Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My 2009-2010 Broadway season

Even though the Tony Awards were two months ago, I didn't wrap up my 2009-2010 Broadway season until the middle of July.

Sadly, I couldn't get to New York City in the spring, so I missed A View from the Bridge, Red and Fences. (Curse you, limited runs!)

But I made it to the short-lived revival of Brighton Beach Memoirs, I heard Angela Lansbury sing in A Little Night Music and I finally saw Wicked in all its Broadway glory, with Rondi Reed as Madame Morrible.

Looking back, the shows that made the biggest impact were ones with strong personal stories: Brighton Beach Memoirs and Superior Donuts, La Cage aux Folles and Fela!

Laurie Metcalf in Brighton Beach Memoirs, Douglas Hodge in La Cage aux Folles and Jon Michael Hill in Superior Donuts could easily have descended into stereotypes: overprotective Jewish mother, flamboyant drag performer, wisecracking young black male. But they imbued those characters with such depth and humanity that they rose above caricature and captured my heart.

La Cage aux Folles entered my pantheon of favorite musicals. I loved Jerry Herman's songs so much that I got the original Broadway cast recording, which I've been listening to nonstop. The revival CD will be released Sept. 28 and I can't wait to have both of them on my iPod.

I noticed more audience participation on Broadway this season - batting beach balls at La Cage, swiveling my hips during Fela! and missing the waxed fruit that came flying into the audience during Lend Me A Tenor. While the trend could become overdone, so far I've enjoyed it!

I also crossed five theatres off my list, making my first visits to the Gershwin, Longacre, Lunt-Fontanne, Nederlander and Schoenfeld. Only seven more to go before I've seen a show in every Broadway house.

Among the theatres I've yet to enter is the Majestic, home to The Phantom of the Opera, which I've never seen. If the sequel, Love Never Dies, comes to New York next spring perhaps I'll make it a double feature.


Dale said...

Sounds like you did it right! I see Patti Labelle is joining the cast of Fela! I may take it in but for sure I'll be seeing Cherry Jones and Brief Encounter since it made a big impact on Steve (SOB). I'll be there in October with some friends who I won't make humour me by attending everything I must see.

Esther said...

Hey Dale, hope you have a great trip! I'd love to see Brief Encounter, too. I know some people felt Fela! was more of a concert than a coherent story and that certain parts of his life were glossed over. But I thought it was so different and I got a lot out if it. The actor who played Fela (who wasn't even the main Fela) was captivating to watch. Btw, Patti LaBelle's part is very small, two scenes I think.