Tuesday, August 25, 2009

SYTYCD's Will Wingfield Joins Broadway's "In The Heights"

So You Think You Can Dance is taking over the world!

First Lacey Schwimmer, Dmitry Chaplin and Chelsie Hightower infiltrated Dancing with the Stars, Travis Wall returned triumphantly as a choreographer on the show, Kherington Payne got cast in the remake of Fame and Neil Haskell showed up Off-Broadway in Altar Boyz and on Broadway in 9 to 5. Now Season 4's Will Wingfield will be the new "Graffiti Pete" in In the Heights!

I saw Will, who was egregriously kicked off in the Top 8 of SYTYCD two seasons ago, this summer at City Center Encore's The Wiz, where he played the head monkey. Though he didn't have much to do, he danced fabulously, and certainly had more energy than star Ashanti. I mean...

Also coming to the Great White Way this fall is Season 3 runner-up Danny Tidwell, who will be a featured dancer in Memphis. Love!

Now we just gotta find a place for Katee Sheean and Janette Manrara!

So You Think You Can Dance Season Six Top 20 Spoilers - Who Made the Cut?

We just finished So You Think You Can Dance Season Five, and already its time to focus on Season Six. I know there's a risk of too much of a good thing, but I, for one, am thrilled we get two seasons of my favorite reality show back-to-back. Bring on the dance!

Sytycdism.com is reporting some spoilers of which dancers made it to Las Vegas, and as of today, they're saying the Top 20 has not been officially selected. For now, then, take a look at the list of folks who made the cut, and who got cut. You know the deal -- if you want to be surprised when Season 6 debuts on September 9th, don't look!


**All news courtesy of sytycdism.com. Take with a grain of salt.

Before we get to the full list, here's one big one for ya -- Evan Kasprzak's brother Ryan, who got tons of screen time in the audience during SYTYCD Season Five, got the boot. Guess they are not the new Benji and Lacey Schwimmer after all!

- Romulo Villaverde - Janette's audition partner for S4, S5
- Arielle Coker - auditioned for season 5 last year with Philip Chbeeb (S5)
- Megan Kinney - Caitlin Kinney's (S5) sister

- Jakob Karr (contemporary) - Married to Jeanine Mason on Facebook, "The Male Jaimie Goodwin", NYCDA National Outstanding Male Senior 2008
- Nathan Trasoras (contemporary/hip hop) - The 17 Now 18 Year Old Eye Candy
- Billy Bell (contemporary) - Jeanine Mason's Prom Date, West Coast Dance Explosion National Senior Elite 2008, Juilliard student
- David Hovhannisyan (ballet) - Principal with the Milwaukee Ballet
- Brandon Dumlao (hip hop) - Funkanometry SF company member
- Trump Card (contemporary) - BeyonD Dance Convention faculty member
- Victor Smalley (contemporary) - Another dancer from Miami
- BBoy Legacy (breakdancing/hip hop) - Perhaps the best bboy to be on SYTYCD
- Peter Sabasino (tap) - Tap dancer who auditioned S4
- Phillip Atmore (tap) - Really talented tapper
- Jeroboam Bozeman (contemporary/ballet?) - Tall, has a cool name

- Paula VanOppen (contemporary) - Trained at Dance Precisions with Kherington, Nathan
- Jacki Ford (contemporary/jazz) - Joey Dowling's sister
- Mollee Gray (contemporary) - HSM dancer, trained at The Dance Club (Randi, Allison)
- Bianca Revels (tap) - Hailed best female tapper to audition on SYTYCD
- Alexie Agdeppa (contemporary) - Beautiful dancer from Los Angeles
- Channing Cooke (contemporary) - Travis Wall likes her I think
- Pauline Mata (contemporary) - auditioned season five

** About four ballroom dancers in the bunch (2 boys, 2 girls); none of the girls as hot as Chelsie Hightower. One of the couples is married. There was another championship couple during Vegas but got cut.


Theater Thoughts: "His Greatness" at The Fringe Festival

Let me admit something up front -- even though I'm a total theater geek, I'm not a 'festival guy.' Every year The Fringe Festival in NYC comes and goes, and I barely pay attention. So please feel free to take what I have to say about His Greatness, a play by Daniel MacIvor receiving its US premiere with a grain of salt.

