Ladies and gents,
When Children of a Lesser God first premiered on Broadway in 1980 I saw it a total of seven times. I was even there on its opening night, March 30 — which happened to be my birthday, when I used to acknowledge the occasion and before it started to feel like just another mile marker in the slow walk towards the grave. Before Children of a Lesser God, I liked my Broadway shows to be big, brassy, and feature kick lines. Mark Medoff showed me that theater could be about big ideas without boring me to death.
So, of course, I was all in when I heard about the revival starring Joshua Jackson (whose breakout turn on “Dawson’s Creek” had me fantasizing about an alternate universe where I became a high school teacher) and newcomer Lauren Ridloff. Yes, I attended the opening this week, and no it wasn’t the first, second, or even third time I’d seen this resplendent production directed by Kenny Leon. Also at the opening? Well, every last heavy hitter from the Shubert Organization — the good people who produced the play the first time
around, plus the play’s director, Kenny Leon, and Executive Producer Tamar Climan. I also spotted Phylicia Rashad, Rosie O’Donnell, Clay Aiken, and a
slew of Broadway beefcake including Corey and Casey Cott, Derek Klena, Brandon Uranowitz, Zachary Prince, Eric Ulloa and Andrew Keenan “Cruchie” Bolger. Nice company, if you can keep it!
I ran right up to Mark Medoff, who seemed to be basking in the glory of seeing his show back on Broadway. We’d never met, and he’d clearly never heard of me — but that didn’t stop me from telling him what a giant impact the play had on me when I was a still shy of middle aged columnist. He told me that as much as he loved the Longacre, the play’s original home, there was something extra special about seeing it at Studio 54. (I later asked producer Hal Luftig if he ever partied at 54 back when Steve and Ian were running the place. He just smiled and walked away.)
The after party was at the Edison Ballroom, and I learned that the basement of the Edison used to serve as the venue of a monthly nightclub venue for New York’s deaf party animals. Apparently, the door policy was as strict as Studio 54 and the goings on were just as debaucherous. Well, this party was tame by comparison, but even the civilized crowd couldn’t resist cutting a rug to the beats of DJ Nico DiMarco — the twin brother of model, actor and deaf activist Nyle DiMarco, who is a co-producer on the show. I made a deal with myself that night that I was going to start listening — I mean really listening — to those around me. But then I got a chatty Uber driver on my way home, and I decided that verbal communication is way overrated.
Tidbits from around town…
Caught Nikki Haley posing for selfies in front of the Time Warner Center.
Spotted Katie Couric getting a pedicure at the spa at the Peninsula Hotel.
Overheard Seth Meyers saying hi to a friend at a different table during brunch at Loring Place, saying, “We wanted to have one last nice meal out before my wife gives birth.” Later that day, his wife did indeed give birth…in the lobby of their apartment building.
As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!