The hardknock life of Americans battered down by lean financial times gets the musical treatment in the new show Hands on a Hardbody. Composed by Trey Anastasio (of Phish phame) and Amanda Green with a book by Doug Wright, Hardbody adapts its story from the 1997 documentary about 10 Texans trying to win a pickup truck. The rules of the contest are simple: whoever keeps their hands on the truck the longest wins. The musical dramatizes the endurance competition while highlighting each of the contestants’ backstories. Read more
Broadway turns it down a notch (or two or three) for the low-key stage musical adaptation of the 2006 indie film hit Once. A pair of fresh faces (Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti) play Guy and Girl, the roles made famous by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (also the composers) in the movie. He, a hangdog musician low on inspiration and drive, meets her, a muse brimming with pep talks and wisdom, and the two form a musical kinship that enriches much more than their art.
The No. 1 Reason To See Once: Cristin Milioti’s stoic humor Read more
There are three larger-than-life personalities on stage in Katori Hall’s two-person play, The Mountaintop: Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Of course, Jackson is playing King, but it’s the three of them that share the stage. In this new play, King returns to his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis after delivering his famous “I’ve been to the mountaintop” speech. The night is April 3, 1968—the eve of King’s assassination. As he unwinds from the evening, a housekeeper named Camae delivers him coffee (played by Bassett), and the two proceed to have the most important conversation of King’s life.
The No. 1 Reason To See The Mountaintop: The blending of history and fantasy Read more
Small-town discontent is at the heart of That Championship Season, but in this revival, there are no small names to be found in the cast. Kiefer Sutherland, Chris Noth, Jason Patric, and Jim Gaffigan play unhappy former high school basketball teammates who reunite with their coach (Brian Cox) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their state championship win. Yet instead of cheerful reminiscing, tempers (and lots of booze) spill over.
Normally, this formula makes for guaranteed entertainment, a la August: Osage County or the film The Big Chill. Yet Championship Season feels a little too playwriting-by-numbers. Everyone has their own specific hangup: Sutherland is a school principal who feels that he lacks power; Patric is Sutherland’s alcoholic brother who sneers disapprovingly at everyone; Noth is tired of being valued only for his wealth, and he’s a womanizer; Gaffigan is the mayor who lacks brains, and he knows it. The problem is that with four troubled characters (and a quartet of heavyweight actors playing them), no one gets enough time to fully-develop their issues.
Cox’s Coach is the puppet master who takes credit for shaping the lives of these men (although not so much their flaws, which has his name all over them too). Since the focus is too divided among the four former teammates, Coach’s character is the one in which playwright Jason Miller gets to dig the deepest. With his reverence for Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Senator Joseph McCarthy, and his wild racism that bubbles beneath the surface, it is evident that Coach planted many of his personal seeds in his pseudo sons. Perhaps more interesting is Coach’s disapproval for the men’s appalling behavior, and subsequent blindness to his contribution to it. Read more
I was there when it played off Broadway, then attended the media day, and even was present at its first Broadway preview. So when I was invited to the opening night performance and party of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, despite my excitement, I worried people would start thinking I was a Jackson groupie. And maybe I am! Well, not exactly, but there’s no shame in supporting a show that’s this good or one you believe in. And I believe in Andrew Jackson.
I was the plus one of the very generous Sammy Davis, my friend and the mind behind the self-titled Sammy Davis Vintage, who is a vintage fashion expert and stylist. We arrived at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre early enough to soak up the opening-night flashbulbs and festivities occurring on the street. We first saw Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts walk the press line, followed by the very pregnant Katie Finneran, Eve Best, Keith Powell, and Andrew McCarthy. Bloody Bloody writer/director Alex Timbers and composer Michael Friedman also passed through photographers, looking ebullient for the debut of their creative baby. Getting swept up in all the famous faces and buzz, it was easy to lose track of time, and we realized we should go in and take our seats before we missed the curtain.
The excitement in the theater was palpable. I had already observed Donyale Werle and Justin Townsend’s enveloping set and lighting when I attended the first preview performance, but I swear the ornaments glowed brighter this night. The performance began 15 minutes late, but when it did, the audience gave the cast of Bloody Bloody a warm welcome. Title star Benjamin Walker riffed a little more than usual in his opening statements, warning the audience that their sustained applause was just delaying them all from the open bar at the after party. Read more
After receiving what was undoubtedly the most kick-ass history lesson of my life last spring when I saw Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at The Public Theater, I wondered how the show would handle a Broadway transfer. Even now, the emo-rock musical about America’s seventh president still has a more off-Broadway feel to me. Its humor is incredibly specific and the story verges on off-putting and offensive at times. But like its title character, this show doesn’t follow convention.
