Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Weekend of Non-operatic Kulcher

Let's see if I can even write about A Chorus Line, shall we? I knew every word of it years before I was obsessing about who's the perfect Woglinde [Schwarzkopf. Glad you asked], so it's kind of like trying to draw the back of your eyelids. I saw the original run as it was limping toward the grave in 1989, but before that my parents had been playing the original cast album on car trips for as long as I can remember. Another good reason not to review it: the original cast is so tightly wound around my aural synapses, it's hard not to react in that infurating way, judging performers by their likeness to the Platonic ideals.

So I tried just to hear it with new ears, and it's been long enough since those car trips with the ol' cassette playing, I think maybe it worked. And on those terms, the revival is a real success, though I'd love to hear it settle into something even better. Almost everyone onstage is a double threat, with a triple here and there. Charlotte d'Amboise as the ostensibly most three dimensional and for me, the least interesting character, Cassie, for the most part knocks it out of the park, though her vocal production feels weird to me, seems like she's about to bust a chord. I think my favorite though was Natalie Cortez (I just googled, hope that's her name) as Morales. She does, yeah, sound a bit like Priscilla Lopez, so YMMV, if anyone still says that. But she sings on the words, which the rest of the cast does to varying degrees. And yeah, the horrific 70's gay shame monologue of Paul the Tragic Queen, whereafter he is to all intents and purposes snuffed plotwise, made me cry. What can you do?

The weekend's other excursion, with Mama D'Annato, was to this year's Capote biopic, Infamous. The film begins promisingly enough with a strange, wonderful scene of Gwyneth Paltrow as Peggy Lee, either having a little breakdown onstage or putting on a riveting performance of one. GP can sing, by the way. And then she has her breakdown and so does the movie. The movie purports to be based on George Plimpton's fascinatingly curated volume on Capote, a bunch of written records of oral history. The movie starts out lunging in this direction with some fake documentary interviews with the likes of Gore Vidal and Diana Vreeland. These are awkward. Holy mackerel, are they awkward. And they set the tone that this is going to be a movie about imitation rather than interpretation as was the much, much more succesful Capote with Phillip Seymour Hoffman. To this end, they have cast an actor who looks shockingly like Capote, certainly moreso than the decidedly un-waify, strangely handsome Hoffman. Before you ask, I do realize I'm probably in the minority in finding him hot, yeah.

It's an incredibly difficult way to do a movie like this, and the film fails rather starkly. And so it goes in other directions as well, including a daring, sort of embarassing go at pure speculation involving TC's relationship with Perry Smith. Um and this is the part where I return to the draft of my review and am still a tiny bit drunk from this benenfit thingy but want to turn out an entry, so my review is going to die an untimely death. Go see Infamous and tell me I'm not nuts, that it's really incredibly clumsy. And wins this month's award for bad southern accent on film, though I won't say who because she's really kind of endearing.

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