Saturday, April 29, 2017

World Premiere Today – YOYO – Sophie von Haselberg,

World Premiere Today – YOYO

Tribecca Film Festival: 16 Minutes

Starring: Sophie von Haselberg, Martin Starr

Synopsis: Caroline can’t stand that she is a virgin…And then the world ends. In post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, after a dust storm has wiped out humanity, she meets Francis and is convinced that he’s the man to pop her cherry. YOYO is a heartfelt, dark comedy about finding meaning in life, even when life ceases to exist.

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CAST & CREDITS

Director: Nicole Delaney
Project Creator: Nicole Delaney
Screenwriter: Nicole Delaney
Cinematographer: John Wakayama Carey
Editor: Leigh Dodson
Composer: Sam Kauffman-Skloff, Alex Fischel
Producer: Nicole Delaney, Julia Roth, Sophie von Haselberg
Original Music: Jean Grae
Cast: Martin Starr, Sophie von Haselberg

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Bette Midler’s Hello, Dolly!: EW stage review

Entertainment Weekly
Bette Midler‘s Hello, Dolly!: EW stage review
By MAYA STANTON
POSTED ON APRIL 20, 2017

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How to describe a force of nature? A blockbuster success even before the curtain went up on opening night, the new revival of Hello, Dolly! marks legendary performer Bette Midler’s highly anticipated return to Broadway, and thanks to a top-notch cast and an award-laden production team, it more than justifies the hype.

Directed and choreographed by Tony winners Jerry Zaks and Warren Carlyle, this vibrant take on the classic Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman musical — about a meddling matchmaker (Midler) who sets her sights on a wealthy shop owner (David Hyde Pierce), fixing up his employees (Gavin Creel and Taylor Trensch) with a widowed milliner (Kate Baldwin, Finian’s Rainbow) and her enthusiastic assistant (newcomer Beanie Feldstein) in the process — is old-fashioned, energetic entertainment wrapped in a technicolor bow, and the crowds are eating it up. On the last night of previews, not even a brief pause for technical difficulties (the latest in an eventful pre-opening run) could dampen the mood: The packed house was quick to show its appreciation for stars, dancers, costumes, and sets alike, offering ardent applause, easy laughter, and more than one mid-show standing ovation.

It’s next to impossible to avoid getting swept up in the excitement. The high-stepping, whirling-dervish chorus sets the tone, and the rest of the ensemble follows suit. As grouchy but good-hearted half-millionaire Horace Vandergelder, Pierce (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike) grouses and sulks as only he can — with impeccable comic timing and delivery. Baldwin’s soprano is clear as a bell, her Irene Molloy a shameless flirt who’s given up on romance; her foil, Feldstein’s wide-eyed, bubbly Minnie Fay, is a scene-stealer, while Creel (Book of Mormon) and Trensch (Matilda) are funny and sweet as two well-meaning small-town guys out for adventure. From Will Burton and Melanie Moore (the latter of whom employs an incredible ear-piercing wail throughout) as an inoffensive young couple in love to Jennifer Simard’s raucous turn as floozy Ernestina, the casting is flawless.

But let’s be clear: This show belongs to the Divine Miss M. Unbelievably, it’s Midler’s first time headlining a Broadway musical, and the titular role of Dolly Gallagher Levi is the ideal vehicle for her talents — her voice is as strong as ever, and between the high-energy set pieces and the quiet, poignant moments, she keeps the crowd eating out of her hand. Winking lyrics like “It’s so nice to have you back where you belong” earn cheers and whistles, and the ample opportunities for Midler to show off her well-documented, still-razor-sharp comedic chops (watch for a wordlessly hilarious bit in the courtroom scene) bring roars of approval. It’s a performance only a diva could give.

Hats to stockings, Tony-winner Santo Loquasto’s costumes are a highlight. The day-glo “Sunday Clothes” sequence, the visual cornucopia of the 14th Street parade scene, and the sparkly, feathered red showstopper for “Hello, Dolly!” (an amped-up nod to the iconic original) are particularly fabulous, but he’s equally adept at vintage suiting (see: mixed plaids and a purple Wonka-esque look, complete with matching bowler), corsets, and frills. From the saturated set design, also courtesy of Loquasto, to Carlyle’s perfectly executed, intricate dance numbers, there are no weak links in this production. An impeccable blend of spectacle and star power, this Dolly! is classic Broadway at its best. A

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Bette Midler On Her Hawaiian Childhood:

Bette Midler On Her Hawaiian Childhood: “It hasn’t changed since the 50’s. They’re entrenched in the 50’s. It’s a moral, uptight, kind of thing, but I think that’s a good foundation to have. If you want to branch out later…okay.” (Morning Star, July 3, 1977)\

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Bette Midler – Everybody Knows — Red Couch Bit – Divine Intervention – 2015

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Broadway Review: Bette Midler in ‘Hello, Dolly!’

