La Cage 03

Witnessing Douglas Hodge & Kelsey Grammer's Emotional FINAL Performance! Truly The Best of Times...

It's been about a week since I was in the audience of the final performances of Douglas Hodge, Kelsey Grammer, Robin DeJesus, and Fred Applegate in LA CAGE, but it moved me and affected me so much that I'm actually only now able to fully write about it... It was truly one of the most emotional and memorable theatrical moments that I have ever been fortunate enough to experience!

What an emotional afternoon it was! The audience at the final show on Sunday was made up of die hard fans who had loved and supported the show for the entire year. There were folks who came over from London, tons of people who'd seen the show at least a dozen times throughout the year, and friends and family of the cast who filled the first several rows of the theatre. So when Kelsey came out to standing ovations and screams that wouldn't end,... he was so touched and overcome with emotion that he began to cry - which, of course, made us all cry... AND scream and applaud even louder. He looked out into the audience and saw all the familiar faces who have supported the show the entire year and he said, "Excuse me,... I'm going to have to take a moment here." It was the beginning of THE MOST heartfelt and memorable show I have EVER seen... anywhere.

Moments later, Doug was supposed to make his entrance with his opening line, "Who dares to call my name? I who have been SO wronged?" He usually says this line backstage, and then makes his entrance to applause each night. But on Sunday, he could barely get through "Who dares to call..." when the entire audience erupted in almost deafening screams and cheers. When he couldn't finish the line because of all the screaming, he walked out on stage to even louder cheers and when he saw the audience, all on our feet screaming for him,... he broke down in tears as well.

The screams and applauding lasted for several minutes. He looked over at Kelsey, who was watching him and tearing up himself seeing our admiration for Doug, and after a couple of minutes, Kelsey walked over to him and gave him a huge hug and kiss and the audience screamed and applauded even more - which is when I truly lost it... Doug wiped his tears and tried to compose himself and quiet the crowd down and said, "We're going to have to try to get through this somehow." And then asked if he could make his entrance again. It was SUCH a touching, heartfelt, and just AMAZING moment. I will never forget it.

The show went on pretty much the way it was supposed to,... until AJ Shively (who plays Jean-Michel) sang "Anne on My Arm". I noticed he was teary-eyed throughout the entire song, but when he got to his final, "I'm simply a man..." he paused... He looked over at Kelsey and just broke down into tears. The orchestra was sensitive enough to stop the show for a bit when it was clear that he needed time to compose himself and Kelsey mouthed "It's alright" to him and gave him a big hug. We were all in tears as we screamed and cheered for him - we loved that he was so overcome with emotion that he had to stop the show. It was so... human and wonderful to witness. After a few minutes of trying to compose himself, he ended "Anne on My Arm" stronger than I've ever heard him. LOVED it.

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I will never, EVER forget the performance or be thankful enough that I was in the audience to see it. For me, having seen and fallen in love with the show and the cast for the first time during the final preview before opening night last April and having seen it a total of 15 times... including the night before the Tonys, it was just SOOOO emotional and SO wonderful to be in the audience to witness it all!!

I don't think I'll ever experience a more special or moving performance or, for that matter, a show or cast that I will hold closer to my heart. It was BY FAR the MOST AMAZING theatrical experience of my life!!

My Year End Non-Theatre Meme (and a HUGE thanks to all of you!!)

... I've been doing THE SAME year end meme for the past 7 years here in this LJ. It seemed almost wrong NOT to do it this year... so here it is... :P I think I'm getting this in just under the wire, here... It's about an hour or so before midnight... talk about procrastinating! :P

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Remember those past 7 years I talked about? Here's how things were in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 2008 and finally 2009

Have a wonderful New Year, and a blessed 2011, Everyone!! :)
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Chad - Hockadoo

2010: List of shows I saw throughout the year...

So, I decided it just wouldn't feel like the New Year if I didn't do this post. I always say I should keep better track of the shows I see, so I don't have to spend three hours on the last few days of the year collecting all this information. ;) It's always nice, though to go back and remember the shows I saw throughout the year and the amazing performances.

