Ah yes, the late Vince Lombardi. I can see him now, back in the black and white TV era of the 1960s. He’s standing like a statue on the sidelines on the tundra that is a Green Bay football field. Legs apart, polo coat covering his broad shoulders, absurd fedora on his head. And most of all there’s his shouting, bellowing, at anyone nearby. The refs, his own players, his assistant coaches, were all fair game, targets of his single minded drive.
He was the Bill Belichick of his time, the best-known coach in all of football. Only louder, tougher, harder to deal with.
“Sons of the Prophet” comes to Rhode Island with a pretty darn good reputation. Brown University graduate Stephan Karam’s play was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and did win several awards that year. It was a favorite of Manhattan’s downtown theater crowd, too.
So, what happened?
At 2nd Story this work, which the author calls “a comedy about a guy coping with chronic pain” seems pretty much weak-kneed. Its “comedy” never really clicks; its philosophy, which seems to be that coping with the unspeakable can be nourishing, doesn’t seem real, or true.
Yes, you could figure that “Les Mis” might be just a tad over-saturated these days.
Many have seen it at least once. Or, they’ve heard the wonderful score.
But, you know what? “Les Mis” is still worth seeing, worth being affected by, worth pondering for its immense world view. And the production opening the season at Ocean State is a first-rate effort. No, it doesn’t have the great turntable racing the pace on stage. It hasn’t reached the incredible settings of Broadway or top flight road shows.
Credit Peter Goldberg / The Gamm TheatreCasey Seymour Kim and Alexander Platt in "Far Away" by Caryl Churchill, directed by Tony Estrella.Edit | Remove
For decades, English playwright Caryl Churchill has been accorded Goddess stature in the upper reaches of play writing circles. Fiercely political, strongly on the left, Churchill made her mark with plays of attitude and insight.
Okay, full disclosure. I have a major soft spot for “La Cage.” Ever since I was one of the many who stood and cheered at the end of the 1983 pre-Broadway tryout at Boston’s Colonial Theatre I’ve wanted “La Cage” to succeed wherever it plays.
And it’s not just the crisp score by Jerry Herman or the pungent humor of Harvey Fierstein’s lyrics. It is truly the message of becoming a decent human being and knowing who you are, and why, that’s allowed me to love “La Cage” over the years.
Ah, yes. “The sun’ll come out tomorrow/Bet your bottom dollar.” Most of us remember that lyric. And you know, when “Annie,” after trying out at the Goodspeed Opera House, opened on Broadway in 1977 it definitely earned a lot more than a buck. With its bouncy music and improbable but oh-so-charming, very American narrative the show was up for 18 Tony Awards, and won 14, including “Best Musical.”
The show then traveled from Boston to Bangkok as Annie and her dog Sandy, and her multi-millionaire benefactor Daddy Warbucks, made the sun shine once again around the world.
They call it The Great Friends Dance Festival and Island Moving, under the direction of veteran Rhode Island dancer/choreographer, Miki Ohlsen, has collected and collaborated with a half dozen or so companies and choreographers.
Some people, many actually, are enthralled by this musical taken almost completely from a poem by that Anglo-American literary icon, T.S. Eliot. “Cats” lovers adore the music by Andrew Lloyd-Webber and are happy to forget about the almost plotless story line that finds a beat-up old cat restored to vibrant life.
Others, myself included, enjoy much of the music but really find “Cats” to be a clawless work, more a stagnant showing off piece than anything else.