Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The SMASH Reality Index: Episode 8

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.

This week, Dave was off in California (and he didn't take me with him!), so you're just getting me. Though I still wrote in the "we" voice because that's what we do.

The workshop for Marilyn the Musical has come and gone and has left everybody with a bunch of questions. Will Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) be replaced? Will the project die altogether? Will Ellis (Jaime Cepero) ever meet a door he can't hide behind? Clearly the answer to the second question is no because SMASH has been renewed for a second season, which means you get us for at least another year!

In this week's episode entitled "The Coup," Derek Wills (Jack Davenport) took Marilyn in some unfortunate new directions, which we'll get into more below. We also met Eileen Rand's (Angelica Huston) daughter Katie, played by Grace Gummer, who is Meryl Streep's daughter, which kind of makes her the perfect casting choice. But how did the choices for rest of the episode measure up? On to the reality index.

Totally True
• Ivy Lynn and Sam are at a dance class. Because when you're in theater, you're always working or rehearsing or auditioning.
• BRIAN D'ARCY JAMES IS SINGING!!!!!! PLUS 1,000,000,000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
• Derek is talking to a new songwriter about a new approach because when something doesn't work, you fire everyone and start over. Just ask the teams behind The Addams Family and Leap of Faith.
• Michael Swift says that if he wasn't fired he'd quit, which is they type of lie people tell themselves all the time.
• Michael Swift says that his family is everything to him. This is obviously not true judging from the affair he just had, but we do believe he'd say this because he's such a douche.
• When Karen Cartwright is going to cook for Dev, she chooses to make him curry.
• Dev has more chemistry with RJ than with Karen Cartwright.
• Always nice to see The Shubert without Memphis in it. Sorry Adam Pascal.
• "As a general rule, producers tend to drop out at the drop of the hat," Derek says. So true. See Clybourne Park and Scott Rudin.
• Karen Cartwright totally geeks out in front of a musician she likes and then says, "I'm such a dork." Not that we've ever done that.
• Ellis is listening behind the door during Eileen's meeting with her husband. Of course. If there's a door, Ellis is behind it.
• Ivy Lynn hates bowling. Plus 10.
• Brooklyn Bowl! Plus 50.
• Ellis just happens to be there when Ivy gets out of her class. Because he's the devil and he's everywhere.
• "If they're going to replace me with a star that's bad enough, but Karen Cartwright is a nobody."-Ivy Lynn, saying what everyone is thinking.
• Even Katie can see that her mom wants the bartender.
• "We'll celebrate later," RJ says to Dev in front of Karen Cartwright. Girls are always trying to undermine each other like this. Bitches.
• Derek hits on Karen Cartwright. We know he likes to bang his leading ladies.
• Hippie Katie says Brooklyn with such disgust. You can take the girl out of Manhattan, but...
• Ellis has moved on to hiding behind cars. Because there aren't doors outside.
• "This is exactly the kind of garbage dad would pull." Katie knows how to hit her mom where it hurts.
• "How did he get here?" Julia asks about Ellis. Seriously, he's everywhere!
• Ivy Lynn is simultaneously being bitchy and understanding to Karen Cartwright. Girls are good at that. See above.
• There is so much sexual tension between Derek and Tom. Just fuck already.
• Derek and Tom's falling out happened at Bar Centrale. Plus 20. [Edit: A commenter pointed out that Bar Centrale was not around 11 years ago, so this should actually be in the "Oh Hell No!" column.]
• They need a star for Marilyn the Musical. Yeah, it kind of sucks, but that is the reality of the business.
• "I'm going to talk to Bernie," Eileen says, referring of course to Bernie Telsey. Plus 50.
• Ellis backstabs Tom as Julia and the rest of us knew he would.
• Ivy Lynn is once again looking in the mirror while singing. And she's singing "Let Me Be Your Star." We hope she never stops singing it.
• We knew it was Derek at the door, but our heart still sped up.
• Ivy Lynn and Derek both say she was good in the workshop and we agree.
• Of course the real reason Derek is there is to prove he is not lousy in bed.
• Ivy Lynn admits to lying when she said Derek was bad in bed. WE KNEW IT!

Oh Hell No!
• As much as we love Brian D'Arcy James singing, that was a terrible song choice and way too short. At least give him a full song.
• Go away Ellis.
• Ellis says that Tom doesn't really need him right now. When has Tom ever needed Ellis? When has he ever done anything useful?
• "You're such a useful young man," Eileen says to Ellis as we ponder this. No. Also, Eileen wouldn't be that nice to him.
• If they need a new approach, why is Derek going to Karen? Wouldn't he go with someone who had nothing to do with the workshop? Someone with more experience? Someone who would actually make a decent Marilyn?
• It's not that we don't love you Will Chase, but Michael Swift, we thought we got rid of you.
• I'm sorry. We zoned out during the legal talk about Leo. Because really, who cares.
• Eileen's daughter is all into saving the world. Not that this couldn't happen, but it's such a television cliché.
• "Julia has been so kind to me," Karen Cartwright says. Has she really? Have they even interacted the past few episodes?
• Ryan Tedder heard Karen Cartwright's demo? How?
• When did SMASH become a courtroom drama?
• This new song for Marilyn does not belong in a musical. It barely belongs in a nightclub, but at least it would be more appropriate there.
• Bobby and Jessica are suddenly friends with Ivy again? Remember how they were talking shit about her last week? We do.
• As much as we like to think that musical theater people sing and dance wherever we go, the number in the bowling alley was way too much.
• And minus 1,000 for not at least choosing "Score Tonight" from Grease 2 as the bowling alley number.
• Bobby, weren't you just bowling? How did you get to Karen Cartwright so fast? You're not Ellis.
• Ellis and his girlfriend are in bed together in their underwear. No way are they actually sleeping together.
• "I spent the whole day singing touch me to a bunch of dancers." "Anybody take you up on it?" "Not yet." Whenever Karen and Dev try to be sexy, it just comes across as awkward and makes us uncomfortable.
• Is this musical even about Marilyn Monroe anymore?
• What is up with these masks? We have no idea what is happening right now, but we don't like it. From the looks of it, neither does anyone else.
• "I'm sorry," Karen Cartwright says after her performance, as if anyone even realizes she's still there.
• We care about Dev's storyline almost as little as we care about Leo's storyline.
• Would Eileen Rand really be ok with the bohemian chic decor Katie chose for her new apartment?
• We're slighty offended at the way Tom is talking about blogs, although it's true that we do complain a lot. But only when we have good reason to.
• Why would Ivy Lynn have left Heaven on Earth for Marilyn? Actors do workshops all the time without actually quitting the shows they're in.
• Derek says that Ivy Lynn was good in the workshop, so why is he acting like it was a total disaster?
• "It was a failed experiment in every way," Derek says. He would never admit to being wrong.

So how’d we do this week? Hit up the comments section and let us know!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Contest: Win Tickets to Peter and the Starcatcher

Update: The contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered. I loved reading all your responses (Hook forever!). The winner was picked at random from all the entries. Congratulations @hitormiss!

Peter and the Starcatcher
, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, tells the story of how an orphan became Peter Pan. It begins previews on March 28 at the Brook Atkinson Theatre, officially opening on April 15. Co-directors Roger Rees and Alex Timbers inventive staging uses the actors as part of the set and props. I saw this show at New York Theatre Workshop and I'm looking forward to revisiting it, especially to see Christian Borle once again take on the role of Black Stache.

