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Nice Work If You Can Get It..who knew it was about love?

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ImageBy sheer magical intervention I got row B seats for the above Gershwin boys musical. I was expecting more recycled tourist pablum… what could I have been thinking of? This beautifully  directed show by Kathleen Marshall, induced better feelings than I have had in a year. The perfect antidote to global misery, a prohibition comedy, with a few updates for our even more insane time. Matthew Broderick is a dream, sweet, with a lovely voice and a perfect everyman persona. Sometimes I didn’t quite get his cartoonish vocal expressions..they seemed broader than his co-star’sKelly O’Hara’s more straight on performance, but he’s a real charmer who makes me want to dance again. Kelly (South Pacific) has a super clean voice and the rest of the cast are stars in this show too: Judy Kaye doing a stuffy biddy who gets released from her emotional girdle, Matt McGrath as lifetime gin runner,Robyn Hurder as the chorus girl who wants to be queen, Jennifer Laura Thompson, as a clumsy Isadora Duncan who Matthew must marry. In the show I saw, a stand-in for one of the hoods, Michael X. Martin, whose hang dog face with shades of Norton was irresistable.But enough for the live talent which also includes the great Estelle Parsons… the Gershwins wrote love songs that are still so psychologically in step that I wonder if they were channelling.I’ve always thought Someone To Watch Over Me was my theme song, although, But Not For Me seems more like it.  Delishious has fun rhyme play and I’ve Got a Crush on You is sublime. But the big surprise is that I never realized that the word work in the title refers to love and how it ameliorates lots of life’s other problems… if you can get it. I got it. At least for an afternoon.

Written by nancykoan

October 25, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret

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Imagine sitting through 3 hours without an intermission.. if this had been the opera, one might begrudgingly understand …but a movie without Elizabeth Taylor? Remarkably, this oftimes operatic like film by uber talented Kenneth Lonergan moves swiftly like the city it takes place in..New York.

A teenaged Anna Paquin witnesses and is somewhat responsible for something that becomes the trigger for the rest of the story…and everything else supports her in this tale of growth, confusion, and search for connection.  All of the acting is top rate, J. Smith Cameron, Mark Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Allison Janney, Mathew Broderick and Elaine May’s now skinny kid, Jeannie Berlin (remember her from Heartbreak Kid)?

Paquin as Lisa Cohen is an intelligent piece of molten lava who manipulates those around her while desperately trying to find her internal balance. She is lit in many ways, offering her up as seductress in one scene, and pimply raging monster another. The many faces of burgeoning womanhood.

Longergan writes beautifully for his female characters… 38 points for that as well as seeming to understand the New York Jewish defnese mechanism …especially when Jean Reno, playing a Columbian software guy, makes a comment about it…innocently revealing the bias that lies hidden in us all.

In this longer version, the director writer inserts rambling street conversations,giving the viewer the sense of NY as a fishbowl, with everyone talking at the same time. It’s effective, as well as the slow moving crowd scenes, reminding how time rarely stands  still in a city on the move.

I was an easy teen, but I imagine many parents, especially in divorced situations, can identify the family struggles.

Lonergan succeeds in bringing many issues to the fore in this film ==the idiocy of ‘justice’ through monetary rewards; the pull of sex; and the struggle to find peace with each other and with the world. All issues deserving of an opera which he also provides by way of Renee Fleming and Tales of Hoffman.