Thanks to the Washington Post’s This is Your Brain on Art we understand what you and I have known all along – that nothing quite compares to live performaning. But great theatre can still be enjoyable on the big screen and on your own small screens. Below are some upcoming broadcasts by National Theatre Live and PBS’s Great Performance series that are worth considering.
Critics raved about the powerful performance of Billie Piper (Penny Dreadful, Doctor Who) in Simon Stone’s radical production of Lorca’s powerful masterpiece Yerma. Piper portrays a thirtyish woman in contemporary London desperate to have a child. Be prepared for a shocking climax.
Running time: 1:58
MD – Bethesda Row Cinema: Thursday, 21 Sept. at 7:00 PM
VA – Angelika Mosaic (Fairfax) Film Center: Thursday, 21 Sept. at 7:00 PM & Wednesday, 27 Sept. at 2:00 PM
She Loves Me
Two perfume shop clerks feud while building a growing attraction as anonymous “lonely hearts” pen pals. This story was originally a play and later inspired multiple movie (most recently “You’ve Got Mail” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan) and musical versions. This revival of the 1963 Broadway musical was nominated for eight Tony Awards, winning for “Best Scenic Design for a Musical.” The musical features endearing starring performances by Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi, but also enjoy the scene-stealing supporting performances by Jane Krakowski and Gavin Creel.
PBS (Great Performances) — Friday, October 20, 9-11:30 pm ET
Kevin Kline deservedly won this year’s Tony Award for Best Leading Actor (his 3rd career Tony Award) for his performance in Noel Coward classic comedy Present Laughter. Kline gives a larger than life performance as a vain and self-obsessed actor suffering a mid-life crisis. The strong cast includes Kate Burton, Kristine Nielsen and Cobie Smulders.
PBS (Great Performances) — Friday, November 3, 9-11:30 pm ET
Two former chorus girls and their middle-aged husbands return to a New York theatre in 1971 just before the building will be demolished to confront their memories, regrets, and ghosts of their younger selves. Unlike most of us, Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical seems to get better with age, full of memorable music and an elegant James Goldman book. London critics have given rave reviews to this lavish National Theatre production featuring a cast of 37 and 21 members of the orchestra.
Running time: 3:30 (includes preshow and intermission)
MD – Bethesda Row Cinema: Thursday, 16 Nov.; Sunday, 10 Dec.; and, Tuesday, 12 Dec. (times TBA)
VA – Angelika Mosaic (Fairfax) Film Center: Thursday, 16 Nov. at 7:00 PM & Wednesday, 22 Nov. at 2:00 PM
Indecent is a play by Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel about the controversial history of an early 20th century play God of Vengeance by Sholem Asch. While the play avoided serious problems when performed in Yiddish, a later English translation occurred at a time of anti-immigrant sentiment and a lesbian subplot caused the actors to be arrested on indecency charges. The play ran off-Broadway and transferred to Broadway, winning Tony Awards for Best Director of a Play (Rebecca Taichman) and Best Lighting Design of a Play (Christopher Akerlind).
PBS (Great Performances) — Friday, November 17, 9-11:00 pm ET
Roundabout Theatre Company’s Broadway adaptation of the 1942 movie musical Holiday Inn (that starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire that first gave us the Irving Berlin standard “White Christmas”) offers family entertainment for the long Thanksgiving weekend. It’s the story of a young man who retreats from Broadway to a farm in Connecticut, only to be inspired by a talented local teacher to open a “Holiday Inn” featuring shows celebrating different holidays. It’s a light-hearted production with humor, excellent choreography, and wonderful Irving Berlin songs.
PBS (Great Performances) — Friday, November 24, 9-11:30 pm ET
Young Marx is a new play from the creative team behind the hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors, which had successful runs on London’s West End and Broadway. Rory Kinnear (The Threepenny Opera, Penny Dreadful) is Karl Marx, a young revolutionary on the run in 1850 London. His numerous problems include writer’s block, creditors, rival revolutionary factions, spies, and prospective seducers of his beautiful wife. Can his brilliance and wit help him overcome his situation and his childish temperament? The play will officially open in London Oct. 27th, so we’ll have a better idea then of the play’s entertainment value.
MD – Bethesda Row Cinema: Thursday, 7 Dec.; Sunday, 21 Jan.; and, Tuesday, 23 Jan. (times TBA)
VA – Angelika Mosaic (Fairfax) Film Center: Thursday, 7 Dec. at 7:00 PM & Wednesday, 13 Dec. at 2:00 PM