Friday, September 30, 2016

LIZ SMITH: As serious as we get here

We hope the adults sort this out.
by Liz Smith & Denis Ferrara

If Brad and Angie Can't Make It Work, Can Mere Mortals?  Ask Paul Rudnick!  A New "Wizard of Oz" For a New, Hopeful Young Audience at the Harlem Prep Elementary School.

“QUESTION: With everything that is going on between Brad and Angelina, does my own marriage have a prayer?”

“Answer: Yes. Since you and your spouse are undoubtedly far less wealthy and less physically attractive than the Jolie-Pitts, your problems will never be anywhere near as upsetting or as interesting as theirs.”

So advises Dr. Jellowitz-Kessler (aka Paul Rudnick) in the current issue of The New Yorker. Mr. Rudnick/Jellowitz-Kessler also chimed in on whether Jolie or Pitt will ever marry other movie stars again?
The doctor says: “It’s possible, especially if either of them hits a career lull or needs to promote a documentary. When a patient of mine recently experienced the cancellation of a network spinoff, I suggested, ‘Have you thought of dating Ben Affleck?’”

But seriously — well, as serious as we get here.

With five marriages between them (three for Angie, two for Brad) and considering the child situation, I don’t see either marrying again for a loonnnggg time. If ever.
In much happier times.
For one thing, Pitt, seemingly aged beyond his 52 years, doesn’t look like he has the energy to go on Tinder, no less enter another happily-ever-after.

Jolie has been painfully thin for ages — even prior to health issues. (In her action movies one had to truly suspend disbelief. She didn’t appear strong enough to hold a gun. No less do physical battle.)
"Man, that's heavy!"
Now that she wants full custody of six kids, I’m assuming her drive and energy will be focused on matters other than romance. For all the kids’ sakes, I hope the adults sort this out. (Latest news is that Brad has voluntarily submitted to drugs tests, fighting Jolie's claims of his over-fondness for weed.)

Watch — they’ll both be dating in a month! My powers as a seer always short-circuit.
Hmmmm. Maybe it was the facial hair?
“SOMEWHERE over the rainbow, way up high, there’s a land that I head of, once in a lullaby/Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”

The poignant Yip Harburg lyrics to “Over the Rainbow” are inextricably linked to a little girl (Judy Garland) yearning to be free of her drab sepia-colored life in Kansas. (Alas, she found that Technicolor Oz wasn’t all she might have hoped.)
But Yip, who was known in his lifetime as “the social conscience of Broadway” wrote the lyrics as an all-inclusive musical poem for those who looked to better themselves and imagined a place where we all “dream” of blue skies, rainbows and troubles melting like lemon drops.

On October 8th through December 13th, the Tato Laviera Theater at Harlem Prep Elementary School will present a new version and refreshed vision of “The Wizard of Oz.” (240 East 123rd Street, at 3rd Ave.) Co-produced by the Yip Harburg Foundation, and stars a young multi-racial cast.
This stage version, which stays close to the tenets of classic L. Frank Baum book, is similar to a production mounted by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

It is directed by Keith Lee Grant. Dorothy (Taylor-Rey Rivera) is shown as a modern girl who grows to realize her life potentials. The Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion are on hand to help Dorothy achieve her goals. The refocusing of the tale does NOT alter the famous dialogue or change the score. (In that case, it will be fascinating to see how they get around Dorothy’s “there’s no place like home” return, which is not very progressive. It is said that young Judy Garland herself hated the ending, because it put Dorothy right back where she began.)
There is also a reconfigured emphasis on the three prominent women of the tale — Dorothy, the Good Witch and the Bad Witch — and how their lives represent strong female leaders. (Although I don’t know how much positive leadership qualities we can glean from The Wicked Witch of the West. Unless she’s turned into an animal rights activist, what with all the flying monkeys!)

Deena Harburg (married to Yip’s son Ernie) says that Munchkinland and Emerald City reflected Yip’s utopian dream of a society that is egalitarian, without dictatorship, monarchy or religion. And, she feels “Over the Rainbow” expresses with power, the aspirations of the immigrant. An idea that has significant modern resonance, today.

(For the famous 1939 movie, the song is performed only once — and MGM execs actually wanted to cut it!) In this new stage version, “Rainbow” is reprised several times, with different interpretations.
The rest of the cast includes A.J. Acevedo ... Derrick Montalvado ... Dexter Thomas-Payne ... Ben Harburg ... Barbly Noel ... Paula Galloway ... Bereket Mengisti ... James Jenna ... Keiko Tomita and Wilyuly Lopez.

All in all, this sounds like a fascinating production. Call 212-868-4444. You must call. Clicking your heels together three times won’t do it.

P.S. “Yip” Harburg wrote the great Depression anthem, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime.” He championed racial and gender equality, and was an outspoken critic of organized religion. Naturally, he was accused of being a Communist in the Frightened Fifties and was blacklisted for 12 years. Among his Broadway shows were “Finian’s Rainbow” and “Jamaica” which starred the fabulous Lena Horne.
MY FRIEND, New York denizen Patricia Duff has become the private face of liberal Democrats.

She is inviting those of like mind to the extraordinary The Common Good event on Oct 20th.

Star of the evening will be Ambassador Nicholas Burns, professor of the Practice of Diplomacy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He serves on Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Policy Advisory Board. He has also been U.S. Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, U.S. Ambassador to Nato and to Greece. He worked on the National Security Council Staff for Presidents Bill Clinton and H.W. Bush. (When you ask for his card, it sort of folds out like an accordion!)

This will be an exciting evening. If intelligence and knowledge excites you. And it should, these days!

Contact The Common Good at 212-599-7040 for tickets. They are going fast, so call now.

Contact Liz here.