Archive for the ‘Broadway Shows’ Category

That Lady Is Hitting On Me

October 19, 2011

From the mouths of babes some things can be more precious than ever imaginable. But I’ll get to that in a sec.

On Saturday we almost didn’t see Spiderman on Broadway. Well, it wasn’t as severe a near miss as our incident on Friday. As a matter of fact, it was nowhere close to that. Okay, let me back up a skosh. Several months ago, perhaps three, perhaps more, Ariel’s nephew, my pally-babes J-vich, decided he wanted to take his two young cousins (who I only realized this past weekend were not his nephews…silly me), a lifelong friend, the friend’s brother, Ariel and me to see Spiderman, a sort of boys day out in the city. A recent conversation with J-vich locked into our minds the show was at 3 and we arranged a time we’d pick everyone up, with time to spare to grab a pre-show nosh, see the show, and then go somewhere afterwards for food the two kids would get a kick out of. But, while lounging around on Saturday morning, Ariel had the foresight to double check the show time and lo and behold, the three o’clock start time was for Sunday. Saturday was 2pm. So, we had to hustle, round up the troops and get a slightly earlier start. We still had time for a leisurely lunch at Applebee’s.

Okay, so the show. First the good points. I truly enjoyed the set, mimicking as closely as real life could, the pages from a pulpy comic book. And I really liked the final scene, with that awesome perspective of the Chrysler Building. I also gained an education as to how Peter Parker happened to become the superhero. I also liked the fact that Spiderman didn’t plummet to sure injury as several predecessors had under Julie Taymor’s direction.

Now for the bad points. As J-vich pointed out, the set-up, the backstory of Peter Parker’s transformation seemed to take forever. I had the feeling, all throughout, the actors were in a funk, or mad at the world. Not sure what it was, but there was an apparent issue. Their performances all felt stiff and wooden and lines sounded as if they were an obligation to speak. Most musical numbers sounded off-key.

During the first aerobatic number, with Peter Parker gussied up in a huge waist harness attached to cables that helped him “dance on the ceiling” as his uncle in the other room prophesied he was doing, had me clicking my tongue, as the huge lifesaver-like device was distracting and I thought, hmm, all the improvements and we get something so clunky as this? But later, when Spiderman went swinging through the skies overhead tethered to his web on his crime fighting missions, the girdling was more inconspicuous and lent to the elegance of his flight.

There was a little something for everyone in this production; a underlying love story for the grownups, comic book characters galore for any comic book fan and a set that was truly note-worthy. All in all, not the best or worst I’ve ever seen. I gave it a 6.

From the mouths of babes

We went to Jekyll & Hyde afterward, to give the kids a fun, eerie treat for dinner. It’s the one place in all of New York I’ve never gone to the bathroom because I hear the door is nearly impossible to find; it’s a secret panel in the bookshelves. Actually, I sneaked a peak this time around and saw where people were going. Only thing is, they never came back. <gulp!>

Ghosts and goblins, a skeleton band, a Frankenstein monster, portraits with shifting eyes, mounted animal heads entertain throughout dinner, as do a butler, and sometimes a French maid. On this particular night, a vampiress lurked about, stopping by unsuspecting guests’ tables. From behind she tapped little Michael on the shoulder and he instantly froze, his eyes wide with disbelief. He came into his own when the butler came and sat with us and they traded stories about Spiderman, but the vampire lady kept lurking, keeping her eye on Michael. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore and he whispered across the table that he was ready to leave, that “that lady is hitting on me,” and  we all roard. That was easily the line of the day and I gave that one a 10!

Other Desert Cities

October 18, 2011

Wow. A lot has happened since I last dropped in on you. Most recently, all that is left in the garden is a wild plot of nasturtium that is probably choking the life out of whatever mint is left (which is getting transplanted next season) and one hyper-active pepper plant. The tomatoes are all done, the basil is all done and what wasn’t used for another batch of pesto, is drying.

