As it was at the overture and shall be at the exit music, bliss without end. Amen.

Theatre Aficionado at Large

The Year of Living Cinematically

Same as every other year: all films were watched in their entirety and all films that I’d never seen before have been marked with an asterisk. The Naked Gun 2 1/2 (1991) 1/9 The Monster Squad (1987) 1/23 *The Exorcist (1973) 3/5 My Fair Lady (1964) 4/13 Sense and Sensibility (1995) 4/15 *Bound for Glory (1976) 4/16 The Money Pit (1986) 4/16 Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971) 4/18 Hawaii (1966) 4/18 *Stormy Weather (1943) 4/21 Grey Gardens (1975) *State Fair (1933) 101 Dalmatians (1961) 5/1 Separate Tables (1958) 5/3 The Graduate (1967) 5/14 *Spotlight (2015) 5/16 Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) 5/18 10 (1979) 7/1 Howards End (1992) 8/26 The King and I…

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Posted on December 31, 2016 at 11:39 pm.

My Year in Show Music

Last year, I made the conscious decision to keep a log of the albums (cast recordings, movie musical soundtracks, solo albums, live concert recordings, etc) that I listened to in their entirety. I decided to do it again in 2016. Each recording is linked to its own page on castalbums.org (a site I highly recommend for serious collectors of theatre music). An asterisk indicates a recording I listened to for the first time). 1/2 – Bye Bye Birdie [Original Broadway Cast Recording] 1/2 – The Apple Tree [Original Broadway Cast Recording] 1/5 – Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 [Original Cast Recording] 1/7 – Ragtime [1996 Toronto Cast Recording] 1/8 –…

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Posted on at 7:15 pm.

At Large Elsewhere: The Podcast Edition

I’ve done a lot of interesting things as a result of writing this blog. I’ve been interviewed by major newspapers and I’ve been seen on videos for Stage Rush and Patty and Emily, but until this past week I had never been on a podcast. My friend Kevin David Thomas his collaborator Robert W. Schneider invited me to be a guest on their essential podcast Behind the Curtain to celebrate the theatre luminaries we lost in 2016. You can listen here at their website: Or on iTunes, where you can also subscribe and rate.  

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Posted on December 27, 2016 at 2:03 am.

She Loves Me – Menier Chocolate Factory

“My kingdom for a revival of She Loves Me!” is a thing I once tweeted. I fell in love with the original Broadway cast recording in high school, but it would be years before I would get to see it onstage. That chance arrived in 2013, when Ted Sterling presented a 50th anniversary concert at Caramoor. Cut to 2016. Exactly four years to the day after sending out this desperate missive, I was at the fourth preview of an enchanting revival at the Menier Chocolate Factory (and the second major production I’d seen this year). She Loves Me is the ultimate charm show: a perfect confection of musical comedy writing that is romantic without being sentimental,…

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A New Old World Revisited

Late in the second act of The Light in the Piazza, Margaret Johnson tells Signor Naccarelli “There is no survey of the facts like time.” He doesn’t understand what she means, but in the years since the show’s premiere I’ve come to appreciate what she was saying. Piazza opened on Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater on Monday, April 18 2005. I was in the house that night and fell hard and fast for a complex, character-driven musical for grownups. I’ve never had quite so visceral a reaction to any other show before or since. The musical garnered favorable notices, and went on to win a whopping six Tony Awards (out of 11…

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‘Beautiful’ on LP

Since the long-playing record went out of vogue, very few contemporary cast recordings have been released on vinyl, the most notable being the original Broadway cast recording of The Drowsy Chaperone and the 2009 revival of Hair. These came courtesy of Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records, who also issued a limited vinyl edition of Beautiful, the hit bio-musical about Carole King currently playing the Sondheim Theatre. These three releases, while conceived as collector’s souvenirs, were in essence leading a return to form, as more musicals seem to be taking part in the current vinyl renaissance. I’ve never been without a record player in my life, and I listen to LPs whenever I can. My very first cast album…

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An Elegy for Angus McIndoe’s

Much to my surprise, and the surprise of many in the NY theatre community, it was announced today that Angus’ Cafe Bistro (formerly Angus McIndoe Restaurant) would close Sunday, January 3 after 14-plus years on 44th Street next to the St. James. In all honesty, I can’t remember the first time I went to Angus, but it feels as though it’s always been part of my theatergoing life. I’m guessing it must have been in late 2007, or maybe early 2008; the details are lost to me. But it quickly became a regular hangout where I spent time with good friends, and where I met so many new and fascinating (and sometimes famous)…

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Posted on January 2, 2016 at 7:55 pm.

The Year of Living Cinematically

Same as every other year: all films were watched in their entirety and all films that I’d never seen before have been marked with an asterisk. *The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) 1/16 *Into the Woods (2014) 1/24 The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) 2/2 *Pride (2014) 2/10 *Birdman (2014) 2/22 *The Great Race (1965) 2/27 His Girl Friday (1940) 3/25 1776 (1972) 6/5 Don’t Look Now (1973) 6/19 Breaking Away (1979) 6/24 A Man for All Seasons (1966) 6/24 The Remains of the Day (1993) 6/25 Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) 6/28 *A Hard Day’s Night (1964) 7/4 *Marathon Man (1976) 7/8 *The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934) 7/22 *The Strawberry Blonde (1941)…

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Posted on December 31, 2015 at 11:09 pm.

