More high-definition performances on way to theaters

Judging from my mail, a lot of locals were bothered by having missed the recent, excellent high-definition broadcast of "Memphis" at several Vegas movie theaters.

Some felt the show wasn’t promoted well enough. Seems that was a common complaint across the country. Despite the show’s 2010 Tony Award win for "Best Musical" — and the songfest’s current hit status on Broadway — the screening did not attract a wide national audience. So, at least this time, they can’t put the blame on Sin City’s low-temperature culture.

It’s still surprising, though, that Vegas is getting another chance. The New York Philharmonic will soon offer a newly made version of a high-definition screening of "Company." The landmark 1970 Stephen Sondheim musical — about a single man in his 30s afraid of commitment — will star Neil Patrick Harris, the Doogie Howser guy who’s become quite a song-and-dance man (he’ll be hosting the televised Tony Awards June 12) and Patti LuPone. I think of this script as musical comedy’s first adult look at marriage. There’s a climatic number called "Being Alive" whose lyrics express the importance of intimate relationships in a way I’ve never heard equaled by anyone in any medium.

While the broadcast is no substitute for the live experience, the cameras allow you to be a part of the goings-on in a very different and satisfying way.

The screening is set for 7:30 p.m. June 15 at the Rave Motion Pictures Town Square 18 (companyonscreen.com).

Luckily, there’s more ahead. The Met Opera Live in HD series and Fathom Events will be sponsoring a half-dozen national broadcasts: Puccini’s "Madama Butterfly" (June 15), directed by Academy Award winner Anthony Minghella; Donizetti "Don Pasquale" (June 22), starring "superstar soprano" Anna Netrebko; Verdi’s "Simon Boccanegra (June 29), featuring Placido Domingo; Donizetti’s "La Fille du Regiment" (July 13), with Juan Diego Florez, as a soldier "who is willing to go to great lengths — including singing nine high C’s" to win a woman’s love; Puccini’s "Tosca" (July 20), with Karita Mattila in the title role; and Verdi’s "Don Carlo" (July 27), directed by Tony Award-winner Nicholas Hytner, making his Met debut.

About 400 theaters have been booked for the events coast-to-coast. Showtime for each is 6:30 p.m. at Century 16 South Point, Orleans 18, Sams Town 18, Santa Fe Station 16, and Village Square 18. Tickets are $13-$15 (FathomEvents.com).

I hate to end this column on a sour note, but what can I do when I look back on last year’s season and am reminded that the University of Nevada, Las Vegas theater gave three major roles in five mainstage productions to one faculty member: Michael Tylo. I don’t question Tylo’s talent, but isn’t there something wrong with this picture? Maybe UNLV should go all out: cancel next season’s titles and conduct a series of "A Special Evening with Michael Tylo" monologues. Tylo’s teaching has enabled him to etch out many fine performances as a local actor. I wish his students had the same opportunities.

Anthony Del Valle can be reached at vegastheaterchat@aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.

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