Tuesday, December 24, 2019

White Christmas and Seared: Another Go-Round

The cast of White Christmas at Boston's Wang Theatre. 

I saw Randy Skinner’s stage version of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas nearly a decade and a half ago when it swung through Boston on its pre-Broadway tour (at the time Walter Bobbie was listed as co-director) and again five years ago, when I reviewed it here. It’s back in Boston, this time in an even larger space, the Wang Theatre, formerly the home of the Boston Ballet, and I couldn’t resist taking another look. The show has lost a little of its freshness, or perhaps it’s just that the Wang has swallowed up some of its intimacy; the comic bits – not the high points of the David Ives-Paul Blake adaptation of the 1954 movie perennial – feel somewhat rote. But it’s still a charmer and an undeniable crowd pleaser, and I had a lovely time reacquainting myself with it.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Kitty Litter: Cats

Dame Judi Dench in Cats.

For the last few days, my Facebook feed has been inundated with memes and tweets and hot takes and quips and hit pieces all commenting on the single biggest scandal ever to hit the English-speaking world: Cats, the movie. Director Tom Hooper’s hallucinogenic, CGI-fueled take on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s mammoth musical success is apparently an impeachable offense, and the country is united in proclaiming it so. There are so many cat puns floating around the Internet that I’m sure the one I’ve used for my title has already gone viral for someone else, but as I’ve done my best to ignore the raging interwebs, I use it here with pride.

When Cats the stage musical first came out about 5,000 years and 2.45 billion performances ago, there were apparently millions of folks who thought, People singing and dancing dressed up as cats!? Sign me up for a couple hundred tickets! I wasn’t one of them, as the thought of people dancing and singing dressed up as cats makes me wonder if life is worth living. Besides, I’ve seen Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express, which is basically the same thing as Cats, but the people are singing and dancing dressed up as train cars, zooming around on roller skates. (Reader, I have suffered.)