Broadway Theatre Archive titles - recommendations wanted

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by PatrickL, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. PatrickL

    PatrickL Second Unit

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    Does anyone here, with an interest in these dvds (mostly of plays that were taped for telecast), have an opinion about which ones stand above the rest in terms of content? I'm finding that after the initial pressings some of the titles have become scarce and I want to make sure I pick up the better titles.
    I think there have been about 60 of these so far; of the ones I own I enjoyed A Moon for the Misbegotten and The Sea Gull the most, with Hogan's Goat at the other end of the spectrum.
    Immediately, I can afford to pick up only ten from the following list of twenty, so any comment would be greatly appreciated.
    Ah! Wilderness
    All Over
    Awake and Sing
    Eccentricities of a Nightingale
    Fifth of July
    For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide
    Hamlet (Kevin Kline)
    Home
    The Human Voice
    The Last of Mrs. Lincoln
    Paradise Lost
    The Pirates of Penzance
    The Rimers of Eldritch
    The Royal Family
    The Sorrows of Gin
    Steambath
    The Taming of the Shrew (Marc Singer)
    Ten Blocks on the Camino Real
    The Time of Your Life
    The Typists
     
  2. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Of these Broadway tapings, I own

    Much Ado About Nothing
    June Moon (with Susan Sarandon and Stephen Sondheim)
    The Royal Family (must have!)
    Eccentricities of a Nightingale
    The Fifth of July
    The Pirates of Penzance (the show itself, not a movie made of it)
    Steambath
    Home
    Uncommon Women and Others
     
  3. RafaelB

    RafaelB Second Unit

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    Funny that- I just picked up Pirates of Penzance over the weekend. I took a peek at it and it's very obviously taken from a really old video master, but I think it's the best we're going to get until Universal releases the movie version and it's the only document of the Papp stage production that I know of.

    Rafael
     
  4. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    The Marc Singer TAMING OF THE SHREW is the
    best I've seen.
    Highly recommended.
    THE ROYAL FAMILY is one of the rare
    chances to see the legendary stage
    actresses, Eva Le Gallienne....hmmm...
    did i spell her name right?
    DEATH OF A SALESMAN
    was one of those releases too, that is
    a must have.
     
  5. NeilEdwards

    NeilEdwards Stunt Coordinator

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    A MUST buy is "The Skin of Our Teeth". This was done by the Globe Theatre in San Diego and features a stellar cast including Blair Brown, Harold Gould, Sada Thompson and Rue McClanahan.

    I have many of these titles. All are from Kultur and they seem to be committed to preserving and releasing these "Great Performances" from PBS among others.

    Sadly, I haven't gotten around to watching most of them, but will eventually fit them into my schedule.
     
  6. PatrickL

    PatrickL Second Unit

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  7. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    What's the cast of the Penzance DVD?
     
  8. PatrickL

    PatrickL Second Unit

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    Aaron, the cast is headed by Rex Smith, Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt.
     
  9. RaulR

    RaulR Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't have any recommendations, but I just wanted to thank Patrick for posting this. I never knew these DVDs existed! I've ordered "Pirates," and I'm sure that's just the beginning for me.
    Great theater to watch! [​IMG]
    Painful wallet! [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    I never knew about these either, but I LOVE the CD of that cast!
    There's $20 out the door, you happy bastards. [​IMG]
     
  11. PatrickL

    PatrickL Second Unit

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  12. Coressel

    Coressel Supporting Actor

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  13. RafaelB

    RafaelB Second Unit

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    If you're having trouble ordering from Amazon or other e-tailers, you can always order it (for MSRP) directly at http://www.kultur.com.
    Hope this helps.[​IMG]
    Rafael
     
  14. PatrickL

    PatrickL Second Unit

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    Thanks Rafael! [​IMG]
    I don't know why I didn't realize that before; I had thought that broadwayarchive.com was the official site for the series, and the links there would always direct me to etailers.
    In any event I didn't have to go MSRP after all; someone kindly pointed out to me that deepdiscountdvd carries some of these titles, including Pirates, for less than 14 bucks.
     
