On the Tonys

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Dear Neil Patrick Harris,
I know you prefer men, and have a long-time boyfriend and all, but will you marry me? I love you. I will be watching your Tony- version of “Tonight” on Youtube for weeks.

– Also, if I wanted to go back to New York and see shows BEFORE tonight, now I feel the need to go like, immediately. Billy Elliot, Next to Normal, God of Carnage, I want to see them all. Hey,  I have a credit card now. I could totally take a few weeks off work and just wander aimlessly around the city right? (Nope. Unlike some, I do not have the financial security to do that. Alas.)

– I have no desire to see Shrek, at ALL, and seeing their performance only confused me more as to why this is a hit, BUT I will say watching that guy on his knees for an entire number was pretty amazing. Also, I kept on trying to figure out how the front legs worked. Are there strings attached to his actual legs, so the fake legs move with his? I dunno. So confused.

– That kid from Billy Elliot was amazing. He’s what, 12, 13? Wow. What a dancer. I’m glad those three boys won.

– I’m also glad Angela Lansbury won, just because it’s Angela Lansbury. And she’s so grateful and composed. She’s like a grandma. (I may be basing this on her performance as Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast.) 

– I wasn’t a big fan of West Side Story when it tried out in DC, but I’ll say that Anita was wonderful, as was the chick who played Maria. Those two were the standouts. So, good on both of them for being nominated, and good for Anita for winning.

– Also, I swear, Internets, “Sit Down Your Rockin’ The Boat” from Guys and Dolls is really incredible in person. I called my roommate in to see it, and told her that it brought down the house when I saw it in April. She was…underwhelmed. And so was I – but for reals, it’s amazing live.

– Of all the performances, Next to Normal and Billy Elliot were the best.

Video of the Day: In all of his interviews leading up to the Tonys, NPH made kept saying that he was just going to try to keep the show running at a fast pace, and make sure the audiences at home at at Radio City could see a little bit of Broadway. In other words: He wasn’t making it about him. Which is exactly what he did. I’m glad, because I enjoyed most of the performances (despite sound issues), and it definitely made me want to go see a show (see above). BUT, I’m also glad he had a little something up his sleeve, that he didn’t pull it out (hee) until the end of the show. (Again, not making it about him.) Good on you, NPH.

“I don’t own emotion, I rent”

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Last night, I had the immense pleasure of seeing Rent at the Warner Theater here in DC, with original cast members Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp. It’s all a part of Rent: The Broadway Tour making its way across the country this year.

I’ll be honest: When the idea to see this tour first came up a year ago, I had my doubts. Being a girl, and being a girl of a certain age who is a theater dork, I have loved Rent for a good portion of my life. It was the first show I saw on Broadway (not with the original cast) and I know every lyric, every note, and every nuance on the cast album. So, while I was excited at the prospect of seeing two theater icons live on stage, reprising the roles they originated thirteen years ago, I was skeptical. (The 2005 movie did not help sway my doubts any.) If this was going to be some sort of pathetic, self-indulgent tour to recapture the glory years, I didn’t want to see it. I preferred to remember Rapp and Pascal as they sounded on my CD player. (Yeah, CD player, because that’s how long it’s been.) However, everyone else in my party really wanted to go, and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. So we got the tickets.

And thank goodness we did. Rapp and Pascal did not disappoint. I’ve seen the show four times now – six, if you count the movie and Rent Live. This was, without a doubt, the best.

As a Renthead (not as obsessed as most out there, but I do love the show), seeing this show was like having a fantasy come true. They were really there, the original Mark and Roger, in the flesh, right in front of me. And what’s more, they sounded fantastic. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think they were 20-something actors doing the show in its first season.

Not everything was perfect – while Nicolette Hart’s (Maureen) “Over the Moon” was as hilarious and over dramatic as it should be, the rest of her performance was too overzealous. Unfortunately, one of my favorites, “Take Me or Leave Me” was ruined by her shrill enthusiasm. 

But, let’s be honest – the original cast album is so iconic, and Idina Menzel is so talented, that no one will ever live up to her “Maureen.”

