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Cannes Film Festival 2018: Global Greats of Cinema



It is not truly festival season until Cannes returns. Running May 8 to 19, the legendary Cannes Film Festival returns to the scenic French Riviera with the usual parade of cinematic glitz and pomp. The Un Certain Regard section of the fest this year is chaired by actor Benicio Del Toro, alongside a jury of 3 women and 2 men who will reveal the prizewinners on Friday 18 May, during the Closing Ceremony. The new film by Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa, Donbass, will be the Opening film, and will be screened on Wednesday 9 May in the Debussy Theatre.

The American Pavilion features “Industry In Focus” Series and “In Conversation” lectures with directors and producers on topics shot as short films at Cannes, how technology can affect the film industry, the power of genre films, and more. To learn more, go to:

The competition includes films such as Kore-Eda Hirokazu’s Shoplifters in which a family that survives through petty crime adopt a young girl abandoned in the cold. In David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake, Sam (Andrew Garfield) is a disenchanted 33-year old who discovers a mysterious woman, Sarah (Riley Keough), frolicking in his apartment's swimming pool. When she vanishes, Sam embarks on a surreal quest across Los Angeles. Legendary French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard brings Le Livre D’image (Picture Book), a mysterious film that wants to let you know that “war is here.”


To learn more, go to:

Cannes Film Festival
May 8 - 19, 2018


Fists Fly from New Filmmakers at the Anthology Film Archives

Greg Melia in Rishi Gandhi's Mr. Muay Thai Nation

Featuring the work of new and up-and-coming filmmakers, the New Filmmakers series at the Anthology Film Archives (32 2nd Ave, NY, NY) features a range of rising talent in cinema but on May 16, New Filmmakers will be showing a special program centered documentary and narrative shorts involving martial arts and boxing.

Rishi Gandhi’s Mr. Muay Thai Nation is a documentary following kickboxer Greg Melia of Westchester, and an intimate look into what drives a man to enter the ring again and again. Black N’ Blue, directed by Julius B. Kelly is about a Marine returning home from Afghanistan, struggling with PTSD, only to find a cop has profiled and killed one of his younger friends, leading to a grim confrontation. In Amydee, directed by Amy DePaola, A violent assault forces a 30 year-old bartender to re-examine her life and place in the world. In Red Sweat, directed by Andrew Merto, an underground fighter falls in love with a call girl who must escapes the clutches of sadistic crime lord. Not knowing who he can trust, he must fight for his and her life in hopes of escaping the consequences of his actions.

To learn more go to: or

New Filmmakers: Boxing & Martial Arts
May 16, 2018

Anthology Film Archives
32 2nd Ave.
New York, NY 10003

London’s 2017 Olivier-winning Production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" Premieres at Chicago Lyric Opera


What’s the buzz? Tell me what’s a-happening. The buzz right now is at Chicago Lyric Opera (20 North Wacker Drive) where the much-lauded house, soon to celebrate its 65th anniversary, is presenting the North American premiere of the Regent’s Park 2016 Olivier Award-winning production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, through May 20. The production also won the 2016 Evening Standard Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical [voted by listeners].

DJCSChicagoirecting is three-time Olivier Award winner Timothy Sheader (formerly Royal Shakespeare Company, now artistic director, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), who helmed the much-acclaimed London production presented outdoors in 2016 with an encore in summer 2017.  

The cast, all in modern dress [which is not to say there are some wild and colorful costumes choices], features a mix of Chicago, Broadway, and West End talent. Starring are Heath Saunders (American Repertory Theatre and Broadway, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, Lennon as Jesus); three-time Grammy-nominated soul singer Ryan Shaw (Judas), tUnE-yArDs band vocalist Jo Lampert (Public Theatre’s Into the Fire) (Mary Magdalene); Diane Coffee a.k.a. Shaun Fleming (Herod); and Postmodern Jukebox band jazz crooner Michael Cunio (Broadway, Hairspray; Chicago, Jersey Boys) (Pilate).

