And so ends the New York leg of my summer odyssey. It’s been lovely, as always. I saw ELEVEN shows plus a concert and a benefit this time. Good life I got here. I’ve already written about Newsies, Peter and the Starcatcher, Jesus Christ Superstar, End of the Rainbow, Ghost, and Best Man. I also saw Once; Memphis; One Man, Two Guvnors; Harvey; and Death of a Salesman. I saw Regina Spektor in concert (!!!!!) and last Saturday I went to the Story Pirates benefit.
Now I am going to attempt to write about each of these individually awesome experiences. In case I don’t, at least I have some record of what I did right here.
Last tuesday night (the 15th), I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Regina Spektor. I have wanted to see her live in concert since I first heard her music years and years ago. I've kept a constant tab on her and I've never been able to find tour dates. At first, I found out that she was finally playing LA in August and then I saw I was going to be out of town and I was heartbroken. I looked more closely and saw that she was also playing in New York while I was there. I ended up going with my friend Anais who used to work for my mom. We had the BEST time.
The concert was everything I could've hoped for and more. Regina is so adorable and meek-seeming when she talks and then she sits down and just BLOWS my mind with her volcanic talent. She truly is one of a kind. Everyone should download Far, one of her newer albums. I know it by heart. Her tour was promoting her new album What We Saw From the Cheap Seats which is on iTunes for preorder and I can't wait. Every single breath that comes from her mouth and every single note that falls from her fingertips is flawless and intriguing. Heaven.
The lighting design was insane. I would love to do lighting for music at some point in my career.
Once was absolutely fantastic. I would say out of all the shows that I saw on this trip, this was the best musical. In fact, let me rate them all right now.
- Jesus Christ Superstar
- Peter and the Starcatcher
- One Man, Two Guvnors
- Death of a Salesman
- End of the Rainbow
- Best Man
Combined (THESE ARE THE MUST SEE)
- Peter and the Starcatcher
- One Man, Two Guvnors
Anywho. Back to business. Once was really sweet and heart-wrenching. I remember liking the movie a lot but it’s been a long time. I am a huge fan of the music so I was super excited for that.
When you get to the theater, they invite the audience onstage to enjoy drinks from an actual bar. It’s fun to mill around on an legit Broadway stage and to see all of the audience in front of you. All of a sudden, members of the ensemble mosey onstage and pick up various instruments lying around. They begin a raucous mini concert that blew my mind. It might have been my favorite part of the show. The actor/musicians were so talented--flipping from one instrument to the next and they having a blast in the meantime. One of my favorite things in entertainment is when we can see an actual person peek through the theatrics. Like on SNL when Bill Hader breaks during Stefon or Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen break during Garth and Kat. I feel so close to them, like I am in the joke, or that we're all buddies. If only. This moment of jolly jamming felt like that. I felt so at home, like I was at another of Peter’s rocking music nights.
Blurry set photo.
Eventually they ushered us off the stage and gradually the show began. It was nice how the switch from preshow jam to actual show was so subtle. They dimmed the lights little by little until it was finally dark halfway through the “first” song.
Gods were looking down on me. The usher said in passing as we were leaving the stage, "Does anyone want the set list from today?" I was like YES! and here it is.
Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti were a dream. They both rocked the accents. The real surprise though was Milioti. She comes in with a bang of spunky personality and never came down from that cloud. She was overflowing with personality and such subtle humor. I loved the running “I am always serious. I’m Czech.” joke. She was truly wonderful to watch through all the highs and lows. Hilarious in her initial interaction with the Guy. Sweet in her maternal moments with her little daughter. Heartbreaking in her painful yearning rendition of “The Hill”. I was completely and totally rendered speechless by her “If You Want Me”. Her voice sounds like a violin. She’s rocking a powerhouse talent in that little body of hers.
Steve Kazee was also fantastic. He had such a powerful voice. He comes in and completely owns the floor immediately with “Leave”. He begins soft and painful in a sweet way and builds to such passionate anger. Completely captivating. His riffing and runs at the end inspired such deep emotions to stir in my heart. “Falling Slowly” is another matter entirely. Every time I hear that song (even on my measly iPod) I have to stop and listen and just sway with my eyes closed. Beauty. I enjoyed his Elvis swinging hips during “Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy”.
The complete draw of this show, however, is the stellar ensemble. The movement by Steven Hoggett is so flawless. “Sets” are changed and music is filled in seamlessly. Each member had a nice moment in the spotlight. I loved the Czech family/roommates. They seemed to have a blast while showing off to the Guy during “Ej Pada Pada Rosicka”. Elizabeth A. Davis was beautiful and perfect for the part of Reza, the Czech seductress. I don't think I have ever seen anyone that skinny. Little twig. David Abeles was definitely Ron Weasley grown up. Paul Whitty as Billy, the music shop owner, was probably my favorite member of the ensemble. He was hilarious and rocked a badass beard. (It was real, by the way. Always more impressive.) He’s kind of like an overgrown elf. The best moments were when they were all singing and playing together. “Gold (A Capella)” was stunning. That melody is already breathtaking and a capella singing is always gorgeous so put them together and well... You get it.
I wish I brought a silver sharpie. Only Steve Kazee had one.
I could gush and gush forever, but really, just try and see it if you have the chance. Worth it, I swear.
Next up: Memphis. It was completely out-of-the-blue that I saw this. I was at the TKTS booth wednesday afternoon and nothing was super calling out to me. I had a few I wanted to see but nothing major. I was chatting with some of the lovely people who hang around the booth to answer questions. I asked one of the girls what her current favorite musical and play were. She said Memphis. (I ignored the fact that she was wearing a Memphis shirt and therefore probably was employed by them.) I knew Adam Pascal was in it, so I thought why not? I am sure it will be fun.
And it was. It was, by no means, my favorite show ever, but I had quite a bit of fun. The cast was a lot of fun and Montego Glover (Felicia) had a lovely voice. It was super cool to see Adam Pascal on stage as something other than ROGER. I was lucky enough to see him and Anthony Rapp in their iconic roles at the Pantages a few years ago. I was glad to see him in a part fo very different than what I am used to. Huey Calhoun is such a dork and a weirdo (the opposite of badass rocker Roger) and so endearing.
Preshow, intermission, post-show.
I don't really have much else to say. The costume color palette was beautiful and I loved the girl's costumes. Derrick Baskin, who played Gator, was the original Mitch Mahoney in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, so that's cool. The set design was very clever and nice to look at.
Wouldn't go out of my way to recommend this show to anyone but it most certainly was not bad. Oh, fun fact! The show is at the Shubert Theatre, home of Chorus Line, the longest running show in Broadway history.
Playbill and ticket.
Since I have already hit the 1500 word mark, I think I will wrap this one up and continue on a new post. Don't wanna overwhelm any of my nonexistent readers. Til then!