At the Café Carlyle for the opening was Bernadette Peters, Tony Bennett, Liza Minnelli, Michael Feinstein and even Tom Hanks who has just made his Broadway début. It is a convenient venue for Stritch who for the last 10 years has lived above the café in the hotel, Room 309!
Styne and Sondheim’s Gypsy is the Hamlet of the musical theatre: many try, many fail, but a success in the role adds a magical aura to a career. Thank goodness that Loretta Goggi, as Italy’s first Rose, had the taste, guts, and believability to carry it off, because it was one of the few things that truly worked in this production.
Goggi certainly didn’t give a perfect performance; her voice is in shreds and, at least on the last night of the Milan run, some pre-recorded passages were used to take the pressure off her ailing chords. But Goggi is one of those Minnelli-like ‘give it all you’ve got’ performers, who moves you with her commitment, hits the emotional g-spot with her timing and acting skills, and her vocal technique keeps her tired voice in tune.… [continue reading]
On 15 January, Milan will welcome a new Rose to the stage as Gyspy opens in Italy.
Loretta Goggi has been a household name in Italy for half a century. She made her début in television as a girl and hasn’t been far from the small screen or stage since. Starting out as a child actress, she found her talent for singing when she was a small girl, and later a talent for mimicking. Her impressions, especially those of Italian singing icon Mina, are replayed constantly on tv, from her early days in black and white, onwards. During the 70s and 80s Goggi had several successes as a pop singer, but the stage and small screen have always been her true home.… [continue reading]
Italy’s version is the work of Federico Bellone who wrote the book, lyrics and music, and is also the show’s director. It is inevitably derivative with references to the DiCaprio/Winslett blockbuster and the 1997 Broadway Tony-winning musical. It is also unfortunate that the main theme (yes, ‘Titanic’) sounds very much like ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye’ from Sunset Boulevard, and Madame Duval (the domineering mother of an opera-singer on board) is very similar to Phantom of the Opera’s Madame Giry, but the intentions are good and the cast is strong.
It starts, very effectively, with Bruce Ismay, the director of the White Star Line, standing behind a model of the ship, as he fends off reporters’ questions which are shouted out from amongst the audience.… [continue reading]
It will receive its British première at the Charing Cross Theatre with Betty Buckley in the title role — which Angela Lansbury created in 1969 — and Paul Nicholas. It will be directed and choreographed by the miraculous Gillian Lynne (Cats, Phantom) who will turn 87 during the show’s limited run.
Although Dear World won a Tony for Lansbury as Best Actress in a Musical it was not a commercial success and ran for only 132 performances. The London production will run from 13 February to 30 March 2013.… [continue reading]
After a few months of touring in the Netherlands earlier this year, the popular stage version of the film which launched John Travolta’s career arrives at Milan’s Teatro Nazionale. Apart from recreating the iconic white suit for the disco floor, Cocky van Huijkelom has designed the costumes from scratch with flares, platform shoes and patterned shirts which screech “70s”. The look wouldn’t be complete with the hairstyles, so 60 wigs have been created by Sjoerd Didden for the Italian production. They have gone for an exaggerated look which mirrors how we remember the period rather than how it was: it’s a musical, not a documentary.… [continue reading]
Italy has long been plagued with a lazy approach to putting on musicals. Looked on as easy money makers, the artistic and financial input is often skipped over for quicker gains. Mistake! Audiences were not happy getting ripped off by incompetent production teams providing cheap imitations of Broadway shows or Hollywood musicals. Not everything was bad, but a lot was.
That changed in 2009 when the Dutch theatre giant Stage Entertainment took over the Teatro Nazionale in Milan. The company, which boasts 30 theatres in 9 European countries, restructured it from the stage to the stalls at a cost of €16 million, and brought in Beauty and the Beast which was as polished as anything in London’s West End.
Italy doesn’t have cities the size of a New York or London.… [continue reading]