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June 2016

“Oh, Hello” is Coming to Broadway and That’s the Best News Ever

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Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

Yesterday it was announced that “Oh, Hello“, the off-Broadway hit show of last year starring Gil Faizon (Nick Kroll) and George St. Geegland (John Mulaney) will be making its way to Broadway this fall. If my headline for this post wasn’t clear enough, this is the best news. Like, the best news since “Hamilton.” Seriously.

 

For those of you who might not be familiar with Gil and George (and if that’s true, you have been severely missing out), they’re two 70-something New Yorkers with a lot of strong opinions and entirely too much tuna. They were created by Nick Kroll and John Mulaney (aka two of the best comedians in the game, if you ask me) nearly a decade ago and have since then made their way from the alternative comedy stages of NYC to television screens on Kroll’s brilliant Comedy Central series “Kroll Show,” which sadly ended in 2015. Last fall, as I mentioned earlier, they had a critically adored run of “Oh, Hello” off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre and then took the show on the road, touring through several major American cities.

 

I’ve been a huge fan of both Kroll and Mulaney ever since seeing them on “Best Week Ever,” basically on of my favorite shows when I was in middle school. I even had the mildly embarrassing experience of fan-girling hard when spotting Mulaney in the flesh while on the NBC studio tour. (He was a writer at “SNL” at the time, creating the character of Stefon with Bill Hader. No biggie.) I sadly didn’t get a chance to see the “Oh, Hello” show in its first run off-Broadway or on tour, so you better trust and believe that I am going to do whatever it takes to get tickets for this Broadway production. It’s a combination of two of my favorite things (weird comedy and Broadway) and I couldn’t possibly be more excited.

 

Previews for “Oh, Hello on Broadway” begin at the Lyceum Theater on Friday, Sept. 23; the show opens on Monday, Oct. 10 and will run through Sunday, Jan. 8. Get your tickets now, but please save some for me. Thank you very cool.

 

Excited for “Oh, Hello on Broadway”? Have a favorite Gil and George moment? Think that there’s no such thing as “entirely too much tuna”? Write a sh’t story in the comments. And, before you go back to whatever you were doing before reading this, remember…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

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‘Maya & Marty’: Your Latest Summer Void-Filler

The summer season brings many fun pop culture-y things to enjoy, but it also means that some fall and winter favorites will be taking a break, running away with the Schuyler Sisters for the summer to go upstate. One thing that always (unfortunately) takes a break in the summertime is “Saturday Night Live,” a perennial favorite of mine (as evidenced by my many posts about it). But fear not! I have found a summer show that at least somewhat fills the void that “SNL” leaves. That show is “Maya & Marty.”

 

Hosted by two “SNL” superstars, Maya Rudolph and Martin Short, and executive produced by Lorne Michaels (aka the god that created “SNL”), “Maya & Marty” hearkens back to the classic variety shows of yesteryear, complete with an old-school funky theme song by Jack White. Its episodes are mainly comprised of sketches, both pre-taped and with a studio audience, and musical numbers all include Maya, Marty and a gaggle of their many famous friends. Guest stars on the episodes that have aired so far include Tina Fey (as seen in the video above), Steve Martin, Eva Longoria and John Cena.

 

While Maya Rudolph and Martin Short certainly proved that they work well as a team on the “SNL” 40th Anniversary Special (a clip that has since tragically disappeared from the internet), I think “Maya & Marty” shines the most when the two are separate, doing their own thing either alone of with one of their celebrity guests. There have been a few very entertaining sketches that include the both of them, like the one where they play a strange couple with a seemingly normal adult child, but the show’s real highlights so far have come from sketches or bits that only feature one of the title stars, like Short’s Jiminy Glick character interviewing Larry David or Rudolph’s parody of Oprah’s Weight Watchers Bread commercials.

 

Overall, the show has both its high moments and its very, very low ones but the same could be said for “SNL” or any other sketch or variety show. The real question will be if the viewing public feels a need for a variety show revival, something that has been attempted several times in recent years. If it means that the mostly lovely “Maya & Marty” stays on the air, then I’m all for it.

