Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Looking Forward to Winter

I say this every time, but I can't believe another 3 months have passed and now is the time to look forward what, if anything, Broadway, off-Broadway, regional and touring shows have to offer during the winter - December 2011 - February 2012.  Before I do that, though, let's see how things went this now past fall.

The months of September - November 2011 held quite a few new experiences, surprises, thrills and and disappointments.  I saw a lot of what was on my list, and for that I am thankful.  For the first time ever, I attended The New York Musical Theatre Festival.  As a musical theatre enthusiast, it really was something to have the opportunity to see two new shows at this young stage in their lives.  The results were nearly polar opposites; Greenwood was in terrific shape, with a great performance by Andrea McArdle, while Ghostlight had a ton of potential and a lot of work ahead for it.  Still, I look forward to the next festival.  The best show I've seen so far this season was the mesmerizing and heartbreaking revival of Follies (A+).  The revival of Godspell (C+) was one of those shows that I am really glad I saw, and while I loved parts of it, the show as a whole wasn't everything it could have been.  Play-wise, I began my off-Broadway subscription with MCC Theatre, and saw two very troubling plays, The Submission (C) and Wild Animals You Should Know (C+), and both had their share of production issues, hence their grades.  But both, the latter in particular, have stuck with me long after seeing them, so there must be something there, right?  Funny then, that the play I reviewed with a higher grade, Chinglish (B-), has stuck with me in the same way.  It was extremely well put together and quite funny.  It was off-Broadway and regional theatre that gave me my musical theatre fix for the fall.  Mary Testa is giving the performance of her life in Queen of the Mist (A-) with off-Broadway's Transport Theater Group.  And trips to two of America's oldest theatres got me to two shows that have been long on my list to see or re-visit: Ford's Theatre in D.C. got me to see Parade (B-), and I saw a great production (finally) of Aspects of Love (A-).

Of the shows on my fall list that I didn't see, I really hope to get to Other Desert Cities.

Here's what I am looking forward to this winter:


Bonnie and Clyde at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (Broadway)

I love dark, potentially dangerous musicals,  What could be darker than real-life Depression-era killers on the run who are in love with each other.  If Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan can be this dark and sexy in just one picture, I'm sure they are terrific together.  And I'm hoping Frank Wildlhorn will finally have another decent hit show.

Lysistrata Jones at the Walter Kerr Theatre (Broadway)

I loved it in a tiny gym.  I can't wait to see how they get it to a Broadway-sized show while still keeping all the charm.  I trust Douglas Carter Beane. And with the same young and exciting cast, I know it is in good hands.

American Idiot (First National Tour)

With the awesome Van Hughes in the lead, how bad can it be?  I'm really looking forward to seeing how well the production travels, both physically and in terms of audience response.  And I can't wait to see "Holiday" and "Extraordinary Girl" again.  I loved those stagings.

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever at the St. James Theatre (Broadway)

I know nothing about the original show, but I hope the gender switch of a main character/gay theme works FOR the end result, not AGAINST it.  But if anyone can pull this edgy twist off, it is director Michael Mayer.  And I really want to finally see Harry Connick, Jr.

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess at the Richard Rodgers Theatre (Broadway)

Speaking of stars I'd like to see, Audra McDonald is right up there, given all the press this performance has already gotten (Brantley has ordained that she shall be the one to beat come Tony time).  I hope she's there the night I get to see it...  Still, I love me a Gershwin tune and Norm Lewis is always interesting.  I'll let you know what I think.

Merrily We Roll Along at City Center (An Encores! Production)

Sondheim. Lapine. Controversial flop.  Celia Keenan-Bolger, Elizabeth Stanley, Colin Donnell and Lin-Manuel Miranda.  An event no matter what.

What shows are you looking forward to this winter?  Or will you be hibernating until spring?  Write in and let me know!

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