It was a fabulous year in theatre, I was fortunate enough to see 99 shows; here locally, in LA and San Diego, and in NYC and New Jersey. Of those, 70 were musicals (I think... does anyone know if BRIEF ENCOUNTER is categorized as a musical... or is it a straight play with music? The leads don't sing, I think...), and the other 29 were straight plays.

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My Top 10 Theatre Experiences of 2010

My Favorite Performances of 2010:
1. Douglas Hodge - as Albin (La Cage)
2. Brian d'Arcy James - as Jaime (Time Stands Still)
3. Chad Borden - as Alvin (The Story of My Life)
4. Steve Glaudini - as John Adams (1776)
5. Matthew Scott Montgomery - as Kendall (Yellow)

What an incredible year in theatre!! Thanks to everyone for putting up with my theatre posts (and rants this year!)

Hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year!! HUGS!!
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La Cage 03

Top 10 Favorite Shows of 2010...

I usually do a massive post at the end of the year to recap all the shows that I saw with dates, links to my impressions, and photos,... but I'm incredibly lazy this year... maybe I'll do it in the weeks following Christmas. :) So instead, I decided to do a favorite list.

This year, I saw a total of 99 shows: here locally, in LA and San Diego, and in NYC and NJ. Of all the shows I've seen, here are my choices for...

Top 10 Favorite Shows of 2010:

10. Ordinary Days - This was the first LA musical I saw of the year. The show was SUCH a sweet production which basically follows 4 individuals in NYC as they deal with everyday things in life. The show aims (it seems) to highlight the beauty in the simple everyday interactions of people. How lives can intertwine and connections can be made and how "Ordinary Days" can turn into "Extraordinary Days" just with a simple turn of events. LOVED it... and I cried - which was VERY unexpected... When Nancy Anderson sang her final song... tears just streamed down my face. Very touching, and the best part? David Burnham... he was wonderful and his voice? OMG... gorgeous. This had to be included in my top 10 favorite of the year.

9. Daddy Long Legs – Ironically, this was the last LA musical I saw of the year. This show was a beautiful new musical about the life of an orphan, Jerusha Abbott, who received a college tuition and a chance at life outside of the orphanage where she grew up, from the anonymous donation of a wealthy man. One of the conditions of the donation is that she could never know the identity of the donor, but must write letters on a regular basis to him to let him know of her progress in school. The musical is the exchange of letters and the relationship between the two that begins to form. Megan McGinnis and Robert Hancock are wonderful in the roles. The music is gorgeous, the book heartfelt and touching, and the production in general, just wonderful.

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What an INCREDIBLE year in theatre - it was SO hard to pick just 10 when everything I saw was wonderful... :)
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EM (please don't take)

I'm in love with this... just so you know. ;)

Always loved Ewan McGregor... Seeing him recently in "Scenes of a Sexual Nature" with Douglas Hodge reminded me how much. I simply HAVE to see "I Love You, Phillip Morris."

Sidenote: I love that they appear to be watching BRIEF ENCOUNTER in the scene that's capped here! :)

A big thank you to my friend Michael for posting the fact that the movie will FINALLY be getting a December release!! :)

La Cage 01

I posted this La Cage video back in June after the Tony Awards...

...but I love it so much - especially Kelsey's answer to Chris' question, "Better kisser,... Bebe Neuwirth or Doug Hodge?" :D It's worth a re-viewing... :)

This is possibly one of my favorite backstage videos from La Cage EVER since it has their "curtain ritual" at the end as well and you can ALMOST see Kelsey squeeze the Cagelles boobs (as Sean Patrick has mentioned in his blog that he does before every performance for luck) at the end of the video. Plus Nick Adams and Veanne are still in the cast at that point,... Just wonderful stuff.

I haven't been back a week and I already miss the show... :P

Trent 01

Comparing Casts: ALNM, Jersey Boys, & Billy Elliot...

This trip I was fortunate enough to be able to return to a few shows that I'd seen and LOVED here in NY. On most of my shorter trips, I don't have the luxury of seeing shows I'd seen before, but sometimes returning to a favorite show, with an entirely different cast can be an amazing experience!

