that girl allison

I'm Allison. I see a ton of theatre. I'm a huge fan of Green Day, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Weezer, Oasis, Adam Rapp, Emily Giffin, and Shakespeare. I run sometimes, and do yoga always. My life has changed a lot in the last year, so this is my account of it all.

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thatgirlallison08 at gmail dot com

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1) The amount of happiness that I have inside for when I do stupid little things like take out multiple bags of trash, hang out clothes, or unload the dishwasher is unbelievable. I hate doing these things so much but not doing them drives me insane too. Sometimes I think I was better at adulting when I was in college. 

2) I start my new job tomorrow. I’m not really nervous - more excited than anything else - and I’d like to keep it that way! This is the first time I’ve ever transitioned between jobs. Usually layoffs occurred, or an internship ended, but I’ve never had the privilege (or stress) of saying thank you for everything but I’m leaving to one job and starting a new one. I’m still going to be working advertising so I think I’ll wear a black dress with my teal blazer. I would’ve gone to TJ Maxx when I got back to the city but they closed for the day. 

3) Happy opening to The Cripple of Inishmaan tonight! I’ll be seeing you on Tuesday night with a friend that I haven’t seen in way too long.

4) I think I’m going to have to go see Hedwig again very soon (or you know, attempt the lottery again soon). The original off-Broadway cast recording has been bringing some tears to my eyes lately. (Read my review from last weekend here.) 

Writing about If/Then is something I’ve been tossing around in my mind for several days now. I saw it two weeks ago in (obviously) amazing seats and I love the cast, but I’m not sure what I thought about the show as a whole.

The show tells the story of a woman named Elizabeth (Menzel) who moves back to New York City after 10 yeas of living with her husband in Arizona and the two ways her life could’ve played out based on one decision in a park the day she returns. I’d heard that it was incredibly confusing in DC and I was sitting (by chance) next to a friend who’d seen it there but said the only difference was that in one of her “lifes” she would put on glasses. This definitely help make things a bit clearer, but things were still a bit confusing.

The score is beautiful and I could definitely relate to Elizabeth’s worrying and overanalyzing personality (unfortunately). Anthony Rapp as her best friend Lucas was wonderful, of course, but I don’t know if I believed that he was in love with Elizabeth. LaChanze brought down the house as per usual when she’s onstage as Elizabeth’s other best friend Kate. James Snyder (Menzel’s husband in one life, Josh) and Jerry Dixon (Menzel’s boss in the other life) were both lovely too.

The bit of confusion in the actual plot aside, I was left wondering why I should really care about Elizabeth. I knew both sides of the story, what was left to wonder? Her story didn’t end up being extraordinary either way. But one thing that I did like the fact that she ended up meeting Josh one way or another.

After seeing the show I learned that it was never meant to be your typical linear story but it was only changed to be that way after the confusion of average theatregoers (who’d probably have been happier watching My Fair Lady) down in DC. I’d love to listen to Kitt and Yorkey talk about writing this…

Anyways, if this review sparked your interest in the show, then you should definitely go see it. 

As long as I’m still under 35, I’m going to take advantage of HipTix as I did a couple of weekends ago when I saw a preview of Violet at Roundabout’s American Airlines Theatre. I’d worked on a production of the show during my junior year of college and I loved the music and the show, despite it’s heaviness in religion. I’d really wanted to catch the weekend-only workshop at Encore’s last year but I was thrilled when Roundabout announced it as part of their season.

The star of Violet is really Joshua Henry as Flick. He brings down the house every time he opens his mouth and you almost forget that Sutton Foster is even in the cast. That’s not to say that Foster isn’t great - she is, as she always is, but Henry just steals the show. Colin Donnell was also pretty great as Flick’s partner-in-crime, Monty. 

Violet is simple, not flashy, and beautifully sung by a top-notch cast. Good job, Roundabout. 

