A Night with Shirley Jackson

I’d seen somewhere on the Internets that Paul Giamatti (far right), along with (from L-R) Cristin Milioti, Dana Ivey, and Stephen Kunken, were participating in a night of reading short stories by the late writer Shirley Jackson in honor of her 100th birthday. I literally had no idea who Shirley Jackson was, but my dude had just finished watching the John Adams series on HBO and loved Paul Giamatti so I bought two tickets. 

We ended up hearing five short stories from the group (one was read by the host, whose name I forget at this moment) and they were all pretty good. The story Ivey read was kind of long and I don’t really remember what it was about. Jackson was a dark writer, sometimes very cryptic. Usually cryptically funny though. 

Giamatti’s story was probably the more eerie. Milioti, Ivey, Kunken, as well as Giamatti all told the stories with the flare that only stage actors can provide. It was a really different type of night, one that I’m glad we went to.

Turn and face the strange.

This review is extremely late and probably totally irrelevant, but here goes. After the aforementioned Meatball Chowdown earlier this month, Matt invited me to a press performance of Lazarus, the new David Bowie musical at NYTW. The entire run was sold out and Cristin Milioti and Michael Esper were starring in it, as well as Michael C. Hall. Based on the movie The Man Who Fell to Earth, which Bowie starred in, it’s about an alien who comes to earth to get water for his dying planet.

Or so the short summary on IMDB says. I didn’t really get that from the show that I saw. To say it was odd and confusing is an understatement. There was a young girl in it, who kind of narrated Newton’s, the alien who fell to earth’s, venture and the actress who played her, Sophia Anne Caruso, was amazing. I can’t wait to see what she does next. Michael Esper played Valentine who’s in a somewhat tempestuous relationship with Elly (Cristin Milioti). Newton is played excellently by Michael C. Hall, who also happened to be my first Emcee in Cabaret in 2000. #throwback

I don’t remember much of the score or any more of the plot. It was really odd. It was really fun to watch and you can tell everyone up there is having a great time. Since the run sold out, I guess that’s what’s important (probably not, but let’s say yes for the time being). 

Do I think this’ll transfer? No. If it does, producers will have learned nothing from last season’s The Last Ship which everyone thought would do fantastically because Sting’s name was attached to it and, spoiler alert, it closed rather quickly. 

I loved seeing Cristin Milioti and Michael Esper onstage though. As always.