I saw Fun Home towards the end of it’s run at the Public back in December 2013. I really liked it but it was dark as fuck. I finally made it around to see the transfer to Broadway last night, courtesy of The League. I never really thought the transfer was a good idea, but apparently some people did.
After seeing the transfer last night, I think I liked the full 2.5-hour version at the Public more (shocker, I know). The transfer feels semi-gutted. It felt more like a play with music than a musical, to be honest, and I wasn’t a big fan of the score. The score doesn’t do much to drive the plot along. The cast though is phenomenal all around and Cerveris definitely deserved his Tony Award.
That said, even though I didn’t go head-over-heels for it, I still think it’s an important piece of theatre. Kudos to all involved.
I’ve been very excited for this revival of Evita since it was announced many months ago. Evita is a fantastic score that I’ve been familiar with since the movie adaptation in the mid-90’s starring Madonna, although I’d never seen a stage production before. On a side note, I revisited the movie recently and discerned that Madonna was, in fact, awful in the role (a large part of the score was lowered for her). My friend Kristen and I ended up in side orchestra seats and we were both excited. Christina DeCicco, the Evita alternate, was on, but everyone else was present and accounted for, including Ricky Martin and Michael Cerveris.
The production is beautiful; the sets, costumes, and lighting are all perfect. The cast is talented through and through. The problem is the theatre. The Marquis Theatre is a hard theatre to fill, to get energy across. That was the only problem, the energy, or the lack thereof. I’d hoped for a deafening “Requiem,” but it was rather tame. The sound barely reached the 6th row where we were sitting. The audience seemed unenthused and as a consequence, the company onstage seemed the same.
Rachel Potter, who portrayed Peron’s mistress, was a beautiful break to DeCicco’s powerhouse belt with her number “Another Suitcase in Another Hall.” She was demure and had an absolute beauty of a voice. Cerveris portrayed a fine Peron, vocally and acting-wise. I wish they wouldn’t have put him in a wig though; it looked odd. Martin has a beautiful voice but he would probably benefit from a few acting classes.
I’d like to assume that it was an off night, both onstage and off, at the Marquis. This revival of Evita is beautiful sounding and looking. And definitely worth a night in the theatre.
This past Tuesday night, I took in a preview performance of the new Lincoln Center play “In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)." I knew nothing about this play beforehand, only that it’s cast included stage veterans like Laura Benanti and Michael Cerveris. My friend and unofficial date for the night, Joey, explained that it was somewhat a history lesson of the first existing vibrators. I was extremely intrigued.
In short, Cerveris played a doctor who would administer "electrical stimulation” (vibrations) to those who he diagnosed as “hysterical." His patients soon become obsessed with the treatment leading his wife (Benanti) to wonder what exactly he is doing in there. Benanti is a new mother who is extremely lonely and a wife who’s husband refuses to see her as anything but his wife. The final scene is outside of their house in the snow, with Benanti undressing Cerveris and trying to break through this wall.
All in all, I enjoyed the show. The second act dragged though, a lot. The way the first act played out, you would’ve thought that it was going to be a comedy all the way through, but how wrong you would be. I wasn’t expecting the dramatic portion and in all honesty, I liked the comedic half of the show better. The set was appropriate and like most Lincoln Center productions, it moves with ease (at the end), and the lighting (at the end) was most effective. The cast was stellar throughout, though I believe Laura Benanti deserves special mention for her comedic timing and delivery.
Not a bad show to check out if you want to learn about the early lives of vibrators!
(Photo courtesy of Playbill.com)