Power, seduction and bad movies are the ingredients for SU Drama’s Speed-the-Plow
A new DVD celebrates the creepy charms of the horror hosts behind Monster Movie Matinee
Think of TV hosts and hostesses of old-school horror movies and, for most people, the usual suspects turn up. There’s Svengoolie, the Chicago-based franchise which since 1979 has featured a top-hatted Rich Koz donning Groucho Marx greasepaint and wielding a rubber chicken (the weekly broadcasts are now airing Saturday nights on Me-TV via WSYR-Channel 9.2). And there is Elvira, the buxom alter ego of actress Cassandra Peterson, who has hosted two separate syndicated TV series devoted to fright flicks during her 30-year reign.
Life-size puppets are large and in charge for the upcoming production of War Horse
The blessed union of puppets and theater has been around for centuries, albeit mostly from the moppet viewpoint: Think of old Punch-and-Judy shows, or even Ed Sullivan bantering with Topo Gigio. While the relationship has taken occasional just-for-adult turns, especially concerning Avenue Q’s naughty take on Sesame Street, the art of stage puppetry reaches its summit with War Horse, the Tony Award-winning World War I spectacle co-presented by the National Theatre of Great Britain and South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, the latter responsible for the show’s astonishing life-size marionettes.
For those who think they’ve seen it all, along comes Bad Milo!
For those who think they’ve seen it all, along comes Bad Milo! The gross-out comedy concerns the misadventures of a wage slave (Ken Marino) who harbors a gastrointestinal critter that also has killer instincts. Also in the cast are Patrick Warburton, Mary Kay Place and Peter Stormare (pictured), who memorably co-starred in Fargo and has directed opera productions at Glimmerglass. The area premiere closes the 2013 season at the Midway Drive-In, Route 48 in Minetto, between Oswego and Fulton, as part of a four-flick post-Halloween blowout running Friday, Nov. 2, through Sunday, Nov. 4. In addition to Milo (Friday and Sunday, 1 a.m.; Saturday, Nov. 3, 9:30 p.m.), also on the bill is You’re Next (Friday and Sunday, 11:25 p.m.; Saturday, 11 p.m.) and director James Wan’s Insidious Chapter 2 (Friday through Sunday, 7:30 p.m.) and The Conjuring (Friday and Sunday, 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, 12:30 a.m.). Admission is $7 for adults, $2 for ages 7 to 11 and free for under age 2. Call 343-0211 for details.
The Frankenstein monster takes center stage
The Frankenstein monster takes center stage for a trio of old-school horror flicks that will run on separate Shocktober evenings to prepare viewers for Halloween. First up is the double bill of the 1931 Universal classics Frankenstein (starring a neck-bolted Boris Karloff) and Dracula (with Bela Lugosi as the famed sawtooth), to be presented in 35mm prints on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2:30 and 7 p.m., at Rome’s Capitol Theatre, 220 W. Dominick St. The 7 p.m. screenings also feature a live-onstage spook show hosted by “The Ghostmaster.” Admission is $6 for adults, $2 for children under 12; call 337-6453. Also on Saturday, the “Brew & View” film series at Eastwood’s Palace Theatre, 2384 James St., continues with a 35mm screening of the 1943 Universal monster rally Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, which pairs Lugosi with Lon Chaney Jr. The campy musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show follows at midnight. Admission is $10; dial 436-4723. And the 1948 comedy classic Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (pictured) offers horror hilarity with Bud and Lou and Bela and Lon, to be presented on Monday, Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m., by the Syracuse Cinephile Society at the Spaghetti Warehouse, 680 N. Clinton St. Admission is $3.50, with a dinner menu available; call 475-1807 for details.
Tinsletown in Syracuse
The Salt City took its cue from Tinseltown for the Syracuse International Film Festival’s 10th anniversary celebration, with a gaggle of guests, several area movie premieres and other activities packed into its five-day run. From veteran performer Cloris Leachman munching on popcorn at the Landmark Theatre’s screening of the shot-in-Syracuse comedy Adult World to East Syracuse expatriate Bobcat Goldthwait getting choked up after receiving the festival’s Sophia award, there was always something special happening every night.
Toby Keith surprises the lunch bunch with a musical set at his new Destiny USA tavern
Before country star Toby Keith took the stage at the New York State Fair’s Grandstand to entertain more than 10,000 fans who turned out for his Aug. 23 concert, he spent part of the afternoon at a venue that must have felt near and dear to him. That explains why he showed up at—where else?— Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill, his chain of theme taverns that specialize in Southern hospitality, from tasty grub (try the deep-fried macaroni and cheese triangles) to unique libations.
Syracuse Stage’s season opener proves that it’s hard to go wrong with an impeccably timed, drawing-room comedy of manners
Blithe Spirit, Noel Coward’s breezy comedy classic about a ghostly wife who bewitches, bothers and bewilders her living husband, is part of the season-long celebration of the company’s 40th anniversary. This season is also dedicated to its late founder, Arthur Storch, who moved on to a heavenly balcony last March. Storch, by the way, produced Blithe Spirit during the company’s third season, and chances are he would have heartily approved this fun revival.
Merry-Go-Round’s Lost Highway cruises with Hank Williams songs and George Wendt’s star power
Jukebox musicals, those sonic salutes to deceased chart-toppers from yesteryear, are always dependable audience-getters around these parts. Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story has been getting steadily revived, for instance (Cortland Repertory did it over the summer), and Always. . . Patsy Cline always seems to find its way back to the floorboards, while local companies have also embraced semi-satires of the 1960s rock era, such as Forever Plaid and The Marvelous Wonderettes. Hank Williams: Lost Highway, the season finale at Auburn’s Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, certainly has many toe-tapping moments, which is what one would expect from the late country singer’s catalog (think “Jambalaya” and “Hey Good Lookin’”). Such upbeat hits help leaven the more downbeat grace notes that plagued Williams’ too-short life.
Freckleface Strawberry: The Musical, a breezy hour-long children’s show
Dormouse Theatrics, the children’s theater offshoot from the Rarely Done Productions mothership, scored a sizable hit last autumn with its debut of Pinkalicious: The Musical, which played to big crowds and even spawned a touring production that stretched into several North Country venues like Lake Ontario Playhouse in Sackets Harbor. So Dormouse is betting on red again with Freckleface Strawberry: The Musical, a breezy hour-long children’s show at Jazz Central, 441 E. Washington St., that bursts with gentle themes to celebrate the glories of being different.