Kelli O’Hara sings "God Bless America"

It made the Broadway press circuit late Wednesday afternoon that South Pacific star Kelli O’Hara would be singing “God Bless America” at the seventh inning stretch of World Series Game 6. As I am a big Yankee fan, I was excited that I would be seeing one of my favorite Broadway talents performing. However, the seventh inning stretch came and went over the course of a long commercial break. The dips at Fox decided that it was more important to see a commercial for DJ Hero instead. Turns out they don’t like to air the segment, and only did for the first game, where a decidedly mediocre singer from West Point did the honors. (The games aired on the YES Network always air the segment).

After 9/11, the Yankees have supplanted “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” with “God Bless America,” a tradition that has remained in place. For most regular games at Yankee Stadium, they play an abbreviated version of Kate Smith’s rendition. However, for special games such as opening day, Irish tenor Ronan Tynan would sing the song. But he got in trouble a couple weeks ago for making a bad anti-Semitic joke and the Yankees were having none of that, so they canceled his booking for the rest of the 2009 season.

I checked Twitter trending topics to discover folks at the game saying things such as “Best rendition ever heard at the Stadium,” and other rave reviews for the stunning soprano. Least of which, the Yankees won the Series that evening. Now, better late than never is a clip of O’Hara singing “God Bless America,” taken by someone in the stands at the stadium that evening (so there are some non-Kelli O’Haras singing, but I do enjoy the one person who says “Ooh, what a voice!” midsong).

Blessed Event: O’Hara to Depart "South Pacific" due to Pregnancy

The effervescent Kelli O’Hara is expecting her first child with husband Greg Naughton in mid-July and will leave the company of the smash-hit revival of South Pacific in March. No replacement casting has been announced yet, but she does plan on returning to the show in the fall when co-star Paulo Szot plans on finishing up his run. Congratulations to the proud parents to be!!

"Some Enchanted Evening"

I know there are you naysayers who didn’t particularly care for this production, better yet, for this musical entirely. I found this clip on BlueGobo tonight and had to share this swoon worthy coupling of 2008 Tony winner Paulo Szot and Kelli O’Hara, here singing the first “Some Enchanted Evening” reprise, which appears in the show proper between “I’m Gonna Wash That Man” and “A Wonderful Guy.” My only complaint is the pesky TV direction by those people at “The View.” One shot through the harp is good enough, thank you. Just let the camera focus on the performers.

My Fair Kelli

This weekend’s issue of Parade magazine features an article by Kevin Sessums about the darling of the NY stage, Ms. Kelli O’Hara. It’s becoming quite clear that O’Hara is on her way to musical theatre stardom with her Tony nominated turns in The Light in the Piazza, The Pajama Game, and currently the smash-hit Lincoln Center revival of South Pacific. Well, aside from being delightful, charming and gracious, the actress discusses future prospects, such as her desire to be a mother and well, let me just quote the article here:

“But the buzz is that producers are competing to put together a full-fledged production of My Fair Lady centered around her recreating yet another iconic role: Eliza Doolittle.”

Out of many of the classic musical theatre roles, I feel that Eliza is the pitch-perfect role for this versatile singing actress. She already played the part last year to considerable acclaim in concert with the NY Philharmonic, and would be most ideal in a full-scale revival – moreso than other current soprano on the boards. I would go so far as to think that this could be the show that potentially nets her the coveted Tony award she so richly deserves. (Her Tony experience is starting to remind me of Kate Winslet at the Oscars – stellar performance, but just not her year).
The last time My Fair Lady, one of the sturdiest pillars of the Golden Age canon, was revived on Broadway was fifteen years ago in a Weissler-produced production at the Virginia (now August Wilson) that starred Richard Chamberlain and Melissa Errico and closed after 165 performances.

