Dear #Shakespeare, Your Residual Checks Are In the Mail. RE: #HouseofCards


Dear Shakespeare,

I’m sorry you are not alive today to see all of the adaptations, and blatant stealing of your works. If I could have a lunch date with anyone dead or alive, you’re definitely on the list. I mean, seriously, I have so many questions. Like how the heck did you come up with the word “Rant?” Thanks for that. It’s also in the name of my blog. I’d probably also geek out like the English major I am. It’s obvious that Kevin Spacey’s love of your works probably helped make his decision to do the Netflix hit House of Cards a heck of a lot easier. Yes, they draw from Richard III and Macbeth, that’s obvious. Politics. If you were alive today, I imagine you’d be a blogger, a playwright, and a screenwriter. Man, you would probably love film making and movies, but I’d suspect you’d become annoyed by all the detailed stage directions. We know you weren’t too descriptive on that front. Seriously, you should see Kevin Spacey deliver a kick-ass monologue you should probably take all the credit for 22 minutes into episode 13. Yes, it’s his Macbeth/Richard III moment. And yes, he and Robin Wright probably play the modern day equivalent of Macbeth and his Lady, but we need to give credit where it’s due. Without you Willy Shakes, there’d be no Nicholas Sparks novels that are made into cheesy movies with the same poster concept for each one. There would be no Breaking Bad, because we all know tragedy and wickedness start in the most unlikely places. I mean, you helped make storytelling what it is today.You helped make the modern day villain complex, and made us want lovers to end up together. As an audience, we should be reading all of your plays, sonnets and such. All day. All the time. We can learn so much more about ourselves from your writing.  You’d probably be frustrated with all the reality shows though. Those are really bad.

I’ll rant as well as thou.–Hamlet (Act 5, Scene 1, Line 284)

Fun Fact: That’s just one line of the  1,569 that Hamlet has to say.

Tony Awards 2013 Nominations Announced: Which Film/TV Actor Has a Chance at a Theater Award?

Jessica Hecht and 2013 Tony nominee, Judith Light, in “The Assembled Parties”

The nominations for the 67th Annual Tony Awards were announced this morning by Broadway veterans Sutton Foster (ABC Family’s Bunheads) and Jessie Tyler Ferguson (ABC’s Modern Family.) Among the nominees are your standard theater performers, who have yet to make themselves known to a wider audience, but there are a lot of familiar faces from television and film as well. The late Nora Ephron received a posthumous nomination for penning the play, Lucky Guy, which stars fellow nominee Tom Hanks (who starred in Ephron’s films Sleepless in Seattle & You’ve Got Mail.) Broadway and film vets Nathan Lane, Tracy Letts, David Hyde Pierce, and Tom Sturridge vie for top honors along with Hanks in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play category. In my humble opinion, Alan Cumming was snubbed for his tour de force performance in Macbeth.

For Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, television and film veterans fill a category where it’s clear they all started in the theater. It includes the stellar works of Laurie Metcalf (The Other Place) Amy Morton (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) Kristine Nielsen (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike) and Cicely Tyson (A Trip to Bountiful.) The thing that I find most interesting about this category is the fact that Jessica Chastain was snubbed for her Broadway debut in The Heiress.

The most fun however, will come with the featured actors in plays (both male and female categories.) For the male category, it includes: Danny Burstein, Golden Boy, Richard Kind, The Big Knife, Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy and Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy.  They are all theater veterans and well-known in television and film as well. For the female category it’s the battle of the Judiths with both Judith Light and Judith Ivey getting nominations. Carrie Coon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Judith Ivey, The Heiress, Judith Light, The Assembled Parties and Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful.

It will be interesting to see who wins in these categories considering most of them do theater, film and television. For a complete list of nominations you can go here.

Shakespeare Reworked: “Scotland, PA”-The Modern Macbeth

“Scotland, Pa” (2001)

In honor of Macbeth coming back to Broadway with Alan Cumming at its helm, I’m doing a new section called “Shakespeare Reworked.” Whether it’s an updated, modern version of his work such as the 1996 Romeo + Juliet with the original language in tact, or a modern re-telling such as Scotland, PA or She’s the Man, I’m talking SHAKESPEARE.

I first came across Scotland, PA in college. I was into Shakespeare, and just for fun, I decided to see what film adaptations we had in the library. This one caught my eye because it wasn’t actually using Shakespeare’s original play for the dialogue, but updated it. It was campy, interesting and just as intriguing as the original, Macbeth.

From Netflix:Scotland, PA takes Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” someplace it’s never been: 1970s white-trash America. James LeGros and Maura Tierney are Joe and Pat McBeth, a couple stuck in dead-end fast-food jobs. When they decide to murder their boss and take over the burger joint, their foul plot is sure to hit some snags. Before long, Lt. McDuff (Christopher Walken) begins an investigation that leads him straight to the heart of a dysfunctional fast-food fantasy.

Who wouldn’t want to see Lady Macbeth’s crazy, “Out Damned Spot” scene done in a pharmacy? IT IS! And it’s fantastic. Andy Dick, Amy Smart, and Timothy “Speed” Levitch play hippies (witches) and Christopher Walken plays one hell of a Macduff. It’s a fantastic take on the classic play and it is as entertaining as the original, with a 70s flare! Personally, I love when writers update Shakespeare. I think it shows imagination, and I honestly think that Shakespeare himself would find it just as amusing, if not more. It’s available on Netflix, and I believe you might even be able to watch it for free on YouTube. Do yourself a favor, check it out. It’s amazing.