Tony-Winning Art, Starring The West Wing's Bradley Whitford
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Hailed as "the best musical of this century" by Ben Brantley of The New York Times and "the funniest musical of all time" by Entertainment Weekly, The Book of Mormon won nine Tony Awards -- including Best Musical -- in its first year on Broadway. Now the national touring production is back at the Pantages for a second round of hilarity. Written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone along with Robert Lopez, the Tony-winning co-creator of Avenue Q, this musical comedy is a show that The Daily Show's Jon Stewart has called "a crowning achievement. So good it makes me angry." Learn More
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Featured review from DanielRed Velvet
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s what they always say, isn’t it. But what if you believe the beholder is an idiot, and what he thinks is beautiful is a piece of shit? That’s the opening premise of “Art“, which we saw last night at the Pasadena Playhouse.
“Art“, by Yasmina Reza, tells the story of three friends: Serge, Marc and Yvan—who find their previously solid 15-year friendship on shaky ground when Serge buys an expensive painting. The 5′x4′ painting has a white background, upon which there are some faint white diagonal lines. Serge (a dermatologist) is proud of his 200,000€ acquisition, and fully expects the approval of his friends. However, when his friend Marc, an engineer, sees the painting, he scornfully describes it as “a piece of white shit”. This sets of an exploration of not only what is art, but what is friendship, for it isn’t clear whether it the painting that offends him, or the uncharacteristic independence-of-thought that the purchase reveals in Serge? Added to this mix is the insecure Yvan. Yvan has just left his job in the textile trade to become a stationary salesman, plus he is about to be married. His friendship with Marc and Serge is safe, and he always attempts to make peace. This, of course, backfires. Eager to please he laughs about the painting with Marc but tells Serge he likes it. Pulled into the disagreement, his vacillations fuel the blazing row. Lines are drawn and the three square off over the canvas, using it as an excuse to relentlessly batter one another over various failures. As their arguments become less theoretical and more personal, they border on destroying their friendship. As this happens, the story becomes more and more hilarious… but I don’t want to spoil the ending.
The Pasadena Playhouse production of “Art” is one that makes me treasure not only the director, David Lee, but especially the actors who make this production something special. Translation: In this production, I could really see the talent of the actors, and what they bring to the production. No more was this seen better than the character of Yvan, played by Roger Bart. Bart portrays Yvan as a pure maniac, crazy in both action and deed, and hilarious everytime you see him because you have no idea what he is going to do. Equally crazy is Bradley Whitford as Marc. Whitford has equally great moves and reactions, and watching him play off of Bart is just hilarious. Lastly, as Serge (the fellow who bought the painting), Michael O’Keefe. Initially the stiffest of the three characters, his personality grows throughout the piece. The three together make a great ensemble that makes this piece a joy.
[All actors are members of æ Actors Equity ]
Turning to the technical: The set (designed by Tom Buderwitz) was simple: a modernistic apartment, with a greyish background. This allowed the focus to be on the acting. Similarly, the lighting by Jared A. Sayeg and the sound by Philip G. Allen were unobtrusive and seemed to be part of real world. This is good. Technical direction was by Brad Enlow. Jill Gold was Production Stage Manager, and Hethyr (Red) Verhoef was Asst. Stage Manager. Joe Witt was the Production Manager.
[Review posted at my blog as http://cahighways.org/wordpress/?p=5230]
Written by Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton
Directed by David Lee
Roger Bart (Yvan)
A gifted actor, Roger Bart’s tremendous presence extends to both the small and big screens, as well as to the stage. Bart was last seen starring on Broadway in the musical Young Frankenstein as the title character, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein. Based on the smash hit 1974 film, Young Frankenstein is the wickedly inspired re-imagining of the Mary Shelley classic from the comic genius of Mel Brooks. Co-starring Megan Mullally, Sutton Foster, Shuler Hensley, Fred Applegate and Christopher Fitzgerald, the show is directed by Susan Stroman. In film, Bart can next be seen in the independent film Freaky Deaky opposite Christian Slater, which was directed by Charles Matthau and April Apocalypse alongside Reece Thompson and George Lopez. He was last seen in the Overture film Law Abiding Citizen co-starring Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler. Recently, Bart also appeared in Harold & Kumar 2, the highly anticipated follow-up to the cult comedy hit and the Lionsgate film Midnight Meat Train with Leslie Bibb, Bradley Cooper and Brooke Shields. Previous film roles include Carmen Ghia for Universal’s film version of The Producers directed by Susan Stroman and the role of the prosecuting attorney in Ridley Scott’s American Gangster starring Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington. Bart also starred in Paramount Pictures’The Stepford Wives as the gay Stepford wife. The role was created for Bart based on his flamboyant role in the Broadway production of THE PRODUCERS. Additional films include Hostel 2, the sequel to the hit horror film, Jeff Garlin’s independent comedy I Want Someone to Eat Cheese WithThe Insider, starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe, Disney’s Hercules(singing voice of Young Hercules), and The Lady and the Tramp II (singing voice of Scamp). On Broadway, Bart originated the role of Carmen Ghia in THE PRODUCERS, the smash hit musical by Mel Brooks and Director Susan Stroman. Bart received Tony and Drama Desk nominations for the role. In 1999, Bart received Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Featured Actor in a Musical as Snoopy in the revival of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Michael O'Keefe (Serge)
Over the span of his illustrious career, Michael O'Keefe has appeared in a number of critical and commercial hit films, such as Michael Clayton, Frozen River, The Pledge, Ironweed, Caddyshack, and The Great Santini, for which he garnered both Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. Films soon to be released include Emergo, Junction, and A Thousand Cuts. Television audiences will remember him as "Fred" on "Roseanne," or from his other appearances on "The West Wing," "Law and Order," "House M.D.," "The Closer" and "Brothers and Sisters." Most recently, Michael appeared in the critically-acclaimed HBO film Too Big To Fail as Wall Street hotshot Chris Flowers. On Broadway, Michael has appeared in productions of Reckless, Side Man, The Fifth of July and Mass Appeal, for which he received a Theater World Award. He also portrayed the lead role of Lt. Daniel Kaffee in the National Tour of A Few Good Men. In addition to acting, Michael also enjoys writing in a variety of forms. In 2009, he wrote and published a book of poems entitled Swimming from Under My, which was very well-received and reviewed. He penned the lyrics for the Grammy winning song, "Longing in their Hearts," which was composed and sung by Bonnie Raitt.
Bradley Whitford (Marc)
Whitford is best known for his roles as Deputy White House Chief of Staff Josh Lyman on the NBC television drama The West Wing (three-time Emmy Award nominee "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series" 2001-2003, winning the award in 2001; three-time Golden Globe Award nominee for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role”), as Danny Tripp on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, as Dan Stark in the Fox police buddy-comedy The Good Guys, as Red John in the hit CBS series The Mentalist, a guest appearance on the USA Network series In Plain Sight and the CBS series Law & Order: Los Angeles, and as Eric Gordon in the film Billy Madison. He also recently starred in the Broadway production of Boeing Boeing from April – September, 2008.