My TONYs Post-Mortem

I ended up at a long-time friend’s apartment last night with some other similarly individuals to view The Tonys. Overall, I’d say this year’s was pretty boring. Kevin Spacey did an excellent job as host – he has a great voice. The opening number meant well but it felt really choppy and slow.

Groundhog Day picked the WRONG number to perform. I’m assuming they just needed something with the entire cast that wouldn’t cost too much to stage, but wow, they picked an awful number. It was so boring. I think it sold zero tickets, so that was a waste of $500k on the part of the producers. On the other hand, Dear Evan Hansen and Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 did fantastic numbers. It was really moving to see Ben Platt perform, and although his voice was a little shaky to start, he nailed the high notes in the latter part of the song. He deserved his TONY Award. Lastly though, the Hello, Dolly! performance? What was that?! I went to refill my drink at that point.

Somebody should’ve gotten a hook and pulled Bette Midler off that stage because goddamn. Snooze. And did Sutton Foster wake up from a nap right before walking onstage? She needed a blowout.

Best Costume Design of a Musical should definitely have gone to Great Comet. I have no idea what the voters were thinking with Hello, Dolly!. I mean, really?

Christopher Ashley (Come From Away) definitely deserved the Best Direction award. The direction is stellar. They were on point when they voted for The Great Comet for Best Scenic Design, because, COME ON. Have you seen the inside of the Imperial Theatre lately?

I really wanted Jen Colella to win Best Featured Actress, but I hear Rachel Bay Jones is excellent, so congrats to her. I was also very excited for Laurie Metcalf and her win. She deserved it.

Another year down. I can’t wait to see what the next season has in store!

The full list is here.

 

A Doll’s House, Part 2: Nora’s Back

I love A Doll’s House. I love that it pushed boundaries at the time when it was written and Ibsen was forced to write an alternative ending because it gave such a middle finger to conventional endings. (To be clear: I don’t like that he had to write an alternative ending though to get it produced.) I saw it three years ago at BAM  and it was an exquisite production. I didn’t know what to expect at all from A Doll’s House: Part 2, or even why it’d be written (by Lucas Hnath) but Kristen and I both love Laurie Metcalf so we grabbed tickets on TDF and went last Sunday. Our seats were in the front-rear mezzanine which was fine. There’s only one setting and all the action takes place downstage.

There was modern punk rock music being played during walk-in which was very unexpected but also awesome, and also reminiscent of the walk-in music used during Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson. All good things.

A Doll’s House: Part 2 takes place 15 years after Nora (Metcalf) walks out on her husband and she’s back now because she wrongly assumed that her husband had filed divorce papers after she’d walked out and when that turned out not to be the case, she realized her career (writing books about why women should feel  free to leave their husbands and how marriage is a sham) was in jeopardy. Sorry, spoiler? She has a huge monologue when she first arrives at the house and is talking to Anne Marie (the impeccable and hysterical Jayne Houdyshell) that is up my alley, 100%. She says something about why get married to spend the rest of your life with someone? You can do that without getting legal papers involved, she says, and I concur.

I was so onboard after her rant and ate up every word that Nora said. Torvald (the stern and unforgiving Chris Cooper) refuses to divorce her because she walked out and her daughter Emmy (the matter-of-fact and comical Condola Rashad) has a rebuttal for every one of Nora’s cynical comments about marriage, as she herself is engaged. And Metcalf is incredible, as always. She’s irreverent and direct and loves her life since she left her husband.

I won’t tell you it ends, but I went in not knowing what to expect and loved every minute of this 90-minute-no-intermission masterpiece of a follow-up on a classic play. It closes on July 23rd, so get your tickets soon.

Last Tuesday I was invited to see Misery, the new stage adaptation of the film by the same name, starring Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalf. I’ve seen Laurie Metcalf onstage a couple of times and she’s always great. I wasn’t sure about Bruce though. Could he really act? No one could be sure.

For those who aren’t familiar with the film: it’s about a writer who’s “saved” from a car accident in a remote town in the mountains by the person who claims to be his number one fan. She doesn’t like the ending to his latest “Misery” book and demands he writes another book and she’s not letting him go until he does.

There are great prosthetics and excellent lighting and helpful scoring playing in the background. It never becomes quite as thrilling or scary as I assume the film does, but it does the trick. 

Metcalf is perfect and carries the show, as I’m told her character does in the movie too, and Willis does his damnedest with the material he’s given (which is not much as he is in a bed or wheel chair most of the time, but he has his moments). Leon Addison Brown plays the cop who comes by from time to time to ask if Metcalf has seen anything and he did his job well. 

Misery is one play that will make you far from miserable. 

I’d heard The Other Place, part of MTC’s current season, was good, and I’d heard Laurie Metcalf was even better. I’d seen Metcalf onstage before and she’d always killed it so I took advantage of a recent opportunity to see The Other Place last Saturday.

Billed as a psychological 80-minute thriller, I thought it sounded really interesting and the fact that it had no intermission was even better. It was the story of a scientist’s recounting of her descent into dementia and how her daughters running away when she was a teenager had effected her life.

Laurie Metcalf was great. Superb actually. The play itself was good – though quite intense. It was somewhat confusing in the second half trying to figure out what was real and what wasn’t though (or maybe I just missed something!). Maybe that was the playwrights intention though, to make the audience feel as lost and confused as Metcalf’s character did.

Metcalf’s performance is reason enough to catch this production should you have the opportunity. I’m glad I saw it.

(The overexposed photo above is from the post-show talkback with the cast.)