We were there for opening night, we were there for Tony Tuesday so it was inevitable that we would be there for the final performance of Blithe Spirit (some of us went much more often than that). For the record, today marked my fourth and final trip to the Condomine residence.
However, the day got started at Thalia’s for some bloggers who brunch action. Steve and Doug, Esther, Chris, Sarah, Kari, Roxie, Jimmy, Alicia and myself gathered for the usual conversation over breakfast concoctions (make mine a mimosa any day). Even with the pleasure of reading everyone’s blogs, writing on someone’s Facebook wall or communicating via twitter, nothing beats gathering together at a table in a swank NY restaurant for the real thing.
Sarah, Kari, Roxie, Noah and I headed over to the Shubert for a sold-out matinee that featured yet another fizzy champagne afternoon. The crowd was electric, very much into the play and appreciative of the comedy. Some of the lines were rushed/dropped, but that didn’t hinder any of the enjoyment. Rupert Everett and Christine Ebersole were still problematic in their characterizations, but not so much to hinder from the experience. Susan Louise O’Connor is a star on the rise. Simon Jones and Deborah Rush gave the Bradman’s their final exercise in skepticism. Of course there was that devil-may-care Tony-winning performance of Angela Lansbury as Madame Arcati, a pro among pros who (if the rumors are true about her involvement in A Little Night Music in the fall) is certainly enjoying a late-career renaissance on Broadway, and deservedly so.
My admiration today, though, is reserved for Jayne Atkinson. Atkinson took the role of waspy Ruth, a stark contrast to the ethereal and immoral Elvira, and turned it into something extraordinary. Ruth usually provides a great comic angle, but mostly as a straight man to the lunacy and farce going on around her. To put it frankly, she’s rather bland on paper. Atkinson, though, created an indelible leading lady performance that was one of the most underrated treasures of the theatre season.
Today, especially, Atkinson’s Ruth seemed to shine ever-so-brightly. Finding even in the final performance truthful comedy that none of us had ever seen before (a riotous parody of Madame Arcati’s earlier trance dance). Droll, clipped, with some of the best listening and reacting I’ve ever seen in a comedy, she was nothing short of effervescent. For my money, she deserved a Best Actress in a Play nomination. But I do look forward to seeing what she does next. If she’s onstage in NY, you know we’ll be there.
After the show, the cast received flowers and continued to bow as the curtain came down and the house lights went up. And predictably enough, we went to Angus for post-show dinner and drinks, continuing to enjoy ourselves immensely on what was a most beautiful day in the city.