Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Drama Filled Day, 5/17/11

Wonderful theater is happening in Manhattan. And not all of it has singing or dancing. Some of it is JUST acting. And some wonderful acting it is. While this years Musicals have left me rather underwhelmed, the plays are another story entirely. Go see a play; the musicals will still be there.

JERUSALEM -- starring Mark Rylance (thank you Great Britain), Mackenzie Crook and John Gallagher, Jr.

Jerusalem follows Johnny “Rooster” Byron, a middle-aged alcoholic who lives in a rundown trailer deep in the woods on the outskirts of an English town. The citizens of the village are fed up with his drunken antics and an eviction notice has been delivered to his door. Byron decides to ignore the notice and spends the remaining day drinking and doing drugs with a group of teenagers who often visit him to escape their home lives. Trouble ensues when one teenager’s father comes looking for his daughter after she has disappeared.

I'm still on the fence with the story itself, but the performances are delicious. Mark Rylance is a true chameleon and I think I would go see him read the phone book. He's just that good. I also found Brit Mackenzie Crook's performance to be riveting. John Gallagher, whom I adore, while turning in a great performance, has played this character one too many times.

The Normal Heart

Starring Joe Mantella, Ellen Barkin, Lee Pace, Jim Parsons and John Benjamin Hickey (Limited run through 7/10, directed by Joel Grey)
Wow. Tagged as a "Coming of Rage Story" this is one intense play. Covering the begining of the aids epidemic, this play, BRILLIANTLY acted by all, is beyond important.

This follows the true story of the playwright as he is thrust into the role of activist: to find funding for the yet unnamed killer disease as well as educate the still hiding gay community that is being struck down in huge numbers. The story is full of information, anger and above all: love.
Certainly an important work for anyone in the gay community, but important for anyone with a heart.
NEXT UP: Book of Mormon (The only true runaway hit of the season and front runner for Best New Musical) and Warhorse (front runner for the Tony for Best New Play.) The Tony Awards will have


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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall Has Begun!

I've been in the city a few times, caught N2N with my children...and it was a bit much for them....in a good way for the older and in the not-so-good way for the younger.

The Flying Karamozov Brothers

What a delightuf family show! I would imagine, on a Friday or Saturday night it might be a little less so.

More like a Vaudeville review, this was simply fun. My kids were entranced and wanted more...and now they want to learn to juggle. Got kids under 14, don't miss this one.

Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson -- now on Broadway

"History just got all sexypants."

Nearly the entire cast has made the broadway transfer and the changes seem to work well.  There is expanded dialogue...all that I think works well.  While I still enjoyed the show immensely, I really feel that the general audience did not...it was a relatively staid audience, that was not sold on the piece.  My fear for this show coming to the Great White Way has always been: WILL it find an audience?  The theater was pretty full, but not in love and not enthusiastic.

Ben Walker is still the hottest president ever.  (Scroll down to see my original review) 

The Scottsboro Boys

I'm not 100% sure that my words can do this production the justice that it deserves.  I knew little of what to expect upon walking into the theater.  I knew minimal plot:  Dealing with the true story of the Scottsboro Boys of being wrongfully accused of a crime that didn't even exist. At the brunt of the story is the racially motivated happenings.  A truly horrifying story, that adds to the shame that we as a country still have not come to terms with.

A cast of 13 playing approximatly 30 roles, set in the worlds both of reality and the Minstrel Shows, I sat for 105 minutes in total awe: of the set, of the concept, of the performances, of the actors. And all that is with a lousy seat (only because I was too close and too far to one side)!  Joshua Henry is a young (and REALLY attractive) actor to keep our eye on: I suspect his career to be bright and impressive. The ever wonderful John Cullum did not fail to impress once again.  But then again, NO ONE in this cast disappointed, not the oldest (Mr Cullum) nor the youngest, Jeremy Gumbs.   A note to the Billy Elliot producers: this young man proves something that you seem to ignore:  A young man CAN be good at dancing,acting and singing -- no need to just "wink" away two of those three.

One of the most interesting things that keeps me drawn to this show is the amount of personal conflict I felt.  There were things that were funny...but should I laugh?  There were heroes that were far from perfect...then why root for them?  There is plenty to be ashamed of....and yet the work is fascinating.  Perhaps these things putting me at odds were a big part of the connection to the piece.

