Mary’s Musings – On Broadway

I’m just back from a wonderful, but brief holiday in New York City.  My son, Thomas, and I flew to NYC on Porter out of Billy Bishop Airport (Toronto Island) and although there was nasty turbulence and cold, windy April weather, it didn’t spoil our trip.  We managed to see four Broadway shows in three days – here are my brief reviews:

On The 20th Century

We loved Kristen Chenoweth in “On The 20th Century”. She is reprising the role that Madeline Khan had in the 70s,20th Century and you can see the hilarious influence. Kristen has always said Madeline was her hero (she named her dog after her) so it is nice to see her in this part.  You may know Kristen from her roles on TV in “West Wing” or “Pushing Daisies” and she is also a favourite with the late night talk show hosts – always funny and charming.  “On the 20th Century” is a musical comedy set in the 1930s aboard the luxurious Twentieth Century, a train with an art-deco interior, travelling from Chicago to New York.  A bankrupt producer wants to re-kindle his career with the woman that he had previously made into a star, and tries everything to seduce her during the train trip.  A hilarious subplot includes an investor who isn’t what she seems to be….

Since our return, the Tony nominations have come out and “On the 20th Century” has been nominated for best revival of a musical and Kristen has been nominated for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical.  We will watch the Tonys on June 7 with great interest.


It Shoulda Been You

It ShouldaWe laughed a lot at “It Shoulda Been You” with the hilarious Tyne Daly and Harriet Harris.  Tyne Daly is known as the 6-time Emmy award winner on TV’s Cagney & Lacey and Judging Amy, and you’ll remember Harriet Harris as Bebe, Frasier’s conniving agent in the TV show Frasier
and as Felicia Tilman on Desperate Housewives.  They are both so funny in this production:  Mother of the bride vs. Mother of the groom.  But the star is Lisa Howard who belts her face off and makes you cry.  It’s a wedding story with a cute plot twist, and many laughs along with the way, directed by David Hyde Pierce (Niles of Frasier fame). David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris’ husband, is the groom.
At the end of the show, a couple from the audience went up on stage.  The young man got down on his knee and proposed to his girlfriend, right there!  The cast was in on his plan, but the girl was totally surprised.  She said yes.  This show was Thomas’ surprise pick for me! Lots of fun!


Beautiful: The Carole King MusicalBeautiful Chilina

“Beautiful: the Carole King Musical” is wonderful. It was very exciting to see Canadians Chilina Kennedy and Scott Campbell in the starring roles, as Carole King and her husband Gerry Goffin.
Chilina and Scott are perfect!  It made us so Canadian proud and so Sheridan College proud!  It was also thrilling to go backstage and see them after the show.

The show is all about Carole King’s life, filled with all the great 60s and 70s songs she wrote or co-wrote.  It tells about her marriage to Gerry at a very young age, and later their break-up and his struggle with mental illness.  It’s an excellent production that won two Tony awards last year.

The King and I

King & I Ken & Kelli“The King and I” is spectacular! It’s on the huge stage at the Lincoln Centre, a large round theatre, somewhat similar to the Stratford Festival Theatre.  The ship carrying Anna and Louis into Bangkok sails right out over the orchestra pit and into the audience. It’s the Rogers and Hammerstein story of a young British widow who travels to Siam (Thailand) to teach the King’s many children, set in the 1860s.  Kelli O’Hara as Anna is amazing. The production features a full orchestra and a cast of 50.  Kelli is nominated for a Tony for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical, and Ken Watanabe who plays the King is also nominated for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical.  The show is nominated for best revival of a musical. If creating an extravaganza counts for anything, it will likely win.

Two we missed:   We tried to get tickets to see “An American in Paris” and “Something Rotten” but both were sold out.  In fact, Something Rotten opened while we were there, and by coincidence we were walking past the theatre, and saw all the stars going in on the red carpet.  Both have received nominations for Best Musical, and Thomas’ friend Brandon Uranowitz was nominated for best performance by an actor in a featured role in “An American in Paris”.  We will have to return to see these two, among many others…


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