Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: Another Year at the Theater

Through twisters, hurricanes, Olympics and campaigning that took place this year, I went to the theater taking in well over a 100 plays musicals, cabarets and other live shows in 2012. For someone who doesn't work in the Arts, that is a lot of theatergoing (the Broadway League calls me a devoted fan). Some would say a bit obsessive and (who am I kidding) yes they would be correct. But that along with the recent flops and disappointments on Broadway won't stop me from trudging through the theater district or to some way Off Broadway theater every 2.5 days to experience some piece of artistry, completely grateful that I live in the most amazing city in the world. 

Now, my 2012 theatergoing was a mish-mosh of experiences (see Roll for full listing). But if I had to isolate a few themes/thoughts other than theater renovations and increase in the number of wonderful plays with music I saw, they would be the following: 

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?]

Monday, December 24, 2012

Baby It's Christmas Outside

What it is about bio-musicals on both stage and film that just don't quite work for me? They always seem flimsy, rushed, and more determined to present a revue flooded with the music of its subject than to present a compelling biography. While I admired the efforts of Kirsten Holly Smith (Dusty) and Christina Sajous (Claire) in Forever Dusty now playing at New World Stages, this "bio-musical" is unfortunately no different. And for those of you who recall Ms. Sajous from Baby Its You! (about 60s girl group the Shirelles) that too was no different.

Dusty in Memphis has always been a part of my CD collection. Who doesn't enjoy Son of a Preacher Man and that smooth, sultry voice? But who was Dusty Springfield? I knew very little about Ms. Springfield's life prior to seeing this show. Admittedly, I am now a bit more educated on how R&B inspired her, how a British gal ended up in Memphis, her addiction and how she was "perfectly capable of being swayed by a girl as a boy." So, yes, I've gotten a taste. But if I want more, I will have to pick up a good biography, and if I want to hear the real thing, open my iTunes library or pop in that old CD. 

Whether you enjoyed Forever Dusty or not, please enjoy this cute video of Kirsten Holly Smith and Christina Sajous singing Baby It's Cold Outside this holiday season. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Best of the Best Theater in NYC in 2012

The Best Theater of 2012 on the New York City Stage

After going through various best of lists published to date, here are the productions that came out on top. How many do you agree with? 

Death of A Salesman
Golden Boy
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
One Man, Two Guvnors
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?   

The critics were also fond of Uncle Vanya but seemed divided between the Soho Rep and LCT productions.  

To reminisce, top productions in 2011 included The Book of Mormon, Follies, Jerusalem, Other Desert Cities, War Horse, Good Peopleand The Normal Heart.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Best Theater in 2012

It's that time of year when everyone tries to condense everything that was wonderful and amazing about this year into a simple list of 10. So, here is the running list of the "best of" or most memorable moments in theater in 2012 (. List is updated as new lists are published. 

New York Post - Elisabeth Vincentelli

1.   Assistance
2.   Detroit
3.   Gob Squab's Kitchen (You've Never Had It So Good)
4.   Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
5.   One Man, Two Guvnors
6.   3C
7.   Tribes
8.   Uncle Vanya (LCT) 
9.   We Are Proud to Present a Presentation...
10. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Broadway Tweets Sorrow and Gun Control Over Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy

Harvey Fierstein ‏@HarveyFierstein
Criminals, terrorists, or heartbroken - Guns are yours online. Pain, horror, grief and violence for sale. Fill your cart with death.

Jack Canfora ‏@JackCanfora
If there were a word to describe what we're feeling, it'd be in a language I wouldn't be able to bring myself to speak ever again.

Rory O'Malley ‏@RoryOMalley
Something must be done.

