So I missed the Broadway Princess Party at 54 Below. I have my excuse ready: I was out of town, and even if I’d been in town, the tickets were pretty pricey. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t bummed when I realized I couldn’t go, because let’s face it, I am a Broadway nerd who was raised on Disney, and princess songs are in my blood. My friend calls Alan Menken her first voice teacher, and it is so, so true. This princess party was hosted by Laura Osnes, who won a Tony for her turn as Cinderella on Broadway. She’d left the show by the time I saw it, but she sounded like the perfect host for an evening of Broadway women singing princess songs.
I went to see “The Wiz: A Celebration of Music and Dance” on Wednesday at SummerStage, and it was fabulous. If you haven’t read my interview with Danni Gee, the SummerStage curator for this production, check it out for a little more background.
From the minute my friend and I arrived at Rumsey Playfield we could tell that people were excited for this special event, a true celebration of the fortieth anniversary of The Wiz on Broadway. The show was hosted by choreographer George Faison and Phylicia Rashad, a munchkin from the original cast, and when George Faison came out on the stage to open the evening, he was greeted like a rock star, with cheers and a standing ovation.
Two posts in one day — crazy, I know! But I just had to share with you this awesome interview I did with Danni Gee from SummerStage over email, about tonight’s FREE concert performance of The Wiz! No plans? I’m pretty sure reading this will make you want to come to Rumsey Playfield in Central Park — did I mention it’s free?
Tell me a bit about your role with SummerStage.
I am the Dance Curator for the festival and my role is to engage domestic and international dance companies and masterclass teachers for both Central Park and all five boroughs.
During the first weeks of my freshman year of college, my roommate turned on some music and I knew the words to every song but had no idea what the name of the band was. It was a weird feeling, right up until I put it together that this was one of the albums – or, probably, cassette tapes – my dad had played on repeat in his gray Oldsmobile when I was probably eight or nine. By the time I was a teenager he’d switched to classical in the car and I forgot about “Our House” and “Teach Your Children” and “Woodstock” and a whole bunch of other Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young songs that had imprinted on my brain at an impressionable age.
When my mom suggested last year that we go see the Carole King musical, “Beautiful”, I wasn’t too interested (sorry, Mom!) – at least until I saw Jessie Mueller and the cast perform “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” on the 2014 Tony Awards, with Carole King joining Jessie to sing “I Feel the Earth Move”. (I tried to find video but couldn’t – if someone tracks it down, please link in the comments!) I realized that these, too, were the songs of my childhood, the songs my mom loved and had played over and over, and that there was a very good chance I’d love this show that follows the story of Carole King as a young woman in NYC writing music.
Looking for my review of the Broadway production of Hamilton? You can find it right here.
My friend and I decided to be Hamilton groupies last night. If you don’t know what Hamilton is, read my post about the Public Theater production and come back here.
Got it? Okay. So Hamilton is in previews on Broadway right now, and we have tickets to see it at the end of August. We bought them months ago because we knew the show was going to be big, and we decided on late August because of busy summer schedules and coordinating with my friend’s brother’s visit.
A good show can you make you laugh, make you cry, or make you think. This weekend I saw a play that did all three – and managed to reach me exactly where I am at this point in my life right now.
I’d read about “Significant Other”, a play put on at the Laura Pels Theatre by the Roundabout Theatre Company, on the RTC’s website. Because of my Hiptix Gold membership* I’ve seen almost every show the RTC has done this season from $25 floor seats, and “Significant Other” sounded like something I’d enjoy. The sound-bite:
“Jordan Berman [Gideon Glick] would love to be in love, but that’s easier said than done. So until he meets Mr. Right, he wards off lonely nights with his trio of close-knit girlfriends. But as singles’ nights turn into bachelorette parties, Jordan finds that supporting the ones you love can be just as impossible as finding love itself. […] Significant Other is a hilarious and heart-wrenching new play that takes us into the trenches of single life in the city, reminding us that you can’t hurry love—no matter how much you wish you could.”