I am personally drawn to stories about race and inequalities so perhaps I am the ideal audience member for The Scottsboro Boys.  I like musicals with a message, I prefere intellectual entertainment over fluff, I beleive art can make a difference and this show rises to the occassion on all fronts.  It's sophisticated and thoughtful and beautifully crafted.

Please go and see this,   It will change you.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Future of Broadway

There are SO many things in store for the great white way. I can't remember being so excited for a SEASON before. Individual shows, sure, but a whole season? Very exciting.

Below are the shows that are either already slated or strongly believed will be coming in this season, even if the Preview/Opening date is not set.

Just LOOK at that list! Granted, not all of these shows will actually end up opening this season, and some won't open at all. Pretty impressive. I've added my thoughts on these upcoming shows, titles with without comments are simply shows I don't know enough about to even have an opinion!

A Free Man of Color (Previews 10/21; Opening 11/18)
Lincoln Center Theater's presentation of a new John Guare play set in 1802's New Orleans.

A Life in the Theater (Previews 9/17; Opening 10/12; Closing 1/2)
Cast: Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight
A revival of David Mamet's drama centering on two thespians: a veteran performer and a relative newcomer.

T.R. Knight has been rumored to be coming to Broadway in at least THREE shows over the last 18 months. Glad to see one has actually come to fruition! And Patrick Stewart? This is high on my list of "must sees"

Anything Goes (Previews 3/10; Opening 4/7)
Cast: Sutton Foster
Roundabout presents this revival of the Cole Porter classic, featuring such tunes as "You're the Top," "Blow, Gabriel, Blow," "It's De-Lovely," "I Get A Kick Out of You" and "Anything Goes."

I'm not a fan of Sutton (she is the same in every show I've seen her in, and I'm not a fan of Anything Goes. 'Nuff said.)

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Previews 9/20; Opening 10/13)
The Public Theater's acclaimed emo-rock musical, which takes an irreverent look at the life of seventh U.S. President Andrew Jackson and his rocky legacy, transfers to Broadway.

I saw this twice off b'way at the Public Theater. LOVED it. Can't wait to see it again, and I plan to on my next jaunt. Sadly, I don't see this making it as I think it will have a difficult time finding an audience to sustain it. But Benjamin Walker (Jackson) is well worth the price of admission, and the young supporting cast is beyond enthusiastic and talented. Love the new artwork and looking forward to getting my hands on the cd that is most likely sitting in my mailbox at school! Populism, yeah, yeah!

Brief Encounter (Previews 9/10; Opening 9/28; Closing 12/5)
Roundabout Theatre Company's presentation of the stagework inspired by Noel Coward's Still Life and the later David Lean film.

Catch Me If You Can (Previews TBA; Opening TBA)
Cast: Norbert Leo Butz, Aaron Tveit
New musical based on the film of the same name.

I've been dying to see this since it premiered in Seattle LAST summer. Please announce a theater -- I'm getting nervous!

Driving Miss Daisy (Previews 10/7; Opening 10/25; Closing 1/29)
Cast: James Earl Jones, Vanessa Redgrave, Boyd Gaines
Alfred Uhry's Pulitzer Prize-winning play returns to the New York stage.

Elf (Previews 11/2; Opening 11/14; Closing 1/2)
Based upon the 2003 film, Elf features a score by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin and book by Bob Martin and Thomas Meehan.

I am torn. I love this story, I loved the movie, I love both James Earl Jones and Boyd Gaines. I have some issue with Ms. Redgrave and her political past. I am thinking long and hard about whether I can and will support this. It has the potential to be stunning.

Elling (Previews 11/2; Opening 11/21)
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Denis O'Hare, Richard Easton and Jennifer Coolidge
Simon Bent's play tells the story of two inmates from a mental institution who, under the supervision of a social worker, are given a shot at living on their own.

Godspell (Previews TBA; Opening TBA)
Revival of the Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak musical based on "The Gospel According to St. Matthew."

PLEASE? My heart broke when this was cancelled two years ago. And, please, bring Gavin Creel back to it. He'll be wonderful. But I think this will hit the boards until NEXT season.