  15. MarkBourne

    MarkBourne Stunt Coordinator

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    Back when these were distributed by Image, I reviewed some Broadway Theatre Archive discs for dvdjournal.com. They were:
    Alice in Wonderland
    Antigone
    Fifth of July
    The Iceman Cometh
    King Lear
    The Royal Family
    The Seagull
    The Time of Your Life
    Working
    My Master's is in theater, so as a reviewer my sensibilities were in the productions more than the tech details of the DVDs, but as a reviewer I tried to hit all relevant points within the space and format allotted. Hell, I was just thrilled to see that they existed at all.
    Unfortunately, Kultur is not as generous with its screeners as Image is, so I haven't done any since they acquired the series -- though I'd certainly love to do more. It is a splendid and growing collection, well worth investigating. Thanks for opening this thread and spreading the word.
    You can find links to my reviews of them on this page -- http://www.sff.net/people/mbourne/dvdjournal.htm -- about half-way down and clearly marked.
    THE ICEMAN COMETH and KING LEAR are must-haves, absolutely.
    --Mark Bourne
     
  16. PatrickL

    PatrickL Second Unit

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    Mark, thanks for the links to your excellent, well-informed reviews. They were a pleasure to read and I hope that you get to review more discs in the series.
    I wanted to follow up in this thread after watching The Pirates of Penzance disc this morning. So sad to say, especially since it will be for some people an introduction to the series, that it is easily the worst looking disc I have ever seen. A few other titles I've seen in this series have had some problems due to old video elements (Antigone comes to mind, with its overall softness and bleeding colors) but nothing that compares to Pirates, which looks like a dub of a dub of a dub. [​IMG]
     
  17. Enrique B Chamorro

    Enrique B Chamorro Supporting Actor

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    I just got The Pirates of Penzance and the only thing
    that keeps me from throwing the disc out is my love
    of the music. The video source is so poor it almost
    makes the picture unwatchable. The stage lighting would
    brighten and fade as people enter and leave and the
    video camera would carry a ghost of the light flair
    and wash out the picture.
    A sad presentation of a fine show.
    I am a fan of The Taming of the Shrew and have
    had my eye on the John Cleese version. see;
    http://www.documentary-video.com/dis...em.cfm?vid=828
    I remember the video tape being just so-so,
    I am now afraid that the Cleese DVD will result in an
    almost unwatchable film. How is the Marc Singer version?
    It seems sad that none of the BBC/Time-Life or Broadway
    DVD's have subtitles, a very important item for me
    when it comes to Shakespeare on DVD.
    (I have the upbeat Richard Burton version on DVD.)
     
  18. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    I'm in it for specific performances, too...so if
    I can actually see Lee J Cobb and Mildred
    Dunnock in their original DEATH OF A SALESMAN roles,
    that is well worth the disc flaws to me.
     
  19. PatrickL

    PatrickL Second Unit

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    Jefferson, I too can be forgiving and accept the understandable limitations of the source material on some of these discs in order to enjoy the performances. But it's a long long way from accepting the soft, slightly faded look of something like the Death of a Salesman disc to putting up with the horrible, nearly unwatchable video of Pirates. Believe me, I've never seen anything released on dvd in such terrible shape, it's truly far below substandard.
    Enrique, I now have the Marc Singer Taming of the Shrew. I can't comment yet on the quality of the performance, but I did take a peek at it for video quality and it's in line with the usual releases in this series. In other words, it's more than fine. Thanks for mentioning the BBC version, which I'll be sure to check out. I wanted to mention to you that if you want to brush up your Shakespeare, the James Earl Jones King Lear is sensational, just as Mark said. The lack of subtitles is sad, I agree, but this version is well articulated and superbly performed. And there is nothing to fear as far as the video quality goes on that one.
     

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