I feel that the musical should be given its due – the 50th anniversary came and went without much fanfare and from what I understand, NY producers are wary of the Cameron Mackintosh production due to its incredible size and expense. Frankly, I would prefer that the show be given the respect it deserves, with a full-scale revival utlitizing the original orchestrations by my friend and yours, Robert Russell Bennett. (Which our friends at Lincoln Center could do…) Also, I don’t like when people feel the need to tamper with the book. Take for instance the recent Mackintosh revival that played in London for two years and on tour in the US. The original climax of act one is when Higgins unexpectedly dances Eliza into the arms of Zoltan Karpathy, the ultimate gamble, as Karpathy’s expertise will prove whether or not Higgins and Pickering succeeded. (Case in point, your act finale leaves the audience hanging as to what will happen in order to bring them back for the second half). It is not when she leaves for the ball – in fact, it’s rather anticlimactic to have her go to the ball, break for interval, then come back for a ball scene. It would make more sense just to cut the “Embassy Waltz” than bastardize Lerner’s near-perfect libretto. And in my Dismounting the soap-box…

Now kids, who would you like to see in a revival opposite O’Hara? We’ve got a Higgins, Pickering, Freddy, Mrs. Pearce and Mrs. Higgins to fill. Aaaaaand go…

And they’re off…

The 2008 Antoinette Perry (remember her?) Award nominations were announced this morning. I shall spare you a complete listing, but will touch on a few talking points. In the Heights (13 noms? not bad…), Passing Strange (7) and Xanadu (4) seemed the most likely to receive nominations from the comittee, but I think most people were expecting the fourth slot to go to A Catered Affair before it went to Cry-Baby, a show that has received unanimous pans from everyone I know who’s seen it. However, it’s practically no surprise that the critically eviscerated juggernauts Young Frankenstein and The Little Mermaid didn’t get much love. (Disclaimer, I’ve not seen a single new musical this season). In terms of Best Play, August was a no-brainer there, but I was also quite pleased to see The 39 Steps get recognition as well. Also, was it absolutely obligatory that the Tony committee had to give out four nominations for Best Musical Revival? It’s asinine to think that Grease is anywhere near the other three superlative revivals. I’ve seen the latter three, but will not under any circumstances venture towards Grease. I even turned down a free ticket to that too. Another minor quibble: since when is it Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific? (However that’s nothing in comparison to The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein. What the hell…?)

Let’s hear it for Deanna Dunagan, Amy Morton and Rondi Reed, the three superlative Steppenwolfe actresses of August: Osage County in three landmark performances that are helping this play’s reputation as the must-see of the season. Other nominated performances that I’ve seen and am thrilled for: Patti Lupone, Laura Benanti and Boyd Gaines in Gypsy; Paulo Szot, Kelli O’Hara and Loretta Able-Sayres (who is such an unbelievably adorable person, I almost can’t stand it) in South Pacific (not Danny Burstein though, I feel that Matthew Morrison deserved his slot); Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell in Sunday in the Park With George; S. Epatha Merkerson in Come Back, Little Sheba. (I was secretly hoping that they’d just give an award to Harriet Harris for her triumphant apartment trashing in Old Acquaintance, it’s up there with the act two finale of August as one of my favorite moments in a play this season). There was no Tony love at all for the revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which scored zero nominations. Also, Kevin Kline didn’t make the final cut for Cyrano de Bergerac.

Let it also be known that Robert Russell Bennett, quite possibly the greatest orchestrator in the history of the American musical, is getting a posthumous Tony award for his contributions. A recipient of a special 1957 award, I’m mildly curious as to why (other than the fact that his spectacular South Pacific, which is one of the best of the best in terms of orchestrations, is currently a smash-hit revival) they felt the need to give him another, not to mention waiting until 27 years after he died to do it. He is best represented in an abbreviated list of his original orchestrations: Show Boat, Of Thee I Sing, Anything Goes, Oklahoma!, Annie Get Your Gun, Finian’s Rainbow, Kiss Me Kate, The King and I, My Fair Lady, Bells Are Ringing, Juno, The Sound of Music, Camelot, The Girl Who Came to Supper and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (to name only a few). Not too shabby, huh?

Oh, and Sondheim’s getting one too for the whole “Lifetime Achievement” thing. 😉

I guess we’ll see what’s what on 6/15. Not that the Tony’s play politics or award commercial shows based on whether or not they will tour. Hmmm? What’s that you say? They do? Fiddlesticks! (Yeah, let’s take another look at the Best Musical Cry-Baby).

The Theatre World Award winners will be announced on 5/15. I’m much more excited about what will happen there.

"It’s a New Old World…"

On this day three years ago I attended my first-ever Broadway opening night. It was also the night I fell madly in love with a new musical; a feeling that I had never experienced before nor since. The show: The Light in the Piazza.

