production as the Romeo of the troupe Haled (an excellent and sexy Ari’el Stachel) repeatedly asks the women he encounters “Do you know Chet Baker?” after telling them they have beautiful eyes.  That’s how he got the wrong ticket to the wrong location.  Again I say – Lucky for us!  He plays his trumpet with a bit of “My Funny Valentine” and his jazz vocals seduce.

I would not be surprised if there is a renewed interest in jazz musician and singer Chet Baker which would be a great thing to happen – along with meeting these most interesting people:  the Telephone Guy (Adam Kantor) patiently waiting to hear from his girlfriend as he stands and guards and waits for the lone village pay phone to ring.

The family dinner with a main course of tension and silence as Itzik (John Cariani) along with his wife, Kristen Sieh and her father Avrum (Andrew Polk) attempt to make nice as Simon (Alok Tewari) plays a bit of his unfinished clarinet concerto which in turn segues into “Summertime” that they all know and understand – breaking the ice.  The clarinet will also soothe their crying baby when nothing else will.

At the roller skating disco we meet the ultra-shy Papi (Etai Benson) who, with the help of the Egyptian Haled, gets instructions in how to get to first base with his girl.

This fluid, bittersweet production expertly directed by David Cromer enfolds on a turntable that slowly allows us to be a part of all their melancholy lives.

The spot on scenic design by Scott Pask is enhanced by the striking and mood setting lighting design by Tyler Micoleau.   The choreography by Patrick McCollum just seems to appear it is so integrated with the characters and their stories.

This production should not be missed.  You will always regret not seeing THE BAND’S VISIT.  In fact you will want to see it again and again.  Hear it again and again.  It is quite special seeing Arabs and Jews in complete harmony making beautiful music together in this gentle, charming and thoroughly inviting musical.

Based on the 2007 film by Eran Kolirin.

At The Barrymore Theater.    With an unexpected post show concert by the band.  Just go!

90 minutes no intermission NO late seating

Photos: Matthew Murphy

Visit www.TalkEntertainment.com

www.thebandsvisitmusical.com

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M. BUTTERFLY – why tinker with perfection?

November 5th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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In this uneven and unbalanced revisal of the 1988 multiple award winning production of M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang you may find yourself as confused as its leading character Rene Gallimard – a courageous and charming Clive Owen giving a compelling performance as a French diplomat in 1960’s Beijing dealing with his childless marriage with Agnes (Enid Graham) his awkwardness with women in general and his repressed sexuality.

But you will leave the Cort Theatre humming tunes from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and some soothing jazz from Chet Baker’s ironic “I Fall in Love Too Easily.”

Based on a hard to believe true story this revisal is even harder to swallow under the heavy directorial thumb of Julie Taymor who has somehow tipped the scales to favor her talents, and not trusting the words and story of its playwright and his original intentions.

M. Butterfly is not a musical – hard as Ms. Taymor tries to make it one – with her elaborate Peking Opera production numbers and a most silly Act II ballet of Communist Comrades led by a most annoying Celeste Den.

The tragic love story of Rene and his Chinese mistress Song Liling (an acceptable Jin Ha) who turns out to be a Chinese spy and a man portraying a woman fights for attention.  Perhaps Ms. Taymor was inspired by Victor/Victoria.  Jin Ha’s live singing is much preferable over Murray Bartlett’s lip syncing Pinkerton.

For twenty years this affair went on without Rene discovering that Song Liling was a he posing as a she.  Lots of denial going on there.  Rene is arrested for treason and begins to unweave this saga from his jail cell.  Trying to explain to us and himself what happened.  He is tormented.  Attempting to make sense of all this confusing role playing.  And we wonder if he is a repressed gay man.

We see his uneasiness with women from the onset.  However he is married to Agnes (Enid Graham) an older woman but searches (mostly in vain) for “the perfect woman” a fantasy until he hears Song sing from Madama Butterfly at a cocktail party at the Ambassador’s residence.  His perfect woman turns out to be a man.

As we all discover when in a courtroom he strips down naked and explains the details of their long affair – including graphic sexual acts.  It is merely crude.

What should be an intriguing, fascinating and intimate story has been blown up to operatic proportions with floating screens, elaborate costumes and noisy percussive music.

The tragedy of these two lovers is lost in Julie Taymor’s self-propaganda and masks.

Through Feb. 25th

www.mbutterflybroadway.com

NOTE:  Have you ever noticed and wondered about the period after M in M. Butterfly is all about?  In French it is the abbreviation for Monsieur.  Is this a reference to Rene’s sexuality or Song’s?  Or both?

Photos:  Matthew Murphy

Visit www.TalkEntertainment.com

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TORCH SONG – What is this thing called love?

November 1st, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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It’s virtually impossible to fill those bunny rabbit slippers worn so majestically and confidently by Harvey Fierstein in his original production of TORCH SONG TRILOGY some 35 years ago which garnered him awards for writing this breakthrough openly gay saga and for being its openly gay star.

The torch has been passed along to Michael Urie who as hard as he tries is still chasing Harvey to the finish line in this slimmed down, revised version known as TORCH SONG directed by Moises Kaufman.  I admire Mr. Urie’s immense talent.  He is a master of physical comedy and has a way with those zingers that Mr. Fierstein has written but he is not right for the part.

Harvey Fierstein is a force of nature so strong – both in body and spirit and wit – that it is hard to erase him from being Arnold – the lonely, needy drag queen of the sharp comeback and astute observations otherwise known as Virginia Ham.  Not to mention his unmistakable and raspy voice that is immediately recognizable.

