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Posts tagged ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’

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How I Adore “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”!

Seeing “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” for the SECOND time, I couldn’t believe how much I loved it ~ more! I saw it when it first opened this past winter, and I adored how tuneful, how witty and how inventive it was and how ingeniously staged and performed it was by all hands on deck. I thought it was too rich, too lushly melodic, too good, too period perfect(It’s 1908), or too perfect. Period. For Broadway in this loud, flat day & age, but guess what?

It survived the long, horrid winter we’ve had and has come up this Spring blooming with Award nominations! So the SECOND time I saw it, “A Gentleman’s …” was even more delightful, if that’s actually possible, because you just relax and luxuriate in its’ glorious excesses of gorgeousness. malevolence,melody & wit!

WIT! How many musicals on Broadway have this, my most prized delectation! And how I miss it!

Not since Lerner & Lowe have we heard this wealth of sharp lyrics, luxuriant melodies and the rebirth of patter songs. I kept thinking of Rex Harrison’s immortal Henry Higgins all through this juggernaut of tongue-twisting fun. It harks back to the best of George Bernard Shaw, too, in its spot-on depiction of life high and low in Edwardian England. And it’s also thoroughly British, which I love, Anglo-phile that I am.

The opening tableau of a grim, gleeful, rain-soaked chorus all in black sets the tone with “A Warning to the Audience” that “you’d best depart!” at once, if they don’t like murder and mayhem. They re-unite merrily in Act Two’s Opening asking “Why Are All the D’Ysquiths Dying?”

You see, our redoubtable hero, Monty Navarro (the stupendous Bryce Pinkham) is impoverished and grief-stricken at the outset. He is reeling, coming from his beloved mother’s funeral. A strange old woman named Miss Shingle,(pictured above^) whom he doesn’t know from Adam, turns up to comfort him in his Dickensian, down-at-heels bed-sit in a grimy, smoke-stack spewing part of London (kudos to scenic designer Alexander Dodge) to tell him that “You’re a D’Ysquith!” And consequently the heir to a vast fortune, but unfortunately there are eight other D’Ysquiths in the way to his ascendancy to the Earldom of Chislehurst.

The marvelous Jane Carr (the apple of Maggie Smith’s eye in “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”) turns up here as Miss Shingle, evincing a perfect Cockney accent, and a twinkle in her mischievous eye, to set the plot a-rolling and the pots a-boiling.

She quickly transfers that deadly twinkle to the bereft down-and-outer Monty’s big baby blues and hence a dastardly, dashing, handsome devil of a villain is born.

I.E. The plot is to bump off the eight people standing in his determined way. I don’t think I’ve ever loved a social-climber quite so much!

Monty sings: I am standing here with poison in my pocket,
One eye on the target, one eye on the clock. It
Better happen soon before I lose my nerve and run.
If I had a knife I could have grabbed him,
Then discreetly knocked him on
The head and stabbed him,
Not to mention what I would have done,
If I had had a gun.

And one after the other, in one hilarious set piece after the next, each one a knock-out, literally. (Kudos again to the inventive Mr. Dodge. His back-projections are as hilariously apt as his front-projections) The D’Ysquiths all begin to fall like nine (or rather eight) pins in an East End bowling alley. That they all are played by the incredible Jefferson Mays is simply beyond astounding. And each one of the doomed D’Ysquiths are meticulously differentiated from the other. He’s a one-man cast of thousands ~ of dead people.

In case all of this is sounding a tick familiar, “A Gentleman’s Guide…” is based on the book “Kind Hearts and Coronets” that the famous movie starring Alec Guinness is also based upon. And Jefferson Mays fills the bill quite, quite well.

Mr. Jefferson Mays is, of course, the esteemed Tony recipient of “I Am My Own Wife,” where once again he showed his chameleon versatility playing multiple roles in a one-man show. Though sweating and spitting up a storm in Act One, he nevertheless engages the audience’s affection and admiration as the bodies pile one upon the other in seemingly endless succession, all them bodies his. And who knew he could sing and dance like that?

