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! 

Hamilton Prediction

I stopped reading the Hamilton cancellation thread on BroadwayWorld after I was able to buy tickets the last time they went on sale. The waits had gotten to 3+ days and there’s no show worth losing that much time over. So: no. I was wasting far too much time reading about teenagers “choose to be homeless” to obtain tickets to a show. 

But last night, I was curious as to how the waits were now that 3 of the principal cast members (including the writer) were gone and I was shocked – sort of – to see that you could now, apparently, get in line the day-of at 6am and get tickets for the show that night. 

I’m starting to think that Lin-Manuel Miranda, lyrical genius as he may be, let Hamilton be more about him – as Lin-Manuel – than about Alexander Hamilton and that Hamilton, the show, without him won’t last anywhere near as long as we all thought – Decades? Centuries?! 

I think the market will soon be saturated. Everyone who has the means to see Hamilton on Broadway soon will have done so and ticket demand, as well as ticket prices, will start to go away. I mean, it’s already been filmed for mass consumption. The tour is starting soon, too (and it has a pretty bomb cast). 

I’m going to place my bets on Hamilton running a good 5 years. This is a fantastic run for any show on Broadway, including Hamilton (and they’ve also already recouped, so fuck it, right?). 

We will see, I suppose. 

She Loves Me @ Studio 54

A while back, I bought Hiptix for @endotique and I to see She Loves Me at Roundabout’s Studio 54 and finally on Wednesday it was the night. I knew nothing about the plot but I knew Zachary Levi and Laura Benanti were in it and that was good enough for me. Little did I know I was going to see You’ve Got Mail the Musical….

No, really. It was. It followed the plot to a T. Over all, I really liked She Loves Me. It was worth the two and a half hours alone just to see Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi onstage. I’m not a super fan of either, but both are abundantly talented and it’s so fun to watch, and listen, to them live.

Shows like this have a tendency to frustrate because you’re like, “OMG he’s the one you love!” And of course their character doesn’t know it. I found myself making comparisons the entire time to You’ve Got Mail. I’m not saying that was a good or bad; it just was a thing.

The company were all fantastic. The last time I saw Levi he was in the abysmal First Date, where he was wasting away on trite material, and he delighted me again this time, except with better material. He can dance, too. Who knew? Laura Benanti sings like a bird and she is beautiful. She sort of always plays the same kind of character onstage but at the very least, she’s good at it! So why mess with something if it’s not broken?

The only thing that had me looking at my playbill to see how much longer was left was the lack of AC in the rear mezz, but if you can brave the heat, or buy a ticket downstairs, you’ll be golden. She Loves Me is classic musical theatre and a good time – even for people, like me, who can almost never justify a two and a half hour musical.

An American In Paris

I had totally regretted signing on to help out, and in return watch, An American in Paris last weekend. It was a show that I still hadn’t seen and I was like OK. Then when I thought about it, I was all, “A 2.5 hour show on a Saturday afternoon? Kill me.” But I didn’t want to bail so I went. I was pleased when the exposition was set and it was a story that was semi-interesting to me. An American soldier who chooses to stay behind in Paris after world war 2? Sign me up.

I’m not the biggest fan of Gershwin music but it’s familiar and not the worst. I thought they weaved the songs together in a way that worked to move the story along and I thought a lot of the choreography was beautiful. The story didn’t have a fairytale ending which was fine with me, probably even preferable (though sad because of how we have all been conditioned to expect it). I enjoyed it as much as I could but truth be told, it was a little long. An hour and forty five minutes would’ve sufficed.

I was excited to see Max Von Essen because I grew up watching him in benefits and smaller shows and he didn’t disappoint. He was lovely. The lead, Leanne Cope, reminded me of Cristin Milioti in Once but if she could also dance. Dimitri Kleioris as the American, Jerry, was excellent, too. The rest of the cast was uniformly talented and easy to watch, and listen to.

This wouldn’t be the first, or fifth, show I’d recommend to someone but it was entertaining to say the least.

Rules were made to be broken. It is criminally insane that most of the orchestra was being sold for $849/ticket. As you can see, I did NOT buy those tickets. These are for February 1st and that’s 7 months away. I can opt to do the cancellation line at any point and sell these off, but in the case that I don’t (and that’s likely going to be the case because eff that), I have these. 

