Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Broadway Shows

Ok, so, I like Broadway. Maybe not as much as GVR... but for me there is nothing quite like seeing a classic Broadway show... big music, dancing (maybe a little tap), great scenery, glittery costumes, all on a tiny little stage in a magnificent (if sometimes gaudy) theatre with a chandelier hanging overhead and bathrooms that usually have less than 5 stalls, and the only way to avoid waiting in line is to bolt out right as the curtain drops for intermission.
I love it.
I take my Playbill, I find (or am shown, because clearly I am incapable of figuring out the intricate system of letters and numbers they use) my seat, browse through aforementioned Playbill, read biographies to see if I've seen anyone previously in a show, check to make sure none of the key characters have understudies and proceed to sigh deeply to my theatre-going companion when on of the leads is being played by an understudy.
Oh the energy, oh the buzz, oh Broadway.

So, since coming to New York I have seen quite a few shows, some of which I have talked about before (The Color Purple, Jersey Boys). Recently I have seemed to be going to shows left and right, not even necessarily intentionally. My parents were in a few weeks ago and we went to see The Fantasticks, the longest running show. Ever. Like, anywhere. It's now Off-Broadway in a tiny tiny tiny theatre that made me feel like I was seeing a show at saaaay, the Prince Theatre at Penn. Small. I knew nothing about the show aside from having a coworker burn me a copy of the soundtrack and listening to it. Once.
It turned out to be quite a good show, if entirely different from what I'm used to. A cast of only 7. But, one of the men originated the role of Thenardier in Les Mis and another was the original Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. Both of whom I saw in those roles. And there was a guy named Nick Spangler. Only, he played a mute (albeit a darn good one), so I didn't really get such a feel for his capabilities as a performer. Not because he was a mute, just because he was really a prop getter/"wall"/all manner of abstract theatre-y things. But it was still cool that he had my name.
A rather entertaining and well-done show. Just nice to see something in a little more intimate setting that really highlighted a few actors and was (I would imagine) more of a challenge to perform.

Right, so then shortly thereafter Becca asked me if I wanted to see Company with her. For free. After much consideration, I agreed to go. I mean, I don't go see any old show some producer puts together just because it's free. Ok, so I really didn't know much about this show either, but it's basically about 5 couples and their bachelor guy friend, all in their mid-30s, living in NYC, the couples trying to fix the bachelor up, how he relates to the couples, etc. Now, a few interesting points about this specific version: Drew's voice teacher is in it. Which is cool. Secondly, the director (who also did Sweeney Todd in this way) had all the actors also play the instruments. So yeah, kind of weird, but he did some interesting (read: artsy-fartsy) stuff with it, and it grew on me as the show progressed.
Beyond this, I wasn't so impressed. The lead actor's voice.... oooh man. Could've done without that. And you know what, the show is just basically the most depressing work ever. I sat there feeling increasingly burdened by the sheer cynicism, snideness, and utter lack of a single healthy relationship. And of course just dripping with New York-ness, which is probably why the show was the way it was. I would like to believe the world/relationships aren't like that. Call me naive. But, I for one don't particularly like leaving a Broadway production feeling sad. However, I will say that I am happy that I saw it, once, both for the company (no pun intended) and for the artistic value that it did provide.

Last, but certainly not least, I just saw The Producers. At long last. I have wanted to see it for some time, and it's funny because my friend Jenn emailed me saying, "Hey, I can get $35 tickets for The Producers... for tomorrow. Want to go?" Now, I was already going to see The Daily Show that day, but I thought... well, TDS ends at 7, and The Producers doesn't start until 8, and I mean, they're only about 7 blocks apart. We'll even have time to grab dinner. I'm in. Leave it to me to see The Daily Show AND The Producers in the same day. Really.
Ok, so I have to admit up front that the entire production I kept thinking how much better it would be if Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick were in it. Or even Roger Bart, if only because I went to school with his daughter, and he's famous. Other than that, I thought it was well-done, and I was just so thrilled to see a glitzy, glamorous, big set, goofy, spontaneous dance-breaks show. It was just so... FUN. And I laughed, a lot. I think Springtime for Hitler may be one of the most genius scenes in all of Broadway. Really, it was quite a pleasant experience, even with out Nate and Matt. :)

So yeah, that's what I've been up to in the realm of Broadway. I have an ongoing list of shows that I want to see (right beside my movie list haha), including (but not limited to) Avenue Q, Wicked, A Chorus Line, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Grey Gardens, all for the first time. And shows I really want to see again include Phantom, Les Mis, and Jersey Boys.

Basically, I love it here.

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