I was in NYC this weekend and caught two plays (plus a 2am Eagles of Death Metal concert, but I’ll save that for another post) that couldn’t have been more different: Katdashians and The Crucible.
Let’s start with the more serious of the two. Last I saw Ben Whishaw on stage, it was 2004 and he was making his breakthrough in Hamlet at the Old Vic (still the best performance of Hamlet I’ve seen live, though I was also enamored with the “live” film version of Benedict Cumberbatch at the Barbican last year and kicked myself for not going to London that fall to see it). Fast forward 12 years and he was finally making his Broadway debut. He was great again. The whole cast was, really. This was quite the powerhouse group: Sophie Okonedo, Ciaran Hinds, Saoirse Ronan, plus several other Tony and Obie winners in supporting roles. The production was the perfect kind of modern spin. It seemed almost timeless, though clearly more contemporary than Puritan Salem. The whole thing had a dark edge, which worked well with the content. Two thumbs up.
The other play has less of a universal appeal, but was a ton of fun. The latest play from the geniuses behind Bayside! The Musical and Full House! The Musical is Katdashians: Break the Musical. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a parody musical as told through Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. That was ridiculous enough of a premise to get me a on a train and up to NYC for the weekend. I’ve never even seen a full episode of the Kardashians, and I loved this (I’ve clearly seen the good parts ridiculed on The Soup and am generally familiar with the cultural force that is the famous-for-being-famous Kardashian clan).
Bridget Kennedy (who was also the clear star of the Full House musical as Aunt Becky and Gia) was the best of the Katdashians as Kourtney and Peter Smith was spot on as Bruce/Catlyn Jenner. Lamar Odom was played by a giant basketball. Scott Disick was played by a puppet. It all was great fun. Photography was allowed in the theater (with selfie-taking encouraged) so I can actually share some of the ridiculousness with you all:
I was in NYC recently and caught two shows, Blackbird and The Father. Both were good.
Blackbird stars Michelle Williams and Jeff Daniels (who was also in the original off-Broadway production of the two-person play). Daniels' character sexually abused Williams' character when she was 12. The play is basically her, grown up, confronting him about it. It's very highly charged and they are both great in it. The only thing that threw me off was the way that Williams' talks. It just sounded...funny. Like a subtle fake accent. Which I assumed was part of her character or trying too hard or something. But then I saw her on Colbert last week and she talked the same way. So, I guess that's just how she talks...whoops. Dawson's Creek forever. Also, in unsurprising news, Daniel's Play Bill bio does not mention Dumb and Dumber. Missed opportunity.
The other show I saw was The Father. Frank Langella kills this performance as an old man suffering from what is implied to be dementia. It's pretty heartbreaking. But the cool thing about the design of the play is that it's structured to put the audience in his shoes and does a great job of disorienting the audience. He will definitely be nominated for a Tony.