Good People (Previews 2/8; Opening 3/3)
Manhattan Theatre Club's world premiere presentation of David Lindsay-Abaire's Boston-set story about a newly-unemployed woman and an old fling.

How to Succeed in Business (Previews 2/26; Opening 3/27)
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe
Tony and Emmy Award-winner Rob Ashford directs and choreographs this 50th anniversary revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical comedy. Daniel Radcliffe makes his Broadway musical debut as Finch.

This is brilliant casting. I cannot wait to see this.

La Bete (Previews 9/23; Opening 10/14)
Cast: Mark Rylance, David Hyde Pierce and Joanna Lumley
Transfer of the new London revival of David Hirson's play that pits a classical dramatist against a street clown.

Great cast, but the show is rumored to not be fabulous.

Lombardi (Previews 9/23; Opening 10/21)
Eric Simonson's new play about the legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi.


Love Never Dies (Previews TBA; Opening TBA)
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Glenn Slater and Ben Elton's musical continuation of The Phantom of the Opera story.

This is rumored to be dead in the water. Boy, I hope so.

Mrs. Warren’s Profession (Previews 9/21; Opening 10/12)
Mrs. Warren's Profession tells the story of Kitty Warren, a mother who makes a terrible sacrifice for her daughter Vivie's independence.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Previews TBA; Opening TBA)
A new musical, written by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, based upon the film of the same name.

I've heard good things from London, Looking forward, most especially due to Will Swenson.

Rain -- A Tribute to the Beatles (Previews 10/19; Opening 10/26)
Limited run of a multi-media concert that fuses historical footage with songs by the Fab Four.

Sister Act (Previews TBA; Opening TBA)
Currently playing in London, this stage adaptation of the film features a score by Academy Award winner Alan Menken and Glenn Slater and a book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner

I think this will be another year before it gets here.

Spider-man, Turn Off the Dark (Previews 11/14; Opening 12/21)
New musical based on the Marvel comic book hero featuring songs by Bono and The Edge with a book by Taymor and Glen Berger.

On and off again, I don't have a lot of faith in this even if it DOES open. Word on the street is that pre production costs are well over FIFTY MILLION dollars, possibly over sixty. Assuming that to be true, the show would need to play to sold out audience just to BREAK even. While I am curious to see WHAT a 50m dollar musical LOOKS like, I think it is obnoxious and irresponsible and don't want to give my hard earned money to see it. If the high school student CHOOSE to see it, that's a different story entirely!

The Book of Mormon (Previews TBA; Opening TBA)
A new musical from "South Park" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker with Avenue Q creator Robert Lopez based on the title tome.

Not a fan of South Park, so this will take lots of convincing.

The Merchant of Venice (Previews 10/19; Opening 11/7, Closing 1/9)
Cast: Al Pacino
Director Daniel Sullivan's staging of the Shakespeare work moves to Broadway for a limited run following an acclaimed run at 2010 Shakespeare in the Park.

SO disappointed I couldn't see this at the Delacourt Theater in Central Park. This is very high on my list.

The Old Masters (Previews TBA; Opening TBA)
Simon Gray's work premieres at Long Wharf in January prior to a Broadway transfer.

The Pee-Wee Herman Show (Previews 10/26; Opening 11/11)
Cast: Paul Reubens
A stageshow inspired by the Saturday-morning TV series with the signature bow-tied man-child and his cast of characters.

Not kidding. How I wish I were.

The Pitmen Painters (Previews 9/14; Opening 9/30)
Transfer of London's Live Theatre Newcastle/National Theatre production of Lee Hall's play about 1930s miners-turned-artists.

The Scottsboro Boys (Previews 10/7; Opening 10/31)
New musical by the team of John Kander and the late Fred Ebb with David Thompson inspired by the infamous case of American injustice.

I want to see John Cullum. I'll see him in nearly anything.

Time Stands Still (Previews 9/23; Opening 10/7)
Cast: Laura Linney, Brian d'Arcy James, Christina Ricci and Eric Bogosian
Return of Manhattan Theatre Club's presentation of Donald Margulies' new play about a war photographer and a journalist.

