Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Didn't See That One Coming...

Guess where I was last night, folks. Seriously, guess. I was in the mezzanine of the gorgeous Richard Rodgers Theatre, seeing In the Heights. Thanks to the magic of eBay, I was able to acquire two tickets. Lenora was just pleased as punch to be invited. Actually, that's a bit of an understatement. According to her, she "nearly had a heart attack." Well, far be it from me to deny a white girl her musical about Latinos in Washington Heights. Our seats were perfectly marvelous, if you don't count the fat obnoxious lady who sat next to me and kept insisting that I was in her seat. At least there were no old crows screeching at me for cracking my water bottle this time. The show was fantabulous, as always. I've said it before and shall say it again: Olga Merediz, who plays the grandma, is grossly underrated. Seriously. I was tempted to stand up at the end of her solo, but I didn't want to look like a freak. Instead, I kind of just raised my arms and clapped. I was tempted to whoop, but I didn't. I consider whoops to be kinda uncivilized. This is not ancient Greece. That said, I did actually give a little whoop at the curtain call, but that was a very rare occurrence, I assure you. We intended to rush down to the stage door, but the dense crowds prevented rushing of any kind. We missed Olga Merediz. She is famous for being out the door within five minutes. We did, however, meet Mandy Gonzalez, who plays the eighteen-year-old Nina but in real life is actually about thirty-five and married. We also met Lin-Manuel Miranda, who composed the show and plays the lead. I've met him before, but Lenora hasn't. She started shaking and babbling and fangirling. For a minute I was scared that she was going to pass out. We got through that, though. A half hour later we retreated from the very crowded stage door and made our way back through Times Square. As we were passing by Shubert Alley, we heard shrieks. I made the mistake of saying, "Oh, Daniel Radcliff must be coming out of Equus." Two seconds later, Lenora was dashing through Shubert Alley. I thought fast. Equus. At the Broadhurst. "Right turn!" I yelled out, and then proceeded to chase her through Shubert Alley. Some of you may not be acquainted with the vicious wind that rips through the Alley all year round. And this was December in New York. And I was wearing heels. It's a miracle I made it through, but I did. Alas, once we got to the Broadhurst, some lingering fangirls told us that Mr. Radcliffe had left not ten minutes ago. That was probably for the best, since Lenora probably would have died on the spot if she met Daniel Radcliffe. Explaining that one to her parents would have been fun. That would be a good way to go, though. As for me, I made my mind up back in Chelsea. When I go, I'm goin' like Elsie. (For the record, I mean Elsie, Sally's briefly-mention best friend in Cabaret. Not the cow from Rent.)

On the way back from the theatre, Lenora and I succumbed to the urge to take a picture in Times Square. For a minute we stood in the middle of the sidewalk like bumbling tourists and posed for a picture that came out looking perfectly awful. You can see the huge, glowing, tacky Times Square billboards in the background. The two of us, however, are completely in silhouette.

For me, the best part of the evening was standing in the parking garage by the Kerr, waiting for the car. There were several severely drunk hipsters there that were discussing the benefits of learning Portuguese. My favorite part was when a girl in a cream coat, who was the drunkest of them all, broke away from the crowd, hung on to the wall, and declared loudly in a voice that I suppose was meant to be a whisper: "Yeah, the drugs I got for my condition *mumble blabber drunken slur*!" Drugs for your condition. Your condition. As far as I could tell, one of the symptoms of the aforementioned condition was acting like a huge dumbass in public. When the attendant finally arrived, she started yelling at him in Portuguese. It was a joy to behold.

