Sunday, December 9, 2007

History Boys Review

I was impressed. Very good production of History Boys at the Ahmanson. What I found most interesting is how a show dealing with homosexuality and inappropriate touching by a teacher to his students was handled with no sensationalism. If this subject was put out by the American media, it would be a scandal. This production hardly condemns the acts of the main character and even canonizes him to some extent at the end of the show.

I wonder what the religious right would say about this show.

Performances by the two lead teachers were just terrific. Once again, it reminded me the importance of good casting. Actors, if they are truly exceptional, can lift a production to great heights that would not be possible without their performances. An example of that type of performance was that of Alan Mandell in Trying earlier this year at The Colony Theatre in Burbank. Trying was originally produced in NYC at the Promenade Theater and did not fare that well. Put in Alan Mandell and his exceptional performance, coupled with the superb direction of Cameron Watson, and the show became a huge hit.

On the other hand, the original production of The Scarlet Pimpernel was exceptionally cast (Douglas Sills was launched as a star in the lead role) but the complete lack of direction nearly sunk the show. The fact that it ran for nearly 2 years was simply due to the exceptional performance of Mr. Sills.


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