 

Have you watched any of “Maya & Marty”? If so, have a favorite sketch or moment? Think I need to stop watching TV and go outside and enjoy the nice summer weather? Okay, Mom. (Jk, my mom is just as much of an indoor person as I am. Hooray for shared familial traits!) Before you head outside yourself though, remember…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

The Tony Awards aka The Show With Few Surprises But A Lot of Joy

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My Tony Awards prediction ballot. I got 19 out of 24 correct, which was better than my Oscar picks! Photo by Jenn Murphy

In the midst of all of the horrible tragedy that seemed to take over this past weekend, the 70th Annual Tony Awards, which aired on Sunday night, felt like a wonderful moment of lightness and hope. As always, the telecast celebrated the best of Broadway and, especially this year, the diversity found on Broadway. In a year that brought back the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, the Tonys showcased what we all already know: the best entertainment comes from a diverse collection of talented individuals.

 

In a move that surprised absolutely no one, “Hamilton,” the show that everyone and their cousin (and me) have been obsessed with for months, won 11 Tonys, including Best Musical. While they weren’t able to beat or even tie “The Producers” record of 12 Tony wins, the show’s cast and creative team were definitely some of the biggest stars of the night. (And deservedly so!)

 

The show started off on an understandably somber note, with host James Corden addressing the tragic happenings in Orlando, but then moved on to a hilarious and clever parody of “Hamilton’s” opening number as a way to re-introduce Corden to the stage. Corden was an excellent host, bringing the same energy and Broadway-caliber talent (as well as a delightful and heartwarming opening number) that Neil Patrick Harris was known for in his years hosting the show. I really hope that Corden will follow in Harris’ footsteps and host the show for multiple years, or at least long enough to keep this from happening again.

 

After that, the show went on in its traditional style, interspersing the awards with performances from the shows nominated for Best Musical and Musical Revival. Highlights included show-stopping numbers from “The Color Purple” (which went on to win Best Musical Revival and Leading Actress in a Musical for it’s incredible star Cynthia Erivo) and “Waitress.” You guys, I already wanted to see “Waitress” so much and after watching Jessie Mueller perform last night, I want to see it even more. Another great moment came from the cast of “Shuffle Along,” mostly because it included a PREGNANT Audra McDonald tap dancing up a storm. The 6-time Tony winner really can do anything.

 

And then, of course, there was the number from “Hamilton.” For their performance they did a duo of “History Has It’s Eyes On You” and “Battle of Yorktown.” It was a smart choice in the sense that it was something the viewing public who can’t afford $800 seats haven’t really seen before on the 86 other specials or segments about the musical that have aired in the last year, but it only really highlighted three of the seven actors from the show that were nominated in the acting categories. While it ultimately would have been impossible to find one number that gave each of the seven “Hamilton” nominees a moment in the sun, I was surprised that they didn’t do ‘Non-Stop,” the act one closer that would just about cover every base except for Jonathan Groff‘s King George. Don’t get me wrong; I loved their performance. I just wanted to see a little more of the fantastic Leslie Odom Jr., who ended up winning Leading Actor in a Musical later on in the night.

 

Now onto the awards. On the play side, things were somewhat split between “The Humans” and “Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge.” There were a few exceptions; Frank Langella won Leading Actor in a Play for “The Father,” “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” won for Leading Actress in a Play (for Jessica Lange, who is now one Grammy away from an EGOT) and Lighting Design, and Clint Ramos won Costume Design for a Play for his work on “Eclipsed.” Everything else either went to “The Humans” (including Best Play, Featured Actor in a Play for Reed Birney, Featured Actress in a Play for Jayne Houdyshell and Scenic Design of a Play) or “Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge” (including Best Play Revival and Direction for Ivo Van Hove).

 

On the musical side there was a similar split of the awards between two shows, “Hamilton” and “The Color Purple,” although “Hamilton” clearly won the majority. The only deviation from those two shows came in Scenic Design, where “She Loves Me” won. As I mentioned earlier, “Hamilton” won 11 awards, including Best Musical, Book of a Musical, Score, Lead Actor in a Musical for Leslie Odom Jr., Featured Actress in a Musical for Renee Elise Goldsberry, Featured Actor in a Musical for Daveed Diggs, Costume Design for a Musical, Lighting Design for a Musical, Direction for a Musical for Thomas Kail, Choreography and Orchestrations. As I also mentioned earlier, “The Color Purple” won Best Musical Revival and Lead Actress in a Musical for Cynthia Erivo.

