An American In Paris

I had totally regretted signing on to help out, and in return watch, An American in Paris last weekend. It was a show that I still hadn’t seen and I was like OK. Then when I thought about it, I was all, “A 2.5 hour show on a Saturday afternoon? Kill me.” But I didn’t want to bail so I went. I was pleased when the exposition was set and it was a story that was semi-interesting to me. An American soldier who chooses to stay behind in Paris after world war 2? Sign me up.

I’m not the biggest fan of Gershwin music but it’s familiar and not the worst. I thought they weaved the songs together in a way that worked to move the story along and I thought a lot of the choreography was beautiful. The story didn’t have a fairytale ending which was fine with me, probably even preferable (though sad because of how we have all been conditioned to expect it). I enjoyed it as much as I could but truth be told, it was a little long. An hour and forty five minutes would’ve sufficed.

I was excited to see Max Von Essen because I grew up watching him in benefits and smaller shows and he didn’t disappoint. He was lovely. The lead, Leanne Cope, reminded me of Cristin Milioti in Once but if she could also dance. Dimitri Kleioris as the American, Jerry, was excellent, too. The rest of the cast was uniformly talented and easy to watch, and listen to.

This wouldn’t be the first, or fifth, show I’d recommend to someone but it was entertaining to say the least.

Company XIV’s Snow White

This is the third production (maybe fourth?) of Company XIV’s that I’ve seen in the last couple of years. I love them. I think they’re great. However, Snow White may have been my least favorite production thus far. That may be because I’m not terribly familiar with the story of Snow White and the Huntsman, which I believe this was taken from (rather than from the Disney movie).

As always, the pole dancing sequence and cirque du soleil sequences were wonderful. Jaw-dropping. The costumes were elaborate and eye-catching, covered with sparkles as per usual.

Nutcracker Rouge will continue to be my favorite Company XIV production, but Snow White didn’t disappoint either.

to barre or not to barre

I tried my first-ever barre class last night at YogaWorks last night. In fact, it was the first barre class that my YogaWorks location had ever offered. I’d heard lots about the barre method but I always turned to old faithful: yoga, or running. But I saw the new class on the schedule and decided, fuck it.

Since YogaWorks doesn’t have a bar yet it was a barre class without the bar, which worked surprisingly well. Which is to say that it hurt immensely.

It reminded me of a mix of 80’s aerobics, a little bit of dance, and a little bit of yoga. There was no namaste or shavasana, which was weird but expected.

I did my best and I’m surprised I’m not more sore today. I might try to get to one class a week, just to switch things up. I’m absolutely sure my arms would look fantastic if I went twice a week but let’s not get crazy.

I think it’d be just as effective to buy the props and a DVD. Which is something I’m considering. But I’m totally glad I tried something new, something I wasn’t sure I could do.

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to see Nutcracker Rouge again. The fantastic Company XIV was bringing their fantastic burlesque version of the classic back to their own space this year. I am happy to say that this is now one of my holiday traditions. 

I brought my friend who is a fan of burlesque and we both sat back and watched as a very saucy spin was put on a very well known children’s tale. The cast was back in full force: perfect choreography, lovely singing.

Extra thanks to the table of gentlemen sitting next to us who gave us their extra bottle of champagne at intermission (I think they assumed we were on a date, but we were not). The only thing that could make Nutcracker Rouge more fun is a bottle of bubbly.

Take everyone you know this year or next year to see this. It’s so. much. fun.  

A few weeks back I saw Here Lies Love at The Public Theatre downtown. I’d missed it’s first production but I was thrilled it was back again and I was going to be able to see it. I had listened to the cast recording one day at work a few weeks early but I still had no idea what it was about. I didn’t know who Imelda Marcos was, or even that she was a real person (Thanks, Global History, for nothing!).

I loved Sleep No More, and countless other immersive shows, but this was by far the most fun I’ve ever had a one. I got onstage and danced. I moved around with the ever-rotating set. I loved it. About 2/3 of the way through, I thought, “Um, okay, I think this is a true story,” and yes, it is. I’m an idiot sometimes.

The music is amazing. Fatboy Slim and David Byrne have outdone themselves. It is a fantastic, memorable score. Ruthie Ann Miles, Jose Llana, and Conrad Ricamora were equally brilliant in their lead roles (Imelda, Marcos, and Aquino). I especially enjoyed the DJ, who was played that night by Vincent Rodriguez III. He definitely raised the energy in the room before the performance so that we were all amped up by the time it began.

If there is one show – experience – you venture downtown for this season, it’s Here Lies Love. It’s a history lesson and theatrical experience rolled into one. 

(Disclosure: The company I work for works on Here Lies Love, but opinions are all my own.)