“Want something. Want SOMETHING.” Six reasons Company will rock


This weekend, I have the awesome pleasure of seeing a concert version of Company at Lincoln Center. This would be exciting enough. What makes it thrilling is the star-studded cast, including Neil Patrick Harris as Robert, Stephen Colbert as Harry, Patti LuPone as Joanne, Katie Finneran as Amy* and Christina Hendricks as April.

*Confession: I didn’t know which role Katie Finneran was playing until about five seconds ago, and a little thrill went through me when I pictured her singing “Not Getting Married”.

So, I know the whole thing on Broadway right now is stunt casting to sell tickets. Sometimes this works (see: Kelsey Grammer in La Cage Aux Folles); sometimes it doesn’t (see: The entire cast of 2009’s Bye Bye Birdie revival with the possible exception of John Stamos, who can at least carry a tune, GINA GERSHON.) But I have a good feeling about Company. First of all, it’s a scaled down concert version, second it’s only for a couple of days, and third everyone associated with the project can actually sing. 

I give you exhibits A-F:

A: Neil Patrick Harris might be known to you as the womanizing Barney on HIMYM or (if you haven’t watched TV since 1992) the kid doctor on Doogie Howser, but in addition to being a great comic actor, he’s also a fanfreakingtastic singer with a lot of stage experience. Here he is as the emcee in Cabaret: 

And he’s already proven he can sing Sondheim. Here he is playing Tobias in a concert version of Sweeney Todd along side Ms. LuPone:

(On a totally superficial note, I am usually a scruffy hair kinda gal, ala Tim Riggins, but the buzz cut really works for him, no?)

B: I’ve been a fan of Katie Finneran’s since she played the uptight sister of Jayne in the short-lived series Wonderfalls, but I think the theater loves her even more. She’s a two-time Tony winner, her most recent win last year for Promises Promises. I didn’t get to see it, but everything I read said she stole the show.

She was lovably neurotic in Wonderfalls; this can only be a good thing for playing Amy.

C: Christina Hendricks! I cannot WAIT to see her recite my favorite monologue in all of Broadway, and think her voice is a great match for “Barcelona.”

In my head, Christina Hendricks can actually play the accordion.  And also, I miss Mad Men, and really don’t want to wait a freaking YEAR for new episodes. Sigh.  But that’s for a different post.

D: Stephen Colbert! Stephen Colbert! I am most excited about seeing NPH, but Stephen Colbert is just more icing on the cake. And for some reason, I am itching to see him sing “Sorry Grateful.” Like Christina Hendricks, his voice seems so well-suited for this song. Hopefully this will not be interrupted by people taking their seats and loud children, like it was in my stress dream a few weeks ago. (Yes, I had a stress dream about Company. I dunno, guys. Ask my subconscious.) Anyway, if you watch The Colbert Report, you should know that Stephen has a pretty good set of pipes. I cannot freaking wait to hear them live. This isn’t able to embed, but click here to see Stephen sing.

E: Patti LuPone. To be honest, I am nervous to see Ms. LuPone live, because she kinda scares me a little. Okay, a lot. Woman is a diva. Woman has ever RIGHT to be a diva, but still. I just don’t want her yelling at me. Or anyone else. So everyone seeing the 8 p.m. show this Saturday, respect the LuPone, ok? This is from the Sondheim birthday concert last year, and I love this because you can just tell she has been waiting YEARS to sing this song. And sing it she does. And sing it she will on Saturday.

No, she’s not Elaine Stritch, but who the hell is? No one will ever sing it like her, and Patti does a pretty good second. Also, I respect that she puts her own spin on it, and doesn’t try to be Stritch.

F: NPH has some big shoes to fill with “Being Alive”. Raul Esparza blew the lid off of it in the 2007 revival. And as much as I love NPH, I am not expecting this to be the powerhouse Raul made it. However, it’s still one of the best songs Sondheim ever wrote, and maybe even one of the best songs ever written.

Excuse me, the room just got a little dusty, I need to wipe my eyes.

This weekend can’t come soon enough, y’all.