This past weekend we saw two plays on Broadway. One Friday night and a matinee on Saturday. I’ll get to Saturday’s tomorrow.

On Friday we almost didn’t see Other Desert Cities. And it wasn’t because the skies threatened rain..or maybe it was, who knows? In spite of the suggestion I carry my little Totes umbrella for when I got off the train in the city, I didn’t. Well, I couldn’t find it, point 1,  and point number 2, navigating the city without an umbrella is taxing enough and I’ve traversed along 8th Avenue in drizzly conditions, dodging others’ bumbershoots and it’s not that easy a task. I applaud those who do it. I left the house, alarmingly earlier than I expected because my cab came sooner than they have been lately. I only waited less than 10 minutes as opposed to sometimes close to 30 and I actually waited for a second train so I could enjoy my Dunkin Donuts coffee and the rising blister on my tongue. Yes, sometimes those cautions are accurate!

Well, not long after I got to the station did the skies open and I thought, oh crap, maybe I should have invested a few more minutes in my umbrella search, but I toughed it out and by the time I got to New York the rain had either ceased or had not yet arrived and I high-tailed it to the restaurant, our favorite haunt, Playwrights. Knowing Ariel was on his way, with the tickets, from approximately 25 minutes before I got off the train at 5:08, I ordered a beer at the bar and put my name down for a table. I’ll spare you the details, but Ariel finally got to Playwrights at 7:10. When he called to say he was finally in the city and parking, I ordered dinner and drinks so they’d be at the table when he arrived and get this, we even had time for dessert!

Okay, on to the show:

Rachel Griffiths, of television’s Brothers & Sisters, plays rehabilitated novelist daughter Brooke Wyeth to Stockard Channing and Stacey Keach’s Polly, an ex-screenwriter and Lymen Wyeth, an ex-Hollywood actor, and friends of the Reagans. Brooke returns home for Christmas with a soon to be published manuscript which tells the story of her family, at least how she knows it, with the main focus being her dead brother and offering closure to their relationship, a book her parents fight tooth and nail to make her reconsider publishing, claiming she knows nothing of the truth surrounding the brother, a secret that would destroy them. Meanwhile her younger living brother Trip, played by Thomas Sadoski encouraged her to go forward, as long as she understood the emotional consequences it would arouse and her recovered alcoholic aunt Silda, a relatively small part but played brilliantly and flawlessly by Judith Light, applauded her niece’s determination to publish her book with a damn the torpedoes attitude.

Even though witty dialogue flew effortlessly between the characters, eliciting laughter from the audience, the mood was evident something dark and moody lurked behind the family’s outward attempt at aloofness within itself. Stockard Channing was brilliant as Polly, the right wing opinionated mother and as the newly sobered aunt Silda, a vast contrast politically and emotionally to sister Polly, Judith Light was a positive force to be reckoned with. Rachel Griffiths was a step above the character I know her as, Sarah Walker (Brothers & Sisters). As Trip, Thomas Sadoski played the tired of being caught in the middle sibling/child convincingly. I only wish Stacey Keach had been a little less restrained.

The final line in the play left me with something of a haunting chill, as its meaning was both cryptic and obvious that closure was unattainable. I gave Other Desert Cities an 8.

Drink For Thought

October 3, 2011

In a magazine last night, I came upon the following quote “This dude in India hasn’t eaten or drank anything in 70 years…” and I’m certain it is incorrectly worded and I’d like to get your opinion on it.

