wonderboynj: (I Heart NY)
My friend Scott, summed it up far more eloquently than I could...but I did have to say a few things.

If at all possible, see A Normal Heart while you can. This may not happen again in our lifetime.

I came home full of things to say and thoughts I wanted to express. Instead, all I could do was cry.

It's a wonderful work, well written, beautifully directed and acted. The all white stage with it's difficult to read messages of despair, very touching.

I don't think there was one person on that stage who wasn't perfect for the role they were playing.

One of my current favorite actors on Broadway was there, Tony Sheldon who is currently starring as Bernadette in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The two readers of this journal and my Facebook will note that I ran into Nick Adams on a Wednesday night not too long ago as well.

I wanted to approach Mr. Sheldon after the show and just say Hi and tell him I loved his performance and wish him the best at the Tonys. However, everyone was crying when the show was over, it just seemed so wrong to say something to him at the moment. Really, it seemed wrong to say anything.

I also saw Cynthia Nixon and her partner, both with tears streaming down their faces as they headed West on 45th street. [livejournal.com profile] anarchy_lime spotted Kathleen Chalfant, I did not. Nor did I realize who she was until I googled her.

So, if I was a real critic I would write. "Go see A Normal Heart. Take some tissues, and someone you love. When the show is over, tell everyone you love again and again that you love them. Don't stop."

And if you're reading this. I love you.

War Horse

May. 25th, 2011 12:21 am
wonderboynj: (Woofy Smile)
Fading away like the stars in the morning
Losing their light in their glorious sun
Thus would we pass from this earth and it's toiling
Only remembered for what we have done

Only Remembered, one of the moving songs in War Horse, a play with music currently on an open-ended run at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater.

You must see it. Get a ticket, and it's a hot ticket right now so it will take some doing, but it will be well worth the effort. Tip: Try to get a seat on one of the aisles.

I've been looking forward to this show since it was announced the London production would open in the United States, and I was not disappointed.

War Horse is based on a children's book, but it is far from a children's production. It's the story of a boy named Albert, and his horse, Joey. Joey is sold by Albert's alcoholic father to the British Calvary. Eventually Albert runs away to travel through Europe to find him.

Joey, and the other horses in the story, are puppets. Saying that they are puppets doesn't begin to describe them really. These puppets quickly become real. They breathe, they whinny, they stamp their feet, their hooves clomp when they walk around the stage, they do everything but poop on the stage. I'd say within 5 minutes of young Joey's appearance onstage no one in the audience thought of him as a puppet. There is also an adorable goose who I just wanted to take home with me. In addition to the two main horses, Joey and Topthorne, there are about 8 other horses in the show. Most of the other horses are not nearly as intricate as Joey and Topthorne.

As you can imagine the show packs quite the emotional punch but I wouldn't call it a tear jerker. There's a scene right near the very end where I think everyone in the theater gasped at the same time. The couple next to me from Spain burst out crying. That part in and of itself was worth the price of admission.

The staging of the show is a work of brilliance on it's own. I hesitate to use the word magic, but the entire back of the stage is dark and they use that to make the whole cast appear and disappear in seconds, and it is quite something to witness.

In World War I, it's estimated that 8 million horses died, that's almost as many horses as people. The ones that didn't die, were most often just left on the battlefields, in the trenches, or in France, sold to the local butcher. They weren't brought back as heroes.

As a side note, there was a fight behind me in the middle of the first act. This couple kept talking and talking and the people around me kept shushing them, it was like being at the opera the way people were shushing anyone who made the slightest noise. Anyway, finally this young man sitting next to the talking couple screamed "Shut the fuck up!" and hit the guy with his Playbill. Several of the actors on the stage turned and looked and I actually thought they were going to stop the show, they continued on though and those two seats were empty for the second act.

One thing about this show is it doesn't appear that Lincoln Center does a cancellation line. And outside of the theater, there are people literally begging for tickets. You would think these people were trying to get into The Book of Mormon. With the demand for tickets though, I was saddened to see a few empty seats and one entire empty row, for the whole show. Obviously people who had purchased tickets and just didn't show up for whatever reason.

So again, go see the show if at all possible. In addition to this production, it is going to begin a National Tour next year. I put some links to some neat video footage below.

This one I couldn't embed...

I had the pretty good fortune of seeing The Addams Family musical tonight, I mostly enjoyed it.

The things I did like.

Nathan Lane & Bebe Neuwirth as Gomez & Morticia Addams. Kevin Chamberlin as Uncle Fester may have the best part of the show, [livejournal.com profile] sohipithurts you should definitely see him, but try to get discount tickets if they are available :)

Some of the songs are really good, I think the cast recording if it sticks to just the songs, might be a very enjoyable experience.