Now playing at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre, Bloody Bloody has once again opened with commitment. The show’s focused style of humor and aesthetics would not work without pure dedication, and Bloody Bloody has gone whole hog. Or rather whole horse, as one hangs upside down from the ceiling over the audience.
Walking into the home of Bloody Bloody is an instant immersion into another world. Scenic designer Donyale Werle has done stupendous work, expanding beautifully on the setting at The Public. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Bloody Bloody last spring was the all-inclusive set design, with gaudy chandeliers and Christmas lights stretching far out into the audience. Werle has adapted the themes wonderfully for the 1,000-seat Jacobs Theatre. The house is splashed in deep read and painted portraits adorn the walls all the way to the back. The Christmas lights and chandeliers have returned, hoisted high above the audience, stretching back through the mezzanine. The Jacobs Theatre looks like a ghoulish setting for a Halloween party.
Once in the theater, the audience is prepped for all the sights of Bloody Bloody. The creative team for this show is the one to beat come Tony season. Werle, lighting designer Justin Townsend, and costume designer Emily Rebholz have collaborated with such unity. Rebholz’s costumes have done the actors the service of making them look as sexy and radical as they need to portray themselves. All aspects of Bloody Bloody fit together like a puzzle. Read more
- Thank you for making 30 episodes of SRTV possible!
- Winning the American Idiot ticket lottery and getting a detailed view of the show
- Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson cast rocks the press and gives sneak peak of show
- Trust underwhelms, but the acting saves
- Broadway grosses
Have you gotten a close-up view of American Idiot, Rushers? Are you marking your calendar’s for Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson’s first performance on Broadway? What did you think of their performance for the press? Did you catch Zach Braff in Trust? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Indians and politicians invaded the Playwrights Horizons Theatre on Wednesday when the cast and creative team of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson met with the press to promote their upcoming September 20 Broadway bow. The cast came armed with a medley performance of two of the show’s numbers, and writer/director Alex Timbers offered a sneak peak of what will happen when Jackson takes the stage.
Video: The cast of Bloody Bloody Andre Jackson performs “Populism, Yea Yea” and “Rock Star”
- Seeing American Idiot, during Green Day’s surprise appearance
- Interviewing God of Carnage standby Charlotte Maier
- Charlotte gives Stage Rush a video tour of her dressing room at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre
- Broadway grosses
Does trying to score discount tickets to a show a week after it won the Tony for Best Play seem overambitious? Not if you just played The Ultimate Rush.
Since God of Carnage did, in fact, win that prestigious award just a week before I decided to get standing-room-only tickets for it, I knew I’d have to get to the theater early. (It’s one of those pesky shows that doesn’t offer a student rush. Excuuuse me!) Thanks to a summer Fridays policy at my work, I was able to arrive at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre at 3:45 p.m. (standing tickets go on sale two hours prior to the performance). I was the first on line, and thus, felt pretty confident in my chances of getting a ticket. I had asked the box office attendant where we standing-room hopefuls should line up. I always think that’s a smart way to go; it’s better than having them rearrange the line later because you’ve all formed in the wrong place. Not long after I took my place outside the theater, about 25 people joined me in line, and over the course of two hours, we experienced The Rush of Dumb Questions. “Are you in line?” a woman asked no one in particular in our linear formation. “Are you waiting for tickets?” a woman queried me (being at the head of the line also has its disadvantages). The taker has to be the woman who asked, “What are you waiting for?” Me: “Standing room tickets.” Woman: “So you stand?” (pause) Me: “Yes.” Don’t they read this blog?? But all was made better when a very enthusiastic, possibly homeless man (who am I to assume?) answered a young couple who asked him if the show offered marked-down tickets. “This show doesn’t have discounts! Do you know how many Tonys they won??” At 6:10 p.m. (a little late), the box office attendant ushered us into the lobby. I purchased my standing room ticket for $26.50 (you can buy up to two) and “prepared myself for the chaos and the carnage,” as the theater usher would ask me, deadpanned, later when I took my spot for the performance. Read more