ARTSBEAT by Stas Kmiec (2-19-14)
Mazowsze North American Fall Tour
The famed Polish Song and Dance Company – Mazowsze will commence a North American tour beginning November 5 in Chicago through December 21 under the auspices of 2Luck Concepts. Additional cities in Canada will be included. Under the direction of Włodzimierz Izban, the 65th anniversary tour production will include new high-tech projections that will enhance the atmosphere and establish the surroundings of each region represented on stage. Several new additions and regional suites will join the classic standards on the program. The exact schedule is still being finalized. More information will be announced as available; consult www.2Luck.com for details.
Film: Winter’s Tale
A supernatural epic romantic fantasy – set in 1916 and present-day Manhattan, Winter’s Tale follows the story of a thief who falls in love with a dying girl and occupies one of the houses he breaks into. He is saved from an insane Irish gangster and his henchmen by Athansor, a mysterious white horse who becomes his guardian angel. Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay (Downtown Abbey) star.
New York City Ballet’s Winter Season
The perfect ballet antidote to dark days and gloomy weather — New York City Ballet’s Coppélia and other repertoire will brighten up the Winter Blues. Based on a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, Coppélia is the delightful tale of a budding romance between two villagers, alongside the curious workings of their eccentric neighbor – a mad inventor of life-like doll automatons. The ballet takes place in Galicia – a region overlapping Poland and Ukraine, and is considered one of the greatest comic ballets of the 19th century. The staging by George Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova contains character dances (such as Mazurka and Czardas) – full of color and life that are among the highlights of this ballet – through February 2. Luxurious costumes and atmospheric settings are on display in the mixed bill – Scenic Delight, which includes Bal de Couture’s parade of Valentino ball gowns waltzes to music from Tschaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse, inspired by one of the world’s fastest trains, and Jerome Robbins stunning The Four Seasons with vibrant colors and jaw dropping physical feats of dance – through February 28. For more on the entire season: www.nycballet.com
Polish True-life Spy Drama Film
Colonel Ryszard Kukliński (aka “Jack Strong”) passed on thousands of classified documents to the United States between 1972 and 1981, before being spirited out of the country by the Americans. The Kuklinski legacy still divides Poles. A new Polish film has prompted politicians and public figures to debate whether a colonel who defected to the US during the 1970s deserves to be honored by his home country. The fast-paced movie Jack Strong (Kukliński’s CIA code name) by director Władysław Pasikowski features an international cast – with popular Polish film actor Marcin Dorociński as Kukliński; Russia’s Oleg Maslennikov as a Soviet Warsaw Pact commander; and American actor Patrick Wilson (speaking in Polish) as the CIA handler. Talks are underway on distribution in the U.S. and other countries.
Television: The Americans
The second season of the drama series The Americans will premiere on February 26 on the basic cable channel FX. Set during the Cold War period in the 1980s, the story centers around Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), two Soviet KGB officers posing as an American married couple in the suburbs of Washington DC and their neighbor, Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), an FBI Counter-Intelligence agent. The series was created by Joe Weisberg; directed by Daniel Attias and Kevin Dowling, with principal cinematography by Richard Rutkowski.
Inspired by the infamous 1927 murder trial of Ruth Snyder, Machinal by American journalist and playwright Sophie Treadwell is back on Broadway through March 2 for the first time in over 85 years in a vivid and bracing portrait of a woman pushed to the edge. Rebecca Hall’s portrayal of one woman’s descent into murder and madness should not be missed, American Airlines Theatre – 227 West 42nd St., NY, NY
Farewell to an American Original
Shirley Temple was a mere six years old when “On the Good Ship Lollipop” became her signature song. Shirley was born to perform on April 23 1928 in Santa Monica California. Dancing almost as soon as she could walk, she made her on screen debut at four. At seven years of age she became the nation’s top box office draw. She had made more than 40 films – most before she was a teenager. As with many child stars, Shirley’s career waned as she matured. In 1935 Temple retired from films at age 21. After a failed first marriage she wed businessman Charles Black – a marriage that lasted 55 years until his death. In 1967 she shifted focus to politics. Losing a Northern California congressional race, she dedicated her life and energies to public-service. In 1969 President Nixon appointed her as a delegate to the United Nations and ambassador to Czechoslovakia In 1972, at the age of 44, Temple-Black stunned the nation – bravely revealing her breast cancer, as well as her mastectomy. She remained largely out of the limelight since the 1990s. From dimpled darling to US diplomat, Shirley Temple Black was an American original.
Rockettes’ New Show
Heart & Lights is a brand new show from the famous and fabulous Radio City Rockettes about the sights and sounds of New York City told through a tale of discovering the Big Apple. Described by Radio City as “capturing all of the energy and passion of New York City and its people in one incredible show,” Heart & Lights will be an unforgettable celebration of the New York City, it’s people, history and legacy. Playing March 27–May 4 at Radio City Music Hall; www.heartsandlights.com.
Poland’s Olympic Team Impressive
Despite one snowflake hiccup, the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony was a beautiful display of vibrant colors and amazing uniforms. Poland’s team chose to represent itself on one of sports’ biggest stages with sharp grey and white jackets that look like sweaters that were dotted with a descending snowflake design. Poland is one of 12 nations to have competed at every edition of the Winter Games. At press time the Polish team has won two Gold medals on the slopes – Justyna Kowalczyk in Cross Country Ladies Classic and Kamil Stoch in the Men’s Normal Hill Individual.
Film: The Monuments Men
Directed by George Clooney, this American-German war film is based on the true-story book, The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, by Robert M. Edsel. The film follows an allied group tasked with finding and saving pieces of art and other culturally important items before their destruction by Hitler during World War II. The film stars Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman and Cate Blanchett.
Music: The Beatles at 50
The Beatles became a part of U.S. history 50 years ago with a heavily watched appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The foursome from Liverpool performed their number 1 hit “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to a throng of screaming girls, ushering in the Beatlemania and British Invasion phenomenon to the states. Over 73 million Americans – 40% of the population – tuned into the show on CBS that evening. Prior to the guest appearance, The Beatles were already well-known in the United Kingdom. As they moved across the map to promote their records, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr watched country after country fall to the “Beatlemania” craze. America was the final frontier in the band’s quest for global domination. The U.S. was late to The Beatles party because the band’s American label Capitol Records refused to release their music. The Beatles’ highly-anticipated appearance took place on Sunday, February 9, 1964. It was the most watched program in history at the time with 45.3 percent of households with televisions tuned in
Off-Broadway’s award-winning Irish Repertory Theatre presents the world premiere production of the new musical Transport. With a book by world-renowned Australian author Thomas Keneally (Schindler’s List, the acclaimed book on which the Oscar-winning film is based) and music and lyrics by Larry Kirwan. Transport derives from the true story recalled by the grandmother of his wife, Judy, who journeyed in chains from Cork to Sydney, Australia in 1846. With both an authentic score — with echoes of traditional Irish and Australian tunes — and a contemporary resonance, the musical transcends time, place and character. Performances through April 6 at Irish Repertory Theatre – 132 West 22nd St., New York, NY
Althamer at The New Museum
The New Museum will present the first major US museum exhibition of the work of Polish artist Paweł Althamer – one of the most influential artists to emerge globally in the 1990s. An introspective exhibition entitled Paweł Althamer: The Neighbors will be spread across three floors of The New Museum – 235 Bowery, New York, NY through April 20. This presentation is made possible in part through a partnership with Polish Cultural Institute New York.