Category Archives: Broadway

Constructive criticism

Feedback — we have to give it and receive it, sometimes daily depending on our jobs.

That doesn’t make it any easier to hear.

Tim Minchin, the Olivier-award winning and Tony-nominated songwriter of Broadway’s Matilda, once received a very bad review that he couldn’t really shake off.  How did he deal with it?

He wrote a hilarious song about it.

I’ll have to try that sometime…

Note — Minchin is currently workshopping a new musical in London based on the movie Groundhog Day. Can’t wait to hear those lyrics!

Feeling patriotic

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I saw the 7 o’clock performance of 54 Below Sings 1776 tonight.

I love this show.  Hearing it performed in this format made me love it even more.

I love that the performers were part of the audience.  I love the MC’s wit and fun facts.  I love that I was able to personally say thank to the cast members  after the show.

It is a very intimate space.

Just another reason I love New York…and America!

All hail Hedwig

I approached yesterday’s matinee performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch with my share of doubts.

Not about Neil Patrick Harris — he can do anything.

But drag performers are the latest rage on Broadway. Last year’s Tony-winning Kinky Boots gave them both their entrance and their legitimacy. The decision to put up the revival of Hedwig now seems a bit like ‘joiner’ behavior.

Not gonna judge it sight unseen, though…especially with Neil at the helm.

HedwigThe first few numbers are fast and fun and full of Neil’s familiar charm and humor, so it’s easy to think you’re just watching him do  fantastic drag.

Then Neil simply disappears as Hedwig’s story takes center stage, one filled with loss and love, pain and power, disfigurement and metamorphosis.

Neil is supported on stage by a great rock band — one guy is from Lexington, Kentucky! — and Lena Hall, who also won a Tony for her drag performance.

But the show is all about Neil.  All about Hedwig.

He is mesmerizing.

Cross that bridge

Some weekends have a theme.  Mine?

The Bridges of Madison County

steve pasquale tick tick boomMy Facebook friends already know that Friday night I had a chance encounter with Steven Pasquale –

We bumped into each other leaving Tick Tick Boom at City Center.

More accurately, my friend Dan helped me grab him for a quick hello, “you were wonderful in Bridges,”  and a photo.

So totally worth it.

Then last night, Dan suggested we see a late-night show at 54 Below — Lindsay Mendez and Derek Klena.

klendezAnd it turns out Derek (far left) played Francesa’s son in Bridges!

I fully expect to see Kelli O’Hara at the market today buying juice.

 

I’m a Veronica

I bought a ticket to see Heathers: The Musical in late March.

I finally got to use it tonight.
heathers the musical

Is it as dark as the movie? Definitely.

Is it funnier than the movie? Definitely.

Does its soundtrack feature some of the wildest lyrics I have heard on a stage to date?

Most definitely.  (We’re talking blue balls, ‘sword fighting’ — yes, you should take that in a dirty way — and a salute to ‘my dead gay son’ that rocks the house.

If you’re a fan of the movie, you will love it.  If you have never seen the movie — like my friend Beth, who joined me tonight — you will love it.  And if you love great parody…

You’ve probably already seen it.  Go again.  You deserve it!

 

 

See for yourself

My blog, Facebook and Twitter feeds of late have been filled with praise for The Bridges of Madison County, which ended its too-short Broadway run this past Sunday.

I was fortunate enough to see the show twice, including its final performance.  But for those of you who were not able to attend — and perhaps have smiled indulgently at my near-obsessive behavior — I wanted to give you a taste of the quality performance I enjoyed.

Here’s Steven Pasquale performing “It All Fades Away” for the studio recording. (The note at 3:20 literally fills  your head during the live performance.)

Building bridges

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I attended the final performance of The Bridges of Madison County this afternoon.

I bought my ticket as soon as it was announced.  Such a special show deserved an encore viewing.

It was better than the first time I saw it. Perhaps because the theatre was packed. Or because every word spoken, every note sung was the the last time for the actors and audience alike.

The performances were heartbreaking. There were three standing ovations during the show itself, and the curtain call was thunderous.  Star Kelly O’Hara spoke to the crowd, promising that the show would ‘live on.’

I worried that the final performance might be a bit depressing, but it was one of the most inspiring things I have ever experienced.

Here’s hoping it comes to your town one day soon.

Happy accident

I had tickets to see Buyer and Cellar starring Ugly Betty’s Michael Urie earlier this month, but work intervened and I missed the performance.

The Barrow Theatre allows make ups, so I went today…but it turns out Urie left the show 10 days ago. That might have been a bummer except…

Christopher J. Hanke is the new lead.

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I first saw Hanke in a supporting role in How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. Even as the lead rotated between Daniel Radcliffe, Darren Criss and Nick Jonas, Hanke’s strong physical comedy differentiated him from the ensemble.

Buyer and Cellar is essentially a monologue, and Hanke owns the stage from start to finish. His characterizations of
Barbra Streisand are spot on, as are his choices for when to involve the audience (and when to ignore their rudeness).

I am so happy life delayed my attendance!

Then what

sliding doorsWhen I read the premise of Idina Menzel’s new musical If/Then (currently in previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre), it sounded exactly like the Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle Sliding Doors (1998).

In Doors, Paltrow loses her job at a swanky London PR firm and rushes to catch the tube back to her apartment. The movie shows — in two parallel realities — how her future love life and career are changed depending on if she does (or doesn’t) catch the subway.

I saw the matinee of If/Then today, and it didn’t change my mind. While the choice that sends Menzel’s character on two potential paths takes place in Central Park, the two stories share more plot similarities than even I expected.

if thenBut I think If/Then could learn a thing or two from its movie doppelganger.

For one, the musical doesn’t focus on one character’s life in two parallel realities. Instead, it attempts to explore how Menzel’s friends, played by LaChaze and Anthony Rapp, also make their own unique choices.  (Now, I did love seeing Rapp back on Broadway, and his character is a bit of a Rent callback in many ways.)

But going back and forth between three story lines in two realities — and giving each character closure in both of those realities — takes time. Too much time.

Doors got ‘er dun in 99 minutes.  If/Then took over an hour more.

Today’s Playbill didn’t list the musical numbers; I’m sure that’s because the show is in previews, and some cuts may be made before the March 30th opening.  I highly recommend it.  While many numbers were amazingly heartfelt — a couple with language blissfully blue — others felt simplistic, like a rhyming dictionary set to a bouncy beat with awkward American Idiot-like choreography.

All that being said, the cast is wonderful, their voices worthy of Menzel. By opening night, I hope the show is worthy of her.