5 November
ibrews

A-

Steve Martin’s writing is as sharp as ever in an incredibly fun, incisive, and ultimately hopeful look at how couples find strength in their relationship. (seen 2 PM 11/4/2017)

Hoo-rah!

  • Fantastic premise: a couple that has been actively working on their marriage deals with the conniving plans of another couple that gets their kicks destroying the relationships of others.
  • When I think about the writing on its own, I can (wonderfully) imagine dozens of ways this show could be performed. A lot of freedom for actors and directors to play with, and I would go see another production of this show in a heartbeat with every expectation that it would be totally different from this one.
  • Love the set design (little details especially like the garden hose) and the way meteors fly through the sky. And yeah, as a character mentions, it totally looks like a house from Architectural Digest.
  • I spent a lot of the show having a good time but wondering if the experience was going to add up to anything, and then the last act pays off in spades. A genuinely cathartic experience.
  • All the actors were excellent, and congrats to Keegan and Amy on their Broadway debut. Keegan was borderline a cartoon, but so much damn fun to watch that I was just delighted to hear whatever he was going to say next.
  • So many wonderful little seeds are planted early on in the show that pay off later, and, as usual, my wife figured them out long before I did.
  • Similarly, there’s a lot of little silent moments– a look, a high-five, a ritual, a drink, a dance– that are just wonderf
  • Great show to go on a date with!

Blech…

  • There’s an ongoing subplot about ‘exploding head syndrome’ that could easily be cut; it makes Amy Schumer’s character a little too over the top. There’s a cannibalism backstory element that accomplishes everything exploding head syndrome is trying to do, but better.
  • The night sky was a little too shiny. When Jeremy slid the glass door open to the outside, with the reflective backdrop,  from the audience it still looked like the glass door was closed. This problem was two-fold in that 1) you had to focus to remember when the door was open or shut and 2) the interior of the house was reflected on the sky the same way it was on the windows.
  • There’s a bunch of David Ives’ Sure Thing-y repeats of the same setup with minor variations that only really justify themselves when we get to the last act. While absolutely hilarious in their individual incarnations, structurally the sum of the parts are not greater than the whole.
  • There’s some infidelity that I didn’t super buy… maybe I don’t need to, but a little more work could have been done to make it feel plausible.

Random: 

  • Was super-bummed when I heard Alan Tudyk was leaving his role over ‘creative differences,’ but Jeremy Shamos (who I loved in Better Call Saul) fills the role perfectly. And while I have no insight into the deeper reasons Alan Tudyk left the show, allow me to speculate: he’s played a lot of characters like this one, and I can imagine him trying to take a few more liberties with the role to make it fresher than perhaps the show could handle. After all, Keegan chews the scenery so much that it kind of falls to the other characters to be more subdued and, in some ways, archetypal.
  • This would be such a fun show to put on. The last act in particular… mmm. My theater group in college had a blast putting on both Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Wasp and let me tell you: Steve Martin knows how to write a show actors can have a good time with.
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31 January
ibrews

B+

John Mulaney and Nick Kroll wind their comedic stylings into a tight satire of Broadway and the people who go to it  (seen 12/21/2016)

Hoo-rah!

  • High production value– actually quite the visual treat, from the hodgepodge of ‘discarded’ sets to the rather lovely use of lighting to evoke various sentiments (in itself a sending up of that technique)
  • Comedic genius– these are two of the best joke-tellers working today and it shows (also nice little in-jokes for those familiar with their stand-up routines)
  • Surprisingly well-scripted– I was expecting something more loose and improvisational and this was better

Blech…

  • The interview segment, while a fun chance to let these characters riff, goes on for too long. (we had Rob Corddy and he was very serviceable)
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19 December
ibrews

B

The Imperial Theater becomes a giant set for a love story straight out of War and Peace (seen 12/15/2016)

 

Hoo-rah!

  • Amazing commitment from the theater to transform the entire room to fit this one show perfectly.
  • Sitting on stage (Banquet B12) was fun and interactive and a constant thrill. The woman sitting next to me on the aisle got to be hit on by Anatole, whispering in her ear “I love you and I hope you enjoy the show.”
  • Nifty mixes of more traditional Broadway music, traditional Russian music, and, erm, rave music?
  • Scott Stangland was fantastic as Pierre– by far my favorite character. I wish he played a bigger role in the show, and I didn’t miss Josh Groban at all.
  • Also really enjoyed Lucas Steele as Anatole and Lauren Zakrin as Natasha.

Blech…

  • It… really should not be compared to Hamilton. I mean, it’s fine, good even. But the comparison does not help this show when comparing the stakes and quality of songwriting. After one listen of Hamilton I was able to quote at least a dozen moments verbatim, whereas by the time I got home after The Great Comet I could maybe give you three. Ultimately it felt… insubstantial.
  • I wasn’t invested in the love story. I felt like a stern parent the whole time just thinking “come on, you’re adults. You should know better.” I forgot while watching the show that Natasha is fifteen years old (making this similar to a Romeo and Juliet kind of thing), but considering we’re adapting a section of War and Peace here, I just wanted the show to feel more important.
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19 December
ibrews

A

The closest thing I’ve ever seen to a VR theater piece. Totally immersive, engrossing, riveting, captivating… and months later I still can’t stop thinking about it (seen 10/15/2016)

 

Hoo-rah!

  • Macbeth told with every character given equal weight.
  • I like how I could be in the same area multiple times and not realize at first that it was the same area (yay lighting)
  • Reminded me of my thesis
  • Loved all the details in the building. There were rooms I would have been happy to spend an hour in just reading letter and examining trinkets.
  • Not since Matthew Bourne have I seen a story told so well through choreography (it’s almost entirely silent!)

Blech…

  • Constant sense of FOMO
  • It was tricky to decide whether to follow a character (who you may lose) or just keep exploring. Once I realized the show was repeating (though with interesting little changes– nurse B being present for nurse A’s fit the second time), I wish I had a better sense of new places to go. Like during the banquet hall scene, seems like everyone is there so it’s a good opportunity to go read a letter or something. And apparently the banquet hall scene ends differently the third time. I wasn’t looking out for that, so I didn’t notice. But really this is all just a good reason to go again!
  • Don’t buy the $20 book they offer afterwards. They make it sound like it’s going to be a the equivalent of the second disc of a blu-ray where you’d get all the ‘Behind the Scenes’ and ‘Making Of’ content. Not even remotely true.


Continue reading…

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19 December
ibrews

B

Classical music circles the Park Avenue Armory with some extraordinary guest singing (seen 10/13/2016)

 

Hoo-rah!

  • Loved the visuals that accompanied the music
  • Amazing guest singer who had to perform a very long walk without tripping
  • Very cool having audience down on the floor looking up at the musicians and singer (oh hey– that was all Josh and I’s doing 🙂 )

Blech…

  • Saw it at a dress rehearsal with high school students who clapped after every pause and just couldn’t stay quiet when there was  technical fix needed.
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