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Andrew C. McGibbon

Andrew C. McGibbon

 

 

Andrew C. McGibbon has spent the past thirty years working in live theatre as a stage manager, general manager, producer and leader in the convergence of Broadway and online.

Mr. McGibbon worked as a stage manager and general manager for ten years. In 1994 he created a website devoted to live theatre, BroadwayWorld-Wide.com. The site was subsequently bought by, and became Playbill.com. He continued to manage the site for Playbill for four years. In 2000 he became the website manager for TonyAwards.com. With the 2008-09 season he finished his ninth year on the show. He has also worked as a webmaster for the Broadway LeagueJazz at Lincoln Center, and as the Director of Digital Media for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Since 2015, Andrew has been working as an architectural photographer and virtual tour photographer known for his photography of theatres such as the Kimmel Center, Tanglewood, Signature Theatre Company, Roundabout Theatre Company, Arena Stage and the Goodspeed Opera House. His photography work can be previewed at https://andrewmcgibbonphotography.com.

Mr. McGibbon is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Independent Theatre Bloggers AssociationActors' Equity Association and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, as well as the American Society of Media Photographers

In addition to his work in the theatrical industry, Mr. McGibbon is also a partner in Simple Solutions Distributing, a manufacturer of filtration equipment for the waste-water industry.

Photo: Elizabeth Leitzell

 

 

 

Friday, 03 April 2009 13:39

Review: Exit the King

Exit the King
Lauren Ambrose, Geoffrey Rush, William Sadler (background) and Susan Sarandon in Exit the King
Photo: Joan Marcus

When it comes to theatre of the absurd, you either love it or you hate it. I happen to be closer to the latter. Hate is too strong a word but the nonsensical language of that style of theater is foreign and unappreciated by many theatre-goers. One must separate one's like or dislike of a certain style of theatre when viewing a production as brilliant as Exit the King. Geoffrey Rush gives a stand-out performance as King Berenger, a performance that it is hard to imagine will not receive a Tony Award nomination if not a Tony win. In his Broadway debut the Oscar winner gives what must be a physically exhausting performance that would best a man half his age. This production, smartly directed by Neil Armfield, who also co-wrote the adaptation of this production along with Mr. Rush, maintains a breakneck pace that keeps the production moving forward as we watch this everyman coming to terms with his own mortality.

He is guided along the way by his eldest wife, Queen Marguerite (in a monochromatic and flat performance by Susan Sarandon), a cold and cynical woman who is the voice of reality as she announces to the King "You are going to die in an hour and a half. You are going to die at the end of the play." For most of the play Ms. Sarandon is set dressing. It is the final scene of the play where she is given an opportunity to shine as she guides the king through letting go and dying.

Rounding out this cast of vaudevillian characters are The Guard, played by Brian Hutchison, a sort of dude-ish one-man Greek chorus. He has a knack for re-declarations of the most obvious sort. William Sadler is the doctor, Andrea Martin his overworked and blunt maid and Lauren Ambrose as his adoring second wife, Queen Marie. Ms. Martin gives a madcap performance as the maid scampering across the stage attending to the whim of two queens and a dying king. Lauren Ambrose as the emotional Queen Marie is the perfect counterpoint to Sarandon's sardonic Queen Marguerite as she fawns over the king attempting to get him to hold on to life.

In Exit the King, Eugene Ionesco's third play in his Berenger trilogy (the other two being The Killer and Rhinocéros) we watch as the 400-year old king moves through the dying process . We spend two and a half hours watching this dying process as it plays out before us in fits and starts. While Mr. Rush gave a once-in-a-lifetime performance, I ultimately found myself wishing that the man would just lay down and die already. That said, if absurd theatre is your bag, by all means go. You will be treated to a first rate production with an excellent cast.

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See detailed show credits from IBDB.com

In other reviews...

