I love love loved Bayside! The Musical, so when the same folks created Full House! The Musical, clearly I was going to head up to NYC to see this. And my best friend lives in NYC and Full House is her favorite TV show, so clearly this was going to be awesome.
A few of the same cast members were involved, including Seth Blum (now as Uncle Joey and Kimmi Gibler) who was a standout in Bayside! as Mr. Belding and Tori. He was great again here, but the best performer by far was Bridget Kennedy who stole the show as a sultry Aunt Becky and Gia. Perez Hilton was better than I thought he would be as Danny Tanner. Marie Effe was forgettable as DJ Tanner, but I don’t think it was her fault. DJ was just never all that interesting on Full House. Marguerite Halcovage was a solid Stefanie Tanner, but the jabs at Jodie Sweetin’s post show meth addiction came off as more mean spirited than the jabs at Dustin Diamond in Bayside!, presumably because Sweetin doesn’t seem like a total douche bag. Marshall Louise was so petite as the Olsen twins that is sparked a heated debate at the bar (which serves absinthe!) during intermission about whether she was an adult or a child actor.
The musical was amusing, though not as good as Bayside! And I don’t just say that because Saved by the Bell is my favorite thing ever. Saved by the Bell had 1) more variety of plotlines and 2) more characters that had major plot lines vs just being a supporting character, which made for more random, humorous references to come out of nowhere in Bayside! With Full House, Elaine and I basically did a recap preshow of all the major plot lines that they could put in a musical that would be funny and this list was pretty short: Gia’s short lived stint as the bad influence to Stefanie Tanner, Michelle getting amnesia after falling off of a horse, DJ marrying a Greek cousin by walking around a kitchen table, and a few others. All of these, and others, were main plot points, but there wasn’t the equivalent of the random Becky the Duck moment in Bayside! because Full House never really had the equivalent of a Becky the Duck. But still good fun.
When I was up in NYC to see Sleater-Kinney I also got to see David Mamet’s new Broadway play starring Al Pacino, China Doll. It was disappointing. I’m a big Mamet fan, but this doesn’t stand up to his best work. Pacino was decent in it, I think they problem was more about the material than the acting. Most of the play consists of Pacino talking on the phone to people. So not a lot of real dialogue or character development. Just a lot of one sided conversations that move the plot along. Meh.
During the second act there was also an idiot in the 4th row (annoying located since I was in the 5th row) who not only took pictures with his phone but did so with the sound on. Moron.
I don't bother to review most plays that I go to unless there is a clear pop culture connection. But DC has a great theater scene and I usually try to catch a play each time I go up to NYC. Everything you see isn't great. But sometimes you think something is going to be a sure fire positive experience. And when those plays turn out to suck, man are you pissed. This fall I saw Clive Owen's Broadway debut. That being the award winning actor with a long history of doing awesome theater in England Clive Owen. Staring across from Kelly Reilly, an award winning actress who I'd previously seen in After Miss Julie in 2004 in London. Also starring across Eve Best, who I'd never seen perform but had heard of because she has a stellar reputation. All performing in a Harold Pinter play. That being the Nobel laureate Harold Pinter.
That combination of things should have been awesome. In the worst case scenario it should have been great acting but with a mediocre staging or script. But no, friends. The Roundabout Theatre Broadway production of Old Times featuring all of those people was the worst play I've ever seen. By a long shot. The only positive thing about the play was that it was only 65 minutes with no intermission. Because I would have left at intermission. When the play was over a middle-aged women said "What on earth was that supposed to be about?" A man a few rows back clearly said "How much money did we just pay for this shit?" The elderly lady to my left asked me, "Did that make any sense to you?" No ma'am, it didn't. I have no idea what the fuck happened in this play. And not in a "wow that's so mysterious, I wonder what it all meant" kind of way. I didn't care about the characters at all. When the bizarre sequence of events unfolded, it was so uninteresting that I didn't even care that I didn't know what was going on. Nothing in this play was remotely interesting or worthwhile. Absolutely nothing. The staging was ridiculous. There was a quasi northern background, giant spotlights that would flash at the audience for dramatic effect during scene changes while overwrought dramatic music played. A cube of fake ice in the middle of the stage served as an apartment door and a bathroom.
Your next movie better kick ass, Clive Owen. Because my opinion of you is not very good right now. Wish me better luck this weekend when I'll be seeing Al Pacino in David Mamet's new play, China Doll.
Earlier this year I had the please of doing Rock Junket's East Village walking tour. Recently I did their Greenwich Village tour. It had plenty-o Bob Dylan and Patti Smith landmarks, so I was a happy camper. If you are ever up in NYC and in search of some music history, I highly recommend these tours. They are pricey for a walking tour, but the guides are outstanding and really know their music history. Both tours I've done when them were top notch. Highlights of the Greenwich Village tour below.
The wall from the cover of Neil Young's After the Gold Rush:
The Bitter End. Lady Gaga played at this bar regularly before she broke big:
The street from the cover of the Freewheelin' Bob Dylan:
A studio famous for many things, but most important to me because Patti Smith recorded Horses here: