Tuesday, February 24, 2009

God, I Hope I Get It

Welcome back, suckers. Happy Mardi Gras. I am still debating over what to give up for Lent. Any suggestions? I considered giving up all things associated with one of my favorite shows, but I can't. Who would I be if I couldn't quote August:Osage County? If I couldn't stomp my feet Spring Awakening style to express my pent-up angst? If I couldn't reference random, obscure shows in my blog posts? I also thought about not seeing any Broadway shows for the entire 40 days. Usually, that wouldn't be a problem, but then I realized I'm already seeing Phantom on April 3 for Lenora's birthday. Gosh darn you, Lenora, you're standing in the way of my piety. Oh, well. I will eventually think of something I am willing to part with.

But that is not the reason I'm here. I am here in order to make a big announcement. I, Insert My Name Here, have decided to audition for my first play. I am 98.54645% sure I will attempt to duck out of said audition, but I have given Lenora strict instructions to force me to go through with it. If necessary, apply physical force. Shoot to kill if it comes to that. Of course, I am well aware of the fact that the play is student-penned and its corniness and unbearable cuteness will rival Dainty June's act. Apparently, it's about all the Disney princesses in a room together. I am trying very, very hard to keep the snarky comments to myself, but I'm basically choking on them at this point. I am also well aware of the fact that the auditions are student-conducted and fixed. Things are not looking good for me. Have I ever told you folks my motto, though? "Take the chance, because it could be your last." Usually, I am just some kind of mini-Momma Rose, standing in the shadows handing out sheet music and suggestion song choices. My one intrepid venture into the world of ushering left me haggard, harried, and wondering if seeing-eye dogs are allowed in the auditorium. (Who would ever think to make a rule for that?)

Ooh, I have just been struck with a brilliant idea! This bottle on the left is filled with my kryptonite: Blue Powerade. On average, I drink two a day. It's a sickness, a serious addiction. It also may be the reason I stay up till two a.m. More August - Violet: "See these little blue babies? They are my best f*cking friends and they never let me down! Try to get 'em away from me and I'll eat you alive!" Oh, Violet. You and your drugs. Henceforth, I am vowing not to drink a single sip of this stuff for entirety of Lent. I wonder what Powerade withdrawal symptoms are like. Will I end up passed out on the kitchen floor? Will I become extremely irritable and explode like Patti LuPone does when someone takes a picture of her? Only time will tell.
Edit: I thought I'd divulge a fun fact I learned from Lenora. Apparently, we good little Catholics are not allowed to say the word that starts with a and ends with lleluia during Lent. I never knew that, but now that I do, all I want to do is say it. I hardly ever use this word, but now I'm having trouble constructing sentences in which I do not use it. Confession: Whenever I'm home alone, I play the piano really loud and sing at the top of my lungs. Just a few minutes ago, I was singing Rose's Turn. It's a fun song to sing, but I didn't realize that one of my favorite lines feature this forbidden word. I remembered Lenora's warning as I was singing it, so the line came out something like: "Hold your hats and mumble mumble Momma's gonna show it to ya." Fun.
Also, here's a fun little anecdote to make you all feel incredibly creeped out. I was taking the very crowded bus home today, and about halfway there a creeper in an orange Tigger sweatshirt got on and moved to the back of the bus where I was sitting. I didn't pay much attention to him at first. Thirty year olds in Tigger sweatshirts are sadly pretty commonplace around here. Ten minutes later, I realized that this wacko was massaging the shoulder of some terrified thirteen-year-old who was standing infront of him. Eventually the poor girl plucked up her courage and said, "Don't touch me." This gracious gentleman replied, "What if I like touching things?" I don't know why, but that comment practically made my blood boil. It's up there on the list of Most Sickening Things I've Ever Heard. To quote Barbara Fordham: "Oh, my God! Do you believe that f*cking freak?!" Was this guy one of the twenty thousand child molesters and rapists who just got kicked off Myspace? It wouldn't surprise me. Lock your doors, folks.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ya

