Sunday, February 25, 2007

Broadway Marathon

A Chorus Line - Schoenfeld Theater, New York
Company - Barrymore Theater, New York
Spring Awakening - Eugene O'Neill Theater, New York

So I was a good brother and took my sister down to New York to do another Broadway marathon (why I've been slacking on the TV talk again). I wanted her to see some of the best shows that are currently playing (and actually I noticed, 4 of my top 6 shows EVER are currently playing in NY (Rent, Spring Awakening, A Chorus Line, Company) with the 5th show Ragtime set to return soon (It ranks 3rd overall actually in case you're wondering and the other one is Into the Woods).

Of course, it helped that my sister is still a student and we were able to take advantage of the student rush deals (basically because big bro is a big cheapo).

So, here are a few notes I made while re-watching some of my favorites.

At A Chorus Line (Schoenfeld Theater, NY), the replacement for Paul is just not as good as the original Jason Tam, who I still believes deserves a featured actor nomination. My fave Brad Andersen was off. Boo. Natalie Cortez is still the best of the show (and also deserves a Tony nomination), though Jessica Lee Goldyn's Val is still hilarious and Tony nom deserving too.

The dancers feel a little more tired than the last time but dancing THOSE AMAZING routines 8 times a week, I can understand that they would be tired. Still, the dances are still worth the trip, and I love the "Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen" sequences. LOVE IT!

At Company (Barrymore Theater, NY), Raul Esparza still brings down the house with his version of "Being Alive" (The new cast recording shows it all off and is AMAZING). The actors/musicians seem even more gelled this time around and I almost forgot they were also playing instruments and I could concentrate while sitting in the first row, and see how nuanced some of the performances were. Elizabeth Stanley's April was completely ON the entire show and she never let up at any point, and I've come around on her performance. Heather Laws is still the fastest "Getting Married Today" and superbly funny along with Robert Cunningham's Paul (who reminds me of Colby Donaldson from Survivor 2: Australian Outback (and now joining The Rachel Ray Show !?!)).

I am convinced now that this is the best version of Sondheim's classic Company that I may ever see and is not to be missed.

If there's one person that might deserve to steal Raul Esparza's best actor Tony award though, it should be Jonathan Groff in Spring Awakening (Eugene O'Neill Theater, New York). (Though I doubt he will only cause the voters will think Groff is too young to win at 22).

Upon second viewing, I realised how amazing Groff's performance is and how emotionally complex the role demands. John Galagher Jr. and Moritz may get the showy role (but also completely deserving a Tony nomination for Featured Actor), but Jonathan Groff needs to ground the entire show with his central character of Melchior while still leading us through the complexities of his blooming sexuality, and Groff does it with both confidence and stature while also being heartbreakingly real.

Now that I've had time to listen to the Cast Recording of Spring Awakening (ad naseum, it hasn't stopped on my CD player or my iPod), I felt I've had more time to digest the musical and loved it even more. I left the first time around, not sure what to think, but this time, I was definitely more emotionally involved with the show.

I mean, I loved the music the first time around, but now I truly love the entire show. The young cast is still brilliant (I think John Galagher Jr.'s singing has gotten even better actually) and I'm glad that the performance was sold out finally (it was at about 50% capacity when I saw it in Dec before the official opening). Oh yeah. and Rosie O'Donnell was sitting 9 seats away from me in the same row!

Again, it has become my other MUST SEE for Broadway. Particularly to those who are not prone to Broadway.

Anyways, here are a few pictures from the week (I've got more of us with all the actors but since I'm trying to stay somewhat anonymous on this site (mainly in case I disparage someone I end up working with, I don't want work to know, hehe) I'm going to keep it off, but if you really are interested, email me and I might link you to them) :

Here's Jersey Boys' Tony Award winner John Lloyd Young (I'll review it in another posting)

Jersey Boys' underated Daniel Reichard.

Tony Award winner Christian Hoff from Jersey Boys

Bill Nighy from The Vertical Hour, which we didn't see but spotted as we left A Chorus Line from across the street. (It's funny. I work in the biz, see stars all the time and generally ignore them, yet throw me in NY and I'm like a 14 year old schoolgirl chasing every celebrity (minor or not) around.)

Julianne Moore from The Vertical Hour.

Jonathan Groff from Spring Awakening.

Jersey Boys signed Playbills.

Spring Awakening signed CD and Playbill.

Company Playbill and signed CD.

Here are my original reviews:
Spring Awakening

A Chorus Line
A Chorus Line San Francisco tryouts
Jersey Boys

Spring Awakening Clips


Anonymous said...

love a chorus line, best show on broadway for me!

Vance said...

I know. So good. but you should check out Company (if you still can, cause it closes this weekend), and Spring Awakening. These are the three best shows I think are on Broadway right now!