Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hair Hair Hair Hair Hair Hair Hair Hair and Amy Morton

Two days ago I shelled out the rest of my iTunes money for the Hair cast album. I listened to it in the only way it is acceptable to listen to a CD like this - music blasting, singing at the top of my lungs, and thrashing my head during Donna. (Try to keep your head still while listening to that song. It's pretty much impossible.) Anyway. I own upwards of 50 cast albums. It's a sickness. But this one is definitely among the top five. A brilliant CD from a brilliant show. If West Side Story takes that Best Revival Tony, my reaction will be something like this. Angry Patti LuPone Bunny wants you to stop taking pictures. (It just never gets old.) Fortunately, Hair will win Best Revival, and then Arthur Laurents can wrap himself in his mediocre production and find someone new to hate. Current word on the street is that he and Sondheim are currently not speaking. If I knew Stephen Sondheim, I certainly would not want to get on his bad side. He might write a brilliantly worded song about how mean I am.

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.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Let There Be Light

I have immoral friends. Really, I do. They told the waiters at Applebee's that it was my birthday just so they could get a free ice cream sundae. I had to sit through the embarrassment of having the waiters surround my table beating drums and singing like they were at a freaking be-in. But my immoral friends are my heroes. If it wasn't for them, I would have missed Next to Normal. I know now that not seeing this show would have been a huge mistake. Looking back, I cannot possibly believe that I hated it when I first saw it. Now, I'll venture to say that the show is practically perfect. If not, it's definitely one of the best shows I've ever seen.

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


I'd like to propose a toast. Here's to Glee - my new guilty pleasure show. The first episode alone featured three Broadway actors, four Broadway songs, and a Hair reference. I'm pretty much sold. They had me at "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat."

One of the stars is Lea Michele, Spring Awakening's original Wendla. The girl has the voice of God, if God was a twenty-two-year-old Jewish girl from the Bronx. However, I stand by my conviction that she is not the most gifted actress. Hearing her sing On My Own and Don't Stop Believing was a definite throwback to my Spring Awakening days. In Glee, she plays Rachel, the suck-up diva of the club. She reminds me of someone I know. Not naming names here. Lenora's in the drama club, people. I hear stories. I know.

This fella on the right is Matthew Morrison. He plays Will, the optimistic teacher who takes over the glee club. Mr. Morrison was the original Link in Hairspray, as well as Fabrizio in The Light in the Piazza and Lt. Cable in South Pacific. Unlike most of Broadway's prettyboys (yeah, I'm talking to you, Matt Cavenaugh,) he's actually pretty talented. I'll drink to that.

I hope the show does well. I'm not a TV person. I never have been. But I really, really hope this one can survive the fall. (God, is that even the right terminology? I told you I don't do TV.) It's not the best show ever. But it's better than The Hills. So there.

Tomorrow's Next to Normal. I'm so excited I could just spontaneously combust. Berri has sworn to tell Alice Ripley that I am her biggest fan. If she does that, I will most likely never speak to her again. I don't go for that kind of stuff. It's hello, thank-you, and good-bye. No chattering on. No asking for acting advice. No presents. Absolutely no hugging. Besides, I'll probably be too nervous to speak. God knows it's happened in the past. I'm not soon forgetting the time Lin-Manuel Miranda attempted to have a conversation with me and I conveniently forgot how to speak. My strict no-overboard stagedoor rules are just one of the many theatre-related rules I have created for myself. It's probably a symptom of OCD, but whatever. I have several.

The Ten Commandments of Theatre-Going

1. Thou shalt not get up at intermission.

2. Thou shalt not take pictures.

3. Thou shalt bring thine Dooney and Bourke bag.

4. Thou shalt wear thine Tiffany necklace.

5. Thou shalt not refer to waiting at the stage door as "stagedooring." You're not going hunting.

6. Thou shalt not listen to a show's cast recording within 24 hours of seeing the show.

7. Thou shalt wear thine red polka dot shoes as often as possible.

8. Thine companion shall always sit to thine right.
9. Thou shalt not leave thine cell phone on. (Or, as I like to put it, "Touch the phone, bitch. I dare you.")

