All tagged Robert Westenberg
This week we received some exciting news via Lincoln Center announcing that Bartlett Sher will be directing My Fair Lady for LCT’s Vivian Beaumont in 2018. My Fair Lady has not returned to the Broadway stage since Richard Chamberlain and Melissa Errico starred in a 1993 revival, and that production was not exactly embraced as definitive. Bartlett Sher is a master of staging in the Beaumont’s space, a luxuriously open thrust where the audience wraps around the playing area. He has mined many magical moments on this stage, probing the possibilities of the space with productions of The Light in the Piazza, South Pacific, and The King and I. My Fair Lady is an elegant show, one of the wittiest and most-intellectual of Broadway musicals (based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion), featuring a lush and literate Lerner and Loewe score. How can we not be excited to see how Sher marries this sparkling property with the space where he works his best magic?
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Coming off their Pulitzer Prize-winning artistic success of Sunday in the Park with George, composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim and book writer/director James Lapine would turn their eyes to the world of fairy tales for their next Broadway musical. This would not be the Disney world of fairy tales with altruistic magic and happy-ever-afters giving us warm fuzzies. No, this musical would delve into the deep and dark psychologies of fairy tales, exploring the grimmest of Grimm fairy tales, violence in tact, but moral ambiguity in question. The result would be the now-classic Into the Woods.
We all have our favorite musical, this is something most of us cannot deny. We feel guilty choosing one, but we do. Still, some of us take our obsession with a particular musical to a new level, and mine has always been with the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical Into the Woods. There is so much wisdom and understanding of human nature buried inside this musical that, every time I return to it, I learn something new or make an observation that I hadn’t the first 200 times I’ve watched, listened to, or read it.
Most people who attend Broadway plays and musicals on a regular basis have established a certain affection for a particular venue. Maybe we had a wonderful experience at a particular theatre, or maybe we have had several. Perhaps a certain theatre is more comfortable, more conveniently located, or maybe it just glows with the wonderful ghosts of shows gone by? For me, my favorite theatre will always be the St. James, owned and operated by Jujamycn Theatre and the home of a long line of Broadway hits that have been ensconced within its walls on 44th street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.