We had our first show at 54 Below and asked guest Julia Murney to sing a song from a “dream list.” Julia chose to sing ‘Waiting for Life’ from Once on this Island with back up by Amber Iman and Kevin David Thomas. It was everything.
We had the opportunity to talk to the cast and creative team of Paper Mill’s Once On This Island, and get a preview of the production. Head out to Millburn, NJ and see this amazing show!
Hey guys! We saw four(!) shows that opened this week, and they were all pretty great!
Sunday, we were lucky enough to attend the opening of Once On This Island at Paper Mill Playhouse. Patty has been familiar with the score for years but had never seen a production, and Emily was just being introduced to it. And it was AMAZING. First of all, it’s Aherns and Flaherty, whose music we can frequently be heard singing in public places. Second of all, every member of the cast is fierce and has a stupid amazing voice. The set and direction are gorgeous, and the production really makes you feel like you’re listening to friends tell a story. So, do yourselves a favor and get out to Millburn, NJ and see this show. Once On This Island runs at the Paper Mill Playhouse until June 24th. www.papermill.org
Another show that opened on Sunday was Potted Potter. It’s at The Little Shubert (Aw. We miss Lucky Guy…), and it’s all seven of the Harry Potter books condensed into seven minutes. Patty is a HUGE Harry Potter fan (and book lover; Emily had to calm her down when the prop books used in the show were in danger of getting wet), while Emily has only seen (and enjoyed) the movies. It was a fun family show, and if you’re into Harry Potter a definite must-see. There’s some audience participation, which leads to great “live theatre” improv moments, especially since the volunteers are small children. Creators Daniel Clarkson and Jeff Turner have been working on this show for years, and it’s pretty clear they’re having a lot of fun up there together. Maybe one day our street performances of The Color Purple will wind up off-Broadway, just like them! Potted Potter runs at The Little Shubert until August 12th. www.pottedpotter.com
On Wednesday night, our Memphis buddy Chad Kimball opened Murder in the First at 59E59. If there’s one thing we love besides musical theatre, it’s a courtroom drama, especially a courtroom drama from the ’90s. The playwright, Dan Gordon, just so happened to adapt this play from his 1995 courtroom drama of the same name. We were on board. And with Chad as an abused inmate on trial for the murder of a fellow prisoner at Alcatraz and Guy Burnet as the young, idealistic lawyer with something to prove, this show did not disappoint. Throw in a publicity-hungry reporter, a lady lawyer trying to make it in the ’40s, and a corporate big brother, and you have a recipe for great drama. Be advised: there are some very adult scenes, as well as some fantastic fake mustaches. Murder in the First runs until July 1st at 59E59. www.59e59.org
Then, finally last night we attended the opening night of Medieval Play at Signature Theatre. We had actually seen it early in previews, and as usual, it was great to see what had been changed. It wasn’t drastically different, and we loved it both times! It’s a hilarious play about politics and religion in the middle ages, which were so crazy the history behind the play seems like it had to be made up. But by the end, you’re realizing how much of that craziness is still around. The cast is so committed to the style of the play, it adds to how funny it is. There is a lot of going back and forth between contemporary and period speech and between acknowledging the audience and playing to the reality of the situation. And the physical comedy is fantastic; there are great death scenes, sword fights, and funny walks. Medieval Play runs at Signature Theatre until June 24th. www.signaturetheatre.org