Losing my mind over Losing My Mind – 10 top interpretations of the Sondheim classic

“Sometimes I stand in the middle of the floor”

With the National’s highly anticipated production of Follies (Dominic Cooke directing a cast of 37 and an orchestra of 21, lest you forget) about to start previews in a week’s time, I thought I’d listen to about a hundred different versions of perhaps its most famous song – ‘Losing My Mind’ – and try and decide on a top ten, with the assumption of course that whatever Imelda Staunton will do with the song will be completely, utterly, life-changingly extraordinary (no pressure Meldz).

Continue reading “Losing my mind over Losing My Mind – 10 top interpretations of the Sondheim classic”

Album Review: Marin Mazzie – Make Your Own Kind of Music, Live at 54 Below

“Love, soft as an easy chair”

Music, soft as easy listening. That’s the somewhat surprising turn of events on Marin Mazzie’s album Make Your Own Kind of Music, recorded live at her cabaret show at 54 Below. Performers often use cabaret turns to show off a more personal side to their musical influences, blending them with crowd-pleasing excerpts from the shows for which they have become well known. But here, Mazzie sticks with the former, taking us through a trip along her childhood listening to the radio.

Glancing at the playlist is an eye-opener in itself, Barry Manilow and The Partridge Family alongside standards like ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ and ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’. And in the best tradition of the top tier of musical theatre performers, Mazzie completely makes it work, delving deep into her well of interpretative skill to transform most, if not all of this music out of any perceived naffness into something interesting, engaging, even stirring. Continue reading “Album Review: Marin Mazzie – Make Your Own Kind of Music, Live at 54 Below”

Album Review: Nice Fighting You: A 30th Anniversary Celebration Live at 54 BELOW

“Years of dreams just can’t be wrong” 

Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty have enjoyed a prolific writing career stretching over three decades and in celebration of their 30 year working relationship, held a series of concerts at 54 Below which have now been immortalised on their double CD Nice Fighting You: A 30th Anniversary Celebration Live at 54 BELOW. The collection looks back at the past, to shows like Ragtime and Seussical but also keeps an eye on the present – their Rocky the Musical is currently playing on Broadway – and the future with forthcoming show Little Dancer being showcased.

With so much material to choose from both in terms of an extensive back catalogue and multiple concert performances thereof, it is perhaps unsurprising that Ahrens and Flaherty opted for the double CD format which allows them to feature well over 30 of their songs, sung by a great array of talented artists. But it also means that it becomes quite the hefty beast, am album aimed at fans rather than the casual listener, something emphasised by the inclusion of spoken interludes from the writers and singers introducing their songs.  Continue reading “Album Review: Nice Fighting You: A 30th Anniversary Celebration Live at 54 BELOW”

Winners of 2013-2014 Outer Critics Circle Awards

John Gassner Playwriting Award
Scott Z. Burns, The Library
WINNER – Eric Dufault, Year of the Rooster
WINNER – Madeleine George, The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence
WINNER – Steven Levenson, The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin
Lauren Yee, The Hatmaker’s Wife

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Andy Karl, Rocky
WINNER – Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love Murder
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder Continue reading “Winners of 2013-2014 Outer Critics Circle Awards”

Nominations for 2013-2014 Outer Critics Circle Awards

John Gassner Playwriting Award
Scott Z. Burns, The Library
Eric Dufault, Year of the Rooster
Madeleine George, The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence
Steven Levenson, The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin
Lauren Yee, The Hatmaker’s Wife

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love Murder
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder Continue reading “Nominations for 2013-2014 Outer Critics Circle Awards”

Nominations for the 2012 Drama Desk Awards

Outstanding Play
David Henry Hwang, Chinglish
Dan LeFranc, The Big Meal
Members of the Plastic Theatre, Unnatural Acts
Itamar Moses, Completeness
Lynn Nottage, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
Nina Raine, Tribes
Nicky Silver, The Lyons

Outstanding Musical
Bonnie & Clyde
Death Takes a Holiday
Leap of Faith
Newsies The Musical
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Once
Queen of the Mist Continue reading “Nominations for the 2012 Drama Desk Awards”

Nominations for 2012 Lucille Lortel Awards

Outstanding Play 
Blood and Gifts – Produced by Lincoln Center Theater; Written by J. T. Rogers 
Milk Like Sugar – Produced by Playwrights Horizons and Women’s Project Theater; Written by Kirsten Greenidge 
Sons of the Prophet – Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company; Written by Stephen Karam  
The Big Meal – Produced by Playwrights Horizons; Written by Dan LeFranc 
The School For Lies – Produced by Classic Stage Company; Written by David Ives 

Outstanding Musical
Once – Produced by New York Theatre Workshop; Book by Enda Walsh, Music and Lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová 
Queen of the Mist – Produced by Transport Group; Words and Music by Michael John LaChiusa 
SILENCE! The Musical – Produced by Victoria Lang, Rich Affannato, Donna Trinkoff in association with Scott Kirschenbaum, Theater Mogul, Kitefliers Studio, Terry Schnuck and John Arthur Pinckard; Music and Lyrics by Jon Kaplan and Al Kaplan, Book by Hunter Bell, Adapted from the screenplay Silence! The Musical by Jon and Al Kaplan
The Blue Flower – Produced by Second Stage Theatre ; By Jim Bauer and Ruth Bauer  
The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World – Produced by Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop; Book by Joy Gregory, Music by Gunnar Madsen, Lyrics by Joy Gregory and Gunnar Madsen, Story by Joy Gregory, Gunnar Madsen, and John Langs  Continue reading “Nominations for 2012 Lucille Lortel Awards”