Last Thursday night I saw ONCE for the first time in two years since it was in previews in 2012. I’d forgotten (almost) how beautiful this show is. The cast was almost completely different but it was still the same show. We somehow ended up in the front row on the right side, which was kind of amazing too. 

I felt almost like a newcomer to the show after not seeing it for two years and I think it’s held up beautifully. Paul Alexander Nolan is a great “Guy” and Joanna Christie is enjoyable as “Girl” (though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Milioti a bit).

If you haven’t seen this one in a while, give it another go. I’ll be seeing it again for sure in another 2 years. 

Tickets were provided by the production. 

Before seeing the late-late performance of Hedwig… on Saturday night, we had purchased tickets via TDF for the matinee of Mothers and Sons. Another 90 minute show? Music to our ears. I’m not a huge Tyne Daly fan (she’s good, but I wouldn’t go see something just because she was in it) but I was excited to see Bobby Steggert.

The play, by Terrence McNally, was about a mother (Tyne Daly) dropping in on the partner (Frederick Weller) of her deceased son and how she reacts when she learns he has a new life, including a husband (Bobby Steggert) and a son (Grayson Taylor). Her son died 20 years prior (due to AIDS complications) though his former partner’s new life is still confusing to her. She’s also still in denial about her son and thinking that New York City “turned” him gay.

There were solid, great performances throughout and I was never once bored or checking my Playbill. This is definitely one I’d recommend (and, come on, it’s only 90 minutes).

Rant: Four cell phones went off in 90 minutes. FOUR. When Steggert was giving the BC/EFA speech, he called one out too, “And if your cell phone went off during the performance, feel free to give $75,000! Yes, sir, you!” Appropriate? Yes.

Manhattan Theatre Club’s production of Casa Valentina (written by Harvey Fierstein) was both educational and thought provoking. Inspired by true events that took place at the Chevalier d’Eon Resort in the Catskills in 1962, it was about a small group of men (all claiming to be heterosexual with wives and children at home) who would come to the resort to spend the weekends dressing in drag. It is an interesting notion to think that there are men who like dressing in women’s clothing just for fun who are straight and vice versa. it’s one that I’m still trying to sort through in my head.

Brilliant performances were given all around, starting with Patrick Page and Mare Winningham as George and Rita, the resort’s owners, to John Collum and Tom McGowan as some of the regulars at the resort.

Though I found it a bit slow during a couple of moments, I still enjoyed it. It showed me something new, something real.

In my opinion, word of mouth and internet hype is a large part of what makes or breaks a show nowadays (yes, even a Disney show). Do you remember when bad word of mouth basically killed Spider-man before it started previews? The New York Times rave can never hurt for native New Yorkers but word of mouth is a driving force in a shows success. I know you think you can rely on your brand alone for success but as you’ve experience before with Tarzan and The Little Mermaid this isn’t always the case. (Though I hear your latest is much better than those.)

This brings me to Aladdin. I hear it’s pretty great but I’m not sure how I’m, and people with a budget like me, are going to get to see it. I’ve been hearing horror stories of people getting to the rush line at 4:30am and still not getting tickets six hours later. This, in short, is ridiculous. The parents and once-a-year show-goer is not who’s going to spread the word of Aladdin’s potential greatness. It’s the person who’s willing to wait for a few hours on a weekend morning for a rush ticket that will blog and tweet about their experience during and after the show. I also recognize that the people who can pay $40 for a ticket aren’t going to keep your show alive financially, but they can most certainly keep the excitement about your show alive and encourage those who can afford a $150 to go drop the cash. 

In short: I hope you start designating seats for rush or, better yet, a lottery. Because even though you’re Disney, your shows still need publicity from the little people.

