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Everything posted by Anthony_NYC

  1. Not only that, but Hozier himself turned the song into an anti-homophobia anthem with his own video. Did Polunin just not realize any of this at the time, or has he changed? I agree he seems to need help. Sad case.
  2. Anyway, the problem with the show is still that Tony gets “Something’s Coming” and “Maria” at the beginning of the first act, but Maria never gets much of a musical personality of her own aside from prettiness.
  3. In think it was the sharp-tongued Arthur Laurents who said that. Sondheim relates the interesting information that the melody, in simpler form, originally was written for Candide, and John Latouche’s lyrics were one word per note: One Hand, One Heart. Your Hand, My Heart. Sondheim had to plead with Bernstein to let him add more syllables.
  4. In the play, the first act is all Tony. Maria begins the second act with the traditional “charm” number, “I feel pretty.” Later, she gets “I have a love,” and finally, in the original design, a sort of mad scene after Tony’s death. So there was a built-in shift of focus from Tony to Maria. Well, the mad scene was eventually eliminated by the creators, and if you take away “I have a love,” too, you leave Maria only feeling pretty. My own preference would be to go the opposite way and restore the cut in “A boy like that/I have a love” that the movie chopped up so horribly.
  5. I was wondering about that. It struck me as the one poor performance of the night. Twenty years is a generation of dancers. Doesn't the Balanchine Trust send somebody to freshen his ballets up, or is that only if a company requests it?
  6. Maybe the strangest thing for me about McGregor’s new ballet is that the gassing seems like it should shock, and it doesn’t, really. I’m not sure if that’s deliberate or not. (I saw it Tuesday, and I still can’t say I understand what the thing was about.) The idea that ABT should include a warning when a ballet isn’t child-friendly bothers me in a couple ways. First, it seems to me it would promote the cliche that ballet is a decorative art, nice and “girly,” where everything occurs in some fairyland. One doesn’t expect a new play to advertise how many deaths occur in it, and what kind; a parent reads up and decides whether to take their child. And what is child-friendly anyway? Swan Lake, that ends with a double suicide? Wouldn’t it make more sense for ballet companies to offer a few short programs geared towards small children? (Finally, and this is purely a personal opinion—obviously people can raise their kids however they like—but I think many parents worry too much about protecting their children from, well, life. I say, take ‘em to stuff, even grown up stuff if they seem to have interest. If they’re old enough to have questions, then it’s a great opportunity to have a meaningful discussion with them.)
  7. Murder is common enough on stage (especially in opera), but I’m trying to think of any other theater piece where a young child is killed in front of the audience. I remember reading about a Neil LaBute play where a baby is dropped from a window. Any others? Seems pretty unusual.
  8. I'm sure lots of us know (or are) individuals who serve on boards--hard-working, dedicated, generous people, every single one of them. But then they get together to form boards, and what happens with this kind of thing? On the one side, you have the boards of NYCB and the Met whitewashing over complaints for years. On the other, you have ABT suddenly letting one of their greatest dancers resign over a complaint about something that happened outside the company. Whether ignoring or overreacting, it's all just feckless, it seems to me. In ABT's case, it's seat-of-their pants stuff masquerading as being tough and principled. I'm sure these smart people know it, but they need to come up with a real plan to deal with sexual misconduct. Right now! Way past due. I'm just sorry, and kind of angry (in the to my mind ridiculous case of Gomes), that they hadn't done so previously. What a mess.
  9. And now Charles Dutoit. http://time.com/5075834/charles-dutoit-sexual-assault-accusation/
  10. Can I just say one thing relating to all of this? Well, two things. First, it’s about time that sexual improprieties and harassment, and sex crimes, are taken seriously. Glad to see it. But also: We shouldn’t say “Everybody knew about it.” No, everybody didn’t. Everybody heard the rumors, which is a very different thing. And when we spread rumors about something as serious as the sexual molestation of minors, we contribute to the kind of atmosphere of whispering scandal and shame that makes it unlikely victims will ever want to come forward. (And sometimes, just possibly, you’ll help slander somebody in a really terrible way I know—I did it once and it haunts me forever. You can never undo the damage.) When you’re not the victim or haven’t heard a first-hand account, it’s a really hard call. When do you speak, and to whom? I don’t know. But over the years I heard so many people mention this with a kind of smirk, as if it were a sick joke. Children being molested—It’s not a laughing matter! If you DO know something, you have to call the authorities, even if the victim doesn’t want it. Otherwise it just keeps going on.
  11. Yeah, I guess I missed Misty, but she’s not the star, anyway. What I hate in the trailer is the portentous treatment of the music for the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Hollywood seems to have only one mode these days. But trailers are usually awful regardless of the quality of the movie, so I guess we’ll see.
  12. Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see a discussion here about this. It comes out next November. I believe it was rumored Misty Copeland would star, but it appears they gave up on ballet and cast Keira Knightley instead as the Sugar Plum Fairy. (You may want to have a drink in your hand before watching and especially listening to the trailer.)
  13. Has anybody ever flung themselves into a lake with more spectacular beauty than Herman Cornejo?
  14. Glad to see the tepid reviews, actually, since otherwise it's gotten such great notices. The choreography was really so dull--more "let's pretend like we're dancing in an old musical" than the real thing. I guess that's intentional, but the charm wears thin over two hours. The movie is perfectly pleasant--I myself wasn't bored--but I don't really understand all the raves. The performers are very likable. People compare it aptly to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. If you loved that movie, you might love this one. The score, by a composer I've never heard of, was also pleasant and unmemorable. I wouldn't mind hearing that the same forces try another one. Maybe they'll get bolder or more original with experience.