It will be totally tragic not to see certain members of the original cast, but having not seem them before, I won’t know the damn difference. 

Ticketmaster is currently crashing. Godspeed to one and all. 

Going psycho one last time.

After American Psycho announced their closing date, Kristen and I quickly grabbed tickets on TDF for last Thursday because I’d be away for the rest of the week. I really thought the score, the book, the cast, and the sets and staging was so great. It was a special kind of campy that I’d hoped could find a niche on Broadway.

Well, unfortunately, niches don’t keep shows alive on Broadway and in the black.

I was really thrilled to be able to see it one last time (though, for the record, it was only my second time) and this time it was from the mezzanine so I’d be able to fully see the sets and lighting in all their glory.

And it was glorious. The hardcore fans they’d likely found were there making noise and you could the cast was having a great time. Benjamin Walker had amped up the crazy since the first week of previews and his voice (and body) was in perfect shape.

My favorite song of this score ended up being Killing Spree as Walker sounds great and it’s a particularly hilarious song (aside from the killing).

People say Americans aren’t any where near mature enough to take their mental health seriously and to begin to have an honest conversation about it. Audiences being unwilling to embrace a brutal and bloody show about mental health might be a clue to how very true that is.

RIP, American Psycho.

It Only Takes a Taste

Last Wednesday I went to my final show of a marathon (for me nowadays) of 7 shows in 2.5 weeks, Waitress. I hadn’t (and still haven’t, though it’s on my queue) seen the movie, hadn’t listened to any of the music, and I don’t know any of Sara Bareilles’ music (maybe a partial lie – I’ve heard, like, one song before), but I heard it was good, and the last row of the mezzanine is super cheap (and actually not awful, take note!). I’d also not yet had the pleasure of seeing Jessie Mueller in a leading role so I was quite excited for that, too. 

I arrived at the theatre to the scent of baked goods (good job, producing team, that was the right choice), immediately became hungry, and took my seat. The rear mezzanine seats at the Brooks Atkinson are not bad at all. It’s not like the St. James where you feel miles above the stage (that’s the balcony, I guess, but still, they’re awful seats). I looked at the cast and only recognized a few of the names in addition to Mueller’s. A cast of unknowns – awesome!

I knew the basic plot of the show – waitress in a redneck town gets knocked up – but not more than that. It’s a pretty typical plot as far as plots about girls getting knocked up in redneck towns go. Abusive husband? Check. Witty group of friends/colleagues? Check. The boss who’s also a semi-father figure/advice giver? Check. A new love interest? Check. 

Jenna (Mueller)’s friends at the diner Dawn (Kimiko Glenn) and Becky (Keala Settle) were both hysterical, and super talented. I realized at intermission that Kimiko is So-So from Orange is the New Black and she has a terrific voice and she’s a great actress. Drew Gehling (who plays Jenna’s new love interest, and her OBGYN, Dr. Pomatter) was just delightful. He was nervously awkward but very genuinely sweet. Dawn’s love interest, Ogie (Christopher Fitzgerald), totally steals every scene he’s in. Give him an honorary Tony Award for comedy or something. 

The show’s conclusion is logical, but disappointing. I guess such is life, too. I really enjoyed the score (good job, Bareilles), as well as the lighting. To be honest, I don’t remember much of the choreography. Side note: the sets are all automated. At the end of the first scene of the second act, an announcement went over the PA system saying they were taking a 10 minute break for technical difficulties. Shortly thereafter we got back on track. #livetheatre

I’m not sure whether it was the short pause in the second act, or the overall length of the show, but although I really enjoyed it, it felt it was 15-20 minutes too long. It definitely worth a visit though, especially if you like Sara Bareilles. 

Last thing: I totally bought the $10 pie-in-a-jar at intermission. You just want some baked goods, any baked goods, after the first act. Nom.

It (Doesn’t) Suck to Be Me

This won’t be much of a review since Avenue Q has been around since 2003. Everyone’s seen it (if you like theatre) and everyone knows it’s greatness. I hadn’t seen Avenue Q onstage (so: at all) since 2005 or 2006. It was a great little show and I saw it twice on Broadway. When J mentioned that he’d heard “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist” and “The Internet is For Porn,” I thought it’d be a great birthday present and it was.

He liked it so much more than we both ever could’ve imagined. He never stopped laughing. I, of course, enjoyed it, too. It was nice to see it again, this time in a smaller space. The cast was fantastic across the board. 

