Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Non-Chicago Theatre: Broadway

St. John Theatre
New York, NY

And here's the preshow announcement:

Blah, blah, blah, turn off your cell phones and no photography. Ladies and gentlemen. Patti LuPone has hurt her foot. (all the stomachs of the audience sinks) So she will be performing the show in isotoners.

From the first notes of the overture, there was a electricity in the theatre that everyone could feel. And to think this production began with a concert performance in 2006 at Chicago's Ravinia Festival.

She gave one of those historic performances as Madame Rose that people will talk about for years to come. It was amazing that she wasn't just going through the motions this late in the run - she was working very hard for every note and every moment, but had the comfort of knowing a production inside and out that was just stunning. The best part was the one line she tripped over in Act I. She handled it like a pro and just moved one, however, getting the small glimpse at the actress herself, made me appreciate the rest of her performance that much more.

LuPone won the Tony for her role as did Boyd Gaines as Herbie and Laura Benanti as Louise. Gaines gave a brilliant performance in a difficult role. He supported the large character that is Madame Rose without ever letting the energy fall. He navigated her faithful man with a warm charm that made every one's heart go out to him. Benati never let her character be overshaddowed by her mother, yet her subtle commentary on what she was forced to do was quite lovely. All of this was strung together by the flawless direction of Arthur Laurents.

It was wonderful to see this old gem of Broadway revived with such a stellar cast. The whole production, from top to bottom, was bright and energetic. I left humming the music well into the next day.

NPR Article/Review

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