J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan has been adapted into movies, plays, books, and musicals. To be entered to win a pair of tickets to the show, tell me in the comments your favorite version of Peter Pan. For an extra entry, tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it. (Only one tweet or retweet will count for an extra entry.) You must be following on Twitter to win. One winner will be chosen at random on Friday, March 30 at 5:30 p.m. Please include your e-mail address or Twitter handle in the comments so I have a way to contact you if you win. Good luck!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Judas Iscariot Superstar

There's something so satisfying about seeing an understudy steal a show. That happened at the final press performance of Jesus Christ Superstar where the role of Judas was played by Jeremy Kushnier, replacing Josh Young during his vocal rest. Young returned to the show for opening night and is apparently a highlight when he's on, but I can't help but think it's a shame that Kushnier can't play the role permanently.

Des McAnuff's production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's 1971 musical about the last week in the life of Jesus of Nazareth comes to Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre via the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The musical is a quick two hours long including intermission, but after the exciting opening number, the first act drags a bit. It's fun to look at Paul Tazewell's costumes (though the best one, Judas's tight shiny blue suit, does not appear until late in the show) and Robert Brill's metallic two-tiered set backed by a huge screen, which gives the show the appropriate look and feel of a rock concert, but it feels like not much is happening (and maybe this is a result of my ignorance of the new testament) other than building up to the crucifixion. However, the second act really picks up and there are some especially striking uses of Sean Nieuwenhuis's video designs, such as to depict blood as Jesus is being lashed. The cast, led by Paul Nolan as Jesus, nails the rock score vocally, but only Kushnier's Judas really resonates emotionally, becoming the only character whose actions I really understood. Superstar, indeed.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What the Hell is a Purple Summer Anyway?

I was a huge fan of the musical Spring Awakening, but I always thought the show should have ended before the closing song "The Song of Purple Summer." I mean, what is a purple summer? Steven Sater, Spring Awakening's book writer and lyricist, addresses this and other lyrics in his new book A Purple Summer: Notes on the Lyrics of Spring Awakening.

The idea for the book came from e-mails Sater was writing to translators on how to convey the meaning of the lyrics in other languages. The songs are presented in chronological order, with explications following Sater's lyrics for each. At only 87 pages, it's a quick read (I read the whole thing on a subway ride). There are plenty of interesting anecdotes, especially in the conversations with translators (for the Seoul production, the Korean translator had to choose between "joy," "garbage," and "drug" to convey the meaning of "junk" in "My Junk"). However, with only a couple of pages devoted to each song, Sater could have gone deeper into the explanations. I would have also enjoyed more of the backstory of writing the musical with Duncan Sheik.

As to the question of what is a purple summer, here is what Sater has to say:
"For me, 'purple summer' represents the time of maturation--a time when the fields will yield crops, and the horses bear foals again. It is the time when the painful spring of adolescence reaches the maturity of summer."

Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The SMASH Reality Index: Episode 7

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.

Thanks to Dave for writing the recap this week while I was at Gavin Creel's cramazing CD release concert at Joe's Pub.

The superstar stopped by this week’s episode of SMASH and totally took control and showed us all how it’s really done. Sure, her character wasn’t really much of a stretch (she played form Broadway diva Lee Conroy, who’s also Ivy Lynn’s mother). Still, her performance of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” was outstanding and perfect and everything we expect out of the legend. Moreover, we got to see Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy basically criticize Ivy Lynn at every chance she got (Seriously – can mom visit ever?). Conroy delivered some of the best snark of the season. And for a show with Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston) on it, that’s saying a lot.

When Bernie wasn’t on screen, most of the action of episode 6 (“The Workshop”) revolved around Marilyn the Musical’s first workshop. Of course, Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) was a total emotional wreck. And Michael Swift (Will Chase) was still acting like a total dick. But did they pull it together and deliver a successful workshop?
Well, if by success you mean a Broadway-ready musical, then probably not. But our definition of success is a long list of reality index items. And man do we have a doozey for you this week:

