(*) Ewa Procter
As I usually do for my January article, once again I am writing a summary of what I saw and reviewed for my readers during the previous year.
In analyzing the shows I considered the most appropriate for “The Umbrella”, I realized that a large number of my columns were on musicals! If you follow my monthly articles, you have probably come to the conclusion that I am a great fan of this kind of entertainment. I am, in fact! But this does not mean that it is the only kind of theatre that I watch. In fact, it is rather a way to present you with musicals with a Brazilian flavor, and that called my attention while they were on.
At my summary of plays presented the previous year, I will give you a very short description about what I wrote in 2018, all of which was excellent entertainment for the audiences.
In February, “Bibi – Uma Vida em Musical” played homage to Bibi Ferreira, a famous Brazilian actress, singer, director, producer… A wonderful show, presented at the Teatro Oi Casa Grande! Bibi Ferreira is now in her nineties, and still alive, even if semi-retired. In 2019, there will be the launching of a book written by actress, journalist and writer Jalusa Barcellos on Bibi Ferreira’s artistic life and career. Called “A Saga de uma Diva” it will bring its readers interviews of people who worked with Bibi, as well as comments from her own family and friends. This book will be published by Fundação Cesgranrio.
In March, to add a little variety, I reviewed two different monologues, both adapted to the stage, and most interesting and challenging in their approach. These monologues were based on different works by two Brazilian writers, totally different in their literature: Clarice Lispector and Caio Fernando Abreu.
April brought a comedy. “Champanhe & Confusão” is a French play, most successful in Europe, and that also had a good run in Rio de Janeiro at the Teatro Maison de France. By the way, this theatre always presents very interesting and varied productions, and I believe it is worthwhile for you to keep an eye on what goes on there!
Shakespeare took over in May. “Romeu & Julieta (ao som de Marisa Monte)” was a different way to approach the famous Bard’s work, as it was turned into an interesting musical that played at the Teatro Riachuelo. It had a good run there, before moving to other cities, including São Paulo.
And in June, there was another musical I reviewed. This time, a pocket musical, a one-man show, played by Bruce Gomlevsky. “Renato Russo, o Musical” was on at the Teatro Net Rio, after having been presented at different theatres both in Rio, and on tour. Another homage to a very interesting Brazilian character in the world of music!
But, in a way, I could not leave the musical theme quiet! In June, I also wrote an extra article, this time on a female singer. “Angela Maria – Lady Crooner” had a short run at the Teatro Carlos Gomes, but it paid homage to this famous personality of the Brazilian musical world. Unfortunately, Angela Maria died a few months later!
Did you think I would give some of these excellent pocket musicals a rest? No way! In July, there I was again at the Teatro Maison de France to watch “Elizeth, A Divina” on the life and career of Elizeth Cardoso, a famous singer who had a complicated personal life, but whose career was wonderful! Later on in the year, “Elizeth, A Divina” toured and continued its presentations at different theatres.
In August, at the Teatro Oi Casa Grande, I watched a super production of “Isaura Garcia – O Musical” on a radio singer of the old days. Isaurinha Garcia, as she was known, was then played by three actresses at different phases of the life of this famous singer.
September brought us “Elza”, a semi-biographical musical on Elza Soares, played by an entire female cast. It was a curious thing, because both the performers and the members of the orchestra were all women! The Teatro Riachuelo brought the audience this interesting musical (or, as some people would say, rather a show) telling the story of a personality who has not been forgotten over the years!
In October, “O Choro de Pixinguinha” was a novelty! Geared to younger audiences, this biographic musical playing at the Teatro Oi Futuro during weekends, and at hours suitable for the very young, was a true delight for children as well as for adults.
But then the musicals took a break! In November, once again at the Teatro Maison de France, I had the occasion of watching “Através da Iris”; thus, I became aware of the life and career of Iris Apfel, a famous American who, now in her nineties, is still in full activity. Please remember, she is a personality: for many years, she worked with very famous people, including North American Presidents!
December closed in a very British way: Harold Pinter’s “The Caretaker” (or “O Inoportuno” in Portuguese), played at the Teatro dos Quatro until Christmas! I had information that the play will be moving to another theatre in 2019, as it was very successful and one of the actors (Daniel Dantas) is indicated for several theatre awards.
So, let us wait for what the New Year will bring us in the theatre world! I have already heard about some interesting plays that will open soon. Contrary to what happens in the US and in Europe, the Christmas theatre
Season here is always poor. People wait for new plays to open after the Festive Season – and some of them even start after Carnaval! And in 2019 Carnaval is going to be only at the beginning of March!
(*) Ewa Procter is a writer and a theatre translator, and Chair of the Instituto Cultural Chiquinha Gonzaga.