Another potent Carolyn Hart mix of mystery and the supernatural

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Mystery writer Carolyn Hart has legions of fans for her wonderful “Death on Demand” series about a South Carolina bookstore owner and her private investigator husband. The 20 novels combine brilliant, Agatha Christie-style plotting with acute examinations of human psychology — i.e. the stress of ordinary people who find themselves pulled into criminal investigations. Although […] [Read More]

‘Spider-Man’: the end of the Broadway preview system?

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Some PR folks believe there is no such thing as bad publicity but we have a good test case of that philosophy in the form of the Julie Taymor musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” The official opening of the show is still more than a month away but a variety of disasters at early […] [Read More]

‘Elf’: a 9-week, $9 million delight from Warner Bros.

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I caught the limited-run Broadway show “Elf” over the weekend and was pleasantly surprised by the old-fashioned craftsmanship and high performance level of this new musical that will be closing on Sunday. I feared that something designed for a 9-week holiday run would be sub-par — why would Broadway people work at full power for a musical […] [Read More]

Natalie Portman joins the ranks of great movie crazy ladies

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I wish I could hang out in lobbies all over the country as screenings of “Black Swan” are letting out. “Sophisticated” New York metro area audiences are flipping out at Darren Aronofsky’s intense and teasing film about a star ballerina having a nervous breakdown, so who knows what is going on in theaters out in […] [Read More]

Merry Christmas!!

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Behind the scenes of a loved/hated landmark play & movie

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Mart Crowley’s play “The Boys in the Band” was controversial when it opened in the spring of 1968 for its frank depiction of a birthday party where all of the guests were gay. Nothing like that had ever been seen on an American stage. Two years later, however, when William Friedkin’s faithful movie version debuted […] [Read More]

‘Mother’: Oscar-worthy performance by Korean star

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The chances are slim to none that you will see the name of Kim Hye-Ja on the list of best actress Oscar nominees in a few weeks. The Korean star gives a spectacular performance in “Mother” — the equal of any other acting job I’ve seen this year — but the Academy Award voters rarely […] [Read More]

The ‘unused life’ of Shirley Valentine

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Judith Ivey is back at Long Wharf giving another master class in acting in the Willy Russell play “Shirley Valentine.” The last time the stage star worked with LWT artistic director Gordon Edelstein — two seasons ago — the result was a revelatory production of “The Glass Menagerie” that moved on to New York City […] [Read More]

Seeing ‘The Pee-Wee Herman Show’ with a blissed-out crowd

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I’ve always been a big believer in going outside my comfort zone when it comes to entertainment. It’s fun to be surprised by something new at the movies or at the theater, so I’m usually up to see almost anything my friends push on me. “The Pee-Wee Herman Show” — running on Broadway through Jan. 2 — is […] [Read More]

Rent it now: John Cameron Mitchell’s ‘Shortbus’

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Stamford’s Avon Theatre had me host a terrific event Thursday night, a screening of “Rabbit Hole” followed by an onstage interview with the director John Cameron Mitchell. The new film is wonderful — with an Oscar worthy performance by Nicole Kidman (below, with her director) — but the real reason I was eager to sign on […] [Read More]