602 posts categorized "THEATRE"

May 28 2015
Brace For Impact: Pam Ann Requesting Permission To Land Comments (0)

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Take-no-hijacked prisoners comedy sensation Pam Ann (called cruelly funny by the funnily cruel Madonna) is back in NYC for six shows at the Triad with Flight 72.

“The Triad is the most divine theater. It's like a teenie-weenie Broadway house. It means I can interact with the audience and really serve the hell out of each and every one of them. Well, not the ones in the back; those cheap bastards can bring their own damn peanuts.”

Pam Ann, the creation and alter ego of Australian comedian Caroline Reid, is not for the faint of heart, and no barf bags will be provided for those of you incapable of tolerating the kind of humor that could bring down a DC-10 (then again, a seagull could bring one of those down).

I'm looking forward to seeing her perform for the first time after having friends rave about her to me for years.

 
May 26 2015
Monroe Doctrine: A Review Of IAMFAMOUS Comments (0)

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I've known Marcus Monroe, a juggler and comedian, since he was a teenager. But I only knew him remotely—he would pitch me when I ran a teen mag, and I would put him in when possible because he was charming indefatigable in getting the word out about his unique talents.

Finally, we met in person last week when he did his show IAMFAMOUS at Joe's Pub at the Public. It was the perfect venue for his act, which could be described as a mix of groaner-stoner humor, anarchic witticisms and, you know, throwing stuff and catching it.

Marcus-Monroe-heroWhen he cracked a 420 joke, Monroe followed with, “I'm a professional juggler—figure it out.”

Monroe skillfully displays a supreme unconfidence on stage, playing a dippy character so well that his occasional zingers are doubly surprising—the topics of politics, drugs,  race, gender, sexual identity and, predominantly, popular culture are touched on.

UnnamedHe was occasionally off the mark, such as the time he shouted, “Black-out!” to indicate the lights should go down, and two black audience members in the front row hurriedly got up to leave. Stuff like that felt a little less carefully conceived than his elaborate run-down (and stealth running-down of) what it means to be Internet-famous.

The show ended with a fake money shot of geyser-like proportions and Marcus gussied up as “Angel” from Rent, but those moments weren't nearly as outrageous as when he aggressively juggled razor-sharp knives.

The guy is good! Glad I wrote about him back in the day; turns out he deserved it.

10659-4655The audience included actor Fred Weller and, front and center, Lucie Arnaz and Larry Luckinbill. I'd met Lucie after her amazing cabaret show, but had always wanted to meet Larry so I could gush to him about The Boys in the Band (1970), which I was finally able to do. It was very interesting stealing glances at Lucie as she took in the show (she has produced him in the past), thinking of the old-school comedy greats she had known and seen in action; she seemed as impressed as anyone else, and as surprised by the steady stream of out-of-nowhere one-liners coming from the dude tossing around bowling pins.

 
May 24 2015
Comedy Legend Anne Meara Dies @ 85 Comments (0)

159184422September 20, 1929—May 23, 2015

13005-young-jerry-stiller-anne-mearaThe idea of how a person is remembered came up for me today because I was updating ExtraTV.com (a weekend gig) and because it's an entertainment site, my way into the story of the deaths of John and Alicia Nash was via Russell Crowe and the A Beautiful Mind movie. Obviously, if I was doing a New York Times obit or a local New Jersey newspaper obit, that connection would be prominently mentioned, but not the sole purpose for reporting it. Some readers were annoyed that a photo of Crowe from the film was used to promote my post.

Which I think is ridiculously misplaced offense, because without their having been portrayed by Crowe and Jennifer Connelly, their deaths would have no place on an entertainment site at all.

But in general, the concept of how one is remembered comes up again with Anne Meara, who died today at the age of 85. Many outlets will report that Ben Stiller's mom died, or that one half of the comedy team Stiller & Meara died. She was both of those things, and it's perfectly acceptable that she was primarily one or the other to a portion of the population.

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 10.41.48 PMMeara's red hair was her signature.

It's not an insult to be remembered for specific things (especially several of them); it's a gift, an honor.

