Email me at:
thatgirlallison08 at gmail dot com
Nothing describes a Green Day concert on the floor better than the title of a song off of Tre, “Brutal Love.” You will sweat. You will get kicked. You will get stepped on. You will get shoved. You may find yourself in a mosh pit. You may even get kicked in the head by a crowd surfer. But all the while you’re smiling because there’s no place you’d rather be than down in front, and center, at a Green Day concert.
My friends and I were about midway back when we finally made our way down to the floor at Barclays. The venue was far from capacity and the opening act (Best Coast) was far from going onstage. If this was as far as we got, that’d be fine (but we knew we’d get closer eventually).
Non-equity tours have an admittedly sour reputation of being the poor, red headed younger sibling of equity tours. I saw the first non-equity tour of Rent in 2002 and it was a disaster, to say the least. With that in mind, one can assume my expectations were low for the non-equity tour of American Idiot. The equity tour had been somewhat of a let down last year after the Boston Opera House swallowed up what little energy the half-recycled touring cast had. So, while expectations were low, my friends and I happily headed to Hartford yesterday to see the show we loved that we hasn’t seen in over a year. I picked up two copies of Rolling Stone so we could read about our favorite rockstar on the way up.
We got Hartford and were thoroughly saddened when the city lacked people and open restaurants. I believe there were a whopping sum of two open restaurants open across Bushnell Park from the theatre. The funny thing was that every Hartford native we came across apologized for their city and its lack of, well, everything. After (way too much) searching we eventually found a lovely little restaurant called Salute and parked ourselves at the bar. Minutes later a sea of suits (WASPS) started filing in. Apparently a new Connecticut Supreme Court justice named Andrew had just been sworn in and we were lunching at the site of his celebratory party. Soon after the suits became overwhelming we paid and went back to meet our friend who’d overslept and missed our bus (no worries, he caught the next one). We relaxed and charged our phones as we waited for the doors to the Bushnell Theater opened.
The theatre was large but not as big as the Boston Opera House. We had awesome seats, Row D, though they were still 8 or so rows back, but they were closer than we’d had in Boston. But finally it was fuck time.
Well it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Mostly with work, which I love regardless of the fact that I work 50-60 hour weeks now. I literally have no complaints. That also means that I get home at 7:30-8pm and crash (or crash after a yoga class at 9). So that hasn’t left a lot of time for show-going.
But that all changes this week and I’m stoked! On Thursday night I’ll be seeing Zosia Manet in MCC’s “Really Really.” I love Girls so this is super exciting in my mind. I’m excited to see what she can do onstage, even though I’ve read a synopsis of the play and I’m assuming her character will be pretty similar to the one on Girls.
Later this week on Saturday, I’ll be trekking up to Hartford with some good friends to see the non-equity tour of American Idiot. It’s been about a year since I’ve seen the show live, so I’m looking forward to this treat. A reputable source claims that the Johnny on tour is the best he’s ever seen, so it should be good.
The trip to Hartford is far, and long. But to experience 90-minutes of punk rock bliss, it’s worth it.
Lastly: I’m going to either the second or fourth preview of Matilda next week. I’m REALLY stoked. Considering that this is THE show that will most likely (you heard it here first) sweep the TONYs, I’m so excited.
So, let’s pray for a low-stress work week and lots of awesome theatre.
Some people travel for movie premieres for actors they love, others travel for concerts, and other people travel for theatre and for that last offense I am guilty as charged. When I first heard American Idiot was going on tour, I knew I wanted to see it. Unfortunately the closest the tour was coming to New York was Boston (no DC or Philly?!) so Matt and I groaned, debated possibly bussing it up to Toronto instead and resigned to the fact that it was easiest to head up to Boston, rather than any other stop on their tour schedule.
Two weeks ago we booked seats on the 7am AMTRAK train to Boston and we concluded today that it was a much better idea two weeks ago rather than when we had to show up to Penn Station at 6:15am on a Sunday. But we made it and after coffee and bagels, we boarded the train and took the four hour ride up north.
The train was definitely a good idea. The extra space allowed for maximum sleeping. The last time I was in Boston, I believe, was in September 2007 to see the out-of-town try-out of High Fidelity (which was, unfortunately, better than what was seen onstage in New York). We got to South Station, found our way quite easily to the Boston Opera House, picked up tickets and then went to find food.
I think Boston still follows what are called ‘Blue Laws’ which means nothing is open before noon. This was unfortunate because we were hungry and it was before noon. The restaurant next to the Boston Opera House seemed to be the only one open for several blocks in either direction so we split a margarita pizza and chicken fingers (like the adults we are) before we heading next door for the show. The theatre was beautiful, and enormous. We were sitting in row G and it felt like sitting in Row N at the St. James.
Totally reminiscent of the lobby at the St. James, right? Luckily we had no understudies and the house was packed (literally sold out). And there were color Playbills! I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen a color playbill at American Idiot.
And now my thoughts on the show…
It’s always hard to pick just five moments of New York theatre a to wrap up a year. But it’s especially difficult when you’ve seen and processed the most recent season so I thought I’d do a Top 10 list.
