Archive for the ‘Movies, TV and Theater’ Category

cover_wtmmtmWe’re always jealous of people who live in New York when it comes to their proximity to plays and musicals based on kids’ books (we’re still dreaming of seeing Matilda). But the upcoming theater season in Boston makes us glad to be where we are:

The Hobbit (Oct 25 – Nov 24): strategically timed to coincide with the movie. We’re especially looking forward to the Smaug puppet. Since it’s at the Wheelock Family Theatre, will the dwarves be played by kids and teens?

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy (Oct 31 – Nov 3): will be monumentally depressing (how will they stage the whale?). Better bring tissues. Don’t think we’ll be okay for now when we leave the theater.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Apr 11- May 11, 2014): Another dragon on stage! And good incentive for me to read the book before May, when WtMMtM makes its East Coast debut, also at the Wheelock.

Also, in non-kidlit theater news, at least two local theater companies are putting on Chekov’s The Seagull this season. Would you recommend it? For those in the Boston area, please feel free to share productions we shouldn’t miss out on.

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Well, Professor Umbridge would be the last person to wish you all a happy weekend, so it stands to reason she’s gracing us with her presence on a Monday (incidentally, her favorite day of the week.)


Doesn’t she look smashing in pink?



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montmaraycover2Our motion picture related post got us thinking about the silver screen. Now that Downton Abbey is on hiatus, might we suggest the Montmaray Journals, which we think would be perfect as the next big period drama. Exiled royalty, a vengeful (and borderline insane) servant, debutante parties, the onset of WWII, and an opinionated great-aunt that could give Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess a run for her money, the FitzOsbornes have it all as they zip in and out of world events with dignity, humor, and style.

We’ve decided to do some wishful casting for The Montmaray Journals, but despite all the Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Downton Abbey we watch, our knowledge of actors is fairly limited. So please chime in with your own fan casts!

Sophie FitzOsborne: Saoirse Ronan (aka the girl from Atonement)

Veronica: Jessica Brown Findlay (aka Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey)

Toby: Eddie Redmayne (aka Marius from Les Mis)

Henry: Ramona Marquez (aka Karen from Outnumbered)

Simon: Skandar Keynes (aka Edmund from Narnia)

Daniel: Arthur Darvill (aka Rory from Doctor Who)

Rebecca: Siobhan Finneran (aka O’Brien from Downton Abbey)

Aunt Charlotte: toss up between Catherine Tate (aka Donna from Doctor Who) and Penelope Wilton (aka Harriet Jones! from Doctor Who)

The Colonel: toss up between Hugh Laurie (aka House) and Benedict Cumberbatch (aka Sherlock)

Rupert: Tommy Knight (aka Sarah Jane Smith’s son from Doctor Who)

Julia: Jenna Louise Coleman (aka Oswin Oswald/Clara/??? from Doctor Who)

Anthony: Thomas Howes (aka William from Downton Abbey)

(Yeah, it’s basically one big Doctor Who party, with some Downton thrown in as well. Conclusion: we watch way too much television.)

Update: Author Michelle Cooper has actually thought this through before. See her picks and many more here.

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Usually we prefer books to stay books, because the movie versions rarely turn out as good as what we’ve envisioned in our heads (set design aside…) But there are always exceptions to the rule, and we think these books would be brilliant as films:

teamhuman1) Team Human by Justine Larbalestrier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Twi-hard fans and Twi-hard avoiders will adore this clever and comic take on high school with vampires. Subverting a genre has never been so fun. (Even the cover looks like a movie poster!)

2) Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Kids in a dangerous rocket ship. What could go wrong?

au revoir, cec3) Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

This is a teen action-spy movie waiting to happen. Plus, everything goes down on prom night.

4) Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch

This graphic novel would make a quirky animated film. A quirky animated cartoon film. With the panels drawn in for good measure!

origami Y5) The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

If George Lucas/Disney is bringing us Star Wars Episode 7 and more, why not go all out? This is the ultimate homage. We’re thinking live action with Kellen’s doodles. (But please don’t let George write the script!)

What are some books you’d like to see as movies?

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“There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes,” said the Fourth Doctor, so when Winter Storm Saturn rolled into town, I took his advice to heart:

Snow Dalek says, "Refrigerate! Refrigerate!"

Snow Dalek says, “Refrigerate! Refrigerate!”

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credit: Paul Bransom

credit: Paul Bransom

I love love love BBC radio plays (recently heard Copenhagen by Michael Frayn) and lo and behold: a grand, jubilant, and charming version of The Wind in the Willows, read by British actors and set to the BBC radio orchestra. Fantastic, a new take on an old classic!

Click here for the link. Enjoy!

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IMG_5287“When I was a boy I wished I could fly. Out the window and over the trees….then loop the loop and up to the stars. Eventually of course, we dream other dreams. We change. We grow up. It always happens. Nothing is foreverThat’s the rule. Everything ends. And so our story begins…”

Lisa and I had the thrill of catching Peter and the Starcatcher at the Brooks Atkinson theater the day it closed (we braved the cold to put our names in the ticket lottery–without success–but yay for lottery loser tickets!) Other than that the plot has something to do with Peter Pan and that the show has received rave reviews and not a few Tonys, we had no idea what to expect. Would it be a homage? A play? A musical?

As it turns out, it’s a bit of everything.

Better yet, it’s a play for children and adults in touch with their inner child. While the dialogue and the jokes zip along faster than the Wasp (commandeered by pirates, of course) in hot pursuit of the S.S. Neverland, the set and “special effects” are magically low-tech. At the start of the show, we are asked to imagine “a grown cat in flight”, but it’s not long before our imaginations are rewarded by an ordinary length of rope that morphs into a tiny cabin porthole, narrow passageways, flapping saloon doors, whatever the scene calls for, really. It was like playing pretend and having only the stuff in your garage to make your creativity soar.

The cast was flawless as well, playing their roles with panache and then melding back into the company (a precisely, synchronous unit) to bulk out two very different crews, a gang of pirates, a jungle tribe, and transformed mermaids. (Did we mention there’s only one female in the whole cast? Those mermaids, not a pretty sight.) Still, standouts include Molly, an intelligent, competitive Starcatcher-in-training who befriends three orphan boys, Mrs. Bumbrake, her fussy but neglectful nanny (played by a man, a la British pantomime), and the comic duo of Black Stache and Smee.

Like the best children’s books, this play (which is based on the book Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson) speaks to adults and kids on different levels. We were struck by the melancholy take on the Peter Pan theme–of those who grow up and the ones who don’t–especially because we’d just reread Code Name Verity, where Peter Pan has a role to play as well.

Even as the last pieces of what will become the Peter Pan mythology fall into place, the ending is bittersweet. After an adventurous, transformative journey of self-discovery and identity (literally, Peter doesn’t even get a name until the end of Act 1!), it’s the adults who determine Peter and Molly’s futures in the end. And though it’s not what they’d choose, it’s one they must and do accept, whereas I wanted their story to continue straight on till morning. But we were warned: Everything ends. New stories begin.

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