The weekend ended with a grilled ham steak. The weekend began, as I mentioned last week, with the arrival of Tim and Shane from Canada. After Shane and I were both finished with work on Friday, the weekend was finally able to get underway with steaks on the grill,  margaritas by the fire on the patio (in the rain…see?…but we were determined) and falling asleep watching Evita. But we were up bright and early getting ready to for Broadway day, first to get Shane in on time for matinee of “Follies”, while Tim, Ariel and I went out barhopping until it was time for the four of us to meet up for dinner before we all went to see “Book Of Mormon”. And after that, it was back out barhopping until we realized it was time to call it a night, and say goodbye to the Canadians as we parted ways to our respective hotels. Ours, of course, was Room 212, The Entertaining Angels Room, at the Desmond Tutu Center. Oh Silvia was so glad to see us. We gasped in pre-emptive horror when we saw the placard in the lobby announcing a wedding being held on the premises.

Okay, so, Book Of Mormon. One word: funny. Okay, maybe hysterical. Obscene? Blasphemous? Pick one. The one good thing about the show, I honestly didn’t know much about, so I wasn’t going into it with any expectations. All I knew was that it was written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame, and that apparently tickets are just about impossible to get as confirmed by everyone we mentioned the show to, including Olga, our waitress at Scarlatto.

The show, basically a live action version of an episode of South Park, was rife with jokes, one on top of the other, in rapid succession, whether in dialogue or in song, some of which were blatantly and outright obviously funny and some kind of made you have to think for second, but as you were thinking about it, another funny line would be said and missed. And nothing, as you might expect from the creators of South Park, was safe, from the satirical wit of team Parker and Stone. Comically mismatched Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, missionaries from The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were sent to AIDS-stricken Uganda, a harsh contrast to Elder Price’s lifelong dream of carrying out his mission in Orlando. Without getting into some of the more questionable topics of satire, let’s suffice to say nothing, from organized religion to homosexuality, was exempt from musical comedy ridicule, nor was the idolization of pop culture. You know… South Park! While the show was a non-stop comically irreverent assault, I found the second half even moreso and the story came around full circle and was tied up in a neat little certifiable bow.

Shane, a Broadway-phile of the highest order and I agreed that while Book Of Mormon was a highly entertaining show, it was really not the end all be all of Broadway shows, for several reasons; one being the too-rapid fire of punchlines which almost seemed like it would be necessary to try to get tickets again to see what we missed, and that some of the dialogue was incoherently rushed, plus a few other nit-picky things. We both gave it an 8. Ariel gave it an extra point, a 9, for the underlying “texting” joke. And Tim didn’t say one way or the other, but his laughter resounded like everyone else’s.

Bonus points for celebrity spotting: Giada DiLaurentiis from The Food Network was in the audience, two rows behind us.

Who Was That Woman?

November 23, 2010

So, yeah, we saw a play on Saturday afternoon at Playwright’s Horizons right there on 42nd Street, across from that huge parking deck as you come out of the Lincoln Tunnel. It was called After The Revolution. It centers around a young woman, Emma Joseph who is headlong in carrying on her family’s Marxist beliefs and the conflict she faces when she learns a long silenced truth about her grandfather, who was a spy for Stalin’s Russia. It was a little political for me to follow with any great accuracy, but I do have a quote from Ariel, who asked me to share it with you, as his reaction to the performance.

The play was an absolute winner. I lived under the communist yoke under Castro and at least, while I sat in that seat, I was almost buying into their spiel–that speaks volumes of the pathos the characters portrayed as they brought to life an unbelievable play. The dialogue and its direction alone were a thing of beauty.

Like I said, it’s political undertones were lost on me, but from the opening scene I was mesmerized with the naturalness of the cast, interacting with each other. It was refreshing to not see something overacted for the sake of making a point; the point was made in the words they spoke. And it was a minimalist set, which I appreciate, because the play doesn’t have to rely on flash to distract from a non-existent story, like a movie overrun with special effects.

The Playwright’s Horizon is like a workshop theater–it’s where we saw that rather ridiculous Me, Myself and I, about twins OTTO and otto whose mother was played by Elizabeth Ashley. In this play, After The Revolution, the draw was Mare Winningham, who played Emma’s stepmother and whose role was rather small. And standing outside the theater, waiting to go in,looking at the lobby cards (for lack of a better term) there was another woman in the cast who we both recognized, but could not definitively place. It was Lois Smith and she played the half-deaf, widowed grandmother. I could see her in my mind’s eye, in a recent role where she had a look of inner torment and sadness. Turns out, after looking her up in the Playbill, we knew; she played Tom Scavo’s mother on Desperate Housewives.

All in all I enjoyed the show and gave it a 7.

Take Us The Foxes

October 18, 2010

Here I am, in the flesh. Well, you know what I mean, and it’s time for some more B.S., which, are my initials, too, not just what I’m full of.

I’ve been around and about, licking the wounds of failure, as many of you already know–I was rejected once again by yet another publisher, but I’ll get more into that another time. While I’ve taken a few days off from blogging, I’ve been keeping busy with lots of things going on in my head and lots of things going on in real life like my normal day to day, wondering when and if the Lou crew in whatever form will ever reappear, we’ve been to a wedding and we’ve been to a play and that’s what I’m focusing on today because nothing gets my blood pumping like a critique of a Broadway show.

On Saturday afternoon, we saw the New York Theater Workshop production of Lillian Hellman’s “The Little Foxes“. Right off the bat, I’ll tell you, I gave it an 8, as did Ariel, and on the way to find some dinner afterwards, Ariel and I picked it apart and surprisingly, we maintained our scores.

The main thing I had to wrap myself around was the dichotomy between original dialogue, set in the turn of  the 20th century and the current day sets and costumes–think Wall Street business attire. I have to admit, even though it was written with a certain sensibility, the flagrant volleying of the “N” word had me a little uncomfortable, realizing there were people “of color” in the audience, and I thank the constant reminders of political correctness for that, (not that I go around using that word) and I cringed each time it was used, wondering what was going through the heads of those audience members. The minimalist set was a plush purple carpeted floor and staircase leading nowhere behind a partition, and 3 walls (the ceiling was white, not carpeted). From the ceiling hung 4 electric light fixtures and off on stage right was a small organ or other keyboard type instrument. This was director Ivo van Hove reimagined production of the savagely brutal story of greed and the self induced destruction of the Hubbard Family. 

But the cast, every one of them, gave their all for that 2 hour, intermissionless performance to the point where Elizabeth Marvel, who played Regina Giddens tasted the blood from a cut on her knee, a result from having been violently knocked to the floor. The production was rather violent and aggressively manic, a curious difference from the causticly understated and brilliantly effective “less is more” performance I’m accustomed to seeing from Bette Davis in the 1941 film version. Marvel continued her scene in spite of the cryptic indications from fellow cast members about the wound on her knee and when she finally realized it and before she was quickly handed a tissue, she swiped at it and licked it from her finger. I doubt it was part of the script, but it was a rather fitting move as at this point in the show; Regina’s claws were unretractable as she badgered her sickly husband to team up with her scheming brothers in the name of unrivaled wealth.

Not only did the modern costuming and electric lighting feel incongruos, it also seemed disjointed how Cal, the butler/houseman still spoke in that stereotypical “black”  jargon of that period amid the modern setting, or how a horse drawn carriage was used to transport the visiting investor to the train, or how Alexandra, who left her just widowed and money hungry mother via airplane, as evidenced by the video monitor which was used to describe off stage activities.

But then as we found things to pick apart, we decided this juxtaposition of two eras was indicative of the timelessness of the story. So, kudos to the production, to the cast and to Elizabeth Marvel for delivering the one line we were both anticipating, “I hope you die, I hope you die soon. I’ll be waiting for you to die,”  in a manner that fit how she played the part. She meant it.

