Friday, March 27, 2009

Catching up on theatre TV

The only time I watch The View is when they have Broadway-related guests. Otherwise, I'm not really into the banter. But this week featured a great lineup. You can watch the interviews here.

On Thursday, the guest was Angela Lansbury, currently appearing as the medium Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit. Miss Lansbury looked wonderful - so fit and full of energy. "I love being back on stage again," she said. "It gives me a tremendous lift and it's made me feel not my age - which you probably all know." I do, but I'm not going to tell.

Then today, Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon, the royal couple from Exit the King, made an appearance, walking into the studio looking appropriately regal in their floor-length robes. It was hilarious, and what a great way to promote the play. "We had to wear them today," Rush explained, "because Susan and I are both deeply method actors." Although Rush's crown did look like something they hand out at Burger King.

And Theater Talk took a road trip from New York to visit the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Since I made my first trip to the Guthrie in September, to see the Little House on the Prairie musical, it was neat to learn a little bit more about its history from artistic director Joe Dowling.

A highlight: Getting to see the backstage area where the sets and costumes are put together. This video shows how the Guthrie craftspeople made the individual stalks of wheat for the Little House on the Prairie set.


Dale said...

Aha! I'm thinking about a little journey to see Blithe Spirit! There may also be time as well for a little God of Carnage.

Esther said...

Yeah, both of those are on my list, too. Along with about a dozen other shows! I saw Angela Lansbury and Marian Seldes in Deuce and even though the play didn't get great reviews, I really enjoyed both of them. And even though the tv and movie stars can be disappointing on Broadway (I'm talking about you, Jeremy Piven!) I really want to see James Gandolfini! Plus, spring is a great time to be in New York.

Pun said...

Hey. Followed you here after reading your comment on Vance's Tapeworthy blog. I'm the blogmaster for the Spring Awakening National Tour. Are you based in Boston? Will you be reviewing Spring Awakening at any point in its tour? Please let me know if you do:

Sorry..that was a tangent. Wanted to say thanks for posting those clips from the VIew. Geoffrey Rush is AMAZING in Exit the King. It's a MUST see if you're comign to New York.

Great blog! I'm following!

Esther said...

Thanks for the comment, Pun. I'm in Providence and that's where I'll be seeing "Spring Awakening." I saw it on Broadway with the original cast and I loved it, so I'm really looking forward to the tour.

Dale said...

I had wanted to see Deuce but didn't so that makes me a Dunce. I'll be seeing Blithe Spirit, God of Carnage and Mary Stuart in a couple of weeks and am now thinking I may be able to fit in a fourth.

I'm curious about the show Pun mentioned but had read in several spots that apart from Geoffrey Rush's performance, things aren't so fantastic with the show. Decisions, decisions!

Esther said...

Hey Dale,

Yeah, I know, it's so hard to choose. I always want to see just about everything, but I always fall short. :-(

Well, Deuce didn't get the greatest reviews but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Just listening to Angela Lansbury and Marian Seldes - two great actresses - talking for 90 minutes was enthralling. I could have sat there and listened to their characters for another 90 minutes!

Your lineup sounds great. I've heard that Janet McTeer is wonderful in Mary Stuart.

But seriously, I think you need a musical to balance things out. Of course, as someone who sadly never got to be a hippie, Hair would be my first choice but I'd love to see West Side Story, too.

And if you haven't seen Billy Elliot, I can tell you from firsthand experience that it's terrific.

Dale said...

I was thinking Billy might be just the thing. I generally go for a mix of musicals and straight plays but this time the plays just sort of took over! I loved the film Billy Elliott and I hear all good things about the theatre production.

I'm not sure why but I've never been able to get all the way through the film of West Side Story. I know little about Hair (my own or the show) so I'll mull those over but appreciate the recommendations. I was hoping you'd pony up with a few. :-)

Esther said...

Billy Elliot is a great choice, especially if you loved the film. You'll get to see it with Haydn Gwynne, who's hilarious as Billy's dance teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson. Really, she came close to stealing the show for me. Gregory Jbara is great as Billy's father, too. Trent Kowalik played Billy the night I saw it and he's a terrific dancer. (As all the Billys are!)