Groundhog Day, in Previews

And Rewind.

Last weekend I won the digital lottery for the new Broadway musical, Groundhog Day, and J and I went. He liked most of what he’d seen of the movie and I wanted him to see Andy Karl onstage since we’d watched him on Law & Order semi-recently. This is a transfer from London and they know how to make a pretty good musical, so my expectations were decent.

The music is catchy and the lyrics are feisty in a way that only Tim Minchin can be and I enjoyed the first 15 minutes. Then the day restarted and I suddenly, “Oh my god, is this the entire musical? How does it ever proceed forward from this one day? What have I gotten myself in to?!”

To be clear: I’ve never seen the movie before and I only knew vaguely what the premise was. This was my fault completely.

BUT. They do a fantastic job of rewinding the day each time and it doesn’t feel monotonous at all. The set worked perfectly (no first preview difficulties luckily) and it really keeps the show moving along. Without those turntables, the show would be 4 hours long. A couple of the songs get dark a darkly comedic way, and a couple of the songs could be completely cut (the first song of the second act, for starters).

Andy Karl plays this role perfectly. We feel his angst at his situation which eventually turns to morbid joy, which turns out to be hilarious. Barrett Doss, his costar, is lovely, too. I think Raymond Lee, as one of the town yokles at the bar, was the only other cast member to really stand out. He’s hilarious.

It was about 2 hours and 45 minutes long, which is long, but it never dragged. Like I said, they do a really good job at keeping the pace pretty consistent. We both walked out of the theatre having really enjoyed ourselves.

It was definitely not a wasted night at the theatre and I wouldn’t have been too sad to have been forced to relive it at least one more time.

Memories.

Oh, Cats. I spent most of my teenage and young adult years mocking this musical. It was my first musical in 1993, when I was 7, but I didn’t remember much about it except that a ‘cat’ walked past me across the front of the mezzanine and I thought that was SO COOL. I also definitely rolled my eyes when I heard it was being revived. But I bought my mom tickets for Christmas and we went in mid-January. And I really enjoyed it, as did she. 

So there’s really, truly no story being told, but a vague plot about a bunch of stray cats that come together on one night every year. Then there’s a former glamorous cat that is old and ragged, Grizabella, who I felt really bad for. There’s a small white cat, who I remember was my favorite back in the early 90′s. And there’s Mr. Mistoffelees, the magical tuxedo cat! He was, obviously, my favorite. Lastly, there’s the large old cat who is basically the sage, Rum Tum Tugger, the role Terrance Mann originated on Broadway (yes, that’s what I associate with this role). 

All of the cats have backstories and I felt so bad for all of them. Because I am a bleeding heart for stray cats now. I’m a crazy person. Anyways, the choreography was really phenomenal. So was the cast. 

I will totally admit that I had to eat my hat because I loved Cats and I’d definitely go see it again. I probably won’t, but I enjoyed it enough that I totally would. 

Going psycho one last time.

After American Psycho announced their closing date, Kristen and I quickly grabbed tickets on TDF for last Thursday because I’d be away for the rest of the week. I really thought the score, the book, the cast, and the sets and staging was so great. It was a special kind of campy that I’d hoped could find a niche on Broadway.

Well, unfortunately, niches don’t keep shows alive on Broadway and in the black.

I was really thrilled to be able to see it one last time (though, for the record, it was only my second time) and this time it was from the mezzanine so I’d be able to fully see the sets and lighting in all their glory.

And it was glorious. The hardcore fans they’d likely found were there making noise and you could the cast was having a great time. Benjamin Walker had amped up the crazy since the first week of previews and his voice (and body) was in perfect shape.

My favorite song of this score ended up being Killing Spree as Walker sounds great and it’s a particularly hilarious song (aside from the killing).

People say Americans aren’t any where near mature enough to take their mental health seriously and to begin to have an honest conversation about it. Audiences being unwilling to embrace a brutal and bloody show about mental health might be a clue to how very true that is.

RIP, American Psycho.

I was invited recently to a preview of It Shoulda Been You, the new musical by Brian Hargrove and Barbara Anselmi. It was starring the enormously talented Sierra Boggess, Tyne Daly, Lisa Howard, and Harriet Harris so I thought we were in for a treat. 

It was the timeless story of wedding day antics and jitters for bride-to-be Rebecca (Boggess) and her groom Brian (David Burtka), with the support her crazy Jewish mother (played by Daly) and father (the wonderful Chip Zien), her always overlooked sister (Howard), and her ex-boyfriend (Josh Grisseti). Wedding day jitters are the usual (am I really for this?!) and in the last couple of scenes there’s a huge, couldn’t-have-seen-that-coming plot twist that turns the entire show on it’s head.

It’s lovely and hysterical, and the score is cute and fun. The cast is entirely too talented and a blast to watch onstage. It Shoulda Been You isn’t a mind-blowing piece of theatre but it’s a great time at the theatre. 

For more information check out their website here

Complete Casting Announced for Broadway-Bound First Wives Club Musical

Oh, man. Well, this casting is interesting – no one is really a box office draw. I’ve never seen the movie so I can’t really tell you if it’s accurate casting… But I do know the team behind this show is delusional – at least I think they are. They honestly went into meetings thinking and SAYING, “We have the next great American musical on our hands!

And who knows, maybe they do. But when was the last time a movie-to-stage adaptation was a big-huge-omg box office hit? 

Yeah, I can’t remember one either. If I’m wrong about that though (and there has been a movie-to-stage hit), can you let me know in the comments?

I stand corrected – besides the canned Disney shows (most of which are guaranteed hits), there has been Hairspray and The Producers (though I think the last one was a hit because of it’s stars). That being said… I don’t think First Wives Club is going to be the next Great American Musical

Complete Casting Announced for Broadway-Bound First Wives Club Musical

To say that I had mixed feelings about seeing The Phantom of the Opera again last Wednesday night would be an understatement. When I received the invite, I RSVP’ed only because I wanted to see Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess together.

Our seats were lovely, Row N in the orchestra. I could see the Phantom wherever he happened to pop up without craning my neck.

And do you know what else was lovely? The show. I really enjoyed it. Having not seen it in a good 8 years combined with having been in the middle of reading 50 Shades of Grey made it a whole new experience for me. When I was younger I never quite caught on to the explosive sexuality if the show, but since I was expecting to be bored, this was a refreshing surprise.

Lewis and Boggess were jaw-droppingly amazing. Their chemistry was fantastic and their voices were flawless. My two reasons to revisit the show after so many years were well worth the trip. The rest of the cast was great too, but Boggess and Lewis stole the show (as they should).

If you’re thinking that you want to see these two in their roles but are dreading sitting through this tourist favorite again, fear not! Just go. It’ll be worth it.

Tickets were provided by the production.