Sad news today. The Story of My Life, a show which opened literally one week ago, is closing tomorrow. It played a whopping five performances. Five. Apparently, it was actually good. Such a shame. This one will go down saying, "At least we lasted longer than Glory Days!" It's a sucky economy. Unless your show is based on a movie, stars a Hollywood actor, or starts with W and ends with icked, you aren't going to be around for very long. That's why I don't think Next to Normal will do so well. Toss in the fact that it's a show about mental illness and this one's dead in the water. Oh, well. I'm going to do my best to go see it, but I've already got a lot on the itinerary for spring - Guys and Dolls, Phantom, Blithe Spirit, West Side Story, and a return visit to August: Osage County. At least In the Heights and August are still around. Some Sondheim: "A toast to that invincible bunch/the dinosaurs surviving the crunch!" (That's a lyric from the 2006 revival of Company, another show that left us too soon.) Of course, Next to Normal could turn around and be a massive sleeper hit. People said Spring Awakening was too offbeat to make it, and look how that one ended up. To give you an idea of just how incommunicable Spring was, here's a little dialogue, taken verbatim from an intermission conversation my dad and I had the first time he saw the show.

Dad: "Is that kid gonna kill himself?"
Me: "Yes. He dies and one other character dies."
Dad: "One of the girls?"
Me: "Yes."
Dad: "Who, the one that gets beat?"
Me: "Yes."
Dad: "What, does she hang herself?"
Me: "No."
Dad: "Drown herself?"
Me: "NO. She dies, but she doesn't kill herself."
Dad: "Does she die having a baby?"
Me: "Close."
Dad: "Abortion?"
Me: "Yes."

I promise it didn't sound that creepy as it was actually happening. The point I'm trying to make is that sometimes the shows that seem destined to crash and burn can be successful. To quote Stanley from A Streetcar Named Desire: "That just goes to show you, Blanche, you never know what's comin'." Of course, what was comin' for Blanche was a complete spiral into insanity and a nice cushy bed in a mental institution, but you all get my drift.

Before I go: The most beautifully sad song I have ever heard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK9WthPoylc "At the Glen" from the short-lived, little known musical Dessa Rose. If this song does not make you cry, then you most likely do not have soul. (Then again, I cry at everything. I cried at Monsters Inc.) Ignore the odd Sims 2 animation. It was the only video I could find for this song. It's sung by Rachel York and composed by Ahrens and Flaherty. They are the ingenious duo responsible for Ragtime. I don't care what anybody says, Ragtime has the greatest musical score I have ever heard. Keep in mind that I'm a Sondheim fan. Digressing again. Anyway, this song is great for the days when you're feeling randomly depressed. Disclaimer: If you are always depressed, this song with most likely not help. In that case, you should speak to a trusted parent or teacher. You're probably gonna need some pills. Wow. I kinda can't believe I just said that. Psychopharmacology is NOT a laughing matter, children. I myself was rather offended by the line "This little piggy needs some Paxil!" in Shrek the musical. Antidepressant jokes are not okay. What's next? "This zebra needs some Zoloft?" "This lizard needs some Lexapro?" "This velociraptor needs some Valium?" Okay, I'm done.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Brilliant News

Breaking my own rule and posting twice in one day. Guess what's coming to Broadway, guys. Guess, damn it! NEXT TO NORMAL!!!! I am so excited I am practically about to jump out of my skin. I am fully cognizant of the fact that getting excited over this makes me a loser, but I'm beyond the point of caring about that. Next to Normal is coming to Broadway. Pills, electroshock therapy, and hallucinations of departed children are coming to Broadway. Alice Ripley is coming back to Broadway. Disclaimer: The fact that the show features a shirtless Aaron Tveit has absolutely positively nothing to do with why I love it. Ya hear? Nothin'. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Nil. Nada. Admitting to the fact that I love that scene would put me on level with the fangirls who obsess over the nudity in Spring Awakening. You know who you are. But anyway. I am absolutely ecstatic that the show is coming to Broadway. Of course, the creators have basically cut every song I loved - Costco, Feeling Electric, Growing Up Unstable, etc., but it's still a great show. The Best Actress in a Musical category is filling up fast this year, and now I know who I'm backing. I'm calling it now - Sunday, June 7, 2009. The Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical goes to Alice Ripley. I'm fully prepared for this show to be a big fat flop. Musicals about mental illness are destined to have a hard time finding an audience. But it's been done before, and with more risky topics. (A crazy barber who slits people's throats? Really?) This is one show I'll be rooting for, and just between you and me:

