Oslo: #Not90MinutesNoIntermission

 

I’d mentioned a few weeks back that Kristen and I had bought a bunch of tickets on TDF after the Tony Nominations were announced and one of those shows was Oslo at Lincoln Center. It had a great cast and it was historical. How could it be bad?

Oh yeah, it was three hours long.

Should we get large coffees at Joe beforehand so we’re properly caffeinated?” I’d texted Kristen that morning. She concurred and with large cold brews in hand, we walked over to the Vivian Beaumont. We took our seats in the orchestra, off right of center. The seats were, once again, fantastic. TDF is really killing it lately in that sense. Although it must be mentioned that there’s literally not a bad seat in that theatre. I’ve sat in all of the sections, top and bottom, and they’re all good. A few minutes after 2pm, the incomparable Jefferson Mays walked onto the stage and the lights shifted.

In case you’re living under a rock, Oslo is about the Olso Accords that took place in Oslo (duh) from 1992-1993. Given that I was 6 years old when this happened, and we all know how anything we weren’t responsible for directly is skimmed over in the US school system, I was unaware of everything that went down.

Mays played Terje Rod-Larsen, a Norweigian sociologist and politician, who had a method for conflict resolution that he greatly wanted to attempt to use to solve the conflict between Israel and Palestine. His wife, Mona (the fabulous Jennifer Ehle) worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and together they worked “in developing the back-channel communications that (reportedly) saved the Oslo negotiations from collapsing.” Because despite what our current president might think, it’s pretty hard to negotiate peace in the Middle East and the US and major world powers in 1992 were attempting the same thing and fucking it up royally. His theory was, I believe, that it was more affective for people only associated with two side’s governments to be at the table, rather than the government officials themselves.

It’s incredibly sad to see how hard people worked on this and then how quickly it all fell apart. The last sequence is the cast onstage together reciting the events that lead to the atrophying of the peace agreements and the eruption into the chaos that we know it is today.

Besides Mays and Ehle, Michael Aronov, Anthony Azizi, Dariush Kashani, and Daniel Oreskes all gave powerful performances as the people who involved in the actual negotiations.

But let’s get back to the length for one second. This was by far the quickest 3 hours in a theatre that I’ve ever experienced. I sat through (the slightly longer) August Osage County and that felt lightyears longer than Oslo. Oslo was so engaging that I was never, ever, even for one second bored. I never flipped through my Playbill or checked my watch. THAT’S how you know you’re experiencing a solid piece of theatre.

Oslo just won the Outer Critics Circle Award and I bet that’s not the last award it will win this season, at least I hope not. This is a simple, yet thoroughly engaging production on a timely AF topic with a top notch cast. Get your tickets.

playbill:

My Fair Lady Will Return to Broadway in 2018

My first response to this: Must we REALLY? Then I thought about it for a minute, and I’m all, OK, fine. This hasn’t been on Broadway in a few decades and it is a very Lincoln Center-esque show to produce. To say this show is old fashioned is an understatement (IMHO). 

I read through the script the summer after my senior year of high school. We were going to do it at a theatre that I’d performed at the two summers prior and when the production didn’t come to fruition, I was relieved. I wasn’t a fan of the music and I’d rather watch Pygmalion > My Fair Lady any day of the week. Did I mention that it’s long? Yes, it’s long. It’s your average two and a half hour (forty five minutes?) musicals and that’s way too long for this.

I’m interested to see who they cast but I doubt I’ll be seeing it (unless it’s for free) because there are many other things more worthwhile for me to be doing with my time (like sleeping, for example). 

And next time on Broadway…

I went through Playbill’s list recently and there are a ton of plays, and some interesting new musicals coming up (as of yesterday) this season. So, here goes in case you missed it, because I definitely (almost) did, your next theatre season will include….

Anastasia – 1st prev. 4/24/17 – Even though they changed this quite a bit from the animated movie, I’m still excited for this. If not just for the costumes and the score. Between this and The Great Comet, there is a heavy Russian-vibe to this season in musicals so far.

A Bronx Tale the Musical – 1st prev. 11/3/16 – I went to the final dress rehearsal of the play based on A Bronx Tale in 2007, but the musical version should be interesting. It’s based on the movie, obviously. 

