Love (and the Giants) Conquer All

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008 | All Things, Arts, Sports

At the SoHo Playhouse this afternoon for Piaf: Love Conquers All, LVR Productions‘ one-woman show on the life of Édith Piaf, which began its Off-Broadway run on December 8. The show had been set to play downtown through late January, but due to popular demand, its run was extended by three weeks through February 10. Check out a commercial for show here.

SoHo Playhouse

Naomi Emmerson stars in the title role (as well as also being responsible for the set and costume design and stage direction) with Carmela Sinco accompanying on the piano. Emmerson grew up one of three daughters of a Quebecois Anglophone family — the only one to speak French fluently. She first performed Piaf: Love Conquers All at The Limelight Supper Club in Toronto in 1993, re-creating the role for the 2005 Toronto Fringe Festival. The show had its American debut at last summer’s FringeNYC festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award for Outstanding Musical. Thirteen of Piaf’s songs were interspersed among the biographical anecdotes whose plot points were familiar to me from La Vie En Rose — the Piaf biopic, which earned French actress Marion Cotillard her Oscar nomination and Golden Globe win (not that anyone noticed.)

As a revue of Piaf’s songs, the show worked well; we were admonished at the outset to resist the urge to join in singing the more familiar tunes, a temptation avoided by most in the audience. Most. I was less moved by the show as a story framed around the singer’s loves and heartbreaks. Act I (“Marcel”), set in 1949 with flashbacks, closes with the plane crash death of middleweight championship boxer Marcel Cerdan, the man generally perceived to be the love of Piaf’s life. The second, shorter half fast-forwards to 1961 and features a visibly diminished Piaf – wracked by rheumatism and addiction. Her post-Cerdan lovers for the most part don’t even warrant names — the pair of cyclists, “the artist,” “the actor” — and though this act is titled “Theo,” after Piaf’s second husband Théo Sarapo, a Greek hairdresser-turned-singer and actor two decades her junior, the man seems less a great love than the singer’s last ditch hope for love at last. As in the film, the show closes on Piaf’s defiant declaration: “Non, Je ne Regrette Rien.”

It was such a beautiful day that I decided to walk uptown. At Father Demo Square:

Father Demo Square

Sixth Avenue

As dusk approached, the sidewalks began emptying of people as everyone gathered around the communal televisions for Super Bowl XLII. By now, we all know how that turned out, no? And after our underdog Giants quarterback hit receiver Plaxico Burress for the winning touchdown with 35 seconds left in the game, following that incredible, fortune-changing Hail Manning… well, for an otherwise “miserable city,” there was an outpouring of joy in the streets.

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There are 2 Comments ... Love (and the Giants) Conquer All

February 10, 2008

I’m pretty sheltered over here. I didn’t even remember the Super Bowl was happening, but I know all the gory details of how a junior sumo wrestler was beaten to death by his upper classmen. So much for honor in the national sport.

I know Plaxico (who could forget a name like that) from his days with the Steelers.

I stumbled onto this blog earlier today while looking for something else entirely. It’s mostly about art, but it’s hard to avoid politics these days and there’s a good bit of that too. I was surprised to find one article dating back to October of last year about a former professor of mine.

Its one of those ones that forms one endless page, so it loads kind of slowly.

February 11, 2008

Ah, of course, you’re a Steelers man… so no love lost between you and the Patriots either. 18-1!
I’m not generally a football fan, but I ended up watching just about the entire game. It would have been near impossible not to be swept up in the mania.
Thanks for the blog tip… and for your perspective from halfway around the world.

Go for it ...