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Fierce Anticipation: Sept. 26-28

A blogumn by Ryan Dixon


Neil Diamond in Concert
The Oughts have been very good to Neil Diamond. Like his fellow pop-culture roller-coaster rider William Shatner (both “Solitary Man” and Star Trek first appeared in 1966), for a long time it looked like the career trajectory for both men was going to be a long, dark descent from pop-culture icon into oft-mocked camp cartoon. But the dawn of our post-ironic world has bathed these entertainment titans with the light of renewed adoration and critical recognition for a host of recent projects (Diamond’s albums 12 Songs and Home Before Dark / Shatner’s Emmy-winning role on Boston Legal, his album Has Been and work as the Priceline pitchman), which have thus allowed them to reclaim the mantle of “cool” with no strings attached, except perhaps for those holding the sequins together on Diamond’s shirts.
October 1st and 2nd, Hollywood Bowl


Rock of Ages
With the firey deaths of We Will Rock You (featuring the music of Queen) and Dance of the Vampires (Michael Crawford sings Jim Steinman) it looked like all hope was lost for the emergence of a truly great musical that incorporated songs from Rock’s Bronze Age, but in the words of Yoda, “There is another.” And thus Rock of Ages (not to be confused with the mutually popular Christian and Hanukkah hymns) steps into the spotlight. After a middling 2006 run in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, sources have confirmed that the book has been substantially rewritten, which is probably a good thing because this show is now allegedly the biggest budget off-Broadway production of all time.  The one thing that hasn’t changed since its previous run though is the music. And what music it is! Prepare to be washed over with a barrage of adrenaline-pumping, goosebump-inducing masterworks by REO Speedwagon, STYX, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Whitesnake, Night Ranger, Quarterflash, Poison, Asia, Damn Yankees and Europe.
Previews begin Oct. 1st, opens October 16th. New World Stages, New York City


Nights in Rodanthe
I come to praise Richard Gere, not to bury him. Give me the slimy, snarky, snazzy whirlwind of Chicago, Primal Fear and The Hoax, but is there any way we can have a moratorium on squinty-eyed, whispering sincere Gere of I’m Not There, Bee Season, Autumn in New York and First Knight, to which his performance in this newly-released Nicholas Sparks weep-a-long belongs? Gere’s continued perpetration of these menopausal maladies is doing as much damage to his otherwise sparkling career as the hit Christopher Hitchens’ estimable reputation takes every time he expresses his now almost David Icke-esque opinions regarding the origins of the Iraq War.
In Theaters Today.