The set is really well done, as are the puppets. Even though the creators have stated that the show is based on the cartoons, not the TV show or the 2 movies, we get the familiar "snap snap" theme music, plus appearances by Cousin It and Thing. I believe all 3 things were from the television show.

Several of the reviews have said the show's plot of Wednesday asking her family to be normal when they meet Lucas Lucas Lucas' family is stupid, because the Addams believe they are normal. I didn't have a problem with that aspect at all, I think every child, no matter what their family is like, just wants their family to be normal in that situation.

I thought Gomez and Morticia's quandry about getting old, etc, was very touching.

Some of the jokes are very funny, even if they were predictable. "Stop the damn texting and pick up a book!" and "Ohio is a swing state!" Oh, and lest we forget "What's the one thing we all want but not everyone has? Health care?"

We had great seats.

What I didn't care for.

The first & second act felt totally disjointed and Uncle Fester is missing for most of the second, though he does get two big parts. A cute dance with the moon and one other thing I won't give away. [livejournal.com profile] sirpupnyc pointed out that mostly the second act was all couples.

Morticia doesn't get to dance very much, but when she did lift up her skirt (literally), it was very enjoyable. In fact, I'd say Morticia doesn't get much of a part at all, the whole show is clearly Gomez'.

The writers, who clearly didn't spend any time on the second act at all, should have had the time to research that in 1969 John Lennon wouldn't have discovered that "All You Need Is Love".

The show will probably run forever. Five years ago even Wicked got bad reviews and look what happened to them!

If you can get a discount of some sort (doubtful) it's worth your time to see it. I'm not so sure it's worth the $136.50! to see, unless you have money to throw away. In which case you are probably not reading this.

Because I'm not as good about reviewing what I see as my friend Scott ([livejournal.com profile] sirpupnyc) is, I'm just going to make a list of what I've seen this year with less than a 5 word review of each :)

Going backwards.

Speed The Plow - Good show. Several great moments.
Mary Poppins - Go see it, practically perfect!
Tale of Two Cities - Torture, cut my head off!
Fuerza Bruta - Hot men, great company. Vern.
Damn Yankees - Great fun.
A Catered Affair - Loved it. Harvey Fierstein!
Sunday In The Park With George - I cried again, amazing.
The Ladies Who Sing Sondheim - Raul Esparza as Patti LuPone.
Sunday In The Park With George - Determined to see it again.
Legally Blonde - Forgettable. Oh, it's gone now.
The Little Mermaid - This is what they did?!
Young Frankenstein - Fun! Love anything well hung.

Coming up soon.

A Man For All Seasons
Thais (My first Renee Fleming performance)
This is my review of the unfortunate broadway musical I saw on Thursday, February 7th.

I waited for awhile to write this review because I hoped that my opinion of the show would change, it didn't really.

The show is pretty much awful and if you spend top dollar price for one of those tickets, you will be wasting a good deal of money. In the interest of honesty, I will tell you that my seat was free, even that didn't change my opinion much.

I wanted desperately to love the show, even before I saw it. It has one of my favorite songs in it "Part of Your World".

The set design is horrible, I can't imagine what they were thinking. It's all clear plastic and it doesn't even look good. At one point Arial looks like she is sitting in a soap dish, singing when she has no voice. King Triton rides around on a segway like thing.

Disney shot itself in the foot with the Lion King I think, because every show they do from now on will be compared to it, and it will never match it up to the sheer evening of entertainment that it turned out to be. I even loved Beauty & The Beast, which was pretty much an exact recreation of the movie, with a few special effects and some new songs thrown in.

There are a few good things to say about the Little Mermaid. The first, the cast is stellar, every last one of them. At times you are almost embarassed for them that this talent is being wasted there. Sierra Bogess as Ariel I loved. Sheri Renee Scott as Ursula stole the show, her first act number, the Good Old Days, is the one reason I will buy the cd for. But not at full price, I will buy it used on Amazon. Titus Burgess who plays Sebastian the Crab was amazing as well. His two big songs, Under The Sea and Kiss The Girl were the two best scenes in the show, oh and they used the same set for both of them.

My friend Scott has his particularly scathing review here

With all that said, I still have promised my niece I would take her to see it when she comes to NYC. Maybe then I can actually enjoy it, watching it through the eyes of a 7 year old.
I had the chance to see John Doyle's new production of Company on Halloween.

Mr. Doyle was responsible for last year's production of Sweeney Todd, which was notable for the fact that the company also doubled as the orchestra. Well, it was also notable for Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris, who were both excellent.

