Drama School 101: Read the Fucking Play

I never made it to Shakespeare in the Park last year. I don’t know why but the entire season just flew by before I could decide whether or not to go line up one morning. And truth be told, their current (well, it’s closing tonight) production of Julius Caesar almost did, too. Julius Caesar isn’t one of my favorites and I didn’t think there was anyone in it of note. THEN the media on the right started kicking and screaming like the little snowflakes that they are and I was like, “OKAY, I’VE GOTTA SEE THIS.” I tried playing the lottery via TodayTix all week and finally had last night free and decided to take a little sign down to the Public and try to get a ticket.

When I asked where the stand-by line was, they said there wasn’t any because the show was sold out. So silly. There are always extra tickets. Anyways, there were already protesters there (protesting IN favor) when I arrive at 5:15pm and it only grew while I waited with my little sign (almost getting ticketed, multiple times, because apparently you’re not allowed to “solicit” in Central Park. Sorry, dudes, I just wanted a ticket, not soliciting for sex).  I read Imogen Lloyd-Webber’s, “The Intelligent Conversationalist” while I waited and watched the cops arrive as the counter protests (pro-Trump, anti-production) arrived – two old, white senior citizens – and the barricades went up. There was a blonde girl protesting in support of the production screaming her head off. I wanted to tell her to STFU because she was our side look bad because she looked like a lunatic, but I decided not to.

Around 7:10pm, a woman around my age was walking by when she saw my sign and said, “Oh, I think I might have an extra ticket. I don’t think my friend is coming, hold on.” And after she went to the box office, another guy came up to me and said he might have an extra one, as well. The woman came back first, and I gave my sign to another guy who was waiting around for a ticket (who I think was given the ticket that the second person who approached me had. Yay, teamwork). I grabbed a chicken wrap and a beer from the concession stand, watched some more of the protest, and then took my seat.

The audience was allowed onstage, to sign banners, and it was all pretty awesome. Then at 8:10, Oskar Eustis’ voice came on the PA system and told us about who was sponsoring the show, and added that despite his statement in the program, there was one line that was changed and we’d all know what it was when it came. AHHHH.

Continue reading “Drama School 101: Read the Fucking Play”

When Hamlet in Bed, a newest work currently being performed at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, got a great write up in Time Out New York, I decided, what the hell, and I went to see it. Time Out is pretty much where I go for all of my off-Broadway recs (besides friends). I thought it would be a reinterpretation of Hamlet but I was completely off base. 

Hamlet in Bed was about a mother and son who didn’t know it. Michael Laurence, the star and playwright, played Michael, an actor and orphan, who has an obsession with Hamlet (the play) and is sold the journal of a woman, Ana (played by Annette O’Toole), who Ophelia in 1975. The journal ends with an entry saying that her son was born on the day that happens to be his birthday and she gave him up for adoption.

He finds her and casts her as Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, in his adaptation of Hamlet called Hamlet in Bed. The play is dark and twisted, and a bit confusing. Ana has a hallucination (of sorts) once Michael tells her who he is after three weeks of deceiving her.

Hamlet in Bed is a quick 90 minutes and it’s interesting and eerie, especially if you know Hamlet. If you like off the beaten path theatre, head downtown and check it out.

You know you’ve made it in New York when you can go see Shakespeare in the Park without having to wait in line. Something like that. My friend texted me two Wednesdays ago saying she had two tickets to Much Ado About Nothing and I canceled my plans to go to yoga and immediately headed to the park after work.

I’d really wanted to see this because of Hamish Linklater and Lily Rabe. Because, duh, they’re fabulous. I hadn’t seen Much Ado since I was in 5th grade and saw my high school’s production, but got the gist from reading a brief synopsis before the show that night – love triangles, tricks, and all of that. Great, so basically your typical Shakespearian comedy. To be honest, I’m a much bigger fan of Shakespeare’s dramas and tragedies than I am of his comedies. But this is Shakespeare in the Park. And it’s free. And it’s a New York tradition. It’s my tradition. There was no way I wasn’t seeing it.

Linklater and Rabe made the show for me. They were both absolutely brilliant. Brian Stokes Mitchell was miscast as Don Pedro and I barely noticed when he was onstage (and that’s saying something). There were really no weak links in this, but Linklater and Rabe just made this so-so comedy of Shakespeare’s that much better to watch.

Much Ado About Nothing plays through July 6th, so this is your last week. Get thee to the Delacorte!

Pizza and Shakespeare

A couple of weeks back, my friend Andrew (who I met years back because of his enthusiasm for Green Day and goes to as many concerts a week as I do shows) and I hopped on a MetroNorth train up to New Haven to see a matinee of These Paper Bullets. Shakespeare and music by Billie Joe Armstrong? Consider me there. But before the show, there were two must-haves: Frank Pepe’s and cannolis. We had both (well, we saved the cannolis for the ride home but whatever) plus the most delicious $1.75/pint beer (it was basically PBR, but Italian, so much classier):

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We ate all of that. It was delicious. There were no regrets.