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My Favorite Performances, 2015

Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century – Very rarely have I seen a marriage of performer and character more perfect than Chenoweth and Lily Garland. Ferociously funny, surprising, and using her multi-octave voice to breathtaking comic effect, she dominated from her entrance as a dowdy rehearsal pianist to her manic, idiosyncratic delivery of “How dare you?” in the last scene, which I found so hilarious, I almost had an asthma attack. A dazzling comic star turn. Judi Dench, The Winter’s Tale – Shakespeare’s bizarre little play was given a beautiful production as part of Kenneth Branagh’s year-long season at the Garrick. As Paulina, King Leontes’ trusted advisor, Dench swept onto the stage and…

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Walking Among My Yesterdays

2016

2/11 - The King and I

2/12 - Manon Lescaut (Met Opera)

2/14 - Cabin in the Sky (Encores!)

2/16 - Maria Stuarda (Met Opera)

2/19 - She Loves Me (first preview)

2/21 - Translations (Oxford Arts Space)

2/22 - The Secret Garden (MCP Concert)

2/28 - Anna Netrebko in Recital (Met Opera)

2/28 - Kate Baldwin & Friends: Welcome to My Party (Sheen Center)

3/9 - She Loves Me

3/11 - Noises Off

3/21 - Sondheimas (54 Below)

4/3 - 1776 (Encores!)

4/4 - The Light in the Piazza (10th Anniversary Reunion Concert)

4/25 - White Rabbit, Red Rabbit

4/28 - Dido and Aeneas (City Center)

5/15 - Do I Hear a Waltz? (City Center Encores!)

5/25 - The Robber Bridegroom

6/3 - The Color Purple

6/8 - Bright Star

6/13 - Lettice and Lovage (Acting Company Benefit)

6/26 - The King and I

7/23 - Shuffle Along

10/24 - Sunday in the Park with George (City Center Encores! Gala)

10/29 - Kelli O'Hara at Carnegie Hall

11/9 - Guillaume Tell (Met Opera)

11/23 - Half a Sixpence (West End)

11/24 - Ragtime (Charing Cross Theatre)

11/25 - She Loves Me (Menier Chocolate Factory)

11/28 - Ragtime (Charing Cross Theatre)

11/29 - She Loves Me (Menier Chocolate Factory)

12/12 - Kiss Me, Kate (Roundabout Gala)

12/14 - In Transit

Walking Among My Yesterdays

2015

1/1 - Beautiful

1/8 - Honeymoon in Vegas

1/12 - A Good Thing Going: The Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince Collaboration (92nd Street Y)

1/15 - On the Town

1/25 - Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Paper Mill Playhouse, opening night)

1/28 - The Merry Widow (Met Opera)

1/30 - The Elephant Man

2/6 - Lady, Be Good! (Encores!)

2/13 - The Screen (Taksu Theatre Company)

2/19 - You Can't Take It With You

2/27 - The Lion

3/1 - John and Jen

3/3 - Craig Ferguson: Hot & Grumpy Tour

3/8 - The Audience (opening night)

3/12 - The King and I (first preview)

3/17 - Hand to God

3/21 - Sondheimas (54 Below)

3/22 - Paint Your Wagon (Encores!)

3/25 - Cabaret

3/26 - The Visit (first preview)

4/1 - Wolf Hall, Part 1

4/1 - Wolf Hall, Part 2

4/8 - Gigi (opening night)

4/9 - Rhiannon Giddens at Town Hall

4/21 - Gypsy (West End)

4/22 - Wicked (West End)

4/22 - The Audience (West End)

4/23 - The Hard Problem (National Theatre)

4/24 - Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (West End)

4/25 - Buyer & Cellar (Menier Chocolate Factory)

4/25 - Matilda (West End)

4/27 - Sweeney Todd (Tooting Arts Club)

4/28 - Follies (Royal Albert Hall)

4/28 - Gypsy (West End)

5/10 - Zorba (Encores!)

5/26 - The Visit

6/2 - On the Twentieth Century

6/9 - The King and I

6/14 - The Visit

7/2 - Little Shop of Horrors (Encores!)

9/21 - Hollywood Arms (Merkin Hall Reading)

10/4 - Dames at Sea

10/14 - King Charles III

10/16 - The Pirates of Penzance (Collegiate Chorale)

10/27 - Spring Awakening

11/2 - Kate Baldwin: Sing Pretty and Don't Fall Down (Keen Company Benefit)

11/17 - Songbird

11/25 - Gypsy (West End)

11/28 - Gypsy (West End, closing)

11/30 - The Winter's Tale (West End)

12/1 - Kinky Boots (West End)

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