Your Weekend: A Selective Guide

Movies: I’ve seen the new “Mamma Mia” and trust me: there’s a reason most of its ABBA songs were never hit singles. The wonderful Daveed Diggs — the original Thomas Jefferson in “Hamilton” — stars in “Blindspotting.” TV/Streaming: “Duck Duck Goose” is now watchable on Netflix. Last week’s “Endeavour,” Sundays on PBS, was marvelous — and I’m hearing good things about this week’s episode. Music: Whenever I want a pick-me-up, I listen to a few minutes of “The Best Polkas of Myron Floren.” And when I want to mellow out, I listen to Shirley Horn’s incomparable CD, “Here’s To Life.” Books: Sentence by perfect sentence, Sebastian Barry’s “Days Without End” is the most stunning new novel I’ve read in a very long time. Sports: Met Life Stadium, where the Giants and Jets play, is in the bogs of New Jersey, but next week it hosts a friendly between two of the Premier League’s top soccer teams: Man City and Liverpool. Finally: I’m only really really happy in warm weather.

Imagining The “Donald Trump” Opera

No composer has been announced, and I doubt it will be a triumph on the order of John Adams’s “Nixon in China. But this writer is imagining a “Trump in Europe” opera anyway. To wit: ‘Donald Trump is the undisputed hero of this comic opera in three acts. “Comic” does not here mean superficial or laugh-out-loud hilarious: as Rossini so superbly demonstrated in “The Barber of Seville,” comic opera combines a sophisticated analysis of human interactions with a light touch. Foreign policy offers plenty of opportunities to study human nature; at summits, each participant brings not only his or her personality but a country’s sensitivities, strengths and weaknesses to bear. Like Bartolo—the central character in “The Barber of Seville”, a buffoon-like doctor of medicine with ambitions that supersede his abilities—Mr Trump is sung by a bass.’

The “Cats” Movie Is Casting

i have a theater-mad friend who dislikes Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s shows and plans to have his tombstone say: “He never saw CATS.” I doubt he’ll be changing his mind for the movie. Yes, “Cats” will finally be a movie. Jennifer Hudson (pictured) will play Grizabella, the famous cat who sings ALW’s immortal song, “Memory.” Tom Hooper, Oscar winner for “The King’s Speech,” much awarded for “Les Miserables,” will direct. Taylor Swift will wear a cat suit– she notably loves cats. James Corden, who’s taking a lot of extra jobs lately (is he tiring of the late night chat show?), iss in it, too. Sounds like Hooper will feature cameos from many stars.

Bette Returns To “Dolly”; Crowd Erupts

Brilliant Gary Beach Dies At 70


I remember having lunch at Joe Allen in New York with Gary Beach shortly after he won a Tony in 2001 for his turn as a super-gay Hitler impersonator in “The Producers.” (He also did Garland.) He was so full of life and fun, and we had a wide-ranging conversation. He had with him John Lahr’s biography of Joe Orton, “Prick Up Your Ears.” So we talked about Orton. And just as coffee was being served guess who walked in? John Lahr! Whom I introduced to Beach and who sat down and talked show-biz lore with Beach, who knew plenty. And now Beach has gone to that great show-biz heaven in the sky where I’m sure he’s jawing with Joe and Judy. R.I.P., Gary!

Because We Need An Obama Dance Break

Bill Viola Meets Michelangelo

The Royal Academy of Arts (RA) in London will turn over its galleries next year to the US artist and honorary academician Bill Viola (pictured right) for its first major video art exhibition. Twelve of Viola’s metaphysical moving image pieces will be paired with 15 spiritual works by Michelangelo, including one of the museum’s central treasures, the Taddei Tondo (pictured left), as well as a set of drawings on loan from the Royal Collection.