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Film Appreciation Series: The Theater on Film


July 20, 2024
3:00 pm
Event Tags:
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Venue: East Classroom


Recommended Age
14 and over
Price (per student)
$51 - $100
Price: Series $75 (65+ $60)

This series will celebrate the resilient people of the theatre as seen in 6 movies from 1934 – 1998. These films delve into the minds and personalities of the people who make live productions such a joy for theatre-goers, uniquely showing intimate details into these larger than life people, who with such devotion and dedication give their all for those magic moments in front of a live audience.

Actor and film expert Luke MacCloskey leads this series. He shares, “Having been in movies and participated in stage shows, I’m interested in examining the energetic differences between being on a film set and being part of a stage production.  These great films can never fully capture the energy of opening night, but we can get a glimpse into the process.”

While classes begin at 3pm, we invite you to come early at 2:30pm when we will watch interviews, extras, and scenes from many other films that have either been screened previously or simply could not fit into the current lineup.

The Film Appreciation Series must be purchased in its entirety.

July 20Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Released 2/8/91) directed by Tom Stoppard, 117 minutes.  The events of Hamlet are seen through the eyes of two of its supporting characters:  Rosencrantz (Gary Oldman) and Guildenstern (Tim Roth). Based on his play, Tom Stoppard directed this philosophical take on the meaning of life and the facade of the theatre. Richard Dreyfuss is featured, lending his star power to the then unknown cast, as the leader of a traveling band of players that encounter the duo on the way to Elsinore Castle, and perform the play within the play arranged by Hamlet for his mother and step-father. This film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and is an undiscovered gem of a movie. HOMEWORK:  Watch your favorite version of Hamlet before this screening.

Other Class Dates

June 15 (In the Capitol Theatre) – Twentieth Century (Released 5/11/34) directed by Howard Hawks, 91 minutes.  Oscar Jaffe, an egomaniacal Broadway director, discovers the beautiful Mildred Plotka, a lingerie model, and transforms her into a star named Lily Garland.  They live, love, work and succeed together until his jealousy drives her away. John Barrymore and Carole Lombard are equally matched and demonstrate that all the world is truly a stage for these two as they constantly top each other in what is often referred to as the first Screwball Comedy. Hawks assured Barrymore, who arguably gives his greatest film performance, “It’s the story of the greatest ham in the world, and God knows you fit that.”

June 22Stage Door (Released 10/7/37) directed by Gregory La Cava, 92 minutes.  The Footlights Club is a theatrical boarding house providing affordable housing for eager young actresses. Terry Randall is the daughter of a millionaire who decides to take a shot at the theatre against her father’s will and becomes roommates with the cynical dancer, Jean Maitland. Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers respectively, lead the cast in this enjoyable adaptation of the hit comedy-drama play written by Edna Ferber and George S Kaufman. The picture has some of the snappiest, insult and wisecrack filled dialogue in thirties films delivered by the best group of actresses that would be assembled for a film prior to 1939’s The Women.

July 6All That Jazz (Released 12/20/79) directed by Bob Fosse, 123 minutes. An obsessive womanizing director overworks himself editing a film, directing a Broadway show and sleeping with every girl who catches his attention. This movie is an autobiographical tour de force musical fantasy that is so visceral and groundbreaking that Stanley Kubrick called it, “… [the] best film I think I have ever seen.”  Cabaret is another Fosse film from the same 1970’s era that deals exclusively with the theatre and it features star-making and Oscar winning performances from Liza Minelli and Joel Grey, but this movie was chosen to screen in its entirety because of the moving depiction of people who dedicate their lives to entertainment.

“Seeing this film when I was younger made a lasting impression on me and demonstrated the sheer potential of the art of the film,” MacCloskey notes.

July 27Waiting for Guffman (Released 1/31/97) directed by Christopher Guest, 84 minutes. Corky St Clair is the only resident in Blaine, Missouri who has ties to Broadway, so he is enlisted to spearhead a musical spectacular, Red, White and Blaine, that celebrates the town’s sesquicentennial.  We follow the audition and rehearsal process through opening night and share the emotions of the cast. Christopher Guest starred as Nigel Tufnel in Rob Reiner’s This is Spinal Tap, and later carried the Mockumentary tradition forward by directing this film, Best in Show and A Mighty Wind. In December 2022, Variety listed Waiting for Guffman as one of “The 100 Best Movies of All Time.”

A note from MacCloskey, “Being involved personally with a few amateur productions, I found out that it can be fun to be a part of even bad theatre.”

August 3Shakespeare in Love (Released 12/11/98) directed by John Madden, 123 minutes.  A young and brash William Shakespeare is struggling with his finances and creative spark until he meets the muse that inspires him to become the playwright of the ages and write the quintessential tragic love story of all time.  What better way to end our series than with the ingeniously plotted and marvelously acted classic loved by critics and audiences alike.  The film won several Oscars and grossed close to $300 million world-wide. Historical inaccuracies be damned, this is a most enjoyable period piece with outstanding performances from Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, Ben Affleck and Dame Judi Dench.

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