Family Guy creator, writer, and voice actor Seth MacFarlane made his Wolf Trap debut last Friday (August 5) in Vienna, VA. He’s currently on his “Great American Songbook” tour, featuring the pop standards from the 1940s and 1950s. The National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Steven Reineke, joined MacFarlane at the Wolf Trap’s Filene Center.
Many selections that evening came from the works of Nelson Riddle and Gordon Jenkins, who collaborated with famous crooners such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Ella Fitzgerald. Other songs were from arrangers Don Costa, Ira and George Gershwin, and lyricist Adolph Green. MacFarlane’s baritone voice is well-suited to these numbers with a flair and strength that are similar to Sinatra’s. His rendition of “Old Man River” was quite spectacular and easily one of my favorites of the night. Continue reading “Concert Review: Seth MacFarlane and the Great American Songbook at Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA, August 5, 2016”
Patrick Stewart continues in top form in the second installment of Blunt Talk, picking up from the end of the premiere. Walter Blunt, a privileged news personality, collapsed on live television during a last-ditch attempt to save his career. Viewers are constantly drawn into his state of mind whether through trapeze scenes from classic films or in this instance, a dance sequence with Walter himself. The circular formation of the showgirls and the music are reminiscent of the opening of Family Guy, executive producer Seth MacFarlane’s program.
Walter’s dream ends as he gazes into a mirror at his younger self, his mother, and his valet Harry Chandler (Adrian Scarborough). I read the mirror as a symbol of Walter’s vanity and self-centered tendencies, which are further embodied in the image of himself as a child. Indeed, Walter is still very much a child at heart, tying in well with bedtime story segments later. Continue reading “Patrick Stewart’s ‘Blunt Talk’ – Week Two”
Starz Network released the first two episodes of Blunt Talk ahead of the show’s premiere date of Saturday, August 22nd. The comedy stars Patrick Stewart as Walter Blunt, a hapless and utterly self-centered host of a right-wing news program. Critics may laud this show as new ground for Stewart, but it’s by no means his debut into raunchy and borderline over-the-top scenarios.
At the helm of Blunt Talk are creator/director Jonathan Ames and executive producer Seth MacFarlane. MacFarlane enlisted Stewart on several occasions for Family Guy, Ted, and Ted 2, showcasing the veteran actor’s flair for perfect comedic delivery. Blunt Talk thus is more than just an extension of these moments, resulting in smart and playful episodes littered with references to Stewart’s prolific career. Be on the lookout for gems such as Brent Spiner’s brief appearance at the jazz bar as Phil the pianist.
The jazzy vibes in the background, the décor, and even Walter’s formal British speech do much to present the man as an anachronism during the opening scene of “I Seem to Be Running Out of Dreams for Myself.” Following celebrity stereotypes, Walter indulges in alcohol and he has a penchant for marijuana laced chocolate. His valet Harry (Adrian Scarborough) cautions him to take such “time release vitamins” only in moderation. Continue reading “Review: ‘Blunt Talk’ – “I Seem to Be Running Out of Dreams for Myself””