The Cherry Orchard – 1st prev. 9/15/16, RTC – I’m not a Chekov fan. But this has a pretty awesome cast with Chuck Cooper, Tavi Gevinson, Celia Keenan-Bolger, etc.

Come From Away – 1st prev. 2/18/17 – Interesting premise, awesome cast: Chad Kimball, Jenn Colella, Rodney Hicks. I saw a production photo today and it looks like the second incarnation of Once

Dear Evan Hansen – 1st prev. 11/14/16 – I kicked myself for not catching this off-Broadway at Second Stage, but I’ll definitely see it this time around. Jennifer Laura Thompson is back!

The Encounter – 1st prev. 9/20/16 – So this will be on Broadway. I know nothing more. 

Falsettos – 1st prev. 9/29/16 – This show is fine. It’s sad. It’s moving. I guess it’s an appropriate time for it to be revived. Great cast: Stephanie Block, Andrew Rannells, and Christian Borle.

The Front Page – 1st prev. 9/20/16 – Jefferson Mays! John Goodman. John Slattery. Nathan Lane. So seeing this!

The Glass Menagerie – 1st prev. 2/14/17 – I don’t know why this is being revived again so soon after an exquisite revival a couple of years ago but Finn Wittrock, from The Big Short, is in it!

Heisenberg – MTC – 1st prev. 9/20/16 – This doesn’t really sound interesting but you know who is interesting? Mary Louise Parker. 

Hello Dolly – 1st prev. 3/15/17 – I guess it’ll be nice to see this show live? Bette Midler and David Hyde Pearce are in this, which I guess is nice. I’m not really excited though.

Holiday Inn – 1st prev. 9/1/16, RTC – I’d go see this solely for Bryce Pinkham because he is lovely.

In Transit – 1st prev. 11/10/16 – This sounds really cliche and bad. I’m not sure you could pay me to see this. 

Jitney – MTC – 12/28/16 – August Wilson! Yay! 

Les Liaisons Dangereuses – 1st prev. 10/8/16 – Liev Schreiber! 

The Little Foxes – MTC – 1st prev. 3/29/17 Laura Linney AND Cynthia Nixon? Sign me up. 

Miss Saigon – 1st prev. 3/1/17 – I’m so excited for this. I saw the original production when I was 10, maybe 11. I loved it. It’s about time this is back with all the shit that’s seen revivals recently.

The Great Comet – 1st prev. 10/18/16 – Like I’ve said before, this show is great and I’m excited to see it on Broadway. 

Oslo – LCT 1st prev. 3/23/17 – Also kicking myself for not seeing this off-Broadway. Michael Aranov is great.

The Present – 1st prev. 12/17/16 – More Chekov! This time with Kate Blanchet. Still not excited for Chekov. 

The Prince – RTC – 1st prev. 2/16/17 – I don’t know what this is about, but John Tuturro!! After my fandom of The Night Of, I will certainly be seeing this.

Significant Other – 1st prev. 2/14/17 – I need to know who had money to burn because they can buy me a bigger apartment next time instead of bringing the Most Depressing Modern Play Ever Written to Broadway. Excited for Gideon Glick, who is adorable, but this play should stick to a small theatre. This way only small amounts of people can commit mass suicide when the curtain falls.

And that’s it (for now) folks. Happy theatre-ing! 

I went to see Kill Floor because I’d recently watched an episode of Law and Order: SVU that Marin Ireland was the guest star on and I missed seeing her onstage. I had no idea what it was about, but from the artwork, I guessed it was about the meat industry.

it was my first time in the Claire Tow Theatre at Lincoln Center – a totally hip and modern space, completely different than the Mitz E. Newhouse and Beaumont spaces. Kill Floor was about a woman named Andy who was recently released from prison and trying to restart her life. The only job she found was through a connection from high school on the kill floor of a factory farming meat plant. She has a son that she’s trying to re-establish a relationship with who wants nothing to do with her and is somewhat easily taken advantage of and sexually confused. 

The play ended extremely awkwardly and I’m not sure what it was trying to say, if it was trying to say anything. Marin was great, but I’m not sure this is the best play she’s been in. Lincoln Center gave it their best shot with Kill Floor. Not everything can be a hit though. 

The Friday before I saw Aladdin, I was finally able to see The King and I at Lincoln Center. The show is slow and old, but it’s lovely and the score is great. The cast is HUGE. There are SO MANY kids on that stage. I would hate to be a child wrangler for that show.