beats the hell out of

The Wonderful World of Youtube - Part Two

Welcome back, suckers. As we all know, the big, bright, beautiful world of Youtube is ever-changing and expanding. I feel another video post is in order. You'll laugh! You'll cry! You'll finally see why I'm afraid of Patti LuPone! So strap in, folks, and away we go.

People constantly ask me what I see in Spring Awakening. You wanna know why. You wanna know what I did it for? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoQd2MLzneM&feature=related THAT'S WHY! That moment, and thousands more like it, are what made it worth it. Wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world.

I bet this guy will never take another picture in his life.

Part one of Donmar Warehouse's brilliant, wonderfully creepy production of Cabaret.

Barbara Walsh sings "The Ladies Who Lunch" from the 2006 revival of Company. I'll drink to that.

Teaser Trailer for Extended Run: The Series. Perfect for fans of The Office. Perfect for fans of Spring Awakening. Perfect for people who hate both The Office and Spring Awakening, yet love to make fun of them both.

I don't even know what this is.

I'm not even vocally trained, and I can't watch this without cringing.

I'm confused as to why there are mimes in the background. And the berets are just darling. 'Cause everybody knows that every Frenchman in history wore a beret.

You're welcome.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Feeding the Addiction

I done a bad thing, folks. For Valentine's Day (and Cupid can go chase himself for all I care), I got a Ticketmaster giftcard. Well, I knew right away what I wanted to go see. I think we all know by now what my favorite show on Broadway is. Make no mistake, I am an August: Osage County fan. I am totally over the moon for this pill-popping, plate-smashing, cousin-loving play. The three hours I spent in the first row of the Music Box went by incredibly quickly, and by the time it was over, all I wanted was more. Not unlike the play's main character, I was hooked. But here's the thing, people: I am a Guilty One first. I'll probably always be a Spring Awakening fan, and the effects of that are pretty much in my DNA by now. Seeing the new marquee for 33 Variations up at the O'Neill cut me deep, folks. Cut me real deep. I went online with every intention of scheduling a return visit to August to watch Violet and Barbara destroy their family once again. However, just as I was picking a day to go, the Guilty One in me came out again. The little devil on my shoulder started saying, "Who the hell goes to see a play with lines like, 'Eat the fish, bitch!'? Come on, you know what you really want to see. Screw variety. Being a well-rounded theatre-goer is grossly overrated. One more time won't hurt." So, throwing caution to the wind, I went and got tickets to see Spring Awakening at the Kennedy Center in DC on August 1. I am not proud of what I have done, but I sure as hell am excited. I've never been to Washington DC before, and this is as good an excuse as any to go. I have to admit, though, I'm a tad nervous about the location. I know damn well that this show blew the roof off the tiny Eugene O'Neill Theatre on many a night, but whether it can do that in the massive Kennedy Center remains to be seen.

