The Stapler in the High Castle, Season 2

If you understand the reference to the title, you’ve seen The Office. And the second season of The Man in the High Castle. If you don’t understand it, and it’s because you haven’t seen season 2, I wouldn’t exactly go running. 

Season 1 had this “OMG what’s going to happen next?” tension to it because it was this whole new world in which America didn’t win the second world war and we were mostly Nazi territory now. They obviously left season 1 open so they could make a season 2, but season 2 felt unnecessary.

Besides Julianna’s wardrobe and the use of Cabaret’s “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” in the final credits of the last episode (and their use of “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music in the opening credits, I suppose), I was bored. The episodes felt really slow and a lot of it was really boring. By the last couple of episodes, they had you cheering for obergruppenführer Smith, so yes, we were cheering for a hypocritical Nazi. This didn’t feel right. It’s like rooting for Mike Pence. At any time. You’d feel dirty.

But Julianna’s wardrobe? Give. me. all. of. it. now.

Trigger Warning

I finally broke down and bought a ticket on TDF for Blackbird last week. I’d heard a lot of mixed things to downright “it’s just not worth it.” I knew Michelle Williams would be using her “serious stage lady” voice, but I would try to get past it because it was 85 minutes long and I love Jeff Daniels.

The basic premise of the show: a girl, now a woman, who, at 12, was sexually abused for 3 months by a neighbor who was 40, tracks down her abuser 15 years later, ready to make him uncomfortable at his office.

First: Williams’ Serious Stage Lady voice is annoying but I kind of felt like it worked. If you’d been abused as a child and then was still fucked up enough to go track that person down after he’s moved and changed his name, you’re probably very affected and there’s a chance there’s something strange in your voice.

The whole play just felt a little unnecessary. Daniels’ knew he’d done something horrible and now he was being tortured in person. I also seriously feel for Williams’ character, for sure, but I was really confused as to why she would want to go track her abuser down instead of moving forward with her life. But maybe I don’t understand what goes through someone’s mind who’s gone through that (spoiler alert: I definitely don’t).

The ending was contrived. I didn’t agree with that choice the playwright made. It was a quick 85 minutes and although it was the most uncomfortable I’ve ever felt in a theatre, I’m glad I saw it. Would I recommend it to anyone though? Hell no.

Turn and face the strange.

This review is extremely late and probably totally irrelevant, but here goes. After the aforementioned Meatball Chowdown earlier this month, Matt invited me to a press performance of Lazarus, the new David Bowie musical at NYTW. The entire run was sold out and Cristin Milioti and Michael Esper were starring in it, as well as Michael C. Hall. Based on the movie The Man Who Fell to Earth, which Bowie starred in, it’s about an alien who comes to earth to get water for his dying planet.

Or so the short summary on IMDB says. I didn’t really get that from the show that I saw. To say it was odd and confusing is an understatement. There was a young girl in it, who kind of narrated Newton’s, the alien who fell to earth’s, venture and the actress who played her, Sophia Anne Caruso, was amazing. I can’t wait to see what she does next. Michael Esper played Valentine who’s in a somewhat tempestuous relationship with Elly (Cristin Milioti). Newton is played excellently by Michael C. Hall, who also happened to be my first Emcee in Cabaret in 2000. #throwback

I don’t remember much of the score or any more of the plot. It was really odd. It was really fun to watch and you can tell everyone up there is having a great time. Since the run sold out, I guess that’s what’s important (probably not, but let’s say yes for the time being). 

Do I think this’ll transfer? No. If it does, producers will have learned nothing from last season’s The Last Ship which everyone thought would do fantastically because Sting’s name was attached to it and, spoiler alert, it closed rather quickly. 

I loved seeing Cristin Milioti and Michael Esper onstage though. As always. 

In here life is beautiful.

My dude bff, Ben, turns 30 today and since I a out of the city, I surprised him with tickets to see Emma Stone (one of his long time actress crushes) in Cabaret on Thursday. I was a bit nervous that she would be out since she was out on Sunday but luckily she was in that night. We sat the bar stools in the orchestra – pretty much the same seats that I sat in when I first saw the show in 2000. Great seats – barely any obstruction (though admittedly there is a little).

I could hear a bit of sickness in Emma’s voice that night but she was really solid, fantastic even. She’s gotten more into the character since I saw her in her first week. She’s a great dancer too. Alan Cumming was on fire, as usual, and Linda Emond and Danny Burstein were incredible too. I adore them both.

Emma Stone is a great asset to this production and I only wish she were staying at the rest of the run. Ben was even more in love with her afterward.

Emma is in Cabaret through early February. Catch her while you can.

Cabaret, part deux… aka Cumming a Second Time.

On Saturday the 15th, Kristen and I went to see one of Emma Stone’s first shows as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. I’d broken down and listened to a couple of MP3’s from her first performance and it was a bit shaky but it sounded like she had potential. 

Long story short: She blew us away. She had a totally fiesty, gritty, and strong take on the character which was very different than Michelle William’s. She was totally into and blowing the roof off the title number (Cabaret). She was just brilliant.

I’m going back to see her again soon.

Cumming was great too, as per usual. As was Danny Burstein and Linda Emond. They’re both just so fantastic. 

Like I said, Stone was amazing and I’m going to go see her again ASAP. 

I’d heard all good things about this revival of Cabaret so I was really thrilled to have the chance to see it a couple of weeks ago. I’d last seen it in 2003 when I was a senior in high school and Adam Pascal was starring as the Emcee. I found that cast a little lackluster. I love the music to Cabaret but the show is highly depressing. But to see Alan Cumming in the role that helped him rise to be the superstar he is today? Sign me up.

I could go on and on about how fantastic and surreal and life altering it is to see Cummings’ performance as the Emcee live onstage, but I won’t. If you haven’t seen him yet, you should, and if you have, you know what I’m talking about.

Michelle Williams gave a very performance as Sally Bowles. Her voice got the job done, and her performance during the song “Cabaret” was incredible. I’m very, very happy I got to see her.

Danny Burnstein was my other favorite as Herr Schultz. He’s always great and you empathized with him more and more as the show continued. Linda Emond was also great as his almost-wife, Fraulein Schenider.

Maybe it was because my seats were better this time than they had been previously, but I caught a lot of subtleties that I’d missed the last time. The show is still depressing as ever but it’s also fantastic. 

I already have tickets to see Emma Stone next month as Sally Bowles with @kmpilecki and I’m stoked. I’m still really glad I got to see this cast as well though.