Featured are Mykal Kilgore (Broadway, Motown, Hair; First National, Book of Mormon) (Simon Zealotes); Joseph Anthony Byrd (Chicago, Cabaret, Little Mermaid) (Annas);  Cavin Cornwall (reprising the role he created for the Regent’s Park productions) (Caiaphas); and Andrew Mueller (Peter and the Starcatcher) (Peter). The production features the Lyric’s orchestra and chorus, rock musicians, and a cast of 48 – twice that of the Regent’s Park production.  

Sheader has brought with him his London creative team: music director Tom Deering, Olivier-winning choreographer Drew McOnie, Tony-nominated set and costume designer Tom Scutt (King Charles III), and Olivier-nominated lighting designer Lee Curran.
The Chicago Lyric premiere of Jesus Christ Superstar is sponsored by the Negaunee Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. J. Christopher Reyes in association with The Really Useful Group Limited. Lyric is under the direction of Anthony Freud, with Sir Andrew Davis as music director and famed opera star Renée Fleming (on Broadway as Nellie Fowler in the Carousel revival) as creative consultant.

Tickets for Chicago Lyric Opera’s Jesus Christ Superstar are $47.50 to $130.50. For the ultimate front-row rock concert experience, Lyric is offering $20 seating in their gigantic orchestra pit for the first time in the company’s history. 

For tickets and more information, visit


In “The Seafarer,” Four Men Have A Devil of A Time With their Lives


The Seafarer
Irish Repertory Theatre the Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage
Written by Conor McPherson
Directed by Ciarán O’Reilly
Starring Matthew Broderick, Colin McPhillamy, Michael Mellamphy, Andy Murray, and Tim Ruddy

Through May 24, 2018

As one of Ireland’s most important contemporary dramatic voices, playwright Conor McPherson knows how to craft a simple yet sly story in “The Seafarer.” Making its off-Broadway return to New York at the Irish Rep through Ciarán O’Reilly’s well-directed production, the play shouldn’t be missed. Set in a beautifully ramshackle house in Baldoyle, a coastal suburb north of Dublin, McPherson’s set piece starts as an intimate look at middle aged men coping with the dismay of living out lives full of existential despair and actual pain. These are characters who haven’t exactly handled their jobs or families with much grace, but what seems to be naturalistic portraits turns into an oddly believable supernatural fantasy with a sinister underpinning.

The narrative revolves around a simple idea — what if what we think we know isn’t what’s really up. In this case, well-worn traumas working their way through a wretched Christmas Eve into Christmas day take a sinister turn. Without giving away the reveal, there’s a twist to the story that takes it from a look into painfully frustrating men interacting into an intriguing game of win or really lose. When the play transforms from this intimate look of lives struggling with last attempts at redemption to be a supernatural thriller of fate, it adds a layer of humor and anxiety that makes even more revealing.

Sharky (Andy Murray) has returned home to build a new, sober life after losing yet another job through both recklessness and sheer bad luck. He has to cope with his far more hopeless older brother, Richard (Colin McPhillamy) who had been blinded through a drunken accident a year ago. While Sharky tries to help him he doesn’t make it easy refusing to bathe or slow down his drunken excesses.

On this Christmas Eve, their old disreputable friend Ivan (Michael Mellamphy) has crashed in the house rather than be home with his family. The drinks flow as these old “friends” are joined by Nicky (Tim Ruddy) who brings along the mysterious Mr. Lockhart (Matthew Broderick) for an annual game of poker. This stranger turns out to be someone encountered in Sharky’s wretched past who ups the ante on the stakes in the game with possibly dire consequences.

All of the cast settles into their characters with ease and rough grace but it is Broderick, in his second appearance on the Irish Repertory Theatre’s main stage, who turns out to be the perfect sinister personality. Because of his seemingly innocent face and demeanor, he adds an unexpected grit to his character. Previously he had been in McPherson's "Shining City" in 2016, which was hailed by The New York Times as “his most assured and affecting stage performance in years.”

When "The Seafarer" premiered at London’s Royal National Theatre in 2006, it was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Play. When premiered on Broadway in December of 2007, it was nominated for four 2008 Tony Awards, including Best Play. And if this current version is any indication, this 46-year old playwright is poised for an ever brighter future.


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