Potpourri #4 for 2012 (13 cents)

1. After seeing the excellent production of Two Gentlemen of Verona, now playing at the Shakespeare Theatre, we went to see this weekend’s production of Two Gentlemen of Verona: the Rock Opera, a modified concert reading, with orchestra on stage, partial blocking, some actors holding scripts, etc. A wonderfully professional version of the Tony winning 1971 production, which takes the basics of Shakespeare’s play, adds a touch of humor, and music by the composer of Hair which bridges African American R & B with Caribbean/Latin rhythms. Most enjoyable.

2. We finally saw Moneyball, the Oscar nominated film about Billie Beane and his Oakland A’s, and the decision to select a roster based on computer-driven,on-base statistics, rather than the instincts of a large scouting staff. Obviously worth seeing, especially if you have some interest in the sport.

3. On Saturday, we went to the National Gallery’s free screening, this time of two features directed by Elia Kazan, the director of On the Waterfront and the man who famously “named names” during the HUAC investigations of communists in Hollywood. The first film, Man on a Tightrope, starring Frederick March was made in 1953 – a black and white film about a down and out circus troop in Communist Czechoslovakia, whose director decides that the entire troop should escape across the guarded border into Germany simply by marching on across, elephants, clowns, bands and all. The second, starring Montgomery Clift and Lee Remick, made in 1960, Wild River, the story of the building of the TVA system and the flooding of portions of the flood-prone Tennessee River Valley, and its effect on one stubborn old woman and her family, the lone group who refuse to sell. They don’t make them like they used to. Or do they?

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