Variety
Broadway Review: Bette Midler in ‘Hello, Dolly!
By Marilyn Stasio
April 22, 2017

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The audience claps at the overture and whistles at the set; and when Bette Midler makes her entrance, everyone falls into a dead swoon. “Hello, Dolly!” is back on Broadway, and it looks so fresh, you want to pinch its cheek.

Jerry Herman’s 1964 musical comedy is one of the great audience shows, so it’s a relief to report that helmer Jerry Zaks and choreographer Warren Carlyle have done a great restoration job on the old girl, while refraining from the urge to tart her up for modern tastes. The costumes may be more colorful and the set pieces fussier, but the musical exuberance of the initial production survives intact. So does scribe Michael Stewart’s cheerful message (poached from Thornton Wilder) that it’s never too late to come in from the cold and march in the great parade of life.

Everyone who takes on the role of that meddlesome matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi tries to make it her own. Carol Channing played Dolly’s larger-than-life personality. Pearl Bailey captured her feisty humor. Ethel Merman just planted both feet on the stage and sang to the second balcony.

With her great pipes and sly-puss wit, Bette Midler might have played Dolly at any stage of her career. But at the end of the day, she instinctively understands the avid thirst for life that prompts Dolly’s comic desperation and gives depth to her character. (At one preview performance, she actually choked up when she started to sing “Before the Parade Passes By.”) As for connecting with an audience, the Divine Miss M knows every shtick in the book.

This is one production, by the way, in which that grumpy skinflint Horace Vandergelder isn’t completely upstaged by the star. David Hyde Pierce, looking a hilarious fright in a hideous wig, is a delightful curmudgeon as Horace. For his efforts, his special prize is the solo “Penny in My Pocket,” the rarely (if ever) performed Act II curtain-raiser that offers a touching insight into Horace’s character and endears him to the audience.

Although none of the secondary players will knock you out, Zaks has cast an entirely watchable cast of reliables, including Gavin Creel’s loose-limbed Cornelius Hackl. Warren Carlyle has done meticulous work on referencing the original Gower Champion choreography — to the point of emulating his cakewalk strut. A terrific ensemble of singer-dancers has the familiar moves down cold and everyone puts heart to hoof for “Put on Your Sunday Clothes.”

It looks like a lot of gelt went into this production, with its top-drawer list of creatives. Santo Loquasto’s color-saturated sets and costumes look sweet enough to eat, and lighting designer Natasha Katz keeps the show at high noon. But in the end, it’s the music supervision of Andy Einhorn that makes this revival sing. In the hands of this company, the song lyrics are clear as a trolley bell, and the music sounds as if a parade has come to town.

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Bette Midler On Why Her Mother Pronounces Her Name ‘Bet’:

Bette Midler On Why Her Mother Pronounces Her Name ‘Bet’: “Because my mother always thought it was pronounced that way. She’s never heard anybody pronounce Bette Davis’ name, she’d just read it. The funny thing is that my mother never really liked show business…at least for me…but she sure loves it now. ” (Morning Star, July 3, 1977)

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1993 – Katie Couric – Now – Experience The Divine – Bette Midler

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7 Big Predictions About the 2017 Tony Nominations

Variety
7 Big Predictions About the 2017 Tony Nominations
By Gordon Cox
April 27, 2017

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Tony predictions were easy last year: One word – “Hamilton” – and you’re done. The race for the 2016-17 Tony Awards is far less cut-and-dried, with plenty of strong contenders but no clear, sweeping favorite. With the Tony nominations announced Tuesday, we’re making a forecast based on conversations with industry veterans, early awards-season attention and gut instinct. Here are seven big predictions for how the noms will shake out in this uncertain season.

1. A Supersized Best Musical Race
Since 2014, the Tonys have had the option of expanding the best musical category (among others) to five from the usual four. Tony nominators don’t make a deliberate decision to do so; it’s triggered only when the usual voting process for the four top shows results in candidates four and five coming within spitting distance of each other. Still, five seems a strong possibility this year, given the diverse roster of contenders and the lack of clear favorites. The definites: buzzy hit “Dear Evan Hansen,” sleeper success “Come From Away” and idiosyncratic electropop epic “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.” The two shows most often mentioned right behind that pack are “Groundhog Day” and “War Paint,” with “Groundhog Day” taking the lead as the title that would likely win the final fourth slot if the category doesn’t expand.

2. No One’s Breaking Any Records
This is a year where one show will walk away with a record haul of nominations, the way “Hamilton” did last year with 16. “Dear Evan Hansen,” for example, doesn’t have much choreography to speak of, and it doesn’t have a big cast to fill out slots in featured acting categories. “Dolly!” has a lot going for it in terms of the production, but as a revival, it’s not eligible for score or book the way a new musical would be. Expect clumps of 10 or 12 nominations for the biggest shows.

