Alice Ripley & American Psycho

I’ve been reading a lot about how the theatre community thinks Alice Ripley is wasting her talents in her small roles in American Psycho. They’re pissed that her roles are barely-there and I have to say they’re pretty much unnecessary. The show would be the same whether or not Patrick Bateman’s mom showed up.

Ripley was last on Broadway in Next to Normal where she famously and award-winningly got to have mental breakdowns onstage every night. Rumor has it that she also blew her voice out pretty hard with the score. Whatever the case may be, American Psycho is her first return to a Broadway stage and people are pissed. They’re even going as far to say that she must be furious with how small her role is.

To the fans who don’t know how the industry works, let me just tell you: she didn’t take the part without reading the script first. No one tricked her into a small role. If she has an agent worth his or her salt, he/she negotiated a really good deal for her, what, with being a Broadway veteran and a Tony Award winner. That counts for something.

Equity weekly minimum is around $1,475 (I think) and with her credentials I’d bet she’s making at least $2,500 every week. You could offer me $2,500 every week for a small-ish role in a Broadway show and I’d sure as hell take it. I’m pretty sure most people would.

As the theatre crowd erupts in self-righteous anger over this I’d like to remind them that Ripley is a person and has bills to pay, too. And if she can still pay those bills while working on Broadway, who is anyone to tell her what role is beneath her? Oh, right: not you. Or me. Or anyone but herself.

/end rant

On Saturday before meeting Kristen at Cafe Edison, I swung by the St. James and picked up two of the last rush tickets for the matinee of Side Show. It was opening soon (Monday night!) and we were already feeling like we were the last people to see it, so off we went. After a lovely and chaotic lunch at Cafe Edison (matzos ball soup and blintzes, of course), we headed over to the St. James. It was press weekend so the house was packed and you could tell from the energy inside that there were a ton of super fans there.

I was excited to see a professional production of the show after having heard the score so many times and seeing an off-Broadway version years ago. And also the buzz surrounding this one was ridiculous.

Overall it’s a fantastic production of a happy, yet deeply depressing show. There’s not really a happy ending. Luckily though Erin Davie and Emily Padgett sing the absolute shit out of Henry Krieger and Bill Russell’s beautiful score. While Matthew Hydzik, Robert Joy, and Ryan Silverman were all lovely, David St. Louis showed them all up. He had a powerhouse voice and acted his role (Jake) fantastically. I have lovely memories watching him as an Collins’ understudy and in the ensemble in Rent, and he definitely deserve the Tony nomination he’s going to get for his performance.

This is a brilliant staging of the cult favorite with a stunning cast. Although I don’t get the fan girling around Side Show, I’m really appreciative to have the opportunity to see this production. If you love musical theatre, you should go see it too.