Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did For Love

Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did For Love

Composer, conductor, genius, mensch: Marvin Hamlisch (June 2, 1944-Aug. 6, 2012) earned four Grammys, four Emmys, three Oscars, three Golden Globes, a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize before his untimely death, Hit after hit, including The Way We Were, Nobody Does It Better and scores for The Sting, Sophie’s Choice and the legendary Broadway hit A Chorus Line, made him the go-to composer and performer for film, Broadway, every U.S. President since Reagan and concert halls worldwide.

With exclusive access to Hamlisch’s personal archival treasure trove and complete cooperation from his family, Dramatic Forces and THIRTEEN’s American Masters explore his prolific life and career in the newly released, acclaimed documentary Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did For Love. In the first film biography about Hamlisch, award-winning filmmaker and four-time Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Dori Berinstein (Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, Gotta Dance, Show Business: The Road To Broadway) presents a deeply personal, insider portrait of one of the greatest artists of our time

Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did For Love

Broadway Revival of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart Wins Three 2011 Tony Awards

The AIDS Memorial Candlelight Vigil, Washington DC, 1989

Broadway Revival of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart Wins Three 2011 Tony Awards

Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, which originally was performed at New York City’s Public Theater in 1985, won the 2011 Tony Award for revival of a play. The play is considered to be a literary landmark, contending with the AIDS crisis when few would speak of the disease afflicting gay men, including gays themselves. It remains the longest-running play ever staged at the Public Theater.

In addition, The Tony award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role went to Ellen Barkin, and the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play went to John Benjamin Hickey, both for their performances in The Normal Heart. Producer Daryl Roth accepted the award, but it was the playwright Larry Kramer, an outspoken gay activist for many years, who received the biggest welcome from the audience. The writer exhorted the gay community to “carry on the fight,” adding that “our day will come.”

The stunning, pulse-pounding ensemble drama tells the groundbreaking story of love, rage and pride as it follows a group of New Yorkers confronting the AIDS crisis in the early 1980s. The story of a city in denial, The Normal Heart unfolds like a real-life political thriller, as a tight-knit group of friends refuses to let doctors, politicians and the press bury the truth of an unspoken epidemic behind a wall of silence. A quarter-century after it was written, this unflinching, and totally unforgettable look at the sexual politics of New York City during the AIDS crisis remains one of the theater’s most powerful evenings ever.

Tony Awards Acceptance Speech: The Normal Heart

Broadway’s Revival of The Normal Heart and The AIDS Crisis

Highlights From Broadway’s The Normal Heart

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La Gaîté Lyrique: A Poetic Journey Through a 19th Century Parisian Theater

La Gaîté Lyrique: A Poetic Journey Through a 19th Century Parisian Theater

La Gaîté Lyrique is a stunning, dreamlike two-minute 3D animated short film by Passion Paris Director Yves Geleyn.  The film was created to celebrate La Gaîté Lyrique, the 19th century Paris theater abandoned since the 1980s, which will blossom as a center for digital arts and contemporary music this coming December.  The animation is a stunning work both in the 3D animation and also the interactive experience, combining elements of Baroque theater and stylised Japanese Kabuki dance.  The film’s opening moments lead to a shimmering cascade, immersing the viewer in magical experiences as flowing shapes of all descriptions are conjured from air and water in magnificent, abstract spectacle, conveying the promise of the new theater, the art, science and sound.

La Gaîté Lyrique: A Poetic Journey Through a 19th Century Parisian Theater

(Enjoy this Magnificent, Magical Spectacle in Full-Screen Mode)

In addition, Yves Geleyn expands this magnificent film, creating an interactive experience that allows the viewer to venture inside the cathedral and become immersed in its magical atmosphere, bathing in the shimmering visuals and wonderful soundscape.  Please click the image below to live the full experience:

An Interactive Passage Through the Soul of La Gaîté Lyrique

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Happy Holidays: It’s the Superspectacular Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular!!

Happy Holidays to All!!

The Superspectacular Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular

The Christmas Spectacular

Seventy-five years old and forever young, The 2007 Radio City Christmas Spectacular came flying into the Midtown Art Deco Radio Music Hall and proved to be nothing less than “Superspectacular.” For its diamond-anniversary incarnation the grand old show has been made over, from terpsichore to technology, kicking and singing into the 21st century while retaining and refining the glories of the 20th.

These include the magnificent Rockettes, more versatile and saucy than ever; the breathtaking precision and suspense of The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers; and, of course, Santa Claus, individually (the hearty Charles Edward Hall) and in vast numbers in the Here Comes Santa Claus routine that fills the huge stage with hordes of hoofing Kriss Kringles.

The revisions still result in a warm and thoughtful embrace of everything from the introductory flight of Santa to New York, to the truncated Nutcracker and a re-imagined New York at Christmas, which puts the Rockettes in snowy white (with touches of red and green) aboard a double-decker sightseeing bus. The bus takes them and the audience on a singing, dancing tour of mid-Manhattan that includes Central Park and ice skaters.

