Thursday, June 29, 2017

Saturday and Sunday Shows in New York City — Kinky Boots and War Paint

When you have lots to post it sometimes takes a while to get things up. And my cold set me back a few days. Also I was going to post yesterday but didn't get around to it.

So here are the shows from Saturday and Sunday.

After Groundhog Day I went back to TKTS and got a ticket to see Kinky Boots. I'd talk to several people about while standing in line earlier in the day. I've seen Kinky Boots before but it is a really good show. It's very fun and the music is great and it's very uplifting. I decided I would see that.

It was as delightful as I remembered it. I went out of the theater humming the songs. I wondered around some then headed off to bed.

I'll have more on Sunday morning but on to War Paint. I did get in line at the TKTS booth and got tickets for War Paint. Christian's bus arrived a little late but we had time for a quick bite and then headed to the theater.

Here's a little more about War Paint:
The pairing of Tony Award winners Christine Ebersole and Patti LuPone as rival cosmetics pioneers Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein in War Paint is more than a chance for Broadway audiences to witness onstage diva dramatics. For the show’s writers and its stars, it’s an opportunity to examine the American Dream from a female perspective.

“They were immigrants that came to America to live the American Dream,” explains LuPone, who stars as the Polish-born Rubinstein. Both Arden and Rubinstein arrived in the U.S. and began their businesses before women were granted the right to vote.

It was Arden—who herself marched with suffragettes in New York City—who helped bring lipstick into common usage by giving free samples to suffragettes.

“The only women who were wearing makeup at the time were actresses and prostitutes, and so they actually brought it into common usage,” says the show’s book writer, Doug Wright. “These two women legitimized makeup.”

“These women defied statistics, they defied culture even before feminism and before women’s lib,” says Ebersole, who stars as Canadian-born Arden.

“They forged a culture,” LuPone interjects.

In an era where business was purely a man’s world, Arden and Rubinstein revolutionized the female marketplace and ran global brands—brands that survived the Depression and two World Wars. “They both had to make tremendous sacrifices being female CEOs of companies that bore their name in a time when it really was a man’s club,” says War Paint composer Scott Frankel. “Glass ceilings aside, with the recent election, there’s still a lot of frisson on that topic.”

In the current U.S. political climate, War Paint—title alone—takes on a deeper resonance. Frankel asks, “How much have women achieved? Is there true parity with men, and how much is the fight still very relevant today?”

“It has been cathartic to write strong, unapologetic, forward-thinking women,” says Wright. “And to hear them from the stage has been deeply galvanizing, and I think we need to hear them more than ever in this cultural moment. It’s been a wonderful way of celebrating two female pioneers at a moment when we are learning we have a great distance to travel as far as women’s issues go.”

Here's part of a review from Entertainment Weekly:
The claws are out in War Paint — and boy, are they perfectly lacquered. This new Michael Greif-directed musical stars Tony dynamos Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole as self-made beauty moguls Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, respectively. The two were ruthless rivals throughout their 50-plus-year career — Arden the blonde, silky, cotton candy–pink counterpoint to Rubenstein’s exotic, art-deco-clad Pole. Playing this pair, Ebersole and LuPone are nothing short of flawless.

One of the best scenes is the finale: an invention of the authors, in which Rubinstein and Arden finally meet for the first time ever while in a green room before a speaking engagement. Years have passed — both women walk a bit slower; Arden carries a cane — and after huffs and puffs, in their own way, the moguls come to an understanding. They compare lipstick application tips, admit to — gasp! — admiring each other’s products, and finally sing in unison, questioning whether they helped to free or enslave women.

War Paint isn’t perfect, but it’s a thing of beauty for sure. A-

I really enjoyed the show. Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole were just amazing. Each bringing depth to their characters. It was also amazing to think what these women did in the times that they lived. Both were way before their time. A woman running a company. It's practically unheard of today let alone in the 1920s. In all a very enjoyable show.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Happy 91st Birthday to My Great Dad

Here's a very happy birthday wish to my dad who turns 91 today.

This is one of my favorite pictures of all of us.

Groundhog Day

What a fun fun show.

I'd seen the movie many years ago and wondered how they would pull this off. They did a really good job. It was interesting to see how they would get Phil back into bed to start the day off. There was only one time that I really saw them do it. All the other times I was just as surprised as everyone else.

This was what was projected on the curtain before the start of the show. They were great.

Here's part of a review of the show from Entertainment Weekly:
Spectacle is fine, but none of it much matters if the basics of the show don’t work. Thankfully, they do. Beautifully. Once you’ve made peace with the Murraylessness of the evening, Groundhog Day manages to hold onto everything that made Harold Ramis’ movie such a classic and adds songs bound to become nearly as memorable. Karl’s first real number, “Small Town, USA”, a swipe at provincial burgs (including, no doubt, many that the tourist-heavy audience hail from) is a bitter little cookie. The country-western tune “Nobody Cares,” performed by Karl along with the town’s resident pair of dim-bulb drunks, Andrew Call’s Gus and Raymond J. Lee’s Ralph, is a honkytonk hoot. And the second act’s “Playing Nancy” sung by Phil’s one-night-stand floozy (Rebecca Faulkenberry) and “Night Will Come,” sung by John Sanders’ Ned Ryerson, the annoyingly pushy insurance salesman who hounds Phil (Bing!), adds some three-hankie sentimentality to a story that previously never had much use for it. And in “One Day,” Barrett Doss’ Rita becomes a more three-dimensional character than Andie MacDowell had to work with in the film.