 

This was the first time in Tony history that all four of the musical acting awards went to people of color, a huge indicator of what Broadway is doing right that Hollywood seems somewhat incapable of replicating. The night ended with another performance from the now Tony-winning cast of “Hamilton,” this time singing “The Schuyler Sisters” in their Tony Awards finest. Much like the rest of the show, it was a lovely and joyful moment that seemed to counteract the darkness that had prevailed earlier in the day. Now all I want to do is go see a bunch of Broadway shows. If only my wallet felt the same way.

 

What were your thoughts on the Tony Awards? Liked James Corden as host? Thinking about selling a kidney on the black market to afford tickets for “Hamilton”? Totally understandable. Before you go set up that ice bath though…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

 

 

‘The Lobster’ Is A Weird and Wonderful Movie

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Photo by Jenn Murphy

If there’s anything I love, it’s a good weird movie. Something with a totally ridiculous plot or premise that somehow, despite the many odds, actually works. It seems like there are more and more strange, high-concept movies coming out but they rarely have the follow-through that I’m looking for. “The Lobster,” however, does.

 

“The Lobster,” directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, is set in an alternate world where people who are found to still be single by a certain age must stay at “The Hotel,” where they have 45 days to find a match. If they don’t find a match in 45 days, they will be given a second chance to find love, but as the animal of their choice.

 

Yup. If they don’t find love they get turned into animals. Like I said, weird. But good weird.

 

There are a couple ways for people to extend their stay at The Hotel. If they match with someone (and by match, I mean share a specific quality, like a good singing voice or a limp) they will then be moved into a double room with that match. If the relationship continues to be successful, they will then be moved onto a boat with that person. If they survive the time on the boat and still want to be together, they will be able to go back to the city as a couple. Another way is to hunt down “loners,” or single people who ran away from The Hotel and live in the woods, with tranquilizer guns so that they can be turned into animals. Every caught loner adds another day to one’s stay. Again, weeeird.

 

We primarily follow David (played by Colin Farrell in a very un-Colin-Farrell-like role) and his experiences both in and around The Hotel. He arrives with his brother (a previous visitor who was turned into a dog) after a failed relationship and sets out to find someone new. If he fails, he decides he wants to be turned into, you guessed it, a lobster. Throughout the film we meet some of the other visitors to The Hotel (played by John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw, Ashley Jensen and Angeliki Papoulia) as well as some of the loners living out in the woods (played by Lea Seydoux and Rachel Weisz).

 

The plot of the movie is certainly weird but the way the movie is done also contributes to the weirdness, although it all somehow works. Everyone in the movie speaks in a very monotone voice, with a certain slow pacing and cadence that, while intriguing, could also at times be a bit tiring, especially for someone (*cough* me *cough*) who hadn’t exactly gotten a good night’s sleep before seeing the movie. It took a little while at the beginning for me to truly become invested in what was happening, but once I was in, I was very in. Despite the slow pacing, the movie was very engrossing. It pulls you in and keeps you wondering what will happen next, no matter if it takes two minutes or two hours to get there.

 

I won’t tell you what ends up happening to David (what would be the fun in that?) but I will tell you that the end is a bit sudden and will leave you with more questions than answers. I liked that though. I think I have a thing for movies that end with some level of uncertainly because I like being able to form my own opinions about what happened. It’s a way to keep the story alive even after the viewer has left the theater.

 

Overall “The Lobster” is definitely not a movie for everyone. The strange premise alone would certainly turn a few people off and the pacing and tone of the movie could leave others bored. However, if you love a good weird movie as much as I do, “The Lobster” is definitely worth checking out.

 

Have you seen “The Lobster”? Have any other good weird movies that you love? Think I need to come up with better pictures for my blog posts? Me too, dear reader. Me too… In the meantime…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

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