No one is quite sure why this is returning to Broadway after its limited run in the spring. It wasn't highly reviewed, critically or from the public. LOVE the cast, so that could indeed sway me.

Unchain My Heart (Previews TBA; Opening TBA)
A new Suzan-Lori Parks-scripted musical centering on the life of entertainer Ray Charles.

War Horse (Previews 3/17; Opening 4/14)
Lincoln Center Theater's transfer of the National Theatre's production based on the Michael Morpurgo novel.

Women on the Verge … (Previews 10/2; Opening 11/4, Closing 1/23)
Cast: Patti LuPone, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Sherie Rene Scott, Laura Benanti
Lincoln Center Theater's presentation of a new David Yazbek-Jeffrey Lane musical inspired by the 1988 Pedro Almodóvar film.

Amazing cast, and yet I have no desire. Maybe my mind will be changed.

Wonderland (Previews 3/21; Opening 4/17)
The new musical by Frank Wildhorn and Jack Murphy is a "story about a new Alice who has lost her joy in life. Estranged from her husband, alienated from her daughter and in danger of losing her career, Alice finds herself in Wonderland where she encounters strange though familiar characters that help her rediscover the wonder in her life while searching for her daughter."

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Long Time No See!

First, I did remarkably well in my Tony Predictions, but since that is yesterday's news, enough said!

A lot has changed these last few months and there is now a side bar to show what is currently "on the boards". Take a gander. (On your left.)

I'll try to have some insight (albeit lacking detail) on the following productions:

OUR TOWN, Barrow St Theater (Off Bway) Written in 1937 by Thornton Wilder, Our Town is considered a masterpiece by theater folk everywhere. But not by me. I respected it. I appreciated it. I even LIKED it. But I never really was "wowed" by it. Until now. The Barrow St production opened in Feb of '09 and I'd heard nothing but wonderful things about it. And I wanted to see it, but I just kept putting it off. And then it announced its closing.

I went alone last week (down in the village) and had secured a "on stage" seat smack dab in the middle of the action. I was so unprepared for the beauty of this production. I was enthralled, entranced and simply taken on a journey that will reverberate in my soul for quite some time. I cried like I've never cried as an audience member before. Perhaps only to be rivaled by the emotions of my grandmother Sadie's death. I actually felt terrible for the actors having to see my anguish. I cannot single out performances because this production goes BEYOND ensemble acting, if that's possible. THIS is why plays are written and performed. Perfection and light.

MEMPHIS Winner of Best Musical. The kids and I got the cd to this a good 2 months before seeing it. I rather LIKED the cd; my kids loved it. I was actually looking forward to it despite the criticisms. I was...underwhelmed. Certainly a talented cast, GREAT choreography but it left me (to quote 10 Things I Hate About You) 'without'. Without caring, without feeling, without soul. I didn't believe or care about the story.

I wouldn't try to talk anyone OUT of seeing it, but I'm certainly not encouraging anyone TO see it, either.

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES (Revival) Winner of Best Revival. Deservedly so. I liked this, but sadly, I still didn't love it. Maybe the story isn't as cutting edge as it once was. Maybe there have enough more thoughtful stories with leading gay characters, that this is now dated and passe. I couldn't help but think that I was watching FRASIER and not a character. And I just wasn't moved, and I didn't even laugh all that much.

NEXT TO NORMAL (Replacement Cast) SO many folks were going nuts over the new cast (Jason Danieley, Meghann Fahy and Marin Mazzie), stating they were oh-so-much better than the originals. I was so looking forward to seeing how that was possible. It wasn't. Don't get me wrong, they were good. REALLY good. But they certainly didn't erase the originals from my memory. Both Danieley and Mazzie (husband and wife in real life) sing with facial distortions that were quite distracting. Meghann was often sharp and flat throughout the performance. Acting wise, I enjoyed all their performances, but was not wowed by the different choices they made. (Nothing bothered me about them, but nothing stood out and made me say, "Yes! THAT'S better!)

