Thursday, May 28, 2009
Before I go, here's a link to some pictures from Amy Morton's first night back in Osage County. I'm pretty sure this was the most triumphant return since The Second Coming of Christ.http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Photo_Coverage_Broadways_New_Violet_Phylicia_Rashad_Takes_Her_Bows_In_AUGUST_OSAGE_COUNTY_20090529
Thursday, May 21, 2009
We had to park five blocks away from the theatre, which meant we had to walk past Hair at the Hirschfeld to get to Next to Normal at the Booth. Berri and Lenora insisted upon singing Let the Sunshine In as we went by. I actually don't like that song that much. I don't care what anybody says. Hair's best song is Donna. "Once upon a lookin'-for-Donna-time..." Come on. It's so catchy. Anyway, once we got to the theatre I noticed Krysta Rodriguez sitting out front. I made the mistake of pointing her out to Lenora, and then basically had to physically restrain Lenora from going up and asking for an autograph. (She's a big In the Heights fan.)
Our seats were in the last row of the mezzanine. Honestly, they weren't bad. I could see everything. While we waited for the lights to go down, the three of us discussed our favorite Broadway performers. The conversation went something like this:
Berri: "Who's like your favorite actor?"
Lenora: "I love Sherie Renee Scott!"
Me: "Mine's Alice Ripley." (By this point I was so excited I was actually twitching.)
Berri: "Really? I like Idina Menzel."
*Sigh.* I have obviously failed as a friend. Anyway. Once the show started, I was not conscious of anything else that was going on around me. The theatre could have burned down and I would have kept my eyes locked on the stage. I don't think my back touched the back of the chair once. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I know that sounds so cliche, but it's true. I could tell everyone else was as into it as I was. When Diana had her breakdown on the floor at the end of Just Another Day, I literally saw everyone in the mezzanine lean forward. It was hilarious and encouraging at the same time.
The show was just breathtaking. At one point, during My Psychopharmacologist and I, I was tempted to turn to Berri and ask, "Are you freaking seeing this?!" I didn't though. That would have meant taking my eyes off the stage. But at the end of the song, she leaned over and said, "Oh, my God, this is so good so far."
The definite highlight of Act One was You Don't Know, where Diana rips into her husband for saying he knows what she's going through. "It just keeps on rushing at you/Day by day by day by day/You don't know/You don't know/What it's like to live that way." The image of Diana staring Dan down, daring him to come closer, was the most chilling, powerful stage gesture I have ever seen.
Once intermission came, the three of us just sat there in silence, still staring at the stage. When we did speak, it was in awed mumbles. Lenora complained how she didn't want there to be an intermission, but I was actually grateful. We were sitting in the last row of the mezzanine, and even we could feel the intensity rolling off the stage in waves. Intermission was a much-needed break from the constant emotional slaps and punches being hurled at us. I cannot imagine what it would have been like in the first row. But the best was yet to come.
Act Two was heartbreaking, choking, and terrifying. The scene that's pretty much been burned onto my memory was the one where Diana starts to remember her son. At one point, she screams at her husband, demanding to know what her baby's name was. When she screamed, "WHAT WAS HIS NAME?!" in a desperate, terrifying way, I found myself slapping my hand over my mouth and just repeating, "Oh God Oh God Oh God Oh God..." It was the most perfect bit of acting that I have ever seen in my life. The two of them proceeded to fight over a music box, with Dan trying to wrestle it out of his wife's hands and ultimately hurling it to the ground, smashing it. All through that scene, I felt the overwhelming urge to run out of the theatre. I could hear Berri sobbing next to me.
At the end of the show, I felt breathless, giddy, and unable to move. I had to run after Berri and Lenora, who were desperate to get down to the stage door. When we finally got out to Shubert Alley, all three of us were laughing hysterically. There was no other way to process what we had just seen.
My stage door experience was a dizzy, surreal blur. I don't remember much of it, except that when Jenn Damiano came down the line she started babbling to me about Star Trek. I haven't seen Star Trek. I have no idea what you're talking about. Please just sign my Playbill and keep going. And, of course, I remember meeting Alice Ripley. I didn't freak out that bad, but I was a little rude. I regret that now, but I always get snippy when I'm nervous. It went something like this:
Alice: "Hi, guys!"
Berri: "We have your biggest fan right here."
Me: "I'm sorry, I told them not to tell you that-"
Alice: "Oh, really? You could friend me on Facebook!"
Me: "I don't do Facebook."
Alice: "Oh. Well, if you ever do..."
Me: "Maybe. Thanks. Have a good night."