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vine: for our vines have tender grapes. ~ Song of Solomon 2:15

A Surprise Ending

October 6, 2010

Oh man…STUFF! I know I have to tell you about that play we saw on Saturday, and I’m trying to avoid doing that in case you haven’t been able to tell, so let me veer off the track for a second to update you on the house. We had Lou Crew again yesterday and they finished putting up the light fixtures, plus the temporary cheap porch light, the “jelly jar” outside the sliding door because the one we ordered to go with the rest of the lights for the patio won’t be in until next month and he needed something up there in the meantime in order to pass inspection. Plus they brought the pantry door and the balance of the moldings and stained all of that. And up next will be the heating. I still didn’t get a picture of the fan because by the time they leave and with the dreary rain we’ve had the last couple of days, it’s been too dark to get a good picture of it. But I’ll get one up here soon enough.

Okay, in a nutshell, I can tell you about that play. It was called Me, Myself & I and the “it” name in the cast was Elizabeth Ashley. She played a disgruntled and confused mother of twins, OTTO and otto, whom she couldn’t tell apart except for the fact that she knew one hated her and one loved her. The first act took place with mother Ashley in bed with her live-in lover who sleeps in his suit and shoes and they were visited by each twin, separately and approximately 93% of the dialogue was an inane repetition of her asking, “Which one are you?” and “Are you the one who hates me?” and declaring, “I don’t know who you are.” That first act was a solid forty minutes. The second act had the mother and her lover going on a never materialized picnic and then meeting otto’s girlfriend, whom OTTO had just had his way with, though she thought it was otto. Then there was vicious name calling, including spewing the “C” word and then the twins’ father made a quick reappearance in a black panther-drawn carriage with a booty of emeralds, but after witnessing the falderal before him, left again, like he did twenty some years prior. Why all the confusion? Because OTTO had a new twin, his reflection in the mirror and otto was dead to him, which had otto asking if that now meant they were triplets. I can’t even rate this one, but all I can say is thank goodness this particular workshop theater has some of the most comfortable seats in all of Manhattan. Now do you see why I’ve been postponing reviewing this one?

Ready for some news? You can say it’s a surprise ending, (to the day yesterday, to today’s blog)hence today’s title and perhaps a surprise new beginning. I was just finishing up my day yesterday and I heard <insert incoming email chime> and it was from that publisher, the one I sent my first chapter to on Saturday. Without going into it too much, the gist of the email was to advise me that this correspondence constitutes a letter of intent in proceeding further with the acquisition of your manuscript for publishing.

I’ll let that soak in for a sec. Heaven knows I needed quite a bit of time myself last night.

They asked me to furnish them with some information so they can get together a confidentiality agreement which I’ll have to look over and have an attorney look over and they also say that I won’t be able to disclose any of the terms and conditions named therein.  I don’t know yet how severe any restrictions will be, say, in keeping you guys abreast of the proceedings, though they’d be non-specific anyway–that is, if anything more solid comes of this; I’d hate to not keep you apprised after many of you have been suffering my tale of woe for so long. But I will find out and I will share what I can.  I’m still numb.

A Little Night Music

September 27, 2010

Flies, stinkbugs and now, B’s. Yes, that’s right. There is a potential of 1,426 such B attacks; 298 in Britain and 620 in the United States and Canada combined, and who knows where the balance of them might strike and it’s become such a concern that millionaire soccer superstar Rio Ferdinand, team captain of the Manchester United and actor Mark Wahlberg (yes, Marky Mark) have been effected, but maybe for only as little as an hour. The pesky B, to which I am alluding, is the famous Flying B ornament that elegantly adorns the hoods of The Bentley. The hood ornament is designed to retract in the event of a collision but because of reported water seepage into the system and corroding the mechanism,  the winged embellishment has trouble retreating. The genesis of this recall is the fear of the Flying B impaling a pedestrian in an accident. I can see where that would be of grave concern, the possible puncture wound or even a branding (depending on how fast the car was traveling ) but I would think the greater dread would be of being struck by the vehicle itself.