LOVE, LOSS and WHAT I WORE (Off B'way) What a pleasant suprise! A number of gal pals and I decided to see this, due to a lack of other choices. We were thrilled. We laughed, we cried, we sympathized. An evening being...well...women. Love, Loss and What I Wore follows fragmented stories about the nostalgic power of women’s clothing. An ever-changing cast of five women enrobed in chic black sit on stools and tell funny, wistful and universal memories about their families and loved ones through the prism of their closets. Like a long heart-to-heart with your best friend over coffee, the conversation meanders from a bittersweet story of a stepmother wearing the same style bathrobe as her husband’s late wife (to the dismay of the children) to a couple’s musings of what they wore on their wedding day to a rant about loathing the need to carry a purse. With odes to black clothing, cowboy boots and outfits that makes mothers cringe, Love, Loss and What I Wore is unabashedly girly—in a good way.

I saw this twice only about 3 weeks apart (sadly without the benefit of a new cast) and I do believe I enjoyed it every bit as thoughoughly both times. I look forward to the rights and royalties being released as I so look forward to directing and even (gasp!) performing it!!!!

SOUTH PACIFIC (Before it closed.) Still beautiful. Thank you, Lincoln Center.

PROMISES, PROMISES (Revival) I do NOT know why anyone would choose to revive this insipid show. Is it the Mad Men rage? I'm guessing so. Maybe it's me, but a show that shows all men as cheating, mysogynistic and immoral creatures; and all women as stupid and easy is simply NOT my cup of tea. Add to that a tacky plot contrivance of suicide and you have a recipe for disaster.

Let's talk PERFORMANCES: Sean Hayes was actually really sweet albeit a tad old for the role. He doesn't have an amazing voice, but it is pleasant and well suited in this show. Katie Finneran, who won a WELL-DESERVED Tony Award for this role, was an absolute standout in this show. So funny, so alive! Tony Goldwyn in a supporting role was quite impressive. This is a man that I've had a crush on since the movie GHOST. NOW: Kristin Chenoweth. I want to say Kristin is a major talent, and I really like her work. Just not here. Cheno is only a few years younger than am I (late forties for me) and is playing a TWENTY SOMETHING? REALLY? I was in the fifth row and I wasn't buying it. It was distracting and unnecessary.

The only shows currently on Bway that I haven't seen as I have no desire!
Come Fly Away (closing)
Jersey Boys
Million Dollar Quartet
Rock of Ages
The Addams Family

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's Tony Time!!!!

Here come the Tony Awards: June 13, CBS, 8pm (Always a nice birthday present)

This season has truly been lackluster, what with two of the best revivals having been closed only a few months after they openend, and I'm not all that into the results but it's worth a gander. I've marked my HOPE for the winner (*) and my prediction for what will win (!) And the Nomiees Are:

American Idiot
Million Dollar Quartet

In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play
Next Fall*
Red! (I haven't seen this yet, but have heard great things.)
Time Stands Still

Finian's Rainbow
La Cage aux Folles!
A Little Night Music

Lend Me a Tenor
The Royal Family
A View From the Bridge

Everyday Rapture, Dick Scanlan and Sherie Rene Scott
Fela!, Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones *
Memphis, Joe DiPietro !
Million Dollar Quartet, Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux

Note: TWO of these shows are NOT musicals!
The Addams Family, Music and Lyrics: Andrew Lippa
Enron, Music: Adam Cork, Lyrics: Lucy Prebble
Fences, Music: Branford Marsalis
Memphis, Music: David Bryan, Lyrics: Joe DiPietro and David Bryan!*

Jude Law, Hamlet
Alfred Molina, Red*
Liev Schreiber, A View From the Bridge
Christopher Walken, A Behanding in Spokane
Denzel Washington, Fences!

Viola Davis, Fences
Valerie Harper, Looped*
Linda Lavin, Collected Stories
Laura Linney, Time Stands Still
Jan Maxwell, The Royal Family!

Kelsey Grammer, La Cage aux Folles
Sean Hayes, Promises, Promises
Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles!
Chad Kimball, Memphis
Sahr Ngaujah, Fela!*

Kate Baldwin, Finian's Rainbow
Sherie Rene Scott, Everyday Rapture
Montego Glover, Memphis
Christiane Noll, Ragtime*
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music!

David Alan Grier, Race
Stephen McKinley Henderson, Fences
Jon Michael Hill, Superior Donuts*
Stephen Kunken, Enron
Eddie Redmayne, Red!