Having said that, theater is theater, right? So it shouldn't matter that I'm not a 'festival guy,' right? Right?


His Greatness is "based on a potentially true story" about "two days in the last years of the life of playwright Tennessee Williams," as the famous playwright drinks, does drugs, suffers scathing reviews, emotionally abuses his co-dependent assistant and sleeps with a hustler, whom he fancies will become his new muse. "Potentially" is the key word in that press release blurb -- all slander issues are sideswiped but not actually naming the lead character "Tennessee." Though Arthur Miller is name-checked, and Edward Albee is quoted, Williams is never called by name in the show, and is referred in the program only as "the Playwright." Got it?

Williams is certainly a complex enough historical personality to be worthy of exploration, but unfortunately this show just doesn't do him justice (and not just because there are repeated mentions of him shitting his pants when he's drunk). What we learn here is that he drinks, is emotionally tortured and possibly insane -- something anyone with a cursory knowledge of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof could probably gather. I had heard rumblings that there was controversial material here, but aside from the fact that it paints Williams in a rather depressingly sad light, and features a young hustler in red underwear (see photo above), there wasn't much titillation happening onstage at the Cherry Lane Theater. Though I am a fan of Williams, and am interested in the man behind Maggie the Cat and Blanche du Bois, the general feeling I walked away with was "who cares?"

I can't blame the actors for my apathy -- Peter Goldfarb (as Williams), Dan Domingues (as The Assistant) and Michael Busillo are certainly game, but they can't overcome the tepid material. Goldfarb's accent goes in and out, and he doesn't bear much of a resemblance to the playwright, but other than that he's totally competent (if a bit one-note), as are Busillo and Domingues. And though Tom Gualtieri's direction isn't horrible, he doesn't do much to enhance the material. If you're looking for a Williams fix, read one of his plays -- they are sexier, more human and much more complex than this show about his a couple of days at the end of his life.

Now back to my un-Festival-ness -- the sold-out audience I was with seemed to very much enjoy the show. Is it perhaps because many of them are frequent Festival-goers, and His Greatness, while no major work, exceeds most of the dreck they've seen in quality? Who knows? But as I've said, feel free to take this review with a grain of salt. Just don't "wage war" on this critic, as the young hustler suggests Williams does after his play gets panned in Vancouver -- I won't care enough to fight.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dancing with the Stars Thoughts: Predicting the Order They Will Fall

This, of course, is a totally fruitless exercise, since I've never seen these people dance before (or, for that matter, even heard of some of them), but why not handicap the Dancing with the Stars field, now that the pairings of celebrities and professional partners have been officially announced? C'mon, it'll be fun!

NB: My undying love for Chelsie Hightower may impact where I place her on this list. I can't help it -- I'm human. I love her.

I'm gonna put them in order of first eliminated to winner. Here goes!

16. Kathy Ireland and Tony Dovolani
The model always goes first. Think Paulina Porizkova.

15. Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough
When there's two models in the group, the one who doesn't have Derek Hough as her partner is out the door right in front of the one who does. Sorry Joanna!

14. Ashley Hamilton and Edyta Sliwinksa
Poor Edyta -- always the tan, tan also-ran.

13. Tom DeLay and Cheryl Burke
The novelty is bound to wear off by Week 4, right? Not this time Cheryl.

12. Chuck Liddell and Anna Trebunskaya
I'm thinking the cross-over of WWE and Dancing with the Stars fans is probably pretty slight. We'll see...

11. Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van Amstel
Sharon Osbourne might have a chance at winning. Kelly? Not so much.

10. Natalie Coughlin and Alec Mazo
The Dancing folks do love their Olympians (Apolo Anton Ono, Shawn Johnson), but since his victory in Season 1 Alec has been a bit of a bad-luck charm. We'll see if Natalie can change that.

9. Macy Gray and Jonathan Roberts
Jonathan is booooo-ooo-ring, but Macy should bring enough squeaky-voiced drama for the two of them.

8. Michael Irvin and Anna Demidova
The footballer-s usually last awhile, but without a partner with a built-in fanbase, a midseason exit sounds about right.