Well, it was a perfectly marvelous night, I can assure you. On Friday I'll be at The Music Box seeing August: Osage County, and then on the 18th I'll be at Spring Awakening's closing night. Hurrah for non-temperance.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Wishes - The Aftermath

Welcome back, suckers. Despite the fact that I went 27 hours without sleep, almost ate a piece of sausage bread that had a toothpick in it, and got blueberries thrown in my face by a two year old, I had a perfectly marvelous Christmas. I got my August: Osage County tickets. Front row center. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. It's gonna be massively intense to be up that close. The plate breaking scene should be fun. In addition to that, I also got:

Four DVDs
Kickass heels that I am going to wear whenever I possibly can
Binder for my massive collection of Playbills
In the Heights sheet music
A hairdryer that could probably blow my eyes out of my head
And, my very favorite peresent, aside from the A: OC tickets..... Here he is, boys! Here he is, world!

Preeeeesenting, in person, that ten inch bundle of dynamite - Mr. Leonidas S. Snuffletubs! The S stands for Sarah Palin. I named him myself. Anyway, Mr. Snuffletubs sings "The Lonely Goatherd" from The Sound of Music, complete with a key change. He sounds suspiciously like Rebecca Luker, but he gets very offended if someone brings it up. His biggest dream is to play the Emcee in Cabaret. Patti LuPone scares him. He thinks I'm freaking hilarious.

Now, as you may recall, I also asked for a time machine for Christmas. My main objective was to go back in time and see Cabaret, but I also wanted to correct past wrongs and do good deeds and stuff like that. I put it on my list, but John McCain got the last one. (Please, PLEASE tell me you got that...)

So, today something previously thought to be impossible happened: I found a Sondheim work that I don't like. In fact, I pretty much hate it. It's Sunday in the Park With George. Aside from having one of the most obnoxiously long titles in theatre history, it tumbles into a pitfall I thought Stephen Sondheim was immune to: All the songs sound the same. It's very vague and confusing. I've been told that I don't "get it." That makes me feel supremely stupid. I recognize that it's one of those "challenging" musicals, and you've got to analyze it to understand it. I've also been told that it's an acquired taste. Maybe it is, but I won't be analyzing it anytime soon. For now I think I'll stick with Sweeney Todd and Follies.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

You're Kidding Me, Right?

I have been up all. Freaking. Night. It's now six in the morning, and apparently I'm up for the day. Merry freaking Christmas. This is actually the first time I've ever stayed up all night, and trust me, it's not fun. I guess maybe it's fun when you're trying, but it's not that great when you're lying there with a pillow over your face, praying for even a half hour of sleep. I tried everything. I put my iPod on repeat and listened to Don't Tell Mama for about an hour and a half. I now officially hate that song. I prayed the Rosary. Somewhere around four, I watched Little Manhattan. I got bored of that by four thirty, and started reading The Nanny Diaries. At five, I went downstairs and half-heartedly pawed through my presents. They all look perfectly marvelous, but none of them look or feel like tickets to August: Osage County, and that is slightly disappointing. I tried to sleep on the couch. At five thirty, I went back upstairs and lay there crying, craving sleep like Sally Bowles craves opium-filled cigarettes and destructive relationships. I gave up at six, at which time I got up, put up my hair, and sat on the bed with my laptop, which is where I am now. In a half hour or so, the rabid little children of the world will rush for their presents, and, if I haven't passed out by then, I will join them. Already I feel a monster headache setting in, so I am headed downstairs for an Advil and the cream puffs I put in the freezer last night. (And frozen cream puffs are freaking delicious.) I hope you all slept better than I did. Merry Christmas to all and to all shut the hell up.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Year in Review

Welcome back, suckers. So, 2008 is drawing to a close. I never really understood why people make such a big deal out of New Year's Eve. So you lived through another year. It takes a special kind of person to do that. Drawing up some more Cabaret wisdom for you all: "It'll all go on if we're here or not, so who cares? So what?" Of course, that line is sung by one of the bitterest characters in musical theatre history, Fraulein Scheneider. (Notice how I said MUSICAL theatre. As far as bitter characters in straight plays go, Violet Weston makes Fraulein Schneider look like Dainty June.)

So let's look back on the year, shall we. I'm gonna make lots of lists. I love lists.

