Saturday, December 24, 2011

Awkward turtle (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever opening)

I went to my first Broadway opening! Many thanks to the excellent folks at the Vineyard Theatre for hooking me up with a pair of tickets for opening night. It was fun spotting Tom Kitt and Len Cariou at Angus McIndoe before the show. Yes, Arthur and I gave up our bar stools to Sweeney Todd and his wife! And with minimal fangirling on my part.

Unfortunately, that was most of our celebrity spotting for the night. I couldn't find my nice wool coat because it had been way too balmy in previous weeks to ever break out the winter gear, and there was a total planning failure on my part leading up to packing for the weekend. I don't buy into the idea of theater being a dress-up event (it should be an affordable part of everyday life), but even I knew a hoodie would not do for this special occasion. So I went with a thin, 3/4-sleeve wrap over my cute, fancy short-sleeved shirt. That ensemble was wholly inadequate to the chilly task, and we both felt like awkward turtles just standing around, so we went inside shortly after the house opened.

Loitering outside before then, though, we did spot the fantastic Brian d'Arcy James being interviewed. (The Smash cast is showing up en masse to pretty much every arts-related event right now.) Mo Rocca was there, looking dapper. The self-important dude who does the overrated Battery's Down was wandering around, I think with Carly Jibson (who was sooooo good in the really bad Johnny Baseball musical at the A.R.T.--seriously, considering that amazing cast, the show should have been great, but the book was an unholy mess).

Our seats up in the mezz had a great view. (The balcony was closed--is that common for an opening?). But from up there we weren't able to oogle the stars in the orchestra once we were seated. Alas. The show started about half an hour after advertised, but that's probably normal. There wasn't any late seating, which was a wonderful perk. No cell phones went off. And people pretty much didn't talk or text, as far as I saw. That lack of distractions and the overall enthusiasm from cast and audience made the performance a special experience for us.

The show itself doesn't do it for me. In so many ways. The revisions are half-baked, the premise is beyond dumb, and there is nothing likable about most of the characters. The sets are violently awful, perhaps in an effort to distract from the rest of the mess on stage. And considering that the gay twist was one of Michael Mayer's main reasons for reviving the show, cutting to black before the big kiss is a ridiculous cop-out.

Some of the choreography for the trio is fairly brilliant, though. And Jesse Mueller's voice is perfection.

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