  15. I wonder if anybody can help me with a little more information about the "Luna Park" section of Charles B. Cochran's 1930 Revue (link below). Most of all, I'd like to confirm that the Luna Park this is about is the original one on Coney Island; and, if so, which of the creators are known to have visited it. (Was Kochno ever there?) Was any element of the actual Luna Park depicted on the stage, or was it more general or impressionistic? And finally, do we know for sure who choreographed this section? The liner notes for the recording state it was Balanchine, but the Balanchine Catalogue doesn't really spell it out, unfortunately. http://balanchine.org/balanchine/display_result.jsp?num=99
  16. I agree with pretty much everything abatt said. (I too saw it in a late preview.) There is so much talent and joy on stage, so much pure pleasure to be had, it's a shame the whole show isn't quite good enough to keep the crowds coming in. (With his book, Wolfe begins to seem like the kind of obsessed fanboy who just can't keep himself from telling you every little fact he has learned about the the original "Shuffle Along.") Nevertheless, I plan to see it again before it closes. I'm a gigantic Audra McDonald fan, and it's fun to watch her having so much fun. If you're in New York, try and get a ticket--send the wonderful company off on a string of sold-out houses. They deserve to be cheered.
  17. Having just come across this discussion about a favorite ballet of mine, I just wanted to say that I think you're spot about this. I don't think Robbins is being misogynist at all with the handbag moment--he's just being true to life. The ballet is so wonderfully specific about its time (the 40s), place (New York), gender and age (guys in their late teens), situation (out in the world on their own for the first time: big stuff!), etc., that I feel sure Robbins meant this moment to be a little mean--because that's how inexperienced boys act, teasing instead of seducing, and showing off for one another and for one girl for whom they're all competing. You're right about the score, too: I always notice how there's a twitch of adolescent sexuality throughout, sometimes on the surface, sometimes below it. Eventually it comes to outright violence, of course--at which point Robbins has the girls stand up and walk out permanently on the boys, and good for them! (And boys being boys, after a moment of seeming reflection and remorse, they continue chasing girls, lessons unlearned.) Anyway, this is just to say that I think the undercurrent of danger and violence is a deliberate theme and it gives the ballet more substance and interest than it otherwise might have--and makes it funnier and more touchingly real at the same time.
  18. I enjoy "Give a Girl a Break" too. Wally Heglin, who also did "Singing' in the Rain," among many other credits, orchestrated the dance numbers and they sound fabulous. (André Previn was the music director.)
  19. I think the subject of the Grandfather Dance" (Großvatertanz) has been discussed here before. It basically functioned in Germany the same way "Good Night, Ladies" used to in America, as the tune that indicates to the guests that the party is over. The Stahlbaums are a German family, of course, so it's appropriate, but it also gives all the ballets characters (including the grandparents!) a chance to all dance together one last time before dispersing, now with charmingly simple formal steps that emphasize the feeling of long family tradition. It works well dramatically as well because the music then transitions nicely into that lovely fade-out music that, in Balanchine's version, segues into the middle-of-the night violin solo when all that is traditional and familiar and comfortable starts to give way to disruptive forces. I don't think any reference to Schumann was intended.
  20. I suspect I can get an instant answer here, so here goes. I'm trying to find a famous photograph of Balanchine rehearsing (or perhaps choreographing) Robert Schumann's Davidsbündlertänze. In the photo, there are at least two couples dancing in costume amidst Ter-Arutunian's set, while Balanchine himself is in profile in the middle, arms flung in the air, looking for all the world like Schumann himself in an ecstasy spinning out his poetic dreams (as in Lüders's solo in the ballet). First of all, I'd love just to know who is the photographer was. And is a print available for sale anywhere, even if only in a book? Anthony
  21. I had the privilege of meeting him briefly a few times over the years, and wish the obits could say that in addition to his many well-known accomplishments, he seemed always to be just the nicest guy.
  22. This talk about what Charisse is wearing in the "Dancing in the Dark" number makes me smile. I watched this movie a couple years ago with a female friend, and her first comment after the number was over was, "I want that skirt!" And I guess I'd always noticed how attractive it is, too. Interesting how something so simple can make such a difference. Anyway, it's a wonderful number, once of the very best of the Astaire duets. (My other favorite part of the movie is the timpani player.)
  23. I didn't get to see it, but tonight at ABT somebody told me that the Sutton Foster character is based on Heather Watts?
  24. They're available only to libraries, so pass this information on to your librarian! Full press release here.
  25. (Sorry everybody! I realize now that the article by Croce, which I wasn't able to get to at the time dirac posted the link and so only just now read, actually addressed the very subject of the songs introduced by Astaire.) While it's true that his dancing was what made Astaire a star, I think Gershwin must have recognized him as possibly the ideal vessel for his songs. Astaire could sing presentably (certainly better than Rogers) and moreover was one of those rare performers who could deliver a song straight up and as naturally as if he were speaking--a definitive statement, as it were; but then he could elaborate on that, highlight the jazzy sophistication of the music alone, by dancing it and turning it into everybody's fantasy of glamour and wit and romance. Given that kind of treatment, is it any wonder that so many of the songs Astaire introduced did go on to become standards? And could be that given the unadorned way Astaire sang the songs, it left the door open for more cultivated singers to re-record them in their own unique style.
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