Things I Learned in 2008:
1. Blogs are fun.
2. Understudies are people, too.
3. Ushers are the unsung heroes of the theatre world.
4. Not everyone appreciates it when you play your piano at three in the morning.

Shows I Decided I Loved in 2008:
2. Cabaret
3. Parade (Thanks for that one, Lenora.)
4. Company
5. August: Osage County
6. A Streetcar Named Desire
7. Speech and Debate
8. In the Heights

Shows I Decided I Hated in 2008:
1. Rent
2. Rent
3. Rent
4. Rent
5. Miss Saigon

The Best Days of 2008
1. May 18
2. March 20
3. July 19
4. August 13
5. January 5
6. July 17

The Worst Days of 2008:
1. June 19
2. October 23
3. June 15, aka the day Jenna Russell got robbed by Patti LuPone

Shows I Saw in 2008:
1. Speech and Debate (A++)
2. Next to Normal (B+)
3. Spring Awakening (A+)
4. Gypsy (B-)
5. Spring Awakening (A+)
7. In the Heights (A)
8. Gypsy (A)

My Favorite People of 2008:
1. Barack Obama
2. Sarah Palin
3. Stewie Griffin
4. Whoever took the picture of Kristen Stewart that now adorns my sidebar
5. the homeless guy I saw in the subway singing Sweet Molly Malone

That's enough lists for now, don't you think. Well, it's Christmas Eve Eve. Are we all super duper excited? I've been a very good girl all year, so maybe Santa will bring me some new sheet music so I can play something other than Cabaret and Together Wherever We Go. Maybe if the entire country is very good next year Santa will bring us a new economy. But, as Violet Weston tells her daughter in August: Osage County, "I'm sure you'd like to believe that Santy Claus brings you presents on Christmas, but it just ain't so." And as Peter Griffin says, "Merry Christmas to all and to all shut the hell up."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What, You Couldn't Have Thought of That Six Months Ago?

Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome. Yes, we all know that Spring Awakening is closing in 29 days, but something strange is happening here. Suddenly everyone magically wants to see it. One of my friends, who saw it a few weeks ago, came back and said to me, "Oh, my God! It was great!" Wow, thanks. Yeah, I totally needed to be told that. 'Cause I didn't figure that out in a year and a half. You've truly opened my eyes. A few days later, somebody happened to mention that I was going to the closing show. Some random girl who must have been listening took a break from applying lip gloss to give me a deathly look and say, "I hate you. I love Spring Awakening." Okay, um, I hate you too, Stranger That I've Never Met Before in My Life. Another friend of mine, Maisie (the one who turns into Sarah Palin at night) is going to see the show on Monday. While at her house last night, I happened to come across a DVD: "Scarlett", the horrible, insulting, knock-off sequel to Gone With the Wind. I asked if I could borrow it, just to view the very enjoyable awfulness once more. Maisie replied, "No, that's an inappropriate movie. It has a rape scene." Oh, Maisie. Oh, my poor, unprepared Maisie. You are going to have oodles of fun at Spring Awakening. Call me at intermission. I want to hear about absolutely everything. After seeing the show four times, I have found that part of the fun lies in watching the old folks react to it. Some of them leave at intermission. The ones that stay for the whole thing leave shaking their heads and wishing they seen Phantom. It's absolutely perfectly marvelous to witness. And how deliciously ironic that the theatre is across the street from a church! So, on to my point: I've spent the past year and a half trying to convince you people to give the show a try. It's closing in a month, and you decide to go see it now. Okay, then. Better late than never. So to the people who have finally decided to take my advice: You're welcome.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When Conifers Attack

Hello, darlings! For those of you who don't know, that's my favorite quote from my current favorite show: Cabaret. Oh, and guess what else is from Cabaret: one of my very favorite songs. It's got a lovely little message which some of us apparently have yet to learn. Guess what it's called: DON'T TELL MAMA. That's all I have to say about that.