Theater, of course, is all about repetition. During a show’s run, every performance can take on a same-iness with only minor nightly variations. You could even say that the long run of a show may end up feeling a bit like Groundhog Day to its actors. But thanks to Karl’s undeniable star power, charisma, and quicksilver stage presence (how does he keep managing to make his way back into that bed without the audience seeing?), Groundhog Day: The Musical soars. It’s a show about déjà vu that I suspect will feel totally fresh and new every night.
 Andy Karl is just great as Phil. He really pulls off the transformation from a jerk to a really great person very well. It is a believable change as he starts look at the lives of the people around him and how he can help those lives be better.

Here are a couple of pictures of the cast coming out to sign autographs.

Andy Karl on the left and his co-star Barrett Doss on the right.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Saturday the Nats Pummeled the Reds

I think this is the highest scoring game I've ever been to, 18-3.

I could have been even higher if a ball had gone five feet further in the 8th. It would have been a grand slam and the score would have been 20-3. Instead only one run scored making it 17-3. One more was added before the end of the inning.

The Nats loaded the bases on a couple of occasions. But more important they just scored. There were only two innings when the Nats did not score runs. By the end of the second it was 8-0. The run tally just built from there.

From the Post:
Saturday’s game had progressed all the way to the bottom of the second inning when Anthony Rendon slid safely over home plate in a dirt-soaked flourish, the eighth run the Washington Nationals had scored, the Cincinnati Reds all but vanquished.

The Nationals pummeled Reds starter Homer Bailey for eight runs in 1⅔ innings. Bailey was making his 2017 debut after missing the first three months with injury. His ERA is 43.20.

Ryan Zimmerman drove in the first two runs with a double in the first. The most stunning thing about Zimmerman’s season to date is not that he is producing like an elite offensive first baseman (he has shown himself capable of doing that), but rather his wholehearted aversion to the streakiness that accompanied that production for most of his career.

He entered this weekend series 5 for his past 30, headed for a cool spell, if not a total polar vortex. But by the time he hit the line drive to right-center to put the Nationals ahead, he was 3 for 6 in this series against the Reds. At game’s end he was third in baseball with 59 RBI in 67 games.

A really great way to spend a Saturday afternoon and early evening.

Michael Taylor's second home run of the game.

The Nats with bases loaded.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Parade Down 6th Avenue?

I'm not entirely sure what this was. 6th Avenue was blocked off for a far as you could see. On 44th and 45th Street were staging areas for what looked like a parade. One was for Vietnam and the other was for Albania. Yes Albania. But, as far as I could tell, these were the only two groups taking part. I didn't stick around to see the parade. I needed to get something to eat before I headed out to my show.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Across the street from the Center is St. Patrick's Cathedral and that's where I went next.

It was still early in the morning, a little after 7, so there were not many people there. For some reason it made the cathedral even more impressive.

More about it:
The story of New York’s great cathedral mirrors the story of the city itself. Created to affirm the ascendance of religious freedom and tolerance, St. Patrick’s Cathedral was built in the democratic spirit, paid for not only by the contributions of thousands of poor immigrants but also by the largesse of 103 prominent citizens who pledged $1,000 each. St. Patrick’s Cathedral proves the maxim that no generation builds a cathedral. It is rather, a kind of ongoing conversation linking generations past, present and future.

The cornerstone of St. Patrick’s Cathedral was laid in 1858 and her doors swept open in 1879. It was over 150 years ago when Archbishop John Hughes announced his inspired ambition to build the “new” St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

In a ceremony at Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Archbishop Hughes proposed “for the glory of Almighty God, for the honor of the Blessed and Immaculate Virgin, for the exaltation of Holy Mother Church, for the dignity of our ancient and glorious Catholic name, to erect a Cathedral in the City of New York that may be worthy of our increasing numbers, intelligence, and wealth as a religious community, and at all events, worthy as a public architectural monument, of the present and prospective crowns of this metropolis of the American continent.”

Ridiculed as “Hughes’ Folly,” as the proposed, near-wilderness site was considered too far outside the city, Archbishop Hughes, nonetheless, persisted in his daring vision of building the most beautiful Gothic Cathedral in the New World in what he believed would one day be “the heart of the city.” Neither the bloodshed of the Civil War nor the resultant lack of manpower or funds would derail the ultimate fulfillment of Hughes’ dream and architect, James Renwick’s bold plan.

Rockefeller Center

Always a treat to visit Rockefeller Center. I walked over from Times Square. People were already congregating by the Today Show window. Although as you can tell from the last picture in the next post there were not all that many people there. It was about half an hour before the start of the show but I still thought there would be more people there.

Once I reached the Center, there was this very neat sculpture there.

 Here's some information on the sculpture:
Seated Ballerina by Jeff Koons, a large-scale public art installation will be on display at Rockefeller Center from May 12 - July 5, 2017. The inflatable nylon sculpture, presented by Art Production Fund and Kiehl’s Since 1851, and hosted by Tishman Speyer, stands 45 feet high and depicts a seated ballerina from the artist’s iconic Antiquity series. Often referencing historical imagery and found objects, Koons based Seated Ballerina on a small porcelain figurine. The sculpture acts as a contemporary iteration of the goddess Venus, and symbolizes notions of beauty and connectivity. Its reflective surface mirrors its immediate environment and engages with each viewer. One of the foremost internationally recognized contemporary artists of our time, Jeff Koons earned renown for his iconic sculptures such as Michael Jackson and Bubbles (1988) and his public sculptures, such as the monumental floral sculptures Puppy (1992) and Split-Rocker (2000), both of which were previously installed at Rockefeller Center.

More from Rockefeller Center