The visit to the North Pole that is the Magic Is There number, which has the Rockettes dressed as rag dolls extending seasonal greetings, has been wisely shortened and restaged to include a Santa-cynical New York teenager. And the sparklingly new Let Christmas Shine, an anniversary routine, has the Rockettes in glittering crystal costumes. Even the reverent Living Nativity, which revisits the first Christmas and is staged with camels, sheep and donkeys, has been trimmed, giving time for a grand finale that provides the Rockettes and the rest of the cast an opportunity, after three-quarters of a century, to take the most well earned of bows.

Videos about the Rockettes and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

What follows below is a selection of videos about the Rockettes and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. The first video is vintage 1930s footage that shows the very first group of Rockettes. This is succeeded by a video slideshow about the show, and then two videos of selected scenes from the Christmas Spectacular. The next video is of a (very leggy) photo-shoot of the Rockettes in Times Square, followed by a performance by the Rockettes in Times Square on The Today Show.

The First Group of Rockettes (1930s)

Narrated Slideshow of The 2007 Christmas Spectacular

The 2007 Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular

Additional Newer Scenes from the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular

Photo-Shoot of the Rockettes in Times Square

The Today Show: The Radio City Rockettes in Times Square

The Rockettes Spectacular Christmas Show

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Project Bandaloop: The Whole World’s Their Stage

Project Bandaloop: The Whole World’s Their Stage

The Bandaloop Dancers: The Whole World’s Their Stage

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Grandma Madea’s Hoppin’ Good Advice on Love, Relationships and Your Life

Grandma Madea’s Hoppin’ Good Advice on Love, Relationships and Your Life

Emmitt Perry, Jr. was born in New Orleans in 1969. He later adopted the name Tyler Perry to separate himself from his father, who he claimed had abused him while growing up in New Orleans. Tyler dropped out of school when he was sixteen-years-old and moved to Atlanta in 1992. Perry produced his first play, the compassion-themed musical I Know I’ve Been Changed in 1998, using the $12,000 that he had saved selling used cars, doing construction work and working at other odd jobs. Sadly, only thirty people showed up for the play’s opening night in a 1,200-seat Atlanta theater, and Tyler ended up homeless within a week.

Subsequent to launching a more rigorous grassroots publicity campaign, his play was staged again later that year at Atlanta’s House of Blues, where it was a big hit. Tyler and the show went on the road from there, with another nine of his plays following before the touring shows ended in 2006. Tyler Perry is the star of what is still known as the “chitlin’ circuit.” He’s a moody, funny and astoundingly prolific writer/producer/director/actor. As an actor, Tyler is best known for his fabulous fashion looks when he dresses up in the rocking floral print frocks (with an Adam’s apple) as the no-nonsense Grandma Mabel “Madea” Simmons.

Tyler Perry is also known as The Emperor of All Black Media, who’s very handsomely paid to wear that dress. When his film Madea’s Family Reunion opened in 2006, it was ranked as number one at box offices nationwide. Perry is a man whose mythology is both intentionally cultivated and yet oddly disconnected from his fame. Many have wondered: Is he gay? He’s not really saying, and it actually doesn’t matter. He’s earned a combined total of $250 million in less than four years. In 2007, Tyler was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s smartest people in Hollywood, as well as one of Time Magazine’s most influential people in the world. But yes indeed, our dear rich Tyler stills wears a frock. Alas, nobody’s perfect!

The video presented below for your viewing pleasure is a selection from Tyler Perry’s very funny, albeit bittersweet play, Madea Goes to Jail. Grandma Mabel “Madea” again stars Tyler, with Madea once more wearing a humble beflowered gown as she holds court with members of her family. In this particular episode, Grandma Madea gives her hoppin’ good advice on love, relationships and keepin’ on going in your life.

Madea’s Hoppin’ Good Advice on Love, Relationships and Your Life

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Hair: A Requiem for the Ephemeral in Life

Hair: A Requiem for the Ephemeral in Life

In The New York Times, Ben Brantley has written a very thoughtful review of the re-staging of the 1960s musical Hair by New York’s Public Theater. It’s exuberant production of Hair officially opened Thursday night, but middle-aged audience members who revisit this 1967 landmark theatrical work in search of the aimless flower children they once were are likely to uncover more than they bargained for.

The lively teenage rebels of Hair may be running headlong after a long good time. But in this production it’s clear that they’re also running away, and not just from what they see as the bleak futures of their parents lives and the outrages of the war in Vietnam. The hippies of this production of Hair are also struggling against the dawning of a sense that no party can last forever, and that they have no place to go once it’s over.

Seen 40 years after it first stormed the middle-class citadel of musical comedy, Hair registers as an eloquent requiem not only for the idealism of one generation but also for the evanescence of youth itself. It’s still the “tribal love-rock” celebration it was always advertised as being. But in suggesting that the dawning age of Aquarius is already destined for nightfall, this new production establishes the show as more than a vivacious period piece. Hair, it seems, has deeper roots than anyone remembered.

For Brantly, as the summer twilight shaded into full night at at the open-air Delacorte Theater, the exhilaration of The Public Theater’s Hair was tempered by an exquisitely sad taste of the ephemeral in life. This revelatory production’s anthem turns out not to be its title song, although it was performed with marvelous gusto, but the haunting ballad sung shortly thereafter. Its title: “Where Do I Go?

Hair: The Age of Aquarious

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