It had started pouring in New Haven literally the second that we stepped out of the train station, but we put up our hoods and umbrellas and walked over the Yale Rep to pick up our tickets and wait for the show to begin.

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I liked the show. I didn’t love it. The music was all very Beatles-esque and catchy, and thus good, but I wanted more of it. The creative team is very spot-on with not wanting to call this a musical, but more of a play with music. The cast, which included the fabulous Stephen DeRosa and the brooding David Wilson Barnes, was great. Very solid acting chops all around.

My only critique of the show was that it could’ve been just as good if it was a solid 1 hour and 45 minutes with no intermission. I know they were trying to update Much Ado About Nothing scene by scene, but large parts dragged and were unnecessary. They had a talkback afterwards and it was cool to hear about how the show came together.

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I was shocked at how little I knew about the cast beforehand and how many of the cast members I’d before in shows in New York. Love out of town try-outs. Unfortunately we missed the earlier train back though and had to wait around for one an hour later. Worry not though, we had cannolis to keep us company.

These Paper Bullets was entertaining and a ton of fun, but I’m not sure it’ll have a life after Yale Rep. Who knows though!

As you may or may not have known, the fall revival of Romeo and Juliet, staring Orlando Bloom and  Condola Rashad, was filmed and is being shown on select screens across the country from February 13th to the 19th. Right in time for Valentine’s Day!

That Girl Allisonis giving away a pair of tickets to one lucky reader. I think it’s a perfect Valentine’s Day activity. Even if you saw the production live, I think it will be a completely different experience seeing it on screen, with close ups and all. And who doesn’t love seeing Orlando Bloom up close on screen?

Want to win? Comment and tell me what you’re doing on Valentine’s Day (even if you’re doing anti-Valentine’s Day!) and reblog this post! The winner will be announced on Wednesday.

I saw the Twelfth Night’s companion yesterday, Richard III. I had no idea what it was about except that it was about a king that murdered people. 

As with Twelfth Night, the company acted through the three hour drama exquisitely.  Mark Rylance stole the show again, duh, followed by the lovely Samuel Barnett (at least in my opinion). 

I preferred Twelfth Night to Richard III, but I think that’s only because I was more familiar with that story.

Both pieces are beautiful examples of Shakespeare’s texts when they’re performed with integrity and as they’d been performed when they were originally written. And I’m incredibly glad I saw them both. 

Parting is such sweet sorrow. 

On Thursday night the new revival of Romeo and Juliet opened and last week I had the opportunity to see it. I was incredibly excited because I love Shakespeare and also because I’d never seen a professional production of R&J. Also: Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad were starring in it. With Chuck Cooper and Jayne Houdyshell to boot. I was just as excited for the cast as I was for the iambic pentameter.

As per usual with Shakespeare, the set (by Jesse Poleshuck) was sparse and the lighting (by David Weiner) was interesting. The costumes (by Fabio Toblini) were more Baz Luhrman-esque than Elizabethan.

I’d heard complaints about the chemistry between Bloom and Rashad but I didn’t have any problem – in fact I liked them both a lot. I also adored Chuck Cooper as Lord Capulet as he was absolutely frightening. Justin Guarini gave a surprisingly convincing performance as Paris too. (As it turns out, he has more than one facial expression contrary to his performance in American Idiot.) And Houdyshell as the Nurse? Maybe the best in the cast. Editors NoteChristian Camargo’s Mercutio was gripping and perfect too. You can definitely see why Juilliard wanted him. 

 I’m not sure what prompted this revival, as Broadway is surely inundated with Shakespeare this season, but I’d say its definitely worth a viewing if you’re a fan of the play or any of it’s cast members.

Disclaimer: Tickets were gratis courtesy of SC. 

And the winner is…

Apologies for this post being a few days late! Life gets in the way of blogging sometimes.

The winner of the pair of tickets to Romeo & Juliet is…. Sami! Congrats, lady! Enjoy Bloom and Rashad onstage. They’re both wonderful!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered, and keep an eye out for another ticket give away (to a different show) next week!

even if you’re little you can do a lot

A little over a week ago, the company I work for had their annual ‘offsite company meeting’ down at the Crosby Hotel. We reviewed the last year and looked ahead to what was coming during the next theatre season. We reviewed the beginnings of the company and how far we’ve come. I say “we” carefully because I’ve only been there for 8 months.

At the end we were shown a slide show that ended with the above graphic as a closer. It’s a quote from one of our shows with the names of all the shows the company has worked on in the last 3 years and all of our names lettered over (under?) it.

We all got copies and then we had champagne in the next room. It was pretty cool.

It was pretty awesome to feel apart of a company that’s done so much in such a short time, with some awesome people. 

Something else Broadway related: You have a few days left to enter to win tickets to Romeo and Juliet… starring Condola Rashad and Orlando Bloom! Follow here and reblog this post