Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The SMASH Reality Index: Episode 4

Inspired by NYMag.com’s brilliant Reality Index recaps, Dave (@NineDaves, www.NineDaves.com) and I have teamed up to bring you our take on what’s keepin’ it real and what’s faking it each week on SMASH.

In episode 4 of SMASH, the writers really want us to focus on “The Cost of Art.” After all, that’s the name of the episode. Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston) is still looking for investors, it’s the first week of rehearsals and Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) still isn’t sure whether sleeping with Derek earned her the part, and Karen Cartwright (Katherine McPhee) just wants to fit in.

But while everybody seemed to battle their own inner demons, we were just focused on Nick Jonas. Seriously guys, did you see him playing the piano and singing “I Just Haven’t Met You Yet”? Swoon.

Maybe that’s why this was our favorite episode so far. It also helps that we’re loving how Marilyn the Musical is shaping up, particularly the musical numbers (that “I Never Met A Wolf Who Didn’t Love To Howl” number was solid). Still, there was a lot to pick apart. So without further ado, let’s tackle the reality index:

Totally True
• We like to think Broadway “chorus” members aren’t that nasty to their fellow performers, but they probably are.
• Julia and Michael’s awkward banter is totally plausible. Have you ever had to work with an ex before? Holy uncomfortable Batman.
• Tom greets Michael with a big hug and a smile, as if everything is totally okay and he knows nothing at all about Michael’s torrid affair with Julia. That’s what gay best friends are for.
• It’s not even noon and Eileen Rand is fighting about money.
• Ivy Lynn walks into rehearsal wearing a scarf. Because Broadway actresses always wear scarves.
• Derek tells us “the book is totally in flux.” Of course it is. Because as far as we can see, there isn’t a book!
• “The road to Broadway is exceedingly long.” This is true. We’re still waiting for Yank!. Although if your show is called Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and you’ve cast three Tony Award winners and a bunch of other Broadway superstars, things seem to move a little bit faster.
• “Nobody’s anybody until we start rehearsing.” This egotistical, over-the-top bullshit is exactly something Derek would shout at a first rehearsal. We’re surprised he hasn’t said, “There’s a 100 other performers out there who would DIE to be in this room right now…”
• We love love LOVE that they’re singing “Twentieth Century Mambo” again. Because when you put on a Broadway show, you don’t just perform the numbers once. We hope SMASH keeps repeating songs like this.
• See Glee? Real professionals rehearse their performance numbers.
• Ivy Lynn throws Karen Cartwright a whole bunch of shade at the first rehearsal.
• A How to Succeed… poster is hanging in Eileen Rand’s office. As if Nick Jonas being in this episode wasn’t advertisement enough. We see how that contract negotiation went.
• Bonus points for that How to Succeed… poster being of Daniel Radcliffe.
• Eileen has a real Degas hanging in her office.
• Eileen casually mentions said Degas.
• We find it totally realistic that Eileen is drinking at her office. She’s like a female Don Draper.
• We find it even more realistic that Julia would be impressed that she’s drinking at the office. Sure beats that Chinese baby adoption happening at home, huh?
• One of the ensemble members gets pissed when he’s referred to as a member of the chorus. Nice callback to episode 3!
• Derek Wills would totally still be championing the fact that he “discovered” Lyle West. Even if that’s completely false.
• Sam and the rest of the ensemble refer to Derek as “The Dark Lord. Sauron himself.” As we learned last week, “The theater is high school.”
• While we don’t believe that Julia would be the book writer (see below), we’re happy that we FINALLY have identified one.
• Karen Cartwright asks her fellow ensemble member, “Are the numbers still there in the theater?” Not only is this something that would totally happen, but it’s also something some of us (aka Dave) wondered too.
• Bobby and Karen Cartwright get cut from the U.S.O. number and Bobby immediately blames Karen.
• Dave freaks out because that scene between Karen and her boyfriend, and that scene between Julia and Tom were filmed by his office and he saw it all and OMG.
• In episode 2, Dev lost his shit when Karen Cartwright couldn’t make dinner. Now, he won’t get off the phone for five minutes. And she doesn’t mind. BECAUSE SHE’S A NORMAL HUMAN BEING WHO UNDERSTANDS THAT PEOPLE WORK.
• “So it’s like high school? You try and look like everyone else?” “Exactly!” Plus 100.
How to Succeed… commercial starring Nick Jonas. Linda faints and Plus 1,000,000,000
• “I didn’t even pull half a diva.” Because Ivy Lynn knows what pulling a full diva is like.
• “And trust me – they never would have cut her just to make me feel better.” We totally agree, Ivy Lynn. See below!
• Ivy Lynn’s Zac Posen dress is second hand. “I think it’s only be worn once. And the zipper still works and everything.” Because even though she’s Marilyn, she’s still a chorus girl in her bank account.
• Nick Jonas singing Michael Bublé. Plus 100!
• Ivy Lynn has the same love-struck expression on her face as Linda does when Nick Jonas sings. #love
• “Would you like to see the bedrooms?” YES NICK JONAS, YES.
• Tom’s date mentions that he checked Tom out online first. Bonus points for being a star fucker.
• The waitress tells Eileen that she’s “an actress and a dancer.” To which Eileen replies, “Not now, sweetheart.” Best moment in the show yet?
• Ellis introduces his girlfriend as his “friend.” Because you know he’s trying to play that gay angle with Tom.
• Nick Jonas has learned how to smile and look at people when he’s acting. That’s an improvement from Jonas, Jonas L.A., Camp Rock, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, and Les Misérables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary.
• We like to think that Broadway actors are always performing in their apartments, throwing impromptu dance parties and singing songs.
• Little Lyle automatically starts negotiating with Eileen, which we love.
• We find it believable that Julia would have joined in that “I Never Met a Wolf Who Didn’t Love to Howl” number just as we find it believable that Marc Shaiman sang “Good Morning Baltimore” a few times with Marissa Jaret Winokur.
• The waitress is now a part of the big performance number. SHE SAID SHE WAS A DANCER.
• You know in her mind, that waitress was like, “Finally! My big break!”
• We love Nick Jonas’ face when he thinks he’s going to get some. Must be all those years of wearing a purity ring.
• Dev is in charge of the press office, so he’s always on the phone. We know people who work for the press office. This is sadly true.
• Jessica calls Karen Cartwright “Iowa.” Plus 50.
• We buy that Ivy Lynn would be totally jealous of Derek’s flirting. We also buy that she would put her self esteem aside to fuck him while a party is going on in his apartment.
• “Then go back to the chorus. There’s nothing safe about being a star.” Derek Wills, you badass motherfucker.