On to the reason why I decided to post today. Last night (or rather, this morning), at about midnight, as I was just about to go to bed, (literally, I had the lights off and everything), I heard the sound of shattering glass. I thought someone had broken a window, so I went across the hallway to look. As I was just about to open the door I heard my mother yell, "OH, MY GOD! THE CHRISTMAS TREE FELL OVER!" I scurried down the stairs and to what did my wondering eye did appear? Our very own Christmas tree, laid out on the rug, and shattered glass absolutely everywhere. I had a Peter Griffin moment, running around uselessly and yelling, "Holy crap! Holy crap!" Once the shock set in, I did what anyone would have done. I started laughing hysterically. Nobody else found it funny. I was snapped at, and then I my parents and I fell to picking up our poor, annihilated ornaments. The first one I picked up was, coincidentally, my favorite. It's Scarlett O'Hara in her wedding dress. But here's the thing, folks: Scarlett didn't have a head. I sifted through the shattered Barneys and Baby Jesuses and creepy winking elves until I found her head, still wearing its gauzy veil. Next to it was a severed leg wearing a blue high heel. I recognized it as a piece of my second-favorite ornament: a 1930's Barbie that I've had since I was eight. I searched the battlefield for the rest of Barbie's body, miraculously still intact. I picked up the newly Marie Antoinette-ized Scarlett and the newly crippled Barbie and set them on the kitchen table, and then continued seeing what could be saved. The list of casualties is as follows:

1. Three shattered Rockettes
2. A ballerina with a broken leg and a snapped neck
3. A baseball player missing his feet
4. Scarlett O'Hara, sans head
5. One-legged Barbie
6. Completely decimated star
7. The Lion, Scarecrow, and Tinman with several missing limbs (Dorothy is MIA.)
8. Snow White and The Four Remaining Dwarfs. Poor Dopey never stood a chance.

Not that bad, but now we're living in constant fear of another incident like that, and every little noise has me glancing at the tree. I am considering asking for my presents not to be put under the tree to keep them from getting crushed, but that would be like Liza playing the Palace and not singing New York, New York. I know, right? Hopefully this is not an omen of some kind. Merry freaking Christmas and God help us, every one.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Come Hear the Music Play

Welcome back. So I thought you would all just be pleased as punch to hear some of my favorite songs, and my favorite singers. No, I'm not actually that dumb, but it would still be fun for me. And this is MY blog, dammit! So there.

Okay. First up on My List of Favorite Vocal Performers, is Lea Michele, the original Wendla in Spring Awakening. I've seen her go on three times, and her acting is absolutely nothing special. I am not soon forgetting the epic "Bitch stole my Sharpie" story, but that is another affair entirely. Anway, on to the reason she made the list. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5h2p3IrrJn8 If you watch no other video that I post today, at least watch this one. It's A Little Fall of Rain from Les Miz. Coincidentally, A Little Fall of Rain is also pretty high up on My List of Favorite Songs. She played Eponine for two weeks out in California. I have seen and heard many an Eponine, but she was far and away the best. Coincidentally, out of the three times I saw her in Spring Awakening, I never really thought she was that great. I take that back.

