Great Museums – Metropolitan Museum of Art
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Founded in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is a three dimensional encyclopedia of art history and this is a documentary about New York’s signature museum,
part of a series for American Public Broadcasting, now available on YouTube.
It includes commentary from many experts and curators but, most of all, it shows some of the sublime art captured in museums, only a glimpse, but sufficient to whet the appetite. This film is a sort of commercial for the Met but, if you’ve never been there, it gives you a taste of what’s in one of the world’s greatest collections of art – Asian, American, European and all the other regions of the world throughout history.
I wanted to share this with you because I love the Met and, having visited it many, many times, have only scratched the surface of what’s there. I’ll try to find more of these fine documentaries about the great museums of the world in future weeks. But, first, get acquainted with the Met.
Constellations – Donmar Warehouse
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Since winning two Olivier Awards – one for Best Revival, the other for Sheila Atim as Best Actress in a Play - the Donmar Warehouse is now making this critically acclaimed revival of Nick Payne’s Constellations available for an additional four weeks on demand until 25 May.
You may remember that this two-character fantasy, about bees and nuclear physics, was produced last year with eight different actors in an innovative producing model, devised in response to the pandemic.
Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director Michael Longhurst (nominated for an Olivier) rehearsed four different casts, each refracting the play afresh. Sheila Atim and Ivanno Jeremiah, Peter Capaldi and Zoë Wanamaker, Omari Douglas (also nominated for an Olivier) and Russell Tovey, and Anna Maxwell Martin and Chris O’Dowd, were filmed during the run at the Vaudeville Theatre, where they broke box office records.
This was a fascinating and successful experiment, now repeated online, allowing theatre lovers to see the same play four times if they so wish, or just once with their favourite actors.
Constellations was one of the first productions to open post pandemic, and ran from June until September at the Vaudeville Theatre. Now we have another opportunity to see how each set of actors tackles this very strong play.
Bach’s World – Melbourne Chamber Orchestra
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Although he never left Germany, Johan Sebastian Bach was able to immerse himself in a rich musical world. He consumed the compositions of his time voraciously and corresponded with many of the leading musical figures of Europe.
This concert from Australia is packed with music by composers Bach admired: Telemann, the godfather of CPE Bach; Zelenka, the esteemed Czech composer, and the other towering great of the era, Handel. We also rediscover the Baroque-inspired Concerto for string orchestra of Victorian composer Margaret Sutherland.
MSO Concertmaster Sophie Rowell joins MCO as guest director and soloist and plays Bach’s Violin Concerto No 1 in A minor BWV1041 amongst other gems.
All digital tickets come with 72-hour viewing starting from the morning after the concert. Go to your My Tickets folder in the top menu to watch the recording.
May 5, 2022, 7PM (AEST) and for 72 hours following the livestream.
Digital Ticket: $24.00 AUD ($20 AUD direct to the musicians) plus $4 for credit card fees
Choreographic moments - Playbill
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Playbill has assembled a cast of dancers to recreate some tiny moments from the original choreography of A Chorus Line, West Side Story, Sweet Charity, and more, to celebrate International Dance Day on April 29.
Great choreographic moments can be as recognizable as chandeliers crashing, helicopters on stage, or witches flying; they inform the story and propel the characters through movement.
Jerome Robbins and other Broadway choreographers have left indelible marks in the history of musical theatre with combinations of original choreography that are staples of the canon.
Playbill has asked a cast of dancers to recreate 10 Broadway choreographic moments in this video and so here is some of the unforgettable work of Robbins, Bob Fosse, Tommy Tune, Agnes de Mille, Gower Champion, Gillian Lynne, Michael Bennett and Peter Gennaro.
The dancers are Evan Autio, Julio Cataño-Yee, Dale Elston, Joseph Fierberg, Ashley Blair Fitzgerald, Michael Scott Gomez, Stephen Hannah, Julia Harnett, Rashaan James, Ian Liberto, Matthew Aaron Liotine, Dara Orland, Waldemar Quiñones-Villanueva, Steven Rada, Angela Sauers, Rachel Schur, Kristi Smith, and Philip Stock.