D’Ysquithian highlights abound as we await the next deliciously daffy dispatch of one dastardly aristocrat after the other. Without spoiling just how hilariously they all go to meet their maker, there’s one patriotic, and also homo-erotic, number called “It’s Better With a Man” that both Mr. Pinkham and the inevitable Mr. Mays seem to take particular purple relish in.

Bryce Pinkham, Broadway’s newest, hottest leading man, has a lilting tenor, arched eye-brows and chiseled cheekbones. Plus he has the difficult job of making all the many murders of Mr. Mays, be sympathetic, and also empathetic, as well as sexy, as he slashes, and stabs and poisons his way to the top. You root for him to be the sociopath that he becomes. Pinkham has been seen before buried in the chorus of “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson” and also playing the third lover in the musical “Love’s Labour’s Lost”in the park this past summer. You’ll remember him as the hot guy in silver lame hot pants, and on roller-skates. An agile triple-threat, he.

Keeping the sex count as high as the body count are the beauties battling for his affections, the pink-obsessed blonde Sibella (Lisa O’ Hare) and the brunette soubrette Phoebe(Lauren Worsham). The brilliant director of all this madness is the meticulous Darko Tresnjak and the bloody good music & lyrics are by the two and only Steven Lutvak and Robert L.Freedman(who also penned the tart, smart book). All of these are the gentleman, who will guide you through love and murder, and all are astonishingly making their auspicious Broadway debuts!

And they’ve all been nominated for Tonys! And Drama Desks! And the Outer Critics Circle Awards, too! Ten or eleven! Almost as high as the count of murders! And surely on the way to topping and copping all the awards for “Best Musical of the Year”! Sometimes quality is rewarded on Broadway! T</em>hank the Theater Gods! YAY!

Outer Critics Circle Announce Nominees!

Dear readers, dear cineastes the Outer Critics Circle has announced its’ list of nominations, the first of the season, with “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” leading the pack with 11 nominations. I’m shocked, shocked! At Disney’s sub-par(to put it mildly)”Aladdin” getting as many nods as it got. And Audra McDonald’s splendifrous “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grille” is in the Best Actress in a Musical category. Not Best Actress in a Play which she could’ve easily gotten, as there is as much play in “Lady Day” as their is singing.

Both Bryce Pinkham AND Jefferson Mays’ were both nominated for Best Actor in a Musical category, pitting them against each other and against Neil Patrick Harris for “Hedwig” which I’m seeing Friday. Surprisingly now Best Musical nomination for “Bridges of Madison County,” but it got nominated for Best Music.

And “Bullets Over Broadway” did not score in the Best Musical category, nor Best Director of a Musical,but it did get Best Featured Actress for Marrin (Mugsalot)Mazzie, and Best Choreography (Susan Stroman) and Best Costumes (William Ivey Long). The Outer Critics Circle is voted on byy critics whose outlets are outside the metropolitan area. Some call them the Bridge and Tunnel Awards.

64th Annual Awards

Outer Critics Circle Announce

2013-14 Season Nominees

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”

Heads the List with 11 Nominations!

Followed by

8 for “Aladdin,” 7 for “Fun Home” & 6 for “Rocky”

The First Broadway/Off-Broadway Award Nominees of the Season!

Outer Critics Circle, the organization of writers and commentators covering New York theater for out-of-town newspapers, national publications and other media beyond Broadway, announced today (April 22, 2014) its nominees for the 2013-14 season in 24 categories. Stage and screen stars Cecily Tyson and Vanessa Williams presided over the (11AM) announcement ceremony at Manhattan’s Friars Club.

Celebrating its 64th season of bestowing awards of excellence in the field of theater, the Outer Critics Circle is an association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, websites, radio and television stations, and theatre publications in America and abroad. The winners of the following categories will be announced on Monday, May 12th and the annual awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 22nd (4PM) at the legendary Sardi’s Restaurant.

