Does Encores! ever disappoint? No, it really doesn't. The program's just-about-one-weekend-only productions (at NY City Center) of classic musicals are always as good as full throttle Broadway productions, and in some cases better. Its recent presentation of "The Most Happy Fella" was the latter type. While the show itself has issues, this production and this spectacular cast were undoubtedly the greatest ever of this musical. If the New York theatre crowd didn't already know to run, money waving in hand, to the NYCC box office every time an Encores! production was announced, everyone knows now. The full, gorgeous production outshone most of what's on the boards now, or has been lately, thanks to Casey Nicholaw's (of "Book of Mormon" fame) efficient direction, good cuts for time, the perfectly cast leads, and most of all the lush, romantic Frank Loesser operatic score.
Like most people, I would pay crazy amounts of money to see those fine two knights, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, just talk to each other and be adorable, as they are. I’d be happy pay to hear them go over their grocery lists with each other. I'd be happy to see them perform nonsense that I don’t really understand or even like. So I guess you can say I’m happy, because I saw them perform nonsense that I didn’t really understand or even like.
The Two Sirs recently delighted Broadway audiences by performing together in Samuel Beckett's "Waiting For Godot" and Harold Pinter's "No Man's Land" in repertory. Performing shows in repertory seemed to be a hot trend this season (with the amazing Shakespeare's Globe productions of "Richard III" and "Twelfth Night"). And the chance to see the Two Sirs, the cutest old-man-BFFs ever to exist, onstage together was too good to pass up. But "No Man's Land" is legit the strangest play.
Jukebox musicals have filled Broadway houses for the past decade or so, for better (“Jersey Boys”) or worse (“Mamma Mia!”) and in between (“Motown: The Musical”). (Also, if we are counting the West End, the so-bad-it’s-almost-good-nope-wait-it’s-the-worst-thing-mine-eyes-have-ever-seen Spice Girls musical “Viva Forever”). Apparently the way to make easy money, producers take a famous catalog of popular music and either force a story around it (“Mamma Mia” and the Spice Girls shittastrophe) or you take your cue from the Tony-winning “Jersey Boys” and tell the story of the music, of how it was written and how its writers lived what they sang about. Thankfully, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”, does indeed follow this latter, superior format, and it is absolutely beautiful.
I <3 Diversions
Entertainment is a ridiculously big part of my life. I grew up in movie theatres, so in my family you have to see pretty much every movie to make it in conversation. This pop culture knowledge has extended to television, music, and, for me, the theatre. To quote Abed, I like liking things, so there's that.