In his review for the NY Times, Ben Brantley raved about the Exit the King calling it "brutally funny" and eloquently summarizes Mr. Rush's character saying "Mr. Rush is not only more entertaining than the usual never-say-die bogeyman but also more frightening. That’s not because you’re worried that the 400-year-old Berenger might come after you in your dreams, Freddy Krueger style; it’s because you know that the seedy, power-addled egomaniac onstage — who’s working overtime to dodge his own mortality — is, quite simply, you." Read the entire review

Michael Kuchwara for the Associated Press says "We haven't seen a star turn like this in quite a while." He continued "Geoffrey Rush, making his Broadway debut, manages a mesmerizing high-wire act of balancing outrageous comedy and overwhelming tragedy in a fascinating revival of Eugene Ionesco's absurdist "Exit the King." Read the entire review

In his review in the Wall Street Journal, Terry Teachout warns potential audience members "See it by all means, but don't expect to go home grinning." He says of the piece "Exit the King is the real thing, a full-fledged absurdist satire whose unlikely presence on Broadway can be explained only by the fact that Susan Sarandon is in the cast." Read the entire review

Linda Winer in New York Newsday says "This inspired revival of Eugene Ionesco's seldom-seen 1962 absurdist tragicomedy has been conceived as the unlikely love child of a fractured fairy tale and King Lear." Of XXX direction she continues "director Neil Armfield's exquisitely unhinged production has proffered Susan Sarandon, Lauren Ambrose and Andrea Martin in a silly symphony of mortality panic." Read the entire review

Thursday, 02 April 2009 09:53

Review: Irena's Vow


Tovah Feldshuh in Irena's Vow

Irena's Vow is a serious story with real tales of terror, horror and apprehension.  If only the play had told the story that way.  Written by Dan Gordon, it tells the story of Irena Gut Opdyke, a Polish-Catholic nurse played with earnestness by the talented Tovah Feldshuh(Golda's Balcony, Yentl).  While a member of a Polish underground unit Irena was caught by invading Russians and ultimately raped, beaten and forced to work in a medical unit.  Later, as a slave laborer running a laundry room with Jewish workers she is reassigned to a conflicted SS major, played by Thomas Ryan, as his housekeeper and major domo.  As she is preparing to leave her current assignment she overhears a conversation wherein she learns that the Nazi's plan is that by July 21st there will be no more Jews alive in the region.  She witnesses this first-hand when forced out of a store to watch as the Nazi's carry out their plan, lining up Jews in front of a pit and shooting them into it.  Irena returns to her employees in the laundry intent on hatching a plan to save them from certain death.  Her ultimate solution is to hide them in the house of her new employer, Major Rugemer.  This works out fine until the Major comes home to find two of the Jewish women helping Irena dust the house.  He promises to keep her secret if she will become his mistress.

Friday, 27 March 2009 07:27

Review: West Side Story

Karen Olivo as Anita with the Shark girls.
Karen Olivo as Anita with the Shark girls
Photo: Joan Marcus

Despite some obvious shortcomings, 91 year old director and writer Arthur Laurents has proven that you can’t kill a masterpiece. That masterpiece happens to be West Side Story. The Leonard Bernstein score, Stephen Sondheim lyrics and Arthur Laurents’ book, based loosely on Romeo and Juliet, still has the power to give you chills and draw you into the love story between two members of warring rival gangs.

When originally produced on Broadway, Brooks Atkinson in his 1957 NY Times review called the material “horrifying.” Today’s audience would hardly be “horrified.” There were even some awkward titters to be heard in the audience during some inappropriate moments. Yet this evening’s audience was still deeply moved by the production.


It took until the final scene of act one, the rumble, for me to be pulled into this production. Part of this was due to some poor casting choices among the Jets. Frankly, some of these boys would be more threatening with a curling iron than with a switch blade. Another critic referred to them as looking as though they just jumped out of a Gap commercial. Frankly, my analogy would lean more towards the “Mickey Mouse Club.” Some of the earnestness of the young actors stood out like a sore thumb. The smudged “dirt” on their faces only served to further give portions of the production a tone of amateurishness. That said this cast dances the Jerome Robbins choreography, recreated beautifully for this production by Joey McKneely with precision and energy.