Maria Dizzia, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play
Rosemary Harris, The Royal Family
Jessica Hecht, A View From the Bridge
Scarlett Johansson, A View From the Bridge!
Jan Maxwell, Lend Me a Tenor*

Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family
Robin De Jesus, La Cage aux Folles
Christopher Fitzgerald, Finian's Rainbow
Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet
Bobby Steggert, Ragtime***** (Please: this is the only one I care about!)

Barbara Cook, Sondheim on Sondheim
Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises*
Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music!
Karine Plantadit, Come Fly Away
Lilias White, Fela!

Michael Grandage, Red!*
Sheryl Kaller, Next Fall
Kenny Leon, Fences
Gregory Mosher, A View From the Bridge

Christopher Ashley, Memphis
Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Ragtime*
Terry Johnson, La Cage aux Folles
Bill T. Jones, Fela!!

Rob Ashford, Promises, Promises
Bill T. Jones, Fela*
Lynne Page, La Cage aux Folles!
Twyla Tharp, Come Fly Away

I have chosen not to include some of the tech awards for simplicity sake. Let see how many I get.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Good.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (off B'way, playing THREE times extended at the Public Theater) This is the best new musical HANDS DOWN of the season! LOOOVED it so much, hope to get back to see it before it closes (Now the end of June) Cannot wait for the CD to be released.

The story is raw, the music is 'emo' (who knew there was such a thing AS Emo music?), the tone is raunchy, the humor is irreverant and I loved every minute of it. OH...and it's based on the life of the 7th President of the US: Andrew Jackson, the populist president.

Benjamin Walker alone (Playing Jackson) is worth the price of admission. Him and his tight pants. (I'm not being fresh, it's from the show.) I don't know how much is accurate and how much is not...but I don't really care. It made me care, it made me laugh, it made me think, it made me smile. I even BOUGHT a book ABOUT Andrew Jackson because I was so intrigued. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTbdBeTU11c&feature=related

Hope you catch this if you can. I'm hoping this makes a transfer to a long running OFF B'way house (New World Stages Anyone?) I think it could make a great run! A what a wild ride it is!

NEXT FALL, I'd heard mostly good things about this straight play about a gay relationship. One of the things I love the most, is that this show decided to be a story and not a "cause". It escaped being an in-your-face propaganda piece about gay issues/rights (of which I am a strong supporter) but gives the audience a story, about a couple, that happens to be gay. Sure, we have issues surrounding it, but in a thoughtful way. Basic premise: at the hospital waiting room, we re-vist the 5-year relationship of Adam and Luke (the latter is now in a coma). Luke is the agressor in the relationship, however, not only does his very Christian family not know that the men live together, they don't even know that he is gay. And they probably would not be accepting.

A well-written script, by Geoffrey Nauffts, Next Fall has been nominate for a Tony Award for Best New Play. I'm not sure if it's THAT good, but the story was fresh and suprisingly funny at times, and the performances were grounded and touching. Kudos.

Lend Me a Tenor, revival -- I was lucky enough to see the original production with (a very young) Victor Garber, Tovah Feldshuh and Phillip Bosco. I loved it, and I still consider this to be my favorite farce.

When news broke that Stanley Tucci (whom I adore) was directing, it came with the thought that Grey's Anatomy's T.R. Knight would star, I was ecstatic. But that was short lived, sadly. The revival cast includes: Justin Bartha (The Hangover, National Treasure), Jan Maxwell (nominate for TWO Tonys this year), Tony Shaloub and Anthony LaPaglia. This has so many pieces that are right, but they just don't seem to actually fit. While I thoroughly disliked Bartha's performance, I though the others were quite good. Both the set and costumes were gorgeous. So what is missing? Timing? Commitment? Pacing? I don't know. I LIKED it. Maybe even liked it a lot. Maybe I was expecting too much...because I wanted to fall in love with it again. (Note: the critics were quite harsh to LMAT.)

Next to Normal (yes, again)-- Not much to say other than no one is calling it in. Still moving. Still rip your heart out amazing.

NEWS FLASH: Brian d'Arcy James is RETURNING to the role of Dan (which he originated off b'way)! It is a limited run, as Brian is re-opening on B'way in the fall with the extention of TIME STANDS STILL. So, they have suckered me into going back in June!

