Senior Travel Correspondent Doug Wingate
had these postings to report from some of his recent travels.
The week after the Tony awards, I was in Manhattan again, and caught up on some of the 2009 award-winning shows I had not yet seen. Saturday afternoon, I saw one of the final performances of Ionesco's EXIT THE KING (see http://theater2.nytimes.com/2009/03/27/theater/reviews/27ione.html ), the French, "existential" (or for Eastern philosophical fans, "Vedantic") farce about the eternity of life underlying our fleetingly temporal bodies, starring Susan Sarandon -- and also Geoffrey Rush in his Tony Award-winning best actor turn. The show was delightfully madcap (supported by comic wonder Andrea Martin, and by the equally expert Lauren Ambrose, best known perhaps for her amazing turn as Claire in HBO's Alan Ball masterpiece, SIX FEET UNDER), as well as profound -- good mix in my book! Sadly, it's limited 14 week run is already done.
The next day, I saw David Hyde-Pierce (multiple Emmy and Tony award winner) in a Manahattan Theater Club revival of a depression area comedy called ACCENT ON YOUTH, about the matter of growing older (hmmmmm, a common theme here? Maybe most appropriate given the age of the average Broadway audience!)
(see http://theater2.nytimes.com/2009/04/30/theater/reviews/30acce.html ). Anyway, I think this limited run one closes on June 28, so there are maybe (depending on when one reads this) a few more chances to enjoy this comfortably charming comedy.
On Monday night, I saw NEXT TO NORMAL, new musical winner for Best Score, and also 2009 Tony Award winning Best Musical Actress Alice Ripley (see http://theater2.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/theater/reviews/16norm.html ). The musical is about the modern American dysfunctional family, including the manic-depressive mother at its heart. Doesn't sound like typical "musical" fare, and indeed is not, but it nonetheless is exciting, fast-paced, liberally sprinkled with humor (mostly of the black variety) and interesting always. For those who follow Broadway, it was directed by the acclaimed director of past hits, RENT and GREY GARDENS. I'm glad I saw it!
Saw two new shows here in Miami, at the excellent ARSHT PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
( http://www.arshtcenter.org/ ), overlooking Biscayne Bay, just across from SoBe over the McArthur Causeway.
One was the still-on-Broadway Argentinian "performance art" piece, FUERZA BRUTA (see http://theater2.nytimes.com/2007/10/25/theater/reviews/25fuer.html ). This dynamic show may not be for all theatergoers, but it is "exciting" in a good way! Read the Times review and decide for yourself if you'd like it. I did!
The other show was part of the Arsht Center's current festival of "short plays" including the Adult-themed UNDERSHORTS, shown only at 10 PM so as to discourage bringing the kids along (see http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/story/1077591.html ). I think the show has actually finished its extended Miami run, and will next be seen in Ft. Lauderdale June 25-28. The shows all were fine one act comedies, some not surprisingly much more effective than others. One stand-out actor was Stephen Trovillion
(see http://www.broadwayworld.com/people/Stephen_Trovillion/ ), an apparently sadly-underused Actors Equity, John Goodman-esque actor whose expert comic range that evening included a Jimmy Swaggart-style raunchy evangelical minister in a dominatrix tryst, a tres gay real estate broker in Sodom, and a dry-as-the-desert, jaded husband in a hilarious dinner a deux with his equally jaded wife. Look out for this guy. He's good, as in Goodman!
many thanks to Mr. Wingate
for his seasoned observations.