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I was going through my theatre-related posts of this year and I couldn’t pick just 10. Since this is my blog and I make the rules, I decided to do 13.
1. Bring It On: I had my doubts and reservations about this musical, and maybe I’m a little biased after working on it for a few months, but I loved this show. It was visually stunning, fun, and not totally void of meaning. It had a good meaning overall: Life goes on after high school. I love this show, I’m sad it closed yesterday, and I will definitely miss it.
2. Merrily We Roll Along @ Encores: I went to the final performance and it was my first time having seen it - though I’d heard the music before. The cast was fantastic, as was the material. The atmosphere was also electric. Everyone was so excited to be there.
3. The Other Josh Cohen: This was just a gem of a show. I’m so glad I got to see it.
4. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? revival: I had reservations about this too, having seen the last revival with Kathleen Turner, but upon being offered a free ticket, who was I to turn it down? It ended up being pretty incredible. It was probably one of the best things to open on Broadway this fall.
5. Harvey @ Studio 54: A supposed allegory for homosexuality in the mid-20th century, Jim Parsons killed his roll and this show. Loved it.
6. The Bad and the Better (by The Amoralists): I love The Amoralists. This show was a complex story with many layers and a huge cast. It was pretty epic. I don’t know how they afforded to do it, but they definitely did.
7. James Corden in One Man, Two Guv’nors: I loved this play and I probably loved it because James Corden was so goddamn funny. He absolutely killed onstage. He deserved his TONY Award.
8. The Lyons: I saw this play off-Broadway and loved, and saw it twice more on Broadway. I loved it every single time. Probably because Linda Lavin reminded me of my late Jewish grandmother. And… Michael Esper.
9. Once's Transfer to Broadway: I think the producers transfered this show well. Not much got lost in the bigger space in the Jacobs Theatre and the spirit of the show remained intact. I loved it off-Broadway and it made me cry (twice) on Broadway. I wasn't sure whether transferring this show was the right thing to do, but I'm happy that they're doing well ($1 million+/week).
10. Tribes: This was an off-Broadway show not to be missed. It deserved every bit of praise it received. I loved it a lot possibly because the lead was hearing-impaired so it made it that much more believable, but who knows. It had a healthy run at The Barrow Group and is now going to LA.
11. Carrie: A cult classic that only existed in bootleg form before MCC revived it. It was cheesy and the music wasn’t so stellar, and I wished there’d been more blood, but it was an experience to be had and seen. I’m definitely glad I paid $20 to sit in the second row.
12. Jesus Christ Superstar's Resurrection: The revival in 2000 wasn't so good - except for Tony Vincent, duh - but I loved, loved, loved this one, which transferred from the Stratford Theatre Festival. It felt like a digital update, but the incredible rock score was still the intact and the cast was incredible. I don't care what anyone says, Josh Young was an incredible Judas. I saw this revival twice and my only regret is that I wished I'd seen it again!
13. Assistance: I was an assistant when I saw this so I definitely related. It was hysterical, vulgar, and exaggerated (though I’m sure it’s not so exaggerated for some people). The ending also wins for ‘most unrelated and random ending ever.’ Also: Michael Esper.
That’s my run-down for 2012. There were a dozen or more shows that I saw and didn’t write about (because I suck sometimes), but I’ll try to be better about writing about EVERYTHING in 2013. What were your top theatre moments in 2012? Happy new year!
Last Tuesday night, Matt and I ventured down to the Vineyard Theatre on East 15th Street to see a showcase-style production of a new musical titled, “I’ll Be Damned, ” by Rob Broadhurst and Brent Black, and produced by Jaradoa Theater. I’ll Be Damned tells the story of what happens a socially awkward, home-schooled man-boy when he makes a pact to sell his soul to the devil in exchange for just one friend.
While this may not be a perfect musical by any means, it wasn’t all that bad. It could certainly benefit from a bit of re-writing and scaling down in terms of length, but because the cast was pretty stellar, it made all of that bearable for 2 hours and 15 minutes.
This is a fantastic showcase for Jacob Hoffman, who stars as the home-schooled Louis Foster because he gains the sympathy of the audience from the start of the show and never loses it. Other stand-outs in the cast were Kurt Robbins (as Satan), Mary Testa (as Louis’ mother), ad Kenita R. Miller (as Friendetta, the comic book character that Louis invents).
Testa, a Broadway veteran, can command any stage she graces and this was no different. Robbins was perfect as Satan, but when he started to have friendly-feelings towards our protagonist, he also gained points with the audience. He can flow from one side of the stage to the other in a huge number with the ensemble and make it look effortless, and he has a powerhouse voice (he’s not bad looking either!). Miller was adorable and brought that dose of comedic relief every time the audience needed it.
So, while the audience certainly wasn’t in hell during I’ll Be Damned, the show could definitely use a bit of heavenly tweaking.
(For more information on Jaradoa Theater: http://jaradoatheater.org/)