My husband and I have been thoroughly enjoying HBO’s Mare of Easttown. I see an Emmy Award in Kate Winslet’s future for her portrayal of Mare Sheehan, a police detective whose life and work are, as they say, complicated. Mare is raising her four year old grandchild after the death of her son, her ex-husband is remarrying and the unsolved case of a missing girl haunts her. Now, a teenage mom has been murdered, and Mare is forced to work with a county detective (Evan Peters) to ferret out the killer. The supporting cast is splendid: Jean Smart, Guy Pearce [swoon] and Julianne Nicholson are welcome additions to any cast. The series has already delivered a doozy of a cliffhanger in the second episode (no spoilers here), and I am hooked.
On this day in 1968, Hair opened on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre (now the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre). Subtitled The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, Hair was one of the first musicals to incorporate rock music and counter-culture themes – it was explicitly anti-war, and its depiction of drug use and sexuality was quite controversial (as was its racially integrated cast). Hair was nominated for the Tony for Best Musical, and though it lost to 1776, it has left a lasting legacy: a well-regarded film version, directed by Miloš Forman, as well as pop versions of some of the show’s songs (The Fifth Dimension’s “Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”, The Cowsills’ “Hair” and The Lemonheads’ “Frank Mills”, to name a few). Its influence can still be seen in more contemporary musicals like Rent, Spring Awakening and Next to Normal.
On this day in 1961, ABC’s Wide World of Sports debuted. Hosted by the legendary Jim McKay, Wide World of Sports was a Saturday afternoon staple for almost four decades. I was a regular viewer, primarily due to my love of figure skating and gymnastics. Even if you never watched the show, you might be familiar with its iconic opening (“The thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat”):
Alfred Hitchcock died on this day in 1980 of renal failure.
On this day in 1967, Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” was released, and an instant classic was born. I defy you not to sing along:
Happy birthday to Willie Nelson, Nora Dunn, Jerry Seinfeld, Kate Mulgrew, Daniel Day-Lewis, Eve Plumb, Michelle Pfeiffer, Carnie Wilson and Uma Thurman!!