Sunday, January 05, 2014

My Holiday Escapes

Who needs Aspen or the Caribbean when there are center orchestra seats to be had? It's been my luck to be on the audience-end of four shows in three weeks, and I've had more fanciful escapes than any exotic location can offer. A Twitter version of my most recent theatre-going experiences might read: A lamp, a bumble, a Jeopardy-playing detective side-kick computer, and a glass magnolia.  - that's entertainment!

First up was "A Christmas Story," a musical based on the 1983 holiday film classic. I usually pooh-pooh this sort of thing, but the show, which only runs for a few weeks in the run-up to Christmas, was nominated for 3 Tonys last year and I just loved the number I saw on the awards show. The songs are wonderful, the choreography is spectacular. It was a little weird going to Madison Square Garden's theatre to see it - the basketball crowd mixed in with the theatre crowd - instead of a proper Broadway house, but the arrangement seemed to suit the audience. This one could be a holiday staple for me.

Once in Atlanta for the holidays, we had a full agenda of kid-themed activities. The Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts' "Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer" was one of those events. One GrandMary, one Mom, two 3-year-old boys, and a 6-month-old baby girl - not your usual theatre audience, but Puppetry Arts knows how to handle multi-generational entertainment. Its "Rudolf" is a live version of the 1964 television movie, and boy, it is spot on. Wonderful! And another event that has the possibility of becoming a tradition for us.

Next up in New York was Playwrights Horizons' "The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence." OK. Combine Sherlock's sidekick Dr. Watson with the Jeopardy-winning computer Watson and the engineer who build Bell's first telephone and you get . . . . well, you get interesting theatre. Past and present come and go and get mixed in together as you realize the importance of being Watson, in whatever form he/it takes. Always interesting stuff at PH.

And as a blizzard was blowing into town, Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" at the Booth Theatre. Cherry Jones owned the stage as Amanda Wingfield, the chief animal in this human, very breakable menagerie. As a Southerner, I was more attuned to the accents, speech patterns, and general attitudes of the characters than the non-Southern folks around me. For the record, Ms. Jones' took on what we lovingly call a Mrs. Ashford Dunwoody accent - it was more old Atlanta than Delta-speak, but she nailed it. Celia Keenan-Bolger was absolutely marvelous as Laura. She stuck to a flat, basic accent, which was just fine. Now, Zachary Quinto, while excellent as Tom, did a sort of sing-songy, pseudo-Southern accent which got on my nerves after a while. Only someone from the South would notice, though (we get so sick of what passes for a proper Southern accent/dialect on stage and screen, btw). Nevertheless, classic play beautifully acted and produced. Very, very glad I saw it.

So you see, I really got around, theatre-wise, over the holidays. Now, it's back to work to earn a little money for 2014 escapes. Happy New Year!

No comments: