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. 


Last Thursday night I saw ONCE for the first time in two years since it was in previews in 2012. I’d forgotten (almost) how beautiful this show is. The cast was almost completely different but it was still the same show. We somehow ended up in the front row on the right side, which was kind of amazing too. 

I felt almost like a newcomer to the show after not seeing it for two years and I think it’s held up beautifully. Paul Alexander Nolan is a great “Guy” and Joanna Christie is enjoyable as “Girl” (though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Milioti a bit).

If you haven’t seen this one in a while, give it another go. I’ll be seeing it again for sure in another 2 years. 

Tickets were provided by the production. 

Yeah. I like this…

I recently played through the concept recording of Paul Scott Goodman’s Bright Lights, Big City, based on the novel by Jay McInerny. I still knew every single word. It was totally weird.

Circa 2006, I found myself with a copy of the star-filled concept recording and after listening to it once, I was obsessed. When I learned that the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia was producing it (for the first time since it’d been at NYTW in 1999), I found a friend and we made a day (and night) of it (we literally got back at 2am and headed over to Marie’s Crisis until closing – of course).

Truth be told: Brights Lights, Big City doesn’t really work as a musical, if we’re being honest. It’s based on a book that is written in a really odd narrative. But the score? Holy shit. One of my top three favorite scores ever (after Hair and High Fidelity, probably).

And if you love Patrick Wilson, or say, Sherie Rene Scott, or Jesse L. Martin, or Eden Espinoza… well, you’ll love it too. 

I think this quote perfectly fits the Republican party. But that’s not what I’m writing about. I went to see Peter and the Starcatcher for a final time on Broadway last night. I saw it once off-Broadway at NYTW, and then again at their first preview on Broadway. 

The show has some insanely special moments (when Molly walks into several different rooms on her ship? That’s quite epic!), but my favorite will forever be the final scene. When everything is tied together: Tinkerbell is created, the island is named Neverland, and we find out who Molly becomes later in life, among other things.

Peter is one of the most uniquely designed shows I’ve seen in the last decade. It deserved every TONY Award it won. The new cast is very good (of course I’m still partial to the originals, but hey). I’m glad Adam Chanler-Berat stuck around though. I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing Peter. Betsy Hogg (Molly) grew on me as the show progressed. 

Peter remains magical, and will only become more magical when it moves back into the space that I believe it was made for: a small, intimate space (like NYTW). A couple members of the company are transferring to New World Stages, but most of the cast will be new. 

I digress: What I’m trying to say is that I am happy I was able to see Peter and the Starcatcher once more before it closes. I hope you all have the chance to see it too, or that you see it off-Broadway.

New York Theatre Workshop is on a roll. Currently on Broadway they have two shows that originated at their theatre. I was offered tickets to the first preview of Peter and the Starcatcher a couple of weeks ago, so of course I said yes (after having enjoyed it at NYTW) and I took my mom who’s favorite fairy tale is Peter Pan.  The theatre was buzzing with excitement and after I said hello to some friends, we took our seats.

The cast from downtown transferred, which was exciting since Christian Borle is basically a huge TV star (with the debut of Smash) and Celia Keenan-Bolger will always have a special place in my heart because I’ve been watching her own the stage since I was 16. And lest we not forget Adam Chanler-Berat, from Next to Normal, who is just so touching you want to wait at the stage door after and squeeze him when he comes out.  Just so you can’t say that I didn’t warn you (if you didn’t already know), Peter and the Starcatcher is not a musical, but there is music in it.

Just to summarize again, Peter and the Starcatcher is the backstory to Peter Pan (the non-musical Wicked of Peter Pan, if you will). I have to say that you don’t see the roundup coming at the end but it brings the story together very nicely and it’s probably my favorite part.

The references to Peter Pan are numerous (Peter being afraid of his shadow, for instance) and it’s fun to try to catch all of them (which I don’t think I did). The set is simple and the cast make most of the scenery themselves, using ropes and chairs.

Christian Borle is still hilariously funny in the second act. He garnered cheers and applause from everyone in the house after one of his many rants that leaves him red in the face and breathless. It left us breathless too, Christian.

The show transferred nicely onto Broadway and fills the space at the Brooks Atkinson, but I’m afraid the theatre might be a tad too big. As a producer, I would have maybe waited until the Booth was free, as it would have been intimate enough and probably damn-near perfect (damn you, Other Dessert Cities! Kidding!).

Peter and the Starcatcher is for the dreamer in everyone of us who wants a night of magic. Because that’s exactly what this show provides. 

If I were going to pick two words to describe Peter and the Starcatcher, part of the current season at New York Theatre Workshop, they would be creative and adorable.  This is explicitly listed as not being a show for kids but I would beg to differ.  Though it is not only a show for kids because every adult in the theatre last Sunday also enjoyed themselves.  

I didn’t do my research prior to seeing Peter… because otherwise I would’ve known that it was based on a book of the same title and that the story was the prequel to Peter Pan.  (Do your research, kids!)  There was a tiny bit of singing, but this was, for the most part, a drama with bits of comedic relief mixed in.  

I won’t go into the plot so I don’t ruin anything, but what struck me most was the direction and incredibly creative use of the few props they had.  They used rope to create doorways and small rooms.  Adam Chanler-Berat was attention-grabbing and endearing as Peter, as was Celia Keenan-Bolger as Molly, the starcatcher.  Most of the comic relief was provided by a hilarious Christian Borle as the pirate captain.  

Peter and the Starcatcher could be compared to Wicked, but dare I say it has a lot more heart and depth?

Peter and the Starcatcher is playing at NYTW through April 3rd.  For More information click here.  

(photo via)