Countdown to Christmas (Part 3 of ?): “All I need is a healthy ovum and I could grow my own Leonard Nimoy!”

Happy holidays! Here comes part 3 of my Christmas countdown. December is super busy for me this year, and there is no time to decorate or make cookies. So I’ve been trying to get into the holiday spirit by remembering some of my favorite holiday films and TV shows.

Here are a few funny TV holiday moments.

From The Big Bang Theory: An obvious choice. Actually, most of my choices for this post seem kinda obvious. But that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable. Seriously though, I think this episode became a Christmas classic the moment it aired. It’s also the episode that made me love the show. (Note that I didn’t start watching the show until season 2. Otherwise I would have fallen in love when Sheldon dressed as the Doppler Effect for Penny’s Halloween party in season 1.)

From Friends: They actually had quite a few fun Christmas episodes. I particularly like the one  from season 2 where Phoebe attempts to find her real father, and Monica and Rachel’s Christmas party turns into a sauna when the radiator breaks. However, nothing tops the Holiday Armadillo. He’s your part Jewish friend! Ross often gets overlooked, but that dude got into some wacky situations. Getting stuck in a pair of leather pants, over-whitening his teeth, a spray-tan mishap, attempting to play the bagpipes…all that and he dresses up in a ridiculous costume for his son. Props to David Schwimmer. He’s a very funny guy.

From Frasier: They also did several Christmas episodes, and all of them are pretty great. I’ve got a couple written down, but instead of the obvious one (and if you are a regular reader of this blog you probably know which episode I’m talking about) we’ll go with the final season’s High Holidays. All you need to know is that Niles thinks he is high, and Martin actually IS high.

And finally, from A Colbert Christmas:

On behalf of all the goyim, and until next time, happy holidays!

Mad Men and more! (But mostly Mad Men.)

It’s been busy ’round these parts lately. Everyone I know had a baby. Well, okay, only two people, but two of the closest people in my life. Hence the lack of blogging.

That doesn’t mean I have been ignoring my pop culture duties. That would never happen. So here are some things I’ve been digging lately.

Mad Men
A few years back, I tuned into a new show called Mad Men, lauded by critics and TV watchers alike. Watched it for about 10 minutes, realized I wasn’t paying attention, turned it off, and didn’t watch another episode until this month. Guys, I don’t know what I was thinking. This show…is SO GOOD. Over the weekend, a friend asked me how it was, and my response was one simple word: “Delectable.” That it is, and not just for Jon Hamm. (Though, lets face it…) Everything, from the cinematography, the clothes, the writing, the acting, the music (THE MUSIC, YOU GUYS. SO PERFECT)…it’s all amazing, and all a feast for the senses. It’s so good that, instead of doing my usual marathon watch, I am limiting myself to one or two at a time. (And trust me, for me, that IS limiting.) So far, I am about 2/3 of the way through season 2, and there hasn’t been one sub-par episode. Also, a word on January Jones: I have not seen her now famous SNL hosting disaster last year. Don’t want to. But in terms of dramatic acting chops? Gal has it. She has Betty Draper DOWN. Do I like her character? Not really, but damn if she doesn’t do a fine job portraying the unhappy housewife.

Also, Jon Hamm is really, really hot. Unlike a lot of hot actors today, he actually has the chops to back it up.

It’s hard to pick a favorite moment (just last night I watched Colin Hanks play guitar; this certainly goes on the list) and, like always I cannot pick just one, so here are a couple of mine from season 1. (Note: All the Mad Men clips disable embedding, so you’ll have to click over to YouTube. It’s worh it, I promise.)

Don’t fuck with Betty Draper, or her kids:

Pete shares his hunting fantasy with Peggy. (How awesome is Peggy, y’all? I love watching her grow professionally.)

Don’s carousel pitch:

Resonates on so many levels, y’all. Also, it’s no secret I am a sucker for nostalgia.

After pitching the carousel, Don thinks twice. (This ties with Matt Saracen driving out of Dillon on Friday Night Lights for best use of a song on TV)

(After this song started playing, I actually said out loud – to an empty room – “Oh, this is PERFECT!” That never happens.)

