Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fifty Theater Moments & Thoughts in 2012

In no particular order, here are 50 memorable theater moments and thoughts from 2012: 

Seeing The Mystery of Edwin Drood right after Hurricane Sandy devastated the New York City area. The enjoyable musical was exactly what the doctor ordered for this theater lover.

Feeling anxious in the audience as I watched Falling trying to understand how families cope with special needs children. [Why has this play (one of my favorites in 2012) not gotten more attention?]

Wondering why Philip Seymour Hoffman is yelling in preview performance of Death of a Salesman. [Frankly, I am surprised this made so many top 10 lists. Mr. Hoffman, while a fine actor, will ill cast in this production.]

Finally attending a circus for grown-ups only – Spiegelworld Empire. I will never ever forget the anticipation as one performer slowly created a Calderesque mobile from sticks and a feather and the way it hung over the audience. [Truly spectacular!]

My cynical teenage niece pulls a “McKayla Maroney” while sitting in the audience of Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark completely unimpressed.  [Teenagers!!!]

I scream with delight when friend announces over lunch at Red Rooster that he finally got tickets and saw The Book of Mormon. I sing "I've got maggots in my scrotum."

Entering architectural delight - The Pershing Square Signature Center - for the first time. Checking out long awaited renovations at the Public Theater and Atlantic Theater Company.  Exploring the new Claire Tow Theater at Lincoln Center and gazing out from its terrace. Enjoying new cabaret space 54 Below. [Haven't see the new Barclays Center yet but look forward to attending my first event there.]

Wondering “what the %$#@ is this?” at the play 3C. [I am convinced that Elisabeth Vincentelli is the only person in the world who enjoyed this strange play. However did it make her top 10 list?]

I was probably the only theatergoer who liked Ninth and Joanie. [Many dysfunctional family dramas on the stage involve a lot of shouting and carrying on but silence can be even more destructive and I think this play did a good job of capturing this.]

I was probably the only person in the world who did not love Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? [I don't think that I can ever sit through another production of this play. Two unsympathetic characters eviscerating each other for 3 hours. No thank you ever again. The critics may have raved about Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? but I think The Lady from Dubuque was a much better and interesting play.]  

I look at my Theater Roll for this post and there are plays that I have absolutely no recollection of seeing. [How sad!]

I hope the man who passed out two rows in front of me and had to be carried out of the theater at a preview performance of Bullet for Adolf is well.  [He probably just had enough of the poor production. Okay, very uncouth; bad blogger!!]

I sit uncomfortably front row center as I stare up at male and female genitalia at Adam Rapp’s Through the Yellow Hour. [Mental note: Beware of Adam Rapp plays going forward even if ticket is comped.]

Man in red hat behind me falls asleep before The Other Place even begins its preview performance.

Man next to me at Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? falls asleep and performance still has a few hours to go.

Overheard in elevator at the new Claire Tow Theater while seeing Slowgirl: “All theater is good theater, even bad theater, which is better than no theater."

Overheard at A Civil War Christmas: “It’s epic and schizophrenic at the same time.”

Overheard leaving Public Theater after Sorry: “It is quality but it doesn’t add up to anything.”

Overheard leaving performance of The Other Place: “What movies have Laurie Metcalf starred in. Hey, just trying to lighten the mood.”

The centers of the love triangles In Cock and Murder Ballad don’t quite convince me that they are worth the angst.

I disagree with Carrie haters and actually enjoy the production. [Mental note: Purchase cast recording.]

I leave theater pissing mad after listening to some unknown person’s blaring mp3 player throughout matinee performance of How I Learned to Drive.

I decide to read Melville's Moby Dick for the first time after seeing And God Created Great Whales and The Whale.

Though the use of water in Assistance and If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet was interesting and frankly cool.

Walking through a gallery will never be the same for me after seeing Give Me Your Hand.

Got a taste of Chinese culture old and new in The Golden Child and Outside People.

The stage illuminated in candles in The Road to Mecca.

Whoa, what’s up with the frizzy dos - Amy Adams’ wig in Into the Woods (SITP) and Jessica Chastain’s wig in The Heiress?

I take notice of William Jackson Harper in Stew’s The Total Bent. I want to hear him sing again.

I am pleasantly surprised by multicultural A Streetcar Named Desire after mixed reviews.  I take notice of Nicole Ari Parker. I want to see her on Broadway again.

I share impromptu moments in One Man, Two Guvnors with friend who saw earlier show and he tells me the same things happened at his show. On well, still laughed my ass off.

Aspects of pool (no water) and Title and Deed still resonate with me today.  Who knew?

Love The Best Man so much, saw it twice taking my mother and uncle the second time. 

Love Clybourne Park so much, saw it again when it transferred to Broadway from Playwrights Horizon [Glad it made it after last minute controversy between playwright and producer.]  

I run into Michael Shannon on the streets of Red Hook and chat about Grace on Broadway. [My thoughts are with those in Red Hook hurt by shitty storm Sandy.]

I win the virtual lottery for Into the Woods. Didn’t know it was possible until it happened to me.

Newsies made me dizzy.

I vow never to watch a play from the nosebleed upper balcony at City Center after attempting to watch Uncle Vanya there. [What is the point of those seats – to tease you, to remind you that you couldn’t do any better? Just mean mean mean!!]      

I am in awe as I watch the elegant Leslie Uggams in her Classic Uggams cabaret show at 54 Below.  Story behind “June is Bustin Out AllOver” is hilarious and tribute to Marvin Hamlisch tender.

I watch the silly Hollywood film Joyful Noise because of Broadway cutie Jeremy Jordan.

I stop watching Smash after 3 episodes due to lack of interest.

I am cautious about seeing another Mike Daisey monologue after inaccuracy controversy surrounding The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.

At Pershing Center, I experience one play about not forgetting one’s legacy (The Piano Lesson) and another about trying to let go of one's legacy (The Golden Child).

I can’t stop giggling after a scene in 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche.

Note to self after seeing Children of Killers: Beware of Frank Scheck reviews. 

Most pleasant musical surprises after reading mixed reviews: Giant, Dogfight, and Carrie. [Could it be that Off Broadway gave us better musicals than Broadway did in 2012?]

Cannot believe that woman “randomly” selected from audience is kissing character so passionately on stage/camera in Gob Squad's Kitchen (You've Never Had It So Good). [Can someone tell me if this is completely staged?]

Major Hollywood film, some 16,000 books written, preliminary emancipation proclamation hauled in to Harlem, but I only see Lincoln represented once on the New York City Stage in A Civil War Christmas.

The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess leaves me disappointed.

I find the second act of The Lyons very strange.

Broadway didn’t quite save my soul this year and musicals disappointed but that won't stop me. Next show to see – Golden Boy!!

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