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Huw Higginson enjoys venturing to the dark side

Huw Higginson.

Huw Higginson often plays admirable, upstanding characters but sometimes he gets more of a kick out of tackling villains.

In the past year the English-born actor has portrayed a brutish magistrate in Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale and a serial killer truck driver in Playmaker Media’s Mandarin series Chosen directed by Tony Tilse.

He played more nuanced characters including the abandoned husband and father of Miranda Tapsell’s bride-to-be in Wayne Blair’s Top End Wedding; a lawyer who represents the family of a missing priest (Sam Reid) in Lingo Pictures/Foxtel’s drama Lambs of God; and a wealthy gentleman who sends his ward to boarding school in Fremantle/Foxtel’s Picnic at Hanging Rock.

“Unpleasant characters are often more interesting to play,” says the actor who played the well-meaning Constable George Garfield in The Bill for 10 years. “You have to try to find something to
See full article at IF.com.au »

Andrea Martin Breaks Ribs In Accident, Drops Out Of Broadway’s ‘Gary: A Sequel To Titus Andronicus’

Andrea Martin Breaks Ribs In Accident, Drops Out Of Broadway’s ‘Gary: A Sequel To Titus Andronicus’
Andrea Martin has dropped out of the upcoming Broadway production Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus after breaking four ribs in a recent accident during rehearsals, producer Scott Rudin announced today.

Martin, who was to co-star with Nathan Lane in the new Taylor Mac comedy, will be replaced by cast member Kristine Nielsen. Julie White will take Nielsen’s previous role.

Details about the accident were not immediately disclosed.

“I am heartbroken to have to leave the production,” said Martin in a statement, “and have tried to convince the doctor that my funny bone is stronger than my broken ribs. But regretfully I must follow the doctor’s orders. I love everyone involved in this beautiful play and will miss them profoundly. I will be cheering them on from the audience at the Booth Theatre.”

The first preview performance has now been pushed back from March 5 to a matinee on Saturday,
See full article at Deadline »

Transport Group Gala To Feature Lachanze, Mary Testa, Betsy Wolfe, and More

Transport Group has announced that its annual A Toast to the Artist gala will honor Tony Award-winning orchestrator Michael Starboin and composer Carmel Dean with the Transporting American Theatre Award. The evening takes place Monday, March 11 at 630pm at The Current, Pier 59 Chelsea Piers, and includes a cocktail party, seated dinner, performances, dessert reception, and silent and live auctions. The Transporting American Theatre Award recognizes significant contributions to the American Theatre. Past recipients of the Transporting American Theatre Award include Dick Scanlan, Mary- Mitchell Campbell, Michael John Lachiusa, Gretchen Shugart, Barbara Whitman, Beth Williams, Sue Frost, Christian Borle, Paul Huntley, Douglas Carter Beane, Lewis Flinn, A.R. Gurney, Liz Smith, Barbara Frietag, Terrence McNally, and Joe Mantello among others. Tickets are now on sale and may be purchased at transportgroup.org.
See full article at BroadwayWorld.com »

Ar Gurney, Playwright of Theater Staple ‘Love Letters,’ Dies at 86

Playwright A.R. Gurney, whose works chronicled the decline of Wasp society in the late 20th century, died Tuesday at age 86. The writer, who may be best known for his oft-produced two-character play “Love Letters,” died at his home in Manhattan, his agent Jonathan Lomma told the New York Times. The Buffalo native wrote nearly 50 plays, and four were produced on Broadway. Also Read: 'Sylvia' Broadway Review: Matthew Broderick Must Choose Between Smart Wife or Sexy Talking Pooch The most recent was “Sylvia,” a 1995 comedy about a dog and her owner that was revived on the Great White Way in 2015...
See full article at The Wrap »

The Dinner | Review

Principles of Privilege: Moverman Dresses Morality Drama in American Clothes

Susan Sontag once famously wrote, “The white race is the cancer of human history,” an epithet which dangles like a deadly albatross throughout the fourth film by Oren Moverman, The Dinner, a drama about morality based on the novel by Dutch writer Herman Koch. Once meant as a property for the directorial debut of Cate Blanchett, Moverman swoops in for a heady, Pinteresque examination of WASPish mentality one would expect from A.R. Gurney if he were searching for an infinitely fouler disposition of his favored subject. However, Moverman elevates and refines this material for his own particular purposes of skewering white affluent folks intent on wielding their inherent privilege to protect the virtuous futures of their troubled broods in what stands as the third cinematic treatment of the novel (following a 2013 Dutch version and a 2014 Italian adaptation).