7. Louie Vito and Chelsie Hightower
I've already acknowledged I have no objectivity when it comes to Chelsie. Love does that to you.

6. Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff
These two could be the best dancers in the bunch, and might bring some real heat to the floor.

5. Debi Mazar and Maksim Chmerkoviskiy
I can't wait for the behind-the-scenes screaming matches between these two! It'll probably be more dramatic than anything that happens on the dance floor!

4. Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas
Two-time champ Mark doesn't have a shot at title #3 with Clarissa, but at least he'll have it all explained!

3. Mark Dacasos and Lacey Schwimmer
Lacey deserves a good showing after putting up with Steve-O this year, but a third place finish is probably the best she can hope for.

RUNNER-UP: Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson
I just couldn't award Donny the win -- he wants it too bad. Still, long-suffering Kym definitely deserves a chance to hoist the trophy over her head.

WINNER: Mya and Dmitry Chaplin
Dmitry gets paid back for putting up with Holly Madison last season, and Mya gets the hottest pro on the show. Sounds like a win-win for the win to me!


TV Thoughts: "Hung"

Finally got around to watching the series premiere of "Hung" last night -- yes, about a million years after it premiered. I was dragging my feet to start watching the show, having read some so-so reviews, and wondering whether after watching Weeds and Nurse Jackie if I could handle many more half hour dramedies.

I'm glad I took the plunge, though, as I found myself sucked in pretty rapidly. It's sorta like 17 Again if Matthew Perry became a male escort instead of being transformed into Zac Efron. I mean, not really at all, but both feature former athletes whose lives have gone to shit. All of the double entendre references to Thomas Jane's penis were a bit over the top -- did we really have to have the word "tool" repeated over and over again? -- but ultimately it's a clever premise that was pretty well executed. I can't say I'm a huge Thomas Jane fan (he's handsome, I guess, but a little bland for my taste), but I do love me some Jane Adams and Anne Heche, even though the latter had nothing to do in the premiere episode except scream like a shrew. (Fun fact -- Jane is married to Patricia Arquette!)

Though I know we'll never see his "gift," I'll keep watching to see what happens...

Movie Thoughts: "Last Chance Harvey"

Watched "Last Chance Harvey" last night, starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. God I love me some Emma Thompson -- the woman radiates warmth, intelligence, humor and all things good. She was in fine form during the flick, as was Dustin, and the two shared a genuine chemistry, but all in all the movie was a bit of a letdown -- it all just felt a little trite. As my boyfriend asked, "With two stars like these, why couldn't they have come up with a better movie?"

Still, not a total waste of time -- there were moments of real sweetness, as these two lost souls connected in ways neither thought they were still capable of. Maybe next time the two Oscar winners are cast in a movie together they'll be given some more substantial material to work with.

It was good to see Kathy Baker, though! True, she hasn't played a good role since Picket Fences went off the air a million years ago, but I can't help but smile when she appears onscreen. Richard Schiff, as well -- true, he's always playing a version of Toby from West Wing, but I still love him.

X-Factor's Danyl Johnson - Bisexual?

Below is a video of X-Factor contestant Danyl Johnson, who Simon Cowell said gave the best first audition he's ever seen. I mean...it's good, sure, and the guy certainly has stage presence, but methinks Cowell overstates just a bit.

I'm more interested in a quote he gave to London's The Mirror, in which he declares he dates both women and men, and says, "I don’t like to conform or be put into one box or another and if I’m honest all the judges are good-looking. If I like someone’s personality it doesn’t really matter what they look like or what sex they are."

Looks like Adam Lambert is not the only singing contestant who likes the fellas!

Gay, straight, bisexual -- do you love this guy? And is he the next Susan Boyle? Let me know your thoughts.

Zac Efron -- New Pictures, Shirtless and Ripped

I wasn't feeling Zac Efron's new haircut, but if he's going to accessorize it with abs and pecs that look like this, I guess I really can't complain.

And let it be said the boy is a tease -- he is pulling down those pants to show off his pubes. And what is that bulge he's got going on in those sweat pants of his? If you're going to taunt like that, Zac, you might as well just take it all of and show us what you've got.