“The Sun is Gonna Shine”
Ladies and gents,
I am here to tell you, once and for all, that great theater exists outside of New York City! In fact, I have witnessed firsthand some of the fabulous offerings taking place across this proud nation.
First and foremost, I attended Thursday’s opening night of Bright Star at DC’s Kennedy Center. I’ve always found the Kennedy Center to be a rather imposing and frigid structure, but let me tell you the warmth of a thousand beating hearts is contained within those white, windowless walls. Like a tender embrace, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s two hour ode to family, hope, and optimism enwraps you in comforting bliss and makes you wistful for an innocent and righteous America that today’s era of crass cynicism has all but washed from our collective consciousness. I was seated right across the aisle from the show’s brilliant co-creators. Paul Simon, Ms. Brickell’s husband and a pretty darn good songwriter in his own right, was seated proudly next to his wife, bopping his head along to the tuneful score. At the after party at the Four Seasons, I ran into Al Franken who I’ve never quite forgiven for his unkind (and, some might argue, downright misogynistic) words about my longtime friend Jean Doumanian. I was rather enjoying snubbing him by the bar until a line of dialogue ran from the evening’s entertainment ran through my head (“…the longing of the human heart and its search for propinquity”), bringing to mind Bright Star’s richest themes. Well, damned if I didn’t run right up to Franken and give him a hug. He may be a bastard, but he’s still a human being.
The week prior, another openin’ of another show, in another town. This time, Chicago and the opening of Gotta Dance. It’s based on Dori Bernstein’s documentary about professional basketball’s first-ever senior citizen dance troupe. The show is an absolute delight from start to finish, and made this senior citizen feel young again (no small feat these days, since my recent foot surgery). I adored catching up with the show’s General Manager, Aaron Lustbader, who I’ve known since he was in diapers. (These days he’s more likely to be seen changing diapers than wearing them.) He later emailed me to gently inform me that last week’s issue of the Season Weekly hit his inbox about two dozen times. Oy! Well, Aaron, we’ve checked our process and I think the problem has been ironed out. Fingers crossed!
Tidbits from around town…
Saw Arian Moayed, currently lighting up the stage in The Humans, buying Playbill’s own Harry Haun a cup of Blue Bottle Coffee.
Spotted Martha Plimpton braving the holiday rush at Bloomingdale’s. “Christmas shopping, Martha?” “Nope, I needed a belt and I didn’t anticipate the crowds.” “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” “Bye, Scoop.”
Caught Wayne Brady telling a fan he was having “the time of [his] life” as Lola in Kinky Boots.
Overheard Joel Grey marveling about the size of Beautiful’s grosses with the show’s producer, Paul Blake, at Thomas Schumacher’s annual Christmas party.
Found, well, just about everyone in the industry, at Jujamcyn Theater’s annual holiday bash at Bond 45, while Jordan Roth worked the room.
Serino Coyne mogul Jim Glaub wearing a particularly festive broach at the Broadway League’s Holiday Open House.
And finally, wishing a fruitful year ahead to two of theaterland’s most dynamic (and attractive) producers, Sue Wagner and Daryl Roth, who both celebrated their birthday on Monday.
As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!