Tag Archives: Wicked

What he said

Females of the world, take note.

If you’ve ever wondered what would capture the attention of men young or old, married or single, here’s your answer:

BAZINGA t-shirt

I’ll explain.

I attended the matinee performance of the revival of The Normal Heart on Broadway yesterday.  Jim Parsons — Dr. Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory — makes his Broadway debut in the play.  That’s why I went.  That’s why I wore the tee (with a black leather jacket).  Girl’s gotta represent.

I certainly didn’t expect to get smiles and hellos from every guy I passed — some with their wives and girlfriends in tow.

I also never expected to be mesmerized by this play.

The Normal Heart takes place during the rise of the AIDS crisis in New York City, centering around the experience of writer/activist Ned Weeks, the gay Jewish founder of a prominent HIV advocacy group.

Joe Mantello, who plays Ned, gives a master class in acting.  Joe normally spends his time behind the scenes, directing award-winning Broadway productions.  Assassins.  Wicked.  Take Me Out.  Angels in America: Millennium Approaches.

Yep.  Those were all Joe.

He is surrounded by an amazing ensemble cast in The Normal Heart. John Benjamin Hickey (The Big C), who plays Ned’s lover Felix,  is the heart of the play, and Ellen Barkin, as the doctor fighting this new unknown disease, is its backbone, strong and sure.  (All three are nominated for Tony Awards, deservedly so.)

The Normal Heart is shades of light and dark, funny and sad, bitter and sweet.  I learned a lot about New York City and its response — or lack there of — to the AIDS crisis.  I saw some incredible performances.  I shed a tear or two.

And I learned the power of a tee.  Not a bad afternoon.

Yawn Broadway

The lights on Broadway were glowing a bit brighter this week after its 2010 numbers were announced.

Bigger revenues.  Higher attendance. The Great White Way must be doing something right.

Or is it?

The top money makers have been around a long, long time.  Wicked.  The Lion King.  Jersey Boys.  The Phantom of the Holy-Crap-People-Are-Still-Going-To-See-The Opera.

It’s not to say that many of these productions aren’t wonderful.  I would see Wicked once a week if I had tickets.  (I would see Phantom if it were deemed the appropriate punishment for a truly, evil deed committed.)

But I sometimes feel like the audiences visiting New York City exhibit the same caution towards their theater ticket purchase as they do what street to walk down in Times Square.

Always taking the safe route, the tried and true, and — more and more so — Disney-approved.

So by the time the Tony Awards roll around in June, many of the shows nominated will have already closed due to low audience turnout.

Case in point:  Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

Bloody was a smash hit Off-Broadway and made the leap to the Great White Way earlier this year.  Critics loved it.  Audiences?  They went to Wicked and Lion King, which I saw in previews in 1994.  That’s 1994.

Come on, people.  You’ve seen the movie.  You probably own the movie.  Your kid lost their stuffed Simba before they started college.

Bloody was funny and irreverent and semi-educational.  And, yes, just edgy enough to remind you all…

You’re in New York City.