Besides that number, the show is fantastic. Standout songs include “Today 4 U” (Justin Johnson is by far the best Angel I’ve seen); “Tango Maureen”; “La Vie Boheme” (an obvious choice, but seriously – to hear Anthony Rapp belt out the beginning is incredible. The audience burst into applause afterwards, right in the middle of the song.); “Light My Candle”; “Out Tonight” (I normally don’t like this song live, because it’s so physical, that the performer’s voice usually [understandably – I don’t know how they do it] suffers. But Lexi Lawson delivered.); “I Should Tell You”; “I’ll Cover You Reprise” (Also an obvious choice, but I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house after Michael McElroy finished the heart-wrenching ballad); and, finally, the real show stopper, “What You Own,” which managed to sound exactly like it does on my CD. I can’t put into words how amazing it was to see Rapp and Pascal sing that song on stage.

One would think after seeing a show six times, that would be enough. But, as a member of my party said as we left the theater, “Couldn’t you go back in right now and see it all again?” Yes, yes I could have. There is something magical about Rent. And one of the best things about it now, thirteen years later, is that it IS so iconic, and people who care enough to go again and again REALLY love the show. Being in an audience of fellow Rentheads, who also know every lyric, note, and nuance, is incredible. There’s an energy that cannot be matched.

Which is probably why, thirteen years later,  Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal still do the show.

Rent: The Broadway Tour is coming to a city near you. Catch it if you can – it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity that is not to be missed.

 Video of the Day: A taste of what I experienced last night – here are Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal singing “What You Own” in rehearsals.

Pretend catch up

So, I can pretend this post is going to be about all the things I’ve been promising to write about: The Ben Folds a cappella CD, (Still good – only 2 real duds – one of which is, surprisingly, “Brick.” Best tracks hands down are “You Don’t Know Me” and “Magic.” See this post to hear the erm, magic that is “Magic.”) a review of Grey Gardens (Loved it so much, and not just because Broadway Boyfriend Malcolm plays piano – though it doesn’t hurt.), my new media obsession (It’s Dan Savage, and his Savage Love Podcast. I recently started working out on a [semi] regular basis, and I find his podcast is perfect for those 30-40 minutes – not serious, entertaining, and doesn’t require all of my attention.)

I could also write about the fact that yesterday, I received two CDs in the mail – the Broadway cast recording of The Story of My Life (*sigh* I’m still not over it being closed so soon), and The Journey Home, which is the first solo CD from my Broadway love, Malcolm Gets. (Yes, that’s right – TWO Malcolm Gets CDs in one day! I know! This is very exciting if you are me.) Get yours here and here.

But what I really want to talk about is this show I can’t seem to stop watching. I’m so six years behind on this, but uh, Queer as Folk – the American version? Oh my god, you guys. WHY did no one tell me about this show? And why one earth did no one tell me about Brian Kinney? Huh? Huh, Internets? I had no idea what I was missing!

Okay, so the show isn’t perfect. In fact, there are times when it’s downright cringe-worthy. (And no, I’m not talking about the love scenes, unless you’re talking about Dr. Dave and Michael. In which case, yeah, gross. Cause Dr. Dave SUCKED.)

But, the thing is, when it’s good? It’s really good. I feel kind of weird saying that, because I think for the most part, it’s thought of as a guilty pleasure show, and maybe even…dare I say it…network approved gay porn? (Maybe? Maybe not. I don’t know.) That’s not why I like it. (Though, it certainly doesn’t hurt that there are pretty boys making out with each other. I mean, I’m only human.)

When I first started watching, I thought, “Okay, so this is kind of like a gay male Sex and the City.” And it is, to an extent. The show follows the lives of five gay men living in Pittsburgh. Their friends are their family. Instead of meeting at a coffee shop every morning, it’s the Liberty Diner. They don’t go to every hot club in town, just one, Babylon. But that’s not why I like it, either.

So, why do I like the show? (Besides getting to stare at Gale Harold and Robert Gant for an hour?) I think it’s the relationships. I care about Brian and Michael’s lifelong friendship. I want things to work out between Justin and Brian. I kind of love Professor Ben, and think he’s such a better match than stupid Dr. Dave. (Have I mentioned how much I hated him?) I was happy for Michael when he got the comic book shop. Heck, even Brian’s Lesbians (TM TWoP) grew on me after awhile.

Oh, and Emmet Honeycutt. Anything with Emmett Honeycutt. More Emmett, please!  Particularly if  he’s in drag. I almost died when he dressed up like Jackie O.