Anyway. Since it is, after all, Valentine's Day, I think I'll finish up with my favorite Broadway love song, even though it sounds moderately creepy out of context. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfDCHxkvsdk

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

...and one for Mahler

I had such a perfectly marvelous encounter this afternoon that I couldn't not share it with all of you fine folks. It was just after lunch, and I was scurrying off to my math class. As I pattered down the last set of stairs, I heard a bunch of giggling, and the trademark brainless banter that seems to be par for the course around here. I was ready to tune the gaggle of excitable little hens out when I heard my name, accompanied by more giggling. Normally, I don't like to hear what people say behind my back. It makes me far too conceited. However, on this particular occasion I thought I would stay and listen in on a little public opinion. What I heard made my freaking day: "Yeah, I can't stand her. She answers every damn question." Well, friends, I could not have provided you with a better example of what is wrong with today's society. We are living in a world where answering questions and being smart are considered to be bad characteristics. (And I will indulge myself a little and point out that the darling who issued this statement is no bright light.) Well, I was not about to stand there and endure this absolutely debilitating knock to my self-confidence. I skipped back up the stairs, smiled, and said, "I'm right here." The silence and mumbled excuses that followed could only be summed up in a Sondheim line: "The ones who follow the rules/and meet themselves at the schools/too busy to know that they're fools!/Aren't they a gem?/I'll drink to them." It was a perfectly marvelous moment, and I walked away feeling like Barbara in August's plate breaking scene. "Oh, are we breaking shit? 'Cause I can break shit. You don't wanna break shit with me, muthaf*cka!" (For the record, that is my favorite line in the entire play. I want that on a T-shirt. I want that in my wedding vows. I want that on my gravestone.) The cherry on top of the whole scenario came later. We were sitting in class, and the teacher called on my newfound defamer, who writhed and stuttered like Sarah Palin talking to Katie Couric. Let's hear it for poetic justice.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Shrek! Also, Valentine's Day

I saw Shrek yesterday afternoon. We're gonna start with the positive. First off, I have to say that the audience was much better behaved than I thought they would be. The sets are marvelous. The lyrics surpassed my expectations. A weak book is one of the most common problems with musicals (IntheHeightsIntheHeightsIntheHeights), but this one was surprisingly solid. Wonderful performances from Sutton Foster and Christopher Sieber, passable performances from the rest. Unfortunately, that's about all I can say in this show's favor. Before the show opened, there was a massive debate about the score. Most people were worried it would suck. Confession: I was among them. I have to say, though: For the most part, Jeanine Tesori proved me wrong. I'm not really familiar with her work, but after yesterday I may explore it a little more. The score is not perfect. By no stretch of the imagination will it be considered one of Broadway's lost gems. Some of the songs do sound the same, but there are a couple standouts, namely Morning Person, I Know It's Today, and Story of My Life. But make no mistake, folks: This is a kid's show. It's a tourist trap, a big, bright, beautiful corporate musical that has little to no artistic value. That said, its biggest problem is most definitely wasted talent. Sutton Foster (and I'm not just saying this because I'm a fan) is obscenely under-used. She's barely in the first act, and her only time to really shine is during the second act opener. Brian d'Arcy James is not awful as Shrek. I would have enjoyed his performance more had I not known that he can do so much better. I felt like there was some chemistry between the two of them, but we never really got a chance to see it. Tesori missed out big-time by not writing an act-two ballad for Shrek and Fiona. Instead, there is a cringe-worthy burping and farting contest. Everyone else in the audience was practically rolling in the aisles, but trust me: It's not funny. It's just cheap laughs. Also wasting their talent are Haven Burton as Gingy/The Sugarplum Fairy and John Tartaglia as Pinocchio and the voice of the magic mirror. Haven Burton has literally one line, and she says it in some kind of haggard Russian ballet teacher accent. John Tartaglia steals some scenes as Pinocchio, but he still can do much better. Bonus: Tossed into the show are some references to other Broadway musicals. Very few people got them, but I counted Gypsy, A Chorus Line, Wicked, Rent, and The Lion King. It hurt my heart that I was one of two people who laughed at the "Momma's in the mud/Momma's in distress" line. It hurt even worse since the other person that laughed was my mother. By curtain call, it was painfully obvious that the theatre was basically filled with the entire population of Nebraska. I am stingy with my standing ovations, but I stood for Sutton Foster, as did four other people. I counted. I felt like Joanne in Company, standing there screaming, "EVERYBODY RIIIIIIIIIIISE! RISE! RISE! RISE!" Come on, people. That is Sutton Foster. That is originated five roles in four years Sutton Foster. You stand for that, damn it.