On Saturday, leaving the Lou Crew here to finish their day, we went into the city to see the play “A Little Night Music“. The tickets were a birthday gift from Ariel’s nephew that I helped him pick out and I chose that one because the show was starring Bernadette Peters. We had time to kill before our 5:45 dinner reservations at Havana Central and they allow only a ten minute grace period and all members of your party must be present before you can get your table. That was reminiscent to another place we had a pre-show dinner that I can tell you about another time. The food there was satisfactory, though not the best Cuban food I’ve ever eaten. I have to say, hands down, no one can make fried bananas like Ariel’s mother. Anyway, right off the bat, our drinks came out wrong. My Manhattan was some fruity thing with an orange wedge and not a cherry AND on the rocks. I take mine up. When he brought me a new one, it was indeed a Manhattan, still with an orange wedge and still on the rocks. Though the musical soundtrack in the place was Cuban, the attitude was all New York; get ‘em, get ‘em fed and get ‘em out and very little atmosphere. We probably will not go back.

“A Little Night Music” takes place in Sweden and centers around the turn of the century (20th) relationship between Bernadette Peters’ character, actress Desiree Armfeldt and Alexander Hanson’s Frederik Egerman who is currently married to a virginal woman many years his junior. Through twists and turns and some scheming to “properly” align respective lovers who at some point became infatuated with everyone else. This was a role perfectly suited for Bernadette Peters and she played Desiree with an understated humor a middle-aged woman caught in a romantic love triangle might possess. Her rendition of “Send In The Clowns” was a revelation and similarly to “I Am What I Am” from La Cage Aux Folles, brought a clearer understanding of the songs’ lyrics. It was an emotional scene when “Clowns” was sung, and it was brilliantly performed with a crying crack in the voice, and through tears and sniffles. If Peters wasn’t actually crying on the stage, then she is a finer actress than I ever thought.

Elaine Stritch, who played her wheelchair bound (for the most part) mother who reminisced and advised her granddaughter on the loves of her own life came across too dry humored. To me, her sarcastic and acerbic barbs were overdone and came across as tedious and annoying and unentertaining.

Hanson’s Frederik, next to Peters’ was probably the best performance. He was nothing more or nothing less than the character was supposed to be, charming and dashing and the interest of nearly every member of the opposite sex.

The rest of the cast, however, I found was a cacophony of overacting and mugging and loud readings. And perhaps it was intended to have Ramona Mallory play Anne, Frederik’s chaste wife, like a younger version of Peters’ Desiree to replace that loss for Frederik, and that would be clever, but again, I thought it was too much (over acted) and a bit confusing.

All things considered, it wasn’t a complete bust. It did have its moments, like “Send In The Clowns” and some good one-liners and in the end my score was a 7.

As far as house updates, they finished the floor, even inside the pantry on Saturday, put the second coat of paint on the ceiling, patched and painted over the nicks on the wall from installing the floor (I’m assuming) and right now the floor is still covered with tarps and cardboard so there isn’t much to see. But shot one is of where the dining room is hopefully going, (that’s Lou’s chair and heating pad in the shopping bag on the floor), one looking through the new entryway and then the picture I took yesterday morning when we tested out the room.


Once You Go Black…

June 7, 2010

What better way to cap off a full and busy weekend than to wake up in time to get back to work? My weekend began when I finished my hours some time before noon on Friday and I was meeting my mother and my friend Sue for lunch and afterwards I had several stops at various stores to make and when I got home, I was going to start cleaning the middle room upstairs, which, since well before the construction started on the house, had become a catch all and any signs of it ever having been a guest room had all but vanished; turns out there IS a bed in there after all. When Ariel got in, he dove headlong into the effort as well.