Totally True
• Right off the bat, Plus 15 for being on 44th Street. Always appreciate a good live shot!
• Remember when you secretly dated that guy in high school and didn’t tell your friends about it because he was outside your social circle? But sometimes you would sneak in a hand hold or a kiss every now and then? That’s totally what Julia and Michael are doing now, only they’re both married. We don’t condone their behavior, because it’s obviously childish, but we also can’t pretend it wouldn’t happen.
• After Derek complains how hot it is, Ellis tells him, “I actually just overheard the building manager. He said there’s a problem with the boiler.” Of course you overheard him Ellis. Because you’re ALWAYS EAVESDROPPING ON EVERYONE ALL THE GODDAMN TIME.
• It’s the day before the workshop and they’re still changing lyrics. Again, things are always changing, right up until the end.
• Surprise surprise. Ellis is once again hanging out in dark corners. I swear the guy has watched too much Downton Abbey.
• We spy The Addams Family’s Brad Oscar, playing the building manager. Wonder if Wes Taylor got him the gig?
• The boiler is going to take some time to get fixed because they can’t find a repairman. “What can I say – it’s New York. Those guys work on their own schedule,” the building manager tells Eileen. Plus 100 – 50 because that’s totally true and 50 because the building manager was probably being racist when he said “those guys.”
• There’s only been one entrance line better than, “Traffic was never like this when I lived in New York,” and that’s, “SING OUT LOUISE!” And both of them were obviously spoken by Bernadette Peters.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy knows Derek by reputation. The best actors know the importance of sucking up to the director. (That’s sucking up Ivy Lynn. Not sucking off).
• Everyone is totally star-struck by Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy. AS THEY SHOULD BE.
• The whole cast laughs at Bernadette Peters’s Lee Conroy’s joke about not wanting to wear heels on the subway, even though it’s terrible and not at all funny. Plus 15 because we’d do the same thing.
• Jessica tells Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy that she saw her do “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” when she was 8 at some community playhouse. We sometimes may be guilty of telling our Broadway idols all the obscure shit we’ve seen them in.
• Tom knows how to play “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.” As any good theater ‘mo should.
• Karen Cartwright is in a rush to get out of the studio, until Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy stars singing. BECAUSE WOULDN’T YOU?
• Remember when Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy refused to sing “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” and then knocked it out of the park? Yeah, so do we.
• Seriously. Dave saw Bernadette do “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” when Bernadette did Gypsy on Broadway. It was this good.
• Fun fact – according to Katharene McPhee’s twitter, Bernadette’s originally shot and recorded “Rose’s Turn.” No reason why they reshot it, but your move, LuPone.
• Also, did you notice how Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy sings most of the song to Ivy Lynn? We love this because Ivy Lynn thinks she’s a Louise, when she’s really a June.
• Everyone (except Ivy Lynn) claps for Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy. We do a standing ovation, and then immediately rewind and watch again.
• Derek and Ivy Lynn clear the air after their big fight last week. He tells her she’s “wonderful in this show. And you’re going to be great tomorrow.” Even though Derek’s a total asshole, he knows how to turn it out.
• Derek hates kids. Because, as Tom puts it, “you’re a reptile.”
• Ellis tells Eileen Rand that Julia and Michael are having an affair. That little shit.
• AND Eileen Rand tells Ellis off, threatening that if he repeats this information to one more person, he’ll “never work on this production or in this town again.” If she had a drink in her hand, she’d throw it right in his face.
• Julia’s son is smoking weed again.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy is staying at Ivy Lynn’s apartment, making herself at home but also looking totally uncomfortable at the same time.
• This entire scene must be transcribed because it’s so money:
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: (watching old Marilyn Monroe movie). That Derek’s very charming. And so handsome.
Ivy Lynn: Mom…
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: He’s a very important director. I’m not sure I’d let him slip out of my hands.
Ivy Lynn: I am not talking about this with you.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: You poor thing. I was over getting nervous by the time I was your age. But you’re used to the ensemble.
Ivy Lynn: It’s not nerves. It’s the prednisone. I got these sleeping pills but I don’t want to start taking one thing on top of the other.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: I won a Tony without any of it.
Ivy Lynn: (frowns)
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: (watching old Marilyn movie) Look at that magnetism. No wonder you’re nervous. I don’t know how you’re going to pull any of that off.
Ivy Lynn: (takes sleeping pill)
• “So you live on the Lower East Side and you’ve never heard of a Chinese plumber?” Plus 5
• Eileen’s only question about the plumber: “Does he speak English?” GOOO RACISM! Plus 10
• The bartender, on this new plumber: “He’s illegal so he prefers things done under the table.” Plus 15
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy and Ivy Lynn are sleeping in the same bed!
• In the montage of people waking up, we hear Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy say, “I slept like a rock!” while Ivy Lynn looks like she’s going to barf. Get those digs in early, mom!
• Ivy Lynn’s eye rolls for Karen Cartwright and her Bobby Raskin nonsense are so real, there’s no way she’s acting. She must have been seeing the “and introducing Katharine McPhee” SMASH promos.
• There are 100 keys to get into the boiler room, and eventually Eileen breaks the lock by smashing a wrench against it. Okay, so maybe this isn’t realistic, but we love it.
• Michael is acting like a total child again.
• Eileen tells Derek, “You’re truly a great enough director to justify your behavior.” See? Even the producers need to suck up to their directors!
• “Oh call the cops. And I’ll call the Shuberts and the Nederlanders!” WE LOVE EILEEN RAND!
• Oh heeeeey Joe Machota of CAA!
• Karen Cartwright and Bobby are gossiping about Ivy Lynn being replaced by a bigger star. Theater people are such bitches sometimes.
• Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy is fighting Eileen Rand for the title of “Queen of the One-liners” tonight. This one may be our favorite yet. Upon entering the rehearsal studio: “Apparently, some do like it hot.”
• We will never grow tired of hearing these songs. Especially “Let Me Be Your Star.”
• Karen Cartwright envisions herself in the lead role during the entire workshop. Probably because she saw the opening number in the movie version of Chicago.
• Julia and Tom’s sex couch makes another appearance!
• While daydreaming Karen falls off her stool. Sure, it would probably never happen in real life. But we loved watching her fall anyway.
• Tom gets angry with Derek for being harsh to Ivy Lynn at intermission. “You do not talk to an actor like that at intermission,” he snaps. Derek responds, “Well you do if they’re off their game.” We actually agree with Derek, but wonder what’s more likely to happen: Tom’s way or Derek’s way?
• This “Lexington and 52nd Street” song is a great song for a villain. So far, Shaiman and Wittman’s score has been the most consistently good thing about SMASH.
• The workshop audience claps harder for the air conditioning than they do the cast. Ouch.
• Remember when Bobby was friends with Ivy Lynn during episode 3? Well not anymore apparently. When Karen Cartwright says Ivy Lynn was “incredible,” he sassily responds, “I don’t know about incredible…”
• Karen Cartwright compliments Ivy Lynn, “You guys know she’s not my favorite person, but she was great.” People from Iowa are so nice.
• Let’s just transcribe every conversation between Ivy Lynn and her mother, shall we?
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: Bravo darling!
Ivy Lynn: Thanks, Mom.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: The songs are excellent and the direction and who was that boy who played Joe DiMaggio? He was terrific! I loved the whole thing.
Ivy Lynn: But what about me:
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: Well…
Ivy Lynn: Forget it. Just forget it.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: Ivy…
Ivy Lynn: Look, how am I supposed to be anything when you’re always here sucking up light like a black hole.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: Sweetheart…
Ivy Lynn: Don’t even. You say something cruel every day when you’re not ignoring me. You’re my mother and you can’t even say one kind word. And you know who else had a mother like that? Marylyn. Look how she turned out.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy: She was a legend.
Ivy Lynn: She was an unhappy drug addicted disaster because her mother didn’t love her. That’s what Marilyn was.
Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy tells Ivy that she’s a star and we seriously tear up a little bit – Dave from being emotional and Linda from rolling her eyes.
• Eileen talks about regrouping and repackaging the show. From what we’ve seen, this happens after most workshops.
• While listing off the names of possible stars to lead the show, Eileen mentions “Scarlett Johansson, Michelle Williams, Sutton Foster …” And right as she says “Sutton Foster,” Tom screams “STOP.” And then we and the rest of Twitter die a thousand deaths because Christian Borle, who plays Tom, used to be married to Sutton Foster. Plus everything.
• Again, the conversation with Tom, Julia, Eileen, and Derek about the problems in the show has probably happened 100 times, and we wish that we got to see more of this.
• Julia’s son is sitting in the kitchen, playing on his phone, talking to his mother, and not looking up at all. Teenagers are the worst.

