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The Luminous Parallel Worlds Inside the National Theatre’s Sensational Filming of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

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Jessie Buckley and Josh O’Connor star in the National Theatre’s “Romeo & Juliet,” airing as part of “Great Performances” Friday on PBS (check local listings).

I was quite thrilled but nervous last Friday night. Being in Canada, I wasn’t quite sure I would have access to the broadcast of the recently filmed version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that the National Theatre (one of my favorite theaters in the world) had put together under the weight of the pandemic. It sounded from the press release that outside of a few pre-determined countries, we, Canadians, might have to wait a bit for the production to become available here for streaming or viewing. But as luck (or a good cable subscription) would have it, I was anxious all for not, as I discovered quite easily that I could catch this dynamic pared down version of this classic on the PBS channel available to me.

Filmed completely on the Lyttelton stage (following, obviously, all the health guidelines that have been put in place) over seventeen (very busy) days, this wildly emotive presentation, flashing forward and back with a wise calculated a vengeance, made my heart ache for all that is lost within this deadly tragedy, and for all the loss we feel currently for not having live theatre available to us. The production broke my heart, surprisingly, as this is a tale told by many, over and over again, and although the star crossed story never ceases to amaze me in its sheer beauty and poetic genius, over the years, it has rarely found its way into my emotional heart. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but after numerous productions, regardless of their tactile beauty, the heartbreak sometimes stays a distant memory. But somewhere in this simplistic two-framed production, directed with an amazing clarity by Simon Godwin (NT’s Strange Interlude with Anne Marie Duff; followed by Man and Superman with Ralph Fiennes), the art and the pain stabbed itself deep and tugged at my sensibilities in a way that it hasn’t in, maybe, decades, and for that, I am eternally grateful to all involved, and to PBS for making it available for our consumption.

Originally, I am told, this modern-dress production was going to be staged as part of the National Theatre‘s regular theatrical season, but the pandemic had a different idea for this tale. So wisely and thoughtfully, Godwin and the National decided to not let this amazing opportunity fly away, but together they decided to find a way to reimagine this Shakespearean tragedy as a theatrical film. Played out on a bare stage, the team hoped to find within the construct, an honest and authentic vibration when they combined both mediums’ mindsets together. It was a gamble, I am sure, but parcelled out with little to no set or fanfare, the winning hand final product pays out in abundance. There, inside cinematographer Tim Sidell’s (2018’s “Two for Joy“) inventive eye, the creative team found all that is needed within, delivering forth a production that is tight, tense, and speedy, with a driven intensity that never wavers and falters. It finds ways of emotionally pulling you into its two parallel universes without too much flash or pretense, engaging in an unique energy that is compelling and swift.

Jessie Buckley in the National Theatre’s “Romeo & Juliet,” airing as part of “Great Performances” Friday on PBS (check local listings).

The cast of fourteen actors wanders in, dressed as if arriving for rehearsal. This is how it begins, as they sit in a circle on the stage surrounded by all the props they could need for a dry run of the play. It starts up with those iconic first lines, and the energy sizzles. This is the essence of theatre and Shakespeare, taking me back to those electric moments when poetry and words slam head first into pain and heartfelt emotions, and the excitement in what may be hangs in the air like heavy smoke. They start in, and the swordplay with wooden sticks sets the action moving forward. The ensemble, first watching with a simple edge of intrigue, dig into the madness as a real knife is pulled. The crowd swarms around the players, and the danger escalates as the quarreling intensifies. The camera dives inside, feeding on the chaotic energy as the visuals push the play forward and outward like a collective punch to the gutt. We are now all in it, without question. And we are never given a moment to step out. But why would we want to.

Josh O’Connor in the National Theatre’s “Romeo & Juliet,” airing as part of “Great Performances” Friday on PBS (check local listings).

