“BLANKETS AND BEDDING”
Ladies and gents,
I assuming you’ve already heard the big news coming out of Canada this week, yes? I’m not talking about national cannabis legalization, you pot heads, but for those of you wondering my stance: I have “glaucoma” and I vote accordingly! No, sillies, I’m talking about the fact that two of America’s most buzzed about new musicals happened to cross the border and open in Toronto on the very same night earlier this week. Bat Out of Hell’s at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, with Ain’t Too Proud a brisk 10-minute walk away at the Princess of Wales. But before your imagination is flooded with images of a Jets/Sharks-style knife fight between competing casts, this rivalry is of the friendly variety. Though both shows feature existing music, Jim Steinman’s operatic rock scratches a very different itch than The Temptations’ Motown grooves. And let me be the first to tell you that any self-respecting music lover needs both in his or her life! I’ve already seen these shows at previous stops on their tours and was left positively smitten. These are big, sturdy crowd-pleasers with no short supply of genuine theatrical artistry. And the audiences react accordingly. No telling how they’ll cheer now that legalized weed has entered the picture! I’m headed to Toronto next week to see for myself, so I’ll be reporting back.
Now this will surprise absolutely no one, but I really don’t like being alone. My analyst says that I’ve created a life for myself in which I’m able to avoid the existential realities that solitude tends to bring to mind. But, even with my active social schedule, there are still times I find myself needing to distract from the noise in my head. Well, that was before Apple invented AirPods! Now, I’m never forced to sit with my own thoughts — not with a constant stream of audio pumping into my brain! That’s why I was so delighted to hear about Playing on Air’s brand-new James Stevenson Prize for comedic short plays. Not only will it encourage our funniest writers to keep writing funny shorts, but the winning play will get recorded for radio/podcast distribution! That’s like, what? 20-50 minutes of hilarious distraction from the fact that life is merely a slow, confusing walk towards our respective graves!
Speaking of spurring on writers with cash prizes: the Horton Foote Prize was awarded this past Monday to Lauren Yee for Cambodia Rock Band and to Jaclyn Backhaus for India Pale Ale (currently in previews at MTC). The ceremony and celebration took place, as usual, at the Lotos Club, so I was unable to attend. (I’ve been banned from the Lotos Club since experiencing a genuinely humiliating wardrobe malfunction back in 1993, when I was moderating a conversation with Amy Tan. At the time I was just getting into Japanese avant-garde fashion, and had accidentally taken the wrong kind of Sudafed.)
Tidbits from around town…
Caught theatrical wunderkind Sam Gold exiting Dumbo House as New York Times star theater reporter Michael Paulson was entering. Is Dumbo the new Hell’s Kitchen?
Spotted Jordan Roth at JFK, singlehandedly making air travel glamorous again, en route to London.
Saw fans sending Marsha Mason drinks at the Public Theater’s David Rockwell-designed hotspot, The Library.
Overheard Barry Manilow (who once got 44th Street renamed in his honor), David Zippel, and Marc Hulett raving about Michael Urie after a recent performance of Torch Song.
As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!