Fed up with a president who compared himself to Jesus, who proposed hanging two political rivals, and then scoffed “I don’t care about my dignity,” the Republican-dominated House of Representatives approved an impeachment resolution, 126 to 47. The year was 1868. But when it came time to vote to convict in the Senate, Edmund G. Ross of Kansas—a fellow Republican, veteran of the Union army, and anti-slavery publisher—cast the decisive “not guilty” vote that kept President Andrew Johnson in office. The vote on June 6, 1868 set off a national uproar. Overnight, Ross became America’s most hated man. Millions cursed him for signing “the death warrant of his country’s liberty.” A hometown newspaper blasted this “poor, pitiful, shriveled wretch, with a soul so small that a little pelf would outweigh all things else that dignify or ennoble manhood.” Ross endured death threats and subsequently lost his Senate seat at … [Read more...] about This Man Thwarted America’s First Impeachment
Heading to Pretty Woman: The Musical on Broadway, you may be thinking: when will I hear those delicious opening chords of Roy Orbison’s hit song? Brutal answer: you won’t. There is none of the original music from the film, apart from a bit of La Traviata. Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance have composed the music and lyrics for the show, and if you liked Bryan Adams at his most ’90s Bryan Adams-y—the plaintive wailing, the dirgey rock, the insistent twanging of guitars—then you’ll love this. The song titles drone it all: “Anywhere But Here,” “Luckiest Girl in the World,” “Never Give Up on a Dream,” “I Can’t Go Back.” Story-wise, having been so thoroughly denied Orbison, you may be thinking: how will they do those famous scenes from the 1990 movie starring Julia Roberts as Vivian and Richard Gere as Edward, an especially tantalizing prospect as the program plays with the movie poster of Roberts in her … [Read more...] about Big Mistake. Huge. ‘Pretty Woman: The Musical’ Has Little of the Movie’s Magic.
There was a time, in the late ’90s, when Julia Roberts was considered the biggest film actress in the world. She was America’s Sweetheart, and when she unleashed that 1,000-watt smile, she could lift the spirits of even the most hardened cynics. From 1997 to 2000, six movies in a row starring Roberts grossed more than $100 million at the box office, culminating in Erin Brockovich—a drama about a single mother of three who tussles with a dirty energy corporation. Roberts was paid $20 million for the film, which went on to gross an inexplicable $256 million worldwide and bag her the Best Actress Oscar. Legend has it that when George Clooney and Brad Pitt found out she’d be joining the gang for Ocean’s Eleven, they sent her a card that read, “We heard you get 20 per film.” Enclosed was a $20 bill—a dig at her lofty salary. Cheeky bastards. But ever since her delicious turn as a saucy Southern debutante in 2007’s Charlie Wilson’s … [Read more...] about Julia Roberts Is Back With a Vengeance in ‘August: Osage County’
1. Xscape, Michael Jackson The saga that surrounded Michael Jackson continues in death. Sony stands accused of exploiting the late King of Pop, in view of the two parties’ difficult relationship. Escape—or rather “x-scape”—the circus engulfing the second posthumous collection of Jackson’s music and you’ll find reminders of why Jackson mattered so much to music in this eight-track collection curated by L.A Reid. Producers Timbaland, Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon and Rodney Jerkins are all at the top of their game working with Jackson. Standout tracks include the Bad-era sounding Blue Gangsta and the irrepressibly buoyant Paul Anka-written Love Never Felt So Good. It’s not true to say that Jackson has never sounded better, but this is no mere cash cow. 2. Milk and Honey, John Lennon John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Milk and Honey was released in 1984, over three years after the former Beatle’s assassination by Mark David … [Read more...] about Dead or Alive, the Hits Keep Coming
This review contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know what happens at the end of this new production of My Fair Lady, stop reading now. The majestic My Fair Lady has been given a #MeToo makeover. Or, more accurately, it has reclaimed the ending that George Bernard Shaw intended for Pygmalion, the play it is based on, in 1913. This “Go Eliza!” moment comes at the very end of Bartlett Sher’s lushly orchestrated, and beautifully sung and staged production at Lincoln Center. Eliza Doolittle finally leaves Professor Henry Higgins; and she does so with a smile on her face and a mixture of bruised peace, equality, and resignation thrumming between them. The ending should make you applaud louder for Eliza (a truly transcendent Lauren Ambrose) than Alan Jay Lerner’s original book, which ends with implied coupled contentment for the former flower girl and her queeny abuser Higgins (Harry Hadden-Paton), who undertakes a linguistic, style, and personality … [Read more...] about ‘My Fair Lady’ Finally Gets Its #MeToo Ending. Somewhere, George Bernard Shaw Is Applauding