10. Thou shalt not eat or drink during a show. Rock of Ages take note.
So tomorrow, May 20, is Next to Normal day. I have this weird quirk about the dates I see shows. Any show that I've seen on an even-numbered day in May has turned out to be a great experience. In fact, two of the best days of my life were May 18 and May 22. Mere coincidence that tomorrow falls smack between the two? Probably. But this afternoon I tried to call my mom via a calculator. This leads me to believe that the allergy pills are too strong.

Before I go, I have to share this picture. I love it, but there is something very, very wrong here. I think you can all pretty much tell what it is. Checkered pants are not okay. Checkered pants have never been okay. Anyone who wears checkered pants should be locked in a room with Sarah Palin and Fred Phelps. But this is Gavin Creel. Perhaps we'll just let this one slide.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

There Will Be Light

Have I ever mentioned that I love my friends? Well, I do. And right now, I'm absolutely over the moon for them. Berrii has brought about the miracle of the century. On Wednesday, she, Lenora, and I are going to see Next to Normal. I'm so happy I'm shaking. Uncontrollably. They asked if I was excited. Look, people. I'm a Ripley fan. This is the performance of her life. Jennifer Damiano was in Spring Awakening. Aaron Tveit is not exactly rough on the eyes. I never thought I'd make it back to Next to Normal. Now I'm going back, on three days' notice, and for 36 bucks. Ask me again if I'm excited. I dare you. God bless Berrii and Lenora. Long live Next to Normal! I'm so excited I can't even talk. Okay, maybe I can talk. I cannot tell you how happy I am that I get to see this great show with two of my best friends at my side. This is a rough emotional ride, and not a trip I could take by myself. Even though I didn't like the show when I first saw it, I do remember that it shook me up quite a bit. Literally. I was trembling by the end. Well, here we go. Never in a million years did I think I would make it back to Next to Normal, and yet in three days I'll be sitting in the last row of the Booth Theatre, watching a family collapse before my eyes. I'm looking forward to some bread-throwing, drug-taking, pill-flushing, and memory loss. Gonna be a great night of theatre, friends, and electroshock therapy. Praise the Lord and pass the Paxil. Why is this woman wearing a green and purple striped shirt with red pants?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Field Day

Today was Field Day. I hate sports. Seriously. With a sick passion. Give me a Metro card and free run of Times Square and I'll be able to navigate my way around. Put me on a football field and I'm doomed for all eternity. But I actually did have fun today. Plus I learned that apparently drink entirely too much Snapple.
The day started off with the three-legged race. I stood patiently while Lenora tied a rope around our ankles. After we had practiced walking around and I had made the necessary SIDE SHOW comparisons, I started complaining that the rope was digging into my leg. Here's the thing, folks. When Lenora bent down to loosen it, she couldn't get the knot out. Immediately I started flashing back to every single sitcom that ever featured an episode where two characters get handcuffed together. Once we found out we were trapped, the rope seemed to hurt even more. After we found out we had to go first, the pain was excruciating. When we finally managed to limp back to the finish line, I came up with the idea of taking my shoe off. I managed to pull my foot out, but not without almost cutting off the circulation in Lenora's ankle. (Sorry about that.) Also, the fact that everyone around us seemed to find our predicament absolutely hilarious goes without saying. Lesson learned: Daisy and Violet Hilton deserve more credit than they get.

Next was the water balloon toss. Let it be known that I was a water balloon toss aficionado in my younger years. Block parties and summer birthdays were chances for me to show off my talents to awed crowds. It's too bad there's no X Games of water balloon tossing. Except I don't know what happened to me. I am utterly ashamed to admit that I lasted for about fifteen tosses, back and forth. I also happened to be the one who dropped it. At least mine exploded on the ground, not all over me. As I was walking away, the girl next to me got hit with a balloon. Most of the water hit me. Good times.

