Quick Change

In 47 seconds Kelli O’Hara makes a quick costume change during this year’s Tony Awards. Don’t try this at home.

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Porgy and Bess

I’d seen the full-length version of Gershwin’s opera many years ago, and was leery of this new version when I first heard about it. But I have to say that it is irresistible. Audra McDonald is electrifying as Bess, a true force of nature. And, oh, that music! It’s Gershwin’s best score, sung by a brilliant cast. Not to be missed.

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Sondheim Forever

Caught a preview of Sondheim’s “Follies”, which has moved virtually intact to Broadway from the Kennedy Center in DC. I expected Bernadette Peters to be a knockout doing “Losing My Mind”, but the whole cast was spectacular, with standout versions of “Could I Leave You”, “Broadway Babies”, “I’m Still Here”, and much more. If you want to know why Steven Sondheim has won more Tony Awards than any other composer, go to the Marquis Theater this Fall and you’ll find out.

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Broadway in Millburn

I confess I’m often guilty of thinking the only culture in the area resides east of the Hudson. My prejudices were thoroughly undermined this past weekend when I caught a revival of “Les Miserables” at the Paper Mill Playhouse. Less than a mile from our studio in Short Hills, this theatre continually produces shows that equal the best of Broadway. “Les Miserables” was, if anything, better than the production I saw on the east side of the Hudson in the late 80s. And getting home afterwards was a breeze.

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Bernadette Peters’ Triumph

You haven’t heard “Send In The Clowns” until you’ve heard Bernadette Peters sing it. Yes, I know Judy Collins and countless others, even Frank Sinatra, have covered this Sondheim classic, but Ms Peters’ is incomparable. She and fellow cast member Elaine Strich make theater magic in the revival of “A Little Night Music” on Broadway. Saw it with some cousins from the West Coast, and it was a very special evening. You have until January 9th to catch what will be remembered as the definitive casting of this sweetly elegiac musical.

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Shakespeare is Alive and Well in Lenox

Shakespeare and Company’s first home was in the gardens and drawing rooms of The Mount, Edith Wharton’s estate. In 2000 they moved to a thirty-acre campus just down the road in Lenox, Mass. Today Tina Packer’s creation is one of the finest resident theatre companies in America. We try to catch at least one show every year. This year we saw a very impressive Richard III. One of Shakespeare’s more entertaining history plays, Richard is a portrait of a villain you love to hate. John Douglas Thompson, whom we saw as a luminous Othello last year, played Richard to perfection, and the rest of the company was equally impressive.

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Red

I’m always interested in plays, books or movies about the creative process, and the current hit show and Tony Award winner on Broadway by John Logan about abstract impressionist Mark Rothko is a great example of the genre. Alfred Molina is brilliant as the famously intellectual artist, and I loved the play in spite of several barbs directed at interior designers and their clients who think of art as merely decoration. Rothko’s goal was to create art that is a transcendent, spiritual experience for the viewer and the play successfully communicates the process by which his mesmerizing canvasses were born.

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