Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Come on and Kiss Me Kate

How lucky can we be? Another winner!

Tonight Mary, Ellen, Sue, David and I saw a fabulous production of Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate at Barrington Stage.

I saw the original Broadway production in 1950, my first year in New York City, at the Schubert Theatre. Patricia Morrison and Alfred Drake were the stars. It was probably one of the first Broadway shows I ever saw.
Elizabeth Stanley                          
                                                               Paul Anthony Stewart

Tonight's production had all the energy and fun of the original. Elizabeth Stanley and Paul Anthony Stewart led tonight's proceedings with vigor and good strong voices. Mara Davi was Lois Lane/Bianca, Tyler Hanes was Bill Calhoun/Lucentio, Matthew Bauman, Paul, Carlos Lopez and Michael Dean Morgan, the two gangsters 
(who stopped the show with 'Brush up your Shakespeare) and a chorus of agile and attractive singers and dancers who lit up the stage with their energy and talent. Every moment was one of delight.

The music and lyrics by Cole Porter include one great song after another. This show is from the days when you actually went out humming the tunes. And what great tunes. Porter's sophistication and humor invested every song with gaiety and class. It is a great musical.

The sets and lighting were excellent and an enthusiastic audience enjoyed every moment.

This is what a Broadway show is supposed to be.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Two in a row!

Last night we witnessed an 83 year old woman present a fabulous retelling of her life in dance and tonight we heard an amazing 21 year old 'cellist bare his musical soul in an extraordinary recital. That's covering nearly a century of talent. Carmen de Lavallade is the dancer. Julian Müller is the 'cellist.

He is currently a student at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studies with Sharon Robinson. He has been the recipient of several grants from the Ferris Burtis Music Foundation.

Tonight, with the excellent Hyanghyun Lee at the piano, he gave us a wonderful concert in Ghent, NY. The program opened with Fantasiestücke, Op. 73, by Robert Schumann. The two artists performed these delightful pieces with ardor. I have performed some of these pieces with a 'cellist I worked with for many years as well as with several clarinetists. They are winners!

This was followed by the Andante  from Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 125, by Sergei Prokofiev, and a new work by Julian Müller, Temperaments. This engaging work has Julian singing as well as playing his 'cello. This is a young man with a lot to say about music and life. And with a lot of talent. It was most interesting.

The second half of the program included the Sonata for Piano and 'Cello No. 5 by Beethoven and ended with a heartbreaking rendition of the Andante Cantabile  of Tchaikovski, dedicated to his grandmother, who was an opera singer. It's easy to see where some of these musical genes came from.

Julian plays with a fiery technique and a passionate approach to whatever he does. I am so proud that our Foundation is helping him on his way to what I know will be a brilliant career.

Bravo Julian!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Carmen de Lavallade

This afternoon we spent a delightful afternoon with Carmen de Lavallade. At 83, the dancer still moves with the grace and style for which she is remembered, though more slowly.

With Heinke and Sam we went to Jacob's Pillow in Becket for this remarkable afternoon of reminiscences by one of the world's great dancers.

In a production that includes movement, music, background motion pictures from the dancer's life, Ms. Lavallade enchanted a full house in the Doris Duke Theatre.

She traced her life from her first dance lessons through her work with Alvin Ailey and her marriage to Geoffrey Holder. She moved about the stage with an ease that belied her 83 years and proved, once more, that in addition to being a wonderful dancer, she is a fine actress.

It was a lovely afternoon in a lovely place.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Other Place

This evening Alice, David, and I saw The Other Place, by Sharr White,  at Barrington Stage's second theatre, the St. Germain Stage. It is a vivid depiction of a person on the fringe of dementia, partially realizing what is happening to her, and partially living in several other worlds, past and present.

For anyone who has ever dealt with someone going through this pathetic life change, and even for those who have never experienced it, this play is a very true to life tale of a person at the border of sanity.

Marg Helgenberger portrays Juliana, a woman going through this terrifying experience. Her change from a sophisticated business woman into a confused and psychologically destroyed person is amazing.

Equally effective is Katya Campbell as The Woman, who plays several different roles, Juliana's shrink, her daughter, and a stranger into whose home Juliana goes. The house being 'The Other Place', which Juliana and her husband once owned.

Brent Langdon was excellent as Ian, Juliana's husband and Adam Donshik was very good in several roles as The Man.

It provided a challenging and dramatic evening with a tour de force performance by Ms. Helgenberger. 

Barrington Stage is off to a good start this season with the powerful drama.