Oh Hell No!
• Debra Messing went a little bit too much Grace in that bit with Will. We mean, Tom.
• There’s no way Ivy would have gotten entrance applause for walking into a first reading. This isn’t Private Lives.
• Not sure we believe Ivy was in Chicago 10 years ago. She would have been a little young to be a merry murderess. Plus, her boobs are too big for that show.
• No one eats in Times Square.
• Especially not on those outside tables.
• Karen Cartwright shouldn’t be so surprised that Derek and Ivy slept together. Didn’t Derek try to do that to her in the first episode? Did we imagine that?
• Apparently Julia is the book writer? Wouldn’t there have been more discussion about that early on?
• As much as Ivy Lynn hates Karen Cartwright, it seems strange that the entire production team would cut Karen from numbers that quickly.
• And we doubt that Karen would throw a temper tantrum and storm out of the room when she was cut from a number. Don’t you have to be there even when you’re not rehearsing? Don’t you WANT to be there?
• Jessica wouldn’t have gone from being Karen Cartwright’s enemy to being Karen Cartwright’s bestie that quickly.
• How did struggling actress and part-time waitress Karen Cartwright afford all these clothes?
• And damn you, SMASH, for not giving us a full makeover montage set to “I Feel Pretty.” What, did Sondheim not give you the rights?
• No mention of Michael Urie in the new How to Succeed… commercial. Minus 50.
• Sam is talking about baseball and reading a Sports Illustrated.
• Karen Cartwright’s apartment is too nice for a struggling actress and a guy who works for the Mayor’s office.
• Everyone at that party is just standing around watching him perform. You know there’d at least be someone in the corner, tweeting.
• Ivy Lynn compliments Derek’s place, but mentions nothing about the gas leak. Surely she would have brought that up.
• Guys that pretty aren’t single. They also don’t go on blind dates. Set up by their mothers.
• Lyle would never be hiding all alone in that apartment. No matter how much he felt like he had to be “on.” Some tramp would be all up in that business.
• The entire creative team and lead actors of Marilyn the Musical show up to the party at the exact same time.
• A party like this seems like an inappropriate time to debut a whole new number from a new musical. This isn’t Merrily We Roll Along. #GoodThingGoing #GussieForever
• No matter how talented those musicians are, we find it highly unlikely that they would pick up that entire song so well.
• We also doubt that Ivy Lynn would be off book that fast.
• Is Christian Borle auditioning for Million Dollar Quartet? Minus 10.
• Tom’s blind date is sitting right in the front of the room during that performance. He would have standing towards the back.
• Lyle knows the words!
• Ellis would not have been allowed to join in that number. Julia would have pushed him out so fast…
• Derek would not be hitting on another girl, right when a number from the show he was directing was being performed for an investor.
• Damn you Eileen Rand. You prevented us from a Nick Jonas sex scene, and we will forever hate you for that.
• Tom wouldn’t be just playing the piano while his blind date aimlessly wandered the apartment of a party he wasn’t really invited to in the first place.
• “Let’s show them what the chorus looks like.” Um, don’t you mean the ENSEMBLE! God Bobby – shouldn’t you have corrected her?
• In NYC, there aren’t just bars where you can get up on stage and perform a dance number without at least having to fight off a drag queen or a bachelorette party first.
• Also, if ever a performance like that DID spontaneously happen at a bar in NYC, the patrons of said bar wouldn’t just stop what they were doing to watch. Or applaud!
• Last week, Karen couldn’t pick up any dance numbers. Now, she’s miraculously picked up this complicated dance routine and is performing it at a bar.
• Karen Cartwright starts singing and is apparently fully mic’ed.
• Ivy Lynn and Derek wouldn’t go upstairs to fuck with all those people still in his apartment.
• No Brian D’Arcy James in this episode. We cry 100 tears.

