Welcome to the Friday 5ive, a weekly blog post featuring five things that caught my attention this week. This week, it's all about entertainment, most of it streaming.
1) When I first came to NYC about a twelve years ago, I bought a ticket to Miscast, a fundraiser for MCC Theater. Juliana Marguiles was the honoree, and I got to meet Chris Noth while getting a drink at the bar. (Yes, he is that handsome.) The entertainment at Miscast consists of performers singing songs from Broadway shows that they would never get cast for- usually men singing songs usually performed by women, and women singing songs tradtionally performed by men. This year, the gala was online, and free so many more people got to see the amazing performances. My favorites were Norbert Leo Butz singing "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar, Phillipa Soo singing "Some Enchanted Evening" from South Pacific and Heather Hedley closing the show with a powerhouse performance of "Endless Night" from The Lion King. I entered the drawing to win a table for 10 for the 2021 Miscast, if I win, maybe I'll take you with me! You can see the performances on MCC Theater's YouTube channel here. (While you're there, check out this classic Miscast performance of "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago)
2) HBO premiered a series of five monologues titled Coastal Elites, written by Paul Rudnick and directed by Jay Roach. Bette Midler's portrayal of Miriam Kessler, a retired Jewish schoolteacher who gets into a scuffle with an obnoxious man was so brilliant. She looked directly into the camera, speaking to a police officer investigating the incident, and it was as if she was speaking for me and a whole lot of other people. Give her an Emmy! Dan Levy, Issa Rae, Sarah Paulson and Kaitlyn Devers also had monologues that represent what so many people are feeling today, they were all so fantastic. The group was interviewed on Wendesday by CNN's Alyson Camerota about the show for the 92nd St. Y in New York City, and it was interesting to really get into the creative process behind the show. You can see the trailer here.
3) Paula Pell is having a well-deserved moment. First, her Qubi series, Mapleworth Murders, debuted in August. It's a satire of Murder, She Wrote and the 12 ten-minute episodes are nothing short of comic perfection, with lots of great guest stars, like Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph. Now the new Peacock streaming platform premiered the 3rd season of the comedy A.P. Bio, about a Harvard philosophy professor who ends up back in Toledo, Ohio, living in his deceased mom's home, and teaching AP Bio at the local high school (played by Glenn Howerton of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia). Seasons 1 & 2 were on NBC, and so hilarious. The show has moved to Peacock for season 3, and the first episode of the new season is comedy gold. Pell has a physical comedic performance that would make Lucille Ball proud. Patton Oswalt plays the principal, and he and Pell are a comedy team for the ages. I hope there will be a season four.
4) My husband likes action movies, so we caught up on season 2 of Amazon Prime's series Jack Ryan, based on the Tom Clancy character from his series of novels. John Krasinski plays CIA analyst Jack Ryan who gets involved in the murder of his US Senator friend while in Venezuela. There is lots of action, and Krasinski and Wendell Pierce, who plays CIA agent Jim Greer, make a great team, with their humorous quips in between action scenes and political intrigue. Michael Kelly, from House of Cards, joins them as well as the Chief of Station at the American Embassy. I'm looking forward to season 3 of this one as well. The trailer is here.
5) I finished one book and I'm in the middle of two others. Sue Miller's Monogamy tells the story of Graham and Annie, a long married couple. Graham owns a bookstore in Cambridge, and Annie is a photographer readying for a gallery show. Graham is a big, gregarious man, who always loves to talk to people and put them at ease. When Graham dies, Annie has to deal with her own grief and more when she discovers that Graham was unfaithful. It's a beautifully written story.
I'm in the middle of Marilynne Robinson's new novel, Jack, the fourth in her series of books about the residents of Gilead. Jack is the prodigal son of the Reverend Ames Boughton, now living in St. Louis during WWII after a stint in prison. He falls in love with school teacher Della Miles, a black woman. We watch their romance begin against all of society's conventions. It's a very quiet story, one that you don't rush through, but slowly read to savor the gorgeous language.
It'a Hispanic Heritage Month, and I just started Angela Cruz' Dominicana, about fifteen year-old Ana, who leaves her home in the Dominican Republic to marry an older man and move to New York City in the 1960s, in the hopes that she can bring her family to the United States. I'm enjoying this look at immigrants in New York City during this time period in history. Good Morning America chose it for their book club.I guess it was a week for the Jacks and novels with one word titles. Stay safe, socially distant, wear a mask and wash your hands everyone.