The tightly wound reimagining is intent on maintaining its focus. Parallel universes only strengthen the undertones. Godwin and editor Nick Emerson have stripped the drama down, exposing the heart and blood with finesse. It flies itself forward and back, exposing all the elements of what did and will happen without a worry. The flashes, in and out, ignite the tension, and build on the dread that we all know. Without warning, intense sadness and fear came over me, even though we all know that no matter how much we’d like Romeo to have some patience in that one critical moment, or find a way to seek council with the Friar, the ending is a forgone conclusion, and we can only weep for the loss that is on the horizon.

Josh O’Connor, the well known actor who plays the troubled, brittle Prince Charles on The Crown, dives headfirst into a Romeo that is as complicated and engaging as one could hope for. He aches for the intense connection he unleashes inside himself and with his tender Juliet, played lovingly by Jessie Buckley (West End revival of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music). Their chemistry is sweet, dynamic, and stunningly believable, pushing that first kiss at the Capulets’ ball into something cinematically both intimate and grand. Something about the two, maybe because of the way their eyes smile at one another across the rehearsal room, drives the headstrong attachment forward with an urgency that is palpable. Stripped of so much surrounding textual chatter, the connection becomes more dangerous and intense with each meeting, making us fear for their emotional, yet immature, sanity. The two seem almost too eager to self inflict deadly wounds on themselves, forever trying unsuccessfully to balance love with a troubled desperation that is impossible to ignore. They are indeed in trouble, from that first impetuous kiss at the well crafted ball, but they speed forward, never looking long enough around them to take a breath, or avoid the crash that waits for them around the next corner.

Deborah Findlay in the National Theatre’s “Romeo & Juliet,” airing as part of “Great Performances” Friday on PBS (check local listings).

The play has been described by Godwin as a plot that balances destiny on the edge of disease. He states that the crucial delivery of that one particular message is delayed because of a quarantined town, with the outcome of that diseased hurdle being tragedy. It’s a construction that we can all embrace knowingly, as the production lets the pandemic sneak into the drama with a subtle power. Broadcasted as part of PBS‘s Great Performances, the production finds emotional engagement at almost every turn, especially in the unexpected, unscripted sexual tenderness between Benvolio (Shubham Saraf) and Mercutio (Fisayo Akinade), fumbling around in the alleyway to find the same fire that exists inside the titular characters’ hearts. To be surprised is a welcome addition with any Shakespeare, but to find myself fully invested inside every high-angled close-up or wide angled vision is just a joy to behold. It made my heart bleed for inner patience on Romeo’s banished part, pleading inside my soul for him to take pause for one more minute for an overall different outcome. Ridiculous, I know. With tears flowing down my face, I watched torturous love and separation play out its deadly, heartless game. The beautiful film has a luminous tender energy that creeps in and connects, especially during these days of pandemic seclusion. 

Tamsin Grieg in the National Theatre’s “Romeo & Juliet,” airing as part of “Great Performances” Friday on PBS (check local listings).

The sharp ninety-minute production isn’t worried about the world as much as it is about sexual energy and the ideas of love and electricity. Deborah Findlay’s (MTC’s The Children) delicious portrayal of the Nurse finds connection and intimacy easily and wisely, while Tamsin Grieg (NT’s Twelfth Night) defiantly adds a steely frost to her Lady Capulet that works (although I must admit I will never forget Diane Venora’s magnificent and battered turn at the same part in Baz Luhrmann’s epic film version, “Romeo + Juliet“, her damaged portrayal will live on in my soul forever). The only melting for Grieg’s Lady is when she tells her kinsman Tybalt, strongly portrayed by David Judge (ITV’s “The Bill“), to stand down. It has an erotic edge that coats much of this production. But speaking of Luhrmann’s film, Claire Danes turn on Juliet, Pete Postlethwaite’s Father Laurence, Mariam Margolyes’ Nurse, Brian Dennehy’s Montague, Paul Sorvino’s Capulet, and Paul Rudd’s Paris, still easily hold their own in my memory (God, the cast of that 1996 film was amazing) and I must admit it will take a lot to shake it out. O’Connor’s work though, easily accomplishes just that.

