I was able to attend a performance of Our Mother’s Brief Affair, by Richard Greenberg, last Friday night starring the hilarious Linda Lavin. About a hypochondriac older woman (Anna, played by Lavin) in the hospital, her children Abby (Kate Arrington) and Seth (Greg Keller) come to her side knowing fully that this will not be her last time in the hospital (”it’s become her pied-a-terre,” jokes her son about the hospital). 

Anna admits to Abby that she had an affair when he was a teenager and her lover was an infamous American who had committed treason. Abby and Seth start to investigate her past to see if she’s telling the truth or not.

I’ve seen Lavin previously in Collected Stories and The Lyons and she’s always. the. best. I realized this time around that she basically plays the same role over and over – crazy, overbearing mother. I also realized that Lavin’s portrayal is becoming more and more like my paternal grandmother. A batshit crazy, narcissist who never should’ve had kids. 

In addition to Lavin, I really enjoyed Greg Keller’s performance. I can’t pinpoint why but I really felt for his character. Arrington was fine, as was John Procaccino as both their late father and Anna’s lover.

I walked away from this feeling the same way that I had after Big Fish. They’re both memory pieces. Is this a mind blowing play? Nah. Is it entertaining? For sure. 

Wow. Just: wow. This was the coolest thing to experience live. I’d been seeing advertisements for this concert for months now but I hadn’t bought tickets until yesterday evening. I bought two $65 tickets in the 27th row of the orchestra and got excited. I love a bunch of Tim Burton’s movies: Sleepy Hollow (#1 favorite), The Nightmare Before Christmas (hello, childhood!), Big Fish, Sweeney Todd (okay, so that one doesn’t count because Sondheim wrote the music, but whatever), etc. 

The first act, in this order, consisted of music from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Sleepy Hollow (!!!), Mars Attacks!, Big Fish, and Batman/Batman Returns. A young boy named Leif Christian Pedersen sang the “ooo’s” during the Sleepy Hollow sequence and he was excellent.  

At intermission, we saw an audience member in full Beetlejuice attire. That’s some dedication. The second act, in order, was: Planet of the Apes, Corpse Bride, Dark Shadows, Frankenweenie, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Alice in Wonderland (John-Dominick Mignardi provided the boy soprano vocals, he was also amazing). An amazing violinist named Sandy Cameron dressed in some bad-ass black leather took on the violin solos in the Edwards Scissorhands segment. She was awesome. 

The most special part of the show was when Danny Elfman himself came out to perform the Jack Skeleton vocals during The Nightmare Before Christmas. I had no idea he’d done the vocals for the movie so this was a total surprise. He had SO much fun up there. Four additional performers came out to do the additional voices for “This Is Halloween.” It was just amazing. SO much fun.

This was totally worth the $65 for what turned out to be an awesome seat. They have one more performance, I think, on Sunday, so if you can check it out, get there!

Rifts and Roses Follow Press Agent’s Abrupt Exit from Broadway’s Finding Neverland

I’ve been told before (by people who’ve worked for these folks) that Harvey Weinstein is a crazy person (like so many big fish in the land of Broadway).

Rick Miramontez is a classy dude though. I’ve met him on several occasions and he’s never been anything but the nicest. Calm, too!  

I’ve heard that Finding Neverland is like Big Fish was: It has the potential to be awesome, but it just falls flat. We shall see!

Rifts and Roses Follow Press Agent’s Abrupt Exit from Broadway’s Finding Neverland

Last Saturday I was invited to see the new musical based on the movie Big Fish after winning a contest that was held on their website. I was incredibly excited because I remember liking the movie (when I saw it in theatres back in 2004!) and the cast was phenomenal: Norbert Leo Butz, Bobby Steggert, and Kate Baldwin. Tonight: Big Fish opens!

I didn’t really remember what the movie was about, but I heard it was a touching father/son story. A man who’s father has always told him phantasmagorical stories is dying and before he passes, he wants to find out the truth about his father’s past.

The first thing that stood out to me were the costumes (design by William Ivey Long) – they were gorgeous and somewhat magical. My next favorite aspect of the show? Norbert Leo Butz (and his dancing). He was fantastic in Catch Me If You Can, and he lives up to and surpasses every expectation in Big Fish. He weaved in and out of being a teenager and a dying old man with such ease. Kate Baldwin and Bobby Steggert also, of course, didn’t disappoint either. Baldwin weaved as easily from teenager to senior citizen as well, and Steggert has it easiest (as he never had to make any huge age leaps) but was still a joy to watch discover the truth about his father.

The score is enjoyable, the choreography fantastic, and supporting cast was lovable. Remember how I said this was a heartwarming father/son story? Well: it was. Everyone around me was crying at the end and I even choked back a tear.

I hope lots of legs are currently breaking at the Neil Simon and the reviewers are warm. Big Fish is definitely a welcomed addition to this Broadway season!