Archive for Bob Fosse
The reviews are in for Pippin, the final show to open on Broadway this season — though the story for the show is as thin as the set’s tent poles, the lavish acrobatic spectacle and over-the-top performances have hardily won over the reviewers. Fosse’s choreography may have been the starting point, but it’s the combination of talented acrobats from Montreal and big Broadway stars that will give audiences front row seats to both a Broadway musical and a circus that make this revival so appealing. So get ready for some oohs and ahhs and get in line – you’ll get your money’s worth from this production.
New York Times
“What do I have to do to make you love me?…the question has seldom been posed as nakedly and aggressively as it is in Diane Paulus’s revival of Pippin, which opened on Thursday night at the Music Box Theater. Perhaps you’re tired of the plain old song and dance that many big-ticket shows give you. The performers in this hard-driving production of Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson’s 1973 musical can of course sing and dance (and “in the style of Bob Fosse,” to boot, as the program puts it.) They also hang from their toes from perilous heights, fly through the air, balance on wobbly towers…these folks will jump through hoops for you, literally, and the hoops keep getting higher and higher. As for the 99-pound that at the center of this muscle-bound circus…it’s there, too, if you choose to look for it. And if you choose not to, that’s fine…Ms. Paulus’s Pippin is in its way a natural extension of Fosse’s [original 1973 production], pushing the musical from seduction into sensory assault. This is a Pippin for the 21st century, when it takes more than style to hold the attention of a restless, sensation-hungry audience…And I would argue that in courting to its audience, this Pippin is ultimately more cynical than Fosse’s…Of all the cast members who aren’t acrobats, though, it’s the veteran comic actress Ms. Martin who truly scales the heights…[This is] crowd-pleasing show business as usual.”
“The last show to open this season on Broadway comes with plenty of bang, lots of flips and real value for money: A ticket buys you not just a musical but also a trip to the circus. The American Repertory Theatre’s thrilling revival of that coltishly cute Pippin opened Thursday at the Music Box Theatre as a hybrid that surely will keep everyone thoroughly entertained. Director Diane Paulus hasn’t just slapped some fresh paint on this beloved tale of self-discovery, she’s rebuilt it…Paulus has transformed the players into a troupe of circus performers, and it’s a stroke of genius…The cast members are amazing and clearly have all been to the gym. No sooner have you realized that one actor is busy stealing the show than another steps up to blow you away….the Gypsy Snider-led acrobats will thrill you…So when the cast sings, by way of invitation the eh opening number, ‘Join us, come and waste an hour or two,’ it’s highly recommended you do so. Little can get the blood going this way.”
” **** out of four – the final and best musical production of this season…Schwatz’s score [is a] richly melodic mélange of pop and jazzier musical theater influence, and Bob Fosee’s original choreography, a dazzling parade of controlled carnality. Paulus, working with Fosse protégé Chet Walker and Gypsy Snider of the Montreal-based troupe Les 7 doights de la main, adds to that mix a circus element, incorporating acrobatics, sword-throwing and other, often comical evocations of derring-do. The result is a combination of epic theater, burlesque and soulful spectacle that recaptures the show’s shiny allure and its poignance while making it seem entirely fresh. The flawless company is led by Patina Miller as the Leading Player…and Matthew James Thomas as Pippin, The young stars work beautifully as both partners and foils. Other standouts include a lusciously limber Charlotte d’Ambroise, as Pipin’s scheming stepmother, and Andrea Martin, who nearly strops the show as his preternaturally perky – and movingly devote – grandma…This Pippin also offers a new ending, with a twist that provides all the ‘thrills and chills’ the Leading Player promises us earlier. By that point, she and her colleagues have delivered all the magic they guarantee in the opening number, and then some.”
How to Enter
In honor of the upcoming Oscars (and the incredible 8 awards this film won at the 1972 Academy Awards), comment with who you think most deserving of an Oscar for their work on the film. Bob Fosse? Liza Minnelli? Joel Grey? Michael York? The cinematography? The art directors? The makeup designers? Should it have beat out The Godfather for Best Picture?
Can’t wait to hear what you think.
Congratulations to Gaby, the winner of the 40th Anniversary Blu-Ray Version of Cabaret!
If you aren’t Gaby but still want a copy of the Blu-Ray, you can purchase it from Amazon now!
The winner was chosen at random from all comments using a random number generated by random.org on February 20th at 5 pm EST.
The Broadway Musical Home was furnished with a complementary copy of this Blu-Ray for this contest, but was not paid to endorse this product in any way.
The 1972 film version of Cabaret is now out in a new 40th anniversary Blu-Ray edition, and if you haven’t seen it in a while, it’s well worth revisiting.
As you may or may not remember, the movie version is quite different from the staged one. Many songs are cut or just played as instrumentals, and singing arises realistically — songs are performed onstage at the cabaret by Sally and the Emcee, with the action of the play grounded in unsung realism. Many of the subplots are missing and much of the original Isherwood tale is added back in, but Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey give wonderful performances in their roles under the expert direction of Bob Fosse. The movie won eight Oscars, especially impressive when considering it was nominated alongside another movie you’ve probably heard of – The Godfather.
The film quality isn’t too much better than the DVD version (and is exactly the same as the previously released Blu-Ray), but what the 40th Anniversary Blu-Ray does offer is an insanely large collection of extras, including a detailed (and wonderful) documentary about how the show changed musical theatre. Also included are ‘behind the scenes’ videos, oodles of interviews, and funny and touching stories from the actors and others involved with the film.
If it all just sounds too marvelous to miss, you can buy your own copy at Amazon for under $20, and starting tomorrow, we’ll be featuring a giveaway of the new Blu-Ray on the blog here — so be sure to come back and enter to win!
The Broadway Musical Home received a complementary copy of this Blu-Ray, but was not paid to endorse this product in any way.