Things I could do without?
– Michael’s mother. This mostly has to do with the actress. I like the idea of her character, but Sharon Gless is just terrible in the role. (Please don’t throw garbage at me, Cagney and Lacy fans!)
– Uncle Vic. Again, I like the idea of him, and don’t even mind the actor. But they give him the worst story lines and dialogue.
– Ted being a douche. I like Ted, but he has a big d-bag quality that makes me hate him half the time. Also, I don’t care what anyone says, running a porn site is just creepy. *shudder*
– Stilted dialogue. The show has good ideas, but sometimes the execution is less than stellar. And sometimes the dialogue is really bad.

But then sometimes, it’s awesome. Like when Brian’s father died:

Tears, folks. There were tears. Also, props to the QAF team for playing a Badly Drawn Boy song in 2000, when he was still relatively unknown (at least in the US). Also, if you’re going to use a Badly Drawn Boy song, that’s the one to use. It’s the best song he’s ever written.

Also, this scene, which is amazing. I know it’s nothing new to old QAF fans, but I rewound it about five times when I saw this episode. (We won’t talk about what happened after.)

Other observations. (Note: I’m only on season 2, so no spoilers, please!)
– Bring back Daphne, please!
– Seriously, more Emmett Honeycutt. I seriously underestimated Peter Paige when I first started watching, and now, he’s one of my favorites. He can go from cracking me up to making me cry in the blink of an eye.

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– Brian Kinney. Seriously. OMG. Love him. So much that I am now totally bummed that it seems like Jackson’s storyline is done on Desperate Housewives. I watched all season and didn’t know! I didn’t know he was so fabulous! Dear World, Please cast Gale Harold in more things.
– I like Justin’s mother, but she needs to grow some more balls. She’s improved this season, but still has more growing to do. Which is fine – I like seeing character growth over several seasons. Just…keep it up.
– I read that Emmett and Ted are a THING in season 3. Ted is at his best when he’s with Emmett, but I’m still unsure about this whole thing. They’re so good as friends. Plus, Emmett is too good for Ted. (I don’t hate Ted; he just needs to grow, too.)
– I am so glad they gave Michael a decent boyfriend in season two. Also, Robert Gant is sort of impossibly good looking. Especially when he’s wearing glasses. So, good on you, writers. So why Dr. Dave in season 1? Was this supposed to help Michael grow, somehow? To have him love someone other than Brian? If so, you all failed. But then you brought in Professor Ben, so all is forgiven.

And um, thus ends my probably incoherent fangirl rant about Queer as Folk. Sorry. I just…had to get that out.

It’s gonna a LEGENDARY Tony Awards!

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Have you heard the news? Have you????

Television’s resident ladies man – and my personal TV Boyfriend, Neil Patrick Harris is hosting the Tony Awards!

Seriously?? Two of my most favorite things – Broadway and NPH – together? (I know, I know, he’s been on Broadway, but I’ve never seen him live, so this is the next best thing.)

Okay, I’ll admit it – I only started watching the Tony Awards last year. But in the middle of it, I thought to myself, “Why have I – who loves all things award show and all things theater – NEVER watched this?” I vowed then and there to never miss another Tony Awards, if I could help it.

The Broadway Universe must be rewarding me in some way for my increased theater love this year.

Thank you, Broadway.

The Tony Awards, with HOST Neil Patrick Harris (did I mention NPH is hosting this year?) are June 7th, and will be broadcast live on CBS from 8-11. Don’t miss it!

Video of the Day: Here’s a taste of NPH on Broadway, as the Emcee in my favorite show, Cabaret.

Coming soon

I shall write about most, if not all, of these topics:

1.) The awesomeness of Grey Gardens, and how awesome it was to see Broadway Boyfriend Malcolm play piano on screen

2.) The awesomeness of This American Life Live, and how awesome it was to see NPH on the big screen

3.) My new media love

4.) My new mix of sad songs. (But it’s a good thing)

5.) Watching naked men on stage. No, really. I saw a play last weekend with naked men on stage. I’ll write about the play too, which was excellent.

I’m coming off two-plus weeks of being busy every single day, and just had a relaxing weekend of doing nothing yet managing to be productive. So I’ll be back on track soon, I promise. In the meantime, check out Ira Glass on The Colbert Report last week. Is it any wonder why America loves this guy?

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