Unlike that starry, overly-produced film (that I love), this Romeo and Juliet finds their pure authenticity in its less showy forms and formulas, deepening the connection without all those high voltage gimmicks and excesses of which that Luhrmann film happily embraced. The National Theatre production runs fast and furious, though, pushing the tragedy forward at an epic speed, shedding of all Shakespeare’s side talk with a wise grace. Their focus is on the wild-ride drive and passion that is on fire within these two magnificent performances, as they fling themselves forward and backwards through parallel universes of passion and intent. The structural balance sits perfectly inside the theatrically staged space, making this 500-year-old play sizzle with an achingly sad energy that made it impossible to look away from or not feel in your very bones. For a play that I’ve seen countless times ove, this Romeo and Juliet, courtesy of London’s National Theatre, has delivered a gorgeous filming that is worthy of my continued devotion and extreme love. 

Great Performances: Romeo & Juliet will be on PBS starting Friday, April 23.

For more from Ross click here

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

YOUNG’S 12 — (via Ultimate Classic Rock) Since he began making records in the 60’s, Neil Young has seldom let a year or two pass between albums. Even as the last LP by Buffalo Springfield was being prepped for release, the Canadian singer-songwriter was making his self-titled solo debut, which came out just a few months later.

Young has never been reluctant to follow his creative muse, even if he’s in the middle of another project. More than one time during his career he’s shelved a project just to move on to something else. Sometimes – as in the case of Homegrown and Chrome Dreams – those records would be released at a later (sometimes much later) date; in other instances, we’re still waiting.

All this productivity and activity can lead to periods of inconsistency, as you’ll see in the below list of the 12 Worst Neil Young Albums. One era in particular stands out: the ’80s (spoiler: Six successive albums during the decade make the list). But LPs from the ’60s, ’70s, ’90s and the ’00s are here, too.When you’re as prolific as Young, they can’t all be After the Gold Rush and Harvest. Even when the records didn’t reach his usual standards, most of them still found new ways to continue on the restless path he started in the mid-’60s. From synth-pop and traditional country to ’50 rock ‘n’ roll and horn-spotted soul, Young’s instincts rarely took him to expected destinations.

Are You Passionate?’ (2002)

Young’s 24th album was supposed to be another Crazy Horse collaboration, Toast, which didn’t get released until 2022. Instead, he pivoted to a record with Booker T. & the MG’s that was billed as a soul album and included Young’s response to 9/11, “Let’s Roll.” One of the shelved Crazy Horse tracks is included, and it concludes with a nine-minute jam. Scant direction and thin songs sink Are You Passionate?

‘Peace Trail’ (2016)

Young’s 36th studio LP was sandwiched between a live album with Promise of the Real and a solo archival release recorded in 1976. Both are preferable to this quickly assembled record made with drummer Jim Keltner and bassist Paul Bushnell. Its political points are similar to the ones he’d been supporting since the ’60s, but now with a technological lean (there’s even some Auto-Tune on a track). Instantly disposable.

‘Storytone’ (2014)

The second of two albums released by Young in 2014 (the first was the solo acoustic A Letter Home), Storytone featured big band and orchestral backings to songs inspired by a new romance with actress Daryl Hannah. Forgettable and uncertain – swing and classical don’t mix all that well – the album arrived during a period of prolific activity. An equally unmemorable stripped-down version of the album was released at the same time.

‘Old Ways’ (1985)

Young’s country album Old Ways was first proposed after 1983’s Trans, the synth-based LP he delivered to Geffen. The label balked and insisted on a rock album instead; they got the 1950s throwback Everybody’s Rockin’. Young returned to his country album in 1985, enlisting Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and fiddle and pedal steel musicians. Another unremarkable genre detour during Young’s most dour decade.