After that was the relay race, and then the wheelbarrow race. Neither went very well. We'll
leave it at that.

The scavenger hunt was, to put it lightly, a death match. I managed to pick up a pom-pom. I was proud of myself. People were pushing, shoving, and stealing from each other. It ended with me sneaking through a forest, my face painted Lord of the Flies-style. All of a sudden I heard an unearthly shrieking, and someone yelled, "THAT WAS MINE, DAMN IT!" Healthy competition. Gotta love it.

Next came lunch, at which time I was asked to babysit my friend's salad while she went off in search of a fork. It's a salad. It's not going anywhere.

After lunch we played Jeopardy, and I was one of five people chosen to represent my team. One of the categories was Snapple Facts. In front of 450 people, I got to show off the fact that I knew that Alaska has the highest percentage of people who walk to work. And yet somehow I was flamed for not knowing that Kurt Cobain had an imaginary friend who was shipped off to Vietnam. Clearly, this was the sole reason that my team came in dead last. I was more shattered than the time I found out Kacie Sheik likes to scream a lot, therefore ruining one of my favorite songs. But they kept the line about being radioactive. I cannot complain.

Anyway, before I go, yesterday I saw a high school performance of Beauty and the Beast. Dear Beast: You're not very good. At all. Dear Belle: Please, dear, rein in the vibrato. You're not Lotte Lenya. Dear Lumiere: You, however, were awesome.

Oh, I almost forgot! Today's 5/15, as in the song from Grey Gardens. Love that song. "Though perhaps I've overspent a bit, the man who's gonna pay for it is arriving on the five-fifteen!" Grey Gardens has a beautiful score, but The Five-Fifteen is definitely one of its greats.
Also, rumors are cropping up that Lea Michele will be playing Elphaba in Wicked some time soon. Interesting. Okay, I'm gonna take a pratfall. Let's get one thing straight. I'm no Wicked fan. But back in '07, when the Michele-Elphaba rumors were swirling, the Spring Awakening fan in me swore that if she ever played the role I would go see her. Two years later, I really wouldn't care if she played Elphaba. But I said I would go if she ever played it, and, if the rumors are true, go I will.

This, however, better never happen in my lifetime. Alice Ripley as Elphaba. How 'bout no.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Rumors Are True

I'm angry, folks. At myself. On some kind of reckless whim, I joined Twitter this afternoon. They got me. Like it or not, they got me. Find me here. My name isn't Daisy. My name is nothing that even remotely sounds like Daisy. I don't play the drums. But here's the thing. I wanted something original. I wanted an alliteration, and the first thing that popped into my head was PrincessPaxil. I don't know why. I'm not a princess. I'm not on Paxil. I don't think psychopharmacology is a laughing matter. (Apparently, though, someone does, since the name was taken. Suspicious. Very suspicious.) Anyway, perhaps it was just my love of Next to Normal creeping to the surface. This led me to decide that I wanted something Broadway related, so I quickly ran through my repertoire. SallyBowles. Taken. RagtimeWasRobbed. Too long. Baby June. Might invite pedophiles. Eventually, I landed on SIDE SHOW. Let's get one thing straight. I'm a Daisy fan, even though Alice Ripley played Violet. Daisy has better harmonies, gets better lyrics, and, being on the left, gets the luxury of using her right hand. Fascinating, I know. I briefly considered ViciousViolet, but eventually settled on Drumbeat Daisy. I don't know where I got the drumbeat thing from. Maybe it was the fact that two years of shameless fangirliness have led me to associate heavy drumbeats with Spring Awakening.

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.) 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

Sad News

Spring Awakening in the West End is closing on May 30. Apparently, it's been playing to 200 in a house that can hold 1100. It's been nine weeks. Nine weeks. Damn uptight Brits. You liked Equus, you couldn't make a little room for Spring Awakening? I'm wearing my disappointed face. Apparently, Grease, Hairspray, Dirty Dancing, Wicked, and Mamma Mia are flourishing over there. I'm starting to sense a pattern. Oh, well. Keep your unbearably fluffy stuff, Britain! You'll never get Next to Normal. So there.