Broadway Guest Stars
Obviously, our favorite How to Succeed… replacement Nick Jonas is all over this episode. We also spotted Avenue Q’s Christmas Eve Ann Harada as the stage manager. Leap of Faith’s Leslie Odom Jr. played Ivy’s bestie from her Chicago days. Passing Strange’s Eisa Davis showed up again as Eileen Rand’s lawyer. And Karen Cartwright has two new fairy godmothers in Rock of Ages’s Wesley Taylor and Savannah Wise.

What do you guys think? Did we miss anything?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Rated P For Parenthood Talkback

Rated P For Parenthood is a new musical of vignettes about being a parent from birth to college (watch one of them in the video above). On Tuesday night, I attended a blogger night for the show, which opens on February 29. Everybody, not just the bloggers, was invited to stay for the talkback with creator Sandy Rustin, composers/lyricists Dan Lipton and David Rossmer, and the cast--Courtney Balan, Chris Hoch, David Josefsberg, and Joanna Young, each in multiple roles. The talkback was in not only for the audience to learn more about the show, but for the creators to hear what was working and what wasn't. It always refreshing when creative teams value feedback from the audience and this show in particular seems to be really utilizing talkbacks, which they've had throughout the process, beginning with the reading 18 months ago. Here's what we discussed:

The show's origins: Rustin has two little boys. On the oldest's first day of pre-school, she wrote what would later become "Prayer for Ellie," which you can actually listen to here. This gave her the initial idea, and she began to write more sketches about parenthood, eventually signing on her college friend Lipton and Rossmer.

Improv inspiration: The creators come from an improv background and though the show is fully scripted, Lipton says they were trying to bottle that spirit into the show.

