On Stage

Commentary
5:30 am
Mon December 8, 2014

From The Page To The Screen To The Stage

    

Disney is well known for taking the fairytales of our childhood, sweetening them, and turning them into animated musical extravaganzas for children. Beauty and the Beast was originally a French tale, written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, but it has been translated and retold almost from the moment it first appeared in print in 1756.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Simple Pleasures And Deeper Meanings... On Ice

Credit Google Images / Creative Commons

  Looking for an antidote to the typical holiday entertainment fare? Consider a musical comedy that celebrates the simple pleasures of beer and sports while contemplating life’s deeper meanings. Guys on Ice takes place in an ice-fishing shack in Wisconsin. The book and lyrics are by Fred Alley, with music by James Kaplan.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon November 10, 2014

A Man Who Is Perfect In All Ways But One

Jose Ferrer (far right) in his Oscar-winning role as Cyrano de Bergerac
Credit Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The story of Cyrano de Bergerac, a man who is perfect in all ways but one, is based only loosely on the life of an actual man. The real Cyrano was a playwright and an expert swordsman, he did have a cousin, and she did marry a baron. His nose was largish.

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Commentary
8:09 am
Mon October 27, 2014

The Libertine Punished

Original playbill for the Vienna premiere of 'Don Giovanni' in 1788
Credit Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The word “opera” comes from the Latin word for “work,” but it wasn’t until 1639 that the word was used to describe a theatrical piece that includes poetry, vocal music, orchestral music and dance.

Opera first appeared on the world stage in 1598, with the production of La Dafne in Florence, Italy. Ottavio Rinuccini wrote the book, known as the libretto, and Jacopo Peri composed the musical score. The music has long been lost to us, but the libretto survives mostly intact.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon October 13, 2014

A Brief History of a Decidedly American Art

Credit TheeErin / Flickr / Creative Commons

Like jazz, stand-up comedy is an American invention.

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Commentary
12:26 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Comedy and Camp In High Style

Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the film, 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'

"It’s just a jump to the left!"

For the uninitiated, those words might sound like the directions to Wile E. Coyote’s weaponry from Acme. But for those in the know, they are an invitation to dance… To dance The Time Warp.

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Commentary
10:28 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Yes! And...

An improv performance from Toronto Second City
Credit Andrew Currie / Flickr / Creative Commons

Improvisational comedy is a bit like watching a flying trapeze act: the excitement comes not simply from the skilled moves of the performers, but from the danger inherent to the act. Except in the case of improv, there is never a net.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Heaven Take My Soul, and England Keep My Bones!

King John
Credit Cassell's History of England (Public Domain) / Wikimedia Commons

Although King John reigned for 17 years, until his death in 1216, England officially broke up with him in 1215, when the barons declared civil war and forced the king to sign the Magna Carta.

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Commentary
9:09 am
Mon August 18, 2014

The Wacky Fun of The Farce

Scene from the 1998 movie farce 'The Impostors.' Yes, those are pencils.

Frequently, the word “farce” is used to describe a ridiculous situation that did not end well, such as a political campaign or a sports finals match, but in the theatre world, farce means fast, funny and fun.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Make Some Noise! Really!

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Let’s talk melodrama—cue suspenseful organ music, please.

Almost everyone thinks they know what melodrama is, but the art form has taken many shapes over the years, influencing (and being influenced by) everything from the morality and mystery plays of the Middle Ages to Italy’s commedia dell’arte.

“A Tale of Mystery,” by Thomas Holcroft, was the first English play to be known as a melodrama. It was Gothic, in keeping with what was popular in 1802.

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