On the other hand, full casting was just announced for The Addams Family musical. It's got Bebe Neuwirth, Nathan Lane, Jackie Hoffman, Krysta Rodriguez, and Carolee Carmello, who is probably just pleased as punch to be free of Mamma Mia. This one's gonna be another Shrek - a show I see just for the cast. Hopefully it won't follow in the footsteps of its mediocre forefather. Come on, people. This cast has massive talent. USE IT. Give Jackie Hoffman a solo. Let her talk to the audience. Give her the freedom to ad lib. You've got golden opportunities here. Don't waste 'em.

Here we have a poster for an equal marriage rights rally on Sunday. Which brings me to another issue. I'm a Catholic Democrat. The horror. It's more confusing than being Michael Jackson's son. Ah, Michael. Who else can be born a poor black boy and die a rich white woman? Anyway, I happen to be pro-gay marriage. There I said it. Bust out the flamethrowers. If two guys want to get married, who am I to stand in their way? This is America. We're supposed to present equal opportunities. So, pray tell, why are we putting other peoples' rights to a vote? I know, I know. The Catholic Church. But this is America, folks. Separation of church and state, equal rights for all. As a friend once told me, "You have to admit that the Catholic Church pretty f-cked up." I guess it is. Peace and love to everyone, except you because you're gay, and not you, you divorced heathen! Did I tell you guys that the pope decided to excommunicate a nine year old rape victim for getting an abortion? Did I tell you they decided not to excommunicate the guy who raped her? In what realm of thinking is that possibly okay? Sorry, but I don't think Jesus said, "Rape little children. It's cool. We'll turn the other cheek." I don't go for that. Which is why I'm going to this rally. Squint real hard and read the poster. Cheyenne Jackson, you say? Audra McDonald? Well, if you absolutely insist, I suppose I could try to squeeze in an appearance. I really like this video. It's so endearingly 50's, grooming young girls for the lives of vacuuming in pearls, repressed emotions, and quiet desperation that await them. This one, however, is my absolute favorite. Acid: the drug of choice of the hot dog murderer. I had a dream like this once. I woke up in the hospital with a fever of 105. My personal favorite part is when she says she was "jacked up on marijuana." That explains so, so much. I may possibly love this video more than the one that features the Muppets singing Good Morning Starshine. Personally, these two videos alone are more effective than any anti-drug commercial the government could ever produce. Don't smoke pot. You'll wake up surrounded by Muppets and a grown man in a flowery shirt singing hippie gibberish.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Just popping in to share a small little anecdote that I may possibly find funny in sometime in the distant future.

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. In conclusion, this clip brings a whole new meaning to the word "creepy." I leave you with that.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Let's Hear it for the Ladies Who Lunch

I attended a sweet sixteen last night. Okay. I have to make a bit of social commentary here. (Don't hate me. I'm a people observer.) Sweet sixteens are all the same. At every single one, you are required to tell the birthday girl that she looks "absolutely beautiful." You have to drink ginger ale and pretend it's champagne. You sit through the candle lighting ceremony while the birthday girl gives the first candle to her parents and then thanks every single subsequent person "for always being there for me." Here's the thing, folks. Somehow I find it highly unlikely that EVERY SINGLE PERSON at the party will always be there for you.

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 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!"?

Anyway. Since tomorrow's Mother's Day, I thought I'd share some of my favorite Broadway moms. Disclaimer: Pregnant women, bipolar moms, and women who aborted their babies do SO count!