It was an interesting progression for me. I was familiar with the film adaptation of Elizabeth Spencer’s original novella when it played on TCM a few years before. It starred Olivia de Havilland and Yvette Mimieux, respectively, as the mother and her daughter on vacation in Florence, Italy. George Hamilton was Fabrizio, who came off lecherous rather than romantic – to the point where I was actually disappointed the two got together. Rossano Brazzi was his father. It wasn’t a spectacular film, but it featured a stellar performance from de Havilland and beautiful CinemaScope cinematography (shot on location).

Anyway, as I heard this was being adapted as a stage musical, I was instantly intrigued at the prospect. I’d never really heard Adam Guettel before. I knew about Floyd Collins and that he was Richard Rodgers’ grandson, but that was it. I vaguely followed the musical while it was out of town, my interest piqued because I had recently seen Victoria Clark in performance for the first time in the Broadway production of Urinetown, in which she briefly assumed the role of Penelope Pennywise. Hearing her knock “It’s a Privilege to Pee” out of the ballpark remains one of my favorite discoveries of a talent ever. The song is mostly high belting, but it culminates in an operatic high C. From my vantage point mid mezzanine at the old Henry Miller’s I could hear her acoustic sound. Needless to say, I was very impressed.

When time came for the show to come into New York, I very calmly yet honestly told everyone it was the musical I was looking forward to the most. The out of town reviews were mixed to positive, but it was a work in progress so I expected continued work. Vicki earned raves for her characterization of Margaret Johnson and was supported by Celia Keenan-Bolger as her daughter, initially in Seattle at the Intiman (where Sher is artistic director) and in Chicago at the Goodman.

It was Lincoln Center Theatre who brought the musical to Broadway as part of their 2005 season. Noah went to a preview and called raving about and I knew that we were onto something special here. I followed his lead and joined the student ticketing program on the Lincoln Center website and proceeded to look for my $20 seat. When performing my search I did a double take when I saw they were offering the opening night performance for sale (While roaming through Lincoln Center on the day of the show, I would discovered the opening night performance was on TKTS). Well, I snatched that up immediately. My seat was in the rear of the Loge, but that didn’t matter for that price and the opportunity.

I’d only done the closing of the Bernadette Peters Gypsy prior to this, so my experience with high energy theatrical events was considerably limited. But there in the lobby of the Vivian Beaumont I watched as John Lithgow, Helen Hunt, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Adam Guettel, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Frank Rich roamed about while Mary Rodgers Guettel stood receiving people like royalty.

The uniqueness of this experience is pretty much beyond the mere use of words. I can draw out all the adjectives I know: resplendent, ethereal, cathartic, et al. to describe what is was like for me. But none can ever do justice to the emotional impact that was delivered. I made fast friends with an aspiring actress and her friend next to me. There was the hat placed downstage center on the bench with a pin spot. The cell phone announcement wonderfully delivered in Italian by Felicity LaFortune. Then down came the house lights. And that overture started. A simple harp gliss with a hint of tension building from other instruments which released into the main “Light” theme. I knew within seconds – and this is a rare occurrence – that I was going to love this new musical. And I did. I immersed myself in the beauty and grace of the musical’s staging and scenography. I am forever a fan of Bartlett Sher. One thing about that opening night performance I will specifically never forget is how “Dividing Day” completely devastated me.

The actors were stellar, such legit singing on Broadway, though I was thrown by the more pop sounding Matthew Morrison as Fabrizio, though admittedly, he grew on me during the run. Kelli O’Hara was the perfect embodiment of the child-like Clara, creating a character of nuance and ambiguity that complemented Clark’s Margaret (her replacement Katie Rose Clarke, embodied the childish aspects of the character as well, but was nowhere near O’Hara on the acting and singing fronts). But the entire performance was centered around Clark’s tour de force as Margaret, giving a devastatingly beautiful performance that ranks among the best I have ever seen in my theatregoing life.

The first act ended with the gorgeous “Say it Somehow” with that coda and gasp-inducing black out. The second act ended with “Fable.” The audience went wild. I mean we went completely nuts – the entire house was on its feet before a single person re-entered for their curtain call. And another theatrical first: after the actors made their exit, our applause continued and continued. In fact grew louder and we would only cease once Messrs. Guettel, Sher and Lucas made a bow. I had a feeling akin to sailing, I think. A natural high. I had been both moved and affected by this work of art which to me was challenging but accessible.

