UPDATE: Just got this message from the Orpheum.
"We do have a good number of tickets for tonight and also the Sunday matinee…BUT, we also have good seats available for TWO shows tomorrow, a matinee and a evening performance. Of the nine shows left, those four are your best bets, but the phones are ringing."
The general sense is that nobody will be left out but it's probably better to reserve early.
The cast is ideal, the direction is thoughtful and the costumes are absolutely fabulous but what in the hell kind of cleaning products were being freebased when the playfinding committee scheduled this pointless obscurity to appear on Theatre Memphis' Lohrey Stage?
I want to recommend The Piano Lesson at the Hattiloo because it's one of my favorite pieces by August Wilson and it features one of my favorite Memphis actors TC Sharpe. That said I've heard from the source that when early runs of the show exceeded three hours deep cuts were made in the script. I appreciate the impulse to keep shows at 3-hours or less but I'm going to have to see what came out before I can wholeheartedly endorse. That said, this company does its best work when it takes on challenging material and given their track record fewer things seem more promising than The Piano Lesson The Hattiloo
Also Noel Coward's Fallen Angels opens this weekend at Theatre Memphis. It's a play that Coward himself described as ''extremely slight" and it will be interesting to see if a comedy about the possible fallout of premarital flings holds up 80-years later.
As proud as I am of Playhouse on the Square for defying conventional wisdom and building an extraordinary new theater in the heart of Midtown I've got to make a confession. I'm no great fan of the show that's been chosen to open the new space. I understand why Playhouse's Executive Producer Jackie Nichols has described Pippin as "the right play at the right time." Its themes mesh perfectly with the theater's mission and the anti-war sentiments expressed in the first act are consistent with a company that has roots in the 1960's and the balls to open Hair in the aftermath of 9/11. It's also technically ideal, perfect for showing off the new theaters capabilities but minimal enough to give the technical staff some breathing room as they transition into the new space. So I'm not going to complain. Well, not much.
Sister Myotis has a few things to say about Satanic messages in pop music. And speaking of Sister Myotis it seems that Memphis' queen of Evangeletainment has made quite an impression on Flyer columnist John Branston.
Yesterday I sat down for some barbecue and conversation with Joseph Leo Bwarie, Matt Bailey, Steve Gouveia, and Ryan Jesse, the actors playing Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in Jersey Boys.
Part II of Eating RIbs with the Jersey Boys is below the fold...
Let's speak truth here. Before Jersey Boys came along if you stumbled across a bunch of palookas shooting pool in a sports pub you could bet the Devil your head they weren't talking about their favorite Broadway musical. Then along comes this show about Franky Valli and the Four Seasons, four mooks from the tough side of town who struggle and yearn and harmonize their asses off all the way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Badda-bing, badda-boom everything changes over night.
So what makes Jersey Boys such a hit with the boys who hate musicals? Maybe it's got something to do with the absence of show tunes. On the other hand, if you like Mid-Century American pop it's hard not to be taken in by spot on covers of Four Seasons hits like “Big Girls Don't Cry” and “Walk Like a Man” or by the uncanny replication of The Angels singing “My Boyfriend's Back” like it was 1963 all over again. Mix all that solid gold bubblegum with a compelling story about bad ass gangsters, fast girls, amazing cars and bowling and you've got the recipe for Jersey Boys. The cherry on top of this big banana split: Joe Pesci—yes THAT Joe Pesci— emerges as a pivotal character. What's not to love?