Thursday, August 29, 2013

THE BANISTER BUZZ 8/29/13 - BRANAGH & FASSY TACKLE MACBETH, ORLANDO MAKES HIS BROADWAY DEBUT & VAMPIRE BILL WOOS A WANNABE NUN


FYI: that high-pitched shriek of delight you heard last week was my reaction to the news that Sir Kenneth Branagh (Shakespeare interpreter extraordinaire - see his incredible  performances in Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, and Othello) will be making his New York stage debut in Macbeth at the Park Avenue Armory next summer. I cannot possibly overstate how excited I am about this. Seeing Branagh perform live in a Shakespeare play is something that's been on my Bucket List for ages (I even gave a character in my novel, Blame It On the Fame, a backstory of wanting to become an actress after seeing Branagh on stage in Hamlet.) I love Shakespeare's plays and have done so since I first read Macbeth in my sophomore English class. To this day, that play remains my favorite of his tragedies and I can recite the entire "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace . . ." monologue verbatim. I have no doubt that Sir Kenneth will make a sublime Macbeth and I have my fingers, toes, and eyes crossed that I will be able to get tickets for this show. Pray for me, people! I should, also, mention that the wonderful Alex Kingston (River Song!) will be playing opposite Kenneth in this production. She's an acting powerhouse, so I'm sure that they will make a memorable pair on stage. 


Apparently, Macbeth is hot right now because it was, also, announced last week that there's a new, big-screen version coming our way and wait for it . . . one of my favorite actors, Michael Fassbender, will be playing the lead role! SQUEE Michael is such an amazing talent and he's so charismatic and intense, I have no doubt that he will be mesmerizing as the murderous Scottish king. I'm already predicting an Oscar nomination (It goes without saying that Branagh will be winning a Tony for his Macbeth.) Fassy's Lady Macbeth will be the lovely Marion Cotillard (She's replacing Natalie Portman, which I think is a good thing. Lady M is such a steely and formidable character. I just can't imagine dainty, sweet-voiced Nat pulling that off.) This movie will start shooting in the UK in January, so I'll have to keep an eye out for pix and tidbits from the set. Hope we get to see King Fassy with his ginger beard!


Moving on to another British actor who recently made his Broadway debut in a Shakespeare play . . . the always-dreamy Orlando Bloom hit the boards, along with multi-Tony nominee Condola Rashad (Yes, she's the real-life daughter of Claire Huxtable!) in Romeo & Juliet at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The show is still in previews, so no reviews yet. But judging by the great chemistry between Condola and Orlando on Good Morning America last week, I'd say that they should have no trouble selling a story of star-crossed love. If I were going to be in NYC this fall, this is definitely the show I'd want to see! R&J is a limited engagement and will end its run on Nov. 24th. Hopefully, this won't be the last time we see Mr. Bloom on The Great White Way.


So, we've talked plays, now let's talk musicals, which I am equally fond of. I've seen The Sound of Music on stage twice, and the film version of the musical is something I watch annually. I had such a crush on Christopher Plummer's Captain Von Trapp when I was a little girl! Must have been the accent. ;) I had no idea that there was a live television version of TSOM in the works until it was announced last week that Stephen Moyer of True Blood fame would be playing Captain Von Trapp opposite Carrie Underwood's Maria. I love this casting! I didn't even know that Stephen could sing, but a little research revealed that he's a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and apparently he killed it when he played Billy Flynn in the Hollywood Bowl's production of Chicago recently (see proof below.) And, of course, we already know that Carrie has an amazing voice, so this production promises to be a terrific one! I look forward to seeing how these performers interpret the iconic roles of Maria and Von Trapp. NBC will be giving us an early Christmas present by airing the new Sound of Music on NBC on Dec. 5th. The live factor should give the production an extra jolt of excitement. Can't wait!

   

That's it for this week's Banister Buzz. Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it! Comments make my day, so please leave yours below. Tell me what your favorite Shakespeare play or movie is. Who do you think will make the better Macbeth - Branagh or Fassy? And what old-school musical would you like to see remade and who would you cast in it? Until next time, my friends. Wishing my fellow Americans a safe and fun holiday weekend!