It was awkward, but it was more fun than the last time I met her, when she was telling me about her SIDE SHOW days. I got some great advice that day. "When you spend eight hours a day spitting and sweating on each other you don't hang out after that." Words to live by. I'll keep that in mind if I ever play a Siamese twin.
After that, Lenora decided she wanted to "meet the hippies," so we made a mad dash down to the Hirschfeld, but thought better of it and turned back. When we made it back to Shubert Alley, we randomly met George Lopez. I used to be a huge fan of him and his show. I guess it was a pleasant if not ridiculously random meeting.
I took a picture by the Hair poster. Lenora lamented that she wanted to "meet the redhead." Damn. I wonder if Allison Case would be as popular if she dyed her hair.
On the way back to the car, I noticed someone who looked familiar walking toward us. As we got closer, I realized that it was Jonathan Groff, Spring Awakening's original Melchior. I am not proud of what I did. I freaked out. Badly. I didn't say anything, but I kind of stopped in my tracks and half-crumpled to the ground. I guess it was some kind of knee-jerk reaction left over from my Spring Awakening days.
Well, if there was any doubt in my mind that Ripley deserves the Tony, it's gone now. There is no way Allison Janney or any other actress that has been nominated could possibly be giving a better performance. Next to Normal is a great show, but it won't get Best Musical. Unfortunately, that's going to the gargantuan, twirling monstrosity that it Billy Elliot.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
This, however, better never happen in my lifetime. Alice Ripley as Elphaba. How 'bout no.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I've "tweeted" twice. Guess what. It's not fun. I have one follower so far. He or she is known only as "mandarich." At first I was a little freaked out. It was a Blanche DuBois moment. "I don't know you...I don't know you...." However. I started to realize something. I don't really care about Twitter. It's stupid. Stupider than the fact that Leslie Kritzer is gonna play Sally Bowles and I won't get to see her. (Her Perfectly Marvelous is gonna kill.)
http://www.playbill.com/news/article/129213-Will_the_Kennedy_Center_Ragtime_Play_Broadway%3F I had to share this before I go. Ragtime...revived. I think I just jumped out of my skin a little bit. If this is true, there's no shot in hell that I'll miss it. I just had a quick mental image of Sherie Renee Scott as Mother, even though her voice can get a little grating. We're talking Betsy Joslyn as Johanna grating. Yeah. That kind of grating.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I was sitting at the kitchen table today, and my dearest Mother Darling strolled in and proudly displayed a twelve-pack of water bottles. Smiling, she said, "I bought you these water bottles. See? I got them because they say Aquarius, like in Hair! By the way, your grandparents are moving away."
I am fully cognizant of the fact that the aforementioned water bottles were bought for the sole purpose of placating me. That's real encouraging, folks. Apparently, I'm the kind of girl who can be bought off with water bottles. (They are pretty awesome, though. They make me want to have a be-in.) Maybe the next time something awful happens somebody will buy me a meat pie filled with human intestines to remind me of Sweeney Todd or a free electroshock therapy treatment so I'll think of Next to Normal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Q2wXCiZ4oc In conclusion, this clip brings a whole new meaning to the word "creepy." I leave you with that.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
But...I had fun last night. I really did. The Seven Dwarfs were there. I know that sounds like something you say after waking up from a drug-induced sleep, but it's the God's truth. Doc took an unusual liking to Lenora. I have pictures to prove it. Personally, I found that to be creepy as hell. He's a midget who lives with six other midgets and a fully grown woman. This is what you're showing your children, people. I have a confession to make. I danced. A lot. And I liked it. Previously, my attitude toward dancing could be summed up in a line from Company, "I don't consider bumping around making an ass of oneself to be dancing." Oh, Joanne. You and your cynicism and your wonderful songs are the highlight of the show. The very first time I've ever danced in my life was on stage at the Hirschfeld at the end of Hair. I don't know what possessed me. I'm starting to think there might be real drugs used in this production, and I was inhaling them. Or maybe it was the fact that Kacie Sheik and Anthony Hollock were spinning me around. Either way, I haven't so much fun in a long time. The hippies taught me how to dance. That may or may not be a good thing.
Trust me, people. Dancing with the Seven Dwarfs isn't as fun as you'd think it would be. It's basically just spinning and stomping amidst a bunch of eight-feet-tall midgets. I felt positively violated.