Changes to the musical: The show used to include birthday numbers between vignettes to alert the audience about the age of the child, but they decided the audience didn't need these cues. Bravo for trusting the audience.

Soccer coaches: In one scene in the show, moms take their kids to soccer practice and lust after the British soccer coach. This was actually inspired by Super Soccer Stars in Manhattan, which is apparently full of young British coaches. I will keep this in mind if I ever raise kids in Manhattan.

Audience Rewards

Happy Friday! I just wanted to share some information about a program I'm sure many of you are familiar with, Audience Rewards. Audience Rewards is the Official Rewards Program of Broadway. You can earn additional points by answering trivia questions (my favorite way to earn points) and buying theater tickets. Points can be redeemed for tickets, cast albums, and more. For those who aren't already signed up for the program, you can get 500 points just for joining. Also, if you register by March 1, you'll be entered to win tickets to see Evita (starring Ricky Martin!).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The SMASH Reality Index: Episode 3

I'm very excited to team up with NineDaves (follow him on Twitter @NineDaves) to bring you the SMASH Reality Index. Here's a little explanation from Dave about how this came about:

One of my favorite things to ever exist on the Internet has to be NYMag.com’s “Reality Index” Gossip Girl recaps, in which Jessica Pressler and Chris Rovzar sifted through each episode of Gossip Girl and pointed out the things that are totally plausible and totally ridiculous in the real world. They’re seriously amazing, and even though Chris Rovzar has moved on to crazy amazing things, Jessica Pressler has continued on and created one of the most constantly funny recaps out there (Seriously. Check the archives. They’re fantastic).

When SMASH premiered on NBC two weeks ago, I found myself wondering why NYMag.com wasn’t doing “Reality Index” recaps of SMASH. After all, the show is completely ripe for the format. And they had extended the column to do “Reality Index” recaps of Bored to Death, so they were obviously fine with expanding the franchise. Apparently, I wasn’t alone. Fellow theater blogger/tweeter/enthusiast Linda Buchwald was also wondering where the column was. And as we discussed why this wasn’t happening, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make something great happen.

So here we are, doing our own take on the ‘Reality Index’ column. We’re doing some things different here. For one, we’re not really rewarding points (though some things are just so exciting, we don’t know what to do but throw bonus points on them). You also won’t see us adding up points, or picking a true/false winner. Mainly because we’re bad at math. But we will have a few exciting additions – including a roundup of Broadway actors floating around in guest-starring roles. Because between Law & Order: SVU, The Good Wife, and A Gifted Man, we love that we can still see Broadway actors without leaving our couches.

Oh, and the same column will be posted both here and on Dave’s site. So we’ve got you doubly covered!

Anyway, enough description! Here’s the first column. They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Hopefully they (and you) will love it.