22 comments:

  1. Carrie Underwood is so stinking beautiful and talented. I'd hate her if she didn't seem so sweet. :)

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    1. I've got to admit that I don't pay a lot of attention to Carrie Underwood, but I do think she's an amazing singer. Will be interesting to see how she handles the acting part of her turn in The Sound of Music.

      Thanks for leaving a comment, Carolyn! :)

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  2. Oh - I am SO excited for a television performance of The Sound of Music! I watch that movie every holiday season and also had such a crush on Christopher Plummer - talk about sexy! Thanks for letting us know! I'm also excited for Macbeth. Hope to see it as well. Love Shakespeare aside from Romeo & Juliette. I've never been a fan of that one, believe it or not. Love Hamlet, Macbeth and Julius Caeser is my fave.

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    1. We share the same Sound of Music fascination then, Meredith! I watch it every holiday season as well. Christopher Plummer as Captain von Trapp was dreamy, wasn't he? SIGH

      If Mich and I make it up to NYC to see Macbeth, we are all going to have to meet up at Alice's Tea Cup! And if I'm not able to get tix, I will depend on you for a full report.

      I love Hamlet and Julius Caesar, too! Shakespeare's tragedies are probably my favorites.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. :)

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    1. Aw, thanks, Laura! So glad you're enjoying it. :)

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  4. Fingers, toes, and eyes are crossed that we can score some great tickets to see Macbeath next year! We will have to convince Meri to come along with us!

    My friend sees Romeo & Juliette tomorrow night and I am hoping to hear that it is as fabulous as I envision it to be. Heaven knows they are shutting down the street every night afterwards because the stage door is a mad house.

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    1. I'm wondering if we need to call upon the dark arts to get these tickets, Mich. There are witches in the play, right? ;)

      Oh, I can't wait to hear what your friend had to say about R&J. Details please! Not surprised to hear that Orlando is bringing out a mob of fans every night. I've heard that ticket sales for the show are very brisk, which is amazing for this time of year.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, Mich! :)

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  5. Thank you so much for letting me know about the R&J revival!! I want to go see it so bad. I wonder if I can talk my hubby into it.

    Also, I'll be glued to the TV for the sound of music! Love that music; everytime I watch it I sing along! I've never seen the Broadway play so I'm not sure how it differs, contentwise, from the movie and everything I've read makes it clear that the television production will be based on the play. Is that because it'll be live, so they'll have limited sets, or is there really a difference in the content?

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    1. Going into the Big Apple to see Romeo & Juliet sounds like a great date night to me, Tracey! You need to get your hubs on that ASAP. :)

      It will be interesting to see how this TV production of TSOM differs from the movie. Here's a good article about the changes made for the Julie/Christopher film:

      http://voices.yahoo.com/the-sound-music-critical-review-changes-1273471.html?cat=40

      As you can see, some songs were left out, while others were added or moved to different spots in the narrative.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, Tracey! :)

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  6. That would be great if you got tix for Macbeth. You know I also love KB, so I'm picking him for best Macbeth!

    And Orlando as Romeo. Oh, man. Be still my heart...

    Did not know about TSOM for TV. I love musicals too. I was Aunt Eller in our HS production of Oklahoma. I know every word of every song!

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    1. I honestly don't know who will be the better Macbeth. I just hope I get the chance to see both performances so that I can make that assessment for myself! :)

      Orlando is pretty much perfect casting for Romeo. SIGH

      Hee! I love that you were Aunt Eller, Jackie! Who knew you could sing? I am a huge musical theater fan going back to childhood and have several cast recordings in my CD collection.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! :)

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  7. I love the stage focus in the Buzz this week! And Kenneth Branagh... wow! If you go, please stand outside the stage door and take a pic with our boy. I want to live vicariously through you!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed this week's theme, Steffi.

      I have been to many Broadway shows in my life and have never once stood outside a stage door, but I would consider doing it for Branagh. Don't know if I'd want to embarrass myself in his presence though. I'm sure I'd turn bright read and get all stammer-y. :)

      If I do get to see Macbeth, I will be sure to give you all the deets!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! :)

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  8. Yay! Love Banister Buzz! :)
    I have had a crush on Kenneth Branagh since I saw him and his then-wife Emma Thompson in the movie Dead Again. I am crossing my fingers that you get tickets! I love Fassy but Branagh gets my vote for the best MacBeth. So hard to choose my fave Shakespearean play ... but I loved studying King Lear at Uni. (But that might be because my professor had a lovely British accent.)

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    1. Oh, Cat, you do not want to get me started on Dead Again. I love that movie and think it is absolute genius. I, also, loved Kenneth and Emma in Much Ado About Nothing. I was so sad when they divorced, but she moved on to Willoughby, I mean Greg Wise, which wasn't a bad trade-off. ;)

      I think that Fassy and Branagh will each put their own unique stamp on Macbeth. Will be very interesting to see how they both approach the role.

      So jealous you had a professor with a British accent. I never meet Brits in real life! King Lear is a good one! Don't see that one much and it's rarely adapted for TV or film.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

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  9. P.S. I love when Stephen 'bares fangs' in the Razzle, Dazzle performance. Too bad Bill is such a tool cuz Moyer is fun.

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    1. It did make me laugh that YT froze the Razzle Dazzle number on a moment that made it look like Stephen was about to take a bite out of Ashlee's neck!

      I am so with on on loving Stephen despite my Beel hate.

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  10. Michael Fassbender in Macbeth.... I love him!! And I'll admit it, I too had a cruch on Christopher Plummer. Well to be really honest, I still do.

    My favorite of Shakespeare's work has always been Romeo and Juliet and a Midsummer's Night Dream.

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    1. Who doesn't love Fassy, Liz? He is divine!

      LOL about Plummer. I still find him pretty dashing, too. He's aged well and is a riot in interviews.

      I love Midsummer's Night Dream! I saw performance of that show here at the Georgia Shakespeare Festival that was really magical because the production was done in a big tent on the grounds of Oglethorpe University and it was a hot, humid summer night, which was perfect for the play. In the first act, there was a violent thunderstorm outside, which really added to the ambiance. And after the storm was over we could heart crickets and toads and see fireflies buzzing all around. So atmospheric!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, Liz! :)

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  11. Hi I didnt know Fassy was going to play Macbeth until I read your Buzz. Thats really exciting news!. Its difficult to pick a favourite Shakespeare play. I have not seen all of them on stage yet but Im working on that. Seen Hamlet several times now but just missed out on Macbeth with James McAvoy which would have been amazing Im sure. I would have gone to see Kenneth in Manchester if I had know about it and not found out after it had finished. Macbeth is the one I want to see on stage the most at the moment. Actually there are several Shakespeare plays on in London at the moment so I will try to get in and see some if not all of those. Though I have already booked to see Corilolanus in December. The debate over Brannagh or Fassbender its difficult to choose as they are both briliant actors and as you say they will bring something different to the roles. I must admit to having had crush on Christopher Plummer especially from TSOM. Plus I love the songs and music. Its interesting to see that they are doing a live show with Stephen Moyer. He did a good job as Billy Flynn in Chicago, going by that clip. Ive seen Chicago on stage and Ive seen the film. I loved the Vampire like bite he almost gave to one of the dancers LOL.

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    1. I didn't realize that McAvoy had played Macbeth recently. That play is HOT right now! Used to be that actors always wanted to play Hamlet, but I guess that's switched to Macbeth. Shame you didn't get to see Kenneth in Manchester, but fingers crossed that you can see his Macbeth on the big screen via National Theatre Live.

      You know I cannot wait to hear how Hiddleston is in Coriolanus. His performance will be epic, I'm sure. And lucky you getting to see it!

      Another woman with a Christopher Plummer crush! I am in good company then. Can't wait to see Stephen in The Sound of Music. Will be a wonderful holiday treat to see a new version of one of my fave musicals.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Ally! :)

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