– Nominations follow-

Outer Critics Circle

2013-2014 Award Nominations

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY

Act One

All the Way

Casa Valentina

Outside Mullingar

The Realistic Joneses

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL

After Midnight

Aladdin

Beautiful The Carole King Musical

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Rocky

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAY

Appropriate

Choir Boy

The Explorer’s Club

The Heir Apparent

Stage Kiss

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL

Far From Heaven

Fun Home

Murder For Two

Storyville

What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined

OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Aladdin

Beautiful The Carole King Musical

Fun Home

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Rocky

OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Aladdin

The Bridges of Madison County

Fun Home

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

If / Then

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

The Cripple of Inishmaan

The Glass Menagerie

Machinal

Twelfth Night

The Winslow Boy

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Cabaret

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

Les Misérables

Violet

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY

Tim Carroll Twelfth Night

Michael Grandage The Cripple of Inishmaan

Lindsay Posner The Winslow Boy

Bill Rauch All the Way

Lyndsey Turner Machinal

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL

Warren Carlyle After Midnight

Laurence Connor & James Powell Les Misérables

Sam Gold Fun Home

Alex Timbers Rocky

Darko Tresnjak A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER

Warren Carlyle After Midnight

Peggy Hickey A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Steven Hoggett & Kelly Devine Rocky

Casey Nicholaw Aladdin

Susan Stroman Bullets Over Broadway

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN

(Play or Musical)

Christopher Barreca Rocky

Beowulf Boritt Act One

Bob Crowley Aladdin

Es Devlin Machinal

Alexander Dodge A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN

(Play or Musical)

Gregg Barnes Aladdin

Linda Cho A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

William Ivey Long Bullets Over Broadway

Jenny Tiramani Twelfth Night

Isabel Toledo After Midnight

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN

(Play or Musical)
Kevin Adams Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Howell Binkley After Midnight

Paule Constable Les Misérables

Natasha Katz Aladdin

Philip S. Rosenberg A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY

Bryan Cranston All the Way

Ian McKellen No Man’s Land

Brían F. O’Byrne Outside Mullingar

Mark Rylance Twelfth Night

Tony Shaloub Act One

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Tyne Daly Mothers and Sons

Rebecca Hall Machinal

Jessica Hecht Stage Kiss

Cherry Jones The Glass Menagerie

Estelle Parsons The Velocity of Autumn

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

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Sutton Foster Violet

Audra McDonald Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

Jessie Mueller Beautiful The Carole King Musical

Kelli O’Hara The Bridges of Madison County

Michelle Williams Cabaret

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY

Paul Chahidi Twelfth Night

Michael Cyril Creighton Stage Kiss

John McMartin All the Way

Alessandro Nivola The Winslow Boy

Brian J. Smith The Glass Menagerie

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Barbara Barrie I Remember Mama

Andrea Martin Act One

Sophie Okonedo A Raisin in the Sun

Anika Noni Rose A Raisin in the Sun

Mare Winningham Casa Valentina

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Danny Burstein Cabaret

Nick Cordero Bullets Over Broadway

Joshua Henry Violet

James Monroe Iglehart Aladdin

Jarrod Specter Beautiful The Carole King Musical

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Judy Kuhn Fun Home

Anika Larsen Beautiful The Carole King Musical

Sydney Lucas Fun Home

Marin Mazzie Bullets Over Broadway

Lisa O’Hare A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE

Jim Brochu Character Man

Debra Jo Rupp Becoming Dr. Ruth

Ruben Santiago-Hudson How I Learned What I Learned

Alexandra Silber Arlington

John Douglas Thompson Satchmo at the Waldorf

JOHN GASSNER AWARD

(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)

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

Nominations Talley for 3 or more:

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder 11; Aladdin 8; Fun Home 7; Rocky 6; After Midnight 5; Beautiful 5;

Twelfth Night 5; Act One 4; All the Way 4; Bullets Over Broadway 4; Machinal 4; Cabaret 3; The Glass Menagerie 3; Hedwig and the Angry Inch 3; Les Miserables 3; Stage Kiss 3; Violet 3; The Winslow Boy 3

2013-14 Outer Critics Circle Executive / Nominating Committee

Simon Saltzman (President)

Mario Fratti (Vice-President) Patrick Hoffman (Corresponding Secretary)

Stanley L. Cohen (Treasurer) Glenn Loney (Historian & Member-at-Large)

Rosalind Friedman (Recording Secretary) and

Aubrey Reuben & Harry Haun (Members-at-Large)

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