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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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

Last week I finally made a much overdue trip to see Cinderella. Unfortunately I’d missed Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana, but I was still getting Todd Buonopane and Victoria Clark, as well as Carly Rae Jepsen and Fran Drescher. 

The show was every bit as magical as you might expect a production of Cinderella to be. Fran Drescher never does much, but she’s funny in the small scenes she has. Carly Rae Jepsen is lovely as Cinderella, although her voice is meek at times and sometimes barely audible. Victoria Clark is marvelous, as one would come to expect from Ms. Clark, and Todd Buonopane totally steals his scenes. He’s awesome.

I do agree with the overall sentiment that they made this version of Cinderella WAY too political, but who cares! There are pretty voices, super cool costume changes, and classic songs. I don’t think anyone is seeing Cinderella to have their mind blown and rightly so, but they’ll definitely be entertained. 

I was lucky enough to be able to see a preview performance of All the Way a couple of weeks ago which opened a week ago tonight. It’s a new drama by Robert Schenkkan that received ridiculous reviews at A.R.T. in Boston. A drama about LBJ’s first year or so in office trying to get the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 passed starring Bryan Cranston as LBJ.

I love history plays so I loved this one. It was an era that I’d not known the exact details of. The violence, the struggle, the bargaining behind closed doors. It reminded me of the movie Lincoln if only because it reflected what’s going on today in government and how nothing really ever changes. Wash, rinse, repeat.

I’ve seen Cranston in a couple of movies, but not Breaking Bad (give me five years). But I was thoroughly impressed by his acting chops onstage. He conveyed to the audience his inner struggles excellently. I also really enjoyed Betsy Aidem as Lady Bird Johnson. Other noteables in the cast were John McMartin (duh) as Senative Richard Russell, Michael McKean as J. Edgar Hoover, and James Eckhouse as Martin Luther King Hr. 

That said, every person in the cast was fantastic. The lighting (Jane Cox) and sound designs (Peter Fitzgerald) were also notable and effective.

Was All the Way long? Oh yes. Clocking in at a few minutes under 3 hours, it was longer than your usual Broadway play. But did I care? Not for one second. Bryan Cranston was just that good.

Tickets provided by the production. All opinions are my own.

Hey there everyone… theatre nerds, Martin McDonaugh savants, Harry Potter fans… 

TODAY IS THE DAY! Reblog this post, follow me, and tweet about this post and you’ll be entered to win a pair of tickets to see Daniel Radcliffe in The Cripple of Inishmaan

The winner will be notified on March 17th!