Stunning Virtual Collaboration: ‘Bolero Juilliard’

This is really quite special.

Proposed by Juilliard President Damian Woetzel and under the artistic leadership of choreographer (and New Dances veteran) Larry Keigwin, Bolero Juilliard is a virtual collaboration with Juilliard’s community of artists, bringing together dancers, instrumentalists, singers, actors, and alumni during the ongoing pandemic.

In addition to the incredibly talented students taking part in the creative endeavor, don’t miss famous alumni of the school popping up throughout the video including Christine Baranski (drama), Jon Batiste (jazz studies), Renée Fleming (voice), Laura Linney (drama), Patti LuPone (drama), Yo-Yo Ma (music), Bebe Neuwirth (dance), Itzhak Perlman (music), Bradley Whitford (drama) and more.

‘Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration’ Was A Musical Gift That Kept Giving

L-R Audra McDonald, Christine Baranski, Meryl Streep (screen capture)

It began with some tech problems, but when’s salute to legendary composer Stephen Sondheim – Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration – finally got underway it was truly a gift for musical theatre fans.

So many fantastic performances of Sondheim’s lengthy and rich catalog.

One of the highlights was easily Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald serving up a spectacular “The Ladies Who Lunch” from Company as a kind of  Zoom cocktail hour. Donning white robes and pouring generous drinks, the approach was not only hilarious but solved the problem of trying to live up to Elaine Stritch’s legendary performance of the song.

In case you missed it, I’ve cued up Christine, Meryl and Audra’s brilliant performance below, but you can view the entire 2+ hour livestream below.

Other highlights include:

• Melissa Errico’s “Children and Art” (Sunday in the Park with George) was the picture of understated perfection at the 41:04 mark

• Mandy Patinkin, standing outside alone amid an enormous, empty grassy field, shared a moving a cappella “Lesson #8” (Sunday in the Park with George) at the 54:21 mark

• Laura Benanti – “I Remember” (Evening Primrose) at 1:08:28 mark

• Chip Zien, the original “Baker” (Into the Woods) was heartbreaking as he reprised his song “No More” at 1:14:06

• The event’s host, Raúl Esparza, sang a beautiful take on the event’s title song, “Take Me to the World” (Evening Primrose) at 1:50:59

• Donna Murphy’s poignant, pensive rendition of “Send in the Clowns” (A Little Night Music) at the 1:53:55 mark

• Bernadette Peters closing out the event with a gorgeous, a cappella take on a song she didn’t sing in Into The Woods, “No One Is Alone” at 2:11:18

Bernadette Peters (screen capture)

In truth, there are tons of terrific performances – I’m sure I’ll have missed mentioning something I loved. If you click here, you’ll find the full show with a complete breakdown of shortcuts to each individual performance.

Stay with it to the end as there’s a much fun postscript to the shindig with the song “Broadway Baby” from Follies.

The event served as a fundraiser for ASTEP – Artists Striving to End Poverty. You can donate at this link.

Christine Baranski Readies For CBS’ “The Good Fight”

OMG – I love me some Christine Baranski.

And what’s not to love? After 7 years on the CBS hit series The Good Wife, 2 Tony Awards, 15 Emmy nominations (with a win in 1995 for the sitcom Cybil) she’s now anchoring CBS All Access’ first original scripted series, The Good Fight.

The new series is a spin-off of The Good Wife, and will premiere on CBS February 19th before shifting over to the online CBS All Access.

Can’t wait.

Check the fab Baranski last night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert talking on the new series.

Her character, “Diane Lockhart,” is a drop-dead Democrat. And in the series premiere, the audience watches as “Diane” takes in the horror that is the Trump inauguration.

“I hadn’t had the opportunity of seeing the inauguration,” Baranski said. “But the director said, ‘Well, you know, imagine that you’re shocked.’ And I said, ‘No worry, I can play this.’”

Watch the fun interview below and make sure you tune in for the premiere of The Good Fight this Sunday on CBS.

Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski & Tracey Ullman Parody Sondheim For Rob Marshall

Into the Woods stars Christine Baranski, Tracey Ullman, and Meryl Streep prepared a little something to honor Rob Marshall (receiving this year’s New York Apple Award) this past Sunday at the Artios Awards, the Casting Society of America’s annual bash honoring achievements in casting.

Some cute lines like “Rob took us all to the festival” and “Sometimes people cast you, just because you’re good…”