Ladies and gents,
The surest sign of spring’s impending arrival has nothing to do with Punxsutawney Phil, the red-breasted robin, or daylight savings. And it certainly has nothing to do with temperatures, as evidenced by the pool of mercury still sitting at the very bottom of my thermometer. No, folks, the way I know that spring is nearly upon us is by the metaphorical heat being generated by the spring theater season.
It’s going to be a crowded season, I assure you. Here are a few ways to stand out in the crowd:
– Schlep the theatrical press corps to Brooklyn to mingle with your cast and creative team, while your playwright tends bar. That’s what Hand to God did, as the play’s scribe Robert Askins refuses to give up his “day job” slinging margaritas at Lobo NYC. And so the press showed up. Askins served drinks in front of a sign reading, “Support the arts…Tip your bartender.” And I hear everyone got quite tipsy.
– Hire a bonafide theater legend as standby for another bonafide theater legend starring in your show, as the producers of The Visit did when they announced Donna McKechnie would be waiting in the wings in the (unlikely) event that Chita Rivera has to miss a performance. The standby is one of the great underappreciated heroes of the theater, and the main reason the phrase “the show must go on” is still bandied about. Ms. McKechnie not only adds yet another layer of glamour to an already glamorous endeavor; she also promises a truly thrilling experience in the case of that aforementioned unlikely event.
– Assemble your starry cast and creative team at some thematically appropriate venue for a media feeding frenzy. Example: Daryl Roth’s upcoming musical comedy about a wedding gone oh-so-hilariously-wrong, It Shoulda Been You, unveiling their roster of “sparklies” at Pronovias bridal boutique. Ah yes, a bridal boutique — that moment when the bride picks out her gown, still awash in blissful optimism and infatuation. You know, before all hell breaks loose. Ms. Roth was there, looking every bit as proud as an actual mother-of-the-bride, along with director David Hyde Pierce, book-writer and lyricist Brian Hargrove, composer Barbara Anselmi, and stars Tyne Daly, Harriet Harris, Sierra Boggess, Lisa Howard, David Burtka, Montego Glover, Chip Zien, Josh Grisetti, Adam Heller, Michael X. Martin, Anne L. Nathan, Nick Spangler, and Edward Hibbert.
– Have Alison Bechdel illustrate the experience of seeing the show based on her own graphic memoir for the first time, as she did for Fun Home. Clearly a master of conveying emotional first person accounts in graphic form, Bechdel perfectly captured what it was like to see her life story played out on stage, and the result went viral.
Tidbits from around town…
Overheard Joel Grey lamenting the fact that Franny’s had temporarily removed the clam pizza from the menu during a casual dinner with friends.
Spotted Broadway’s most adorable lovebirds Jeff Kready, star of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, and Nikki Renee Daniels, star of The Book of Mormon, grabbing smoothies at Green Symphony between shows. Can anyone tell me: is this the only married couple in the history of Broadway concurrently starring in two different Tony Award winners for Best Musical?
Finally, congratulations to Jordan Roth and everyone at Jujamcyn Theaters. Jujamcyn’s St. James Theatre has certainly had its share of Tony-winning productions over the years, but last Sunday it got its first Oscar! (The backstage shenanigans so famously captured, single-shot-style, in Birdman were all filmed inside the St. James.)
As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!