Daddycatcher’s Theatrical Round-Up #2

5 down, 11 more to go in Daddycatcher’s Spring Theatrical Round-Up.

This week’s shows:

RAMBO SOLO

Soho Rep and Nature Theater of Oklahoma present, Rambo Solo, a one-man show based on Zachary Oberzan’s obsessive love for the novel, Rambo: First Blood.  Yes, there’s a novel! Who knew!?!

Oberzan spends 105 minutes recounting the ENTIRE agonizing plot of the novel on stage in front of three screens that show him doing the entire piece in his small Soho apartment.  This actually was intriguing for Daddycatcher because he could care less about Rambo.  Each screen showed an unedited version of the piece with Oberzan using kitchen appliances, towels, and other household items as he frantically and energetically performs the piece for the audience.

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And the audience was asked to sit on shag carpetting and pillows for the entire length of the play.  Daddycatcher sat in the back and was able to lounge as he thought of better ways he could have spent his evening.  But he does have to give Oberzan credit for engaging several of the audience members.  Some really did seem like they were having a good time.

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Daddycatcher not so much.  Although, what if Daddycatcher did To Wong Foo: Solo!?!  They’ll be lining up the street to get in!!!!

HAIR

Daddycatcher caught Hair last year at Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park and was blown away by the sheer theatricality and energy of the cast.  He was afraid that the show would lose some of its spontaneity by moving into an enclosed space at Al Hirschfeld Theatre.

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Well, there is nothing to worry about.  Hair feels as fresh as any of the newer rock musicals that have appeared on Broadway in recent years.  Some cast changes have occurred in the time that it took to make it onto Broadway, but these are not negative changes.

The amazing thing about the production is that it still feels relevant in today’s world of war and economies crumbling.  There really is only a structural plot but the musical is mostly a series of vignettes that touch about many things: sodomy, marijuana, conformity, sexuality, pollution, free love, growing up, war, and sacrifice.

Will Swenson leads the cast as the swaggering Berger, while Gavin Creel does his best work to date replacing Jonathan Groff in the role of Claude.  Standouts include Caissie Levy as Sheila, Allison Case as Crissy, Bryce Ryness as Wolf, and Sasha Allen’s booming voice as Dionne.

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An added bonus: seeing the Subway Hero walking past the theatre at intermission.  Turns out he also worked at the opening night party as a waiter.  Someone get Chad Lindsey a job!!!

REASONS TO BE PRETTY

Neil LaBute’s reasons to be pretty also arrived on Broadway this season via an off-Broadway run at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.  The show also marks LaBute’s Broadway debut.

reasons to be pretty created a little bit of buzz about a month ago when it premiered its website:  www.doesthisplaymakemefat.com

The play takes an umcompromising look at relationships and the powers of words.  When Greg (an outstanding Thomas Sadowski) dares to call his girlfriend’s looks “regular” it unleashes a blistering 15 minutes scene of rage that leaves the audience feeling incredibly uncomfortable.  And that’s the first scene. Marin Ireland delivers the tirade and Sadowski is left to pick up the pieces.

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Greg spends the play dealing with the ramifications of the break-up.  His best friend, Kent (Stephen Pasquale), is the typical LaBute alpha male who harps on the looks of his security guard wife (Piper Perabo) and the new 23-year old girl at their Costco like warehouse.

LaBute’s journey of maturity may not enjoyable to all but it is definitely a solid play that deserves a little recognition.

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HAPPINESS

Oh, to hope that Happiness would actually inspire such happiness for this weary theatergoer…

A valiant effort by an accomplished team of professionals, Happiness tells the story of nine passengers who are stuck on a stalled subway car.  The “mysterious” train conductor, played by Hunter Foster, has them choose the happiest moment in their lives before they can continue on in their journey.

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The show is directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, with music by Scott Frankel and lyrics by Michael Korie of Grey Gardens.  The show provides an interesting concept but the execution becomes rather dull by the third person choosing their happy moment.

The performers are all rather incredible.  Daddycatcher was really blown away by Sebastian Arcelus, as a power-hungry lawyer and Jenny Powers, as a fashion-voyeur.  Both have amazing voices and it was nice to see them in roles that allow them to stretch some acting muscles as well.

Broadway favorites Ken Page and Joanna Gleason fare less favorably.  But really it is their material that fails them.  Page is a gay interior designer and Gleason is a right wing radio shock jock.  Daddycatcher was cringing during Gleason’s hippie inspired happy moment.  Oh, the shock!

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BEING AUDREY

Happiness is a masterpiece compared to Being Audrey.  A middle-aged woman escapes into the world of Audrey Hepburn movies when she can no longer take the realities of her life.

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Cheryl Stern portrays the woman who can’t deal with her husband’s unexpected heart attack and enters a world of class, sophistication, and hospital orderlies acting as aristocrats and royalty.

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It wasn’t anything spectacular.  It was just pretty lame and had no emotional pull whatsoever.  And the title tune sounds like “Rosie” from Bye Bye Birdie.

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2 Responses to “Daddycatcher’s Theatrical Round-Up #2”

  1. Rachel Anderson-Rabern Says:

    Aloha daddycatcher…I’m trying to find photos from Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s Rambo Solo that are available for publication (by permission of the photographer) and have venue/date information. And you have some great ones on your website! Any chance you’d could point me in the right direction?

    Starving Hopeful Student,
    Rachel
    lookslikerachel@gmail.com

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