  • A Little Night Music - I'd seen this show on my January trip this past year with Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury in the leading roles, but wanted to go back to see Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch. What a different show it was with the change in cast! I'd ALWAYS loved Alexander Hansen (who plays Fredrik) and thought, even back in January that he was a highlight of the show, but putting him together with Bernadette gave the show a different energy. Bernadette was more suited to the role, I think... though CZJ played Desiree with a lot more sarcasm. LOVED Bernadette's "The page that has been written and RE-written" line... and thought it was the best that I've seen. On the other hand, I enjoyed Angela Lansbury's performance more. Her comedic timing and her delivery of her lines - especially the "losing one's teeth" line was ABSOLUTELY hysterical and can't really be beat. Amazing how just changing the two leads could have such an impact on the show as a whole.

  • Jersey Boys - This was my 10th time seeing the show and my 4th time seeing it on Broadway (I seem to see it every September, for some reason...) I've now seen 7 different actors play the role of Frankie Valli and I really think that Jarrod Spector is my favorite. Not only is his voice incredible, but his acting is incredibly strong - and, I think gave the most emotional rendition of "Fallen Angel" that I've ever seen. Also, it was the first time that I've seen Ryan Jesse as Bob Gaudio and although at first he struck me as looking really TOO young for the role, I warmed up to his performance. Still, my favorite Gaudio is Erich Bergen, only because of the slight cockiness he always brought to the role. It was my 2nd time seeing Dominic Nolfi as Tommy DeVito, and he's definitely grown on me in the role. My favorite Tommy will always be Deven May, however, I did notice that Dominic delivered his, "It's because you're paying us... SH*T" line the way Deven does, INTO the studio mic. :)

  • Billy Elliot - This was my 4th time seeing Billy and I was fortunate enough to see: Kiril Kulish, Trent Kowalik, Liam Redhead, and this time... Alex Ko! Of course the show is great, but seeing a different Billy each time just brings an entirely different perspective to the show. Kiril was a VERY serious Billy, he was technically perfect - good singing, good acting, GREAT dancing... VERY serious and professional. Trent is an INCREDIBLE tapper so his tap scenes were just dynamic. And by the time I saw Trent, he was MUCH older and almost ready to leave the show so he was TALL and had beautiful lines in his ballet scenes. His acting was terrific and he gave Billy a little more individuality than I had seen previously. Liam was a surprise! I hadn't expected his acting to be SO strong, but I think he was the best ACTOR of the bunch. His accent was not forced and VERY natural and he gave Billy SUCH a cute and rascal personality - and his comedic timing was FABULOUS. His dancing was great, though his singing may not have been as strong as some of the other Billys, I really enjoyed his performance. Alex was terrific! His dancing was fabulous (I think his gymnastic ability is probably the best of the bunch) and his ballet was really beautiful. Alex's accent was a bit different than I'm used to hearing (not a bad thing) and he seemed to be the most EMOTIONAL Billy that I've seen. I have never seen a Billy tear up and cry during Greg Jbara's "Deep Into the Ground" before and it was WONDERFUL.

    Still left to see: La Cage with Douglas Hodge, Brief Encounter, Women on the Verge, Driving Miss Daisy... VERY excited!! Hope you are all having a nice week!! HUGS!!
  • BDJ

    Still in NYC...

    WOW! I just realized that it has been two months since I've updated LJ! :( I have been reading (though not commenting - my sincere apologies there!!) during that time and have tried to compose entries, but SOOO much has happened since then, I don't think I'll ever be able to catch up. That being said, I promise to be much better about this and comment more on your entries and actually write a few of my own.

    So... a few things that have been happening since the last time I wrote...

  • Just found out this morning through FB that a dear friend and co-worker passed away this past week. VERY sad since she was still quite young and I'd just seen her a few months ago. What makes me even sadder, of course, is that her memorial service was last night and I'm HERE (in NY) and unable to attend. :( I will have to send a card and some flowers when I get home.