3. Battle of the Dames
There are only three names that are near-certain to make the list for lead actress in a musical — but boy, are they doozies: Bette Midler (“Hello, Dolly!”) Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole (both for “War Paint”). Glenn Close (“Sunset Boulevard”) won’t be in the race to make things harder; she isn’t eligible since she’s previously won a Tony for the same role. That means the other two slots are up for grabs; odds are they’ll go to Laura Osnes (“Bandstand”) and Philippa Soo (“Amelie”), although Denée Benton (“Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812”) and Christy Altomare (“Anastasia”) also have some support behind them.

4. Duel for Lead Actor
Ben Platt has been a major contender for lead actor in a musical since the Off Broadway premiere of “Dear Evan Hansen” last season. His major competition: the well-liked Andy Karl, whose breakout performance in “Groundhog Day” earned even more good will first when the actor led his cast in overcoming a technical disaster in the first preview, and now as he’s valiantly soldiered on after injuring himself during a press performance. They’ll both nab nominations, as will David Hyde Pierce, holding his own against Midler in “Dolly!,” and Christian Borle for “Falsettos” (but not for “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which doesn’t have much love behind it). The fifth name is anybody’s guess, with the edge going to Corey Cott (“Bandstand”).

5. A Last-Minute Play Contender
Three titles will definitely be in the race for best play: Lynn Nottage’s recently-anointed Pulitzer winner “Sweat,” J.T. Rogers’ diplomacy thriller “Oslo” and “Indecent,” the Broadway debut of the well-liked Paula Vogel. The fourth candidate came in just under the wire: “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” which opened as the final eligible show of the season April 27. The title picked up notable buzz (if not much in the way of box office) in previews, and the timing of its hot-off-the-presses reviews will pay off in a nomination.

6. “Dolly!” Will Dominate
“Hello, Dolly!” is the clear favorite in the musical revival category (and will do well in design and acting categories too). Its main competition for revival will be the now-closed “Falsettos” and “Sunset Boulevard,” led by Close in a much-lauded performance. It’s either “Cats” or “Miss Saigon” for slot four; bet on “Saigon.”

7. Kline and Janney and Field, Oh My!
The play revival field will come down to “Six Degrees of Separation” and “Jitney,” with “The Little Foxes” and “The Front Page” in the mix. Those revivals will also contribute some of the starriest names to the acting categories, including Allison Janney for “Six Degrees,” Kevin Kline for “Present Laughter,” Sally Field for “The Glass Menagerie” and Nathan Lane for “The Front Page.” From the new play list, Laurie Metcalf (“Doll’s House”) is sure to make the cut.

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Bette Midler tweets a cheeky anti-ageing dig at Ivanka and Trump

Stars At 60
Bette Midler tweets a cheeky anti-ageing dig at Ivanka and Trump
April 29, 2017

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Bette Midler has never held back with her thoughts on Donald Trump’s presidency.

The funny lady has made plenty of criticisms of Trump’s policies and personality, and the billionaire leader has been no fan of hers in the past either, tweeting that she “sucked” when singing Wind Beneath My Winds at the 2014 Oscars.

But Midler has branched out a little in her latest tweet, taking a dig at Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who’s taken an office in the White House as an unpaid special adviser to her father, the president. The funny tweet got retweeted almost 3,000 times in just a few hours, as Midler’s followers wholeheartedly agreed with her sentiments.

Follow
Bette Midler ? @BetteMidler
#Ivanka keeps doing business out of the WH. She should peddle a skincare line. Her dad’s presidency is aging the shit out of us all.
10:45 AM – 28 Apr 2017
4,578 4,578 Retweets 14,087 14,087 likes

The tweet hits on an issue that’s been raised by a number of Trump critics – Ivanka Trump runs her own jewellery and clothing business, and wears her own products while attending events in her capacity as a presidential adviser, which some see as a way of using the power of the White House as a private promotional tool.

But her appointment did not contravene the 1967 nepotism law that prevents the president from hiring a relative, because she is not being paid and is not working in an ‘executive’ arm of the government, a CNN report explained.

Despite this, Ivanka Trump was booed at the W20 Summit in Germany when she defended her father’s record on women, while others said she had no place on a panel with German chancellor Angela Merkel and IMF managing director Christine Lagarde.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

BWW Review: Bette Midler’s The Star Attraction, But HELLO, DOLLY! is The Star

Broadway World
BWW Review: Bette Midler’s The Star Attraction, But HELLO, DOLLY! is The Star
by Michael Dale Apr. 23, 2017

Yes, yes, we all know… Bette Midler is the above the title attraction and her presence is the reason the latest Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! is the season’s hottest new ticket. And she delivers. As Dolly Gallagher Levi, one of the most grandly showcased leading characters ever written for the musical stage, Midler glows with the pure joy that comes with the need to entertain as she lands schticky gags, sings with moxie, conveys lovely sincerity and leads the colorful parade proudly strutting across the Shubert stage.