Josefina Scaglione and Matt Cavenaugh as Maria and Tony
Josefina Scaglione and Matt Cavenaugh as Maria and Tony
Photo: Joan Marcus

Tony is played by Matt Cavenaugh, seen in last season’s A Catered Affair as well as Grey Gardens and Urban Cowboy, both from a couple of seasons ago. Cavenaugh sings the songs with a pure unforced voice that floats out of him. You don’t buy into his character until the end of the first act as well. From there on he shines. Argentinean native Josefina Scaglione plays Maria. She has a lovely voice though it never quite lives up to the hype and at times was actually slightly off pitch. Despites some other critic’s reviews which felt there was more to her voice than her acting, I felt she handled herself beautifully as an actress and actually was even more convincing when singing. The material gave her more than enough opportunity to win you over. “One Hand, One Heart” was delicate and impassioned and “Somewhere” left you with chills.

Karen Olivo as Anita is the show’s tour de force and emotional realist. Her fear is palpable in the drugstore scene with the Jets in the second act. She has a fierce voice and a commanding presence. She is paired with Cody Green who gives a terrific performance in the role of Riff.

Kudos to Arthur Laurents for taking a chance, presenting sections of the show in Spanish (as translated by In the HeightsLin-Manuel Miranda). I’m sorry to say it doesn’t work. It’s distracting and irritating, particularly when used at length for major plot-sensitive scenes and songs. The two numbers that are done almost exclusively in Spanish are “I Feel Pretty” and “A Boy Like That.” The latter was a particularly poor choice to throw at what I’m sure are a large number of non-Spanish speaking audience members. Some of the audience tonight were kids who I’m sure have never seen this show. Mr. Laurents does his production and his work a disservice by making this choice. Had any other director attempted to do that in this manner, he couldn’t have been forgiven nearly as easily as we can forgive Laurents (being the original author of the book).

The set, by James Youmans was minimalist and unobtrusive. His scenery for the rumble scene at the end of act one was particularly effective and impressive.

Karen Olivo and George Akram as Anita and Bernardo
Karen Olivo andGeorge Akram as Anita and Bernardo
Photo: Joan Marcus

The real star of this production is the Leonard Bernstein score and Jerome Robbins choreography. The orchestra, with a full complement of violins and cellos is under the direction of Patrick Vaccariello. My hat is off to the producers of this show for giving the Bernstein score the instrumentation it needs, you got your moneys worth. Looking around me at the show tonight I saw a sea of young faces. How encouraging to see the next generation experiencing a true American classic in the musical theatre repertoire. This production deserves to run and if the audience tonight was any indication, it will do just fine.

West Side Story is playing at the Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway. Get tickets.

See detailed show credits from IBDB.com.

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In other reviews:

In his review for the NY Times, Ben Brantley calls the attempt to translate some of the songs and dialogue into Spanish “an only partly successful experiment.” His chief complaint questions the wisdom of translating certain plot-driving dialogue into Spanish. “It’s fine for those of us who know the show inside out, but English-speaking newcomers may have difficulty following the second act.” On the prevailing spirit of the show, “a tenderhearted awareness of the naked vulnerability of being young and trapped in an urban jungle.” Read the full review.

Linda Winer in her review for NY Newsday calls this latest production of West Side Story “neither revelation nor vandalism” and continues on to say “it’s still a wonderful show.” Except for Olivo she calls the cast “just all right” and the physical production “surprisingly conventional - modest in imagination if not in budget.” She felt the Spanish worked well in small doses but that “When entire scenes go by in another language, however, the audience feels as left out as the new immigrants.” Read the full review.

