“Happy to Make Your Acquaintance”
Ladies and gents,
Brace yourselves, dear readers — the Spring Theater Season is about to be upon us. This warning/declaration comes not because today is March 1 (the unofficial first day of spring), but rather because this past week has been jammed, wall-to-wall, with Broadway meet-and-greets. The meet-and-greet, for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, is an opportunity for members of the media (like yours truly) to get a sneak-peek at a particular production and, perhaps, pose a few questions to the stars and creative team. I attended three such events in the past two days and, yes, my head is spinning. The best you can hope for is to walk away with some sense of the personality of the production. Let me tell you what I learned.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s took over the famed, ultra-luxe Royal Suite at the Carlyle Hotel for a super-stylized press event. From the high end digs to the fancy spread, it seemed no expense was spared on this lavish way to meet the press. “Game of Thrones” vixen and Holly Golightly incarnate Emilia Clarke arrived in style, looking every bit the star, alongside her male co-stars Cory Michael Smith and George Wendt. She even took time to pose with her feline costar. So what did we learn? This production is all about style and glamour. And what else would one expect from a show with the name Tiffany’s in the title?
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike staged their event in the rehearsal room. Producer Joey Parnes (one of the last remaining true mensches on Broadway) welcomed us all there, and moderated a chat with the playwright Christopher Durang, director Nicholas Martin, and the entire cast (Sigourney Weaver, David Hyde Pierce, Kristine Nielsen, Billy Magnussen, Shalita Grant, and Genevieve Angelson). Both Durang and Martin rolled in on wheelchairs, which created plenty of comic material for the wickedly funny company. (When asked about her “longstanding relationship” with Durang, Weaver deadpanned, “Longstanding is an ironic term given the circumstances.”) Hyde Pierce got non-injury-related laughs when asked what makes a Chris Durang comedy unique, he replied, “Almost all of them are written by Chris.” So what did we learn? Expect a ton of laughs from this affable and downright familial company! In a season all-but-devoid of laughs, this will be an oasis in a dramatic desert.
Kinky Boots held theirs inside the Hirschfeld Theatre, with lots of bells and whistles: two fully-costumed musical numbers, a panel discussion with the A-List creative team, and a full-on press junket in the mezzanine. The discussion showed off the creative team’s passion for the material, while the musical numbers showed off not only the sheer genius of Cyndi Lauper’s score, but also of entire cast. Following the out-of-town buzz, bravura turns by Billy Porter, Stark Sands, and Annaleigh Ashford are pretty much a given at this point, but witnessing the sheer perfection of the entire ensemble was a unique thrill. Following the presentation, Lauper and librettist Harvey Fierstein moved through their junket interviews in synch, shouting barbs and odd terms of endearment at one another in their respective instantly recognizable voices. So what did we learn? Kinky Boots has the words “BIG” “HIT” and “FEEL GOOD” written all over it. I’m still humming.
Tidbits from around town…
Caught Michael Shannon chatting with the stage hands and smoking a cigarette (tsk, tsk Monsieur Shannon!) outside of the Cort Theatre, where he recently appeared in Grace.
Spotted Wendy Williams loaded down with nearly a dozen shopping bags and causing quite a scene at the Short Hills Mall.
Witnessed Rick Hoffman enjoying a flute of Veuve before hopping on a Metro North train at Cipriani Grand Central.
Overheard Harvey Fierstein telling Jack O’Brien his favorite Jack O’Brien quote over lunch at Orso: “The show is funny. You, not so much.” Jack’s response: “Oh, yes. I did say that. That’s mine.”
As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!