My second favorite vocalist is Christine Ebersole. She starred in the completely brilliant, short-lived, ridiculously underappreciated musical Grey Gardens, which opened and closed last year at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Let it never be said that I don't love Spring Awakening, but the Tony belonged to Grey Gardens. There I said it. Here she is singing my absolute favorite song in the history of absolutely everything: Around the World, from Grey Gardens. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NP01MAREDz0 You people cannot imagine how much I regret not getting to see this show live. However, a very much appreciated yet anonymous donor has provided me with a rather round, shiny, permanent memory of the show, which I am now free to watch whenever the mood strikes me. To quote the crazed mother from August: Osage County, "Try to get it away from me and I'll eat you alive." Okay, so I won't ACTUALLY be eating anyone alive anytime soon, but you folks get the idea.
My third favorite song is Cabaret, from, well, Cabaret. Ahem.
Anyway.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muhdACYD6Jc Here's my favorite Sally Bowles (Gina Gershon) singing it from the Roundabout revival. I don't care what anybody says, the song is supposed to be the mental breakdown of a very troubled woman, not a cutesy little club act number. Note the knocking over of the microphone. See? I told you so. My greatest dream in life is to stand center stage with a spotlight and a microphone and take all my anger out on the poor unsuspecting audience via this brilliant song. But, since I am well aware of the fact that I cannot sing, that dream ain't comin' true anytime soon.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8E_D8qp4LM&feature=related Fourth favorite song is You Could Drive a Person Crazy from Company. Loverly harmonies, hilarious lyrics. Classic Sondheim. Check out the video. It's from the ill-fated 2006 revival. Yes, I am aware that the girl on the right looks like Alice Cullen, so there's no need to leave a comment saying "omg lol alice cullen is in ur videoooooo."
One last thing before I go. I was chatting with a friend a few nights ago, and I, being the incredibly subtle person that I am, said, "Hey, have you checked my blog recently?" Awkward silence, and then their sage response: "Oh, are you still writing that thing?" Oh. Oh, okay. It's fine, I understand. So anyway, though apparently contrary to popular belief, I'm still bloggin' away. I'm still here. Three cheers and, dammit, c'est la vie. (And I REFUSE to accept the fact that I am the only person left under the age of fifty who is a Follies fan.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Two years ago tonight, on December 10, 2006, Spring Awakening opened at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. Six months later, on June 10, 2007, they won 8 Tony Awards. In 41 days, I'll be attending the closing performance. The star burned briefly, folks. Still, here's a toast to a brilliant show, and a brilliant run. Seriously, I'm raising my water bottle right now.

And, with the death of the "serious" shows, comes the onslaught of corporate drivel. We got word today that Spiderman: The Musical is gonna start rehearsals in June. I hoped I would never live to see the day, but there you have it. It won't be long until we see Twilight: The Musical, starring Zac Efron and Miley Cyrus. The day the marquee goes up is the day I give up all hope for the future of musical theatre.

Still, there may be hope for the abomination that is sure to be Spiderman: The Musical. Apparently, Evan Rachel Wood got cast as Mary Jane. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I saw her in Thirteen, and I was rather impressed. Of course, this does not mean that I'll be going to see the show, though. Please don't tell me I'm the only one who's ever seen Thirteen! It's brilliant. I say brilliant a lot, don't I?
Anyway, here's a still shot from the movie. See that girl on the left? That's Nikki Reed. She played Rosalie in Twilight. Trust me, she was better in Thirteen. Except I can barely sit through Thirteen, 'cause it's muy gritty and tres depressing. Lotsa drugs, cursing, crime, violence, and one scene where this girl runs a razor blade up her arm. I can't watch that scene. It's the reason why I have a phobia of knives. Don't judge me. See, now THIS movie would make a great musical! I can see it now! Coming soon: The new musical by Sheik and Sater: "THIRTEEN!" *wailing guitar riff* Ironically, there's a musical out now with the same title. However, that, along with almost every other Broadway show, is on its way out.

Monday, December 8, 2008

God Help Us All

I have a confession to make. I am not proud of what I have done. I am now paying for my actions. This is what happened, though it twists my heartstrings to tell the tale. I was at my neighbor's house. We were playing Rockband. I was rocking out on the drums to Cool for Cats. (If you've never heard Cool for Cats, you're missing out.) I am supremely good at playing Cool for Cats. I have learned to fall into a natural rhythm, so I can think and play at the same time. I don't know what demon posessed me, but I suddenly blurted out, "We should go see Twilight." WHAT?! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?! I honestly don't know what came over me. But I went out. At seven o'clock. On a Sunday night. IN MY PAJAMAS. And I sat through Twilight. I think whatever wave I was riding crashed about halfway through, when I started fighting the powerful urge to shoot myself. Honestly, I don't know how I ever sat through this movie and didn't realize how BORING it is. Maybe that's just because I've now seen it multiple times, but through most of the movie I just sat there counting the minutes until I had to finally get out of there. If I had trouble with the two-hour Twilight, sitting through the three-and-a-half hour August:Osage County is gonna be oodles of fun. Then again, I've read August:Osage County, and it's brilliant. When and if I get to see the play, maybe it won't be that bad.

