Sunday, March 11, 2012

Looking Back at Winter

Before I offer up my preview of the coming spring months of theatre-going later this week, I thought I'd take a look back with a review of the previous three months, December - February.  As usual, there were great shows and not so great shows, and even a surprise or two.

December had three of my best theatre-going experiences of the year:

  • Bonnie and Clyde (A) with its GREAT SCORE, awesome performances from Laura Osnes, Jeremy Jordan and Melissa Van Der Schyf. 

  • Lysistrata Jones (A) with a hilarious, smart book, and stand out performances from Patti Murin, Josh Segarra and Lindsay Nicole Chambers. 

  • And the very cool opportunity to see a "tech-in" performance (and the very 1st performance of the National Tour) of American Idiot, which I did not review, but loved more than the Broadway version.  How truly disappointing that both Bonnie and Clyde and Lysistrata Jones closed so fast.  

January proved slower, but not uneventful.

  • I made a return visit to Follies before it closed and it was as good as, if not better, than the first time I saw it!  (Man, Bernadette Peters and Jan Maxwell were amazing!)  I didn't re-review it - it is still an A+

  • The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess (C+) with all of its controversy proved, for me at least, to be much ado about nothing.  Boring, overwrought and ugly to look at, the show had all of its merit in five central performances: Joshua Henry, Nikki Renee Daniels as the loving young couple doomed to fate, Philip Boykin as the evil bad guy, and Porgy and Bess themselves, Norm Lewis and Audra McDonald.

  • I did finally get to see Harry Connick, Jr., which turned out to be a disappointment, as he showed little stage presence, and his legendary voice struggled to be heard over the orchestra.  On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (C--) proved to be a disappointment over all.  With a truly ugly set, lackluster staging and a concept that had great potential but played way too safely, the show was still somewhat entertaining, due largely to a debut performance from Jessie Mueller, and a cuddly, warm performance from the always charming David Turner.

February was a light, but good month of going to the show.

  • The Encores presentation of Merrily We Roll Along (A-) did not disappoint at all!  The score sounded great, and it was a real treat to see an all-star cast perform it.  I especially enjoyed Colin Donnell, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Celia Keenan-Bolger and the always delightful Elizabeth Stanley!

  • The truly amazing theatre experience of the month (and for some time) was Other Desert Cities (A+).  The gripping script by Jon Robin Baitz was wonderfully executed by the cast, led by Rachel Griffiths, Judith Light and the incomparable Stockard Channing.

  • Silence! The Musical (A-) ended the winter with a snow flurry and a side-splitting laugh fest.  Jenn Harris and David Garrison are a scream!

There was the good.  There was the bad.  But there was always something of value to see in each production I saw this winter.  And Spring started with an amazing show...


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