BY NAVEEN KUMAR
Airy, quaint, sugary sweet and a little bit magical—if ever a play could be perfectly likened to cotton candy, it would be director Scott Ellis’ light-footed revival of You Can’t Take It With You, which opened on Broadway Sunday at the Longacre Theatre. Its sprawling and gifted cast, led by a dynamite trio of comediennes—Kristine Nielsen (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), Annaleigh Ashford (Kinky Boots), and Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids)—recalls a fine-tuned circus act, spinning into animate life a stock roster of old-timey characters.
Deploying more than a dozen players over its swift three-acts, Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s 1936 Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy is Depression-era escapism at its most cheerfully saccharine.
Three generations of an outlandishly eccentric New York clan follow their own pursuits under one roof—Penelope (Ms. Nielsen) writes (though never seems to complete) plays, her daughter Essie (Ms. Ashford) dances (often to her own tune) and makes candy, Penelope’s husband Paul (Mark Linn-Baker) manufactures fireworks in their basement, while the family’s grand-patriarch, Martin Vanderhof (James Earl Jones) likes to attend commencement ceremonies, play darts and evade income tax.
The family’s primary shared trait is a particular optimistic ineptness: None of them really excels at what they do and not one of them gives a hoot. Affluence makes all this possible, and there’s a devil-may-care about the world outside their walls that shapes the family’s myopic, decidedly non-capitalist take on the American dream (the “it” in the title is money).
That is until their daughter Alice (Ms. Byrne), the only one with a real-world job, falls in love with Tony (Fran Kranz), a wealthy boy from a “nice” family and the heir to the Wall Street firm where she works. Planning a future with Tony means introducing their families, a prospect that rightfully terrifies her and makes up the bulk of the story.
Ellis keeps the play’s many gears turning smoothly across David Rockwell’s meticulously cluttered set (which itself spins too, of course), and the kooky family’s bond is deeply felt, even as they seem to be orbiting each other on different planets. Every member of the big ensemble delivers his or her own singular brand of funny, including Patrick Kerr as Paul’s pyrotechnic sidekick and Julie Halston as the blissfully drunk actress Penelope hopes will read her play.
The ease and sweetness that Ms. Byrne brings to her roles onscreen fit perfectly here, as does her instinctive comic timing. An experienced stage wit, Ms. Nielsen packs a scene’s worth of laughs into a single word of dialogue, and Ms. Ashford’s physicality alone makes her every moment onstage a complete riot. Jones brings a buoyant charm to the head of the family and his rich, deep baritone lends some weight to the conclusion’s pat moralizing. (Do what makes you happy, the rest is hogwash.)
While we may be in no less need of escape than audiences in 1936, whipping up decades-old humor into a fresh, frothy confection isn’t easy—this production makes it seem all but effortless, leaving you with a grin that’s sticky-sweet.
Recent theatre features...
Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy Open ‘Love Letters’ on Broadway: REVIEW
‘Bootycandy,’ Brassy Comedy About Black, Gay Experience, Opens: REVIEW
Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin Open in ‘This Is Our Youth:’ REVIEW
Andrew Rannells on ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch:’ INTERVIEW
Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar (photos: joan marcus)
Posted Sep. 30,2014 at 3:31 PM EST by Naveen Kumar in Naveen Kumar, New York, News, Review, Theatre |
| Comments (2)
The group popular for doing funky twists on contemporary hits (like a 40s swing version of Madonna's "Like A Prayer", for instance) is back with a soulful take on Ariana Grande's "Break Free" that is full of 70s flare.
Watch and listen as the group performs their "Tower of Power" rendition, AFTER THE JUMP...
Of course, if you're looking for something closer to the original source material, the boys of Fire Island can surely help you out.
Continue reading "Postmodern Jukebox Gives Ariana Grande's 'Break Free' A Soulful Twist: VIDEO"
Posted Sep. 30,2014 at 2:39 PM EST by Sean Mandell in Ariana Grande, Music, Music Video, News, Video |
| Comments (3)
GoPro has opened our eyes to whole new worlds of experience: be it surfing with seals, diving into volcanoes, unicycling down mountains, getting up close and personal with a Great White shark or even just travelling around the world. Now add to that catalogue "what it's like to be run over by a train."
Check out the video that will leave you flattened like a penny on a train track, AFTER THE JUMP...
Continue reading "GoPro Reveals What It's Like To Be Run Over By A Train Going 75 MPH: VIDEO"
Posted Sep. 30,2014 at 2:08 PM EST by Sean Mandell in GoPro, News, Video |
| Comments (9)
During her performance at Lincoln Center highlighting her jazz collaboration with Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga turned out a chilling rendition of Cher's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)." Gaga made sure to sport her Moonstruck-era Cher hair for the occasion.
Watch the performance that's sure to thrill, AFTER THE JUMP...
Continue reading "Lady Gaga Kills With Live Performance of 'Bang Bang' - VIDEO"
Posted Sep. 30,2014 at 1:31 PM EST by Sean Mandell in Lady Gaga, Music, News, Video |
| Comments (53)
NBC reports on a new report that indicates anti-gay laws are economically hurtful to LGBT people. The report comes from two think tanks, the Center for American Progress and the pro-LGBT Movement Advancement Project.
Among the study's findings is income disparity, even among settled couples. In states banning gay marriage, same-sex couples raising children make $10,000 less a year than their heterosexual peers. In states allowing gay nuptials things were "almost at parity," according to analysis of 2012 U.S. Census data. To the persisting gender wage gap is also a huge factor, making things even toughter for Lesbian couples. In 2010, the Williams Institute found 7.6% of same-sex female couples were at or below the poverty line. This is contrasted with 5.7% straight couples, and 4.3% gay male couples.
Things are even worse for single LGBT adults and specifically transgender people. Single LGBTs, compared with straight counterparts, are three times more likely to have an income near the poverty line. Transgender people were nearly four times more likely to have a household income under $10,000 per year than the overall population.
Posted Sep. 30,2014 at 1:00 PM EST by Jake Folsom |
| Comments (1)
Adore Delano, one the finalists on last season's RuPaul's Drag Race, has released the music video for latest single, "I Look F--kin' Cool" featuring Alaska Thunderf--k and Nina Flowers. The song is the fifth single off her album, Till Death Do Us Party. The video takes dark glamour to a new level:
The video is set in a dystopian future, where an authoritarian, big-brother-like police force has enacted a coup ‘de fashion. All fashion and individualized self-expression has been banned in lieu of a military-esque uniform, but there are those that disobey. A small gang of rebel-punks led by Adore and Alaska (the two most wanted by the regime) have begun to band together using a sophisticated network called Jack’d to connect with like-minded individuals.
“It’s a bold, fiery, no-nonsense proclamation that we are all perfect exactly the way we are”, says Adore Delano of her latest track. Delano admits that growing up in a suburb outside of Los Angeles, she was an outcast. “A dark horse in a dark horse community,” she explains.
Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...
And ICYMI, watch Delano's previous videos "Party", "I Adore U", and, of course, DTF.
Continue reading "Adore Delano and Alaska Thunderf--k Look 'F--kin' Cool' - VIDEO"
Posted Sep. 30,2014 at 12:40 PM EST by Sean Mandell in Adore Delano, Drag Queens, Music, Music Video, News |
| Comments (8)