In the review for the LA Times Charles McNulty asks the question “Are these hoodlums heading to a brawl or a Juilliard audition? “ In speaking of the show in general says “Laurents’ uneven production may be noteworthy for the way characters slip in and out of Spanish, but the show continues to seduce in a theatrical language that remains universal.” Read the full review.

David Rooney for Variety wrote that under the direction of Lawrence “the 1957 show remains both a brilliant evocation of its period and a timeless tragedy of disharmony and hate.” His opinion regarding the translation of some of the book and lyrics into Spanish was more positive than other critics, including this one. “Audiences with no knowledge of Spanish will hardly feel adrift, however, in that the stakes in this urban "Romeo and Juliet" update are rendered more lucid by the dramatic integrity of the staging. And the feelings of lovestruck joy conveyed in "I Feel Pretty," or of bitter sorrow dueling with the conviction of the heart in "A Boy Like That," all but transcend words.” Read the full review.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009 23:41

Review: Blithe Spirit

Christine Ebersole, Angela Lansbury and Rupert Everett in Blithe SpiritChristine Ebersole, Angela Lansbury
and Rupert Everett in Blithe Spirit
Photo: Robert J. Saferstein

The most recent incarnation of Blithe Spirit that opened this past week at the Shubert Theatre is sheer joy. The Noël Coward bon-bon stars Angela Lansbury in a “leave ‘em dead in the aisles” (if you’ll pardon the expression) role as Madame Arcati, a psychic retained to conduct a séance. Ms. Lansbury’s performance is nothing short of mesmerizing. Rounding out the cast is Rupert Everett in a spot-on Broadway debut, Christine Ebersole and Jayne Atkinson. The pace of this production is exactly what one hopes for in a production of a Noël Coward work. At the helm of this production is Michael Blakemore (Copenhagen, Democracy).

Sunday, 15 March 2009 15:47

Review: 33 Variations

Susan Kellerman (L) and Jane Fonda in 33 Variations
Susan Kellerman (L) and Jane Fonda in 33 Variations
Photo: Joan Marcus

Frequently theatre critics get it wrong. That appears to be the case for 33 Variations the new play written and directed by Moisés Kaufman and now running at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. The play stars Jane Fonda as obsessed musicologist Dr. Katherine Brandt. She and the rest of this talented cast turn what might otherwise be an evening analyzing a mundane subject into an emotionally engaging night of drama. Just why Beethoven would have spent three years agonizing over the creation of a waltz he initially considered trite is Dr. Brandt’s primary objective. All the while we watch as her physical condition deteriorates due to Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Friday, 13 March 2009 23:17

Review: Guys and Dolls

Craig Bierko and Oliver Platt in the Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls
Craig Bierko (L) and Oliver Platt in
Guys and Dolls
Photo: Carol Rosegg

The Nederlander Theater now has a new tenant, the fifth Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls. I feel full disclosure is in order here. I arrived at the theatre at 7:50PM for a 7:00PM show. A word of warning to those of you who are coming to Broadway on a Tuesday night, many Broadway shows currently have a 7:00PM curtain time on Tuesdays. This is a great idea as long as you can get the audience there on time. It gets those of us who live in the burbs home at a reasonable hour. It’s also great if you have kids. My apologies to the press agent and to the audience members I had to walk in front of to get to my seat. (Check out my Theatre Dos and Don’ts.)

Friday, 13 March 2009 22:41

Theatre Do's and Don'ts

If you don't want to look like a philistine when you attend the theatre I have put together a little list of things you should and should not do while attending the theatre (or any live performance for that matter). 