Oh Hell No!
• Illegally crossing in the middle of the street? Karen Cartwright would have been hit by that cab.
• The recording studio is on the same street as the dance rehearsal, and yet Karen needs a note to help her find it. Groan…
• The sound engineer at the recording studio is a complete cliché. No matter how late Karen Cartwright was, he wouldn’t be acting like a total dick to her like that. And he wouldn’t be lying on the couch, waiting for her to get there.
• When Karen Cartwright stars singing, she’s so loud, the sound engineer screams, “Whoa whoa whoa – you trying to blow up my speakers?” Wherein Karen Cartwright responds, “Sorry I’m more of a stage performer.” And then the sound engineer tells her to back up from the mic! That must be why Simon Cowell and every singing TV judge ever knocks people for being “too Broadway,” eh?
• There’s no way Karen Cartwright could sing this good this early in the morning.
• And we highly doubt that any record producer would want someone to record a demo that early in the morning.
• Remember what we said about it being okay for Julia and Michael to hold hands every now and again? Yeah, making out like that is totally another thing. Minus 10 because, no matter how giddy, Julia would have been a little more professional.
• And surely Tom would have confronted them right then and there.
• Bobby would never have screamed “SING SOMETHING” like that in front of Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy.
• Michael’s wife and son just run into rehearsal without knocking or being let in by the stage manager. Their presence completely stops the scene, and not a single person – not even Derek – tells them to get out.
• Julia sits outside the studio, leaning on someone’s bike. The bike owner just patiently waits for her to move, not saying a thing. This is New York City. That guy would have told her to fuck off and move a loooong time ago.
• Julia wouldn’t have just left rehearsal like that.
• Julia’s son tell her that she “sucks” and then storms out of the room. First of all, he would have used worse language. Second of all, have you ever tried to do that to your mom? Call her a bad name and then storm out of the room? It doesn’t go well. And Dave has the scars to prove it.
• Why is Eileen still going to this bar? I know she loves the LES, but she’d be over that shit by now.
• Derek is sleeping with his shirt on. We think Derek would really sleep naked, don’t you?
• Bobby Raskin would not call anyone at 6am.
• Raven Simone’s Sister Act commercial. Minus 200 (editorial note from Linda: I can't wait to see Raven in Sister Act)
• Jessica tells Karen Cartwright it’s okay to skip out on the workshop because she’s “in the chorus.” Didn’t we cover this in the first few episodes Jessica. It’s called the ENSEMBLE. Say it with us now. EN-SEM-BLE!
• How on earth does Julia know that Leo knows? She would have said, “I think Leo knows.”
• Ivy is stuck in the elevator? You’ve got to be kidding here.
• Michael and Julia would have never had that fight in front of Derek and Eileen. We don’t care how bad things are, or how emotional Michael is acting. He would have known better than to throw a tantrum like that.
• And did we spy Eileen Rand sitting in the background of that fight with Julia and Michael? Wasn’t she supposed to be in the boiler room?
• Eileen tells Derek that “Marilyn deserves” a good show. And we barf in our mouths.
• We saw this Tom/Sam/John thing coming last week. We hated it then and we hate it even more now.
• Ivy’s back, and makes no mention of being stuck in that elevator. There’s no way she wouldn’t have been losing her shit about that.
• Why did John ask Sam to get Tom, and then go into the workshop anyway? These damn pretty boys get everything they want.
• Didn’t Ivy Lynn tell Tom that Sam was gay last week? And the week before that?
• And if she didn’t, how is it taking this long for her to tell Tom that? Surely they would have gossiped about the cast before this.
• When asked how she’s doing, Ivy Lynn responds with a ton of bullshit: “My mother is doing everything she can to undermine me. And Karen Cartwright is just handed everything on a plate. And I just don’t think that I can do this.” Thanks for summing up all your plot points into three sentences, Ivy Lynn!
• We’ve only known Ivy Lynn for a few episodes now, but it’s pretty clear she does not have “ice water in [her] veins.” She’s freaked out what – 15 times each episode?
• Eileen’s budding romance with this bartender is annoying.
• Do producers usually spend this much time talking about the show during workshops? Or this little? Either way, this seems off.
• Why haven’t they brought in fans by now? Surely they would have set Ellis out by now?
• Reusing footage from the first few episodes? Come on SMASH, you can do better than this!
• Why are they doing everything to make Ivy Lynn look terrible? She’s awesome!
• Michael’s being a brat yet again, trying to confront Julia while her husband is in the same room. We now officially hate him.
• Everyone in the workshop audience is overacting how hot it is. Seriously – you don’t need to pat your head with a towel or fan yourself with a program. We get it. You’re not.
• Wait, did they just use fans under Marilyn’s skirt? WHY WEREN’T THOSE RUNNING THE WHOLE TIME?
• Tom just walks away from John, leaving him alone in the studio. How obnoxious.
• Sorry Jessica – workshops do pay something (at least $200 a week, from what we heard earlier in the episode). And they do often go somewhere. And most actors in New York City would be seriously going from them.
• Minus 1500 for not having Bernadette Peters Lee Conroy tell Ivy Lynn, “I made you! And you want to know why? You want to know what I did it for? Because I was born too soon and I started too late, that’s why. But what I got in me, I could have been better than any of you! What I got in me – what I been holding down inside of me, oh, if I ever let it out… There wouldn’t be signs BIG enough. There wouldn’t be signs BRIGHT enough. HEEERE SHE ISSSS BOYS. HERE SHE ISSSS WOORLD. HERE’S LEE!!!”
• The reviews for the workshop are posted online? Does that happen?
• They really need to stop blaming the heat. How hot could it really have been?
• In that entire conversation, no one said that the book was the problem.
• Clearly if Ivy Lynn wouldn’t have slipped coming off that couch, the workshop would have been picked up.
• Firing Michael Swift? How did Eileen let that happen?
• Leo would have confronted Julia about the affair by now. Teenagers are dicks.

So how’d we do this week? Hit up the comments section and let us know!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Venus in Fur Blogger Night

I first saw Venus in Fur off-Broadway at the Classic Stage Company over two years ago. I saw it again in December towards the end of its Manhattan Theatre Club run at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Last week, I returned to the show for a blogger night in its new home at the Lyceum Theatre where it has now settled in for a commercial run.

The show itself hasn't changed much since its initial run--I believe playwright David Ives has stated that he hasn't changed a word of the dialogue. But every performance I've seen has had a different actor in the role of Thomas--the writer/director who has adapted Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's Venus in Furs into a play. Arianda plays Vanda, an actress auditioning for the lead role. The role of Thomas is usually played by Hugh Dancy, a huge improvement from Bentley who played the role off-Broadway. At the blogger night performance, Dancy's understudy Mark Alhadeff went on, and his performance was somewhere in between Bentley's and Dancy's. Alhadeff couldn't quite keep up with Arianda the way Dancy does and their chemistry wasn't as strong. However, I'm not sure it's really fair to compare the two. Maybe with more stage time, he will gain more confidence in the role.

Though I'm still not a fan of the ending, the play is just as entertaining the third time around. What struck me most this time around was the audience reaction. There was much more laughter than the other times I've seen it. It's a funny play, but there are also some quiet moments that kept getting big laughs. It could be that particular night or maybe it's a regular occurrence in the larger house, but it made me think about other Broadway shows that used to frequently get inappropriate laughs, such as Melchior beating Wendla in Spring Awakening. Anybody have any other examples, especially when a show has transferred?

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Contest: Win Tickets to Clybourne Park

Update: The contest is now closed. The winners were picked at random from all the entries. Congratulations Red_Ruby and Kristin D.! Thanks to everyone who entered. If you didn't win, check back here on Monday for a contest for tickets to another awesome Broadway show.

It was touch-and-go there for a while, but Clybourne Park is coming to Broadway. Set in Clybourne Park, the white Chicago neighborhood in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Bruce Norris's Pulitzer Prize-winning play explores race relations in America. The first act takes place in 1959 and the second takes place 50 years later. I loved it at Playwrights Horizons and I can't wait to see it again. If you missed it off-Broadway, you should definitely check it out, especially because the fabulous off-Broadway ensemble is also transferring (including Jeremy Shamos, and you should never miss him in anything).

I have TWO pairs of tickets to the show to give away. To be entered to win tickets, just tell me in the comments why you want to see the show. For an extra entry, tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it. (Only one tweet or retweet will count for an extra entry.) You must be following on Twitter to win. One winner will be chosen at random on Friday, March 23 at 5:30 p.m. Please include your e-mail address or Twitter handle in the comments so I have a way to contact you if you win. Good luck!

And here's a discount code for tickets (if you're between the ages of 21-35, you can also purchase LincTix):
16 weeks only – order now and SAVE through May 6!

Purchase by 3/31 $69 orch/front mezz | $55 Rear Mezz

Purchase after 3/31 $79 orch/front mezz | $65 rear Mezz

Call 212-947-8844 and use code CPDML33

BroadwayOffers.com and use code CPDML33

Visit the Walter Kerr Theatre box office and use code CPDML33

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The SMASH Reality Index: Episode 6

We know where that couch has been.

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.

We’re six episodes into SMASH, and we’re still not really sure who we’re supposed to be rooting for.

Is it Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee), the naïve girl from Iowa who doesn’t know the words to “Hava Nagila” but can sing Florence + the Machine like a pro?

Is it Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty), the seasoned professional who can’t stop talking when she’s on vocal rest, and thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to sleep with the director?

Is it Julia (Debra Messing), the book writer and lyricist who’s essentially sleeping with Brian d’Arcy James AND Will Chase at the same time (bitch)?

Or is it Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston), the producer who’s only really producing sassy one-liners?

We’re not sure. But we certainly know who we’re rooting against. And it’s not just Ellis (Jamie Cepero) anymore. Michael (Will Chase) has turned into a total cheeseball scumbag. We really want to love him, but when he’s doing shit like calling Julia from his kid’s bedroom, we just can’t get behind it. Also, his relationship with Julia seems based on lust. Why can’t he go back to playing trains with his son?

