A few weeks back, on a very snow Sunday in January, I made the long journey down to the Circle in the Square Theatre and saw In Transit. I knew it was an a capella musical and I was intrigued. And skeptical. Would I really not miss the instruments?!

Well, I’m happy to say that I didn’t miss the instruments at all! The vocals were really amazing. There were several stories woven all together, some of which were cliche, but I wasn’t really there for the story, so whatever, right? 

Boxman, played by Chesney Snow, was somewhat of a narrator and he was goddamn incredible. The entire cast was great – and I saw a few understudies at the matinee, too. I’m glad Justin Guarini has found a home in the theatre after his pop star days because he’s pretty entertaining.

The show is just one act – 90 minutes, no intermission – and it’s a treat. And although Kathleen Marshall is one helluva unconventional pick for a musical like this, I think she did an excellent job. It’s the only place you’ll see a capella on Broadway, at least. 

Parting is such sweet sorrow. 

On Thursday night the new revival of Romeo and Juliet opened and last week I had the opportunity to see it. I was incredibly excited because I love Shakespeare and also because I’d never seen a professional production of R&J. Also: Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad were starring in it. With Chuck Cooper and Jayne Houdyshell to boot. I was just as excited for the cast as I was for the iambic pentameter.

As per usual with Shakespeare, the set (by Jesse Poleshuck) was sparse and the lighting (by David Weiner) was interesting. The costumes (by Fabio Toblini) were more Baz Luhrman-esque than Elizabethan.

I’d heard complaints about the chemistry between Bloom and Rashad but I didn’t have any problem – in fact I liked them both a lot. I also adored Chuck Cooper as Lord Capulet as he was absolutely frightening. Justin Guarini gave a surprisingly convincing performance as Paris too. (As it turns out, he has more than one facial expression contrary to his performance in American Idiot.) And Houdyshell as the Nurse? Maybe the best in the cast. Editors NoteChristian Camargo’s Mercutio was gripping and perfect too. You can definitely see why Juilliard wanted him. 

 I’m not sure what prompted this revival, as Broadway is surely inundated with Shakespeare this season, but I’d say its definitely worth a viewing if you’re a fan of the play or any of it’s cast members.

Disclaimer: Tickets were gratis courtesy of SC. 

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. 🙂