Bringing together such hot-button contemporary issues as racial profiling, domestic violence, and alcoholism, film and voice talents John Cothran, Jr., and Ana Ortiz lead a fine ensemble cast in this L.A. Theatre Works production, recorded live at UCLA's James Bridges Theater. Still living in his Upper West Side rent-controlled apartment, retired NYPD cop Pops is basically... Read More
Michael Sheen is at his best narrating the two long narrative pieces here, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and a section of the first canto of "Don Juan." In both he's assisted by two fine but unnamed women. He's consistently good throughout the whole anthology. His Blake is prophetic and a bit mad, his Wordsworth is more stately, his Keats more wistful, and so on. The... Read More
Finding laugh-out-loud humor, mischief, and angst in every line, stage and film stalwart Billy Crudup has a wonderful time telling the story of a young Midwesterner who dons a fake English accent and moves to the big city in search of sexual misadventure. Bright and manic, fresh and graphic, playwright David Cale specializes in full-length staged monologues and has garnered... Read More
Sarah Kay provides a treat with this audio offering. The poet herself narrates, and she even presents some of the poems to a live audience. Kay creates spoken-word poetry, meant to be heard. Listen for the stutter of the new reader in "Mrs. Ribeiro." Whatever is missed from not seeing words on a page, Kay makes up with the lyricism of her voice. She is exuberant and optimistic... Read More
For such a major poet, Eliot left a fairly sparse body of work, and all his mature poems are here. And while many consider him to be a fairly austere modernist, these readings by Jeremy Irons bring out the human passion (and sometimes the intellectual passion) that lurks in the poems. "The Journey of the Magi" is particularly fine, and the notoriously difficult "The Wasteland"... Read More
Poet laureate Tracy Smith's steady and deliberate narration has a sort of automated-sounding rhythm that works. Her poetry collection addresses both contemporary and historical issues that the United States has faced and continues to face. In a slightly pleading tone and unhurried pace, Smith unfolds the disheartening experiences of an African-American soldier in the Civil War... Read More
Set in Washington, DC, before the United States entered WWII, Lillian Hellman's incisive drama about national identity, personal freedom, and responsibility is fully realized by a talented, cohesive ensemble. After nearly 20 years, wealthy matriarch Fanny Farrelly welcomes the return of her daughter, Sarah, along with Sarah's German husband and children. The reunion is... Read More
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