‘Everybody’s Rockin” (1983)

Young’s second Geffen LP was as baffling as the first. But where Trans moved forward, Everybody’s Rockin’ was a throwback to 1950s rockabilly, complete with a retro look (pompadour, face-dominating sideburns) and name (Neil and the Shocking Pinks). Four songs were covers; an original (“Wonderin'”) dated to 1970. It runs less than 25 minutes. Geffen soon sued Young for making deliberately uncommercial records.

‘Landing on Water’ (1986)

Three genre-specific albums left Young at odds with Geffen Records in the mid-’80s to the point where the label sued him for making records that didn’t sound like Neil Young records. Landing on Water was his return (albeit once again stitched together from years-old sessions) to fuss-free rock music. Good luck finding a memorable song, though. Even Young has referred to Landing on Water as a “piece of crap.”

‘Broken Arrow’ (1996)

After 1989’s career-reviving Freedom, Neil Young had an admirable run in the first half of the ’90s. Then Broken Arrow arrived. Shaken by the death of longtime producer David Briggs, Young and Crazy Horse falteringly recorded the LP over a month, often with no guidance or direction (the first three songs each run more than seven minutes and are little more than aimless jams). An unsteady new era was around the corner.

‘This Note’s for You’ (1988)

After a contentious five-album run with Geffen, Young returned to Reprise for his 16th LP. But he still wasn’t ready to discard the ’80s explorations that marked the decade. The flimsy This Note’s for You, co-credited to the Bluenotes (a horn-based group with other ties to Young’s past), dipped into jump blues music while adhering to a slim conceptual thread about commercialism. At least it contained a minor hit in the title track.

‘Life’ (1987)

Neil Young made five albums with Geffen in the ’80s, none of them particularly good. But at least most of them have some sort of identifiable tag: synth-pop, rockabilly, country. Life has nothing to single it out. Mostly recorded live with overdubs added later, the Crazy Horse collaboration ended Young’s controversial relationship with Geffen on a sour, but expected, note. Maybe the most easily dismissed LP in his entire catalog.

‘Trans’ (1982)

After more than two dozen years with Reprise Records, Neil Young jumped to the flourishing Geffen label for his 12th album. Nobody expected his first record under the new contract to be a futuristic new-wave LP made with synths and a vocoder altering Young’s voice – especially the label. Young has said he made Trans to communicate with his son, who had cerebral palsy. A year later Geffen filed a lawsuit.

‘American Stars ‘n Bars’ (1977)

Neil Young’s catalog is scattered with albums stitched together from various session sources. For his eighth LP, he collected nine songs recorded over a two-and-a-half-year period, starting in 1974. The results were mixed. The stripped-back country rock made with Crazy Horse on Side One has little connection to the plugged-in fury of “Like a Hurricane,” a mid-decade highlight, and the solo acoustic “Will to Love.” Aimless.

‘Neil Young’ (1968)

Young’s solo debut isn’t terrible, it’s just a letdown after the buzz he generated with Buffalo Springfield. Only a handful of songs (including “The Loner,” fleshed out onstage over the years) make an impression; the rest finds the still-growing singer-songwriter tentatively stepping away from his former band while occasionally tethered to their era-identified folk rock. Better things were to come.

SHORT TAKES — On Wednesday’s Today Show, Carson Daly revealed his first concert ever was Ziggy Marley. And as he and a friend took their seats, it seemed to Daly as if smoke rose from the stage. Daly’s friend said it was happy smoke

Leah McSweeney

I never heard of Leah McSweeney (another Bravo Housewife), but Tuesday she filed a lawsuit against Andy Cohen. More lurid details for sure. Is Andy this year’s Harvey? I’ll tell you, between Cohen, Puffy and the gals … it’s a huge, huge mess and heads will definitely roll at NBC/Comcast. Stay tuned … Yankee-Bernie Williams is at the Carlyle?

