Monday, April 16, 2012

"I can't begin to explain how we disassemble the parts and frame." ~the naked & famous

I really need internet at my apartment, because right now it's just too much trouble to come to the library or Starbucks to blog. I have a lot to write about; I've been able to have a lot of fun lately (I went skydiving, for example!). I saw six Broadway shows last week (and there are a few more I saw awhile ago but haven't written about yet) and I want to write about them. I don't have much time, though, so I'm just going to write very short reflections.

Death of a Salesman
I love Philip Seymour Hoffman, I truly think he's one of the greatest actors alive, so seeing him as Willy Loman was such a treat for me. He transformed himself into a broken man and it broke my heart. I also loved seeing Andrew Garfield onstage; I'm a big fan of his as well, and he definitely captured Biff's torment. Linda Emond and Finn Wittrock were also strong as the other two members of the Loman family. Mike Nichols directed the play, and he meticulously crafted the production elements to create a real sense of the time and place. This was the first production I've seen of this classic play, and I enjoyed it very much.

Peter and the Starcatcher
This is a lovely, creative new play that's basically a prequel to Peter Pan. The set is very minimal; the actors use minimal props (like a rope) and their own bodies to create the scenery. The cast is wonderful. Christian Borle will probably win a Tony for his performance, and I particularly loved Adam Chanler-Berat and Celia Keenan-Bolger in their roles. Ben Brantley gave the play a rave in his New York Times review, and I agree with his assessment of the production. It's magical.

Nice Work If You Can Get It
This is Matthew Broderick's first musical since The Producers, and it's a great vehicle for him. Kelli O'Hara is his stage partner, and she is as lovely as always. Seeing two incredibly talented musical theatre actors performing in a well-written comedy and singing classic Gershwin tunes proved to be a great evening of fun. I was surprised at how funny the show was.

This show has gotten mixed reviews. People tend to either love or hate Elena Roger, the Argentinian actress playing the title role. I love, love, love the score, and I think Roger sings it well (which is not an easy feat). Her dancing is also very strong, and she captures Eva's scrappy nature. I actually think I'm one of the few people who feels ambivalent about her overall performance, but I guess I lean toward a positive reaction. Michael Cerveris always gives a solid performance, and his Juan Peron is no exception. Ricky Martin isn't as charismatic as I hoped he would be as Che. (Fun fact: I saw Ricky Martin a really, really long time ago (like over 15 years ago) as Marius in Les Miz.) Anyway, I've always loved the score of this show, so hearing it sung live by talented singers was enough to make me happy.

One Man, Two Guvnors
This show transferred from London where it received rave reviews and was a huge hit, and I'm interested to see how it does on this side of the pond. It's definitely very English, but I don't think that's a bad thing at all. It's a very, very funny farce. James Corden is absolutely hilarious, and the supporting cast is very strong as well. I basically laughed for two-and-a-half hours straight, and there's nothing better than that. Fun fact: I met James Corden's parents (and auntie) the morning of the show while I was waiting in line for a rush ticket; they were very friendly, and it was cute to see how proud they were of their son.

Leap of Faith
This show is an absolute disaster, but Raul Esparza is wonderful. I have no idea how such a talented actor became involved in such a mess onstage. That's really all that needs to be said.

Don't Dress for Dinner
This is another farce currently on Broadway. The play was written by Mark Camoletti, the man who wrote Boeing-Boeing, and I suppose it's a sequel to Boeing-Boeing (it features the same two main characters). It's very funny; I really do like farce. I like laughing, and this play made me laugh. I guess I'm easy to please. Spencer Kayden steals the show; she's definitely the best thing about it.

That's all for now. I've wanted to write about new mid-season tv shows that I'm watching (GCB, Girls, Scandal, Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23), but that will have to wait.