1. First on this list is obviously Sleep No More, presented by Punchdrunk. I’m glad I got in on this before people caught on to what was going on down in Chelsea. If you’ve gone to see Sleep No More, you know what it’s like and if you haven’t seen it, there’s really no way to explain it without sounding like a crazy person about why it was such an amazing experience. Save up your money and go buy yourself a ticket for 2012.
2. The next thing that instantly came to mind was Once, currently showing at the New York Theatre Workshop. Based on the indie movie of the same name, it’s a touching story of how one girl helps a musician achieve his dreams (and they kinda-sorta fall in love too). This was such a unique piece of theatre because it starts an hour before “curtain” time. The cast, who doubles as the band, is playing, singing, and dancing onstage for an hour before the actually story starts (and don’t worry, you’ll know when the show starts). They announced their transfer to Broadway hours before they opened off-Broadway, which is pretty amazing. It’s Spring Awakening for adults and it’s theme is to not live your life without pursuing your dreams - which is a pretty important one, if you ask me.
3. Next up comes The Hallway Trilogy presented by the Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre and written by my favorite, Adam Rapp, which I just realized I never actually wrote about and that’s probably because there was no way to translate the experience into words. This was a hundred year history of this one hallway from the time of Eugene O’Neil to a time 50 years in the future when New York was disease free and now financially strapped individuals could make money being injected with ‘old fashioned’ diseases in a museum for the rich to come and witness.
4. I still can’t believe that American Idiot closed only this year; it all seems like so much longer ago. Whenever I think back to one of the most ridiculously energetic performances I saw, I immediately think back to February 27th, 2011 - the night John Gallagher Jr., Michael Esper, and Billie Joe Armstrong left the show. It felt like every single person in that theatre was there for those three guys and you could hear the love pouring out from them. It was just a ridiculous and amazing night, one that I will not soon forget.
5. An incredible moment that makes this list happened only last week. A benefit for Royal Family Productions, Anthony Rapp performed a reading of his brother Adam Rapp’s script Nocturne at Symphony Space, a few blocks from where I live on the Upper West Side in a night titled “Rapp Reads Rapp.” Nocturne was one of the few plays of Rapp’s that I had no familiarity with but oh boy is it amazing, and Anthony did an incredible job with it. By the end he was in tears.
6. I thought Thomas Sadowski was pretty good in 2009’s reasons to be pretty but he left me speechless in this season’s Broadway transfer of Other Desert Cities. His character was so complicated and went through so many emotions that I was absolutely exhausted and heart broken watching him from the front row.
7. When you try to think of the most fantastic actress discovered out-of-the-blue in the last five years, you’d be hard pressed to think of someone more talented of Nina Arianda and her performance in Venus in Fur. Her performance is a tour-de-force and isn’t to be missed. I’m not sure how to use words to describe it actually. It has to be seen and not described. She crashes through the door ten minutes into the script and the whirlwind that she creates onstage never stops.
8. When I think of Norbert Leo Butz, I will always think of him as my first Roger in Rent in 1998. The next moment I’ll think of is his performance in this year’s Catch Me If You Can. Catch Me was a [mostly] bore of a show that had all the makings of what should’ve been a great musical, but the only reason I saw it twice was to watch Mr. Butz. He danced and moved in ways that I didn’t think he could during the song “Breaking All the Rules.” Watching him on the Tony’s, and then win his second Tony, it was a great thing.
9. I missed Boeing Boeing a few years ago and after seeing Mark Rylance in both La Bete and Jerusalem this year, that will forever be one of my great theatre-related regrets. I will still stand my ground that Mark Rylance was even better in La Bete than in Jerusalem, but for the purposes of doing a review of the year of 2011, I’ll talk about his performance in Jerusalem. Playing a modern day pied piper in England, you loved him, you felt bad for him, you loved listening to his rambling. Like I said back in April, Rylance might be one of the great actors of our day.
10. I’ve been a fan of Jan Maxwell since I worked at Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang in 2005 and I’ve seen almost everything she’s done since. She’s never won a Tony but this just might be her year with her mouth-dropping turn in this season’s revival of Follies. She brings down the house in Act 2 like I’ve never seen her do. I never knew she could dance like she does, and she’s absolutely heartbreaking. Follies isn’t my cup of tea when it comes to musical theatre, but I’d see it again to watch her onstage.
So, I think that’s it. Honorable mentions go to War Horse (breathtaking, just absolutely mind-blowing), The Normal Heart (after the 2010 reading, this production was magnificent), The Book of Mormon (I’m glad I saw this in previews), How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Mr. Radcliffe blew me away with his moves, and after wanting to see this show revived again for so many years, this is a great production), and The Amoralists (a fantastic theatre company that produces really unique theatrical experiences such as this one and this one).
I won’t deny the fact that there was a ton of crap produced on and off-Broadway this year, but it’d be silly to neglect to acknowledge the amazing moments that I was fortunate enough to see too. We’ll see what 2012 holds.
photo taken in April 2011
After three years in my apartment, I just resigned for another 2 years and finally decided to hang things on my walls, and do a few other things as well. I had a few things hung where I was able to get nails into my walls but since my walls are concrete (like, legit concrete) that’s rather hard. My parents were able to procure a super powered drill for the day thought and we went to work. Here are some before and after shots.