Showing posts from November, 2022

Jennifer Homans' Mr. B

  Tomorrow, NYCB starts its annual Nutcracker season. Countless little children in the audience will ooh and ahh and the growing tree, they'll be wowed by the gliding child angels, they'll sigh when the very pink Sugar Plum Fairy makes her boureeing entrance, and they'll scream at the Candy Cane jumping through the hoop 11 times in a row. Very few in the audience will know much about the man who made this magic happen. That was very much by design. George Balanchine kept no diary, had little correspondence, and rarely gave interviews. His life and legacy was in the ballets.  And astonishingly, there has never been a comprehensive biography of the man. There have been priceless books -- many of his dancers wrote books describing their experiences working for him (my favorite: Jacques d'Amboise's gossipy, fun I Was a Dancer ), and he inspired some of the sharpest critics to write their most memorable reviews. That is, until Jennifer Homans' Mr. B . Homans' b

Some Like it Corny

On paper, Some Like it Hot s hould have been a fun night at the theater. It's an adaptation of Billy Wilder's classic madcap comedy. The cast is stellar -- I've seen J Harrison Ghee (Jerry/Daphne), Christian Borle (Joe/Josephine), Adrianna Hicks (Sugar), and Natasha Yvette Williams (Sweet Sue) in other projects and enjoyed them all. I was so looking forward to this, as I always thought the movie would make a good musical. Instead, the musical was a totally miserable experience. In this post-mortem, what is most at fault? I could say the score and lyrics. Composer Marc Shaiman has produced one of those loud, bombastic, generic unmemorable Broadway scores that has no voice. I suppose he's trying to mimic the 1920's jazz sound, but it sounds nothing like actual jazz. Lyrics by Scott Wittman are a mess -- the songs don't move the plot forward at all.  Think of any good musical -- do the songs just "happen" because it's time to get up and sing? They occ