I haven’t heard his music, but this reminds me of Knick-Earl Monroe years back introducing his Pretty Pearl Records. I honestly don’t even remember the artists, but the project came and went pretty quick … Debbie Gibson on the 80’s Cruise with Wang Chung; Escape Club; English Beat; Soft Cell; Air Supply; Ray Parker; Animotion; and Tommy Tutone. Check it out here: https://the80scruise.com/lineup/

Richard Lewis photo by Stephen Sorokoff

So sad about Richard Lewis. He used to be a very, very frequent companion to me back in the day at Lorelei on West 58th street. He was always so funny and sweet. A true companion for the naughty 90’s. He’ll be much missed …

Kjersti Long

Zach Martin interviews 17-old wunderkind Kjersti Long on his NEW HD radio today …  Felix Cavaliere and The Rascals at the Patchogue Theater on April 26 and SONY Hall on May 17th … Happy BDay Zach Lloyd; Mitch Ryder; Roy Trakin; and Judy Libow!

Debbie Gibson

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Jacqueline Boyd; Nancy Harrison; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Jim Kerr; Debbie Gibson; Heather Moore; Roger Friedman; Mark Bego; Melinda Newman; Joe Lynch; Obi Steinman; Felix Cavaliere; Amanda Naylor; Tolouse Bean; Howard Jones; Mark Alpert; Donald Johnson Kyla Nicole; Angela Tarantino;n Barry Fisch; and SADIE!

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Broadway

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

THE NEW OUTLAWS — (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) Willie Nelson has announced the lineup and dates for his 2024 Outlaw Music Festival Tour.

In addition to headlining sets by the 90-year-old country legend and recent Rock & roll Hall of Fame inductee, this year’s Outlaw Music Festival Tour will include performances by Bob Dylan each day throughout its 25-date run.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will also play on select dates, alternating appearances with John Mellencamp.

Nelson’s Outlaw Tour debuted in 2016 and has since featured Sheryl Crow, Van Morrison, Chris Stapleton, Neil Young and ZZ Top.

“This year’s Outlaw Music Festival Tour promises to be the biggest and best yet with this lineup of legendary artists,” Nelson said in a press statement announcing the shows. “I am thrilled to get back on the road again with my family and friends playing the music we love for the fans we love.”

Brittney Spencer, Celisse and Southern Avenue will also perform at this year’s Outlaw Music Tour Festival. Billy Strings will join the tour for one concert at Washington’s The Gorge. You can see the tour’s complete run dates and lineups below.

General public ticket sales start on March 1 at 10 a.m. local time. Citi card members have access to presale tickets starting Tuesday at 10 a.m. local time until Thursday at 10 p.m. local time. More information can be found at the tour’s website.

SHORT TAKES — Boy, that Andy Cohen news sure disappeared quickly. I guess Brandi Glanville’s lawyers were right when they said NBC/COMCAST was making too much money from Cohen, to dismiss him. Sure, Andy apologized, but that was it …

Joe Manganiello is hosting the new Deal Or No Deal Island. With one of the worst haircuts, I’ve ever seen, he was on Monday’s Today Show -3rd hour- with Jenna and Hoda assisting him. There were so many rules in the intro, I was immediately thrown. All these game shows seem to be the thing these days – cheap to produce; easy to write; and B and C actors are certainly available …

Jenny Boyd

Jenny Boyd – sister to Patti and married twice to Mick Fleetwood – has a new autobiography out, Jennifer Juniper. Here’s a great piece from Spin on it: https://www.spin.com/2024/02/60s-muse-turned-psychologist-jenny-boyd-explores-rocks-greatest-icons/

