THEATRE NOTES

FiddlerThe Light Opera works production of Fiddler on The Roof opened this weekend and will play through the  24th at Cahn Auditorium. It would seem to me that everybody in the world has seen this masterpiece by now, yet we have a new generation of theatre goers who have a treat in store.

If you saw Charles Troy's, "The Making Of Fiddler on the Roof" at the Skokie Theatre this past Wednesday you'll have a whole new appreciation of this classic. It wasn't any easy show to get started It took years to find producers, the right actors, a director who understood where the composers and boo writer wanted to go. The first try-out in Detroit did not go well and although Washington was a little better, they were still working to improve the Second Act  when previews began in New York,

I though the most interesting part of Troy's research was the discovery of a song that got such a bad reception in Detroit they cut it from the show. It was called " When Messiah Comes" and was meant to be satirical. Audiences didn't get  it. They were offended. The lyrics went, "When Messiah comes/ He will say to us/ I apologize that I took so long/ But I had a little trouble finding you/ Over here a few, and over there a few. You were hard to reunite - but everything is going to be all right" \

Charles found a recording of Sheldon Harnick singing the song and played it for us. I wonder what those 1964 audiences would think of the songs in The Book of Mormon?

 

LOVE LETTERS Back on Broadway

AR Gurney's play Love Letters which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama is set to re-open on Broadway. Previews begin Sept 13th at the Nederlander Theatre for a Sept 18th opening. The play centers on two characters, Melisa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III. They sit side by side at a table and read the notes, letters and cards - in which over 50 years their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, victories and defeats - that have passed between them throughout their separate lives.
Andrew becomes a U.S. Senator; Melissa fails as an artist and leads a tragic life.

Busy name actors find it a favorite to do because it requires little preparation and lines need not be memorized.  The show opened on Broadway at the Edison Theatre where it ran for 96 performances. It opened with Colleen Dewhurst and Jason Robar’s. Other performers paired in the Broadway production included Lynn Redgrave and John ClarkStockard Channing and John RubinsteinJane Curtin and Edward HermannKate Nelligan and David DukesPolly Bergen and Robert VaughnTimothy Hutton and Elizabeth McGovernSwoosie Kurtz and Richard Thomas, Elaine Stritch and Cliff RobertsonNancy Marchand and Fritz Weaver, and Robert Foxworth and Elizabeth Montgomery.

Broadway's rotating cast will perform the following schedule: Brian Dennehy & Mia Farrow 9/13-10/10; Carol Burnett & Brian Dennehy 10/11-11/7; Alan Alda & Candice Bergen 11/8-12/5; Stacy Keach & Diana Rigg 12/6-1/9 and Angelica Huston & Martin Sheen  1/10 - 2\1.

I'm particularly fond of  the play, because I directed and acted in a production put on by our Play Reading Club in January of 2013. We like to use as many members as possible so I broke it up into 3 acts and we had 3 Melissa's and  3 Andy's. And it turned out quit  well.

 

CHURCHILL - Good reviews for production at Greenhouse Theatre Center, 2257 N.Lincoln

Biggest surprise for many was the outstanding performance by Ronald Keaton, a journeyman Chicago actor who's done everything from musical comedy to Shakespeare but shines in this one man show about the famed British Prime Minister.

Hedy Weiss in the Sun Times wrote: "Enthralling...,,,immensely entertaining.......Highly Recommended. It is a triumphant performance (expertly directed by Kurt Johns) capturing the essence of the man without mimicry of any kind,

Chris Jones in the Tribune found it "Very enjoyable and surprisingly emotional. Great company for a couple of hours of straightforward summer theatre."

Churchill will play thru Sept 14th at the Greenhouse Theatre, 2267 N. Lincoln. It runs about an hour and forty minutes with one intermission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Love Letters is coming back to Broadway.

Filed under: Theatre Reviews

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