I like to consider 4.18.05 the night I rediscovered my lost romanticism. As I left the Beaumont, I was already on my cell phone to Noah, proclaiming “Oh my God, this is the best new musical I’ve ever seen.” And he proceeded to read me back a rave review from I strolled by the fountain at Lincoln Center in a daze, almost walking into Mr. & Mrs. Peter Boyle, Mike Nichols and Diane Sawyer, who were attending a Dustin Hoffman celebration at Avery Fisher Hall. I watched a rather attractive young couple walk by the fountain, also having emerged from Avery Fisher. The gentleman placed his topcoat over the shoulders of his lover with such tenderness and care that I could and only pause and smile. Truth be told, I’d been more likely to roll my eyes and scoff, but then again, it’s much easier to be a cynic than a romantic, no?

The score was unlike anything I could have anticipated. Orchestrated with as many strings as there are stars in the skies. (I’m a wee bit prone to hyperbole, sue me). All woodwinds save the flute and piccolo, which added just a tinge of melancholy to the score’s sound. And of course there’s that harp, that gorgeous harp around which the entire orchestration is built. I would venture a guess that I’ve listened to this score more times than any other. There were five months where the CD rarely left my player. And the repeat button was on. And repeat listenings/viewings only unraveled more and more depth and skill in the music and lyrics. (I know some people loathed the lyrics, but I admired their dramatic honesty and simplicity). Guettel as a musical composer managed to create a hybrid of the Rodgers & Hammerstein and the Sondheim schools of musical theatre, infused with a neo-classicist stream of consciousness in the flow of the melody.

It was also the night I became an ardent fan and supporter of the Lincoln Center Theatre, a non-profit company that is not afraid to take artistic risks and not afraid to spare any expense when they believe in a work. The show would eventually win six Tony awards – the most of any show that year – including a deserved sweep in the scenographic categories: Lighting, Scenic and Costume Design (the combination of the elements made me feel as though I was actually in Florence). The show was also awarded for its rich orchestrations, score and the coup d’grace: Best Actress in a Musical for Victoria Clark, whose performance in the role will one day be considered legendary. The show may have lost the Best Musical Tony, but it had already won Best Musical of my Heart – sentimental, yes, but I’ve never given that designation to any other show.

The 2004-05 season became a joyous one with four solid shows opening towards the end of the season, three of which were Spamalot, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and the fourth was Piazza, which became a surprise hit for LCT and warranted several extensions past its original June closing date (eventually extending its run by 54 weeks). By the time it closed on June 2, 2006, it had played 504 performances at the Vivian Beaumont. It would shortly thereafter launch a year-long national tour starring Christine Andreas and Elena Shaddow.

For the first time, I was compelled to go back to a Broadway show. Even when I thought of it prior, I had for whatever reason decided not to. But I returned, and returned. By the time of the closing (which, yes, I also attended) I had seen the musical 12 times. Can you believe it? And no, I don’t regret spending the money on it at all. If I could have, I would have gone back many, many more times. At this point, I do have to thank my friends who were so wonderful putting up with my year and four months of complete and total obsession. I wanted everyone to see this show, hear this score and could talk of little else. I took my a good friend to the closing performance who had listened to me harp on about the show for well over a year. He soon learned that I was rather calm in comparison to the woman to his left (who shouted “MATT!” at Matthew Morrison, who was in the audience for the last show, until he turned and gave her a quick wave). The only new musical to open since that I have appreciated nearly as much was Grey Gardens. I only hope it won’t be too long until a new musical captures my undivided attention.

The Light in the Piazza was a rare experience, and one which will forever hold a special place in my mind and soul. April 18th will always be an incredibly poignant and nostalgic date for me.

Here is Vicki Clark as Margaret Johnson performing the incandescent finale, “Fable.”

A Most Enchanted Evening

Well, my whirlwind week of theatre has come to an end. I have had the unusual privilege of book-ending this week-long extravaganza with two separate opening night performances. A week ago it was Patti LuPone’s ferocious turn in Gypsy. This time, it’s the sumptuous majesty that is South Pacific, one of the most romantic scores ever composed, returning in its first ever Broadway revival. In a season of stellar revivals, this one manages to be the crowning achievement. In fact, right here and right now, I say that it deserves the Tony for Best Musical Revival.

