Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Leonard Bernstein's New York / Mandy Patinkin Dawn Upshaw Donna Murphy|
Actors: Mandy Patinkin, Dawn Upshaw, Judith Blazer, Audra McDonald, Richard Muenz
Director: Hart Perry
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
A new generation of American musical theater artists come together in a "glorious mosaic of Leonard Bernstein?s show tunes" (New York Times). Brilliantly filmed in the very New York locations celebrated by the songs - Cone... more »
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Go for the CD instead
Melissa Leilani Larson | Coralville, IA USA | 10/14/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a fan of this DVD's companion recording for years. When I heard that the DVD was being released, I rushed out to find it. But despite the incredible quality of the music and the performances, this DVD was really quite disappointing. At under an hour, the piece isn't sure what it wants to be: a documentary on Bernstein or a collection of music videos to accompany the initial recording. The compilation is a tribute both to Leonard Bernstein and to the city he loved, including songs from his New York-set musicals: "On the Town", "Wonderful Town", and "West Side Story". While the performers are top notch (the incomparable Audra McDonald, Dawn Upshaw, Judy Blazer, Donna Murphy, Mandy Patinkin and Richard Muenz) and the music classic, the DVD filming is sophomoric, looking low res in spots and making unmotivated cuts between recording sessions, music video moments, and random documentary bits. The music gets a little shafted; some songs you hear completely, while others are layered pointlessly beneath conversation. And when these fabulous singers are running around downtown NYC posing and lip-syncing, the result is just silly. One particularly silly segment puts Blazer as a cute n' sexy cabbie in the front seat to a sight-seeing Patinkin; her costume is obviously theatrical and over-the-top, while he is just playing himself. Another video segment has the gorgeous Donna Murphy decked in a gold evening gown singing the tremendous torch song "Ain't Got No Tears Left"...as she walks along a random trash-strewn beach. ??? Most of the re-enactments here are pretty ridiculous and look low-budget; the lackluster cinematography does them no favors. And why are some songs given the music video treatment while others just show the performers in the recording studio? One of the best tracks on the CD is Dawn Upshaw's amazing "Somewhere"--it's nowhere on the DVD!! I was in shock after watching this film/doc/concert/whatever it is. I whole-heartedly recommend the CD "Leonard Bernstein's New York" and give it 5 stars, but this DVD...well, golly, it's just not as good."
A wonderful treat.
I. Sondel | Tallahassee, FL United States | 11/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I picked up the CD of this a number of years ago but only recently received this DVD as birthday gift. What a treat. Let me just say that I'm a big fan of every one of the singers/actors represented here. The location photography is hit and miss, but the performances are uniformally great. My favorites - the numbers I consider the highlights - are Donna Murphy's "Ain't Got No Tears Left" (when are we going to get a solo CD from this terrific singer???), McDonald's "A Little Bit in Love," "What a Waste" sung by Muenz, Upshaw and Murphy) and, most especially, Patinkin's reading of "Some Other Time" (an all-time favorite song of mine). There are a number of interviews with stars of the original Broadway productions as well as Harold Prince. Lover's of Bernstein and the musical theatre will find this DVD a treasure."
Ian C. Punter | Thailand | 07/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bernstein at his best! This is one terrific compilation. I started out with the CD, then the VHS, and now this. Paul Theroux wrote in one of his books, that what he loved most about New York, (if you're from 'out of town'), was the feeling that you had as much right to be there as the person walking past you. I'm from the UK but have been lucky enough to live in NY for a good few months in the past, and as a Lenny-admirer to boot, this is simply great. I have a huge distrust of the word 'genius' and it gets thrown around willy-nilly these days, but if Bernstein possessed it in however small measure, it's evidenced particularly in this side of his achievement.
It's an idea that could have proved an embarrassment, the soloists trotting off on location round NY and singing their numbers in the streets, (to playback, presumably), often surrounded by bemused gawpers, but it works, brilliantly.
Dawn Upshaw singing 'Lonely Town' is worth the price of the disc on its own, Mandy Patinkin may be an acquired taste for some, but is totally at home in his numbers, and Audra McDonald is gorgeous in every sense. (To mention but three of what really feels like a 'team')