Friday, January 12, 2007

An evening at Grey Gardens

Here's the great thing about living in New York. I got a book of coupons for discount theatre tickets in the mail yesterday. And when I say discount, I mean discount - half off. Hm. Some interesting choices, several things I wanted to see, but opted for my Number 1 choice, Grey Gardens. Went online, entered the discount code, and started checking dates and seats (best available, you bet). Up pops Row G Seat 2 at good old Walter Kerr Theatre - that's 6 rows back, on the aisle, baby - for Friday Jan. 12. Did I take 'em? You bet your sweet weird aunt I did!

Now, see, I could do that because a) the tickets were wonderfully affordable and b) I live in New York!

Long, long ago, I posted about Grey Gardens (October 6, 2005, in fact) and how I was looking forward to its trek to Broadway. The new musical is taken from the 1975 classic documentary about Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale, Jackie Kennedy's outrageous aunt and cousin. If you haven't seen it - well, what are you doing sitting here reading this? Get thee to a video store! (Occasionally, it pops up on Turner Classic Movies, too. Be on the look-out.) Don't know if you can sit through it, though, because this is one odd pair of cat-ladies. Whoo-eee!

And the musical absolutely captures the real stuff of the film. Christine Ebersole plays Big Edie in Act I (1941) and Little Edie in Act II (1973). Her Little Edie is spot on - complete with the weird clothing configurations (celebrated in the song "The Revolutionary Costume for Today") and the bizarre accent. The whole cast is great (even the tiny Jackie Bouvier and her little sister Lee) - and it was a larger cast than I was expecting. Trouper John McMartin plays Big Edie's father in the first act and Norman Vincent Peale in the second. You'll just have to see the show for that to make any sense. And I think it helps to watch at least part of the documentary first, as well.

In short, fa-ha-bu-lous! And I was six rows back, practically in the center! Yowser!

Oh - and on the way out, brushed past Laura from last season's Project Runway. She looked so familiar that it didn't register with me who she was until she got a few steps behind me. Red hair pulled back in that sticky-out little ponytail and her signature high-waisted black dress. And that's the other great thing about being in NYC. Da peoples.


Chris said...

How fascinating! I followed all of your links, Mary, and got really hooked on this story. Brimming with eager enthusiasm I logged on to Amazon only to find that the DVDs available required a North American player.

So looks like I'll have to move. How frustrating.

Jill said...

Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee and his wife author Sally Quinn restored the mansion a few years back. It would have been neat to see when it was overrun with weeds. It's probably unrecognizable now.

MaryB said...

Chris - darn! You have got to see that documentary. Those two dames were veeerrrry strange. Fascinating to watch. Can't believe the DVD's only on NTSC. Hm.

Jill - now that you mention it, I remember seeing something on TV about Bradlee/Quinn's restoration of Grey Gardens. Didn't look the same without all the cats and trash! Thanks for reminding me.