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‘Anything Goes’: Ethel & Frank at the dawn of television

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With a fresh production of the Cole Porter classic “Anything Goes” in previews in New York — starring Sutton Foster — the new Entertainment One DVD of a 1954 TV version of the musical is perfectly timed. The special boasted an incredible cast, with Ethel Merman in the role of Reno Sweeney (which she did in […] [Read More]

Natalie Dessay returns to the scene of an earlier triumph

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The great French soprano Natalie Dessay played a key role in blowing some of the cobwebs off the Metropolitan Opera four years ago when new general manager Peter Gelb plastered strikingly dramatic posters of the singer all over town. Gelb in effect made Dessay the face of the new Met. The poster (below) showed Dessay in […] [Read More]

Rent it now: Francois Truffaut’s ‘The Wild Child’

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Black-and-white moviemaking more or less ceased in the mid-1960s when the movie studios began to receive significantly lower fees from TV networks for movies that were not shot in color. Despite the fact that some of the most notable pictures of the early 1960s were not filmed in color — “Psycho,” “The Hustler” and “The […] [Read More]

‘Spider-Man’ goes back to the drawing board

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After filing my report here on the Sunday matinee of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” — where the widely reported technical problems with the show finally seemed to be under control — the musical was once again plunged into chaos by the announcement Wednesday that a new director and writer were being brought in to […] [Read More]

Redford vs. Goldman on ‘All the President’s Men’ creation

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An excerpt from Michael Feeney Callan’s new biography of Robert Redford in the April Vanity Fair should stir up controversy in Hollywood. The book fragment is about the making of the 1976 classic “All the President’s Men” and in the course of the piece the producer-star Robert Redford asserts that screenwriter William Goldman left the […] [Read More]

‘Spider-Man’: a legendary flop or ‘Wicked’ for boys?

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Yesterday at the Foxwoods Theatre in Manhattan, you would have never guessed that “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” was a famously troubled show that has now played more “previews” than any other musical in the history of Broadway. The excited buzz in the crowd going into the theater was no different than what you would […] [Read More]

WTF!: or, squeezing more money out of ‘The King’s Speech’

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You might think that the distributors of the movie that won the best picture Oscar Sunday night — “The King’s Speech” — would be thrilled by the prize and a box-office gross already over $100 million in this country. But you would be wrong. “The King’s Speech” recently underwent audio editing so that the Motion […] [Read More]

Notes on a preview of ‘How to Succeed in Business…’

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Wednesday night I saw the fourth preview of the new revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” starring Daniel Radcliffe, and I’m happy to report that the show is in great shape. The 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning musical was revived two decades ago with Matthew Broderick in the lead, but that version didn’t […] [Read More]