I don’t think I had time to mention it last week, but Saturday was the day the bathroom door was going to be installed–9 AM. The glass enclosure, however, may be a lost cause because our contractor fears the place he ordered it from went belly up. And we needed to be out of the house by eleven Saturday morning because we were meeting friends in New York to see “Banana Shpeel”. I’m not going to rate it, I’m just going to say it was a great way to spend an afternoon with some fun friends and awe-inspiring talent. Nine AM came, 9:15, 9:30, 9:45, 10:00…no door. Finally, tired of waiting, Ariel called and found out the door had not been delivered and the contractor was still waiting for it to arrive and it would most likely be Tuesday or Wednesday before he could get here to install the door and it would be to our (and his) benefit if we were to go out and get the kind of doorknob and hinges we wanted so that the entire job could be done at once. We glanced at each other with that skeptical glint in our eyes but nonetheless, made plans to go out Sunday to get that and few other things for another project we had in mind for the weekend.

Damn the glass enclosure, I used the new shower this weekend. In fact, we both did. And the sort of minor water splatter on the floor aside, it’s a great shower. We put the finishing touches on the guest room and now it’s ready for our house guests this coming weekend and even replaced the little television we had in that simply died. After we decided on the right door knob and hinges for the forthcoming bathroom door, we went 19″ television shopping and finally found one that was ten dollars cheaper (which is still more than I could have imagined a television would cost these days) than the lowest priced one in that store Where ALl the prices are Mostly, Allegedly loweR Than low. And whew! It really had been a long time since we used that room because the basic cable service I used to have in that room, without a box, now requires one of those adapter things which supposedly will bring in the channels I want, instead of 117-5. Huh?
Well, that wasn’t the end of the weekend, but that’s enough for now. And before I forget, I know it’s been a few weeks since May 17 th , but this weekend’s weigh in was Ariel: 202 (down 1)and Brian: 214 (up 2).

Coming up tomorrow: leak in basement stopped?

Oh yeah, and by the way, I got the points for Rue McClanahan. I just thought it in appropriate to say it last week.

La Cage Aux Fun

May 17, 2010

Did you ever get the feeling, say if you were out somewhere, settled at a table in a restaurant, about to order your appetizer and a relaxing cocktail or you’re nestled comfortably in your theater seat after having made that unspoken compromise with the stranger seated next to you that the arm rest if off limits to both of you, (just to keep things fair) that something wasn’t quite right, but you couldn’t quite put your finger on it and the only thing that pops into your head is that you’re hoping you’re not wearing two different shoes?

We went to see “La Cage Aux Folles” on Saturday. Of course, our pre-show repast was at  a surprisingly and yet refreshingly packed Playwrights II and by about 1:30, the place emptied out except for us because everyone had gone off to their respective 2pm matinees. Ours wasn’t until 2:30 and we actually had time for coffee.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show and not really knowing Kelsey Grammer’s body of work, except for a few glimpes of a “Frasier” rerun after one of “The Golden Girls” I didn’t know what to expect from him. Well, the long and short of what I got from “La Cage” was an emotional ending to the first act, and by emotional I mean I was brought to tears and was again so twice during the second act. The song “I Am What I Am” performed by a dejected Albin, played both captivatingly and over the top at the same time by Douglas Hodge closed the first act and that song, as a rule, is so far on the bottom of my “like” list that I forgot it even existed. But seeing and hearing it performed in context, I could not help but convulse with emotion and try as I might to conceal it, by the time the lights came up, Ariel was handing over a hanky. And then in the second act with the performance of “Look Over There” first by Georges, Kelsey Grammer’s character, which he played with an quiet wit and engaging pathos to his son Jean-Michel when he arrogantly disregarded Albin, and again when Jean-Michel (A.J. Shively) reprised it when he realized the error of his ways. Just for the record, I still don’t like the song “I Am What I Am”.

