June 22, 2014 at 7:08 pm #433631
For as long as you have been seeing shows on Broadway, what stands out as the singular best moment in any show you have ever seen. This moment can resonate with you personally/emotionally or be the best moment that you can remember acting-wise/directorially/etc.
For me, it was seeing Andrea Martin’s one scene, showstealing appearance in Pippin last year. Paulus’ fantastic interpretation mixed with Martin’s insane energy and of course the trapeze routine made for an unforgettable theatergoing moment. The energy of the crowd only added to it – it was a great audience, everybody sang along at the appropriate moments and everybody (that I could see) lept to their feet as soon as the song finished. Even the ushers were applauding. It was a wonderful moment that I’ll never forget.
What’s yours?June 22, 2014 at 10:23 pm #433633
First Broadway Show: THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1998)
I was little and thought the scenery would change the same way it did when I saw school or community theatre productions (with the curtain closing and people moving set pieces).
The show opened in the abbey with rows and rows of arches and colums that seemed to go on forever. The nuns came on and sang the opening hymns. Suddenly, we heard Maria’s voice sing “My day in the hills…” The nuns slowly started to trickle off the stage. I panicked, wondering how they would all get off stage and change the set in time for Maria to come on and sing “The hills are alive…” But then right as Maria finished her opening verse, the music started to swell. Suddenly, the whole abbey (a set piece that filled the entire stage) flew away in three giant pieces, revealing a completely open stage with a mountain backdrop. Rebecca Luker came running down a ramp and downstage just in time for the climactic “The hills are alive…”
The audience erupted in applause.
I died.June 23, 2014 at 3:00 am #433634
I have many signature moments in many years of seeing Broadway shows..
1. Seeing Fiddler on the Roof as a young boy and actually being mesmerized by everything…
2. Brian Stokes Mitchell singing The Impossible Dream in the revival of Man of La Mancha.
3. The overture at Lincoln Center for South Pacific in the revival a few years ago.
4. Seeing Audra McDonald in all 6 of her Tony winning performances plus 110 IN the Shade..
5. Taking my children to the revival of A Chorus Line….the original is my all- time favorite
6.Being backstage after The Producers and meeting Nathan and Matthew
7.Seeing Duet for One with Anne Bancroft…and being invited into her car for a short ride.
8.Seeing A Matter of Gravity with Kate Hepburn and seeing Faye Dunaway and Sidney Lumet right in front of me.
9. Waiting at the stage door for Barbra Streisand after Funny Girl and chatting with her for what seemed hours.
I was 12……..that is THE MOMENT…
6.June 23, 2014 at 5:06 am #433635
This would be hard for me to narrow down to TEN, let alone one, but I will try doing five.
1. RAGTIME (1998): On the week of my 10th Birthday, I got to go to NYC for the first time and a dear old friend who was like a big brother to me, took me to see ten shows, with the first being the OBC of RAGTIME. The massive set and ensemble and the glorious orchestra were all overwhelming….particularly Brian Stokes Mitchell and Audra McDonald. It changed my life, pretty much.
#2-THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA (2005): Victoria Clark is a stunning actress/singer with amazing versatility and she led a strong cast that all got to sing one of the best scores ever written for the theatre. That finale was stellar.
#3-THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE (2005): There are always shows that surprise you and that you don’t expect to get a certain outcome from. I went into SPELLING BEE very depressed because I had lost a dear friend (the one who took me to RAGTIME) to suicide. An older couple, with whom I was close, took me to NYC with them and while we were there, SPELLING BEE opened and we got tickets for the second night. I knew next-to-nothing about it other than it had a William Finn score and was directed by James Lapine and I loved both of them. What I discovered was a joyous and eventful evening that had me laughing and made me fall in love with life and creativity again. The one moment that stands out for me was the sudden punch from the beautiful I LOVE YOU SONG that actually ended with a standing ovation that I stood up for the second the song ended….and the cast was perfect, absolutely perfect.
#4-I Am My Own Wife (2003)….Jefferson Mays has a gift….and he was robbed of another Tony this year.
#5-Grey Gardens (2007): Christine Ebersole was just plain outstanding.
HONORABLE MENTION: Seeing Bea Arthur in her one-woman show was a pure delight.June 23, 2014 at 5:14 am #433636
I’ve been fortunate to see many great performances and setpieces over the years, but the one moment that stands out is something that didn’t turn out as planned. I made a special trip to NY to see Idina Menzel’s last performance in Wicked. As we all know, she fell through the trap door the day before her scheduled last performance and broke a rib. The whole audience the next day had come to see her, but of course the accident was all over the news and everyone knew. Her standby, Shoshanna Bean, knocked it out of the part under very difficult circumstances, but then Idina made a surprise entrance (wearing a red track suit) for the finale. The entire theatre erupted in a four-plus minute standing, screaming ovation that then lasted through the final scene, the bows and the curtain speeches. Leaving the theatre, everyone was exhausted and wrung out, but it was a very special day.June 23, 2014 at 9:10 am #433637
Too many great memories to count! But here’s what immediately comes to mind.
1.) Hair. The recent revival was the first show I saw on Broadway. Gavin Creel stood on the chair in front of me and began dancing and pelvic thrusting wildly and singing at me (and I obviously became obsessed with him). The passion and desperation in the final number “Let the Sunshine In” had me in tears. And then the rousing curtain call rendition where the entire theatre leapt to their feet and sang and danced along, many filling the stage, was the most incredible burst of energy in the world. I felt like someone had given me an adrenaline shot.
2.) La Cage aux Folles (National Tour). Ok Im cheating cuz its a tour, but who cares. Christopher Seiber was playing Albin, and Im gonna go ahead and say its the best thing he’s ever done. We’ve all seen so many interpretations of “I Am What I Am” but his was a true master class in acting. Watching this broken man find the courage to build himself back up through the song was mesmerizing and exhilarating. I dont think I breathed the entire song. When he finally raised his arms triumphantly at the end and belted the final note that soared through the theatre, my jaw crashed to the floor and stayed their into intermission.
3.) Hedwig. NPH is just killing it at the Belasco. He has a ton of great moments in the show, but the one that sealed the deal for me was “Origin of Love”. A quiet and poignant moment in a otherwise hectic show. When the skrim comes in to allow a 3D effect for the projections like Hedwig is living inside his drawings, the audience gasped. It was the perfect way to expand the song for a larger house and bring the words to life. Harris really showed off his storytelling skills, letting his voice do the work, and I watched with tears streaming down my face.
4.) Alice Ripley, Next To Normal. Alice fucking Ripley, man. Everything she did was incredible. I cant even listen to the second act on the cast recording because I get to emotional. The line “So anyway Im leaving..” kills me everytime and was like a gut punch experiencing it live.July 6, 2014 at 5:24 pm #433638
After a matinee of the original production of A Chorus Line, I was emotionally distraught. A teenager, I had taken public transportation into the city. I felt I couldn’t just go home. I had witnessed something important that I felt (correctly) would stay with me for the rest of my life. I wandered into a nearby restaurant and got a table. In moment, the next table was seated. It was Baayork Lee and some friends.
My emotions were obvious, and they noticed. One asked if I was okay. I explained that I had just seen the play. They invited me to join them. I don’t think I said a word during the meal. I just listened and laughed as these wonderful people conversed and made me feel included.
I will remember their kindness for the rest of my life.