My Desert Island All-Time Top Five Break-Ups

I’ve had a couple of shows that I’ve absolutely loved that have crashed and burned so quickly on Broadway that it would make your head spin. High Fidelity was one of them. And when a concert of the aforementioned beloved musical is taking place, you buy tickets. (Even if it’s happening at the excessively overpriced 54 Below, you still go.)

Kristen and I both have an unrelenting love for HiFi so we were beaming and our work days could not go by quickly enough.  We grabbed a leisurely dinner at Glass House Tavern and then went over to 54 Below to claim our seats at the bar. It was like a reunion of friends, old and new. I saw so many people that I hadn’t seen in – literally – years. I saw assorted cast members of Bring It On (and one from American Idiot – Van Hughes) at the bar and then realized that they’d be singing back up for the ensemble numbers.

Will Chase took the stage and it started.

I can’t describe how excited, elated, happy, energetic, etc. I was to see this happening in front of me. I mouthed the words. I danced. I think at one point during Desert Island, Taylor Louderman saw me and waved (though I have no idea why because I don’t know her – maybe she was applauding my enthusiasm?). I couldn’t have been any happier. 

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Will Chase still killed the score. Ana Gasteyer ripped up She Goes. Adam Chandler Berat was a spirited and PERFECT choice for Dick, and Mitch Jarvis was highly entertaining as Barry. When Van Hughes took the stage to sing a few songs as Rob, it was like watching “High Fidelity Jr.” but he was great! Jenn Collella and Amanda Green sang ‘Ready to Settle’ together, which was lovely. Mario Cantone as “The Boss” singing ‘Goodbye and Good Luck" with Will was amazing. David Larsen, Corey Mach, Jon Rua, Janet Krupin, Corey March, Ryann Redmond, and Taylor Louderman were fantastic as the ensemble.

Simply put: the concert was jaw-droppingly amazing. I would pay $35 + $25 food minimum once a month to see that happening in front of my eyes.

We said hello and goodbye to some friends and then went to say hello the star of the night (sort of?) Will Chase. I know Will from years ago, doing lots of benefits with him, and being a fan in general. But I hadn’t seen him for years. I think I ran into him on the street once a year or two ago, before Smash had ever premiered. 

We had a joyous reunion. So joyous that Kristen felt the need to capture it in film.

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When I joked saying that watching Van was like watching ‘High Fidelity Jr.’ he replied, “No it’s not! He’s the right age. I’m too old for this part!” Hah. We took pictures for old time’s sake. It was fun. I look like incredibly dorky in mine.

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We told him we’d see him soon, said goodbye to the last of our friends, and then walked down 8th avenue to the train.

To say it was the best night ever might be only a bit of an exaggeration. 

My Pre-Birthday Celebration

My family and I celebrated my 25th birthday today (it’s officially on Thursday).  My dad wanted to see American Idiot before it closed, so you could say that we killed two birds with one stone.  My family was in traffic, so I went to the St. James when the box office opened and picked up two rush tickets because I was pretty sure we’d lose lotto.

We went to Five Napkin Burger for lunch where my parents gave me a pair of beautiful earrings.  My mother thought I deserved diamonds for my 25th birthday and who was I to argue?  I know it does not need to be said but everyone thought the burgers were pretty damn good at 5NB (I stuck with my usual – the blackened shrimp salad).  

We walked back to the St. James Theatre after for lotto and we lucked out because there could not have been more than 50 people there and I ended up winning!  I guess it was almost-birthday luck because I haven’t won since the third preview performance.  Instead of selling the student rush tickets I had bought earlier, my mom and brother decided they wanted to see the show too.  My dad and I ended up in BB 112-113, which have great leg room.  We went to Midtown Comics and walked around a bit to kill time before the show.  Andrew Call was on as the Favorite Son for the matinee, and needless to say, I was a little bit skeptical.  The last time I’d seen American Idiot was on February 27th and since then there has basically been a huge regime change so it was almost like watching the show for the first time again.  I also hadn’t sat in center lotto seats since the show was in previews.  

(photo taken on March 26th, 2010)

I was excited to see Justin Guarini as Will, but despite having a very pretty voice and excellent guitar playing skills, he was very one-dimensional.  He had wide, bug eyes the entire show and his only emotion was “REALLY ANGRY.”  On the other hand, David Larsen as Tunny was very decent when it came to his acting, but his voice left a lot to be desired.  He was whiney and much more so than the actor who I will not name that originated the character of Tunny in Berkeley.  I’m quite certain that Libby Winters has improved vocally as the Extraordinary Girl since February, and Van Hughes has grown into the role of Johnny, adding subtle nuances throughout his performances.  Andrew Call certainly had the charisma and vocal abilities for Favorite Son, but his physique was entirely wrong for the role.  

Billie Joe Armstrong was, of course, fantastic and his vocals were in excellent shape.  I was very excited for my family to see the person who has been such a musical inspiration for me perform live onstage and they were definitely impressed (my mother even mentioned that she liked him better than Tony Vincent).   Instead of saying, “We don’t need no stinking badges!” before Last Night on Earth, he exclaimed, “WINNING!” ala Charlie Sheen and he received lots of laughs from the audience, myself and my father included.  Miguel Cervantes tossed me his guitar pick after his solo in “Rock and Roll Girlfriend” and someone, I believe Libby Winters or Jeanna de Waal, tossed me their guitar pick after Good Riddance at the curtain call.  

Afterwards we went to Shake Shack for some dessert before heading up to my apartment.  Overall, a perfect birthday celebration.  The only thing that could have made it better, maybe, was catching Billie Joe’s guitar pick but I’m not too upset about that.  

Oh, and my dad loved the show. 🙂