Totally True
• Derek has sex on his back. This makes sense as he's completely egotistical and probably totally lazy.
• After sex with Ivy, Derek moves immediately into talking about his work. I (Dave) have slept with a few theater people before. Trust me: this always happens. 
• “It could take five years for Marilyn to get to the stage." Finally real talk about how long it takes to make a Broadway show. 
• Bruno Mars songs are being used in a rock opera. It's like Rent meets American Idiot. With scaffolding. And Twyla Tharp choreography. We’re actually shocked this isn't real.
• Karen Cartwright's co-worker tells Karen, "Don't call it the chorus, call it the ensemble. But if you ask me, that's like calling garbage men sanitation workers." This is exactly something that non-theater people would say.
• Will Chase is playing trains with a 2-year-old kid. This is how we always imagine him in our minds. 
• Ellis is drinking beer on a rooftop in Brooklyn. Yeah, that makes sense. 
• Julia is talking about what Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio want. Every show needs an I Want song.
• After Ellis' friends convinced him he has some claim on this idea, he steals Julia's notebook so that he can most likely blackmail her in the future. While I'd like to think that anyone with a brain wouldn't do something so stupid, as to not completely destroy any chance he/she would have for working in this industry in the future, this does seem like something Ellis would do. After all, he's a social-climbing narcissist. A perfect product of the Facebook generation. See what you've done, internet!?!
• We appreciate that SMASH recognized that Karen Cartwright's father shaved his face between the pilot and this episode. 
• "We'll see you at Vintage." PLUS 15
• "The theater is high school." PLUS 100
• Eileen and Jerry would certainly be having this public of a fight in front of everyone at a popular restaurant. Have you ever been to Sardi's? You overhear that shit all the time. 
• "It's show business. In shows people sleep together. It happens." Yes Julia, that is true. Don’t believe us? Google “Christian Borle Sutton Foster Laura Bell Bundy.”
• Ivy Lynn did a year in Wicked. Most likely as a swing and Glinda's understudy. Bonus points because Megan Hilty actually did a year in Wicked.
• Karen Cartwright goes to a baby shower in the basement of a bar. Where everyone (including the pregnant girl) is holding a bottle of beer. Welcome to Iowa! 
• Karen Cartwright sings "Redneck Women" at said bar in Iowa. Which apparently also has karaoke. 
• The rest of Karen Cartwright's friends join her on stage during "Redneck Women." Baby showers are the new bachelorette parties. 
• Ivy Lynn wants to know why she and Derek never go to his place. You smell that girls? That's desperation.  
• Derek's story about not having gas in his apartment seems like a lie, but if we were sleeping with him, we'd want to believe it too.
• Julia had an affair with Michael because "He was SO good in our show. And you know what a huge turn-on that is." We find this completely plausible because we get show crushes every week. Raúl Esparza, Cheyenne Jackson, Colin Donnell, Gavin Creel, Will Swenson, Jeremy Jordan, Steve Kazee, Norbet Leo Butz, Michael Esper... 
• Ellis is listening at the door ALL THE TIME. It's like he's in Downton Abbey or something.
• Karen Cartwright accepts money from her dad! 
• "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" is perfect. Forget everything wrong with this show. This song rocks!

Oh Hell No!
• Eileen Rand buys a pair of knock-off earrings that were inspired by the ones Marilyn wore in The Seven Year Itch. There's no way she'd buy costume jewelry. 
• Dev would have never showed up at the bar to meet Derek. He specifically wouldn't have called Derek "the great director," even if he were just fucking with him. 
• This week’s episode shows us Bonnie & Clyde and Private Lives marquees. Oh, and a very prominently placed posted for Catch Me If You Can. Last week, we saw marquees for On A Clear Day You Can See Forever. The week before that, Wonderland. When will we see a marquee for a show that’s actually running on Broadway?
• Eileen threw a drink in her ex husband's face. We find it hard to believe she would have wasted a fine beverage like that. 
• A Bruno Mars show at LaMama? Please. This show, which looks like Rent redux, is total New World Stages fare.
• Is Derek reading a Playbill after the Bruno Mars show? They don't have Playbills at La Mama.
• Any unemployed actor would jump at the chance to be in a workshop of a huge musical. And any friend/co-worker  would support their friend to go into a huge show. The fact that Karen Cartwright is debating this - and even listening to her co-worker at all - is just ridiculous.  
• Karen Cartwright is an unemployed actor with a shitty waitressing job. There's no way she'd go all the way home to Iowa for a baby shower. 
• Tom and Julia wouldn't be writing all this music without consulting a book writer by now. Put down the index cards!
• Eileen says, "I'm so tired of revivals. Aren't you?" No Eileen. Never. And we’re pretty sure the 500 productions of Gypsy we’ve seen say producers aren’t either.
• "The people who are writing it are the top New York composers." We know Memphis doesn't exist in the world of SMASH, but does Stephen Sondheim not exist either?
• It costs $200,000 to put up a workshop? We don't know much about the business of theater, but we’re guessing that's a little high. 
• The fact that Eileen's soon-to-be-ex-husband is not involved wouldn't be a deal-breaker for getting investors. The fact that her show doesn't have a book writer probably would though...
• Ellis, while drinking beer on the rooftop of an apartment in Brooklyn, turned down the offer to take a drag off his friend's cigarette. Go to Williamsburg right now and see if that happens.  
• Ellis has sex with a girl. This may be the most unbelievable thing so far. Minus 1,000,000,000.
• It's ridiculous that Michael is even toying with the idea of not accepting this Joe DiMaggio role. And his wife certainly wouldn't be so nice about it. "GET A FUCKING JOB" sounds more like it.   
• Come on Dennis. You wouldn't throw Ivy under the bus like that by spilling the fact that she was sleeping with Derek. At least, not until you made it to the second date with Tom. 
• And are we supposed to really believe that Tom hasn't fucked a chorus boy here and there? Again, minus 1,000,000,000.
• This bar is way too pretty to be a bar in Iowa.  
• Giant stuffed animals are actually really expensive. All we've heard about this episode is how Karen Cartwright has no money and won't accept any from her perfect boyfriend, so how did she afford it?
• Also, if there were karaoke happening at this bar, there would at least be a screen that shows the fucking lyrics. 
• And this is the second week in a row with country music in our musical theater show. Is this secretly Pure Country – The Musical?
• Brian D'Arcy James was in two seconds of this episode. Let's never let this happen again.

