Thursday, April 24, 2008
Attend the Tale.
When I was home a few weekends ago, I got to watch a filmed version of Company on PBS's Great Performances. It was the revival that appeared on Broadway last, directed by John Doyle. It was fantastic, mostly because the actors played their own instruments and the play's staging was so fucking amazing.
I knew of the play and the director because he also revived Sondheim's Sweeney Todd about two years ago, and like Company, the earlier revival was a stripped-down production where the actors doubled as the orchestra. It's almost unfair to use the term to describe the group of musicians, since there are only about ten people on stage above the empty orchestra pit.
Last night, Rachel and I went to see Sweeney open at the Cadillac Palace, where it'll be for a week before the touring production leaves Chicago and goes to somewhere like St. Louis or something. It had been a while since I'd seen a musical; I think the last was Les Miserables in Richmond about five years ago. I'm no Broadway connoisseur, I'm just some gay who likes musicals sometimes. And I can't formally criticize the show, since I don't know enough about putting on a big production and how all of that theatre shit works. But let me tell you this: the production of Sweeney Todd blew my fucking face off.
Seriously, I rarely notice how much influence a director has on a play, especially when it's a touring cast (I've never seen a show in New York, and I've only really seen musicals when they came through Richmond on tour). But I sat in the front row of the balcony last night in complete awe as I watched a group of ten people pull of an amazing feat. It was thousands of times better than that stupid, lame-ass Johnny Depp mess of a film. All of this considering the flaws in the production!
Seriously, John Doyle. I want you to direct my life.
Rachel and I had so much fun last night. We even ate at a fancy-assed restaurant where our bill was waaaaay too much and we split a fifty-two dollar bottle of wine. But good lord, it was delicious. I want to see more shows as they come through town - Avenue Q will be here in May, and hey, maybe I could even convince one of my non-musical inclined friends to go. It's got puppets, you guys!