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Mary J

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  1. "A Little Night Music" is an excellent example of bad casting with an eye to the box office. It paired Len Cariou (in the Broadway role he originated) with Elizabeth Taylor who was overweight and looked exhausted the entire movie. I hardly believe it was her singing voice. I am amazed it ever made it out of pre-production! And "The Sound of Music" overcame strange casting by generating some sort of chemistry between its principals - Julie Andrews (who was too old but performed valiantly) and Christopher Plummer (who didn't sing but never let his distaste for the part show through). I, too, missed the Baroness/Max songs, and also hated the "I have confidence" or whatever it was called - one of the worst songs ever in terms of an energetic melody and incomprehensible lyrics!
  2. I generally like Miss Bonham Carter but her casting as Mrs. Lovett is far from ideal, on so many levels. I can only think, in my highly skeptical way, that they cannot put too high powered an actress in that part for fear that Mr. Depp (who is very talented but not at all suited for the title role, IMHO) will be overwhelmed. It is my understanding that Sondheim retains a fair amount of control as author of the piece, so apparently Tim Burton has bewitched him into agreeing to this cast. It is a double shame that the original Broadway cast of Cariou and Lansbury was never recorded and that this movie version, if weak, will be the one many people see/ remember. I found the recent revival fascinating and effective because the lyrics were so much clearer and the reduced orchestration very eerie but dramatically powerful - and Sondheim has such a way with words. In that regard particularly, any comparison with A. L. Webber (one b? two b's?) doesn't hold up.
  3. I saw The Lesson a number of times and I didn't see anything erotic about it unless you are into sadism. It is pure abuse of power. There may be something phallic about pointe shoes (as I recall, it is when the pupil wants to dance on pointe that the Teacher goes out of control) but in that case virtually every classic ballet would be erotic, too! It is very effective and surreal - especially with the distortions in the class room mirrors. It is hardly meant to reflect on ballet training - except metaphorically, of course.
  4. Get this set! I remember it from its original issue some time in the 1960's and would highly recommend it. I think it was intended as a companion to the Art of the Prima Donna thing that Bonynge did for his wife, Joan Sutherland.
  5. Mel - I agree about Citizen Kane - just don't get its appeal. And, very recently, A History of Violence - walked out before the end, and I thought I could sit through anything.
  6. Cynthia Gregory lives in Greenwich, CT, and I see her out and about in public from time to time. She is still striking, and very gracious when approached.
  7. Brief Encounter French Kiss All This and Heaven Too Now, Voyager (I listed these in no particular order, but it rather sounds like Acts I, II, III and IV!)
  8. Thanks! He must be a much younger brother since I would have guessed a difference of generations based on his appearance.
  9. Is the Garry Grant who dances Alain related to the immortal Alexander Grant who originated (I think) that role? He certainly resembles him. This is a charming DVD, BTW, and I watched it twice all the way through upon receiving it yesterday.
  10. I have not purchased autographed shoes but I do have signed shoes that were given to me by Merle Park, Cynthia Gregory, Cynthia Harvey and Paul Sutherland (who was a friend of mine). I also have an interesting pair of pointe shoes that are not autographed - decades ago I was shopping for pointe shoes at Freed's here in NYC and when I brought them home I looked at the bottom and one of them had "LANDER" written in pen on it. This was about 1969 -
  11. I thought I was the only one who read Motel of the Mysteries! It was given to me by someone with a wacky sense of humor who haunts used book shops. The illustrations are amazingly complex. I went to see the Gates last Wednesday, and I enjoyed the spectacle. On a sunny day, with bright blue sky and the wind blowing, the saffron color and relative stiffness of the fabric made the Gates seem festive and flag-like. The effect of the Gates on my perception of hills and curved paths was rather dramatic - I was seeing things about the park that I do not normally "see." The color really is NOT orange, to my eyes. It has virtually no red to it. Throngs of people filled every section of the park, and the vast majority of them were smiling, and interested. Not many works of "art" (however it can be defined) have that effect any more.
  12. Some of the most famous ads in the 1960s were for Blackglama mink coats, worn by such prominent types as Fonteyn and Nureyev. One of the very best subway ads of all time, I think for the NYC classical radio station WQXR, had ABT dancer Joey Carow (looking very James Dean) in a tux on a motocylce in front of Lincoln Center.
  13. Thanks, Helene! I couldn't have said it better myself. My friend Michele spent two years choosing music (including writing some herself), and then using it in the class setting to see what dancers liked and didn't like. The time in the studio recording (and re-recording) also took away from other earnings. She is absolutely dedicated to her accompanist practice, and loves to play for dancers, so this was a labor of love. But she also has to pay rent. This is not big bad greedy record company - this is someone in the ballet community, struggling just as dancers struggle to make ends meet.
  14. Just think of the price as amortization - the more often you practice to the cd, the lower the per use cost! (Sorry - I am a finance type!)
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