July 18th, 2008

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Lake Worth Playhouse celebrates 40 years of "Hair"

Forty years ago, John Glenn High School planned a field trip for their students to see a musical on Broadway. My father refused to let my sister attend this field trip, because the show was **Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical** and he did not want his only daughter to see a show that had naked people on stage. Ah how times have changed, my sister has two children who are in college, the same age as the Tribe performing **Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical ** at Lake Worth Playhouse. (For ticket information, please visit http://www.lakeworthplayhouse.org/index2.html). And yes, many of the actors appear naked onstage in Act One.

A musical like **Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical** would not survive forty years if it only relied onstage nudity. Five songs, **Age of Aquarius,** **Hair,** **Easy to Be Hard,** Good Morning Starshine** and **The Flesh Failures (Let the Sun Shine In) play on regular rotation on oldies radio stations all over the world. The young cast delivers these songs with conviction and sincerity.

**Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical** stays true to the core assertion of the play's original intention. The profanity, the songs that glorify drugs, the antiwar protests, the racial conflicts are as relevant today as they were back in 1968. Director/choreographer Rob Dawson did not shy away from these moments, but he handles the controversial, scenes with truthfulness and dignity, lacking the condescension that a less experienced director would have resorted to.

Though an ensemble piece, **Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical** does feature two stand out performances. As Sheila, theater veteran Gina Nespoli projects both strength and vulnerability. Emily Riedel manages to take an unmemorable song and makes it memorable.

The tribe has spoken, "Hair" is one heck of a show!
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"The Dark Knight" is served best at IMAX

Sociologists are going to have a field day analyzing the success of "The Dark Knight," Christopher Nolan's follow up to "Batman Begins," from three years ago. "Batman Begins" introduced a new Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) and a new Alfred the Butler (Michael Caine). "Batman Begins" revealed how the Batman learned the ways of the ninja, became the caped crusader and a shadow deputy to one good cop, Jim Gordon(Gary Oldman). The film concluded with an ominious note that some punk named the Joker was leaving his calling card. The opening scenes of **The Dark Knight** delivers what **Batman Begins** promised.

The Joker (Heath Ledger) robs a bank that launders money to organized crime, earning the enmity of Boss Maroni (Eric Roberts). Organized crime has had a tough time on the streets due to the effectiveness of the Batman, who keeps performing citizen's arrests upon the bad guys. It is up to Assistant District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) to keep the criminals in prison. Ironically Harvey is dating Bruce Wayne's old girlfriend, Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal, a woman who could not take the stress of having the Batman as a boyfriend.

Regardless of one's favorite movie genre, whether it is a western or a courtroom thriller, "The Dark Knight" unfolds as a good epic and the film will appeal to people who enjoy good old fashioned drama. The film is humorous and the action, especially a chase inside the tunnels of Gotham City, is thrilling. "The Dark Knight" is a character motivated movie that weaves multiple stories within a satisfying two and one half hours.

Warner Brothers needs to be commended for marketing "The Dark Knight" without exploiting the tragedy of Health Ledger's death in January. The Joker will always be a showy and hammy role. Ledger has created the most dangerous Joker in motion picture history. Heath Ledger's Joker is no longer a dainty clown who steals the tarts, he is a greasy sociopath-psychopath who is a disciple of the devil. In contrast, Aaron Eckhardt's subtle performance makes Harvey Dent a realistic and tragic hero.

Christian Bale has the burden of revealing the complexity of Bruce Wayne/the Batman. Bale's physical performance is a stoic rock of Gibraltar, yet there are little details of an askew glance that reveals the pain of a man who has pushed himself beyond his limits.

"The Dark Knight" is an ethical study as to what it means to be a hero. At the beginning of the movie, the Batman inspires copycat vigilantes to combat crime in the streets. As the violence becomes more personal and painful, the infatuation of public heroism fades, like the contrast between President Bush's opinion pools from 2001 to 2006. "The Dark Knight" reveals the inner heroism that one must make a responsible choice, even when the choice might not be the most popular one.

"The Dark Knight" is not for the kiddies. The action scenes are enhanced on the big screen, see "The Dark Knight" at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery IMAX theatre. Some of the aerial shots of Gotham City (actually Chicago) are breath taking. The IMAX six story screen and sound system adds an extra dimension to this very special "Dark Knight."