This legendary singer simply has to appear on the The Tonight Show when Jimmy Fallon brings it back to the city next month! It couldn’t be more appropriate: Johnny Carson gave her a standing invitation to sing on “The Tonight Show” whenever possible, and she ended up appearing 76 times while Carson was in the chair, a record nobody has broken since. She sounds almost exactly as amazing as she did back then; heck, she even has a great “New York” medley!
This surprisingly sentimental Godot owes its uniqueness to the decades-long friendship of Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart (which dates back to the 1970s). For the first time I believe that Estragon/Gogo (McKellen) and Vladimir/Didi (Stewart) truly have known each other for the endless lengths of time that playwright Samuel Beckett suggests.
It’s a Pinter laugh riot! I’m not a big fan of Pinter, but I thoroughly enjoyed No Man’s Land. It’s the most engaging and comic play of his I’ve come across, even the most humane. And the current Broadway production, starring an ideally cast Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, is easily the most lucid rendition of Pinter’s famously not lucid dialogue that I’ve ever encountered.
The Met is currently reviving one of the oldest productions in its repertoire, Nathaniel Merrill’s 1969 staging of Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. This revival is wonderfully sung, and Robert O’Hearn’s sets and costumes remain a lush evocation of 18th Century Vienna. The Met has announced that it this is the last time it will present this staging, with plans to open an entirely new production of Der Rosenkavalier in 2016 (can I direct it, please?). It’s a good decision: There are certainly plenty of things about Merrill’s staging that haven’t aged at all well.
The lively revival of Oliver! at Paper Mill Playhouse reminded me what a fundamentally odd musical it is. Composer Lionel Bart adapted it from Charles Dickens’s 1838 novel Oliver Twist, one of his darkest works, featuring thieves, whores and murderers galore. Bart lightened the overall tone of this young orphan’s quest to find home and family in 1830s London. The most obvious result was the transformation of the evil master larcenist Fagin into something more like a charming pied piper.