Although, we’re not mad at that shirtless scene…

We’re also rooting against Tom (Christian Borle) and Sam (Leslie Odom Jr.), who are totally getting together, right? They’ll be a terrible couple and poor pretty John (Neal Bledsoe) will have nothing to do but go back to his rich life with his perfect apartment and his supportive mother. Seriously – do guys like that even exist?

Apparently in SMASH they do. And if that inaccuracy wasn’t enough, episode 6 (“Chemistry”) was filled with more ridiculousness than usual (see: 90% of the Bar Mitzvah). Here’s what we came up with:

Totally True

• Ivy Lynn puts on her makeup while Derek’s sleeping in her bed. Because she wouldn’t want him to see her without her face on.
• “$7 million – that’s not enough for a musical these days.” We agree. Julie Taymor couldn’t produce a birthday party for under $7 million.
• “When do they stop changing everything?” “5 minutes before the performance.” Plus 20.
• Derek yells at Julia because she hasn’t finished writing the book and lyrics yet. They get into a huge argument, and for some reason, Tom butts in, yells a bunch, and then storms out like a diva. This all seems totally realistic.
• Ivy Lynn is losing her voice. Maybe because she hasn’t been wearing that scarf?
• Ellis immediately goes to Eileen to tattle on Derek’s big fight with Tom and Julia. Straight or gay, everyone in the theater’s a big gossip.
• The team decides to put Ivy Lynn on vocal rest. This is often used as code for a nervous breakdown, so that kind of works on many levels.
• “A leading lady with vocal problems – no one believes that even when it’s true!” (cough cough Alice Ripley cough cough)
• After being told not to mention anything to Ivy Lynn about the possibility of being replaced, Derek immediately goes to Ivy and breaks the news to her. What a dick. We kind of love him.
• All Derek cares about is Ivy Lynn’s voice. “You can’t have Marilyn without a Marilyn!” Okay, so he didn’t say that, but we kind of imagine he did.
• Julia fantasizes about making out with Michael. We like that idea. We also like the idea of those chocolate chip pancakes.
• Leo is acting like a total dick to his mother. Because even though he’s the one who was arrested for smoking weed in Central Park, it’s still somehow her fault.
• Brian d’Arcy James, FTW! God we missed him!
• Jessica says Ivy’s on prednisone – a “miracle drug.” Though it causes “mood swings, insomnia, hair growth, hallucinations, and weight gain.” We think we saw a commercial about that one. Some people were climbing a mountain or something?
• Ellis is sucking up to Eileen like it’s nobody’s business. And she isn’t buying it for one second. Eileen Rand is like the honey badger of Broadway. She doesn’t give a fuck!
• “Nantucket? This time of year? How dreary.” Eileen is becoming our favorite character for one-liners.
• “Well Nathan Lane is coming. And the Nederlanders.” Plus a million!
• Karen Cartwright’s never been to a Bar Mitzvah. Because there are no Jewish people in Iowa.
• Julia can’t concentrate because she can’t stop thinking about her kiss with Michael. If we made out with Will Chase, we’re pretty sure we wouldn’t be able to either.
• “He sang to me.” Yeah, we can’t resist a man who sings to us either.
• Upon hearing that Michael sang Donny Hathaway’s “A Song for You,” Tom says, “I bet he sounded amazing on that – I probably would have kissed him too.” We have to agree.
• How adorable is Christian Borle in this scene? Plus 100 just for being amazing.
• Eileen Rand goes to a bar named “The Bushwhack” – which may or may not be in Brooklyn. Either way, she plays Big Buck Hunter, which seems like something you’d do at a place called “The Bushwhack.”
• Ivy Lynn has a Heaven on Earth poster in her room.
• Everyone in this show is constantly singing in front of the mirror. We suspect all theater actors out there do this. And sometimes, theater bloggers…
• Ivy Lynn sees Karen Cartwright, dressed as Marilyn, in her mirror. Mood swings and hallucinations! Jessica was right!
• At the Bar Mitzvah, the cake says “Mazel Tov.” What else would it say?
• OMG CARICATURES! Linda’s actually been to Bar Mitzvahs where there were caricatures, so this is totally realistic.
• Karen Cartwright was late because she couldn’t get a cab from the LIRR station. This shit happens way too often.
• At John’s party, Tom meets two of his friends – perfect-looking, J Crew-wearing twinks, void of any personality. “We were in P-Town last summer, just window shopping for fun. A house on the beach. Small. Cottage. $2 million. That’s actually cheap.” Plus 100 because Dave’s been at parties with these types of people 100 times before.
• John’s apartment is super tiny and a loft and perfectly decorated and kill yourself.
• John just came out last year, and Tom is seemingly off-put by this. Dave’s seen this a lot in the gay community. For some reason, gay dudes just don’t like it when other gay dudes take their time coming out. It’s sad and destructive and totally true.
• Ivy Lynn is freaking out, post hallucination. But she’s mainly concerned about getting fat and growing hair. Plus 50 because that would be our main concern too.
• There’s an Into the Woods poster hanging in Karen Cartwright’s apartment. It’s not artwork we’ve seen before, so we’re guessing it’s from some high school or college production Karen was in. Probably as Cinderella. In which case, of course she’s given it prominence in her apartment.
• Karen doesn’t know the words to “Hava Nagila.” Oh Iowa…
• At least they did the traditional dance for “Hava Nagila.” Plus 10!
• Brian d’Arcy James’ character has Periodic Table flashcards. Dave works in Chemistry and he’s having a total breakdown right now.
• Ivy Lynn doesn’t want anyone to call Derek. Again, because she’s terrified of the getting fat and growing hair thing.
• “You’re the straightest chorus boy I ever met.” We believe this because Heaven on Earth looks like a super gay show.
• Tom criticizes John’s apartment. “His furniture is upscale minimalist. BLAH.” Plus 15 because we totally agree.
• They’re taking the centerpieces! Ahhhh!
• And check out those glow necklaces/bracelets! That’s standard Bar Mitzvah flare!
• While everyone else fast dances, we spot one couple slow-dancing. There’s always that one couple that’s ahead of everyone else.
• Debra Messing and Will Chase are doing it in real life. Plus 200.
• Karen Cartwright has no idea who a major music producer is. As Jessica said, “Ugh. You’re from Iowa.”
• Ivy Lynn is a method actress. “Why didn’t I get her fired the first day? Marilyn would have done that.”
• Ivy Lynn is upset that Derek didn’t come over. But she also told Tom she didn’t want him to come over. But clearly she wanted him to want to come over. Girls are so complicated.
• “Don’t you want to know how I am?” Ivy Lynn asks Derek. See above.
• Julia has that after-sex glow. Plus 50.
• Sex with Michael cured Julia’s writing block. Next time we’re stuck on a piece, we’re totally calling Will Chase.
• During the “History is Made at Night” performance, Michael and Ivy Lynn find themselves on the same couch that Michael and Julia smushed on the night before. Of course, Michael and Julia make eye contact. We kinda liked it.
Ivy Lynn: Hey, uh. While we’re stopped, I have a thought. Maybe you can give me notes without publically humiliating me at the same time?
Derek: Oh great…
Ivy Lynn: And maybe… maybe you could remember that artists are not football players who can take endless abuse and still do their jobs.
Derek: OK. Miss Monroe is having a moment.
Ivy Lynn: Oh, well maybe a different Miss Monroe could do it better. Miss Cartwright? Maybe you could take a crack at it?
I don’t need more time with the lyrics. You know what I need? I need to stop sleeping with men who are complete narcissistic pricks. Oh and you’re not that good looking. And you’re not that good in bed either.”
• Tom laughs with Ivy about her meltdown a mere 10 seconds after it’s over. Girls! They’re so unpredictable!
• “Well that was quite a bit of unscripted drama today. I probably shouldn’t say anything but I rather enjoyed it.” Eileen is our hero.
• The Nederlanders! David Stone! Jeffrey Finn!
• We love how Eileen Rand is acting as if she discovered the L.E.S..
• By the end of the night, Eileen Rand is totally fucking that bartender.