That's all I have to say about that. I give it 6/10. Go see it if you get the chance, but don't go rushing out to get tickets.

Now on to another pressing issue: Valentine's Day. I was never really a big fan of this holiday. I tend to take the whole holiday with a grain of salt. As we all know by now, everything in life can be solved by quoting August: Osage County. Let me now reach for my libretto and find a suitable line or two. Aha, here we go! Act three, scene five. Barbara to Ivy: "F*ck love, what a crock. People can convince themselves they love a painted rock." It should probably be taken into account that at this point in the play, Barbara's father has killed himself, her mother is brain damaged from her addiction to pills, and her husband has left her for one of his students. She's also choked her mother, slapped her daughter, and attacked the man who tried to molest her daughter. To top it all off, her youngest sister is going to marry the would-be child molester, and her middle sister is moving to New York with the man who she thinks is her cousin but is actually her half-brother. God, I love this play.

But I'm digressing. Last year, the cast of Spring Awakening did a series of four videos in which they discussed love and Valentine's Day. These videos are so wonderfully uncomfortable, and I love them tremendously. Find them here: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=Spring+Awakening+love+on+broadway&aq=-1&oq=Spring+Awakening+love+on+broadwa

In honor of Valentine's Day, I have been revisiting all my favorite shows that have romantic plotlines. I am only now realizing that most of them have bad endings. Let's have a look, shall we?

1. Wendla and Melchior of Spring Awakening - pregnancy, botched abortion, death
2. Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett of Sweeney Todd - burned alive in a furnace, throat slit by ten-year-old
3. Rose and Herbie of Gypsy - dramatic walkout that scared one of the little girls in my row to tears, nervous breakdown
4. Sally and Cliff of Cabaret - pregnancy, nervous breakdown, abortion, breakup, dramatic walkout, Nazi takeover
5. Tony and Maria of West Side Story - Do I really need to tell you how this one ends?
6. Joe and Edie of Grey Gardens - sabotaged by meddling mother, acquisition of a horrible Long Island accent
7. Susan and Peter of Company - divorce
8. Sarah and Harry of Company - karate match
9. Bobby and Cathy of Company - marriage of one party
10. Joanne and Larry of Company - drunken rant, possible breakdown
11. Mattie Fae and Charlie of August: Osage County - revelation of secret
12. Bill and Barbara of August: Osage County - divorce
13. Ivy and Charles of August: Osage County - revelation of secret
14. Bev and Violet of August: Osage County - disappearance of one party
15. Karen and Steve of August: Osage County - criminal behavior of one party, severe, psychotic denial of the other

Okay, so I got a little carried away there. I just love making lists. I think I need to find some happier shows.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My New Addition

When I was five, I had my first and only pet. Her name was Bernice, and she was a goldfish. She was my best friend until my brother overfed her and the poor dear went belly-up. I miss her to this day. Now, eleven years later, I am considering getting a new scaly gold friend. The only problem is I know I'll be emotionally shattered once this new buddy meets her end, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, I'm facing a tiny dilemma: should I welcome a new goldfishie into my humble home, whatever shall I name her? It will be something Broadway-related, I think. I need your suggestions!

So far I've been considering:

Louise - Gypsy

Thea - Spring Awakening

Sally - Cabaret

Daisy/Violet - SIDE SHOW

Little Edie - Grey Gardens

Lucille - Parade

Nina - In the Heights

Barbara - August: Osage County

Evelyn Nesbit - Ragtime

Blanche/Stella - A Streetcar Named Desire

Yes, I am seriously considering all these names. Lenora suggested Sarah Palin, but I think I'm just about run the gamut with the Palin jokes by now. Perhaps I'll go with something really original and name my fish something like Mrs. Lovett, The Baker's Wife, Adult Women, or Chorus Girl No. 5.

