We just got back from a rather hectic trip to New York…
Promises, Promises – Saw a matinee of the revival of Promises, Promises. I’ve gotta say, I sat there during the show and pondered the alchemical nature of the theater. Because when Kristen Chenoweth is there on stage belting out top-flight Bacharach material in a fabulous costume in fabulous surroundings, you would think it should be bliss. And yest, and yet things somehow fall short. I personally thought that Sean Hayes was terrific and I totally bought him in the role (although Ron thought it still felt like Jack from Will and Grace was in the musical). But a 30/40-something bootlicker on the corporate ladder somehow seems a pathetic character to build a show around. Similarly, it’s hard to buy Kristen Chenoweth in the victim role. And Rob Marshall’s choreography does nothing to make one forget Michael Bennett, particularly on the iconic Turkey Lurkey Time. Katie Finneran was a breath of fresh air at the beginning of Act II, but it does bear remembering that that role always gets the good reviews; Marian Mercer won a Tony for it in the original and Christine Baranski had success with it in the Encores staging.
Richard Skipper and Dana Lorge at the Iguana – Richard Skipper (out of Carol Channing garb) and Carol Lorge host a weekly MAC-nominated variety show at the Iguana on Wednesday nights. I managed to catch the last of the show. When I did I saw some really appealing talent up there – such a bargain for the $10 cover! I have to say, it’s the first time I saw Skipper perform as himself, and he’s truly a delight that makes me look forward to the next time I get to see a full Richard Skipper show !
On a bitchier note, an obviously talented woman got up to sing Send in the Clowns, but was a bit approximate with the lyrics – “Isn’t it rich, aren’t we a pair?” It occurred to me “Catch the missed Sondheim lyric” would make a good drinking game – until I nearly got sloshed on her song alone.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire – I had a fascinating time appearing as a contestant on the show. And I’m contractually obligated not to give any more info until the show is on, tentatively, October 28th.
Barbara Cook and Michael Feinstein at Feinstein’s – Wow. Barbara Cook and Michael Feinstein up-close-and-personal ! I think that not having to carry the full show helped Barbara Cook seem the most relaxed I’d seen her in ages, with the proceedings becoming soufflé-light thanks to the impishness of Feinstein. Although the show didn’t have a theme, there were some nice song pairings, especially Ever After by Feinstein followed by Where Do You Start from Cook, and Feinstein’s Without a Song followed by Here’s to Life by Cook. John Oddo and band (including the great Jay Leonhart on bass) provided nifty musical support. As an encore, the team did a version of Shine On, Harvest Moon that took a journey from Art Song to Dixieland to Revival Meeting to Community Sing – and is there any better way to express the gamut of cabaret? (OK – here’s a trivia challenge for all you Barbara Cook fans – what Broadway show featured Barbara Cook singing a solo version of Shine On, Harvest Moon ? I’ll send a prize to the first person who posts the correct answer in the comments.)
A note about Feinstein’s at the Regency … I have to say that I love the pricing policy. It may seem silly that for a room that small that they have three different price levels, but at least it acknowledges that there really are significantly better seats in the venue. Also, my advice for anyone going is to get there early for dinner so you have a choice of available seating.