Sheldon Harnick and Margery Gray Harnick create a book about the city
Margery Gray Harnick’s photographs offer three visions of New York at the same time.
There’s the city as a landscape, packed with buildings and treelines and sky; there’s the city as a community, full of tourists and natives hustling on their way; and there’s the city as a private story, brimming with details that have shaped Harnick’s life.
Those overlapping identities define The Outdoor Museum, a collection of Harnick’s photographs paired with poems by her husband, Sheldon Harnick. Taken together, the words and images ask us to reexamine how we look at the city. A mannequin, say, can be more than just a figure in a window. It can change how we see the people walking past it. Even a grimy puddle on the street can reflect a nearby building, making it look like a wavering mirage.
April 25, 2013 No Comments
Why Warren Carlyle makes the dancing in “Drood” accessible
In the musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood, currently at Studio 54 in a revival from the Roundabout, it’s crucial for the audience to have a good time. After all, they’re the ones writing the ending.
The premise is this: A troupe of actors greets the audience, thrilled to share the most ambitious project of their careers—a retelling of Dickens’ unfinished murder-mystery, which centers on the disappearance of a man named Edwin Drood. After watching Dickens’ incomplete story, the audience chooses how the mystery ends. Librettist-composer Rupert Holmes has written dozens of final scenes, and the cast is prepared to perform any of them, depending on whom the audience votes for.
When it clicks, Drood crackles with mischief, and that’s what hooked Warren Carlyle, who choreographs the current revival. “I responded to the humor of this show,” he says. “And the involvement of the audience in the actual plot is so special. The audience is almost another character, and that felt original to me.”
January 30, 2013 1 Comment
This Saturday, the American Theatre Wing will recognize Theatre Development Fund’s groundbreaking Open Doors program with a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre. (Tony Honors are given to individuals and organizations that aren’t eligible in competitive Tony categories.)
We are thrilled and humbled by this award for the program, which pairs small groups of local high school students with professional theatre mentors. Along with a teacher and a TDF rep, the students and their mentors see plays, musicals, and dance performances and then discuss them over pizza. Through those conversations, the students not only learn more about the performing arts, but also learn to express themselves in a deeper way.
To see how Open Doors works, just watch this short video, which follows a group mentored by the actress Kathleen Chalfant. In a small way, it captures the unique spirit of this special program.
June 5, 2012 1 Comment
Designer Natasha Katz explains her work for “Once” and “Follies”
Natasha Katz tells stories with light. When she makes a shadow strike an actor’s face, or when she beams color across a wall, she changes our understanding of what’s happening on stage.
Katz’s colleagues clearly like her storytelling. She’s won two Tony Awards, and this year, she received two additional nominations for Best Lighting Design of a Musical—one for Follies and the other for Once.
Both shows offer meaty challenges for a lighting designer, and they pushed Katz is different ways.
Follies, the Sondheim revival that’s currently at L.A.’s Ahmanson Theatre after a Broadway run last fall, demands an elaborate, haunted world. As retired showgirls gather for a reunion, their younger selves weave around them, stepping from the past to relive old routines, fights, and love affairs.
May 8, 2012 No Comments
The Tony Nominee gets old-time laughs in Nice Work if You Can Get It
Welcome to Building Character, TDF Stages’ ongoing series about actors and how they create their roles
His name may not be above the title, but judging by the curtain call applause, Michael McGrath is a major force in Nice Work if You Can Get It. As a testy bootlegger named Cookie McGee who’s forced to pose as a butler, the veteran character actor earns constant laughs with his sarcastic wisecracks, all delivered in a thick Noo Yawk accent.
It’s not just theatregoers who are eating Cookie up: Last week McGrath snagged his second career Tony nomination (Spamalot marked his first), and it’s easy to see why. A Gershwin catalog musical meant to evoke the Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse-penned tuners of the ’20s and ’30s, Nice Work is a throwback to another era, and so is McGrath, with his craggy mug and warbling baritone. While other actors work valiantly to affect an old-time vibe, McGrath’s Cookie may have arrived on stage courtesy of a time machine.
May 7, 2012 1 Comment