Broadway Guest Stars
Nadia Quinn, Rebecca Naomi Jones, and Jenni Barber play Karen's Ohio friends. Though it killed us that they kept referring to her as "Broadway Baby." Producer Manny Azenberg met with Eileen Rand. Michelle Federer showed up as Michael’s wife. Oh, and Condola Rashad is Ellis’ girlfriend. Plus, did you see Karine Plantadit in that Bruno Mars musical? RIDICULOUS.

What do you guys think? Did we miss anything?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Happy Salentine's Day

On February 13, I celebrated Salentine's Day at Joe's Pub, so named for the musical being performed that night, Salamander Leviathan by Krista Knight and Barry Brinegar. The show debuted at UCSD's Baldwin New Play Festival on April 15th, 2011 and has been performed at other venues since, including Ars Nova for "Saloween."
Salamander Leviathan (Ben Beckley) lives in Black River Falls, Wisconsin in the year 1890. Although he is wealthy, he is the loneliest man in the world, and he makes a deal with the Devil (Stephen Stout), selling his soul in exchange for a wife and child. Gracie (Emily Perkins), who performs an act with her twin sister Vickie (Ali Scaramella), sees Salamander's personal ad and her controlling lover Otto (David Skeist) sends her off to get Salamander's fortune. The story goes in some genuinely surprising directions and is inventively enhanced with old school style video game graphics (by Barry Brinegar).

Director Jess Chayes makes fine use of the smalll stage, considering the large size of the talented cast and band (Barry Brinegar on guitar, Josh Ehrlich on keyboard, James Kraft on drums, Dave Schottland on bass, and Valerie Steinberg and Sara Pauley on vocals). I was especially impressed with the score, described as "casio-pop" music and including elements of vaudeville. A highlight was a cute duet--"I Like U (I Like U More)"--performed by Salamander and the Devil (who, it turns out, is pretty much a sweetheart). Everyone involved in the production is now on my radar, and I look forward to seeing more from them in the future.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Playwrights Horizons Gets Hip

Assistance at Playwrights Horizons may be the hippest play off-Broadway right now. It has a hot young cast, writer (Leslye Headland), and director (Trip Cullman), a sleek set, pulsating music, and funny, fast-paced dialogue. My friend over at Tapeworthy commented that it would make a good TV show, and I completely agree. Even the trailer below (avoid if you're worried about spoilers) feels ready for primetime.