The Lohmans are a tense bunch as of late. Ex-high school teacher Paul (Steve Coogan) and wife Claire (Laura Linney) have opposing feelings about meeting Paul’s brother Stan (Richard Gere) and his second wife Katelyn (Rebecca Hall) for dinner. With Stan in the middle of a troubled run for governor, the importance of the dinner seems odd during such a touchy period. Until we learn both sets of parents have come together to decide what to do about their kids, who recently committed a monstrous act, something which could go unpunished…as long as no one says anything.

Moverman expands upon the stagey theatricality of the narrative scope, beginning with its troubling, lavish opening credits, highlighting frivolousness amidst colorful splashes of gourmet cuisine, as the credits of a high profile cast and crew (including Moverman’s reunion with Dp Bobby Bukowski) march over them. This time around, we become manipulated to sympathize with several of these characters’ perspectives only to be flayed by dismay when it sinks in—the quartet of well-bred, wealthy, emotionally stagnant white people we have been watching, are without a doubt, highly flawed, incredibly unlikeable beings. But how Moverman manages to trick us into making them seem compelling is where the absolute power of his version of The Dinner lies.

Initially, we gravitate towards Steve Coogan’s withering, Civil war enthusiast, who sets a tone of trenchant sides, one against the other. Breaking the fourth wall in narration, he’s the snide, withering voice of reason, or so we assume, leading up to the eponymous, cryptic meal he will be sharing with his brother, a suave smooth talker (or as he’s described, a “deal maker”). Until we get a clearer composite of his psychological background, and Moverman’s film takes pains (and delights) in stomping on our initial understandings of each of these surely good people. Gere is as exceptionally believable as Coogan is superbly dour, and there’s a definite switch at a certain point, where we’re led to abandon the side of one and root for the other.

Their wives are defined in more troubling, murky terms, particularly Laura Linney (who steals a handful of sequences with resplendent facial expression). Rebecca Hall, looking fantastic, has the less dynamic role as a trophy wife who desires to be rewarded for her saintly efforts by becoming the wife of a governor. But what exactly happened to Barbara, the socially conscious first wife of Stan, who fled the marriage and her children for an ashram in India? Chloe Sevigny delights in her two flashback sequences as the opinionated, arguably ideal character. The audience becomes complicit in this game of shifting alliances, where family becomes collapsed as another ideation of the political arena.

And Moverman perhaps spends a bit too much time in these flashbacks, revolving between past periods of the adults’ lives, while reenacting the terrible act committed by two insensitive young white boys against a homeless, racial other. Although these continual snippets of the heinous act are there for a purpose, meant to slowly inform us of what kind of people we’re spending an unusually expensive dining experience with, they are also greatly at odds with the formal hustling and bustling of the dinner, to the degree where these Bunelian interruptions from the topic at hand take on a tone of artificial comedy. At one point, a teary Hall gets an aside where she clutches at Linney and Coogan, informing them they’re all blessed (she doesn’t have to spell out she means white and wealthy by such a statement), but these devoted moments eventually seem like a belabored way to cement the callousness of all.

Although not about race, per se, the trio of racial others on the periphery of this narrative irrevocably inform and trouble the proceedings. The black son Beau (Miles J. Harvey), whom Barbara adopted with Stan (before she abandons him) is particularly interesting, because it is both Paul and his son Michael’s relationship with the boy which explain their hardwired disdain for the current state of affairs. Coogan gets a particularly telling tirade when he accuses the eight-year old Beau of playing the ‘race card’ when he’s terrorized by his son, claiming his views are not racist because he’s a teacher who sometimes educates black students.

When the boys are teenagers and on the eve of their defining moment, Moverman pads an exchange pertaining to Michael’s internalized racism a bit too directly just prior to what they do to their unfortunate victim. And then, there’s a curious role for Adepero Oduye (Pariah, 2011) as Gere’s valiantly tireless assistant, a character who likely informs is own approach to the scenario, but only to a point. Moverman’s dinner is certainly barbed, and often venomous, but in spending two solid hours with such unlikeable company is an ordeal in itself, even one as handsomely crafted and executed as this.

Reviewed on February 10 at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival – Competition. 120 Mins.

★★★½/☆☆☆☆☆

The post The Dinner | Review appeared first on Ioncinema.com.
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Photo Coverage: On the Red Carpet for the 61st Annual Obie Awards!