So yeah, umm, watch Mad Men. Not since Gilmore Girls has a show transported me so fully into another world.

Other things:

* Wednesday night comedies are back! Yay for Modern Family and Cougar Town.
* Sometime over the summer, I started watching Community. Somewhere in the run, I fell in love. Actually wait, I can tell you exactly when I started to love the show. When this happened:

* A few years back, I read what remains to be my favorite book ever, I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb. I recently read his follow-up book, The Hour I First Believed. While it takes place in the same town, and features some of the same characters, it really doesn’t hold a candle to I Know This Much…  It’s still good, but Mr. Lamb gets a bit too caught up in his own drama for me. Kind of disappointing, because She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True are both masterpieces.

* Is anyone going to the Stewart/Colbert rallies? I kind of really want to. Is it just me?

* Another podcast has been added to my regular rotation: Radio Lab. It took me awhile to get into it, because they have an unconventional style that takes getting used to. But, they do some pretty amazing stories, and actually make science interesting a good part of the time. My favorites so far include War of the Worlds, Detective Stories, and Diagnosis. (Two of which actually aren’t that science-y. Go figure.)

But seriously, guys, go watch Mad Men. That’s really the point of this post.

Pop culture doldrums


Party Down, I miss you so much I still haven't watched the last two episodes.

I don’t know about you all, but this weather is really getting to me. Normally I don’t mind the summer – like Rory Gilmore I tend to run cold, so the summertime is one of the only times of the year I’m actually comfortable. Until now. 

Between the oppressive heat and about a month of being out of town or having house guests, I have been completely ignoring my duties as a pop culture/television junkie. When I’m home, I can’t be bothered to watch or read something new – instead it’s been trashy or adolescent books and TV on DVD.  


I’ve completely abandoned my fake news boys, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. It started innocently enough – miss a few episodes there, a few episodes there. Before I knew it, weeks had gone by and my DVR was backlogged with episodes. So then I started going through them, but listening to news 4 weeks old is, well, kind of pointless. And only made me feel worse about getting far behind. So I deleted them all and started fresh. And then didn’t watch for three more weeks, and now they’re on hiatus. 

I’ve also abandoned the last two episodes of Party Down  though I suspect that’s because I know they are truly the LAST TWO episodes. Stupid Starz. For those unaware of the brilliance of this show, check it out on Netflix instant queue. Just don’t tell me what happens at the end of season two. (Though I’ve heard rumblings of Constance returning, which can only be awesome.) 

Speaking of Netflix, forget it. I only just watched the Broadway documentary that had been sitting atop my DVD player for a month. The Informant! still sits there untouched. 

That thing he's holding is called a blasting rod. This never fails to make me giggle, because I am very immature.

Don’t get me started on books. Books, books, books, I have so many books to read! A few months ago, I made the huge commitment (and possible mistake) of buying all the books in the Harry Dresden series. Yeah, I know, but stay with me: It was a nostalgia thing. I used to read them in college, ok? And awhile back, I got an iTunes gift certificate, which I might have used to get the first two audiobooks. Which might have led to an expensive day at Barnes and Noble. So now, not only do I have 10 books to get through, I also have, you know, regular books sitting untouched on my bookshelf. Don’t worry guys, I’m coming! 

Pop culture ruts can be hard to break through. My problem is I get really stuck on one thing and have a difficult time getting unstuck. But it’s just like everything else in life: you don’t want to do it, but once you go through the motions, it’s not a big deal. And you’re glad you made the effort. 

Emmy nominees(!!) Kyle and Connie, aka Coach and Mrs. Coach

Once I get unstuck, what should I be looking at this summer? Besides Friday Night Lights, which I would never abandon because it’s AWESOME. (Speaking of which, can we all give a big internet cheer to Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler for their very, very VERY overdue Emmy nominations?) I haven’t been to see a movie since Alice in Wonderland. Any suggestions? I hear good things about The Kids are All Right. Anything else? 

Video of the Day: Farewell, Party Down. Here’s one of my favorite scenes from season 1.