Daniel Korins' pitch-perfect set grounds you in the downtown New York office environment immediately. The play takes place over the course of a few years at the office of Daniel Weisinger, the abusive boss who we never see. Nick (Michael Esper) is the one constant as assistants rotate in and out. In the first scene, Vince (Lucas Near-Verbugghe) is moving to his new office after a promotion, prepping Nick to take over as head assistant. Nora (Virginia Kull), working her way up the corporate ladder in her dreams of becoming the next Daniel, is starting her first day on the job, and the hope is that she will eventually take over for Nick when he gets his promotion. We never find out what Daniel does, which makes sense because if Headland had specified, the play might become more about a particular industry, but at the same time, it would have been nice to have some insight into why these people torture themselves working for such an awful person and still look up to him. The play doesn't really tread new ground--stories about horrible bosses have been done--and yet it the more I think about it, the more I want to see it again. There are so many conversations that ring true, such as when coworkers start to get silly in the late hours and it is so much fun to watch the cast in these moments, Esper especially, once again proving to be one of the most magnetic actors of his age. Sue Jean Kim as the spastic Heather and Bobby Steggert as mentally unstable Justin don't appear in many scenes, but they each deliver a memorable, show-stopping monologue. Amy Rosoff as the seemingly self-assurred Jenny stuns in the play's final scene. I won't reveal the coup de theatre here, but let's just say it's reason enough to see Assistance.

For a discount code to Assistance, click here.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Note: The production officially opens on February 28, but I was invited to a preview and asked to post my thoughts.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Contest: Win Tickets to Silence! The Musical

Update: The contest is now closed. Thank you so much to everyone who entered. Congratulations @carlient!

If you didn't win my last contest for tickets to Silence! The Musical--The Unauthorized Parody of The Silence of The Lambs at The 9th Space Theatre at Performance Space 122, you're in luck. I have another pair of tickets to give away--just in time for Valentine's Day.

To be entered to win, tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it. The winner will be chosen at random on Friday, February 17 at 6 p.m. You must be following on Twitter to win. Good luck!

And here is a special offer for discount tickets to the show:
For $39 tickets (reg.$59) on Mondays & Tuesdays*, use code HHCGEN39

For $44 tickets (reg.$59) Thursdays, Fridays & Sundays, use code HHCGEN44

1- CLICK HERE or visit SilenceTheMusical.com and enter appropriate code. Please select the REGULAR SEATS (FBI HEADQUARTERS) section on the online seating chart.

2- Call 212-352-3101 and use appropriate code above.

3- Bring a print out of this offer to The 9th Space Theatre at P.S. 122, 150 First Avenue. Box office is open for walk-up sales. Box Office Hours can be found on show’s website.

*Please note: No Monday or Tuesday night performances beginning in March. Check website for new schedule.

RESTRICTIONS: Offer valid through 5/6/12. Offer may be revoked at anytime and is subject to availability. Not valid for Saturday night performances. Not valid on prior purchase. Offer cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions; blackout dates and restrictions may apply. Maximum of 4 tickets total with offer.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

A Reason to Stay In or Trek To Brooklyn

I want to thank The Gallery Players--that hidden gem on 14th Street in Park Slope--for introducing me to A Man of No Importance. This is the first New York revival of this lovely musical, which premiered in 2002 at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center.

The man of no importance is Alfie Byrne (Charlie Owens), a bus conductor in 1964 Dublin whose passion is the theater. He directs plays in a church hall and his latest is Oscar Wilde's Salome. He lives with his sister Lily (Renee Claire Bergeron), who keeps hoping he'll get married. What she doesn't know, what nobody knows, is that he is gay, and in love with bus driver Robbie Faye (vocal standout Eric Morris). Terrence McNally's book (based on the 1994 film) is about a man coming to terms with his sexuality, but it's also about the power of community and art.

Owens has a quiet grace about him in his touching performance as Alfie, but this is a true ensemble piece in which everybody pulls their weight. Director Hans Friedrichs understands this and uses the space and his cast to great effect. A lot of actors do double duty as part of the band, and the musicians sit all around the stage, engulfing the audience with Stephen Flaherty's Irish-inspired score (lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, musical direction by Julianne Merrill). I was unfamiliar with the music, but I need to buy the cast album immediately so I can listen to those soaring melodies again.

Performances are Thursdays through Sundays through February 19. But I wouldn't wait to get tickets. At the performance I attended there was a waiting list to get in, and it was only the first weekend.
Pictured (l to r): Megan Opalinski, Eric Morris, Spencer Robinson, Charlie Owens, Adam Kee, Eric William Love and Rachel Green in The Gallery Players’ A Man of No Importance. Photo by Bella Muccari.