Rapture, be pure

I realized this week that the Rapture (and unfortunately this is not referring to a resurgence of the 1980 Blondie hit) is starting, okay has been predicted to start, right about the time I’m sitting down to watch the Book of Mormon. Coincidence? Who knows? Could the combination of this liturgically irreverent show and my devoutly secular nature be enough to tip the scales?

I really have two main concerns: how does one pack for the rapture? I have not aspersions that I will ascend any higher than the mezzanine but my wardrobe is not at all fire retardant and I’m pretty positive that even I do not have the right shoes. Second, will the Sunday matinee be canceled? This may be a true test of the “show must go on” maxim but I figure few in the entertainment industry are headed to heaven right? The number of people ascending are pretty limited, so there should be few if any understudies.
Yes, I know I’m going to hell.

Broadway Bound Baby!

So I am a scant 4 days from my next Broadway trip! Tickets have been bought, a hotel has been reserved, shoes have been selected and this time on Friday will find me ensconced in my seat on the train headed to NYC to meet my dear sister for Broadway Blitz 2011. That hum and snap in the air, that’s my excitement and anticipation level increasing exponentially. This is the big trip where we pack in as many shows in a three day weekend as possible, for this trips it’s the standard 4 shows (we’ve maxed out at 5 shows).

I’m actually pretty happy with this years selection of shows and three out of the four shows we’re seeing are critic “recommended”, for what that’s worth, I also check what reader reviews are and all of the shows are hovering in the 3.5-4 star range which bodes well for entertainment value.

When we pick shows we typically like to pick a variety and the selection does tend to be heavy on the musical side. There’s a variety of factors that go into how we select the shows to see: the pre-show buzz, is it original, have we seen it before, who’s in it, who wrote it, or just liking the premise. This year on the schedule is, Anything Goes, Good People, Book of Mormon and Catch Me if You Can. It’s a pretty good mix and all the shows have multiple Tony nominations.

Anything Goes is a revival of a classic Cole Porter musical which features some of his best and most well known songs, Delovely, You’re the Top, I Get A Kick Out of you plus stars Sutton Foster, who as a multi nominated and Tony winning actress I have yet to see perform. Even better than seeing Ms. Foster perform, the show is also featuring the inestimable Mr. Joel Grey. He is a high priority on my “must see” list of performers for several reasons, one he’s Mr. Joel Grey, his body of work and the fact while he is a hale and hearty 80 years old, he is 80 years old. This has the NY Times “Critic Pick” designation and a reader review rating of 4 out five and is Tony nominated for Best Revival of a Musical.

I will admit that I’m going to see Good People mostly for the cast and mostly because it’s starring Frances McDormand. I really enjoy her work and as a kicker it co stars Tate Donovan, who I have no problems looking at and Estelle Getty for comic relief. The show and Ms. McDormand are both Tony nominees and again the show is a NY Times “crtitics pick”.

The hot item and the one I’m most excited to see is the creation of Broadway newbies and South Park Creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone with assistance from co-creator of Avenue Q Robert Lopez, The Book of Mormon. This show got really good buzz early and has been on my radar for quite awhile. While it is a NYT “critics pick” the reader reviews have been up and down, people love it or hate it. This is something completely different and I can see how it would offend people and especially Mormons (although based on reports less than one anticipated). The last couple of times I’ve seen a show with this much variance in the reviews (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and the dreaded Pirate Queen) the results were not good; however, the show has gotten the Jon Stewart seal of approval which carries a good amount of weight for me. This is the odds on favorite to twin the Best Musical Tony as well as any number of the other 13 categories they’re nominated for.

The final show we’re seeing, Catch Me if You Can, almost falls under the category of guilty pleasure. It is yet another movie turned into a musical (although I will admit to not having seen the movie) but the draw here really was the two lead actors. (Okay a total aside here but have you noticed how Broadway can take popular movies and turn them into good or even great musicals but Hollywood takes a good or even great musical and turns in into absolute dreck). Aaron Tevit wowed me in Next to Normal and the boy can really sing but the real draw was to see Norbert Leo Butz perform again. One you just have to love that name and that he hasn’t tried to “fix it” and he’s a really really talented actor, singer, dancer who know what he’s doing on a stage. The reader reviews are in the 4 out of five range and while the Times review was generally mediocre they did really love Mr. Butz (hehe).

Anyway, stay tuned. I will take the laptop and try and post immediate reactions after the shows and then update with more details the following week.

Off to NYC

Saturday morning and I’m headed for NYC! Yay! It’ been exactly three months (January 16th) since I’ve headed north to see a show. That may not seem like a long time but before that I had been two months since I’d been to NYC and before that it had been 6 months since I’ve been to Broadway, so you can see I’ve shown great restraint.

This is a quick (metaphorically speaking) trip this weekend, up and back in the same day. We’re heading up to see Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia (see my synopsis post here). There are several reasons for seeing this show, one is an attempt to see all of Tom Stoppard’s plays performed, it’s starring Billy Crupud and Raul Esparza two actors I really admire and a friend asked “Do you want to go see Arcadia in NYC?” Typically all it takes to get me to NYC is someone saying “Do you want to go?” Which is really a rhetorical question because anybody who knows me knows that the answer is always “Yes.”

This trip I’m trying something different. I’ve tried most modes of transportation to NYC including  planes, trains and automobiles so all that was left is the bus. It is, especially with the cost of gas right now, easily the cheapest. I am always concerned with a mode of transportation where the pick up is identified as “in front of the Quizno’s.” We’ll see how it goes. Check back later for a review of the play (and the bus ride).

Broadway Near You – Part 2 – Shows You Should See

So part 2 is going to be shows that you should see if they come within a reasonable distance. These shows are worth the full ticket price (at least they were on Broadway). Click here here for to find what shows are coming near you.

In The Heights
The 2008 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Score and Choreography. I haven’t seen the tour but the original Broadway production was a refreshing change of pace from the more traditional musical fare. Musically it’s a melange of rap/slam poetry set to music along with more traditional songs. The stories nothing very original, it’s about the lives and loves of people in living in Washington Heights in NYC. Read more

Yay! My first question!

I will have to think of an appropriate reward for the writer of the first of hopefully many questions!

“Oh Great Theatre Pimp (which is my official formal title), when are you going to see and review Spider-man? I am a great fan of Julie Taymor, but it seems that this production is cursed…”

The short answer is, I’ll see it when it officially opens. Which, if the latest reported rumors are true, may be moved again to as late as June. Unlike less gracious reviewers I feel it’s unfair to see the work in progress when it’s quite obviously incomplete. I can’t help but get a sense of schadenfreude from the reviews I’ve read (“we knew it was a bad idea!”).

Read more