Oh Hell No!
• Eileen claims she’s “just looking for a workshop and an out of town tryout.” We doubt that – every producer wants Broadway. Plus, didn’t they say they wanted to take it Broadway in the first episode?
• Julia uses her troubles at home as an excuse for why the shows not done yet. Seems a little immature, even for Julia.
• Also, Julia casually mentions that her husband’s been out of town. Minus 10 for not telling us where Brian d’Arcy James has been.
• Karen Cartwright’s credit card bill is $326.38. Even if you’re not spending a lot of money, that’s super low for New York City. Also, no college loans?
• It would not have taken Karen Cartwright that long to pick up the contents of her bag. Also, did they really have to conveniently all fall behind that piano?
• How did Karen Cartwright get out of that room without being noticed? Did she stay behind that piano until they all left?
• Julia has pancake batter all over her pajamas and her face. “I’m so not the cook around here,” she says after she burns the pancakes. Cause God forbid a woman is good at her job and also good at being a mother.
• Michael tells Julia “don’t walk away,” and the producers of SMASH miss a golden opportunity for a Xanadu number.
• Karen Cartwright is performing at a Bar Mitzvah in Long Island. But Northport? Maybe if it were Roslyn or Jericho we could see this…
• No bartender at a bar named “The Bushwhack” knows how to make a dirty martini. At least not one that Eileen Rand would so joyously drink. And $7? That’s too expensive.
• When Julia tells Tom about her kiss with Michael, he immediately reminds her about her husband and child. Tom would have probably spent more time asking for details.
• Ivy Lynn is on vocal rest. But she has no problem singing Jesse J. We like this song, but the staging of this number totally sucks.
• And doesn’t Ivy Lynn have a roommate? There’s no way she could afford that apartment on her own.
• The decorations at this Bar Mitzvah are all blue and white. Which may seem right, since they’re the colors most associated with Judaism. But, Bar Mitzvah parties usually have themes. Like “Hollywood.” Or “Rock Star.” No self-respecting 13-year-old boy would have put up with this shit.
• Stop talking Ivy Lynn! You’re on vocal rest! Stop talking!!
• Karen is being a total asshole at this Bar Mitzvah. Get off your fucking phone.
• At every single Bar Mitzvah we’ve ever been to, the kids are not dancing. They’re usually outside, goofing around while their parents beg/force them to come back inside and dance. So the fact that all these kids – especially the boys – crowded around to hear Karen Cartwright sing? Ridiculous.
• Plus, are we really to believe that all these kids know Florence + the Machine? And like this song enough to crowd around and dance and sing and shake their hands in the air? This isn’t Rihanna.
• And did Karen just wink at that kid? EWWW!
• Do couples really sit up in bed together, reading/writing? This is something we see on TV all the time. But in real life, it always feels like one person is hanging out somewhere else. The kitchen. The living room. Isn’t that real life?
• The band is eating after the Bar Mitzvah. We’ve never worked a Bar Mitzvah before, but usually the band eats earlier, during a break.
• Julia takes a walk from her apartment in Gowanus Carroll Gardens, and ends up at a rehearsal studio in the theater district. Damn that’s a long walk! And in her pajamas, at that! Without even wearing a bra!
• Michael Swift continues to be the most ridiculous character on this show. And on a show that includes Ellis, that’s saying a lot. Case and point:
Julia: I can’t think if you touch me.
Michael: I can’t think if we don’t.
Michael: How ‘bout we just look.
Dave and Linda: How ‘bout we just kill ourselves.
• Michael tells Julia, “no one has to know.” Julia, seemingly, buys it. Which is weird because she’s a WRITER. Doesn’t she know how these things turn out? “No one has to know” = “Everyone will find out.” Surely something like this must have happened in Heaven on Earth.
• John and Tom are walking in the Union Square area, eating ice cream. Gay guys don’t eat ice cream this early on in dating.
• Can you have set pieces in rehearsal studios?
• Eileen Rand always walks into the room at the exact time the performance number stars. Don’t get us wrong, we think she walks on water. But surely her timing can’t always be that perfect.
• We like this “History is Made at Night” number. But this staging is some of the worst we’ve seen since Come Fly Away.
• Sorry Ivy Lynn. Derek is that good looking. And he probably is that good in bed.

Okay guys. What did we miss?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Contest: Win Tickets to Leap of Faith

Update: The contest is now closed. The winners were picked at random from all the entries. Congratulations Touchofgr3y and hugsy2k! Thanks to everyone who entered. If you didn't win, check back here on Monday for a contest for tickets to another awesome Broadway show.

It's been about 5 years since Raul Esparza last did a musical on Broadway and that's too long. But starting on April 3, he'll be singing and dancing and wearing a disco-ball jacket in Leap of Faith at the St. James Theatre 8 times a week. The show has been reworked since I saw it in Los Angeles, but I'm sure Esparza's performance will be just as mind-blowing. And he hasn't looked this good in years (check out the video below).

I have TWO pairs of tickets to the show to give away. Composer Alan Menken will be represented on Broadway with three musicals this spring--Leap of Faith, Sister Act, and Newsies. To be entered to win tickets, tell me in the comments your favorite Alan Menken score (doesn't have to be one of those three). I'd probably have to go with one of the movies that defined my childhood, The Little Mermaid (let's forget about the unfortunate stage version). For an extra entry, tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it. (Only one tweet or retweet will count for an extra entry.) You must be following on Twitter to win. One winner will be chosen at random on Friday, March 16 at 5:30 p.m. Please include your e-mail address or Twitter handle in the comments so I have a way to contact you if you win. Good luck!

And here's a discount code to save up to 40% (valid for performances April 3 – May 13)

Tues, Wed, Thurs Performances:
$79 (regularly $122/$132) Orch/Front Mezz Rows A-P

Fri, Sat, Sun Performances
$89 (regularly $137) Orch/Front Mezz Rows A – P

Call 212-974-8844 and use code LFFNF301

Online visit BroadwayOffers.com and use code LFFNF301

Visit the St. James Theatre box office (246 W. 44th street) and mention code LFFNF301

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The SMASH Reality Index: Episode 5

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.

This week’s episode is titled “Let’s be Bad,” and boy, is everyone acting up. Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) is throwing temper tantrums every chance she gets. Leo (Emory Cohen) is smoking weed. Julia (Debra Messing) is cheating on her husband. Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee) is having sex in a town car. Theater actors: they’re just like us!

But nobody is behaving as badly as the writers. We hate what they’re doing to our heroine, Ivy Lynn (we use her full name because she’s a STAR). Sure, she’s been totally immature with Derek (Jack Davenport). And there’s no reason for her to be so nasty to Karen. But do they really need to make her into this pathetic mean girl? After all, she’s brilliant as Marilyn. So try as the writers may, we’re still Team Ivy. Karen would be the worst Marilyn ever. She would make a perfect replacement… on the non-equity tour.

The only thing SMASH really did 100% right this week was the “Let’s Be Bad” number. Because when that went on, we stopped writing and talking and just totally fell in love. Plus, we got book and dialogue from Marilyn the Musical. Who knew? We want to see more of that. Though we won’t hold our breath, as next week seems to be all about the “dish hitting the fan.”