See how many you can identify without looking at the captions.
Allegiance – Lea Salonga/ George Takei
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Do you remember Lieutenant Zulu from the original Star Trek? He was played by George Takei, now a Broadway veteran, and this 2016 musical was inspired by his life story. Set during the Japanese American internment of World War II, Allegiance follows the Kimura family in the years following the attack on Pearl Harbor, as they are forced to leave their farm in Salinas, California, and are sent to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in the rural plains of Wyoming.
Directed for the stage by Stafford Arima, Allegiance stars Broadway leading actors George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung, and a host of other Asian American actors and singers. The Book is by Marc Acito, Jay Kuo & Lorenzo Thione, Music and Lyrics byJay Kuo and choreopgraphy is by Andrew Palermo.
Streaming from May 6
Alongside the musical, there is a documentary, "Allegiance to Broadway" which can be rented separately.
Andrea Marcovicci – Spring Song
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Stage and screen veteran Andrea Marcovicci will celebrate Mother's Day with an encore streaming of her Spring Song concert to benefit The Actors Fund.
Cabaret icon Andrea Marcovicci repeats her popular programme of songbook classics. Spring Song blends poetry by Sara Teasdale with songs by Johnny Mercer, Frank Loeser and many others. Brad Ellis is at the piano.
Marcovicci starred on Broadway in the musical Ambassador and Any Given Day. Her screen credits include The Front, Someone to Love, Jack the Bear, Who is Henry Haglom?, The Water Engine, and Trapper John M.D.
It has been the cabaret stage, however, where she has received the most acclaim. The singing actor has performed at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and in halls throughout the world. Her many solo albums include I'll Be Seeing you: Love Songs of WW11, The Songs of Frank Loesser, As Time Goes By, The Best of Andrea Marcovicci, and Smile.
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The Pilobolus Company is unique. Co-founded in 1971 by Dartmouth College students Robby Barnett, Jonathan Wolken, Michael Tracy, and Moses Pendelton, along with dance teacher Alison Chase and later Martha Clarke, Pilobolus has always challenged the usual conventions of dancemaking.
They create dance collaboratively with a unique approach to partnering, approaching movement as athletes. They have often conceptualized their work as scientific in nature (exemplified by the early signature work Ocellus) – adopting the company’s name from a kind of single-celled, yet intelligent, fungus.
Pilobolus creates whole worlds out of bodies moving in air.
I Know Things Now – Jeff Harnar
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Fans who saw MAC Award-winning cabaret artist Jeff Harnar in his dazzling show I Know Things Now:My Life in Sondheim's Words in London at The Pheasantry last month clamoured for a CD or album as a memento of the performance but there wasn’t one. Now there is. And for American afficionados of Harnar and Sondheim, there are a number of upcoming live performances in New York and elsewhere.
Stephen Sondheim himself saw Harnar’s show and endorsed and encouraged this new take on his work.The album contains more than 25 songs from the late Broadway composer-lyricist’s songlist which give Harnar the chance to tell his own life story.
“The words and music are Sondheim’s, but the story is mine,” says Harnar. “The show is unique in that it is sung-through, with every word from my mouth a Sondheim lyric. And yet, the piece could not be more personal. In the words of Sondheim, ‘What more do I need?’ This is a unique experience for me, as it is my first solo show sung as an openly gay man, honestly sharing my story and my heart—with the correct pronouns. For the first time the songs I’ve chosen, many originally introduced by women, are clearly being sung to and about the men in my life.”
The Sondheim songs—which include "Being Alive," "Losing My Mind," and "Live Alone and Like It"—have been given new jazz arrangements by jazz pianist Jon Weber, who serves as the album's arranger, orchestrator, and conductor, leading a 20-piece orchestra. The live concert edition of I Know Things Now is directed by Broadway legend Sondra Lee, an original cast member of Broadway's Peter Pan and Hello, Dolly!
I’m hoping for a full video of the show before too long but, in the meantime, here’s a little promotional snippet to give us the flavour of this wonderful show.
Ruth Leon is a writer and critic specialising in music and theatre.