Case in point:  one of the biggest laughs in Act I occurs in the International Stud – a notorious gay back room bar.  Arnold has met the handsome Ed (Ward Horton) who turns out to be bi-sexual.  As they are leaving together Ed says to Arnold “Is this your normal voice or do you have a cold?”  Instantly the audience thinks of Harvey and it gets a huge laugh.  But for the wrong reason.

After all Mr. Fierstein wrote this three part opus for himself about himself.  Taking place from 1971 through 1980.  Post Stonewall and pre AIDS.  The International Stud (1971).  Fugue in a Nursery (1974) and Widows and Children First (1980).

Looking around the audience packed with gay couples of various ages – some holding hands – one thinks back to when this play first opened.  It would have been unheard of for gays to be this confident and comfortable in their own skins as they are now.  Thanks to Harvey we now can.  But the fight isn’t finished.

In part two of Act I Arnold in invited to the open love nest relationship of Ed and his girlfriend Laurel (Roxanna Hope Radja) with his new gorgeous boyfriend Alan – a model.  Ed puts the make on him while Arnold and Laurel do the dishes.  This all takes place in an oversized bed – the staging is quite clever as the characters pop in and out from under the sheets.

Arnold with an underlying sadness is still looking for love in all the wrong places.  Not just great sex but love and commitment.  He is desperate for respect, trying to be just like Ma (an excellent Mercedes Ruehl) – who arrives from Miami in Act II blazing verbal bullets and wearing her own pair of bunny slippers.  Like Ma like Gay Son

Arnold still has Ed in his life and a gay foster child David (Jack DiFalco) who has been bullied with a black eye to prove it.   Arnold and Alan had decided on starting a family before he had a tragic accident which isn’t fully fleshed out.  Ma and Arnold try to understand each other.  Much to our amusement and horror.

Most interesting is the bisexual Ed (a terrific Ward Norton who almost steals the spotlight) – a gay closeted man who needs a woman in his life as proof of his normalcy even though he cannot stay away from being with and loving Arnold.  That’s how it was back then and in some respects still is.

2 hours – 40 minutes at Second Stage.  One intermission. www.2st.com

Extended through Dec. 9th.  Tony Kiser Theater

Photos:  Joan Marcus

Visit www.TalkEntertainment.com

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DESPERATE MEASURES – The taming of the lewd – a marriage of the Bard and the bawdy

October 29th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore
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At the Wednesday evening performance that I attended (10/25/17) James Morgan (Artistic Director of The York Theatre Company) in his opening remarks in his own inimitable style announced that this already extended production of “Desperate Measures” – a rowdy, tuneful and somewhat sentimental mixture of the Bard and the Old West – will be extended for at least another month (through November 26th) due to popular demand and raves from the critics – “Even the Times gave us a good review!”

Very loosely based on Shakespeare’s “problem comedy” MEASURE FOR MEASURE Peter Kellogg (Book & Lyrics) and David Friedman (Music) have found a fresh and unique voice set in late 1800’s Arizona – land of cacti, sheriffs, corrupt politicians, nuns, banjos, loose women and loose morals.

Along with director Bill Castellino (who was seen still taking notes to tighten the production) have concocted a clever, calculated crowd pleaser with a little bit of everything to make just about everyone happy or at the very least be entertained.

There’s Nietzsche espoused by a drunken priest (Gary Marachek) for the high brows and a saloon gal strip tease (Bella Rose – a broad broad – Lauren Molina) for those brows a bit lower.

A marriage of the Bard and the bawdy.  Very pleasant tunes – from heartfelt ballads to up-tempo songs that set your feet a tappin’ and dialogue that has rhythm and rhyme that elevates the tone of the production immensely.  It works beautifully enacted by a terrific cast of six full throttled vocalists.

The dim witted but charming Johnny Blood (Conor Ryan) is in jail waiting to be hanged for a crime that he committed in self-defense – to protect his love, Bella Rose (Lauren Molina).  His sister Susanna (Emma Degerstedt) is days away from officially becoming Sister Mary Jo.

The stalwart Sheriff Martin Green (a tall, lanky and handsome Peter Saide) comes up with a plot to save Johnny Blood from the noose that involves his sister (whom Sheriff Green has more than an eye for) approaching the cruel and lecherous Governor von Richterhenkenpflichtgetruber (Nick Wyman with a heavy German accent; enjoying every lecherous moment to the hilt and more) to grant Johnny a pardon.

Aye.  There’s the rub.  The Governor will grant the pardon IF would-be in a few days Sister Mary Jo sleeps with him – losing her chastity but gaining her brother’s freedom.  Tit for tat so to speak.

Clever Sheriff Green gets Bella Rose to pull the old Shakespearean switcheroo in the dark bedroom of the Governor.  All’s well and good but we are unintentionally reminded of all that horrifying alleged lewd behavior of Harvey Weinstein.

But this is tame musical comedy land and we soon move on to further amusing complications in Act II ending with a Lucy and Harpo sight gag and a double wedding that leads to the off into the sunset uplifting finale.

James Morgan has designed another fine set with clever sign posts.  Costumes by Nicole Wee are character perfect.  The music direction and orchestrations by David Hancock Turner enhance the lively and almost retro score.  How refreshing to hear melodies and lyrics that fall wonderfully on the ear – caressing rather than bombarding.

If music be the food of love – play on!  And on.  And on.  2 hour 15 minutes 1 intermission

www.yorktheatre.org

Photos:  Carol Rosegg

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