Lenora and I had a very serious conversation about what each show would perform at the Tonys. I said that I hoped Hair wouldn't do Aquarius or Let the Sunshine In, which caused her and berri (who is just desperate for me to mention her) to start harmonizing each song, singing to me and the bathroom mirrors. It was marvelous. For the record, I really hope Hair sings the title song, so the tribe can run out into the audience. I really want to see the hippies mess with Liza. Should be tons of fun. Yes, I know this most likely won't happen, and we'll be treated to yet another medley of Aquarius and Let the Sunshine In. But Spring Awakening did Totally F*cked. Anything can happen.
Also, I predict that:
Next to Normal will do Light
Shrek will do Who I'd Be, maybe a little bit of Morning Person and What's Up Duloc
Guys and Dolls will do Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat
West Side Story will do America or The Quintet
Rock of Ages will do a crowd-pleaser medley of 80's songs
Billy Elliot will do some bizarre mish-mash that shows off all three Billys
Hooray for Tony Night. I'll be wearing my excited face.
I'm starting to question Hair's chances of winning Best Revival. Let it never be said that I don't love the show, but I'm afraid it may get passed over in favor of the more crowd-friendly West Side Story. As we all know, the Tonys are all about getting butts in the seats. There was a reason Clay Aiken got cast in Spamalot, people. And let's face it. Given the option, tourists are gonna pick the shows they've actually heard of. I mean, really. Something tells me that Republicans from Nebraska will be turned off by a show that can be summarized in the lyrics, "Take trips. Get high. Laugh, joke, and good-bye. Beat drums and old tin pot. I am high on you-know-what." I think my biggest dream in life is to go see Hair and realize that Sarah Palin is sitting next to me. Seriously. I think it would be oodles of fun. But I'd probably have to explain to her why they're singing about Mary and Juana. It's great fun reading the scathing reviews that the prudish Conservatives post on Broadwayworld.com. One particular poster complained that nobody warned them when the nudity was coming. Wow. That's just adorable. I know the show breaks the fourth wall a lot, but what did you expect them to do? Pull a Big Edie and say, "Well, I'm gonna get naked in just a minute so you better watch out!"?
Rose, as played by Patti "Stop Taking Pictures" LuPone
Jeanie, as played by Kacie Sheik
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
"Dividing the Estate"
"God of Carnage"
"reasons to be pretty"
"Billy Elliot, The Musical"
"Next to Normal"
"Rock of Ages"
"Shrek The Musical"
BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL:
"Billy Elliot, The Musical"
"Next to Normal"
"Shrek The Musical"
"(Title of Show)"
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE:
"Billy Elliot, The Musical"
"Next to Normal"
"9 to 5: The Musical"
"Shrek The Musical"
BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY:
"Joe Turner's Come and Gone"
"The Norman Conquests"
"Waiting for Godot"
BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL:
"Guys and Dolls"
"West Side Story"
BEST SPECIAL THEATRICAL EVENT:
"Liza's at The Palace"
"Soul of Shaolin"
"You're Welcome America. A Final Night With George W. Bush"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY:
Jeff Daniels,"God of Carnage"
Raul Esparza, "Speed-the-Plow"
James Gandolfini, "God of Carnage"
Geoffrey Rush, "Exit the King"
Thomas Sadoski, "Reasons to Be Pretty"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY:
Hope Davis, "God of Carnage"
Jane Fonda, "33 Variations"
Marcia Gay Harden, "God of Carnage"
Janet McTeer, "Mary Stuart"
Harriet Walter, "Mary Stuart"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL:
David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, and Kiril Kulish, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Gavin Creel, "Hair"
Brian d'Arcy James, "Shrek The Musical"
Constantine Maroulis, "Rock of Ages"
J. Robert Spencer, "Next to Normal"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:
Stockard Channing, "Pal Joey"
Sutton Foster, "Shrek The Musical"
Allison Janney, "9 to 5: The Musical"
Alice Ripley, "Next to Normal"
Josefina Scaglione, "West Side Story"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY:
John Glover, "Waiting for Godot"
Zach Grenier, "33 Variations"
Stephen Mangan, "The Norman Conquests"
Paul Ritter, "The Norman Conquests"
Roger Robinson, "Joe Turner's Come and Gone"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY:
Hallie Foote, "Dividing the Estate"
Jessica Hynes, "The Norman Conquests"
Marin Ireland, "reasons to be pretty"
Angela Lansbury, "Blithe Spirit"
Amanda Root, "The Norman Conquests"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL:
David Bologna, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Gregory Jbara, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Marc Kudisch, "9 to 5: The Musical"
Christopher Sieber, "Shrek The Musical"
Will Swenson, "Hair"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:
Jennifer Damiano, "Next to Normal"
Haydn Gwynne, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Karen Olivo, "West Side Story"
Martha Plimpton, "Pal Joey"
Carole Shelley, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY:
Dale Ferguson, "Exit the King"
Rob Howell, "The Norman Conquests"
Derek McLane, "33 Variations"
Michael Yeargan, "Joe Turner's Come and Gone"
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL:
Robert Brill,"Guys and Dolls"
Ian MacNeil, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Scott Pask, "Pal Joey"
Mark Wendland, "Next to Normal"
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY:
Dale Ferguson, "Exit the King"
Jane Greenwood, "Waiting for Godot"
Martin Pakledinaz, "Blithe Spirit"
Anthony Ward, "Mary Stuart"
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL:
Gregory Gale, "Rock of Ages"
Nicky Gillibrand, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Tim Hatley, "Shrek The Musical"
Michael McDonald, "Hair"
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY:
David Hersey, "Equus"
David Lander, "33 Variations"
Brian MacDevitt, "Joe Turner's Come and Gone"
Hugh Vanstone, "Mary Stuart"
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL:
Kevin Adams, "Hair"
Kevin Adams, "Next to Normal"
Howell Binkley, "West Side Story"
Rick Fisher, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY:
Paul Arditti, "Mary Stuart"
Gregory Clarke, "Equus"
Russell Goldsmith, "Exit the King"
Scott Lehrer and Leon Rothenberg, "Joe Turner's Come and Gone"
BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL:
Acme Sound Partners, "Hair"
Paul Arditti, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Peter Hylenski, "Rock of Ages"
Brian Ronan, "Next to Normal"
BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY:
Phyllida Lloyd, "Mary Stuart"
Bartlett Sher, "Joe Turner's Come and Gone"
Matthew Warchus, "God of Carnage"
Matthew Warchus, "The Norman Conquests"
BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL:
Stephen Daldry, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Michael Greif, "Next to Normal"
Kristin Hanggi, "Rock of Ages"
Diane Paulus, "Hair"
Karole Armitage, "Hair"
Andy Blankenbuehler, "9 to 5: The Musical"
Peter Darling, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Randy Skinner, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas"
Larry Blank, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas"
Martin Koch, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt, "Next to Normal"
Danny Troob and John Clancy, "Shrek The Musical"
So I could not be one little bit happier that Alice Ripley and Will Swenson got nominated. Also, huzzah for Jenn Damiano! I thought that one was a long shot, but there it is. Who would have thought that the girl who sat on the sides of the stage at Spring Awakening every night for a year would get nominated for a Tony two years later? Congratulations to Karen Olivo on a nomination and probably a win well-deserved. Good for Angela Lansbury! But there seems to be one teeny typo on the list for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical. See, it's spelled A-a-r-o-n T-v-e-i-t, NOT D-a-v-i-d B-o-l-o-g-n-a. Damn it, damn it, damn it! What the hell, Tony folk? Are we really not nominating Aaron Tveit? No, like really? Who's idea was that? Some other obvious snubs went to 9 to 5, who didn't get the much-anticipated Best Musical nod. Megan Hilty and Stephanie J. Block also got shut out, and I thought for sure Hilty would get a nomination. "I am shocked! Ya hear? SHOOOOOOCCCKED!" I must admit, though, it's been great fun to watch Arthur Laurents get totally and utterly LuPwned. The legendary librettist and director gets bumped in favor of the director of a dinky little 80's jukebox musical. It really is delicious. Doesn't matter either way, though. Diane Paulus has this is in the bag.
My absolute dream Tony night would involve a Best Actress Tony for Alice Ripley, Best Musical, Score, and Book for Next to Normal, Best Revival for Hair, Best Supporting Actor in a Revival for Will Swenson, Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Damiano, Best Director for Diane Paulus, and then at the end Aaron Tveit could come out and punch David Bologna in the face.
So that's eleven for Next to Normal, eight for Hair. Spring Awakening got nominated for eleven and won eight of them. Perhaps it's a sign.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Well, it's been a fun season. Tomorrow the real speculation can begin. I can't wait. But we've got some pretty rabid fan groups in the mix this season. There's Hair, Rock of Ages, and the utterly terrifying [title of show] groupies. Oh, and then of course we have the, "Raul Esparza WILL get a Tony some day!" group, the "It doesn't matter if she has scary eyes!" Alice Ripley fans (I am a proud member), and I'm pretty sure there are still some Wicked fans standing outside the Golden demanding that Avenue Q hand over the Best Musical Tony. This is gonna be fun. As Sophia immortally said to Blanche in my favorite episode of The Golden Girls, "Fasten your seat belt, slut puppy. This ain't gonna be no cakewalk."