Patti Boyd-Harrison

Not to be outdone, sister Patti Boyd-Harrison has an exhibit with Christie’s in London. Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHBWT_HKDJ8 … Markos Papadatos has a great new interview with John Oates in Digital Journal, but strangely, nothing about his ongoing dispute with Daryl Hall. Methinks it was more of a PR-move to quickly extinguish any and all reference to it, as it just dragged their legacy (Hall & Oates) down … way down. Take a read: https://www.digitaljournal.com/entertainment/john-oates-talks-about-his-new-music-and-his-tour/article?fbclid=IwAR0T42cxA0lJtXRJZ0db1D0mNakjsjVUJYmerGNzTMXdPNotaHrmuPoPmFI … One more trailer for Kevin Costner’s epic Horizon. Pundit Roger Friedman quipped the Indians don’t look too happy in this one. To be honest, I see much of Yellowstone in the trailer. And, Danny Huston who was in the series is in the movie too. Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYsReoZMj1k … As of this writing, subway crime in NYC up 22% from this time last year! Reminds me of the 70’s here these days … Big, big layoffs at both Atlantic and Warner’s. The later about 600 employees. To me, they got rid of all the people who knew exactly what to do and when to do it. Sad for sure … SIGHTINGS: PR-pasha David Salidor at Brooklyn’s Table 87

Mike Scott

And, one of the greatest forgotten about bands is Mike Scott and The Waterboys. Just tremendous and timeless music. Check this article out from The Guardian:https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/jul/27/how-we-made-waterboys-the-whole-of-the-moon-mike-scott… RIP McCanna “Mac” Anthony Sinise.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Obi Steinman; Felix Cavaliere; Gene Cornish; Steve Walter; Jane Blunkell; Markos Papadatos; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Anthony Noto; Anthony Pomes; Kent & Laura Denmark; James Edstrom; Alec Baldwin; Lee Jeske; Andrew Tobin; Jewel Smithee; David and Delia Jones; and ZIGGY!

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Cabaret

The Most Beautiful Woman in the World 

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photo credit Conor Weiss

Who comes to mind when you see that phrase—Catherine Zeta-Jones, perhaps, or certainly Grace Kelly?  Most would concede the title belongs to one glorious, gracious and violet-eyed lady – Elizabeth Taylor.   

Elizabeth (ET from hereon in) was known for her films, jewelry and various husbands, but there was much more to that woman. The perfect person to let us in on the side we never saw is Ann Talman, who played her daughter in The Little Foxes on Broadway. Chosen for her uncanny resemblance to ET as a young girl, they remained close friends until ET’s death in 2011. Through song and story, Ann paints a portrait we never would have imagined—the prankster, surrogate mother, the fashion advisor funny-face maker and more. When consulting with her about what to wear to an awards gala, ET arranged for a private fashion show at Saks and then added “Do you want to borrow any of my jewelry?”.  Now that’s a friend to have! 

The evening began with Ann singing “The Shadow of your Smile” from The Sandpiper, a film that starred ET and Richard Burton against a backdrop of ET holding a sandpiper. In the film, the bird is a metaphor for broken-winged people, and Ann shyly admits that she had been a sandpiper. Ann was 22 when they met, and she explained how ET took on the surrogate mother role and gave her the support and counsel she needed. When Ann talks about pajama parties and drinking Soave Bollo, one imagines two sisters sharing secrets and giggling. (I can’t imagine ET in PJs, can you?)  Nevertheless … 

As if the offer of shared baubles was not indication enough of ET’s generous nature, Ann gave a brief history of ET’s involvement with AMFAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research) as well as her own foundation.  

This show was powerful, yet delicate, informative without being gossipy, funny while evoking a tear or two. It was lovingly put together with superb direction by Lina Koutrakos with Alex Rybeck as music director. The songs flowed so naturally that it might have been easy to not recognize the skill that went into their selection.   

Ann’s ability to mimic ET’s breathy voice as well as her sincerity, added to the charm and verisimilitude of the event. It was such a loving tribute, with little touches, like purple Mardi Gras beads, a printed program and cupcakes with lavender frosting for all in celebration ET’s birthday this week.   

The evening ended with a reprise of the first song. Thank you, Ann, for giving us a clearer picture of the shadow behind that most alluring smile. 

