Well, there’s no time like February to finish up detailing my theater experiences from 2016. This site is called Really Late Reviews, after all. Here we go with December! The rest of my Year of Theatre/Year of Playbills can be found at my author page.
The first weekend in December gave me two shows. Saturday night, my bestie Ally and I were back at the St. James for another round of Something Rotten!, this time starring Adam Pascal as Shakespeare. He did not disappoint! It was glorious (“Now let me see, G-L-O-R-I-O-U-S, who fits that bill? It’s Will!”) This time around, we knew all the songs and the plot, and it made the jokes even funnier. During the opening of “Will Power,” Ally & I were clapping along with the chanting of “We want Will!” This earned us some strange looks, of course, but being A-Squared, we were used to that and didn’t mind in the least. This was also the last night for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fundraising, so after curtain call, there was a plea by the cast for the cause. They were not only taking cash donations in the red buckets, there were special experiences to be had with large donations. Rob McClure (who played the main character, Nick Bottom) offered out an auction for a backstage tour. The bidding kept going between two patrons in the front, until it reached $500. Rob, seeing an opportunity, decided to pimp out his costar. “If you both agree to pay $500 each, I’ll give a tour for each of you and your parties, and get Adam out here to sing ‘One Song Glory.’” As Zack Morris used to say, “Talk about a no-brainer.” Each patron confirmed they would do it, and Adam came downstage. “Let’s see if I remember the words,” he joked with us. What a sight to behold! Adam, in his sexy Shakespeare costume, singing “One Song Glory.” Oh, man. Ally and I were overwhelmed and clutching each other during the song. After that, we stagedoored as is our way, and got another fabulous picture with him.
Sunday was a “me day,” and I scored the last ticket to Kingdom Come, presented by the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Underground, in their Black Box Theater. It’s a very small, intimate space that has about 10 rows of chairs followed by 3-5 rows on risers behind that. The play dealt with the concept of “catfishing” when it comes to online dating. Samantha is a lonely girl confined to her bed, and Layne is shy and slightly awkward. They end up talking to each other on a dating site, both pretending to be someone wildly different than they really are, and strike up a relationship. The play also starred Stephanie Styles, previously seen in the tour production of Newsies as Katherine Plumber. She played the part of Suz, Layne’s coworker who seems pretty shallow at first, but really wants to be a generous person. It was an interesting play and a great little venue. I definitely will return to the Black Box Theater at Roundabout. It was also a delight to see Stephanie again—she was perfectly cast and always very sweet when I get to talk to her.
Falsettos was a short-run revival with an incredible cast that was one of the most talked-about shows of December. It’s about the family that you make. A man, his ex-wife, their son, and the man’s boyfriend (and the “lesbians next door”) make up a family. This may not seem so unusual now, but in the late 1970s, this was highly unorthodox. I’m glad I got to see this production, starring such Tony-winners as Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells; Tony nominees Stephanie J. Block and Brandon Uranowitz. Although it started snowing while we were in the theater, Anthony Rosenthal (Jason in Falsettos, Les in the tour company of Newsies) came to the stagedoor to say hi. The security guard told us that Tracie Thoms (Dr. Charlotte in Falsettos and Joanne in both the film version and final Broadway company of Rent) would come out but it would be a while as she had guests. I opted not to wait as my feet were getting numb.
The most talked-about off-Broadway revival was at the Pershing Square Signature Center and Ally & I were able to score tickets to it. Sutton Foster, multi-talented Tony-winner star of stage and screen starring as the title role in Sweet Charity. The stage was somewhat in-the-round, with seating on 3 sides of the stage. Ally and I managed to get front-row seats for this and unlike a traditional Broadway theater, it was not too high for me to see. One of the girls even flirted with Ally during “Hey, Big Spender!” Sutton is a sight to behold live. I had only a vague familiarity with the show prior to seeing it; I knew two of the songs and not much of the plot. I’m glad I went in mostly “blind,” as it was better to experience everything at once. Sutton brought such innocence and vulnerability to the role. The company as a whole was wonderful, but one performer stood out to me: Joel Perez. He played several roles in the show including Vittorio Vidal, a movie star who spends the evening with Charity and invites her back to his place. This becomes the setting for the song “If My Friends Could See Me Now.” After the performance, a few company members came out to greet us, including Joel. Sutton chose to stay in and prep for the evening show.
I was a little disappointed I did not get to see Sutton or Christian after their shows in December; I would have liked to talk to them briefly about the Stars Hollow Musical in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Alas, it was not to be.
Well, that wraps up my 2016 theater experiences! I’m well on my way to hitting the Perfect Playbill Year again in 2017. Catch me in the NYC theater district most weekends!