Former Frasier star David Hyde Pierce is returning to the Christopher Durang's play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike as a director for the show's Los Angeles premiere next year (14). The actor took a leading role in the production when it opened in New York last year (12), and now he's replacing director Nicholas Martin for the show's Mark Taper Forum run, which will star Christine Ebersole.
American Horror Story: Coven is getting shadier than an episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta. The episode begins in 1961. A young African-American boy is innocently riding his bike home from his integrated school. Then he’s cornered by a bunch of racists. Cut to the beauty shop, where apparently Marie Laveau is planning on working until the end of time. After the nuclear apocalypse, there will be roaches, Cher, and Angela Bassett doing weaves. How is it she is immortal, able to control death but she itching to spend her free time teasing out curls? Way to be racist, AHS. After a rather intense child murder, Marie reveals a new power….copyright infringement! She reanimates The Walking Dead zombies to enact her vengeance. All this before the opening credits.
Precious Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) survives her failed seduction of the Minotaur by smelling the alcohol on Fiona’s (Jessica Lange) breath. We find out Marie Laveau negotiated a truce with Fiona’s predecessor Anna-Lee Leighton (Christine Ebersole). Bassett also wears a gratuitously stereotypical afro wig. Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson) may be unable to conceive but her sexy husband Hank Foxx (Josh Hamilton) has no difficulty hooking up with a townie on a work trip. He also has no problem shooting her in the head.
After Madison Montgomery’s grisly murder at Fiona's hands, Nan (Jamie Brewer) summons the witches council. They can best be described as Marmie, Crimpy, and Sassy. Pimbooke (Robin Bartlett) is a spitting image for the mother in Little Women. Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy), and her heavily crimped hair, return after her brief appearance in the first episode. And, Leslie Jordan plays Leslie Jordan...as a witch.
A flashback reveals that Myrtle is the Guardian of the Veracity of the Vernacular. Sadly, it doesn’t mean she has Quidditch season tickets. Instead, she has the power to seek out the truth. She tries to find out who murdered Anna-Lee. We finally learn how Spalding (Denis O'Hare) loses his tongue.
The episode ends with zombies descending on the house. Luke Ramsey (Alexander Dreymon) stops by to give Nan a treat. And someone plays a trick on Cordelia by throwing acid in her face, original gangster style.
What We’ve Learned
The creative minds at the American Horror Story Studios are pushing some sort of racist agenda. First, American Horror Story: Asylum features a gratuitous Nazi storyline that fizzled with no real payoff. Now there’s a woman in an afro wig, gratuitous use of the word "colored" and a lynching. They are taking white magic/black magic a little too literally. For shame!
Bassett clearly did not read the whole script!
Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) may not have been the true Supreme. If Cordelia is to be trusted, Madison may have had a heart condition that was proof she was just a trashy telekinetic.
Spalding is in love with Fiona, wearing women’s clothes and keeping dead teenage girls around for tea. As you do.
Hamilton is not afraid of filming a freak nasty sex scene. This is his second in three episodes.
Queenie’s voodoo doll powers cannot be used defensively. Also, Minotaurs don’t like big girls. Their loss.
It looks like next week someone is getting burned. Is it the person that burned Cordelia? Is it Marie Laveau? Or does Fiona orchestrate the murder of one of the other girls?
You know those nights where you just fall into a YouTube hole watching video after video in the "related" sidebar until you look up and it's 2 AM and you have nothing but a sore mouse finger and tired eyes? Well, when that happens to me, I'm more often then not watching clips of performances from musicals at the Tony Awards. Since stage shows are so rarely recorded, the Tonys offer us a rare occasion to get some of the greatest production numbers on tape. Since we're talking Broadway, the production is absolutely insane. Flying witches, men riding camels, dancing grannies, and tap dancing sailors. It's enough to make your mind absolutely dizzy (and giddy) with craziness.
Before we see Neil Patrick Harris' sure to be amazing opening number at Sunday's Tony Awards show, here are 10 of my all-time favorite, ridiculously amazing Tony Award performance numbers ranked in order of absolutely insanity. (And, no, I did not include Bret Michaels busting his head open on a set.)
Dreamgirls, "And I'm Telling You": Before Jennifer Hudson made it famous in the movie, this power ballad was belted out by Jennifer Holliday on the Great White Way. The only thing crazy here is how good her voice is.
Ridiculousness Rating: 1
Anything Goes, "Anything Goes": Who doesn't love sailors? Who doesn't love a huge tap number? Who doesn't love sailors in a huge tap number? There's a reason this Cole Porter musical picked up the trophy for Best Revival at least year's ceremony (and the tune is still stuck in my head). Oh, and don't be tempted to click on the Patti LuPone version that will pop up after you watch it. She can't hold a candle to Sutton Foster. (Blasphemy!)
Ridiculousness Rating: 2
Evita, "A New Argentina": Speaking of Ms. LuPone, check out her completely insane hairdo when she played the original Eva Peron back in the '80s. My favorite moment (thanks to Broadway legend Seth Rudetsky who pointed it out) is at the end when Patti goes to link arms with her husband but he's a step too far away and she totally whiffs. It's just a millisecond — but now that you know about it, you will always see it.
