May 10, 2013
Waaaay back in February, on a whim I entered a photography contest to win tickets to see Breakfast at Tiffany's on Broadway. What did I have to lose, right?
Apparently nothing. Because I won.
I hadn't been on Broadway since before I got my theatre degree, and back then I used to go every 3 months or so. I'd see as many shows as I could cram into the few days I was there and then head home, happy to have a few more broadway shows under my belt and already gearing up for the next round. The last time I did that was 2005. I'd been to NYC since then, but nowhere near Broadway (but I did see some fantastic sights I had never seen before - that quick jaunt was pretty wonderful, too).
(Quick side note: I know I had less bills & responsibilities back then, but I also made significantly less money. New York has tripled in price, I'm convinced. How did I used to afford it? Holy crap. Anyways.)
I grabbed The Boy's grandmother because she was able to go up midweek (the stipulation on the tickets) and we made a 3-day trip out of it. We went to Central Park, Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center, and of course Times Square. We ate at Wolfgang's Restaurant holy delicious, Batman) and we got into my favorite little pizza joint that was renovated out of an old church, and it still have all the stained glass and original lighting fixtures. We ate more cupcakes than I should admit. Actually - I don't care. We ate a lot of cupcakes. I was on vacation!
Warning: I'm about to get theatre-rambly about the shows we saw. Skip down 3 paragraphs if you'd like to skip it.
The first night we saw the revival of Jekyll & Hyde with Constantine and Deborah Cox and we sat in the fourth row. There were things I loved about the original script/score and there were things I absolutely hated, and this version seemed to change most of what I hated (although they also changed a few things I loved but you can't win them all). The production itself? Eh. I think Constantine did a fairly good job - I liked his quiet obsession over The Hoff's batshit insanity and I think a lot of people didn't notice it because it was very subtle - we were so close we could see the smaller moments he was having. His phasing, however, was pretty bad. Deborah Cox should have never been cast. And that's nothing against her talent because she is very talented, she just wasn't right. Her accent was ridiculous and then she sounded like the R&B singer she is during her songs with zero accent. Meh. The other female lead, Teal Wicks (who played Emma), was by far the highlight. She was fantastic. The costumes were awesome. The concept of the set I liked. And, mini-rant: I kind of hate projections in theatre. I think they are putting a lot of talented scenic painters out of work and I think they are lazy. I will admit however, that I have seen them used very well (the tour of Les Mis did this). This show? They were awful. I hate every second of them. They kind of ruined it for me. "Confrontation" was the biggest atrocity I've ever seen and a total cop-out. Overall grade: B -. I did enjoy it, but I could pick it apart pretty easily.
The Second Night we saw Breakfast at Tiffany's. I almost don't want to write anything. Take the worst show you've ever seen. Multiply it by 3. Now add 6. Now multiply that by 4 more. Now give it a ridiculous budget. It. Was. Awful. And it was all the script and the director. I don't blame the actors - as far as I could tell all the things I absolutely hated were director choices. Emilia was very good but her character choices were strange (direction), and Cory Smith, lord was he trying, but just had nothing to work with (direction). George Wendt was George Wendt. He was great, but his role was very small. The script, if it was 100 pages, was about 89 pages too long. The play was 2 1/2 hours. It could have been a one act. It kept repeating itself, to the point where I got up to use the restroom at the beginning of a scene (which I never do), took my time, came back at the beginning of the next scene, and it didn't matter that I was gone because they spent that entire scene recapping the one I just missed. It wasn't funny, but it sure as hell tried to be. There was a completely gratuitous nude bathtub scene that was utterly pointless, and if you ever see me in person ask me about the horse-riding scene, because it was downright absurd. High school students could direct something better than that scene. Also - shocker - the scene didn't move the plot forward. Grade: F - . However, I met Emilia Clarke at the stage door, and she was super adorable and sweet and she signed my playbill. So: worth it. I am a Game of Thrones nerd.
We wound up having to catch a much later train on Wednesday than we had originally planned which left us time to see a matinee. We hit up TKTS (which runs so much smoother than it used to - bravo), and nailed some 10th-row seats to see Once. Guys...I am still speechless. I'm getting goose bumps just thinking about it, and this show was a month ago. It was funny and witty and beautiful and simple. The cast was amazing. I can not pick one thing about this show apart and I can not remember the last show I could say that about, or if I've ever been able to say it. Grade: A+ times a billion.
Oh, and Once? If you have orchestra seating and you get there early enough, you can have your pre-show drinks on stage. And during that time, the cast comes out and jams for 3 - 4 songs (if you don't know, the cast plays all the instruments during the show. It's wonderful). So I stood on a Broadway stage and got an up-close-and-personal performance by a Broadway cast. That alone was worth every dime I spent over those three days.
I'm already trying to plan another trip. I forgot how much I adore that city and I forgot how much I adore Broadway. You can't keep me away another 8 years - I've been re-bit by the bug.