1. Diana - Next to Normal
The bipolar, hallucinating mother of Gabe and Natalie.
2. Barbara - August: Osage County
The mother of Jean, also the woman who gave us the immortal line, "You don't wanna break shit with me, muthaf*cka!"
3. Sally - Cabaret
The drug-addicted, hopelessly immature and irresponsible singer who aborts her baby after belting one of the greatest songs in Broadway history.
4. Jeanie- Hair
The pregnant drug addicted hippie.
5. Violet- August: Osage County
Yet another drug addict. I'm starting to see a pattern. The 'nasty-mean' mother of Barbara, Ivy, and Karen.
6. Wendla- Spring Awakening
The fourteen-year-old innocent who dies after her mother forces her into an abortion
7. Frau Bergmann - Spring Awakening
The woman who forced the aforementioned abortion, mother of Ina and Wendla.
8. Momma Rose - Gypsy
The pushy stage mother of Louise and June.
9. Big Edie- Grey Gardens
The selfish, fatalistic, dramatic mother of Edie, Phelan Jr, and Buddy.
10. Marmee- Little Women
The incredibly one-dimensional mother of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.
11. Stella - A Streetcar Named Desire
The abused wife of Stanley and sister of the spiraling Blanche.
12. Jenny - Company
The pot-smoking housewife who has to sing incredibly high notes at the beginning of "Getting Married Today."
13. Camila - In the Heights
The devoted, boring mother of Nina.
14. Mattie Fae - August: Osage County
The pushy, unforgiving mother of Little Charles, who knows more than she tells. Hell, I might as well just ruin it now: Charles and Ivy are brother and sister. There I said it. You're welcome.
15. Caroline- Caroline, or Change
She gets to sing "Lot's Wife." There are no other anecdotes necessary.
16. Mother - Ragtime
The inside-the-box mother of Edgar.
17. The Beggar Woman - Sweeney Todd
The loony, desperate mother of Johanna.
18. Margaret- The Light in the Piazza
The harried mother of Clara.
19. Mrs. Banks - Mary Poppins
Another one-sided character, the mother of Jane and Michael.
20. Claude's mom - Hair
She's only on the list because I wanted to have twenty, and because Megan Lawrence cracks me up.

Diana, as played by Alice Ripley

Violet, as played by Estelle Parsons

Rose, as played by Patti "Stop Taking Pictures" LuPone

Jeanie, as played by Kacie Sheik

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

And The Nominees Are...

Okay, we're just gonna get right down to it.

"Dividing the Estate"
"God of Carnage"
"reasons to be pretty"
"33 Variations"

"Billy Elliot, The Musical"
"Next to Normal"
"Rock of Ages"
"Shrek The Musical"

"Billy Elliot, The Musical"
"Next to Normal"
"Shrek The Musical"
"(Title of Show)"

"Billy Elliot, The Musical"
"Next to Normal"
"9 to 5: The Musical"
"Shrek The Musical"

"Joe Turner's Come and Gone"
"Mary Stuart"
"The Norman Conquests"
"Waiting for Godot"

"Guys and Dolls"
"Pal Joey"
"West Side Story"

"Liza's at The Palace"
"Slava's Snowshow"
"Soul of Shaolin"
"You're Welcome America. A Final Night With George W. Bush"

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"

Hope Davis, "God of Carnage"
Jane Fonda, "33 Variations"
Marcia Gay Harden, "God of Carnage"
Janet McTeer, "Mary Stuart"
Harriet Walter, "Mary Stuart"

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"

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"

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"

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"

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"

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"

Dale Ferguson, "Exit the King"
Rob Howell, "The Norman Conquests"
Derek McLane, "33 Variations"
Michael Yeargan, "Joe Turner's Come and Gone"

Robert Brill,"Guys and Dolls"
Ian MacNeil, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Scott Pask, "Pal Joey"
Mark Wendland, "Next to Normal"

Dale Ferguson, "Exit the King"
Jane Greenwood, "Waiting for Godot"
Martin Pakledinaz, "Blithe Spirit"
Anthony Ward, "Mary Stuart"

Gregory Gale, "Rock of Ages"
Nicky Gillibrand, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Tim Hatley, "Shrek The Musical"
Michael McDonald, "Hair"

David Hersey, "Equus"
David Lander, "33 Variations"
Brian MacDevitt, "Joe Turner's Come and Gone"
Hugh Vanstone, "Mary Stuart"

