Episode twenty-seven Honeymoon in Vegas / Grounded / Big Love / The King and I

First up, it’s Honeymoon in Vegas, the latest Jason Robert Brown-scored Broadway production. Tony Danza, Bryn O’Malley and Rob McClure star. Tyson enjoyed the show despite some flaws, and it’s clear that McClure is a huge talent. Some discussion of the weekly Broadway grosses follows, and we learn that Tyson has them bookmarked on his computer, as any serious theatregoer should.

Then we cut to an old review that never got published from last year, of Red Stitch’s production of Grounded by George Brant. This production is currently being remounted in Sydney at the Seymour Centre, so consider this a belated critique! Kate Cole performs it solo, with direction from Kirsten von Bibra, brilliant set and lighting design by Matthew Adey and spooky compositions by Elizabeth Drake. There is also a production of Grounded currently playing at the Public Theatre with Anne Hathaway, so if you’re in New York it’s a must-see.

Next up, Big Love! Not the Morman tv show, sadly, but Tyson did see the excellent Charles Mee play directed by Tina Landau. It also starred Rebecca Naomi Jones who is heading into Hedwig in the role of Yitzhak.

Finally, The King and I. In 2014, Jelly saw the Opera Australia production starring Lisa McCune and Lou Diamond Phillips, which also saw Teddy Tahu Rhodes perform as the King in some cities. Tyson has just seen Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe in the Bartlett Sher-directed revival at Lincoln Centre in NYC. We compare notes on the two productions and Jelly does a lot of somewhat incoherent ranting about the weird race stuff in that show. Is it time to send The King and I to the garden of disappointingly racist musicals?

Additional Notes
Dee Jefferson: Is the King and I racist, and is it time it was put to rest?
Rebecca Naomi Jones talks about going into Hedwig.
That time when Tony Danza became a high school english teacher.
The Broadway grosses, for your perusal.

Hosts: Tyson (@tysonarmstrong) and Jelly (@jellyjellyfish)
File size: 30MB
Duration: 49 minutes


Episode twenty-six On the 20th Century / The Nether / On The Town

We’re talking New York shows again starting with Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher (if you’re lucky to catch him) in On the Twentieth Century. Jelly is excited because it’s a train show, but we discuss the classic ode to mental health, “She’s A Nut!”. We also discuss the brilliant Madeline Kahn (who originated the role of Lily Garland) and the consequences behind her leaving the original Broadway production.

Then we head downtown to the Lucille Lortel Theatre where Jennifer Haley’s play The Nether had an extended run starring Merritt Wever. This dark play about morality in a future version of the Internet brought a genre and style typically reserved for the screen to the stage. We discuss the effective small space set design by Laura Jellinek.

Finally we take our seats for the current revival of Leonard Bernstein’s On The Town, which we’ve both seen at different times during the run. Featuring a huge orchestra, this dance heavy show seems to be struggling to fill the giant Lyric Theatre. We praise the incredible women in the cast, even if Jelly is less enthusiastic about Jackie Hoffmann’s scenery chewing (if only there was some scenery to chew).

Additional Notes
PS Classics are releasing a 2 disc recording of On The Twentieth Century, and the Roundabout Theatre Company have a YouTube channel filled with videos from this new production.
Check out some photos from the New York production of The Nether.
PS Classics have again come to the rescue with a beautiful new 2 disc recording of On The Town.

Hosts: Tyson (@tysonarmstrong) and Jelly (@jellyjellyfish)
File size: 22MB
Duration: 37 minutes


Episode twenty-five Hand to God / An American In Paris / Beautiful

We’ve both been on jaunts (and thus a little jaunty), but now it’s time to talk about what we’ve seen.

First up we talk about Hand to God, a “new American play” by Robert Askins which has just transferred to the Booth Theater on Broadway. It has puppets, and they’re having sex again (see: Avenue Q), so we discuss what makes Hand to God fresh.

Travelling from slightly further “off-Broadway”, An American In Paris arrived on Broadway from Paris and we discuss the first preview of this stage adaptation of the classic Gershwin movie musical.

Finally we strap down the synths in the orchestra pit and battle it out over Beautiful: The Carole King Musical which we both had the fortune of seeing during Jessie Mueller’s tenure in the role.

Additional Notes
Watch Steven Boyer and his puppet Tyrone perform an extract from Hand to God.
Have a listen to Jessie on the Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Original Broadway Cast Recording

Hosts: Tyson (@tysonarmstrong) and Jelly (@jellyjellyfish)
File size: 21MB
Duration: 35 minutes


Episode twenty-four Sibling Revelry / Bryan Batt / Faith Prince & Anthony Warlow

We’re back like an unwanted revival of Dirty Dancing!

It’s Cabaret Night with regular guest Simon Bowden as we talk about a few evenings of cabaret we’ve attended recently.

First we all chat about sisters Liz Callaway and Ann Hampton Callaway’s glorious show Sibling Revelry at the Melbourne Recital Centre. We were particularly impressed by their incredible “Big Medley”, filled with every duet you can think of.

A few nights later we were back at the Melbourne Recital Centre for (Mad Men’s) Bryan Batt in his notably more intimate Batt on a Hot Tin Roof.

Simon went solo to see a less than satisfying duo in Faith Prince and Anthony Warlow. Reluctant and truncated performances of hits, and lack of Faith Prince wackiness (in spite of some wild eye makeup choices) formed the main grievances.

Next, Jelly goes on a wild, breathless rant about the recent/upcoming movie musicals: Jersey Boys, Annie, Into The Woods, The Last 5 Years, Lucky Stiff.

Finally, Tyson talks about his “Special Topic”, Michael Starobin’s 1992 orchestrations for Guys and Dolls, and how Starobin discovered his orchestrations were on the “broadway orchestration black market” (check out his web page on the topic). While we’re on the topic, check out the fascinating documentary about that cast recording, and the 1976 disco version of Guys and Dolls.

Hang around at the end for some outtakes (our gift for taking so long to get this to your ears).

Hosts: Tyson (@tysonarmstrong) and Jelly (@jellyjellyfish)
Special Guest: Simon Bowden (@sj_bowden)
File size: 28MB
Duration: 46 minutes


Episode twenty-three 2014 Tony Awards / Supergirly / David Campbell

Time for our Tonys Takedown! This year’s ceremony was a little lacklustre. It lacked… lustre. Tyson has three dot points on Sting alone. But we enjoyed Idina, Les Mis, Hedwig, Sutton, Audra, and the Carole King/Jessie Mueller show. Then Tyson reports back on the excellent Supergirly: Return of the Pop Princess. He was also lucky enough to see the recent John Bucchino and David Campbell show and we discuss the intersection of those two careers. Jelly saw Wicked and loved Reg Livermore and incredible US import Lilli Cooper. Some further discussion on stage dooring practices ends the show.

Additional Notes
Sting – best weird celebrity clap.
David Campbell Sings John Bucchino, available from the ABC Shop, and iTunes.
We’ve also screengrabbed Rosie O’Donnell’s resting bitchface, for those who care.

Rosie O'Donnell at the 2014 Tony Awards

Hosts: Tyson (@tysonarmstrong) and Jelly (@jellyjellyfish)
File size: 38MB
Duration: 63 minutes