DOS:

  • Do arrive at the theater with time to spare.  Check your curtain time.  Some shows are starting at 7:00PM on certain nights to get folks home earlier, particularly those with kids.
  • Do turn off your cell phone and for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT text during a performance.  I can't believe I actually have to write that, you know who you are. Put away the cell phone and forget you own it for the few short hours.  You’ve shelled out your hard earned money to be transported elsewhere, why interrupt it with digital detritus.
  • Do shut up when the house lights dim and the orchestra starts to play the overture or entr’acte.  Now I know that these are transitional moments in theatre but Jonathan Tunick doesn’t spend his time orchestrating Sondheim’s stunning songs into a beautiful overture so you can have your own personal underscoring.  Remember, those are live actors at work up there.  This is not television.  Zip it!
  • Do stay through the curtain call.  These talented folks have just given you their all, the least you can do is recognize it by applauding politely.  There is nothing tackier than seeing folks hauling tail up the aisle before the lights have even faded to black on the last scene. 

DON’TS:

  • Don’t take snacks into the theatre.  This latter day practice is déclassé and makes you look like a tourist (no offense to the tourists, don’t send me emails!)
  • Don’t unwrap candy during the performance.  If you think you will need something that badly during the show that you can’t wait until intermission, unwrap it ahead of time.
  • Don’t use recording devices of any type.  This means cameras, tape recorders, video cameras or any other recording medium.  It is against the law.  Should you violate this law you can expect to quickly be visited by the theatre ushers and the very serious “private dick” checking bags at the door (an unfortunate but necessary addition since 9/11). 
Saturday, 21 February 2009 14:44

Review: The Story of My Life

The Story of My Life
Malcolm Gets (L) and Will Chase in
The Story of My Life
Photo: Aaron Epstein

The Story of My Life tells the innocuous tale of Thomas Weaver (Will Chase) and Alvin Kelby (Malcolm Gets) and their relationship from childhood to Alvin’s premature death. The story opens with Thomas standing at a podium attempting to write a eulogy for his old friend Alvin. There is a small open portal in the stage just behind the podium that opens to reveal Alvin sitting on top of a ladder bathed in white light. I don’t think I’m giving anything away here by saying that he is dead.

Thomas is a successful writer who writes what he knows. His stories are based upon his childhood experiences with Alvin and center around Alvin’s father’s bookstore, ironically named the Writer’s Block. The set, by Robert Brill is a monochromatic white cyclorama-like back wall that curves to the ceiling with bookshelves. The blank books on the bookshelf serve double duty. They represent both the book store and the wealth of stories in Thomas’s head. They continually reference the books as they hearken back to childhood memories that bring about the next song in the story line.


The musical uses the Frank Capra movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” as a common thread both boys remember from childhood. Alvin’s death is due from what we are led to believe is a suicide seemingly brought on by Thomas’ rejection of him. Even this mirrors the Capra classic as it is inferred that Alvin killed himself by jumping off a bridge. You’ll remember that George Bailey is stopped from jumping off a bridge by Clarence the angel to show George what the world would have been like without him.

At the end of the night we are left asking “so what.” If only this musical had the dynamic emotional punch found in the aforementioned holiday classic. There is nothing compelling about this story. There is barely any conflict. The two characters go on to lead different, yet similar lives in that one writes books and one sells books. The similarities appear to end there. After planning a trip to visit his successful friend, Thomas abruptly cancels the trip and we are led to believe that this brings about Alvin’s death.

The performances by Mr. Chase and Mr. Gets are stellar. These are talented men giving it their all. Both men are in fine voice. The music and lyrics by Neil Bartram are serviceable but not memorable. The book is by Brian Hill. The show is handily directed by Richard Maltby, Jr. and maintains a brisk pace but to no avail.

The orchestrations are by the talented Jonathan Tunick. Tunick’s work, frequently associated with the work of Stephen Sondheim seems thin here. The ensemble is comprised of nine musicians yet it doesn’t feel that way. Props to Mr. Tunick though for his use of instruments less and less frequently associated with Broadway musicals (bassoon, viola and other real string instruments).