Well, on the brighter side, I happened to turn on my TV precisely 48 minutes ago and to what did my wondering eye did appear? Speech and Debate's Sarah Steele, aka the most brilliant actress I've ever seen. I know you've never heard of her. Most people haven't. But she's great. Watch the Roxie Wollinsky videos in the sidebar. That's her. I have to say, though, as this episode of Law and Order unfolds (and I don't do Law and Order), it's sucking more and more. Gritty New York cops who are the polar opposites of each other. Wow, we haven't heard that one before. This one's about a kid who got killed via Facebook or something like that. What a wonderful opportunity for me to segue into my aversion to Facebook and Myspace, and the people who use them. To be honest, I find the whole thing incredibly stupid. They're just corporate attempts to further computerize, robotize, and depersonalize the American youth. This is not Nazi Germany, people. Can we at least TRY to maintain our individuality? Seriously, how many pages have people created that say something like "lIvE lAUgh LuV"? Now, who can tell me where that came from? Nobody? It's from Follies, Stephen Sondheim's crowning acheivment. Google it. I'm not making this stuff up. And how many times have you said or heard someone say, "You know what? I'm removing him from my top." or "I've known her for two days and she put me in her top!" Really, folks? Are we all freaking serious here? Or are we all just twelve year olds? You can all hear yourselves, right? Whatever happened to human interaction? Whatever happened to actually confronting someone you're angry with and talking it out, rather than just deleting them from your Top 8? Whatever happened to class? Seriously, people. There is a REASON I have a blog, not a Myspace or a Facebook account. There is a REASON I don't post every single day. I've seen Cabaret: "What good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play." It's my personal motto, right up there with, "Buon appetit, douchebag."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's a Big, Bright, Beautiful World

Hello, darlings!! Despite the fact that I am feeling rather under the weather, and haven't been out of this house in three days, I am having a perfectly marvelous day today. Sure, we're officially in a recession, and my poor laptop isn't long for the cause, and every day a new Broadway show announces its closing. But it's a beautiful day, and I'm pretty sure there's something in this medicine that is responsible for this euphoria. But there's a bigger, deeper reason for my lovely mood and positiviely radiant smile, folks. As I said, the carnage continues on Broadway. Every day a new closing notice. It's a massacre, and the people are demanding blood. Yesterday's casualty was Boeing Boeing, which will breathe its last on January 4. But guess what today's was! GREASE!! Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Of course I'm not happy that the cast and crew are all going to lose their jobs, but this is one show that I am in no way, shape, or form sorry to see go. It's really mean of me, but I feel...avenged. At least if Spring Awakening has to go, it's bringing Grease down with it. Actually, Grease is going first, on January 4, along with Hairspray and Boeing Boeing. That'll be followed by Spamalot on January 11, and Spring Awakening on January 18, and then Gypsy on March 1. It's an epidemic, but it's far from over. Still, Grease has gotten the axe. There is justice left in the world. Of course, there are those who loved the show, and to them I say, in my best Stewie Griffin impression, "Yeah, that doesn't feel so good, does it? How's that taste?" But it doesn't really matter, since the only people that have enjoyed the show are grossly uncultured tourists who see one show every ten years. Well, as the Good Lord says, "Good riddance to bad rubbish." And, as the crazy baker from Sweeney Todd says, "DIE! DIE! GOD IN HEAVEN'S NAME, WON'T YOU DIE?!"