BWW Review: Bette Midler's The Star Attraction, But HELLO, DOLLY! is The Star
Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce
(Photo: Julieta Cervantes)

That said, it must be stressed that under the care of director Jerry Zaks, a real master when it comes to bringing out the comedy in old school musical comedy, the star of the evening is Hello, Dolly!. Its reputation as a glitzy star vehicle may overshadow the fact that this is a superbly written work of bubbly fun and warm sentiment enhanced by a score full memorable melodies and smart lyrics (Jerry Herman never gets enough credit for his clever words.) shaped into songs that demand to be staged.

HELLO, DOLLY! is a wacky farce that occasionally takes a breather to remind its guests that all of the characters are just on the simple human quest of looking for love. Michael Stewart‘s expertly crafted book is adapted by Thornton Wilder‘s 1955 Broadway hit THE MATCHMAKER, which presents Dolly as an enterprising 1880s New York widow supporting herself through various professions, particularly as a matchmaker, until she decides it’s time to “rejoin the human race” and marry again.

She has her eye of one of her clients, Horace Vandergelder, the well-known half-a-millionaire who owns a hay and feed store in Yonkers. Dolly sabotages Horace’s intention to propose to the young widowed milliner, Irene Molloy and sneakily arranges for the two of them to enjoy a cozy dinner at the Harmonia Gardens, right after the handsome waiters welcome her back with a few choruses of the title song.

As for Irene Molloy, well, it just so happens that Vandergelder has a pair of employees who sneak out of the store for a day of adventure in New York, and one of them… Well, you know how these things happen in musical comedies.

In the spirit of not fixing what isn’t broken, Zaks and choreographer Warren Carlyle work within the frame of director/choreographer Gower Champion‘s classic original 1964 production, but the exciting, briskly paced staging is by no means a cut and paste job. Likewise, the work of set and costume designer Santo Loquasto contains reminders of the original, but that doesn’t discredit his sumptuously fun and colorful visuals. Under Natasha Katz‘s lights, there’s a positively thrilling moment when the ensemble promenades across the stage singing the pepper-upper “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” dressed in a dazzling assortment of sunny pastels.

The star quality of the cast doesn’t stop at Bette Midler. David Hyde Pierce may not be the first name to come to mind when casting the gruff and blustery Horace, but he is just perfect, giving Midler a firm foil off of which to bounce and just enough of a tender side to allow her to fall in love. During a moment of intense frustration, Pierce masterfully pulls off a classic bit of business where his upper lip broadly trembles for as long as the audience finds it funny, which can be a very long time. Their chemistry is that of a comedy team, rather than that of traditional lovers, and the audience falls in love with them as a pair.

BWW Review: Bette Midler's The Star Attraction, But HELLO, DOLLY! is The Star
Beanie Feldstein, Taylor Trensch, Kate Baldwin
and Gavin Creel (Photo: Julieta Cervantes)

Normally, Horace only has one song, the spirited comic turn, “It Takes A Woman,” where he describes the perfect wife as one who can preserve her painted-up femininity while performing the hard physical labor of daily maintenance chores around the house. Back in pre-Broadway tryouts of the original production, the character also closed the first act giving a history of how he made his fortune with the charming and clever “Penny In My Pocket.” The song was cut in order to give Dolly the final big moment before intermission with “Before The Parade Passes By,” but its reputation grew as one of the really fine songs dropped from a Broadway musical. “Penny In My Pocket” is now restored to the score and opens the second act, nimbly performed by Pierce to give his character a little extra depth.

As the romantically canny Irene, Kate Baldwin‘s exquisitely-voiced soprano is showcased in Herman’s lovely ballad, “Ribbons Down My Back.” She’s courted by song and dance man Gavin Creel, in a winning comic turn as Horace’s ambitious assistant, Cornelius. Joining their romantic adventures is the terrific pairing of Beanie Feldstein as Irene’s flirtatious assistant Minnie Fay and Taylor Trensch as Cornelius’ naïve co-worker Barnaby.

Last season’s DISASTER! Tony nominee Jennifer Simard is underutilized as a first act ensemble member who graduates to a second act appearance as a disastrous match for Horace, as is crusty character man Michael McCormick, who can be spotted in the ensemble before a second act scene as a judge. But that can be taken as a sign of how much stand-out talent there is throughout the company.

A parade of big name stars followed Carol Channing to allow Hello, Dolly!‘s original production to surpass MY FAIR LADY and become, for a brief time, Broadway’s longest running musical. Hopefully, this splendid revival will be showcasing many great stage stars for years to come.

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