  • Work is just in shambles... not to give too much away, but let's just say that there have been further changes, of which I will have to examine my future with my company...

  • As mentioned above... I'm in NYC. :) I've been here a week already and have seen some fabulous shows! So far I've seen 22 (yes,... nuts!) but this is my NYMF trip and I'm basically just spending my time theatre-hopping. Of all the shows that I've seen on this trip, though... a few stand out in my mind: Tigers Be Still, Things As They Are, Time Stands Still, and Angels in America.

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  • I've seen other shows on this trip, but these were the ones that stood out in my mind as being the best that I've seen so far. Still yet to see: Brief Encounter, Driving Miss Daisy, Women on the Verge, Scottsboro Boys, and AHHHHH! La Cage (WITH Douglas Hodge finally back from vacation!) :) SOOO looking forward to all of them!

  • Nicest moments so far in NYC have included: seeing lovely friends, wonderfully memorable moments holding Kristin Chenoweth's line for Sam at the Flea Market :D, meeting great folks in the AIA cancellation line, seeing how sweet some celebrities are (e.g. Dan Lauria, T.R. Knight, Patrick Stewart, etc...) and having Jay Alan Zimmerman ask me if I was deaf after I had a brief conversation with him in sign language. :)

    I still have a week left here in the city and I will try my hardest to update a bit more (and to keep up with all of your entries!) Hope you all are having a nice week!! HUGS!
  • Kevin as Edward Rutledge in "1776"

    Confessions of a persistent theatre-goer... OR My adventures trying to get ANGELS IN AMERICA tix

    On Tuesday, I got up at the unGodly hour of 3am to purchase Angels in America tickets from Signature Theatre. Since I'd heard the subscriptions sold out really quickly, and there was a lot of interest in the production, AND tickets were only $20 for the initial run,... I knew that if I waited for a more decent hour, they would all be gone.

    Well, when the box office opened at 4am, I went online AND started calling the box office (I figured whichever went through first, I'd go with...) Well, the box office line was busy and the website would simply not load... So I tried redialing, and redialing, and... well, you get the picture. :P When it was two hours later and I had redialed approximately 250 times and I STILL couldn't get through either on the website or on the phone, I decided to get ready for work and give up all hope that I'd be able to see the show on my upcoming trip. :( I was pretty disappointed, not only because of the early hour that I gotten up for this, but because it was the highlight of my Fall trip and one of the shows I was most looking forward to.

    I decided to try calling again on my way in to work. After about 100 more redials, I finally got their voice response unit - the "Thank you for calling... blah, blah, blah... your call will be answered in the order it was received..." I thought, "Hallelujah! At last!" I listened to the muzak and was on hold for a few minutes and then the phone actually rang!! WOO! However, it just rang, and rang, and rang, etc... But I had tried for roughly 4 hours at that point to get through, so if they thought I was just going to hang up, they were sadly mistaken. :P

    It rang for a good 18 MINUTES straight!! (I kid you not, I checked the time on my iPhone!) before someone picked it up and said, "Signature Theatre, please hold." By then, I'd made it to work and I was sitting in the bottom lot of my office waiting (AGAIN!) for someone to come back on the line. FINALLY, someone picked up the phone (4 & 1/2 hours after I initially started trying to call) and I found out that there was a single Part 2 ticket available on a night that I could actually make it, but no Part 1 tickets for the entire time I was in NYC. :P I bought the Part 2 ticket anyway, since I didn't want to come away empty-handed after all of that!

    Whew!! I guess persistence pays off! As a side note, the FB page of the Signature Theatre as well as theatre MBs, and their Twitter account confirmed that there were TONS of very unhappy folks who had been trying all morning like I was to get tickets and barely any of them succeeded. Sad that such a great theatre company who produces such quality shows is going to be known as the theatre that wasn't prepared technology-wise (or man-power-wise) for what they knew was going to be a HUGE rush for tickets.

    I still adore them, and their work, but SHEESH... 4 & 1/2 hours of continually trying both online and on the phone is a bit much to take. :P Thankful, at least that I got a ticket... even if it is just one part of 2.
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