Spidey may be caught in a very expensive web right now, but the theatre scene of NYC is alive and well. For the past seven years, my co-theatre junkie daughter and I have been trekking to Broadway for our fix. First venturing to the Big Apple to see Fiddler On The Roof, this year we crammed The 39 Steps (closing the next day), Love, Loss, And What I Wore, and The Addams Family into our three-day weekend.
The 39 Steps, a lively British farce with an incredible cast of four, appeared on New World Stages. Now closed, the production rights are available and this show is hitting the road. It will be staged in Nashville, by the Tennessee Rep, March 19 – April 2, and includes the incomparable Martha Wilkinson in its cast. Three men and one woman take on over 150 roles in the fast-paced whodunit mystery. Described as Hitchcock magic with a dash of Monty Python, the NYC version reminded me of Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 with a whole lot of Tim Conway ala the Carol Burnett show. Enjoyable but it didn’t knock our socks off. I bet TN Rep’s will.
Love, Loss, and What I Wore was staged at the off-Broadway Westside Theatre. If you haven’t ventured from the Broadway thoroughfare, let this be your first plunge. Absolutely hilarious and incredible were our impressions. Perfect for a girls’ night out, we did have one fellow with us and he found it pretty funny too. With this revolving cast appearing until February 13, we saw Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray), Alexis Bledel (Sisterhood of Traveling Pants/Gilmore Girls), Pauletta Washington (Denzel’s wife – not wearing a ring but a four-inch cuff bracelet of crazy bling), comedienne and Emmy Award winning actress Judy Gold and Anita Gillette (Tina Fey’s mom on 30 Rock and Law and Order: SVU fame).
You may have seen the bright pink book by Ilene Beckerman. Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron have done a great job of adapting the charming story to stage. The talented ensemble re-tells intimate stories based on clothing and accessories capturing a history of women’s fashion of which all ages can relate from training bras to paper dresses. We loved meeting the ladies at the stage door and have to say Alexis Bledel, while her usual reserved self on-stage, was utterly charming and very “chill.” Would love to note, we obtained our tickets at last year’s silent auction for First Night Nashville Theatre Honors staged by Broadwayworld.com’s quintessential, renowned theatre critic (and the very handsome/debonnaire) Mr. Jef Ellis. (Yes, sucking up!)
The Addams Family was our final show at Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Is our life much better for having finally seen Nathan Lane live and on the front row? While we are happy to mark off this accomplishment, we were a little underwhelmed by Mr. Lane. Yes, he was fun, hilarious and well a whole lotta Nathan Lane wonderful. His dropping in and out of his Ricky Ricardo accent was simply odd while his harmonizing with Bebe Neuwirth was just plain painful. (We forgave Bebe after being charmed by her at the stage door) We loved Bebe as Morticia and think they are great together. It’s the musical part that didn’t always jive.
The cast has incredible depth of talent including Kissing Jessica Stein’s best pal, Jackie Hoffman, as grandma, along with an incredible Wednesday (Broadway vet Krysta Rodrigues) whose pipes really carried the show. In the end, we highly recommend it as adorable, witty, fun and worth the huge ticket price we had to pay due to discount blackouts.
I don’t profess to be a professional theatre critic or have the background or credentials to back-up my reviews. I am a college-grad, communications professional and long-time theatre fan. So, this section of my blog will always be a pedestrian’s viewpoint on “was it worth the ticket price?”
Side note: We love traveling to NYC in the winter. Much easier to get around and everybody is like “wow, what are you doing here tourist?? Come on in!” Look for more info to follow on restaurants, Regis & Kelly and our favorite hotel.