Ridiculousness Rating: 3
Sunset Boulevard, "As If We Never Said Goodbye": Now we're getting into serious camp territory with Glenn Close performing the big number from Andrew Lloyd Webber's doomed '90s musical. What I love is that there is this huge set filled with extras and props, but the only person moving or singing is Close. She is ready for her Close up, and no one better interfere.
Ridiculousness Rating: 4
Wicked, "Defying Gravity": Wow, this is our second Joel Grey introduction on the list, but by far the crazier production. I mean, one of the women is painted green and she's riding on a broomstick. This video was definitely an influence on Glee's Kurt Hummel in his formative years which explains a lot of his wardrobe choices. As insane as this is, try not to melt like a witch in water when Idina Menzel sours up in the air for her big finale.
Ridiculousness Rating: 5
The Producers, "Little Old Lady Land": Every wonder what The Rockettes will look like when they have walkers? No, I'm sure you haven't — but this musical does. We get Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, and a kick line full of knickers. There's nothing else like it.
Ridiculousness Rating: 6
Hairspray, "You Can't Stop the Beat": Who ever thought a movie by "Pope of sleaze" John Waters would be a crowd-pleasing, family friendly musical? Thankfully, they kept the crazy wigs, wacky costumes, and a drag queen hiding in a huge can of hairspray. There's nothing better than a song with a good tune and a better message... except maybe a drag queen.
Ridiculousness Rating: 7
Grey Gardens, "Revolutionary Costume for Today": This musical — based on a documentary about an eccentric (and possibly mentally ill) mother and daughter related to the Kennedy clan and living in squalor — wasn't a box office hit, but it did win Christine Ebersole a well-deserved trophy for her staunch performance bonkers recluse "Little Edie" Bouvier Beale. (Oh, and if you haven't seen Grey Gardens the documentary or the movie with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore, get yourself to Netflix, stat).
Ridiculousness Rating: 8
Into the Woods, "Children Will Listen": Into the Woods is probably Stephen Sondheim's strangest musical, and considering he wrote a show about a cannibalistic barber, that is some feat. This medley starts with the show's opening where a bunch of fairy tale characters (including a plastic cow) head into the woods and ends with Claire Huxtable, turning from a witch into a princess who sings the ballad "Children Will Listen." It's a tonal shift that you can't find anywhere else. And Jessica Fletcher introduces the song. I'm surprised someone in the audience didn't turn up murdered.
Ridiculousness Rating: 9
The Boy From Oz, "Not the Boy Next Door": OK, first we have Hugh Jackman in a leopard print shirt and bulgetastic tight gold lamé pants, riding a camel. To repeat: Hugh Jackman, leopard, bulge, gold pants, camel. Then he makes a penis joke. Then he gyrates all over the stage. Then he ambushes Sarah Jessica Parker (seated next to a pre-gray hair Andy Cohen) and drags her up on stage to do some gyrating of her own. I mean, this is Tony zaniness legend, right here.
Ridiculousness Rating: 10
Oh, because I couldn't leave this one out:
Cats, "Memory": It is a woman dressed up as a singing cat!
Ridiculousness Rating: 11
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
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Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) is a big-spending but cash-poor shopaholic who has dreams of working for her favorite fashion magazine but ironically is given a job as a columnist for a financial magazine from the same publisher. Of course not being the perfect candidate to dole out advice on managing money she butts heads with her good-looking but work-obsessed editor (Hugh Dancy) until this being a romantic comedy the sparks start flying between them. Her efforts to conquer her addictions hit her fashion career goals and find love and contentment carry this lightweight concoction. Confessions is worth the ride if only to establish Fisher as a comic star in her own right. So good in supporting roles in movies like Wedding Crashers she gets to shine showing humor heart and chutzpah as a girl who never met a credit card she didn’t like. She turns a character who could have been gratingly annoying into someone even the non-shopaholics in the audience can easily identify with and root for. Dancy is a great foil and perfect opposite in the great tradition of romantic comedies going back to the ‘30s and ‘40s. A raft of familiar faces also turn up amusingly including John Lithgow as the magazine magnate John Goodman and Joan Cusack as Rebecca’s loopy parents and the wonderful Kristin Scott Thomas as a somewhat clueless French fashion editor. But pay special attention to newcomer Krysten Ritter as Fisher’s moneybags roommate. Australian P.J. Hogan certainly has shown a penchant for this kind of comedy first with the sleeper hit Muriel's Wedding and then the Julia Roberts smash My Best Friend's Wedding. He knows when to tone it down and go for heart which is key to making a broad comedy like this work overall. The film also makes New York terrific Technicolored bright and inviting. It helps that the bestselling books by Sophie Kinsella on which the script is based provide such smart core material. Whether timing in the current economic crisis is right for a movie about an upscale shopaholic is beside the point. Clearly this is more fantasy now than ever and that’s probably all good.