Friday, November 30, 2007

Broadway's back


Ok, I've been reading all the stories about how Broadway has geared itself up, dusted itself off, gone over its lines one more time, and reopened after the 19-day stagehands' strike. The merchants, the actors, the crew, the fans are all back.

I found a couple of interesting tidbits from The New York Times:

This paragraph sounds hard to believe: As an aspiring actor and a practicing bartender at Smith Bar and Grill on Eighth Avenue, Daniel Cardona had dual cause to celebrate. The theatergoers who often duck into the bar for a quick drink during intermissions will be returning, he said. And, he added, “I’m going to go see a couple of shows myself now.”

I don't doubt that Mr. Cardona said, it but do people really leave the theater at intermission to go to a nearby bar and have a drink? I mean, there's not that much time. Can't they just have something at the bar in the theater or wait until afterward?

And from another Times story: producers deployed more than the normal number of people to the TKTS booth in Times Square answer questions. Among them: “Which is better, ‘Mamma Mia’ or ‘Hairspray’?”

I saw "Mamma Mia!" on Broadway in July, and I really enjoyed it. It's a lot of fun and the music is great. You'd definitely have a good time. I've only seen "Hairspray" on tour. Like "Mamma Mia!" it's fun and the music is wonderfully catchy.

But in my humble opinion, "Hairspray" simply has the better songs, the better story, the more interesting characters. Plus, it makes an important moment in American history come alive in such an engaging, joyous way that's not at all dry or preachy. So if you're trying to decide between the two, "Hairspray" is the one I would pick.

Also, I've noticed a lot of people have found this blog by searching for "The Farnsworth Invention" or "August: Osage County." Just in case ayone is trying to decide between the two, here's my two cents.

While I enjoyed "The Farnsworth Invention," again, there's no comparison. "August: Osage County" is amazing. It's so well written and well acted. You will recognize something of yourself and your family in it.

Sorry Aaron Sorkin, but Tracy Letts has written a witty, heartbreaking, true-to-life, searing portrait of an American family. "August: Osage County" is definitely the one to see.

3 comments:

Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Hey GV! Depending on the theatre, I've ducked out to nearby watering holes for an intermission drink since it's usually less expensive than those served at the theatres (and the bathrooms don't have long lines, either)!

And here's a toast to August: Osage County! May it be seen by even more people thanks to your recommendations. (And don't forget, it has two intermissions enabling nearby establishments to get a twofer!)

Esther said...

Well, having paid $4 for a bottle of water, I can see your point! And I never thought about going outside and ducking into a nearby watering hole as a way to beat the line at the restroom! I'll have to try that next time. This is why you're my theater guide!

I'm trying to plug "August: Osage County" as often as I can. It's thanks to your recommendation that I even saw it in the first place. So thanks!

SarahB said...

It is true - depending on the theatre, it can definitely be done. For instance, if you're at the Kerr, there's a Hurley's is just across the street on 48th, if you're at the St. James or the Majestic, you can run Angus McIndoe's on 44th. I'm sure there are more examples.

I agree with your recommendations: definitely Hairspray over Mamma Mia, both are entertaining, but Hairspray is the more substantial work. I especially agree with August: Osage County. It's brilliant - who would ever believe that such a dramatic work could be so damn entertaining?! I'm going back for opening night on Tuesday.