The Mediocore.

New Cast of Hair -- Weeelll.....not as bad as I feared, not as good as I hoped. Three weeks into their run after taking over, they still hadn't found their true ensemble. Kyle Riabko (Claude) was MUCH better than I expected. I knew vocally he could handle it (beautiful voice) but I was concerned about the acting: after the first few moment where I thought I would HATE him, he delivered a Claude that was sensitive, perplexed and caring. We got to chat for a few minutes after the show, and he was as gracious as ever. Ace Young (Berger) didn't fare as well in my eyes, but he was serviceable. He just didn't seem real. I felt he was trying to be Will Swenson trying to be Berger. Sadly, Diana DiGarmo was out the performance we saw, but I heard she is wonderful.

The Burnt Part Boys -- Zzzzzzzz. Why? WHY? It's just not right. An uninspired story, a redundant score (I'm SURE Bluegrass can be more diverse that what is here.), a cheesey ending. However, many talented folks trying their best to make it work.

American Idiot
-- I wanted to love this, I really did. And there were things I truly liked, but I cannot be passionate over this, or go so far to reccommend it, and that breaks my heart. Truly.

First, this has made me a fan of Green Day. I get THEM, and I love listening to their music. Michael Mayer pretty much gave birth to this telling of Green Day's American Idiot concept album. They created more to the basic idea, but only added minimal lines of dialogue. Basic story line: three slacker friends run off to the big city only to have their lives continue to spiral toward death. One never makes it because his gf is preggers so he stays home. But he sucks as a partner AND a parent, so she leaves him. He's just as unhappy after she leaves. Buddy number two, makes it to the city but is somehow swept away my the media (???) and joins the army ***SPOILER*** where he loses a leg. He does fall in love with his nurse. We know nothing more. The third gentleman, gets to and stays in the city. He falls in love but falls to the perils of massive drug use. Somehow he sobers up enough to know he needs to straighten up. So he does, wears a tie and gets a job. And is miserable. Bottom line? I didn't feel a thing for a single character. And if I don't feel anything, I just don't care.

I fault the book for this. There just isn't anything to MAKE you care! We never get to know more than the slacker side to these characters -- and really, what the heck is appealing about that?. THAT being said, I think the cast is AMAZINGLY talented and the energy they expel is beyond belief. They dedicated themselves like nobody's business. They SOUNDED amazing -- the harmonies are beautiful. (Although, sadly, little of that transfered to the recording.) There is a part of me that sorta kinda wants to go back and see if a second viewing might make a more emotional connection -- but that feeling is waning.

John Gallagher, Jr was stupendous, and I'm a little suprised he did not garner a Tony Nomination. Other worthy mentions: Tony Vincent as the truly evil St. Jimmy, Rebecca Naomi Jones as Whathername and Gerard Canonico of the ensemble.

Everyday Rapture Hm. Where to start? Everyday Rapture is Sherie Rene Scott's life story, starring Sherie Rene Scott. And it's a musical. And the music is all pre-existing. And I didn't know a single song.

Scott is talented and highly entertaining. After all, her b'way resume is damn impressive: Rent, Aida, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Little Mermaid. AND she has a HUGE following. But as I sat there for 90 uninterupted minutes I kept thinking: WHY? Why do we care? Why is HER story worth telling? Why is this considered inspirational? WHY did I chose to see this? Ok...sure, she use to be a mennonite. Well, HALF mennonite. So what? She's not now. People praise her honesty for discussing an abortion early on in her life. WHY? When she talks about it, it's not any big deal...not to make the decision or live with the decision. It's not a frightening ordeal, no one is trying to keep her from doing it. She talks about it with no emotion whatsoever...so again I ask: WHY???

Thank goodness I only paid TDF prices. I think I would have HATED it if I'd paid full price! Please note: MANY people this is the best thing on the Great White Way...gosh, I hoope not.

One last thought: if Meghan Mullally (Of TV's Will and Grace and B'way's Young Frankenstien) hadn't walked out of the revival of Lips Together, Teeth Apart causing the Roundabout to cancel the show, this show would have never seen the light of day on B'way.