The American Theatre Wing Heather Hitchens, President and The Village Voice Peter Barbey, Owner have announced the winners of the 61st Annual Obie Awards. Rajiv Joseph's Guards at the Taj, produced by the Atlantic Theater Company, received the Obie Award for Best New American Play, which is accompanied by a 1,000 prize. Legendary actordancerchoreographer Carmen de Lavallade and renowned playwright A.R. Gurney each received a special Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement. Obie and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actress Lea DeLaria returned as host of this year's ceremony, which was held at Webster Hall 125 East 11th Street.
See full article at BroadwayWorld.com »

Photo Coverage: Hangin' with the Winners of the 61st Annual Obie Awards!

The American Theatre Wing Heather Hitchens, President and The Village Voice Peter Barbey, Owner have announced the winners of the 61st Annual Obie Awards. Rajiv Joseph's Guards at the Taj, produced by the Atlantic Theater Company, received the Obie Award for Best New American Play, which is accompanied by a 1,000 prize. Legendary actordancerchoreographer Carmen de Lavallade and renowned playwright A.R. Gurney each received a special Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement. Obie and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actress Lea DeLaria returned as host of this year's ceremony, which was held at Webster Hall 125 East 11th Street.
See full article at BroadwayWorld.com »

Dear Evan Hansen, Guards At The Taj & More Win at the 61st Annual Obie Awards!

The American Theatre Wing Heather Hitchens, President and The Village Voice Peter Barbey, Owner are thrilled to announce the winners of the 61st Annual Obie Awards. Rajiv Joseph's Guards at the Taj, produced by the Atlantic Theater Company, received the Obie Award for Best New American Play, which is accompanied by a 1,000 prize. Legendary actordancerchoreographer Carmen de Lavallade and renowned playwright A.R. Gurney each received a special Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement. Obie and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actress Lea DeLaria returned as host of this year's ceremony, which was held at Webster Hall 125 East 11th Street. A complete list of the awards is given below.
See full article at BroadwayWorld.com »

A.R. Gurney & Carmen de Lavallade to Receive Lifetime Achievement Honors at 61st Annual Obie Awards

The American Theatre Wing and The Village Voice have announced that legendary actordancerchoreographer Carmen de Lavallade and renowned playwright A.R. Gurney will each receive a special Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 61st Annual Obie Awards, which will be held on Monday, May 23, 2016 at Webster Hall 125 East 11th Street. Tickets to the 2016 Obie Awards are now available via www.ObieAwards.com.
See full article at BroadwayWorld.com »

Theater Review: John Patrick Shanley’s Wayward Prodigal Son

  • Vulture
A playwright enters dangerous territory when he attempts to dramatize his struggle to become an artist: a struggle that is supposedly resolved, or at least justified, by the artistry he now puts before us. When the play turns out to be less than thrilling — as was the case, for instance, with A.R. Gurney’s What I Did Last Summer — the disproportion between the setup and the result risks bathos, if not ridiculousness. John Patrick Shanley has often seemed on the verge of this sort of self-parody even in nonautobiographical works, like Doubt, that take dramatic fiction as close to the electrified fence of narcissism as possible without getting electrocuted. But that propinquity to danger is also where his power lies, a tricky problem that animates and partly defeats Prodigal Son, the latest of 11 plays of his to be produced by Manhattan Theatre Club. Telling the story of the
See full article at Vulture »

Broadway’s Annaleigh Ashford Took Obedience Training to Play a Dog

  • Vulture
In A.R. Gurney’s play Sylvia, which opened on Broadway last week, Annaleigh Ashford plays the title role in what our critic Jesse Green calls a “comic-genius performance.” Sylvia is a dog, specifically, what looks like a labradoodle. “You know, I came offstage tonight and I kind of inhaled a sob of, like, great joy,” Ashford told Vulture Tuesday night at the opening-night party at Bryant Park Grill. “It’s been such a challenge as an actress. I’ve been working on this in my bathroom for the last eight months, you know, but I’ve never done more research for a role in my life.” As Sylvia, she has to wear knee pads because she’s constantly on all fours. She jumps on sofas, jumps on people, rolls over, sniffs crotches, moves across the floor flat on her butt, runs back and forth throughout the theater, and somehow masters canine mannerisms.
See full article at Vulture »

Bww TV: Doggone It! Chatting with the Company of Sylvia on Opening Night!

It was 20 years ago when Sarah Jessica Parker starred Off-Broadway in A.R. Gurney's off-beat comedy about a man and his dog, Sylvia. Just last night her hubby Matthew Broderick had the honor of opening in Sylvia on Broadway, joined by Annaleigh Ashford as Sylvia, withJulie White and Robert Sella. BroadwayWorld was on hand at the after party to chat with the company after the curtain went down. Find out what they had to say about opening night below
See full article at BroadwayWorld.com »

Bww TV: It's All Puppy Love on the Sylvia Red Carpet; Find Out Why Broadway's Best Loves Their Pooches!

