I was able to attend a performance of Our Mother’s Brief Affair, by Richard Greenberg, last Friday night starring the hilarious Linda Lavin. About a hypochondriac older woman (Anna, played by Lavin) in the hospital, her children Abby (Kate Arrington) and Seth (Greg Keller) come to her side knowing fully that this will not be her last time in the hospital (”it’s become her pied-a-terre,” jokes her son about the hospital). 

Anna admits to Abby that she had an affair when he was a teenager and her lover was an infamous American who had committed treason. Abby and Seth start to investigate her past to see if she’s telling the truth or not.

I’ve seen Lavin previously in Collected Stories and The Lyons and she’s always. the. best. I realized this time around that she basically plays the same role over and over – crazy, overbearing mother. I also realized that Lavin’s portrayal is becoming more and more like my paternal grandmother. A batshit crazy, narcissist who never should’ve had kids. 

In addition to Lavin, I really enjoyed Greg Keller’s performance. I can’t pinpoint why but I really felt for his character. Arrington was fine, as was John Procaccino as both their late father and Anna’s lover.

I walked away from this feeling the same way that I had after Big Fish. They’re both memory pieces. Is this a mind blowing play? Nah. Is it entertaining? For sure. 


Memories: Shakespeare in the Park Rush Lines of the Past

There are certain theatrical events that are worth a good 12 hours on the street. This is one of them.

The last time I’d waited on an early morning line for tickets to a show was at the Public was probably 2007. Long before a HAIR revival was a glimmer in any producer’s eye, The Public presented a one-weekend only staged concert production of it in honor of its 40th anniversary. I love HAIR more than my friends (I kid, but you get the point) and I’d yet to see a professional production of it, so this was a must-see. It was also high on the priorities list for my friend Kristen who was matriculating at NYU not far from the Public at the time. I remember getting a call from Kristen around 10:30pm the night before the concert and her saying, “people are already at the Public,” and all I could reply was, “see you by eleven!” and hung up. I was living in FiDi so I packed a bag and met up with her where we chatted, slept or stayed caffeinated, ate, and played card games as the hours ticked by.

About 30 minutes before tickets were given out, the sky opened up and it not only rained, it poured. It was a little annoying, but mostly magical. Here’s photo evidence:

We went home, drenched, but with tickets in hand.

We toasted with the friends we’d made in line in front of us around noon. It was brunch time soon anyways, right?

The concert was, obviously, worth every second on the street that night. And the next summer it came back, and that season HAIR was back on Broadway.

While shuffling through my iTunes today at work, the encore (“Good Riddance”/“Walking Out On Love”) from February 27th caught me totally off-guard. In fact, I had to listen to it twice.

The above picture was taken (by me) almost a year ago (February 27th, 2011). It seems like forever ago. American Idiot was a huge source of happiness for me from September 2009 (when I went to see it in Berkeley) until April 2011 (when they played their final performance on Broadway). But in less than a week, I’ll get to experience the mind-blowing musical journey again… this time in Boston.

My friend Matt and I are traveling north in the wee hours (7am to be exact) of the morning on January 29th to see the show one more time. We both saw the show numerous times on Broadway (though neither of us ever kept track of an exact number – because it didn’t matter).  We also saw the Foxboro Hot Tubs in concert together in April 2010, and Green Day later that year in August. You could say Green Day solidified our friendship.

I’m excited to see a new group of people (for the most part) perform the show. I have a feeling it’ll be like American Idiot Jr. though – they all look so young. I’m excited to see the new choreography, but admittedly scratching-my-head that they changed the dialogue at the end. That will be odd to listen to.  

It will be incredible to see Idiot in all it’s glory again and I will almost-definitely be choked up when the curtain begins it’s one-and-only ascent at 1pm, but nothing will ever replace the company above (and Tony, of course). And you know what? That’s OK.  

Photo credit: thatgirlallison.com