Gilbert & Sullivan: Broadway Theatre Archive (The Pirates of Penzance / Kline, Ronstadt, Smith, Routledge, Delacorte Theater )
Manufacturer: Kultur Video
Gilbert and Sullivan's raucous operatic tale is captured in all it's fun and glory in this production. Kevin Kline ( A Fish Called Wanda) sparkles as the swashbuckling and libidinous Pirate King while Linda Ronstandt plays the lovely and virginal Mabel. This Pirates of Penzance is primarily a historical document, part of the Broadway Theater Archive television series. It presents, with some inevitable, tiny technical shortcomings, a live 1980 performance in Central Park, not the 1983 movie of the same name that also starred Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Kline. Those who remember that film, which had the benefit of retakes and editing, a lavish production budget, and the spaciousness of a Hollywood studio, may find this video less polished. On its own terms, it is nonetheless thoroughly enjoyable. Advantages of this live performance include a sense of spontaneity, and the feeling of being part of a theatrical audience that is visibly and audibly having a very good time. The (reduced and partly electronic) orchestra is also visible; scenery is minimal; the onstage pirate boat, excellent for a live production, is no match for what a movie can offer. The voices are uneven, and some of them evoke Broadway more than London. But the performance is well styled, lively, and energetic. Gilbert and Sullivan's witty sparkle comes through clearly. --Joe McLellan
Don Quixote / Baryshnikov, Harvey, American Ballet Theatre
Manufacturer: Kultur Video
Choreographed by Mikhail Baryshnikov after Petipa and Gorsky's original staging, this sparkling full-length production captures all the excitement, Spanish flair, and humor of Cervantes' masterpiece. It is one of the most popular and joyful ballets.
Manufacturer: Eagle Eye Media / Eagle Rock Entertainment
Frank Zappa's highly acclaimed film from 1979 includes over three hours of outrageous Zappa musical performances and unique & bizarre Claymation from Bruce Bickford. This is the full-length version of the film as it premiered at the Victoria Theatre in T Touted as "a movie about people who do stuff that is not normal," Frank Zappa's Baby Snakes chronicles a late-'70s Halloween stand in New York City (a zany enough proceeding in its own right) with digressions throughout the first half for backstage antics, band interviews, and some outlandish clay animation from Bruce Bickford, with whose work Zappa was obviously smitten. Onstage, Zappa is a live wire, the audience is appropriately rambunctious, and the band--an especially potent incarnation of the famous Mothers of Invention--is tight as could be. The film amounts to a three-hour musical carnival whose participants lack any trace of artistic or personal inhibition. Zappa, who died in 1993, always worked with consummate musicians, and Baby Snakes showcases the cream of the crop: Terry Bozzio (one of the greatest drummers ever to command a kit), bassist Patrick O'Hearn, keyboard wizard Tommy Mars, and even pop chameleon Adrian Belew. The DVD packaging, with its deluxe miniature dossier on Zappa and the film, is fabulous, and the sound and picture seem about as good as they could be, under the influence--that is, the circumstances. Undeniable are Zappa's intelligence and charisma, which flicker and blaze eve...
The Maysles' Brothers' groundbreaking 1964 documentary! The Maysles got access to the Beatles off-guard and off-duty, from hotel rooms to nightclubs to press conferences, documenting the most explosive pop culture phenomenon in history; this DVD adds a 50-minute Making of the Beatles First U.S. Visit featurette that includes unseen footage and a new interview with Albert Maysles, who provides audio commentary for the original feature. Also here are the Beatles' three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and excerpts from their Washington Coliseum concert.
Triumph, capture live at their electrifying best during their final and most spectacular tour in 1987. The original audio tracks have been remixed in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 Surround Sound, redefining the DVD concert experience. Also includes two bonu The Canadian power trio Triumph may have faded from the memories of disparaging critics, but A Night of Triumph Live offers ample proof that this underrated band could rock as well as any of their longer-lasting contemporaries. A sold-out crowd of 10,000 loyal fans already knew that when this exceptionally well-recorded concert was videotaped at the Metro Centre Arena in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on January 16, 1987. Twelve years into its history, six years after the breakthrough success of its Allied Forces LP, and just a year before breaking up, the band (lead guitarist/vocalist Rik Emmett, drummer/vocalist Gil Moore, and bassist/keyboardist Mike Levine, with guest bandmate Rick Santer providing backup keyboards and vocals) was heavily touring to support their 1986 release The Sport of Kings, and they're in peak form with a dazzling pyrotechnical stage show that readily matches their versatile musicianship. The sheer megawattage of their stage lighting is quintessential '80s excess (or what Moore referred to as NGF, or "Net Gasp Factor"), but it never overpowers the music itself. Even casual fans will agree that the radio hit "Magic Power" has enduring appeal; if you were a teenage fan during Triumph's prime in the mid-'80s, t...