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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

#MyBroadwayThing: Cast "Art Photos"

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So, if you are reading this, you no doubt have more than a passing interest in theater in general and Broadway, specifically.  Well, me, too. I have shows I am obsessed with and certain performers, composers, playwrights and designers whose every move gets my attention.  I'm pretty sure we all do.

But if you are into this like I am, you know that even the most specific aspects of productions can get us excited about a show. I notice everything - the tiniest changes in a show logo, website quality, even those fliers they try to shove in your hand when you walk around Times Square. (Shout out to those Chicago gals in red tights and bowler hats, who do their best Fosse moves to give you a slip of paper!) And thus, a new regular column is born: #MyBroadwayThing.

This time around I'll share my newest "thing": those artful, usually modern-dress, tableau photos of show casts in settings and poses that are thematically similar to the show they are in.  I LOVE THESE THINGS!  I love that they make my mind work - I focus on the background, the composition, and, of course, the most minute details of the actors' expressions and body language.  I really love how they bridge the "real world" and the world of the play.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Angels in America: Millennium Approaches/Perestroika

The approaching storm, the looks of anger, hurt, fear, and defiance. Notice how no one is looking at each other? How Andrew Garfield is the only one going up the hill, and Nathan Lane is going down? And the way Denise Gough holds her clasped hands to her chest, while Lee Pace sulks wistfully? The battered American flag skirt on Amanda Lawrence's broken-but-surviving angel? This amazing photo tells us all about the relationships of these people and is a visual representation of those titular National Themes...as relevant today as ever. (If not more...)

Come From Away

I wonder if what I see in this picture will be colored by or change when I finally get to see this show?  But then again, aren't these photographs supposed to entice viewers into seeing a show they haven't seen? Of course, I know enough about the show to glean some show-related details.  Crowded at an airport gate...stranded, uncomfortable passengers, bags at hand... captain very serious and arms folded to enforce her leadership status (and maybe to hold herself back from showing her own fears).  A closer look shows a cross-section of world cultures - a microcosm of humanity brought together, and not for a happy reason. Notice the most colorful things in the photo are the Canadian flags, and the hockey jersey wearing, plaid-clad (and only smiler) Canadians themselves.  I can't wait to hear their story!

My Fair Lady

My enjoyment of this deceptively simple photograph is definitely informed by my knowledge of the show that is its subject. From the show: first of all, the location fairly screams a British regal sensibility: the hallways around a center, polished wood railings, 19th century-esque metal work below the railings. And there's the relationship between both couples: father-daughter, mother-son. Lastly, The background subjects are Ascot Gavotte-ready socialites. But notice that the primary subjects (Norbert Leo Butz, Lauren Ambrose, Diana Rigg and Harry Haddon-Paton) are in modern dress, on a leisurely stroll, while the socialites in period dress are behaving more like 21st century people - social networking/gossiping or running off in a blur to the "next thing." Translation: this My Fair Lady is both timeless and timely.  Way to get modern audiences to buy a ticket to an old-fashioned classic!

DO YOU HAVE A "BROADWAY THING"? TWEET ME USING #MyBroadwayThing or email me at jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com .

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