Daddycatcher’s Theatrical Round-Up #1

The DVR is backing up at Daddycatcher’s place but his Playbill collection has been stacking up!!!

Between now and April 19th, Daddycatcher has 17 shows that he is attending in NYC.  It’s all part of the Spring rush that occurs every year in April at Daddycatcher’s office.

In the past week alone, Daddycatcher has seen 5 shows.  And they’ve been some pretty interesting experiences.


Daddycatcher remembers reading Our Town in school.  He also remembers the nice little nap he took when he saw a production of it on video at school.  He had heard that this was a revelatory production but was not at all prepared for the emotional wallop this Chicago transfer would provide.

Environmentally staged in the Barrow Street Theatre, director David Cromer places the action of Grover’s Corners right in the audiences’ lap.  Contemporary clothed actors bring Thornton Wilder‘s characters to life while Cromer, himself, brings a dead-pan sensibility to the role of the Stage Manager.  The house lights never go down in this production and the bare bones production remains true to Wilder’s orginal stage directions and concept.  The production is wholly captivating and the third act’s theatricality left many in tears.



After all the bad press that Impressionism received during its expanded preview period, Daddycatcher was surprised that he enjoyed it as much as he did.

It’s not a good play at all, by any stretch of the imagination.  But since the bar wasn’t set too high, it made for a enjoyable evening.  It was nice to see Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen on stage. Though they didn’t set off any theatrical sparks.  Daddycatcher was wondering if they were already bored with the trite and clichè-ridden vehicle that landed with a thud at the Schoenfeld Theatre.


The play centers on Allen’s character, an art gallery owner, who refuses to sell any of her paintings because of their significance in her life.  Her employee, a photographer played by Irons, is also feeling a rut in his life.  The idea of Impressionism is intriguing – about two middle-aged adults who need to step back to view and examine their lives – but fails under its own saccharine sentimentality.



Ugh! Trailer trash strippers! Blah! Frat boys looking horrible shirtless! Blech! Jello wrestling! Boo! Jane Fonda constantly appearing in 80’s work-out clothes delivering life lessons! If only!

While the real Fonda was uptown starring in 33 Variations, Daddycatcher was struggling to stay awake during That Pretty Pretty, or The Rape Play.  The only thing that mildly amused him was that work-out Jane Fonda was the muse of one of the characters and she appeared throughout the play in a blue leotard.  That’s it – 105 minutes of Daddycatcher’s life he could have spent sleeping and doing laundry!!!



Eugene Ionesco‘s Exit the King is one of the truly spectacular productions to have graced Broadway in years.  Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush makes an astonishing Broadway debut as King Berenger I, monarch of a crumbling kingdom who must face his impending demise.

Surrounding him are his icy first wife Queen Marquerite (Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon); loving second wife Queen Marie (Lauren Ambrose); creepy purse-lipped doctor (William Sadler); loyal servant (Andrea Martin); and dude-ish knight (Brian Hutchison).

The cast works wonders with Ionesco’s absurdist work.  Martin, a Tony winner for My Favorite Year, does her usual shtick but it fits so well within the world of the play.  Sadler plays the devilish doctor with aplomb.  Hutchinson’s aloofness as the knight, constantly announcing the King’s orders, gives the proceedings an innocence to identify with.  Ambrose continues to surprise Daddycatcher with every stage role she tackles.

Sarandon seemed adrift in the first act but her long monologue ending the play, as she leads Berenger to his death, was tender, soothing, and somber.

And Geoffrey Rush! The physicality that he brings to Berenger is astonishing.  The man (who also adapted the work along with the director) mines every pathos from a character who refuses to believe he is a mortal.  As he tries to prolong the inevitable that will arrive “at the end of the play,” his struggle becomes the struggle that every human being deals with concerning death.  It makes people think: How will I be when death is at my door?  How will I deal with it?



Daddycatcher finally saw West Side Story for the first time on stage!!!  And the experience was enjoyable, though he failed to see why this is considered one of the greatest musicals of all time.  But then he re-watched the movie and remembered.

Daddycatcher found only three things that sizzled in this somewhat respectable production:

1.) Karen Olivo as Anita – a fiery presence among the cast.

2.) The Jerome Robbins choreography – specifically “The Dance at the Gym.”

3.) Matt Cavenaugh – No, not his performance.  Matt lowering himself onto Maria (played by promising – and lucky – newcomer Josefina Scaglione) in a wife-beater after the “Somewhere” ballet — SIZZLING!!!!

Other than that, West Side Story left Daddycatcher feeling a little unfulfilled.  And he may receive flack for saying this but he thinks that the changes made to the show for the film were definitely an improvement.

The Sharks have more presence in the film when they share “America” with their girls.  The film rendition provides a thorough contrast to Bernardo and Anita’s views of their new home.

The movie also wisely switches the positions of “Cool” and “Gee, Officer Krupke.” The belief in 1957 was that after two deaths in the first act, there should be some levity or you’ll lose the audience.  Not so in 2009.  The placement of “Gee, Officer Krupke” in the second act seems odd.  Dramatically, the tension leading up to the end is fractured and the number falls flat.

Arthur Laurents wanted to give the world a new West Side Story before he left this world.  Well, what he left us was with a West Side Story that still yearns for more.



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