Cheyenne Jackson ‏@cheyennejackson
Been traveling all day and just heard about the shootings. I'm absolutely gutted. What the fuck is going on?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2012 Broadway Productions

2012 Broadway Productions

With the opening of Glengarry Glen Ross earlier this week (eh-hem, a month after it should have), here is a IBDB recap of 2012 Broadway productions. According to the latest demographic data published by The Broadway League, 
  • The average Broadway theatregoer reported attending 4 shows in the previous 12 months. The group of devoted fans who attended 15 or more performances comprised only 5% of the audience, but accounted for 29% of all tickets (3.6 million admissions).
  • The typical straight play attendee saw six shows in the past year; the musical attendee, five.
How many Broadway productions have you seen?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Quote from Ruth & Augustus Goetz's "The Heiress"

Spoken by Catherine Sloper in Ruth & Augustus Goetz's The Heiress:
He has grown greedier with the years. The first time he only wanted my money, now he wants my love, too. Well, he came to the wrong house, and he came twice. I shall see that he never comes a third time.

Friday, December 7, 2012

2012 Theater Gift Guide

Since I joined "The Jobless" a few months ago, I won't be giving out many holiday gifts this year. But if I had to give a gift to a theater lover, I would go to my Gift List from last year: 
  • Theatermania Gold Club Membership
  • Theater Subscription or Gift Certificate (now you can also give 54 Below gift cards which can be used on tickets, food and drink. What a treat that would be!!!)
  • Donation to a Theater Company
  • Opera Glasses
  • Hat Box  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Riotous "Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking!"

My best musical decisions this year - experiencing The Mystery of Edwin Drood right after Superstorm Sandy ravaged the New York area and ending 2012 by experiencing Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking! After three years, Forbidden Broadway created and written by Gerard Alessandrini is back and what a joy it is to behold after a few musical disappointments this year.  

Highlights in this 21st edition of the Broadway musical parody include the overly affectionate divas (I mean duo) Mandy Patinkin and Patti LuPone, Elena Roger lacking star quality in Evita and over the top Tracie Bennett as Judy Garland. The four member cast is absolutely wonderful with special shoutout to the petite Jenny Lee Stern and newcomer Marcus Stevens.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The McKittrick Hotel Hosts New Year's Eve Royal Huntsman's Ball

I really don't want to think about New Year's yet but I got this intriguing invite from The McKittrick Hotel. Hmmmm!!

For details, check out link here. Costs seem to range from $100-$300. I think much more reasonable than last year. 

Related Posts (Also, check out my Picks!!!)
When You Durst Do "Sleep No More" Then You Are a Theatergoer

Joan Rivers Touches on Theater in "I Hate Everyone...Starting With Me"

Earlier this year, I experienced Joan Rivers' show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. I got a table right up front and laughed until my face went numb. She takes no prisoners in her comedy show and net proceeds are donated to God's Love We Deliver. 

On December 20th, Joan Rivers returns to the Laurie Beechman to test out some new material. At 79 years old, she really is one of the hardest working women in show business. If you don't get a chance to check out her hilarious show, then you must flip though her latest book I Hate Everyone...Starting With Me. I couldn't help but notice the following sections which touch on the theater. Enjoy!!!
I hate the Tony Awards show. I can't get booked anywhere that night because every gay man in the world is at the ... Tonys. 

I hate the actors who stay in new York instead of going to Hollywood because they are "artists" and don't want to "compromise their craft." Now the only "kraft" they have is the macaroni and cheese they eat for dinner six nights a week. "Theater actor" is an old English world that means "cater waiter."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Random Happenings - November 2012

New York begins to recover from Sandy; US death toll lingers at 125; Broadway sales take a beating. NYC marathon cancelled for first time since 1970. Election Day finally comes; Abigael Evans and everyone else fed up with campaign ads rejoice. By the way, recipients of the $896M spent on campaign advertising also rejoice. Sex scandal tarnishes Petraeus. Janeane Garofalo was married for 20 years and didn't know it. Grace audience member upchucks over balcony at Cort Theatre. The Lion King celebrates 15 years on Broadway. Twinkie lovers, say good riddance to the 150 calorie snack and please pick up an apple instead. The Performers goes limp on Broadway closing after 7 mere performances. Americans thanksgive. Matt Lauer mispronounces Gershwin tune S'Wonderful. Actor Larry Hagman and Broadway producer Marty Richards fade.