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Film

Best 5 American Film Schools

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In the pulsating world of cinema, aspiring filmmakers seek education and mentorship to carve their path in an industry that thrives on creativity and innovation. Choosing the right film school is pivotal in this journey, as it can provide the necessary skills, network, and knowledge to navigate the dynamic landscape of filmmaking. In this article, we will explore five distinguished American film schools renowned for their exceptional programs, state-of-the-art facilities, and contributions to the film industry. From the bustling streets of Los Angeles to the vibrant culture of New York, each institution on this list has played a significant role in shaping the next generation of cinematic storytellers. As students embark on this transformative educational journey, seeking additional support, such as the option to buy a coursework, can provide valuable assistance in managing academic responsibilities alongside their creative pursuits.

  1. University of Southern California (USC) – School of Cinematic Arts: Located in the Heart of Hollywood

The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts stands as an iconic institution synonymous with excellence in film education. With its prime location in the heart of Hollywood, USC offers aspiring filmmakers unparalleled access to industry professionals, studios, and the vibrant filmmaking community. The school boasts an impressive roster of alumni who have left an indelible mark on the industry, from George Lucas to Steven Spielberg. USC’s programs cover various aspects of filmmaking, including production, screenwriting, and animation. The hands-on approach, coupled with cutting-edge technology and world-class faculty, ensures students receive a comprehensive education that prepares them for the multifaceted challenges of the film industry.

  1. New York University (NYU) – Tisch School of the Arts: East Coast Hub of Creativity

Nestled in the heart of Manhattan, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts stands as a beacon for aspiring filmmakers on the East Coast. Renowned for its diverse programs in film and television, Tisch provides students with a dynamic and creative environment. The faculty comprises industry professionals and accomplished filmmakers who guide students through an immersive curriculum covering every aspect of film production. The school’s location offers students unique opportunities to engage with the vibrant arts and culture scene of New York City. NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts is not only a training ground for technical skills but also a hub that fosters creativity and encourages students to find their unique voice in the world of cinema. For those seeking guidance in the academic aspects of their film studies, you can find valuable resources here.  This site can offer valuable insights into crafting well-researched and articulate essays, complementing the practical skills gained in a creative filmmaking environment.

  1. American Film Institute (AFI) Conservatory: Crafting Masters of the Cinematic Craft

The American Film Institute Conservatory, located in Los Angeles, is renowned for its commitment to cultivating masters of the cinematic craft. AFI’s Conservatory program focuses on hands-on learning, providing students with the opportunity to work on real film sets and collaborate with industry professionals. The program’s intensity ensures that graduates emerge not only with technical proficiency but also a deep understanding of storytelling and the filmmaking process. AFI has consistently produced award-winning filmmakers, and its emphasis on crafting auteurs has earned it a distinguished place among the top film schools in the United States.

  1. UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television: Bridging Tradition and Innovation

The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television stands as a testament to the marriage of tradition and innovation. Situated in the vibrant city of Los Angeles, the school offers comprehensive programs in film, television, and digital media. UCLA’s film school emphasizes both the art and business of filmmaking, ensuring that students are equipped with the skills necessary to thrive in a rapidly evolving industry. The faculty comprises seasoned professionals who bring a wealth of industry experience to the classroom. UCLA’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment further enhances the educational experience, preparing students for success in the global landscape of film and television.

  1. Columbia University School of the Arts – Film Program: Where Intellectual Rigor Meets Artistic Exploration

Columbia University’s School of the Arts Film Program distinguishes itself as a place where intellectual rigor meets artistic exploration. Situated in the cultural melting pot of New York City, the program encourages students to engage deeply with the theoretical and historical aspects of film in addition to honing their practical skills. Columbia’s approach is interdisciplinary, allowing students to draw inspiration from various artistic disciplines. The program’s emphasis on critical thinking and creative expression sets it apart, producing graduates who not only excel in their technical proficiency but also contribute thoughtfully to the intellectual discourse within the world of cinema.