Edit: Ask and you shall receive:

Hedwig and Angry Inch is probably as close to a religious experience as I will ever get. It’s a feeling that’s similar to when you leave a really amazing rock concert. Kristen and I saw a matinee of Mothers and Sons yesterday and played the 5pm lottery for the 7pm performance of Hedwig. We were semi-sad when we didn’t win because that would mean hanging out for another couple of hours and not being home by 10pm. But then we won the 8pm lottery for the 10pm performance and we realized that there was little-to-no-chance that any tourists from Oklahoma would be waltzing in by accident so the show would probably be the most risque it could be. Our seats were great - the Belasco being a teeny tiny house and all. We went and put glitter on our eyes at Sephora (because, well, obviously.) and then returned to the theatre to be rocked out of our brains.

Let me backtrack for a second: A friend sent me a copy of the off-Broadway cast recording in 1999. I was almost 13. Being that I was 13, I didn’t really get it. But fast forward to a couple of years later and I’d fully immersed myself in the scores of shows like HAIR and The Rocky Horror Show, so I was now 100% on board with Hedwig. I knew pretty much every word. Which is an odd thing for a 15 year old to be able to boast especially when their friends in Suburbia, USA have never heard of glam rock or John Cameron Mitchell. 

It’s a rock concert from the second Yitzhak introduces Hedwig. I probably would’ve been really annoying to sit next to if not for the fact that everyone in the audience was pumped as could be to be there. The lights, minimal set, and animation for Hedwig were beautiful and overwhelming (in a good way). Lena Hall was the perfect mix of tough and vulnerable with a beautiful, crystal clear voice to match. The Angry Inch band tore it up every second.

And last but most certainly not least, Neil Patrick Harris never once made Hedwig… into The NPH Show and was an amazing Hedwig - vocally and physically. I will never understand how he jumps around the set in 6” platform heels for 100 minutes with ease.

And thank you, NPH, for calling out the latecomers: “It’s a 10 o’clock show! How could you be late?!”

The entire cast onstage pours their blood, sweat, and tears into the show and it’s amazing the watch. Also: not one cell phone went off during the performance which was a refreshing change from the matinee of Mothers and Sons where 4 cell phones went off in 90 minutes. At least not that we could hear over the score. I don’t know how the HIMYM fans will react to seeing NPH onstage but I’m curious to find out. And although I’ve seen him in person before, saying hi and thanks to John Cameron Mitchell afterward was fun too.

I was absolutely wire after the show. It was really difficult to fall asleep. Oh well, totally worth it. I will definitely be back to Hedwig and the Angry Inch again. And soon. It’s not about Neil Patrick Harris (he’s great, but I’m not a diehard fan), it’s about the music and the energy.

I saw The Velocity of Autumn, written by Eric Coble, this week and was it groundbreaking? No. But I enjoyed it nevertheless. It was a lovely 90 minutes with no intermission and I got to watch the mesmerizing Stephen Spinella go at it with the hilarious Estelle Parons the entire time. While surrounded by molotov cocktails. 
The Velocity of Autumn was about a mother at the end of her life wanting to have control of her life and when it ended and where she ended it, and her estranged son who comes to talk her out of hurting herself and others. 
While certainly not groundbreaking, it’s a different kind of play with interesting characters portrayed by two fantastic actors. 

I saw The Velocity of Autumn, written by Eric Coble, this week and was it groundbreaking? No. But I enjoyed it nevertheless. It was a lovely 90 minutes with no intermission and I got to watch the mesmerizing Stephen Spinella go at it with the hilarious Estelle Parons the entire time. While surrounded by molotov cocktails. 

The Velocity of Autumn was about a mother at the end of her life wanting to have control of her life and when it ended and where she ended it, and her estranged son who comes to talk her out of hurting herself and others. 

While certainly not groundbreaking, it’s a different kind of play with interesting characters portrayed by two fantastic actors. 

Today at the matinee of Violet at the American Airlines Theatre, you spent 75% of the performance staring at the ceiling (literally) or sleeping. So then why did you feel the need to whip out your iPhone the second the curtain call commenced to take pictures of performers in the show you just paid almost zero attention to? 

It was obnoxious and your sleeping next to me was kind of annoying. If you don’t like theatre maybe you shouldn’t go?

xo

Allison