Thursday, April 29, 2010

Everything Old Is New Again

Broadway isn't known as "The Great Invalid" for nothing. Every time it seems that live theatre is about to gasp its last, some amazing show or other comes along and saves the day. Though these days, with ticket prices topping out at well-over $100 a pop, I'm amazed that people still go. When I go (and it's less-and-less these days), I make sure I visit the TKTS booth in Times Square. You can purchase left-over tickets for a fraction of their original price, as long as you're willing to stand in line and don't have your heart set on a particular show. I have rarely been disappointed by the selection of shows there and have seen many original casts for a lot less than I would have paid at the box office.

New musicals abound on Broadway this season, including the very well-reviewed Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; the apparently disappointing The Addams Family and this season's standout; American Idiot, a musical based around the songs from the Green Day album of the same name (my friend Jonathan saw it on opening night and said it revolutionizes Musical Theatre).

Of course, every season also has its share of revivals and this year is no exception. The biggies this season are Sean Hayes ("Will and Grace") & Kristin Chenowith (Wicked; my beloved "Pushing Daisies") in Promises, Promises, the musical version of The Apartment with some rather well-known songs from Burt Bacharach and Hall David; Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury in Sondheim's 3/4 tempo love story, A Little Night Music and Kelsey Grammer ("Frasier") in La Cage aux Folles. Of course, the latter really puzzles me, because of Grammer's right-wing politics (but then, Log Cabin Republicans puzzle me as well, but what do I know?).

When my sister was still in high school, I took her to see the touring company production of La Cage... in Philadelphia. The particulars of the cast escape me (and I'm too lazy to dig out my Playbill), but I do remember both of us loving it. It was her first time seeing a professional production of a musical, and I think that may have impressed her as much as anything, but it also showed the budding Born Again that being gay wasn't quite the horrific thing most so-called "Christians" are led to believe. Thankfully, that lesson carried over into her current dogma and even though we may disagree when it comes to religion, she is a firm believer in LGBT rights, and I love her even more for it.

But, I digress.

The point is that good Musical Theatre (like any art) is an examination of the one unwavering constant: The Human Condition. Young/Old; Gay/Straight; White Collar/Blue Collar; Rich/Poor... we all share our Humanity and the Joy, Love, Pain, Laughter, Tears and everything else that comes with being Human. And it is in that spirit that I share with you these clips (via) of the revivals of La Cage aux Folles and Promises, Promises. Enjoy.

More, anon.


Stephen said...

I saw Promises, Promises in London in 1968 with Lorna Luft & Tony Roberts...I love the score & if it works, I think including the 2 Bacharach classics will be a good idea. Does it look good to you... the montage makes me wanna see it & Hayes looks adorkable.

It seems odd to me that the talented, but rabid right ringer, would choose to star in this show...& I hear that he wants to do the other role, when the current star leaves.

Prospero said...

Promises... is not my favorite show. And it seems kind of dated, now. Of course, as a period piece, I guess it's okay.

I saw Grammer's "Sweeney Todd" and thought he was terrible. I have no plans to see him in "La Cage."