Of late I have been seeing plays with some frequency. I would not go so far as to say I have exhausted the musical scene, because I certainly haven’t, but I have found some particularly interesting stuff in the Play world that has piqued my curiosity. Now, for this to make sense, you have to understand my view of theatre. Musicals are fabulous and wonderful and I could see them every day of the week and be entirely happy. Even not so great musicals are at least entertaining, in my opinion, because the songs, the dancing, it all changes it up a bit. Plays on the other hand, well, it takes a good one to impress me. And honestly, I don’t even know that I have a solid understanding of my definition of “good” because it’s entirely hit or miss. Essentially, musicals start at 100 and get knocked down if they have issues, and plays start at 0 and have to work up to anything resembling a passing grade. I walk into musicals a believer and plays a skeptic. I don’t know why, but maybe it says something about my character as a person. Judge away.
So, you may be surprised to find out that I have enjoyed the last 3 plays I have seen. However, there is a pattern to the reason why I liked them. Famous and risickulously talented lead actor/actress + hilariously funny.
First, Is He Dead, starring Norbert Leo Butz. He’s certainly in my top 5 favorite broadway actors, probably in the top 2. This play was FUNNY as all get out. And I saw it for free. Extra bonus.
Then we have Dead Man Cell Phone (no, I swear there isn’t a morbidity theme here), starring Mary Louise Parker, who I may or may not have mentioned in a previous post because I love her THAT MUCH. Again, pretty friggin hilarious.
And finally, just last week I saw November, starring Nathan Lane. I have heard (obviously) how fabulously wonderful he is, and all my friends talk about how they saw Nathan Lane in this show or that play and I get all jealous and pouty because I have nothing to contribute. Yeah yea yea, Nathan Schmathan. How about we talk about SOMETHING RELEVANT TO ME?? Right. So, I finally saw him. And let me tell you, he went above and beyond my hopes. My dreams. My deepest wishes for an actor to make me laugh so hard I cry. Now, if only he were 28 and hot… This show is legitimately maybe the best play I’ve ever seen, it was just that funny.
In other news, I have also been to quite a few excellent musicals of late. I don’t allow myself more than 1 show a week (play, musical, concert, etc). Ok, I’m completely lying. I don’t allow myself more than 2 but try to limit it to only paying for 1. Because seeing theatre for free or next to nothing is THAT MUCH more fun. At long last I saw Wicked, which I wanted, I hoped, I tried not to like. I think because I had heard SO MUCH about the show I just didn't want it to be as good as people said. And because it's absurdly commercialized and in this huge theatre, I was just kind of overwhelmed. But alas, I got sucked in and I became a lover rather than a hater. I even got a little teary at the end during the song For Good. *sigh*
Most recently I saw Sunday in the Park with George. This is a revival of a Sondheim show about the Georges Seurat painting "A Sunday in the Park on La Grand Jatte." Essentially each of the characters in the show is based on one of the many people in the painting, and it details the making of the painting. Quite an unconventional show, given that the second act is all about his modern artist great great great grandson, and it has a completely different feel that confuses many viewers. But I loved it. The music was just wonderful, the acting equally as pleasing. Long, but well worth it.
Righto, so on the top of my "To See" list is Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (a play!!), South Pacific, Young Frankenstein, In the Heights, and Rent (before it closes). We'll see what we can do about that. I need dates to these shows, sooo, you New Yorkers, let me know what's up.