In the words of Stephen Sondheim…

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“I’m still here.”

I have not abandoned this blog, I promise. It’s been a crazy start to the year, with family trips, surprise party planning, movie making, and job stress.

But now family trips are over, party was a success, movie has been made, and job stress has subsided. So: Craziness over.

Now I just have to refresh my memory of the 4 episodes I watched back at the end of January. There will be a new post by this weekend, I promise!

In case you forgot, we will discuss:
Episode 9: Farmer Ted and the News
Episode 10: Have I Found a Guy For You
Episode 11: You’ve Got a Friend
Episode 12: It Was Fascination, I Know

My pop culture summer, part 1

Well folks, the eve of summer is upon us. To my mind, it has already passed. How was yours? Mine…wasn’t terriffic. I am looking forward to a new season and am determined to make fall fun. But whatever else I can say about the summer, I have to admit, it was pretty kick ass in terms of pop culture. I saw 4 shows (3 musicals, 1 play); saw my boys play in Chicago; discovered some new bands and podcasts; read great books; went to a great film festival; and even had time to watch (or re watch) some TV. So it wasn’t all bad.

Below is the first installment of my best of summer pop culture picks. Feel free to share yours in the comments!

Continue reading

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

Eiiiiiii!!!!

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.

The best of times is now: Our weekend with DHP

After six visits over the past two years, New York officially peaked for me last weekend. I suppose it’s possible to top the awesomeness/epicness of Oct 22-24, 2010, but it’s going to be damn hard.

This was actually over a year in the making. Summer 2009, Nicki and I met in New York for a trip to see Next to Normal. At some point, our mutual love of David Hyde Pierce came up, and we decided then and there that when he came back to Broadway, we would go see him.

Let me pause here and say that in case you don’t know who he is – and if you are reading this blog there’s a slim chance you don’t – he is best known for playing Niles Crane on my beloved Frasier, but he’s also a kick-ass and Tony-award winning stage actor, recently seen in Spamalot and Curtains (he won the Tony for the latter) as well as a ton of other stuff pre-Frasier. You can also check him out in the super twisted but hilarious film  Wet Hot American Summer, as well as Down With Love, A Bug’s Life, the weird yet intriguing Wolf, and the promising yet-to-be-released The Perfect Host (playing at a film festival near you). And if that’s not enough for you, check out the newest audiobook of The Phantom Tollbooth, which he not only narrates but also plays every single character.  (A mighty task as the book has at least 30 distinct characters.)

Flash forward a year, and it’s announced that Mr. Pierce is indeed returning to the boards for a limited run of the 1991 David Hirsen play La Bete. I don’t think it’s what we were expecting, but hey, it was a play, it was on Broadway and it had DHP, so we were there.

We got tickets way in advance. A few days later, I found out that Mr. Pierce would be participating in the 92nd Street Y Broadway Talks series the day after we were seeing him in La Bete. Obviously, we needed to see this as well. And so it turned into a “DHP-themed weekend.” Continue reading

Short takes

  • Sorry, Jon Cryer. But REALLY? WTF, Emmy people? If NPH had lost to Rainn Wilson or one of the 30 Rock guys, I’d understand. But John Cryer??  Other than that (and Dexter‘s snub…again) I was pretty okay with the outcome of the Emmys. If Drew Barrymore couldn’t have won for playing Little Edie in Grey Gardens, then Jessica Lange was a good choice. And, obviously, NPH rocked it as host. Can he just host everything now, ever?

I mean, really. And I don’t even think I need to mention Dr. Horrible hijacking the ceremony. Awesomesauce.

  • Speaking of Dexter, I’ve seen the season 4 premiere. Without giving anything away: YOWZA! It’s a doozy, and it’s wonderful, and I’m so glad it’s back. Or will be, officially, on Sunday. Also, note to viewers: This season promises to be creepier than the last two. I got used to being able to watch it alone in the dark. Umm, maybe don’t do that this season. I had to take my teddy bear with me for protection to the kitchen and bathroom after watching it alone, in the dark, in my room, at night.
  • For anyone in the DC area: The National Book Festival is this weekend, on the mall. And before you scoff, let me tell you that both Mr. John Irving and Ms. Judy Blume will be there. I’ll give you ladies a moment to calm down, because JUDY BLUME! I feel like I owe it to my former pre-teen self to go. She did after all, write one of my favorite books of all time.  
  • Glee continues to be fantastic. Did everyone see last night’s episode? I have three words: “Yes, we cane.” Brilliant.
  • Both HIMYM and Big Bang Theory had delightful premiers. And umm…excuse me for a minute while I reveal my inner fangirl: ROBINANDBARNEYOMGSOCUTE! There. Also, I’m still laughing at the emoticon jokes from Big Bang.
  • So, in other words, yay fall TV!

Video of the Day: One of my favorite things ever. Also, I read a rumor that David Hyde Pierce was on the shortlist of people to play Albert in the Birdie revival, and a small part of me died. Honestly, he’s not the right type, physically, and he’s probably a bit too old, but still.  Anyway, this and “Show People” from Curtains are my current go-to songs for a.) getting psyched and b.) making me happy. My favorite part is the terrible dancing combined with the bouncing hair.