Well, on Saturday I shall be paying a visit to Shrek. I have been scaling every site I know for understudy news. I think we all know how emotionally shattered I will be if Sutton Foster/Brian d'Arcy James/John Tartaglia does not go on. I'm going to a matinee show. I don't do matinees, but my mother does. Tourists scare me. That and the elderly folks who like to yell at everyone who dares open a water bottle. I am still scarred from a previous bad experience at In the Heights. I felt like I was in a long, boring biopic. "Episode Five: Miss Prissy Goes to the Thee-ah-tuh."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Useless Surveys!

You know what really grinds my gears? Chain e-mails, especially the ones that threaten you. Seriously, is forwarding some cyberjunk to ten people really going to prevent my mother from getting hit by a bus tomorrow, or make someone tell me they love me at midnight tonight? Well, friends, I am putting my slippered foot down. From now on, whenever I receive a chain e-mail, am I forwarding it back to the original sender. Twice. However, I did receive one today that was moderately interesting. Perhaps I have not told you all how very fond I am of surveys. I happen to think this one is one of the finest surveys I have ever had the unspeakable honor of filling out. It really speaks to my character. Since I am always thinking of my loving, minuscule audience, I have decided to copy and paste it right here on the blog! You're welcome.

1. What's your full name? We're just gonna skip that one.
2. Bully or Bullied? Bully
3. Dream job? Hmm...Actress, perhaps, or maybe a writer. Or a circus freak.
4. Glass half full or half empty? Half empty. The optimists are looking at the wrong half of the glass.
5. Ever broken a body part? I broke my elbow in the fourth grade.
6. How many car accidents have you been in? None, thank Jebus.
7. Ever caused a car accident? Not that I know of.
8. Ever been sent to the principal's office? Yes.
9. Most beautiful (inside) person you know? I don't do sentimental.
10. How do you relax? Read/Write
11. Social Butterfly or a Wallflower? Wallflower
12. Your biggest question about life? Who was the idiot who thought it would be a good idea to musicalize "Carrie?"
13. Secret Keeper or a Blabbermouth? I keep my own secrets. I am still working on everyone else's.
14. What makes you cry? The fact that August: Osage County can't fill the minuscule Music Box while Wicked is selling out the Gershwin.
15. Names of your future children? Boy: Gabe Girl: Alice/Alexandra
16. Who's your favorite relative? That is a wildly unfair question.
17. What was your last dream? I only remember that it involved a roller coaster and SIDE SHOW. You fill in the blanks.
18. What makes you crazy? Rent.
19. I wish I could go back in time.
20. Myspace/Facebook/Livejournal/Blogspot? Blog, obviously.
21. Which is worse - doctor or dentist? Dentist.
22. Ever been to the emergency room? Yes.
23. Worry wart or worry free? I am a pathological worrier.
24. Bicycling through Europe or African safari? Bicycling through Europe.
25. Favorite book? Gone With the Wind
26. Ice cubes or crushed ice? I find ice cubes to be very sophisticated.
27. What do you like on your burger? Cheese and lettuce.
28. Favorite fast food? I don't do fast food.
29. Favorite color of eyes? Green.
30. Do you know sign language? If I knew sign language would I be blogging right now?
31. Favorite store? Colony. Duh.
32. Who taught you to ride a bike? Maisie' mother
33. How old were you when you learned to swim? I'll get back to you once I learn how to swim.
34. I would love to try skydiving.
35. Who do you admire most? Sarah Palin. It takes a special kind of person to singlehandedly bring down a presidential campaign.
36. Favorite actress? Alice Ripley
37. Worst movie ever? From Justin to Kelly
38. Favorite kind of cookie? I'm more of a doughnut kinda person.
39. Best commercial? Does anyone actually like commercials?
40. A word or phrase you say a lot? Anything from the plate smashing scene in August: Osage County. That may explain why I am not exactly a people person.

Well, I don't know about you guys, but that was fun.