Tonight Dylan and I ventured out to see Curtains at the Al Hirschfeld Theater. Written by Kander and Ebb (Chicago and Cabaret, anyone?) and starring David Hyde Pierce, who won a Tony this year for his performance as Lieutenant Cioffi, Curtains was as good as, if not better, than the good press it has earned.
David Hyde Pierce, as Lt. Cioffi, is a homicide detective sent in to investigate the murder of a struggling musical's leading lady, who is missed by no one ("She had no voice / She had no wits" someone sings of her, to which the producer bawdily adds, "She had no brains / She just had tits"). Indeed, what unfolds from there is a murder mystery musical comedy thriller romance. And what's more, it works.
David has the comic timing, charm, and believability to carry the show, and supported by the formidable Deborah Monk as the show-within-a-show's producer (remember her as George's mom on Grey's Anatomy?), buttressed by the one-liner slinging show-within-a-show's director (think Stewie from The Family Guy directing a Broadway musical), and accompanied by Cioffi's surprisingly believable love interest, Jill Paice as Niki Harris, everything comes together well.
Beyond the three-jokes-a-page show, the Hirshfeld is one of the more beautiful theaters I've been to in New York. The golden proscenium and the rich, red velvet curtain speak of true old Broadway glamour. It is also, however, the coldest theater I've been to in New York. Bring an extra sweater for grandma.
Curtains isn't going to be curtains anytime soon, but I'd certainly recommend you see it before the not-to-be-missed David Hyde Pierce bows out of the show.
In March, when the winners of the NBC reality show Grease: You're The One That I Want were announced, the results of which decided who would play Danny and Sandy in a new Broadway production of Grease, I got an e-mail from my mom the next morning. "Did you know that Laura Osnes, the girl who's going to play Sandy, is from the suburbs of Minneapolis?" Indeed, it turned out Osnes grew up twenty minutes away from me, and that I had seen Osnes years ago when she starred in the Minneapolis Children's Theater production of The Wizard of Oz.
Five months after winning their roles by America's phoned-in vote, 21-year-olds Laura Osnes and her Danny, Max Crumm, are starring on Broadway. Josh and I saw the show this weekend when it opened, and the idea of using a reality show to select the leads and generate publicity, ticket sales, and audience allegiance apparently worked. The performance was sold out, and reportedly Grease has tickets sold well through spring. When Laura and Max stepped on stage as Sandy and Danny there was uproarious applause from the crowd, the kind usually reserved for multiple Tony-winning legends. Ah, the powers of reality television.
One of the standout performances in the show came from Kirsten Wyatt, who played Frenchie, and had comic timing that would make Didi Conn, who played Frenchie in the 1978 film version, proud.
After more than 3,000 performances in the 1970s and another 1,500 in a star-laden 1990s revival, Grease is back on Broadway.
Now on DVD: Disturbia
Shia LaBoeuf, you've done it again, my friend. First you racked up serious acting credibility in the indie pic A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints, then you proved your box office mojo here and in this summer's Transformers (read the Josh & Josh review), and now you're set to star in Spielberg's upcoming Indiana Jones movie, opposite Harrison Ford. Disturbia, now on DVD, is a great little addition to the Shia LaBoeuf film library. Loosely based on Hitchcock's Rear Window (which is a film lover's must-see), Shia stars as Kale, a trouble teenager on house arrest for the summer who begins spying on his neighbors and sees more than he should see. Disturbia is a taut little thriller, a well-designed summer movie ride that will have you clutching at your couch pillows. Rent and enjoy.
From the Josh & Josh DVD Archives: Out of Sight
Jennifer Lopez may be starring in the new biopic El Cantante, but with the film's hot-and-cold reviews maybe it's safer to just rent Out of Sight instead. Starring Jennifer Lopez just after her critically-acclaimed performance in Selena, and before her string of drippy romantic comedies (and Gigli, for the love of God), Lopez and George Clooney sizzle and snap with chemistry opposite each other in director Steven Soderbergh's 1998 film. (Out of Sight is the first pairing of Soderbergh and Clooney, who have since made six films together. Indeed, watch this film and trace the genesis of some of the storytelling tricks the duo employ together in the coming decade.) Clooney plays a bank robber with impeccable charm and Lopez plays a federal marshal in charge of hunting him down. Mix and sizzle. Do want you want with El Cantante, but do check out Out of Sight.
Josh & Josh Books
Josh H. just finished Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.
Josh K. just finished More Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin.
Josh K. is now reading The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud.
Josh H. is now reading Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman.