Tag Archive | Musical

The Imbible, an Intoxicating New Theater Experience!

Imbible Title Card
All Photos By Gail

Do you like drinking? I sure do. If you enjoy drinking and you also like going to the theater, maybe you have wished that there was a play where the actors brought cocktails right to your seat for you to enjoy during the show. That would be insane, right? What a great idea! Well, what if I told you that this is not just a beautiful, utopian dream, but that it is already happening right now? Yes, it is true, and this magical event happens at New World Stages in midtown. The show is called The Imbible: a Spirited History of Drinking, and the cherry on the cake is that it all takes place in a bar!

Imbible Signage

Imbible Table

When you arrive at the theater, head down stairs, veer off to the left, and you will be escorted to your seat in the Green Room lounge. Water and a free bowl of fresh popcorn will be brought to your table for you to snack on while you wait for the show to begin. The Imbible was created by world-renowned mixologist Anthony Caporale, who looks a little bit like actor Joe Manganello, whose photo I have just hyperlinked, for your reference.

Host Anthony Caporale

By infusing Anthony’s knowledge of the cocktail, his charming personality, and an in-depth but also hilarious look at the history of alcohol, with music and a lighthearted, vaudevillian vibe, The Imbible becomes a singularly unique, immersive theater experience that you will not want to miss. Plus: getting wasted is included in the price of the show!

Imbible Cast
Allessandra Migliaccio, Luke Schaffer and Ruthellen Cheney also Star in The Imbible

As Anthony takes you on an intoxicating and utterly fascinating historical  journey, a singing trio called The Backwaiters, made up of a Cocktail Waitress, Liquor Runner, and Bar Back, assist him with demonstrations and perform Acapella versions of familiar tunes, whose lyrics have been modified to be about drinking and alcohol. Fun! To coincide with the story about how beer was (probably) invented, after a farmer left a basket of wheat out in the rain (all stories are re-enacted by The Backwaiters), you will be served your first cocktail of the evening, which is called a Shandy, comprised of 8 ounces of Coney Island Overpass IPA and 4 ounces of Ginger Ale. Very refreshing!

Imbible Cast Chemistry

As the performers ‘distill’ alcohol’s 10,000-year global history over the course of  2 hours, Anthony pours through beverage history, the science of alcohol, and its economic and political impact on our cultural development, all while brewing beer, distilling spirits, and singing with The Backwaiters. Trust me that you will leave the Green Room educated, entertained, and buzzing with spirit!

Imbible Cast Chemists

You are going to learn all about the process of Distillation! Fascinating!

Dates of Prohibition

And you will learn all about Prohibition. Did you know that it lasted thirteen years? Oh, the humanity!

End of Prohibiton Headline

But Prohibition finally ended and it was time to enjoy another drink!

Lilac Creamsicle Old Fashioned

Your second cocktail of the evening will be some variation of an Old Fashioned, which is always made with Bourbon and Bitters with some kind of sweet flavoring, and served on the rocks. At the performance I attended, it was a Lilac Creamsicle Old Fashioned, and it was delicious!

Casks

My favorite parts of the show were when the audience got to learn something about the medical uses of alcohol through the ages, and how sometimes the medical experimentation resulted in the creation of a favorite cocktail recipe, such as the Gin and Tonic. You see, in the 1800s, daily rations of Gin and Tonic Water (which contains Quinine) were given to British soldiers to protect them against the symptoms of Malaria. They added limes to make the concoction more palatable, and the G & T (my personal favorite drink) was born!

Gin and Tonic

This Gin and Tonic, the third and final cocktail of the evening, was made with Bombay Sapphire Gin and was among the most excellent versions of this drink I have had to date!

I didn’t know exactly what to expect when we sat down in the Green Room for this show, but I can say that The Imbible exceeded my expectations and is a show I will never forget. I would recommend trying to get into the 5 PM performance on Saturday so that you can catch a decent buzz and then go talk about how much fun the show was while you enjoy a delicous dinner! For being hilarious, educational and a fantastic entertainment value, The Worley Gig gives The Imbible Five out of Five Stars!

Tickets for The Imbible Start at $79, but you can follow This Link to get $10 per Ticket Discount on Your Order! Three Craft Cocktails (and free Popcorn) are included, and all Seats are Great! Showtimes are Monday, Thursday and Friday at 8:00 PM, and Saturday at 5:00 and 8:00 PM. Run Time is  2 Hours, which includes a 15 minute intermission/ bathroom break. New World Stages is Located at 340 West 50th Street Between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown Manhattan. Visit This Link For More Information!

Recommended Viewing: The Stolen Lyric

Stolen Lyric Cast

If you’ve been around long enough, you might remember a genre of extremely clever novelty records — super popular during the ’70s  —   that parodied current events and news stories with fake interviews made up of audio clips taken from charting pop songs. Those early mash-up records were lots of fun, and if you miss them, and wonder why somebody hasn’t picked up on that idea for a long-form project, then a new animated film called The Stolen Lyric is going to really turn you on.

Directed by Chase Peter Garrettson, The Stolen Lyric is an animated retelling of the Robin Hood fable, set in the rock music world, and taking on  corporate greed as its chief nemesis.  While the film’s plot and episodic structure  closely follow Howard Pyle’s 1883 novel, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, in The Stolen Lyric, Robin H is the lead singer of a rock band called The Merry, whose members include Tucker (Friar Tuck), LJ (Little John) and Will Scarlet (Will Scarlet). What makes The Stolen Lyric absolutely groundbreaking is how the film’s dialogue is based exclusively on 555 song fragments from 129 different iconic recording artists. Imagine listening to a mind-blowing, deep-catalog mix CD that was created by a pop music audiophile with a ten second attention span, and that might give you an idea of the sweet nostalgic ride that is The Stolen Lyric.

Here are just a few of the artists whose songs you’ll hear in The Stolen Lyric:

The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, The Who, Television, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Simon and Garfunkel, Jethro Tull, Queen, The Doors, Iggy Pop, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer, Radiohead, Outkast, Beastie Boys, Beach Boys, Elton John, Janet Jackson, Peter Frampton, Jefferson Airplane, Alice in Chains, Joy Division, Fiona Apple, Nine Inch Nails,  Buzzcocks and MGMT.

I must admit that I was very surprised to recognize a few song clips from the hyper-litigious Metallica, so perhaps the filmmakers are biding their time until the lawsuits start to flow in from that camp.

Because the film immediately immerses you in a familiar auditory environment, the action can be a bit fuzzy at first, so here’s an outline of major plot points:

Originally, The Merry included  a fifth member, Sherriff (The Sheriff of Nottingham) who, pre-fortune and fame, become disillusioned with a lack of commercial success, and quit the band to take a music business office job. Years later, the guys discover that Sheriff (who is now a wealthy corporate exective) has stolen a lyric from one of The Merry’s songs — “Time to Trade in Your Bike in for the Ride of Your Life” — and sold it for use in a car commercial. In their quest to get their owed-royalties from Sheriff, the story of The Merry unfolds in a series of flashbacks, and we see that Sheriff is also now with Rob’s former girlfriend who, for some reason isn’t named Marion, but Lorraine, as referenced in the lyrics to Lou Reed’s “Wild Child.”

stolen-lyric-band-cash

Here’s a bit of interesting trivia on the film: The characters in The Stolen Lyric were designed to look like hybrids of the traditional characters and modern-day rock personalities, with Rob’s look inspired by Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, LJ’s look inspired by Joshua Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, Will Scarlet’s look inspired by David Bowie, Tucker’s look inspired by Jonathan Davis of Korn, and Sheriff’s look inspired by Nick Valensi of The Strokes.

I think that the most fun you can have with The Stolen Lyric  is to watch it with group of your best record-collecting-music-nerd friends (adding lots of alcohol into the mix) and see who gets stumped the most when trying to identify the more obscure songs and artists. You could even make a drinking game out of it! Very fun! Although there are scattered swear words throughout (which most kids already know if they have ever ridden the subway in NYC, or own records by even one rap artist), and one fairly tame sex scene, I would say the film is age-appropriate viewing for mature 13 year-olds and up. It would absolutely be a terrific way to introduce kids to a top-shelf and somewhat eclectic collection of classic tunes that they are never going to hear anywhere else.

I watched The Stolen Lyric twice and enjoyed even more the second time.

The Stolen Lyric can be viewed on Amazon Prime.

stolen-lyric-robin-hood

Show Review: Lennon: Through a Glass Onion

Lennon Glass Onion Poster

For Beatles fans who crave an authentic performance experience of the group’s expansive catalog of music, there is certainly no shortage of grand scale productions, which range from Rain and Let it Be on Broadway to 1964 The Tribute – an act that regularly sells out Carnegie Hall. But for fans who maintain a keen interest in the life and post-Beatles career of John Lennon specifically, Lennon: Through a Glass Onion offers something completely different.

Now in evening and matinee performances at the Union Square Theater, Lennon: Through a Glass Onion, is an intimate, two-man show featuring esteemed actor and singer John R. Waters and accompanist Stewart D’Arrietta, which originally saw sell-out tours in the duo’s native Australia. While there are no dazzling lights, clever sets, informative backdrops or special effects to bolster this very stripped down production, what you get is a heartfelt acoustic performance (guitar and piano – and D’Arrietta’s piano playing is quite excellent) of a selection of over thirty of John Lennon’s best and most autobiographical songs – both written with Paul McCartney while in The Beatles, and written and recorded by Lennon as a solo artist.

Tying the musical numbers together is Water’s biographical narrative of John Lennon’s often traumatic youth and tumultuous adulthood, the ups and down of which are punctuated and fleshed out by songs he wrote at that time. Although Water’s speaking voice is appealingly similar to Lennon’s, his (often quite gravelly) singing voice is not, so don’t expect the “close your eyes and imagine it is really him” effect that you can get with so many tributes. Through a Glass Onion is really more like watching two hardcore John Lennon fans perform his songs and talk about his life in a pub setting. This may or may not be your thing, so just know what you are walking into ahead of time.

In order to fit thirty songs into a 90-minute run time, many of the songs are performed as excerpts of various lengths, but you get the idea. Likewise, some liberty is taken with traditional arrangements, which finds “Help!” – one of The Beatles‘ most exhilarating anthems – performed almost as a dirge. Sometimes the alternative arrangements work and other times not so much.

It’s also unclear how much of the biographical information is simply improvised or creatively extrapolated based on various facts but, again, it is easy to imagine that Waters is speaking as Lennon and the story all comes together. As an aside, fans seeking more information about John Lennon’s life as a child and teenager, including the not-very-happy story about his relationship with his mother Julia – which had such a profound influence on so many of his songs — might be better served by the 2009 film, Nowhere Boy. You can find it on Netflix.

An added note about the venue, for those who’ve not yet been to the Union Square Theater, is that you are in for treat in this pristinely maintained, old school theater where every very comfy seat offers optimal viewing, so you don’t have to stretch your ticket buying budget to get the best seat in the house. The theater is also conveniently located three blocks uptown from the Union Square subway hub and is within blocks of dozens of excellent restaurants — so you can plan a night of it!

Lennon: Through a Glass Onion will run through February 22nd, 2015 at the Union Square Theater, located at 100 East 17th Street (Between Park Ave South and Irving Place), New York, NY 10003. Visit Lennon Onstage Dot Com for more information about the show, to get show times and to purchase tickets!

The Beatles’ Help! Digitally Restored 1965 Film Now on iTunes!

HELP Header  

London – June 25, 2013The Beatles’ second feature film, 1965’s Help!, makes its worldwide digital release debut today, exclusively on the iTunes Store (www.iTunes.com/TheBeatles). The digitally restored film and 5.1 soundtrack features iTunes Extras including a 30-minute documentary about the making of the film, memories of the cast and crew, an in-depth look at the restoration process, an outtake scene, original theatrical trailers and radio spots and detailed art, including a companion piece with an introduction by the film’s director, Richard Lester and an appreciation by Martin Scorsese.

Help Beatles Perform B&W

Help!’s debut on the iTunes Store and Blu-ray follows the 2012 release of The Beatles’ digitally restored Yellow Submarine and Magical Mystery Tour feature films on iTunes, Blu-ray and DVD with extensive extras. Help!’s restoration for its 2007 DVD debut wowed viewers, earning five-times platinum sales in the U.S. and praise from a broad range of top media outlets around the world, including USA Today heralding the DVD as “a grand re-release,” The Guardian’s appreciation of the film’s director, Richard Lester, saying “Lester matches The Beatles’ ‘star’ power with smart, colourful visuals and casual surrealism,” The Los Angeles Times’ restoration rave: “With dynamic compression that was standard in the 1960s lifted for the digital age, the full range of the group’s musicality comes through – it’s like several coats of dust have been cleaned off an old master’s painting,” and four-star reviews from Rolling Stone and MOJO with the latter saying, “They really don’t make them like this anymore.”

Help Beatles in Austria

Directed by Richard Lester, who also directed the band’s debut feature film, 1964’s A Hard Day’s Night, Help! follows The Beatles as they become passive recipients of an outside plot that revolves around Ringo’s possession of a sacrificial ring, which he cannot remove from his finger. As a result, he and his bandmates John, Paul and George are chased from London to the Austrian Alps and the Bahamas by religious cult members, a mad scientist and the London police.

Help Beatles on the Beach

In addition to starring The Beatles, Help! boasts a witty script, a great cast of British character actors, and classic Beatles songs “Help!,” “You’re Going To Lose That Girl,” “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,” “Ticket To Ride,” “I Need You,” “The Night Before,” and “Another Girl.”

Help!’s iTunes digital download pairs the digitally restored original film with these iTunes Extras:

• “The Beatles in Help!” – a 30-minute documentary about the making of the film with Richard Lester, the cast and crew, including exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of The Beatles on-set.
• “A Missing Scene” – a film outtake, featuring Wendy Richard
• “The Restoration of Help!” – an in-depth look at the restoration process
• “Memories of Help!” – the cast and crew reminisce
• 1965 Theatrical Trailers – two original U.S. trailers and one original Spanish trailer
• 1965 U.S. Radio Spots (hidden in menus)

http://www.thebeatles.com

CAST
The Beatles:
John………..………………………………………………………..John Lennon
Paul………………………………………………………………Paul McCartney
George……….…………………………………………………George Harrison
Ringo……….…………………………………………………………Ringo Starr
Clang………………………………………………………………….Leo McKern
Ahme…………………………………………………………………Eleanor Bron
Foot…………………………………………………………….Victor Spinetti
Algernon…………………………………………………………Roy Kinnear
Superintendent……………………………………………..Patrick Cargill
Bhuta………………………………………………………………John Bluthal
Jeweller………………………………………………………………Peter Copley
Doorman…………………………………………………………………Alfie Bass
Abdul…………………………………………………………..…Warren Mitchell
Lawnmower…………………………………………………………Bruce Lacey
Cross channel swimmer……………………………………………Mal Evans
Women in street…………………Dandy Nichols and Gretchen Franklin
PRODUCTION
Director ……………………………………………………………Richard Lester
Producer …………………………………………………………Walter Shenson
Screenplay…………………………………..Marc Behm and Charles Wood
Story by………………………………………………………………..Marc Behm
Director of Photography…………………………………………David Watkin
Production Manager……………………………………………….John Pellatt
Art Director………………………………………………………Raymond Simm
Colour Consultant and Titles…………………………………Robert Freeman
Costume Designer…………………………………………………….Julie Harris
Musical Director………………………………………………………Ken Thorne
Songs composed by…………………..John Lennon and Paul McCartney and George Harrison
Songs performed by…………………………………………………The Beatles
Songs produced by……………………………………………..George Martin

Must See Show: Forever Dusty

Forever Dusty Playbill and Ticket
Forever Dusty Ticket and Playbill Signed by Kirsten Holly Smith

Do you love the music of legendary pop/soul singer Dusty Springfield? I sure do. So it was a super fun treat to attend a Sunday matinee performance of the musical, Forever Dusty this past weekend at New World Stages, a really cool, multi-theater off Broadway venue. Forever Dusty tells the fascinating story of the life of Springfield (born Mary O’Brien), whose career spanned four decades before she passed away from cancer in 1999. Everyone knows Dusty’s music, but her personal life was just as colorful as her songs. I loved this play so much!

Actress Kirsten Holly Smith does a fantastic job in the lead role and literally channels Dusty’s spirit and one-of-a kind, smoky smooth voice. Many of Dusty’s hits are performed and there is an excellent live backing band to add to the authenticity of the experience. My favorites were “Son of a Preacher Man” – one of the most classic pop songs of all time – and “The Look of Love” – which was just insane.

If you are looking for a new play to see or to take out of town friends to, and you enjoyed plays such as Memphis or Love Janis, you will adore Forever Dusty.

New World Stages is located at 340 West 50th St, between 8th and 9th Avenues at World Wide Plaza (right by the 50th Street stop on the C and E Trains). Tickets are an excellent value at $69 – $89. Get purchasing information at This Link.

Musical Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree

Good Grief! This charming replica of Charlie Brown’s iconic Christmas Tree plays the Peanuts theme song! Christmas!

Details!

  • Leave it Bare or Dress It Up (A single Red Christmas Ornament is included)
  • Height: 24″
  • Requires 2x AAA Batteries (not included)
  • Minor Assembly Required

Sale Priced for the Holidaze at just $34.95! Click This Link to own it for yourself!

Shaggs: Philosophy of The World Comes to the Off Broadway Stage!

If I didn’t have a calendar in front of me I’d swear it was April Fools’ Day, because I just read about a new musical coming to off-Broadway which is based on the true story of the late sixties’ all female rock band, The Shaggs. For those unfamiliar with this pop cultural phenomenon, the band was composed of sisters Dorothy “Dot” Wiggin (vocals/lead guitar), Betty Wiggin (vocals/rhythm guitar), Helen Wiggin (drums), and later Rachel Wiggin (bass). The Shaggs were formed by Dot, Betty, and Helen in 1968 on the insistence of their father, Austin Wiggin, who believed that his mother foresaw the band’s rise to stardom. The Shaggs’ only studio album, Philosophy of the World, was released in 1969 and failed to garner attention, though the band continued to exist as a locally popular live act. The Shaggs disbanded in 1975 after their father’s death. Today, the band is primarily notable for their perceived ineptitude at playing conventional rock music; the band was described in one Rolling Stone article as “…sounding like lobotomized Trapp Family singers.” In some circles, however, The Shaggs are seen as a groundbreaking outsider music group, receiving praise from mainstream artists such as Kurt Cobain and also from Frank Zappa after he called the Shaggs “better than the Beatles.”

As art imitates life, the play tells the story of a working-class dad’s a vision of rock-n-roll destiny for his three talentless daughters, convinced that they are his family’s one-way ticket out of hardship and obscurity. Shaggs: Philosophy of the World is directed by John Langs, coproduced by New York Theatre Workshop and South Ark Stage. The book is by Joy Gregory, music by Gunnar Madsen, and lyrics by Gregory and Madsen. Personally, I can’t wait to see it.

For two evenings in April, curious Shaggs’ fans can sneak a peek of the new musical, prior to its May 2011 debut at New York’s Playwrights Horizons. On Sunday and Monday, April 17and 18, excerpts will be performed at the Guggenheim Museum (1071 Fifth Avenue at 89th Street) at 7:30 PM. Irwin Chusid will also moderate a discussion with members of the production’s creative team. It should be a good time. Tickets for this event are $30 General Public, $25 Guggenheim members and $10 for Students under 25 with valid ID. Click through to This Link to purchase.

Must See Show: Spider-Man, Turn Off The Dark

Julie Taymor is an extremely literal-minded director. That much is in evidence if you’ve seen the film Across the Universe, a Taymor-directed 2006 release in which she visually interpreted, word-for-word, a cache of The Beatles’ most popular songs in order to tell the most simple-minded love story imaginable. Across the Universe, while visually stunning, was nevertheless mostly a critical and commercial bomb – a celebration of style over substance that failed to resonate with audiences despite its indelible tie to the Greatest Band Ever. Because, boring. It’s not all that surprising then that Taymor’s latest Broadway production, the now infamous Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark has become the most polarizing show currently gracing the Great White Way. Aside from the innumerable injuries to its actors, which have helped keep the show in previews for longer than any other stage production in history, Turn off the Dark is heavily flawed in ways that have earned it the distinction of being the Worst Reviewed Broadway Musical of All Time. How does that even happen?

This is an interesting case of negative publicity being good for business, as the show continues to sell out at each performance and gross millions of dollars weekly. Personally, the more bad press I read on the show, and the more that sketch comedy shows like Saturday Night Live parodied its pitfalls, the more I knew I just had to see it, which I finally did last night. And you know what? I absolutely loved it. Spider-Man: Turn of the Dark is a show with its visual “Oh My God! I Can’t Believe They Just Did That!” factor so far off the charts, unless you are in a coma, you almost can help but be entertained. When people tell you that this show has stuff in it that’s never been done before and that you won’t see anywhere else, they aren’t exaggerating. As far as the sets (which look like they’ve been lifted from films like Inception or Dark City), costumes (Grace Jones would be jealous), visual effects (Spider-Man goes to Hell, or something like that) and stunts (Assloads of Flying! Flying!), it’s by far the best stage production I’ve ever seen in my life. I mean, drugs are completely unnecessary, because you will not even believe some of the jaw-dropping, perfectly amazing things you’ll see. I was so wildly entertained, I didn’t even (hardly) mind the really bad parts, which are described in the next paragraph.

When you buy your tickets to see Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark (which you will, because you just have to see it), don’t expect much of a plot: the plotline is either confounding or non-existent. If you’ve seen the first Spider Man movie starring Toby McGuire, or if you know anything about Spider Man’s “creation story” at all, that’s all you need to know. Also be aware that there are some genuinely mind-numbingly boring parts in the first act. You will know when they are happening, because you will be all like “I wish they would fly around the theater again, because that was awesome!” Also, while the actor’s singing voices are all really top-shelf, despite its musical compositions being credited to U2’s Bono and The Edge, Turn off the Dark is perhaps unique for being a musical with zero memorable songs. I swear, the only hook that stayed in my head at all is the reoccurring, three chord electric guitar riff that indicates when Spider Man is about to kick someone’s ass; you know, it’s the bit used in every radio and TV advertisement for the play. Now, that’s an ear worm if there ever was one. It’s in my head right now, as a matter of fact. Spider Man!

Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, starring Reeve Carney, is currently in previews at the Foxwoods Theater on 42nd Street just West of 7th Avenue (steps from all the major subway lines). It is set to officially open on June 14th, but who knows if that will actually happen. I suggest you try to get tickets right now, before they close it down for a re-tool some time in April. I got tickets on Gold Star for $90 each including fees. It was totally worth it.


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Gail's Netflix Queue Recommends: HELP!

HELP! is an amazing screwball comedy/adventure/musical film that was made in 1965. It stars The Beatles as themselves and is certainly one of my very favorite movies ever. I own a copy, of course, but if you haven’t seen it you should rent it. Because it rules.

Rock Rock Rock Rock Rock ‘N’ Roll High School

On This Date in 1979: The movie Rock ‘N’ Roll High School, starring The Ramones along with PJ Soles, Vincent Van Patten , Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel premiered in Los Angeles. Rock ‘N’ Roll High School, which is one of my favorite rock movie musicals ever, is a part of Shout Factory‘s Roger Corman Cult Classics series, being reissued on DVD in May 2010. Yay!