On February 19th, I went back to August: Osage County. I hadn't planned to go but I did want to see the brilliant role of Aunt Maddie Fae played by Elizabeth Ashley. Plus my fellows Steve, Mondschein and Kevin were all going. I simply haven't the strength to resist being in that company anytime, anywhere, but especially in the theatre. I loved finally seeing one and only Elizabeth Ashley on stage. The play is still the play, but it didn't have me shaking in my shoes as it once did. Plus there were understudies in for the leads. That doesn't happen to me much and it usually doesn't matter - it is Broadway afterall, where the understudies are practically stars in my opinion - but these ladies just didn't hold a candle to Tony winner Deanna Dunagan and Amy Morton. However, I did enjoy seeing this play again.
On March 3rd, I went back to In the Heights with some friends who had never been. The show is still high energy and I had to dance in my seat. Many of the cast has moved on. Javier Munoz as Usnavi was terrific and held that same joy that creator Lin-Manuel Miranda did. Robin de Jesus as Sonny, Priscilla Lopez as Camilla, Mandy Gonzalez as Nina, and Chris Jackson as Benny are still there from the original cast. Chris was out so Joshua Henry was on for him. Mandy was out too, so Krysta Rodriguez was on for her. Krysta usually understudies Carla, but Marcy Hariel who usually plays Vanessa, was out so Janet Dacal who is usually Carla moved into the Vanessa spot and Krysta moved over to the Vanessa role. Wait a minute. Who played Carla? I still haven't figured it out. Thank goodness, Olga Merediz is still in the show, singing her heart out as Abuela Claudia. It is a truly powerful, moving and honest performance. It gets me every time, whether live or on the original cast recording. I had the opportunity to tell her several days later when I ran into her on the uptown bus. She's still giving it her all and is hoping for a chance to audition for the movie of In the Heights. In the meantime, she took a little break and filmed a judge role on Law & Order and also a sitcom.
On March 4th, I worked late enough that as I was walking through Times Square on my way home I happened to notice that Blithe Spirit was on TKTS and there was no line at the Play Only Window. Damn obsessive compulsive impulsiveness! Oh well, obsessive compulsive impulsiveness be damned. I got a nicely priced orchestra seat and had a wonderful time on my second visit. I loved it even more than I did the first time. Barbara Walters was there. Director Michael Blakemore sat across the aisle and took notes. I heard that William Windom, Dr. Seth from Murder, She Wrote!, may have been in the house. I also sat next to a great lady from DFW. It was absolute fun chatting with a Texan.
On March 6th, I returned to Shrek. These are the tickets I won from the ad campaign contest that Modern Tonic sponsored. I took Noah with me and we sat front row center of the mezzanine. The house was very empty. Sure, the book and look of Shrek is exactly like the movie, but the music is great and so is the cast. We had a super good time. I actually wouldn't mind going again.