What else I got from “La Cage” amid all that emotion and spontaneous outbursts of laughter was a sense of incredible chemistry between everyone in the cast that made the performance a heartfelt and genuine one  and it made for one of the more fun times I’ve had at a Broadway show in a long time. It was an engaging performance and  was pleasantly surprised; I laughed out loud and, of course, cried and at one point, being so drawn in, I was stopped dead in my tracks, stunned, as though I were a member of the cast reacting as scripted. Whether or not that was what they were going for, they got me. And what La Cage got from me was a score of 10. And that hasn’t happened since “Wicked”. So, thanks, “La Cage” for sending us off on our Broadway diet on such a high note.

Our weigh ins weren’t all that stellar this week; Ariel put on one more pound (203) but I lost 2 (212). And speaking of that, I started my 7-day eyedrop regimen yesterday to correct that viral thing I have going on with my eyelids. And, I have my regular doctor appointment later this morning, the one I had to make when I ran out of my blood pressure medication a few months back and had to see the nurse practitioner first to update my records.

There was more this weekend, but I can get into that next time.

We’ve Been Blogged

April 8, 2010

Before I get into my review of “Promises, Promises”, which is a whole story that I have to try to whittle down to a manageable length, I want to tell you that Ariel and I have been immortalized on the Uni-Lazy website. Click here to check it out!  Hard to believe we’re talking about Uni-Lazies when I finally relented and turned on the air conditioners last night. The temperature downstairs was 81 and upstairs, 86. I saw on the widget on my computer the temp outside today got as high as 90. April 7th. Go figure!

So, “Promises, Promises”… First, my cab was late coming to pick me, the first time this company has had me feeling a little stranded and helpless, but when he got here, we tore off and still looked like we’d make it until he got a call to pick up another fare also going to the train. He told the dispatcher he wouldn’t wait for this woman because he had his “steady that has to get to his train”. Made me feel good, but alas, I missed my train. I was willing to pay the penalty for not buying my ticket at the booth just so I could get on my way. But as I got the platform, the train was pulling away. But to my consolation, an express was due in in less than fifteen minutes and while I waited, I got this picure.

Yes, it’s snow, between the platform and a parking deck. With that curious thought running through my mind, I was whisked away to Manhattan on a double decker train. Love those!

I was like a missile heading to our meeting place up on 52nd Street once I got out of that ant farm known as Penn Station and it became clear to me that it must be a cosmically inherent unwritten rule that no physical contact takes place on the street, no matter how you have to slow your pace or contort yourself to get around someone when you’re going at a clip you just don’t want to stop, because if you do, someone behind you will take over your lead.

A quick nosh and a cold beer was mine 20 minutes later and soon we were off to the theater which was just one block away. Sounds easy, yes? Well, there was a Sigley involved, don’t forget that little tidbit. Earlier in the afternoon, there had been a manhole explosion and the block we needed was barricaded, even to foot traffic. A police officer told us that “Jersey Boys” wasn’t going on since it was right in the middle of the affected block, but she had no information on “Promises, Promises”. Well, like mice in a maze, we made our way to the theater, crawling under do not cross tape and ducking around emergency vehicles. The theater was open and as expected, the curtain was delayed in going up.

This little mouse found his cheese up on the stage only 12 rows away. I gave the show an 8. Of course, we were all giddy waiting to see Kristin Chenoweth, but I have to be honest, Sean Hayes, in his debut Broadway performance, absolutely stole the show at a comedic pace that was consistent throughout. And it seemed to us, that although La Chenoweth is a force to be reckoned with in her own right, seemed almost wasted (which I mean as a compliment to her) in this production; almost as if the producers wanted to ensure a “name” to draw an audience. But her part, by comparison, was small, but as ever she is a unique gem to witness in person and I think Sean Hayes could carry the show on his own merit.

The story, in case you’re not familiar is about C.C. Baxter, an aspiring executive in an insurance firm who loans out his apartment to his bosses for their extramarital trysts in return for the promise of advancement in the company–the movie was “The Apartment” with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine.

All in all, “Promises, Promises” was a feel good, light-hearted (in spite of the attempted suicide) way to spend an evening with friends.

Let’s see how the newts made out last night.