But along with being Ben Stiller's mom and Jerry Stiller's straight woman, Meara was a truly gifted actress with a too commonly untapped range. She excelled in live theater (she won an Obie 60 years ago, was Tony-nominated), gave one of my favorite dramatic performances on film in the '90s in the 1996 movie The Daytrippers and was able to enhance almost any throwaway TV guest appearance, of which she made many.

There was a truly funny brashness, an intellect that made her dumb-bunny characters sassily wise and a noteworthy sense of timing that made her funnier than many of her peers.

A real loss.

 
May 18 2015
Selfie-Absorbed: Mark MacKillop At 54 Below Comments (0)
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BOY CULTURE REVIEW: ***1/2 OUT OF ****

I thought my friend Mark MacKillop's show at 54 Below was going to be straight, or rather gay, cabaret, but that was before I realized the title was A ballet dancer/one-summer's-go-go-boy/aging model/aspiring musical theatre star/alcoholic sings the standards, or A Night with Mark MacKillop.

Mark-MacKillop-1Mark MacKillop, the latest hot piece found in the basement of Studio 54

From the get-go, it was clear MacKillop wasn't going to simply croon, but was more interested in getting laughs, often at the expense of his own lampooned ego. He went on an aggressive smarm offensive worthy of Cinderella's Prince in Into the Woods, and it paid off. He oozed confidence, then pointed at the ooze and laughed at it.

His singing was solid, too, though jumps from surgically delivered satire sometimes made for slightly awkward transitions, especially when he was belting out something as over-the-top earnest as a signature Céline Dion tune.

But those moments were few and far between. More common were moments of hilarity, and some transcendent connections between singer and song.

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Laura Oldham, as his bikini-clad helper, assisted MacKillop as he sang his way through the six steps to Insta-fame, sometimes snarkily and sometimes sincerely. She got huge laughs for her progressively drunken, seemingly improvised shtick, and MacKillop graciously shared the stage and his audience's appreciation for her bravura contributions. It was a match made in heaven, as both Oldham and MacKillop are hot, but were poking fun at themselves as if they were not.

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May 10 2015
Did You Get The Memo?: Elizabeth Wilson Dies @ 94 Comments (0)

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Elizabeth Wilson, an actor with a long career who will forever be remembered as “Roz” in Nine to Five (1980), has died at 94.

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 9.13.29 PMNice rack, Dustin!

Wilson was a staple of Mike Nichols films, most importantly The Graduate (1967), and played the cousin of Edith Bunker on All in the Family. More about her career here.

 
May 03 2015
Nice Asimov! BenDeLaCreme Shoots For The Stars Comments (0)

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Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 4.37.07 PMI don't know where you think BeDeLaCreme falls in the ranking of all of RuPaul's greatest queens, but her spot would be infinitely, intergalactically higher if you ever catch her one-drag-queen show BenDeLaCreme's Cosmos.

Closing today at the Laurie Beechman (but back in the fall), the piece shows off DeLa's amazing sense of wordplay (which is light years beyond duh-obvious puns) via her stupid-smart character, who flits from space cadet to rocket scientist with the greatest of ease.

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 4.41.20 PMThe entire show spoofs science (how's that for subject matter?), all the while communicating the basic premise of quantum mechanics, cell theory, the Big Bang, evolution and more ... accurately!

If your theory is that BenDeLaCreme is one of her generation's most talented drag queens, it's highly provable—only your attendance is required.

Catch her any time you can. Uranus will thank you.

 
Apr 28 2015
The Year Of The Broadway Musical? Comments (0)

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An American in Paris, Fun Home and Something Rotten! received 34 Tony nominations between them, meaning Best Musical is going to be pretty cutthroat this year.

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Congrats to out actor Max von Essen for his nomination. He recently decried the need for Broadway actors to stay closeted; oddly, some of them still are.

 
Apr 27 2015
Jayne Meadows Dies @ 95 Comments (0)

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Jayne Meadows, the widow of Steve Allen, the sister of Audrey Meadows and an actress on the stage, in movies and especially on TV for many decades, has died at 95.

I found it touching, in her obit (at the link), that her sister's last word was, “Jayne.”

Updated: Last Star Standing post, of all the oldest stars still with us.