It was 20 years ago when Sarah Jessica Parker starred Off-Broadway in A.R. Gurney's off-beat comedy about a man and his dog, Sylvia. Just last night her hubby Matthew Broderick had the honor of opening in Sylvia on Broadway, joined by Annaleigh Ashford as Sylvia, with Julie White andRobert Sella. BroadwayWorld was on the red carpet for the big night to chat with the celebrity guests about the show, and more importantly, whetherthey are dog-people or cat-people. Find out what Sarah Jessica Parker, Nathan Lane, Jerry Mitchell and more had to say below
See full article at BroadwayWorld.com »

Photo Coverage: On the Red Carpet for Opening Night of Sylvia with Sarah Jessica Parker, Bernadette Peters & More!

It was 20 years ago when Sarah Jessica Parker starred Off-Broadway in A.R. Gurney's off-beat comedy about a man and his dog, Slyvia. Just last night her hubby Matthew Broderick had the honor of opening in Slyvia on Broadway, joined by Annaleigh Ashford as Sylvia, with Julie White and Robert Sella. BroadwayWorld was there for all of the opening night festivities and you can check out photos from the red carpet arrivals below
See full article at BroadwayWorld.com »

Theater Review: Annaleigh Ashford Is Sylvia’s Search-and-Rescue Dog

  • Vulture
Theater Review: Annaleigh Ashford Is Sylvia’s Search-and-Rescue Dog
If, like me, you enjoyed Annaleigh Ashford as the daffy romantic factory worker in Kinky Boots (for which she won a Clarence Derwent award) and loved her as the talentless balletomane in You Can’t Take It With You (for which she won a Tony), wait until you catch the crotch-sniffing aria she’s performing now at the Cort. Rarely has an actor so fully committed to the business of exploring another’s genitalia, at least onstage; she really digs around in there, yelping with pleasure and causing the audience to do so, too. Perhaps I should mention that she’s playing a dog: the probable-labradoodle title character of A.R. Gurney’s 1995 comedy Sylvia, now having its Broadway premiere. Ashford gives a comic-genius performance, establishing herself as a full-fledged clown star, meaning she’s not only hilarious and eccentric but able to project both qualities, as well as an undertone of pathos,
See full article at Vulture »

Photo Flash: Inside Sylvia's Broadway Box Office Opening!

The box office of the Cort Theatre 138 W. 48th Street went to dogs on Friday, August 28, 2015, when it openedfor business for A.R. Gurney's comedy Sylvia. In celebration of Sylvia coming to Broadway for the first time since its Mtc debut in 1995, patrons who went to the box office between 10am-12pm Est were able to purchase tickets for preview performances for only 19.95 each. Check out a look at the big day below
See full article at BroadwayWorld.com »

Photo Flash: First Look at Maureen Anderman and More in A.R. Gurney's Love & Money at Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre presents theworld premiere of A.R. Gurney's new play Love amp Money, directed by Mark Lamos. The production will now run through October 4, 2015 with an August 24, 2015 opening night in The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center 480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues. This show is a co-production with Westport Country Playhouse. BroadwayWorld has a first look at the cast in action below
See full article at BroadwayWorld.com »

World Premiere of A.R. Gurney's Love & Money Begins Off-Broadway

Casting is set for Signature Theatre's world premiere of A.R. Gurney's new play Love amp Money, directed by Mark Lamos. The production runs tonight, August 15, to September 27, 2015 with an August 24, 2015 opening night in The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center 480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues. The show is a co-production with Westport Country Playhouse.
See full article at BroadwayWorld.com »

Photo Coverage: Calling All Dogs! Sylvia Team Seeks a K-9 Counterpart for Annaleigh Ashford!

Producers of the Broadway revival of A.R. Gurney's Sylvia recently announced that they are seeking a 'model' K-9 to be the real-life face of the dog played by Annaleigh Ashford. The selected dog will have its picture built into the set, and the photo will be revealed at the end of every performance during a scene where Sylvia's owner looks at a photo of her.
See full article at BroadwayWorld.com »

Sylvia's Julie White, A.R. Gurney & More to Select K-9 Model for Show's Artwork

Producers of the Broadway revival of A.R. Gurney's Sylvia announced yesterday,, July 28th that they are seeking a 'model' K-9 to be the real-life face of the dog played by Annaleigh Ashford. The selected dog will have its picture built into the set, and the photo will be revealed at the end of every performance during a scene where Sylvia's owner looks at a photo of her.
See full article at BroadwayWorld.com »
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