My Top 13 Theatre Moments (or Shows!) of 2012

I was going through my theatre-related posts of this year and I couldn’t pick just 10. Since this is my blog and I make the rules, I decided to do 13. 

1. Bring It On: I had my doubts and reservations about this musical, and maybe I’m a little biased after working on it for a few months, but I loved this show. It was visually stunning, fun, and not totally void of meaning. It had a good meaning overall: Life goes on after high school. I love this show, I’m sad it closed yesterday, and I will definitely miss it.

2. Merrily We Roll Along @ Encores: I went to the final performance and it was my first time having seen it – though I’d heard the music before. The cast was fantastic, as was the material. The atmosphere was also electric. Everyone was so excited to be there.

3. The Other Josh Cohen: This was just a gem of a show. I’m so glad I got to see it.

4. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? revival: I had reservations about this too, having seen the last revival with Kathleen Turner, but upon being offered a free ticket, who was I to turn it down? It ended up being pretty incredible. It was probably one of the best things to open on Broadway this fall.

5. Harvey @ Studio 54: A supposed allegory for homosexuality in the mid-20th century, Jim Parsons killed his roll and this show. Loved it.

6. The Bad and the Better (by The Amoralists): I love The Amoralists. This show was a complex story with many layers and a huge cast. It was pretty epic. I don’t know how they afforded to do it, but they definitely did.

7. James Corden in One Man, Two Guv’nors: I loved this play and I probably loved it because James Corden was so goddamn funny. He absolutely killed onstage. He deserved his TONY Award.

8. The Lyons: I saw this play off-Broadway and loved, and saw it twice more on Broadway. I loved it every single time. Probably because Linda Lavin reminded me of my late Jewish grandmother. And… Michael Esper.

9. Once’s Transfer to Broadway: I think the producers transfered this show well. Not much got lost in the bigger space in the Jacobs Theatre and the spirit of the show remained intact. I loved it off-Broadway and it made me cry (twice) on Broadway. I wasn’t sure whether transferring this show was the right thing to do, but I’m happy that they’re doing well ($1 million+/week).  

10. Tribes: This was an off-Broadway show not to be missed. It deserved every bit of praise it received. I loved it a lot possibly because the lead was hearing-impaired so it made it that much more believable, but who knows. It had a healthy run at The Barrow Group and is now going to LA. 

11. Carrie: A cult classic that only existed in bootleg form before MCC revived it. It was cheesy and the music wasn’t so stellar, and I wished there’d been more blood, but it was an experience to be had and seen. I’m definitely glad I paid $20 to sit in the second row. 

12. Jesus Christ Superstar‘s Resurrection: The revival in 2000 wasn’t so good – except for Tony Vincent, duh – but I loved, loved, loved this one, which transferred from the Stratford Theatre Festival. It felt like a digital update, but the incredible rock score was still the intact and the cast was incredible. I don’t care what anyone says, Josh Young was an incredible Judas. I saw this revival twice and my only regret is that I wished I’d seen it again!

13. Assistance: I was an assistant when I saw this so I definitely related. It was hysterical, vulgar, and exaggerated (though I’m sure it’s not so exaggerated for some people). The ending also wins for ‘most unrelated and random ending ever.’ Also: Michael Esper.

That’s my run-down for 2012. There were a dozen or more shows that I saw and didn’t write about (because I suck sometimes), but I’ll try to be better about writing about EVERYTHING in 2013. What were your top theatre moments in 2012? Happy new year!

CARRIE’s back.

Carrie was highly entertaining and much to my surprise, it was also extremely touching. Every theater probably everywhere knows about the original production of Carrie in the 80’s. It lasted about three performances on broadway and then closed with a bang. It has been one of the hugest theatrical disasters I’ve heard about in my lifetime and it’s also been on the top of my list of “flops to see” if it ever came back.

After the writers came back together in 2009 and Stafford Arima took on the task of directing, buzz around the theatrical community started to build as a workshop of a revised Carrie started to take shape. The not-for-profit originally associated with the workshop decided not to move forward with a full production so MCC Theater stepped in and in 2011 announced that the first fully staged revival of this epic disaster would be produced by their company at the Lucille Lortel Theater on Christopher Street.  And many theatre nerds drooled with anticipation for the months that would lead up to the first preview.

I scored a ticket in Row B for last Tuesday’s performance and I was excited. The cast was lead by Marin Mazzie (as the incredibly insane, overly religious mother) and Molly Ranson (as the distubred protagonist – or antagonist? – of the show). Twenty minutes into the show, I saw their relationship as very reminiscent of Wendla and her mother’s (in Spring Awakening) – the anger and hurt coming from the daughter and the overwhelming desire for the mothers to shelter their daughters from the outside world.

Anyways, the stage of the show works for the most part. The choreography is fun. The lyrics are god-awful. They’re lazy, but they were written in the 80’s and I bet it’s very hard to write lyrics that are appropriate for a campy horror movie without them being bad. I was surprised how much I liked the music, despite the lyrics.

Besides Mazzie and Ranson, Christy Altomare (as Sue Snell) was a stand-out for me. I loved her voice and her portrayal of the character was compelling. The rest of the company is energetic and vocally capable too. It’s not their fault that the material isn’t excellent, so you can’t hold their cliche characters against them.

I was a bit saddened by the lack of blood during the famous prom scene, but I can imagine it’d be hard to pull that off if you actually went through with pouring blood onstage. (Spoiler?)  

I think anyone who misses this revival will surely regret it because it’s quite possible that we’ll never see this show in New York again after this production closes.