Sunday, December 31, 2006
I'm quite certain I saw the show today that's going to win the Tony for Best New Musical next June. I'm just not sure if it's the first or second show I saw.
Tonight I saw "Spring Awakening" which has an energy level I haven't see in a Broadway theater in a long time. It's about teenagers becoming aware of their sexuality and it's set in Germany at the turn of the century.
But the songs are very modern -- the actors even reach into their jackets to pull out hand-held microphones (even though they are completely miked already).
I really liked the music and the wild choreography was astonishing.
Celebrity Sightings: Saw TV & Movie Star Jerry O'Connell picking up tickets at the box office.
I sat across the aisle from the former President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel. I have to admit someone had to tell me who Havel was. I could tell he was "someone." Right before the show he got up to go to the bathroom and a security officer got up two rows behind him and followed him. I was thinking he was a high-ranking elected official from the tri-state area.
This afternoon I went to the matinee of "Grey Gardens" which also could very well win the Tony for Best New Musical.
It stars Christine Ebersole and is based on the documentary of the same name about the notoriously eccentric East Hampton shut-ins Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter, "Little" Edie Bouvier Beale. Yes, it's "that" Bouvier family.
This is a sad and hilarious musical about how one of the brightest names in the social register ended up a recluse.
Without a doubt, Ebersole has a lock on a Tony for her performance. And the show's got a good shot at one because everyone loves to see someone else's dirty laundry.
After six nights at a Hampton Inn, tonight I moved into a Luxury Suite at the Waldorf Astoria -- for free.
I stayed here in June and there were problems with the hotel's service. To resolve the problem they offered me a one night stay. When I called to book the room for tonight the hotel said, "no, we're too full to let you stay for free." So I called the corporate office and explained the hotel's response didn't make me feel like a very important customer to Hilton Hotels. Within 24 hours the Waldorf Astoria called me with a reservation confirmation number.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Went to a rare Friday afternoon matinee of David Hare's new play "The Vertical Hour" starring Julianne Moore and Bill Nighy.
I guess it's about differing views on the Iraq War from the British and American points of view -- but I'm not sure.
Mostly I focused on how uncomfortable Julianne Moore seemed on stage. Especially compared to Bill Nighy, who completely commanded the stage whenever he was on it. The show soared when he was out there and swooped when he wasn't.
During intermission I bumped into Kevin Earley (www.kevinearley.com) who I've seen perform in a few different shows in Los Angeles. We had a nice chat and I'm looking forward to seeing him work the West Coast boards in 2007.
Tonight I went to see Martin Short's very fun show "Fame Becomes Me." Short makes fun of the recent trend of celebrities to mount one-person shows.
Normally Short as Jimminy Glick pulls a celebrity out of the audience and interviews them on stage. I guess all the celebrities were booked elsewhere tonight because a "civilian" was brought up on stage. It turned out to be very, very funny.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Went to see the new Douglas Carter Beane (As Bees in Honey Drown) play "The Little Dog Laughed" tonight.
It's about a Hollywood agent and her movie star client she's trying to keep in the closet for his career's sake. I went into the theater fully expecting to enjoy this play and came out hating it.
It was offensive and trite. The gay "jokes" basically consisted of different gay slurs.
Julie White (best known as the rival mortician, Mitzi Dalton Huntley, on "Six Feet Under") has received critical acclaim for her portrayal of a talent agent who spits verbal nails. I thought her role was funny for about the first five minutes -- then it got really old. In fact, that was the problem with much of the comedy -- something that was funny at first turned annoying when it was repeated over and over.
Let the horse die. Stop beating it. It's a dying horse. Leave it be. Don't beat it. Because it's dying already. (I'm still not laughing.)
Went to the AMC Movie Theater on 42nd Street this afternoon to see "Notes on a Scandal," the new movie with two Golden Globe nominations -- one for Dame Judi Dench and one for Cate Blanchett.
This thriller about obsession crackles from the get go. The movie features Dench saying outload her character's evil mental soundtrack. It's chilling because everyone has a running evil commentary in their head, but no voice is ever given to it. (Everyone has one, don't they?)
Had a great dinner tonight in the Pool Room of the Four Seasons Restaurant. The photo above is of the restaurant's Grill Room, where the term "power lunch" was coined.
I told the host I was taking a photo for my blog and hoped to someday have lunch in the Grill Room (which is an ultra-hard reservation to get). He laughed and said I could have lunch there tomorrow. We agreed it must be a slow week at lunch.
Caught the Wednesday afternoon matinee of "The Apple Tree" starring Broadway-treasure Kristin Chenoweth.
It's a musical made up of three short stories focusing on love and knowledge.
I could watch Chenoweth talk on the telephone and I'd be entertained. And you haven't seen musical comedy until you've seen Kristin Chenoweth work a bullwhip on stage.
I was seated next to two women-of-a-certain age who were bored with the first act (Mark Twain's story of Adam and Eve). I guess they weren't as prepared as I was to worship at the feet of Kristin Chenoweth. But the second act (The Lady or the Tiger? and Passionella - A Romance of the '60s) saved the show for them.
The show is running at the legendary Studio 54 -- famous for it's disco days but now converted into a theater (actually I think it was built as a theater, then became a disco). I asked the ladies sitting next to me if they used to come to Studio 54 in it's disco days. One seemed a little shocked and said, "No!" The other one said, at the same time, "Yes, of course. You remember us." I assured her it was only because they hadn't changed a bit.
Saw the stunning revival of Stephen Sondheim's "Company" last night.
Karen Prosser saw it about a month ago and raved -- appropriately.
It's a stripped down version with the cast doubling as the orchestra, a la "Sweeney Todd." Seems like Sondheim's work is suited for this treatment -- it really puts a focus on his witty lyrics.
And this show is going to make a Broadway star of Raul Esparza, who plays Bobby (Bubbe).
Bumped into Eartha Kitt during intermission, an extra treat for the evening.
America's best Washroom Attendant was in fine form yesterday. He greeted me by offering congratulations for being the CEO of "Goldmine Sachs."
When I explained I wanted to take his photo for my blog he asked me to quote him saying, "Go West for the best, for in the East you'll find the least." I told him I agreed with the first part, but after the lunch I'd just had I couldn't agree with the second part.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
50 hours after I arrived in New York City I finally made it to a Broadway show -- the revival of "Butley" starring Nathan Lane. It's about a sadsack British college professor who can't sort out his emotional feeling towards his students from his personal life.
Lane is excellent at playing melancholy, but you know the whole audience is waiting for the ticking time bomb to explode. No one "goes off" on stage like N.L.
Moviewise, I went to see "Venus" this afternoon for which Peter O'Toole is nominated for a Golden Globe. It's about an aging actor who falls in love with the much-younger nurse of a fellow thespian.
Apparently Tuesday is "Letch" day.
When I was in New York in June I had a meal at the then-new Junior's Deli on 45th Street in Times Square.
My only complaint (which I made to the manager) was the restaurant charged for refills of ice tea.
After having dinner there tonight, I'm pleased to report Junior's now recognizes the American tradition of the bottomless glass of ice tea.
That makes Junior's Deli of Brooklyn a perfect restaurant as far as I'm concerned.