Kevin Adams, "Hair"
Kevin Adams, "Next to Normal"
Howell Binkley, "West Side Story"
Rick Fisher, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"

Paul Arditti, "Mary Stuart"
Gregory Clarke, "Equus"
Russell Goldsmith, "Exit the King"
Scott Lehrer and Leon Rothenberg, "Joe Turner's Come and Gone"

Acme Sound Partners, "Hair"
Paul Arditti, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Peter Hylenski, "Rock of Ages"
Brian Ronan, "Next to Normal"

Phyllida Lloyd, "Mary Stuart"
Bartlett Sher, "Joe Turner's Come and Gone"
Matthew Warchus, "God of Carnage"
Matthew Warchus, "The Norman Conquests"

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

Judgement Day

"There you are! It isn't who you are but where you are! And there you are! And grateful are we to see how fine and fair you are! So lighting quick let's all kick up a fuss!" Edwin Drood is a great show, for your information. There You Are is one of my favorite opening numbers, right up there with Ragtime's Prologue, Come Look at the Freaks, and Wilkommen. (Pronounce it with a W. I dare you.) But I am not here to talk opening numbers. I am here because tomorrow we'll discover what our God in heaven has in store. It's Tony nominations time! Who's excited? Who's gonna stay up late tonight and pound the floor like a hippie, chanting for a Best Musical-Best Score-Best Actress trifecta for Next to Normal? (If you're actually planning on doing that, let me be the first to say that they have names for people like you. Trust me, friends. They have names.) Well, personally, I'm more excited than I would be if there was a Cabaret re-revival. We're talking pretty freaking excited, folks. Couple that with the fact that Amy Morton is coming back to Osage County to alienate her daughter and sisters, smash plates, and turn into her mother, and I'm so happy I could just attend a LuPone concert. Of course, joining August: Osage County at this point is kind of like getting on the Titanic. You're gonna have fun for a while, but that doesn't change the fact that you're doomed. Wow. I've strayed so far from the topic of this post that Jennifer Aniston will probably make an actual comeback before I get back on track.

Anyway, rumor has is that the ladies of 9 to 5 are all going to be considered Leading Actresses. That certainly spices things up a bit. So I'm tweaking my predictions to include:

Best Actress in a Musical:
Alice Ripley
Allison Janney
Megan Hilty
Kate Jennings Grant
Josefina Scaglione

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical:
Karen Olivo
Haydn Gwynne
Jennifer Damiano
Martha Plimpton
Caissie Levy

Now, you may be gasping in horror, shrieking, "B-but, are YOU actually nominating Caissie Levy? Didn't you know she once played ELPHABA? What happened to your pride? What happened to your Wicked allergy?" Or, you may not be. Could go either way. To be honest, friends, I happen to hate the character of Sheila. I hate her solo. I bores me. But Levy made me feel for her. She made me hate Berger for ripping up the shirt. She made me actually like Easy to be Hard. That deserves a nomination in my book. My sudden change of heart may have something to do with the Edwin Drood kick I'm on. "Not a lot we care for where you've been! And even less we care how you got in!"

There is one possible hole in my nominations. It's Martha Plimpton. Pal Joey's been gone a long time, folks. The committee might choose to axe Plimpton in favor of the crowd favorite Allison Case. I've already told you folks that I don't really buy into the Case love. I mean, take a look. I did not make this. I do not know the person who made this. I do not want to know the person who made this. The person who made this scares me more than Patti "Stop Taking Pictures" LuPone. This is a real Broadway Secret. (If you don't know what that is, I think I may have to shank you. Just kidding. I would never shank anyone.) But really. I don't have anything against her. She has good facial expressions and a pretty voice. The chin wobble thing works. But THE WOMAN CANNOT STOP ACTING WITH HER HANDS! It's freaking distracting. What is the appeal? Is it the hair? I'm pretty sure it's the hair. Mariann Mayberry has red hair too. I'm just sayin'.

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."