You see, I started out appreciating musical theatre in part because of Rodgers and Hammerstein. My father, not much for film or television, especially theatre (and their celebrities), made a notable exception with various film adaptations of R&H works. Every year during that annual telecast of The Sound of Music, I would get to watch it. And every year until I was 11, I was sent to bed before it was finished.

Anyway, my father’s favorite film remained SOM, though occasionally I caught a glimpse of another musical on TV… as a very young child, I thought it was a specifically a war film, till I caught a rather ugly island woman who kept changing colors burst into song about a “Valley High” or something. (I was five). I would learn with the 1995 release of The Sound of Movies hosted by Shirley Jones on A&E that there was more to this songwriting team than Julie Andrews twirling on an alp. I became fascinated to learn that most were originally stage musicals, something that didn’t really hit home till later, and I became obsessed with film musicals, an obsession that would transplant itself into the American musical theatre.

South Pacific would maintain its popularity in my household. My father became a Marine in 1958, the year the film was released – and anything military was de rigeur when it came to his television programming. South Pacific, for me, is what I consider to be the best of the Rodgers and Hammerstein canon. Now, I loves me some Dick and Oscar, but this earns the title of best of the best. The film is a less-than-stellar adaptation; what with those color filters (which didn’t bother me till I learned cynicism and naturalism) and some underwhelming performances. That didn’t stop me from seeking out Lumahai Beach on Kauai nine years ago when on vacation. And yes, that’s where Mitzi Gaynor washed Rossano Brazzi out of her hair.

For what it’s worth, the original production opened April 7, 1949 at the Majestic Theatre. Co-librettist Josh Logan directed. Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza were the stars. They were supported by Juanita Hall, Myron McCormick and William Tabbert. WWII was only four years removed. The show walked away with the hearts of the critics and audiences. Its success also included a rare Pulitzer Prize win for a musical (only the second up to that point) and 9 Tony Awards (the original South Pacific is the only production – play or musical – to have swept all four acting categories). The original cast album sold many, many copies. Everyone fell in love with “Some Enchanted Evening,” the breakout success of the score. It ran in NY until 1954, racking up 1925 performances. It would play two successful years in London as well, starring Martin and Wilbur Evans. The film would come in 1958. Mixed critical reception didn’t stop the film from becoming a blockbuster.

The musical called attention to racial prejudice and injustice with its two parallel love stories, culled from the vibrant short stories of James Michener, Tales of the South Pacific (which, if you haven’t read it, do, Mr. Michener has a poetic lyricism in his prose). On one hand you have Emile de Becque, worldly and successful plantation owner romancing the hick Arkansan Nellie Forbush. On the other, the upper class Main Liner Joe Cable finds himself torn between his social station and his undying love for the Tonkinese Liat. Throw in colorful secondary situations, mostly Billis and his laundry, shower and souvenir racket, and the gravity of a country battling one of the most important wars in its history and you’ve got a full plate.

The show has received numerous revivals in London, a terrible TV remake starring Glenn Close (but no cigar…) and has become a staple of high school and community theatres worldwide. However, the new production that opened tonight at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre marks the first Broadway revival of this acclaimed masterpiece. Not that the show hasn’t been seen in NY: there was an acclaimed Musicals of Lincoln Center engagement in 1967 starring Florence Henderson (recently released on CD) and was presented by the NYCO in 1987 (both productions played the NY State Theatre). I was there in 2005 for the concert at Carnegie Hall with Reba McEntire and Brian Stokes Mitchell.

This revival is without a doubt one of the most rapturous evenings I’ve ever spent in a theatre, especially in terms of a musical revival. No expense was spared in transforming the immense stage of the Vivian Beaumont into a tropical paradise. What is one of the most effective orchestrations in musical theatre (by the late, great Robert Russell Bennett) is on full display here – in a rare departure from the norm, there are 30 players in the pit. Never have I been so moved by the thrilling nuance of a Broadway orchestra, the harp, the strings, the brass, the winds, come together for a lush three hour display of emotion and grandeur.

One of the highlights of the show was the presentation of the orchestra itself. During the lengthy overture (where, for once, people didn’t talk and paid adamant attention) the stage pulled back to reveal the orchestra conducted by Ted Sperling, in tie and tails, after which the orchestra took their call. The audience went complete nuts over the whole affair. The orchestra was revealed during the act one finale, and each section got a chance to stand for the toe-tapping entr’acte. We were also privileged to see them one more time after the curtain call.