In the meantime, here’s how this week’s episode scored on the reality index:

Totally True
• Eileen Rand RVSPs for a MoMA event. No doubt to find the next great Degas.
• There’s a workshop in 13 days and there’s still no final script. Some shows make it to Broadway without a finished script (cough cough, Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, cough cough)
• Julia can’t get service on her iPhone. She must have AT&T.
• Brasserie! Plus 15.
• Tom is thinking about breaking up with John because he’s a lawyer. “I’m not going to end up with a lawyer.” Gay guys are so picky.
• Once again, we get to see the cast of Marilyn the Musical rehearsing. Are you taking notes, Glee?
• Tom spends his entire date checking his phone and not paying attention to the handsome guy in front of him. Again, gay guys are so picky.
• The Westway Diner! Plus 30!
• Julia doesn’t pick up the phone when it’s a number she doesn’t know. We hear you girl. We got bill collectors too.
• Leo was arrested for smoking weed out of a vaporizer. Plus 10 because if we had a mom like Julia too, we’d need to smoke something. Plus 20 because smoking from a vaporizer is totally a #RichKidProblem.
• The police officer arrests Leo because he was giving her an attitude. NYC police officers don’t fuck around!
• Dating a lawyer comes in handy now, doesn’t it Tom?
• We can see Tom changing his mind about John when John starts showing off. We totally get off on confidence too.
• Of course Karen Cartwright is threatened by the pretty New York Times reporter.
• When Leo is trying to talk to Tom, Tom responds only in song. We expect musical theater composers to be just as obnoxious and adorable.
• Julia calls her date with Michael “a work session.” Mmmhmmm….
• Eileen keeps entering the wrong password. “Why are you torturing me?” she yells. Plus 1,000, because old people get tripped up on technology just as much as we do.
• Ellis butters up to Eileen by helping her with her computer. Because sleeping your way to the top is something that’s hard to do when everyone thinks you're gay.
• Derek Wills makes Karen Cartwright sing “Happy Birthday” as Marilyn in front of everyone. This is totally fucked up and unprofessional and exactly something that an egotistical maniac like Derek would do.
• While grounded, Leo blasts music. Rock music, at that. #RichKidProblems
• Ivy Lynn checks her butt out in the mirror. Plus 10 because we totally do the same thing.
• After acting like a total child, Ivy Lynn tells Karen Cartwright, “I’m a grown-up.” Sure you are, Ivy. Sure you are.
• After acting like a total bitch to Karen Cartwright, Ivy Lynn immediately pretends to be super sweet to the next person who walks in the room. “LAAARRRYYY!!,” she screams, arms outstretched.
• Eileen is pressuring Julia about getting the book finished. When you’re footin’ the bill, you need results.
• Ivy Lynn is over-singing this “Let’s be Bad” number. Just like she probably did “Popular” every night.
• After the “Let’s be Bad” number, the actors hold their poses while Derek, Julia, Tom, Eileen, and crew whisper about them. Then, Derek dismisses everyone without giving them notes. We’ve seen this happen time and time again. Sometimes, it sucks being an actor.
• Leo is on Facebook.
• Leo has a David Bazan poster hanging in his room. Plus 10.
• When asked if he’s smoke weed, Leo responds, “I’m 16 and I live in New York City. Next question.” God, teenagers are assholes.
• Julia tells Leo “it’ll be on your permanent record.” Because that’s the biggest threat that adults can think to give to teenagers.
• Tom throws Michael a bunch of shade about Julia, explaining that she’s dealing with a family issue. “WITH HER FAMILY.”
• Ivy Lynn stars crying when she messes up in rehearsal.
• Karen Cartwright smizes when Ivy Lynn messes up.
• OMG “Let’s be Bad” is amazing. Plus 100!
• After “Let’s be Bad,” Derek walks out of the room without saying anything. What a dick.
• Mr. Biggs! Plus 10!
• The fact that Sam dislikes Tom because Tom is “so gay” is exactly something that “masculine” gay guys do. And we hate it.
• "I’m not that gay, I’m just gay. I don’t think that I should have to wear a banner. “ STFU Sam.
• Karen Cartwright is bitching to her boyfriend about Ivy Lynn. And her boyfriend doesn’t care and is not listening and is only thinking about work. Plus 5 because even we’re bored with this nonsense.
• Dev wants to show off his “hot girlfriend” at a party at the Intrepid.
• Karen Catrwright has a book on her bookshelf called Penny Saved. You know her parents bought that for her as a graduation gift.
• Karen Cartwright starts imitating Ivy Lynn in her mirror.
• Karen Cartwright starts singing to herself in the mirror and dancing around her apartment the second her boyfriend leaves.
• Everything Karen Cartwright’s learned about sexy dancing she learned from the Pussycat Dolls.
• After Karen Cartwright finished singing “A Man’s World,” she says to herself in the mirror, “I know what I bring to the party.” Okay Iowa…
• “My mom’s idea of cooking is nuking stuff from Trader Joe's.” That’s technically our idea of cooking too.
• Ivy Lynn shows up drunk on Derek’s doorstep. “You humiliate me when you’re not ignoring me.” Groan. Have some self-respect, Ivy!
• "I know what you came here for," Derek says to Ivy Lynn. We all do Derek. And if we could, we'd be at your doorstep too.
• Derek tells Ivy Lynn, “I’m building something in that rehearsal room, and with all due respect it would be a lot easier if everyone pretended for just 5 minutes to not having those annoying feelings because they get in my way.” Again, it’s all about Derek all the time and we love it.
• “THEATER IS ABOUT FEELINGS.” Yes, Ivy. Yes it is. And we’re feeling that this scene is painful to watch.
• After Derek asks Ivy Lynn, “Are you staying?” Ivy Lynn responds, “Are you asking me to stay?” We roll our eyes 1,000 times, but deep down, we know, like us, Ivy has watched one too many rom coms and totally thinks it’s acceptable to talk like that in real life.
• “Girls in my school are lame.” – Leo, FTW.
• This D.C. guy asks Karen, “What do you say you sing for me back in my hotel, and I buy you room service?” Man, guys are such scumbags.
• Also, this John guy is also shirtless and ZOMG.
• Tom and John admit to one another that the sex they just had was actually pretty terrible. We would probably be too embarrassed to actually admit that, however we like that an example like this is being shown on primetime television.
• Derek Wills snuck out of bed to work. Work > cuddling with Ivy Lynn
• Leo would totally be spying on his mom like that. As kids, adult conversations are totally fascinating. Especially because you think they’re usually talking about you.
• Only one scene with Ellis this week. Plus a billion.