Choosing the right film school is a crucial step in a filmmaker’s journey, shaping not only their technical abilities but also their creative voice and industry connections. The American film schools mentioned above stand as pillars of excellence, each offering a unique blend of resources, faculty, and opportunities. Whether on the West Coast or East Coast, these institutions provide a fertile ground for aspiring filmmakers to cultivate their skills and emerge ready to make a meaningful impact in the dynamic and competitive world of cinema.

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NYC Movie Travel Guide: Visiting Filming Locations of Famous Movies

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New York City has long been a favorite destination for movie lovers, thanks to its iconic skyline, bustling streets, and vibrant energy. If you’re a film buff looking to find more content related to the magic of the silver screen, then this NYC Movie Travel Guide is just for you. 

Take a journey to the filming locations of famous movies, walk in the footsteps of your favorite actors, and experience the city like never before. From classic blockbusters to indie gems, New York City has served as the backdrop for countless cinematic masterpieces. Get ready to explore the city’s most famous filming locations and walk in the footsteps of your favorite movie characters.

Times Square

Lights, camera, action! Start your movie adventure in the heart of Manhattan at Times Square. This iconic location has been featured in countless films, including “Spider-Man,” “The Avengers,” and “Midnight in Paris.” Take a stroll down the bustling streets and soak in the electrifying atmosphere.

Central Park

Step into the green oasis of Central Park, where many memorable movie scenes have been shot. From “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” to “When Harry Met Sally,” this sprawling park has provided the backdrop for countless romantic and adventurous moments on the big screen. Don’t forget to visit the famous Bethesda Terrace and Bow Bridge.

Empire State Building

Feel like you’re on top of the world at the Empire State Building. This iconic landmark has been featured in numerous films, including the classic “King Kong” and the romantic comedy “Sleepless in Seattle.” Take the elevator to the observation deck and enjoy breathtaking views of the city that never sleeps.

Brooklyn Bridge

Take a walk across the majestic Brooklyn Bridge, which has been featured in films like “Annie Hall” and “I Am Legend.” Marvel at the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline as you follow in the footsteps of your favorite movie characters. Don’t forget to snap a selfie with the bridge as your backdrop.

Grand Central Terminal

Step into the bustling Grand Central Terminal, a hub of transportation and a favorite filming location for many movies. From “North by Northwest” to “The Avengers,” this iconic train station has played a starring role in numerous films. Marvel at the celestial ceiling in the main concourse and imagine yourself in a movie scene.

Statue of Liberty

No visit to New York City is complete without a trip to the Statue of Liberty. This iconic symbol of freedom has been featured in films like “Ghostbusters II” and “X-Men.” Take a ferry ride to Liberty Island and get up close to Lady Liberty herself. Don’t forget to capture the moment on camera.

Coney Island

Experience the nostalgia of Coney Island, a beloved amusement park that has been featured in films like “The Warriors” and “Uptown Girls.” Take a ride on the iconic Cyclone roller coaster, indulge in Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this iconic New York City destination.

The High Line

Take a stroll along the elevated park known as the High Line, which has become a popular filming location in recent years. From “The Amazing Spider-Man” to “The Devil Wears Prada,” this unique urban park offers stunning views of the city and a glimpse into New York City’s industrial past.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Channel your inner art enthusiast at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a cultural landmark that has been featured in films like “The Thomas Crown Affair” and “When in Rome.” Explore the vast collection of art and immerse yourself in the beauty and history of this world-renowned museum.

Washington Square Park

End your movie-inspired journey at Washington Square Park, a vibrant gathering place that has been featured in films like “When Harry Met Sally” and “August Rush.” Sit on one of the park’s iconic benches, watch the street performers, and reflect on your cinematic adventure in the city that never fails to captivate.

New York City is a treasure trove of filming locations, offering movie lovers the opportunity to step into the world of their favorite films. From Times Square to Central Park, the Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty, each location holds a piece of cinematic history. So grab your camera, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to embark on a movie-inspired adventure through the streets of the Big Apple.



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