The casting couldn’t have been more impeccable. There are forty (!) actors in the production, led by Kelli O’Hara, who it seems as we are learning each year, can pretty much do anything. Here she inhabits Nellie Forbush, the cock-eyed optimist and knucklehead, but with more thought and a keen awareness of the sobering nature of her war-time duties. Paulo Szot is Emile de Becque, the enigmatic and virile French planter, with whom she falls in love; equally sizable in voice and presence. His haunting treatise on the pain of lost love, “This Nearly Was Mine,” often woefully overlooked due to the popularity of “Some Enchanted Evening”, brought the proceedings to a screeching halt as the audience cheered. Matthew Morrison brings a new shades of darkness and upper class cockiness to Lt. Joe Cable, only to make his tragic romance even more prescient than ever. His voice also sounds more legit than I’ve ever heard him before. Loretta Ables Sayre is Bloody Mary, played for character and not for laughs, though she earns them. Never before have I felt that Mary had her daughter’s best interest in mind, as opposed to coming across like an unscrupulous madam. Danny Burstein as Luther Billis channeled Bert Lahr. The ladies and gentlemen of the ensemble were all spectacular.

Bartlett Sher has once again proved himself to be one of the most spectacular theatre directors working today. He keeps his productions honest, naturalistic and never boring. He guides the cinematic nature of the score with precision and depth, moving seamlessly from one scene into the next, all the while raising the expectations of revivals from the Golden Age. The themes are never rammed down our throats, the singing is a natural emotional extension of character and plot and in a departure from what has become the norm, we are not blasted out of our seats by highly ill-advise pop singing and over-amplification. There is one notable subtle (or perhaps not so subtle) touch in that the black soldiers are segregated from the white, which creates secondary friction during several of the “in-one” moments that assist the scene changes. It’s a testament to Lincoln Center that they trusted the work of Rodgers, Hammerstein and Logan, paying it homage while finding new colors for the 21st century (and not feeling the need to completely overhaul the work). It may be a period piece, but the new revival makes it more timeless than ever before.

I may have shifted in my sensibilities as I’ve gotten older. My adoration of Rodgers and Hammerstein made way for the rueful irony of Sondheim’s sophistication. I’ve been more akin to complex and occasionally pretentious works that tend to challenge rather than entertain (though usually they do both). I’ve never been able to completely grasp it when people dismiss the musical, for whatever reason. Granted, the second act may not be as polished as the first (not many Golden Age shows have that going for them), but Sher and his cast have managed to make the issues of racial prejudice and bigotry as real as possible, especially since (unfortunately) these themes still play a major role in our society today. What’s more important is that this revival doesn’t play as a museum piece. South Pacific, with its music and its lyrics and its everlasting characters are more alive and palpable than ever before. And in this new staging, we are reminded of where we’ve been, where we are and where we’ve yet to go.

Peter Filichia responded to my excited e-mail regarding my opening night ticket: “And congrats on that SOUTH PACIFIC ticket. I hope that the writers of today’s musicals are all there and then apologize to New York immediately following.”

I may have known South Pacific for years, but never before has it moved me to tears. Long may it run.

On a side note: Angela Lansbury, Henry and Mary Rodgers Guettel, Tommy Tune, Alice Playten, Frank Rich, James Naughton, William Finn, Jack O’Brien, Phyllis Newman and Rebecca Luker were among the first nighters that I saw.

Kelli O’Hara loses her golden locks for "South Pacific"

I normally don’t recommend ever going to because of the terrible photos that they take (not to mention the worst captions ever), their tacky man on the street critiques in lieu of, well, actual criticism and most unforgivable, the lack of Ken Mandelbaum whose column was a mainstay and, toward the end, the only reason to venture onto the site. Horrible. However they had a video crew follow Kelli to the salon for her necessary haircut for the upcoming revival of South Pacific.

Even with short hair, she’s no less than absolutely glamorous.

Sunday is officially here and Gypsy is coming next week. But I’m equally excited for this first-ever Broadway revival of a classic Rodgers and Hammerstein. And since its being done by LCT at the Beaumont (with much of the Piazza team in place) we’re sure to have a glorious evening of beautiful scenography and performance. This is definitely a year for musical revivals, not originals.