Oh Hell No!
• No one talks on a blue tooth in traffic in a convertible. Not in NYC.
• Tom and John are eating dinner on their date. Gay guys don’t eat on dates.
• Last episode, Julia couldn’t even look Michael in the eye when she was talking to him. Now she goes out to a diner with him?
• Michael asked Julia, “What’s bigger than love?” Oh God…
• No self-respecting adult woman eats whipped cream with her finger in public.
• Tom just turned down sex with John. Minus 100.
• How many times are they going to recast Julia’s son?
• Leo would have called his father first.
• After rejecting her password, we're pretty sure Eileen would have thrown a drink at her computer.
• RJ is too young to be a New York Times reporter. Like Karen, we “always pictured a fat white guy with bad teeth.”
• Julia tells Leo that he’s “epically grounded.” Then she gives him a hug. Want to know what happened when Dave’s mother caught him smoking weed? He can show you the scars.
• Why is Debra Messing the perpetual fag hag. Minus 100, just because we think she’s better than that.
• Julia tells Tom that she was eating “ice cream and apple pie.” Bitch, we saw you. You were eating whipped cream with your finger.
• Tom leaves John a message, apologizing for fucking up the date. He would have texted. No one calls anyone anymore, let alone leaves messages.
• Sam works in theater and is surprised that someone doesn’t understand sports?
• Leo seems surprised that his arrest might jeopardize the adoption process. Moreover, he seems angry that Julia would be concerned about that. “That’s what you really care about,” he laments. Remember in the second episode when Leo was all about the adoption? Yeah. We do too. Minus 10.
• A bunch of flappers and no mention of Sutton Foster? Hmm…
• The entire cast applauds after they finish performing “Let’s be Bad.” We know what it’s like to feel good about yourself, but seriously?
• Sam’s gay!
• Michael tells Sam that he should wear a rainbow bracelet. Stereotypes like that don’t come from straight guys who work in the theater.
• Karen Cartwright is in her underwear. Sorry NBC. You’re not getting that straight male audience no matter how much of Katharine McPhee’s skin we see.
• We found it unbelievable that RJ would work at the New York Times. We find it even more unbelievable that she’d be an executive editor.
• Leo calls Michael Swift, “Swifty.” If Julia was having an affair with Michael, isn’t it kind of weird that she would allow her son to get super close to him? Also, no 16-year-old would willingly use a nickname that could be so easily identified with Taylor Swift.
• Michael tells Leo, “your mother and I used to smoke a little doobie after dress rehearsal.” First of all, even if that were true, Michael is a father. He would understand the line that needs to exist between kids and their parents. Second of all, we think Julia’s too square to smoke weed. And even if she tried it, we doubt she ever inhaled.
• Julia lives at 428 Carroll Street. That’s technically Gowanus. Like, half a block from the canal. Apartments that nice aren’t in Gowanus. And Julia sure as shit wouldn’t be living right near that cesspool.
• Karen Cartwright’s being awfully confident at this dinner party, huh? It’s amazing what dancing around your apartment in your underwear will do to you. Minus 10.
• Karen Cartwright and Dev make out in the back of a town car. We’re torn on this because on one hand, taking a car anywhere totally turns us on. On the other hand, Karen and Dev seem too boring to actually do something like bang in the back of a car.
• Michael tells Julia that he wants to be with her. He has a kid! WTF!
• Michael just starts singing “A Song for You” on the street. Why is Michael so ridiculous? It’s like he’s on an entirely different show. What is this, Glee?
• The driver from Michael’s car service would have honked his horn when he pulled up.
• Julia would never make out with Michael on her front stoop. You just don’t cheat on your husband in front of the whole neighborhood.
• No Brian d’Arcy James? AGAIN!?!? How long is this chemistry class he’s teaching? Why is he never home?

Broadway Guest Stars
We didn’t see any new Broadway actors this week. Did we miss any?

How'd we do this week? Weigh in in the comments section!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Contest: Win Tickets To Nice Work If You Can Get It

Update: The contest is now closed. Unsurprisingly, most of your nice work if you can get its somehow involve theater. Thank you so much to everyone who entered. The winner was picked at random from all the entries. Congratulations Cassidy! If you didn't win, check back here on Monday for another contest.

Spring is almost here and with it comes new Broadway shows, like Nice Work If You Can Get It, a new musical comedy using the music and lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin (that's enough to get me to the theater). It is directed by Kathleen Marshall (Anything Goes) and stars Matthew Broderick as wealthy playboy Jimmy Winter, who falls in love with bootlegger Billie Bendix (Kelli O'Hara) on the weekend of his wedding. Estelle Parsons also stars.

I am very excited to give away a pair of tickets to the show. The song "Nice Work If You Can Get It" refers to falling in love ("Holding hands at midnight 'neath a starry sky.") To be entered to win tickets, tell me in the comments what you think would be nice work, if only you could get it. For an extra entry, tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it. (Only one tweet or retweet will count for an extra entry.) You must be following on Twitter to win. One winner will be chosen at random on Friday, March 9 at 6 p.m. Please include your e-mail address or Twitter handle in the comments so I have a way to contact you if you win. Good luck!

And if you don't win, here is a discount code for up to 40% off (Nice deal if you can get it–-and you can get it if you order by April 23!):

Mon Eve, Tue Eve, Wed Mat & Eve, Thur Eve

$79-89 Orch/Fr. Mezz, Rear Mezz A-C (reg. $121.50 - $136.50)

$69 Rear Mezz D-F, Side Rows A-C (reg. $86.50)

Valid for performances March 29 – April 23

VISIT BroadwayOffers.com or CALL 212-947-8844 and use code NWEML31 Or bring this offer to the box office, beginning March 1st.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Nick Jonas May Steal the Most Adorable Man on Broadway Title From Jerry O'Connell

It's too bad that Broadway Talks With Jordan Roth: Nick Jonas at 92Y wasn't sold out tonight, because I believe everyone in the auditorium would have bought a ticket to see him in How To Succeed On Business Without Really Trying. That's how charming Nick Jonas was (not unlike his predecessor Daniel Radcliffe). Roth, president of Jujamcyn Theaters, is a better interviewer than many professional journalists, and the evening was full of memorable moments. Here is a quick rundown of what I took away from the evening:
-I don't know when it happened, but Nick Jonas went from being the serious Jonas Brother, to being a totally hilarious and talkative young man. He joked with the audience and went off on some delightful tangents.
-Nick Jonas fans are possibly the loudest in the world. The auditorium was not as full as it was for the Daniel Radcliffe and Billie Joe Armstrong talks, and yet it sounded like there were 10 times as many people. I could have done without the screams and "aaahs" after everything he said, but I must admitted, his fans are pretty adorable. At one point he mentioned Elvis Costello and everyone cheered. He is pretty vocal about his Elvis Costello fandom, and I love that he has turn all his fans into Elvis Costello fans. I was possibly the only non-tween or teen there aside from the mothers.
-Speaking of adorable fan moments, when asked about roles he'd like to tackle on Broadway, he said Frankie Valli and sang a little "My Eyes Adored You." He also said Fiyero and mentioned some of his favorite songs from the show ("For Good," "Defying Gravity," and "As Long As Your Mine.") When asked to sing some "As Long As You're Mine," he said he needed someone to sing the other part, and most of the audience leapt from their seats to be chosen, but none more enthusiastically than the girl sitting across the aisle from me, who I thought might pass out. In the end, he ended up singing a little of it on his own.
-Jonas has some other Broadway aspirations in his five year plan. He would like to originate a role on Broadway, be involved in the Tonys somehow (he didn't want to be too specific as he didn't want to assume he'd be good enough to win one), and WRITE A BROADWAY MUSICAL.
-Some of his Broadway idols are Kristen Chenoweth, Stephen Schwartz, and...wait for it... ADAM PASCAL. This obviously made me love Jonas a million times more.
-Jonas is fascinated by aliens. I am clearly not a true fan because I didn't already know this.
-Jonas is a big fan of Love Never Dies and had a lot of very nice things to say about Ramin Karimloo. He wouldn't sing "Til I Hear You Sing" because he didn't think he could do it justice.
-He likes to prepare for How to Succeed... by singing Les Misérables. All the parts. I demand that he record this.
-There were quite a few SMASH shoutouts as both he and Roth have made guest appearances. Jonas mentioned that he thinks the show is a realistic portrayal of Broadway. I hope he reads our reality index.