Monday, December 18, 2006

2007 Starts Soon

I was thinking of writing about watching Debbie Reynolds watch Carrie Fisher perform, but instead I will appeal to a broader base of my readers by starting my list of top 2006 theater news. This list is in no particular order and will be continued in later posts. Today's entry is just the start. I will not be including any deaths in the list because, well, I always hated writing obits or tributes. And I'm not doing any research for this list, so I am sure I will miss things. But these are the things that made a mark on me and it is my blog.

--Broadway producers are always trying to attract celebrities to appear in shows, yet the Broadway community isn't always very welcoming to them when they are here. Before Julia Roberts even started performances in Three Days of Rain, theater insiders were already balking and complaining about the traffic the stage door crowds would cause. Then she came, wasn't very good and didn't get a Tony nomination. Shortly after Three Days of Rain ended, it was sort of like it hadn't even happened. She sold tickets like crazy, but nothing about the show left a mark (even the performance of my beloved Bradley Cooper). So, goodbye, Julia, we hardly knew ya.

--Everyone I know who saw History Boys in London thought it was great, but too British (aka intellectual) to work in America. Then it came here, was a sold-out smash and won a lot of Tonys (though didn't break the record for a play, as had originally been reported by many). See--Americans do go see smart things. But please, no more Irish monologue plays.

--Warner Brothers Theatre Ventures was so gung-ho about their first Broadway show--they poured tons of money into it and had a general enthusiasm for the process. Too bad that first show had to be Lestat. Will they ever gamble that big again? On a related note, the last few seasons have brought us Dance of the Vampires, Dracula and Lestat. I believe we're done now.

--So many people assumed that Tharp could fix the problems with The Times They Are A-Changin' before it came to New York. I kept hearing "Movin' Out was in worse shape and looked what happened to that." But, um, Times was no Movin' Out (which I loved). An odd concept and bizarre execution of that concept buried the show. I am all for people trying to do new things, but if you have clowns taking attention away from your main actors, you have a problem. One of the many problems she could not fix. So, sorry Twyla isn't magic, but hopefully she'll try again. Without it being a circus.

--I am the first person to say that I thought Drowsy Chaperone would bomb. I saw it in LA and pictured it crashing and burning on the Great White Way. It wasn't the name really, it was more the subject matter. I saw it in LA and simply didn't buy the whole "it's about any collector anywhere" crap--it seemed to me to be for people who really, truly love old-fashioned musical theater and that group ain't big enough to fill the Marquis for even one night. Also, I thought the music wasn't great enough to engage anyone and... well, there is more... But this isn't a review, this is a story of success. The Drowsy Chaperone is a big hit, despite no stars and an odd name. It gives others hope and that is a great, great thing. I applaud the people that were smarter than me and brought this show in.

That's it for tonight. More someday soon... And if you have something that struck you this year, post or email away.


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