But Kelli O’Hara was lovely, as always, and totally deserving of her Tony Award. Jose Llana was the king and I think he’s great, but he didn’t come off as powerful or confident enough to be a king. I wish I could’ve seen the original.

The set is huge and great to look at and it’s a great, great production. I’d highly suggest taking in a performance even if your thing is rock musicals and not Rodgers and Hammerstein’s (like me). 

So, you have heard about this debacle last Wednesday night. As it turned out, Matt had invited me to see Shows For Days with him the following night and oh, was it a treat to be at that performance. Patti came out in street clothes before the show and addressed the audience as herself, to much applause and support.

And then the show started.

It was a semi-autobiographical story about Douglas Carter Beane’s early days in community theatre in Pennsylvania. It was full length – two acts – though it didn’t feel long at all. It was entertaining and somewhat predictable at times. 

It was lovely to see Michael Urie onstage again as Car (Beane’s character) ad of course, who doesn’t love a good diva performance by Patti Lupone? No one, that’s who. Also in the cast were Dale Soules, Zoe Winters, Lance Coadie Williams, and Jordan Dean. 

There were lots of laughs and maybe a tear or two at the end. If nothing else, Shows For Days is a lovely piece of theatre history. 

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 night Kristen and I took in a performance of Act One at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre. Adapted from Moss Hart’s autobiography of the same name by James Lapine, Act One told the story of Moss Hart’s upbringing in the theatre. I haven’t read the book yet but I think I’ve seen a few copies lying around the office so I’ll have to borrow it soon. 

Santino Fontano was young Hart and he was fabulous, as he usually is. Tony Shalhoub was excellent as an older Moss Hart and the exceedingly strange George Kaufman. Andrea Martin was hilarious and heartwarming as Moss’ aunt (who is basically responsible for his life in the theatre) and Kaufman’s wife. And who doesn’t love an a supporting role played by the marvelous Chuck Cooper? Yeah, not a soul.

Albeit it being a bit long (it was almost 3 hours), it was an educating and entertaining night at the theatre that any theatre aficionado should make a point to see this season. 

Tickets were provided by the production but not in exchange for any review. 

Yesterday.

Yesterday was the annual post-holiday/new year Broadway death-spree. No, seriously. Almost a half-dozen shows closed. Chaplin, Grace, Dead Accounts, Elf, and War Horse all closed yesterday. 

I still didn’t make it to see Elf this year – but I’m not too sad about it. I am sad I didn’t get to see Dead Accounts because: Norbert Leo Butz. That’s why.

A friend of mine invited me to see Chaplin last Thursday, so I got to see it once more before it closed. I honestly enjoyed that show. I’m not sure how it got such a bad wrap, but that was unfortunate. I hope Rob McClure gets at least a TONY nomination. Grace was meh. And War Horse was just an incredible theatrical experience, but it was Lincoln Center so that couldn’t last forever. 

So as these shows fade (some unfortunately) from our memory, we look ahead to the rest of the 2012-2013 Broadway season. Fingers crossed that it’s more eventful than the fall.

I have to say that I knew nothing about Clybourne Park when I bought a ticket from TDF a couple of weeks ago. It had transfered from Lincoln Center and I’d heard it was amazing. I was 100% trusting the theatre community’s word-of-mouth. And I’m glad I did.  

Currently playing at the Walter Kerr Theatre on 48th Street, Clybourne Park is about two generations of opposite race coming and going in the same house. It touches on topics like race, class, and politics in general. The first act takes place in 1959 with a supremely effected white family (think Stepford Wives) moving out of their home after selling it to a black family, while the second act takes place in 2009, with a white couple wanting the buy the now completely in shambles house to tear it down and build something new. 

The cast is the same for both acts but they’re barely recognizable. The transformations they go through are incredible. They look somewhat the same at first and then you begin to remember who they played in the first act. And your jaw drops open. Frank Wood was the only name I recognized (as the angry father/dopey construction worker), but the rest of the cast, Crystal A. Dickinson, Brendan Griffin, Damon Gupton, Christina Kirk, Annie Parisse, and Jeremy Shamos, were equally as excellent.  The intermission is extremely long (they have to transform the house entirely, so it’s understandable).

I know there’s been a bit of vitriol around this play, but I don’t understand it. Go and check it out for yourself. I promise you’ll laugh at least once.