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'For The Record: Scorsese' Delivers Iconic Scenes And Songs From His Crime Hits
For the Record is back, this time at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts with a tribute to the crime films of director Martin Scorsese.
While past installments of the musical hybrid explored the collected works of the Coen Brothers, John Hughes, and Quentin Tarantino, Scorsese: American Crime Requiem walks us through six Scorsese films about bad guys: Casino, The Departed, Taxi Driver, Mean Streets, The Wolf of Wall Street, and of course, Goodfellas.
Opening with The Stones' "Gimme Shelter," and the iconic line, "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster," For the Record is a fast-paced race through the most memorable scenes from each film, with interwoven narratives and ever-changing characters. In one moment, you have actor Jason Mortelliti as Wolf's Jordan Belfort pontificating about masturbating to money, but in another scene, he's telling Jason Paige's Tommy DeVito (of Goodfellas fame) to go get his shoeshine box. Actor James Byous begins as a bartender who wipes down the counter in the opening scenes taking place in casinos and nightclubs, but slowly transforms into Taxi Driver's Travis Bickle, mohawk and all. All of it is framed through a series of expertly performed musical vignettes, and there's not a bad singer in the house. Carmen Cusack, predominantly portraying Casino's Ginger, sings a plaintive "I'm Sorry" and a forlorn "Sweet Dreams," but kicks it up for a "Two To Tango" duet with John Lloyd Young, who mostly appears as Casino's Sam Rothstein. Pia Toscano portrays Karen Hill and is first introduced crooning "Il Cileo In Una Stanza" from Goodfellas.
The show is tied together via incredible performances from B. Slade and Dionne Gipson, (who portray Stacks from Goodfellas, and Diane from Mean Streets, respectively). For instance, Slade croons while other actors flail around during the infamous Quaalude scene from Wolf, and Gipson opens the second act with an upbeat rendition of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." The cast is great when performing their moody solos, but they really excel when working together on such numbers as "The House of the Rising Sun," "Comfortably Numb," and a medley of 60s girl group hits like The Rockettes' "Be My Baby."
Almost every song is from one of the six films depicted, although they do throw in "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man," which actually appears in Cape Fear.
Given all the switching around, the show is best tailored to those who have seen most of the films within the last decade and enjoyed them, as there is no cohesive narrative. For the Scorsese fan, it'll be more of a humorous, nostalgic show, while the unfamiliar might find it to be a whirlwind of incredible singers belting out familiar rock and pop songs when they're not delivering crass lines about drugs, sex, and murder.
Prior to the show, guests can get pasta from the Prince of Venice food truck and a negroni or a glass of red from the bar, and enjoy it in the outdoor terrace, which has been set up to resemble an Italian restaurant. Obviously, one should anticipate that the show is a little lewd at times, contains a gunshot or two, and yes there's a considerable amount of cursing. It's Scorsese, after all.
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For the Record: Scorsese takes place at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills through October 16. Tickets are $25-139.