Company uses the same routine, although the cast is a little larger. I do have to say that I thought Company was excellent.

It's a musical about relationships, and the fact that 35 year old Bobby isn't in one. In today's society, I think most people who see the show will perceive Bobby as being gay. At one point in the show he talks about having decorated his fabulous apartment himself. Stephen Sondheim has adamantly denied this as being Bobby's problem. In fact, he refuses to allow productions that even cast one of the married couples as a same sex couple.

My chief complaint about the show is it's staging. The characters spend lots of time doing the same things over and over. Most of them walking around a square set in the center of the stage. It ends up that quite a few people sing with their backs to the audience, which gets a bit annoying.

This may have been the first time I have seen a show where I knew every song, and that's from versions not including the cast recording(s). The show features songs such as "Marry Me A Little", "Getting Married Today", "The Little Things You Do Together", "The Ladies Who Lunch" and "Being Alive."

Barbara Walsh, who was a good friend of my mother John Story, was excellent as Joanne, though it was difficult not to Elaine's voice in Joanne's singing and speaking. She delivered a biting "The Ladies Who Lunch.:

Raul Esparza's show stopping version of "Being Alive" marks the first time ever I have gotten goosebumps during a show.

Interestingly enough, the show's whole theme and that penultimate moment coincides with what's happening in my life right now, feeling very lonely and getting a little tired of sleeping alone :)

Now if I can just find "Someone to hold me to close"
wonderboynj: (I Heart NY)
I just scored a ticket to see Company through TDF. The only date available so far was Halloween, which I guess means I won't be seeing the parade, though maybe I can arrange to see part of it.

I'm also scheduled to be dog sitting that day.

A little bit of Cyndi.

I love the guy wearing track pants in Victorian London.
I know I sorely need to update, but I finally saw Three Penny Opera today.

Cyndi Lauper was amazing! It's the first show I've seen in a long time where the second act was better than the first.

More soon, I promise.


Mar. 9th, 2006 11:17 am
I finally got to see Spamalot last night. I haven't seen the movie that it's based on in years, and Monty Python has never been one of my favorites, but I don't think I have ever laughed so hard in the theater in my life.

I highly recommend it.

p.s. [livejournal.com profile] gotmoof this made me think of you. :)
The Odd Couple was very good, and very funny. Though the next time I see a show remind me NOT to sit with the tourists or the B&T people. They rustled papers and/or talked almost constantly through the show.

I had only seen the movie version once, and I enjoyed it but it wasn't a favorite, it's not something I would seek out to watch again for certain.

It's interesting that most musicals have a change of scenery after many of their scenes, while most straight plays that I've seen have almost no change of scenery. Though in the Odd Couple after each scene they drop a scrim to do a slight scenery change, it's still the same basic setting for the whole show.

Nathan Lane is hysterical as a comic actor (this was my first time seeing him in person) and I would love to see him do a straight role. It was kind of sad that he immediately ran off the stage after taking his bow. Literally the other cast members were still mid bow and he turned around and ran off. Maybe he had a hot date.

Matthew Broderick was just okay I thought. He's a pretty good actor, but he used this really odd voice for the part that just didn't seem right.

And I now have a new nickname for my roommate. F.U.

How Odd

Feb. 8th, 2006 04:56 pm
Tonight I am seeing my generation's Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontaine in The Odd Couple, that would be Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane. And no, I didn't think that up myself, but for the life of me I can't find the article that called them that.

I finally saw Doubt last Wednesday. It was very good, but I'll have to say it was not quite as good as I expected it to be.

Ron Eldard is currently playing Father Flynn and he did a great job, but then again he's so good looking he could do nothing and I would enjoy myself :)

Doubt takes place in 1964 at a catholic school in the Bronx. It's the story of a school principal who has suspicions about their priest and asks one of the sisters to keep her eyes open for anything out of the ordinary. When the sister reports something that may or not be unusual to the principal, she confronts the priest with what she has heard.

The best thing about the show may have been the writing. It's designed to make you decide for yourself whether or not the priest did anything wrong, and they don't give you enough information to know for certain regardless.

It's only the second drama I've seen on stage, and on the way out everyone was talking about it.

Well worth seeing if you get the chance.
I'm so thankful for TDF and there $32 or less tickets for shows.

Since I moved here, I've gotten tickets for - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Sweet Charity, Sweeney Todd, The Color Purple and Chita Rivera's The Dancer's Life.

Yesterday, I ordered tickets for The Mikado at NY City Center and one of the final performances of Fiddler On The Roof.

So in the next seven days I will spend four evenings in the dark, including the night I'm seeing Savion Glover at the Joyce. There are worse things I could do I guess.

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