The Story of My Life: Music and lyrics by Neil Bartram; book by Brian Hill; directed by Richard Maltby Jr.; sets by Robert Brill; costumes by Wade Laboissonniere; lighting by Ken Billington and Paul Toben; sound by Peter Fitzgerald and Carl Casella; projection design by Dustin O’Neill; orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick; music director, David Holcenberg; music coordinator, John Miller; production stage manager, Bess Marie Glorioso; production supervisors, Arthur Siccardi and Patrick Sullivan; associate director, Lisa Shriver; general manager, Leonard Soloway. Presented by Chase Mishkin, Jack M. Dalgleish, Bud Martin and Carole L. Haber, in association with Chunsoo Shin. At the Booth Theater, 222 West 45th Street, Manhattan; Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes.

In other reviews:

Ben Brantley’s review in the New York Times compares the story line to the 1988 movie “Beaches” and refers to the piece as “a classic chick flick translated to the stage with a different set of chromosomes.”

Robert Feldberg’s review in the Bergen Record called the show “an intelligent musical with a warm heart.”

Michael Kuchwara’s review for the Associated Press calls the show “a heartfelt little musical that has the courage of its sweet-tempered, low-key convictions.”

In a crass and mean-spirited review Frank Scheck writes for The New York Post that the show revolves around a eulogy and that “it will probably require one soon for itself.”

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Will Ferrell in You're Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush

Will Ferrell in You're Welcome America:
A Final Night with George W. Bush
Photo: Robert J. Saferstein

Will Ferrell has never struck me as the funniest man alive, but his performance in You’re Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush is a consistent and yes, funny portrait of our 43rd president. The piece overall is a little like an over-extended “Saturday Night Live” skit. It's a tongue-in-cheek look at the presidency of George W. Bush and what his private thoughts might have revealed were we so privileged to get inside his head.

When you enter the theatre you are greeted by a set that could be a campaign stop, bunting on the proscenium and lots of red, white and blue. There is a post-and-rail fence segment down right with a piece of tumbleweed lying against it. Considering the amount of time President Bush spent on vacation and in Crawford, Texas during his tenure, it only seems appropriate that the show would chronicle this. There is a secret service agent at the edge of the stage with his hands folded in front of him as he scans the crowd for would-be security risks.

The play starts with Ferrell being dropped from the fly space on the end of a tether from a helicopter wearing a flight-suit and helmet. This was obviously done for theatrical affect but was meant to be reminiscent of his arrival on the USS Abraham Lincoln to trumpet his mission accomplished heralding the “successful“ end of ground operations in Iraq.Ferrell’s Bush is every bit the caricature of the dolt that late-night comedians made him out to be (with plenty of help from Bush). Also written by Ferrell, the piece is modestly funny. Given the current state of our country, perhaps the wounds are too fresh to completely enjoy You’re Welcome America. Eight years of Bush’s malaprops have left the country with a longing for someone who can complete a sentence without looking the fool. But that begs the question would the show be funny if the producers waited?

The cast is rounded out with ancillary minor characters including a shoe-throwing audience member, a secret service agent and Condoleezza Rice with whom Ferrell does a naughty pas de deux of dirty dancing. The secret service agent is one of the severely regrettable aspects of this piece. In a cheap convention the director uses the secret service agent as an oaf to cover Ferrell’s costume changes by having the agent break into break-dance segments that get more and more elaborate with each “in-one” he does until he finally gets caught by President Bush.

Don’t worry if you can’t get tickets to the show. It’s only scheduled to run through March 15 but will be aired live on HBO on March 14, the night before the scheduled closing performance. The show has broken the house record at the Cort Theatre by taking in $846,507.05 for the week that ended on Feb. 15.

You're Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush is written by and starring Will Ferrell with Michael Delaney, Patrick Ferrell, Pia Glenn and Adam Mucci. Directed by: Adam McKay. It stars Will FerrellIt runs through March 15, 2009 at the Cort Theatre. More information/buy tickets.

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Thursday, 29 January 2009 16:44

Press

Cool Site of the Day

Cool Site of the Day

Internet World Article: July 1995

Internet World 1995 Internet World 1995

Internet Magazine 1995