On Friday night, I attended the City Center Encores! performance of Jonathan Larson’s tick, tick…BOOM! at New York City Center.
And it was so nice, I saw it twice! Here’s why…
So my buddy N asked if I wanted to see Sutton Foster on Broadway for $25. “Twist my arm!” I said. But seriously, considering that I recently paid $18.50 to watch Darren Aronofsky’s least-personal work, this seemed like a great deal.
Plus, I will jump at any excuse to eat at Schnipper’s and then stop by Off the Wall, some fro-yo place I’ve never heard of but was pretty good. Anyway, here are some things I’ve observed from Sutton Foster’s latest:
Could a musical be any more fun? I’m thinking no. I feel like one of those corny commercials with quotes like, “The most fun you’ll have on Broadway!” but seriously, there’s no better way to sum up Newsies than just FUN.
My sister and her boyfriend, a huge fan of the movie (which I’ve never seen, despite having lived with a roommate who owned it on VHS), saw Newsies in previews and LOVED it. She emailed me immediately and told me that I had to see it and that the audience gave the cast a standing ovation after the first big ensemble number. I’m assuming this was “Seize the Day,” and a ton of people in my audience stood up too, including this 6’6″ shorts-wearing middle-aged man in the front row. It was adorable.
Also! I was pleasantly surprised to see that the cast was fairly diverse. At least one black guy and two Asian guys! Lots of gay guys! Ballet dancers! (Ryan Steele is AMAZING.) Nicole informed me that there were at least three dancers from So You Think You Can Dance (a show I’ve never seen but the people I know who watch are obsessed). As I was looking at my Playbill, I noticed that I knew one guy really well!
“Do you have any meth?” — Michael, Queen of Jordan
Anyway. The show was so much fun. I was smiling from ear-to-ear and my jaw was open from the amazing talent of the guys onstage. I’d read a review saying that the show didn’t really incorporate music of the time very well… BUT WHO CARES? Pirouettes and cartwheels! Tiny little kid! Beautiful lean boys dancing all over the stage!
They just looked like they were having so much fun. I was so entertained. I seriously have no idea what they will do when the original cast members (like Jeremy Jordan, who’s already been cast on Smash) leave since some of those moves must have been specially choreographed with the individual guys in mind. Go see it before they’re all gone!
According to EW.com, last night’s telecast of the 66th Annual Tony Awards was the lowest-rated ceremony ever, with little more than six million viewers.
Is this really a surprise? Frankly, I’m shocked that the Tonys even air (or have ever aired) on network television. Unlike awards shows for film or TV, only a tiny percentage of viewers can even access Broadway, which also happens to be insanely expensive. Are there people in Iowa who decide, “Oh, let’s tune into the Tonys tonight”?
Since I’ve been out of the loop (and literally out of the country), I didn’t realize that Neil Patrick Harris was back as the host! But really, what was the point? How could he ever top last year’s opening number? (Spoiler alert: He couldn’t, and he didn’t.)
Anyway. Big winners included Once (Best Musical), which I thought was pronounced “on-ce” (like “eleven” in Spanish) when the film was released. I have Newsies tickets for a week from now, and I’m excited since I loved that “Seize the Day” number. Cheesy and enthusiastic, my favorite combination!
Above is a photo of my favorite (could they be for real?) couple: Emma Stone and Tony nominee Andrew Garfield. Can’t imagine how much more they can blow up once The Amazing Spider-Man is released in a few weeks. They’re so cute.
This past Saturday, I finally met my friend’s friend whom I’ve been hearing about for years. We were by Lincoln Center, so she asked, “Hey, I’m getting tickets to A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Wednesday. Interested?” and I said sure. I figured that this would kill two birds with one stone: feeling cultured and actually hanging out with new friends.
While I love seeing theater, I’ve only been to the ballet a handful of times. Frankly, I’m too dense to figure out what’s happening onstage if I don’t already know the story. Years ago, I’d gone a few times with my parents (but never paid much attention), and as an adult, I’ve gone twice: once to Romeo and Juliet (because Julie Kent and Sascha Radetsky of Center Stage were dancing… hey, whatever gets people to buy tickets!) and once to Sylvia. For the latter, I figured that the story took place in a forest but that was about it.
Anyway. I have zero knowledge of what constitutes a good ballet or a good dancer. Everyone looked pretty damn talented to me. I figure if they make it look easy, the dancers are doing a good job. This production was actually pretty funny (especially the scenes with Bottom and Puck)… and there was SINGING! Is this typical? Who knows.
The production was also very cool because there were a bunch of kids playing the summer insects or something. According to the program, they’re all students at the School of American Ballet. Goodness. Such disciplined little kids already. They looked like they were about five years old but were completely in sync and totally adorable. The little kid who played… I don’t know… Titania’s page or something that Oberon wants… looked like he was three. (Oh wait, he’s not a page. He’s a changeling. I should’ve known that.)
In conclusion… I’m cultured ’cause I went to the ballet. Oh yeah, fun fact: I learned that Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” was composed for this! Also, don’t eat, prop up your feet, or take photos of yourself during intermission. My ballet-mates were all chastised by the same usher (but not me!). The Palace Theatre this ain’t.
Yesterday, I saw the matinee (and penultimate) performance of Death of a Salesman, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. This is embarrassing, but it was my first time encountering the 1949 Pulitzer Prize-winning play (I’d never read it nor seen a performance), and I didn’t even know if the “death” in the title was figurative or literal (63-year-old spoiler alert: BOTH… is your mind blown too?). But as I was watching, I wondered in disbelief, This was written in the 40’s?
I don’t know nearly enough about theater to write articulately about it. But… this is a disturbing play, to say the least. Delusion. Betrayal. Failure. SCARY SHIT. Who wants to confront the deep-seated lies that we tell ourselves at 2 pm on a gorgeous, humidity-free Saturday?
I saw the things that I love in this world. The work and the food and the time to sit and smoke. And I looked at the pen and I thought, what the hell am I grabbing this for? Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be… when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am.
Biff Lowman (Andrew Garfield), why do you utter these words? Why must you force me to take a look at my life and analyze my actions and my supposed dreams? I feel like an earnest college freshman, encountering Arthur Miller for the first time in a required survey lit course and hoping to spy a classmate in the common room so we can discuss the play’s themes and motifs and vow to never dupe ourselves like these characters. But, ultimately, we probably will and continue the cycle that explains the play’s unfortunate timelessness.
Ugh. Anyway. I’d obviously recommend this (“Definitely a buy!” — Leonard Rodriguez), but the final performance was last night. Sniff.