Some cool theatre news…

Josh Radnor and Laura Benanti will star in the revival of She Loves Me. That’s exciting – they’re both great onstage! Hopefully Radnor can sing? 

Do you like The Last 5 Years? Of course you do. You’re not stupid. A couple of songs from the film version were released. Read about it here. Adam Kantor and Betsy Wolfe, who starred in The Last 5 Years at Second Stage, will reprise their roles in San Francisco for three nights

John Cameron Mitchell is starting this week in the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. This is, by far, the most exciting to happen to Broadway since… well, it’s been a while. 

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s newest musical, Hamilton, started previews at The Public tonight. Apparently it’s amazing. I hope I can score tickets somehow. 

And Clinton the Musical is coming to the stage off-Broadway at New World Stages. I’m very excited for this one. Will it be amazing? Probably not. Will it be a helluva good time? I’m predicting YES. 

I think that’s it for tonight. 

You definitely don’t feel good after watching a performance of Disgraced, currently playing at the Lyceum Theater. Disgraced is a dinner party gone horribly wrong. It brings to the table all of the deep- seeded racism inside most, if not all, of us.

About an Indian man, Amir (Dhillon), and his Caucasian wife, Emily (Mol), and his black colleague, Jory (Pittman), and her Jewish husband, Isaac (Radnor), the tensions run high when his colleague is promoted to partner because he was presumed to be helping a Muslim in his quest to open mosque near ground zero. Race, religion, gender, and politics are all discussed during a lively debate that culminates in Amir living down to his racial stereotype.

After the performance a dozen or other bloggers and myself were invited to stay for a talk back with the cast (Hari Dhillon, Gretchen Mol, Josh Radnor, and Karen Pittman) and their director (Kimberly Senior). The cast was surprisingly calm and jovial. I asked Josh Radnor and Gretchen Mol before it started how they decompress after performances and he said that they don’t dwell in the outcome of the play at all, they snap out of it pretty quickly.

They all loved discussing the play and their characters. I was relieved to hear that the play had to master message that we were supposed to pick up on (because I hadn’t). The point of Disgraced was to start a conversation about race in this country (how timely!).

They were all lovely in person and so interesting to talk to. It was a really cool experience to be given the opportunity to have. We all headed to Cafe Une Deux Troi after for drinks and more discussion (sans the cast).

Disgraced might not leave you feeling great, but it will entertain and it will get you thinking.

Last week I was invited to see A Time To Kill, the new drama based on the novel by John Grisham and adapted by Rupert Holmes. I knew very little about it, other than the fact that Sebastian Arcelus and Tonya Pinkins were in it and that it was a courtroom drama. I invited my dad because he’d actually read the book many years ago and likes John Grisham.

To say the least: I loved it. It was about a man (John Douglas Thompson) who hires a very unseasoned lawyer (Sebastian Arcelus) to represent him after he kills, in front of the court house, the men who raped and brutalized his 9 year old daughter. This being Mississippi, and the defendant being black and the slaughtered being white, it was going to be a nearly-impossible case to win.

It held my attention through out two full-length acts and the performances were fantastic. Little did I know that I was seeing a bunch of stars onstage too. The story was so gripping and absolutely compelling. I held my breath when the verdict was being announced.

Among the cast was actor and former senator Fred Thompson who appropriately played the judge for the case with strength and conviction. Patrick Page as the district attorney was tough and charming, if not a little arrogant. Seasoned actor Tom Skerritt played the always-inebriated Lucien Wilbanks with humor and sympathy. A personal favorite of mine was Ashley Williams, who I recognized from Something Borrowed, played the assistant to Arcelus with a quick tongue and a marvelous knowledge of prior law cases. 

And then there’s Sebastian Arcelus. An actor who I first saw onstage in 2002 when he was understudying the role of Roger in Rent. In later years I saw him in Good Vibrations and then Wicked, but he never quite got to show off his acting skills like he does in this play. He played the role of the defense attorney Jake Brigance with conviction and determination and such depth. I was really blown away. 

Holme’s storytelling combined with direction by Ethan McSweeney, lest we not forget this fantastic cast, make for an excellent night at the theatre.