J spent the rest of the weekend ranting and raving to anyone who would listen about how good the show was. And like I said, he’s lost most of his interest in seeing Hamilton now because he doesn’t think it could entertain him more than Avenue Q did. Is Hamilton as funny as Avenue Q? Likely not. I’m certain it has it’s own merits though – duh, of course.

The moral of this story? Since no one can get tickets to Hamilton, go see Avenue Q. Obviously. Because it’s (still) a solid and terrifically entertaining show.

Tradition. When it was first announced that Fiddler on the Roof was being revived, yet again, I was feeling lukewarm about it. Did we really need ANOTHER revival of this show?! 

Answer: Yes.

We needed THIS revival of Fiddler on the Roof. I was in the ensemble of Fiddler on the Roof at a community theatre in high school and I’d forgotten just how well I knew the show. I remembered probably 75% of the lyrics. There were songs that I’d forgotten were even in the score, but as soon as the music started, the lyrics would come rushing back. This show is a classic, and not in the so-classic-it-makes-me-want-to-hang-myself way The Music Man and Oklahoma are classic. But the good kind: the kind that makes memories rush back in. 

(It’s also especially relevant and timely to revive this now because of the current refugee crisis in the Middle East. But that’s for another post entirely.)

First things first: Danny Burstein is a national treasure. He’s great in whatever he does, we know this. He was marvelous in the revival of Cabaret and he’s even better in this. He gives it his all the entire time. It’s exhausting to watch. I also loved Alexandra Silber as Tzeitel. And Jessica Hecht poured her heart and soul into Golde. Oh, and Alix Korey: Oh, Alix Korey. How I’ve missed this woman. She was perfect as Yente. 

The entire company looks like they’re having the time of their lives onstage and their energy floods the audience. The show is somber and the last sequence is 100% depressing but when it’s not intentionally depressing, it’s exquisite. The direction and sets and lighting are all excellent. The choreography is WONDERFUL. A lot of it felt very familiar but new at the same time. 

Fiddler clocks in at minutes under 3 hours, but it never felt long. At all. Had I known how great this revival is, I wouldn’t have waited 6 months to see it. 

Get thee to the Broadway Theatre. 

A Theatre Date with Myself

So, I’ve been whittling away at the shows I need to see this season and when Tuck Everlasting came up for the Saturday matinee last weekend, I said why not. I knew it was based on a book (or a movie?) and it had a great cast (Terrance Mann, Carolee Carmello, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, etc). The summary on Playbill did not make it sound enticing though: “When Winnie Foster discovers the magical secret of the Tuck family, she embarks on an extraordinary adventure that will change her life forever.” Snooze. It sounded pretty damn boring. I was already committed though so there was no turning back. I was hooked up by TDF in the fourth row of the mezzanine with a great view. 

Playbill’s elevator pitch was accurate but the story (and show!) was actually a lot more interesting and entertaining than the pitch would let onto. When Winnie runs away, she meets the Tuck family who, 100 years earlier, accidentally drank from a spring in the forest that Winnie’s family owns and they are now immortal. 

Andrew Keenan-Bolgar plays Jesse Tuck, the 17-year-old son of Angus (Michael Park) and Mae (Carolee Carmello) Tuck and brother of Miles (Robert Lenzi). He tells Winnie (the incredible Sarah Charles Lewis) his families secret which is less than ideal for his family. After some conflict, Winnie has to decide whether or not to drink the water that Jesse has given her when she turns 17 and live forever with him.

Terrance Mann plays “Man in the Yellow Suit.” He’s a strange old man that can tell people’s ages by looking into their eyes. You can probably tell what happens and he goes after the Tuck family, though unsuccessfully. Mann has always been one of my favorites and he certainly didn’t disappoint with his supporting role in this show.

I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It was really sad at times and really funny during others. It had a lot of heart and was really heavy. The one thing that bugged me was the ensemble choreography in the first few numbers of the first act. Maybe it was where I was sitting, but it looked so sloppy. It got better from there though.

This entire cast is uniformly strong and meshes really well together.

The buzz is that this show won’t make it past Sunday, which is sad but what can you do? If you’re skeptical about whether or not to see Tuck Everlasting, I’d recommend giving it a shot. It could surprise you the same way it surprised me.