Monday, December 20, 2010

Next to Normal...

...lived up to its credentials and awards in every way possible.   I absolutely loved it!   To think I almost didn't go because I had flown in late the night before and was exhausted and mortified that I might cough during the performance.

There are two places I absolutely do not want to be if I have a cold (cough) is an airplane and the second,  the Theatre.  I don't want to be that person who coughs at the most poignant part of the performance or the one your seat mates would like to vanish to outer space on the plane, afraid of being infected by your germs.

Because of the latter (as I mentioned in my post before), I postponed by return,  paid full first class fare, and took  a window seat so that I had only one seat mate to contend with and with more personal space between us,  and so I could unobtrusively turn my face towards the window to cough into my kleenex, use the lav to blow my nose more frequently and,  thanks to the airline, which let me keep my bottle of antibacterial hand sanitizer,  let him know I was conscious of not spreading my germs beyond my person so he could also enjoy his flight.

Hanson, Ripley and Asa Somers
To my credit and effort, I only coughed three times on the 6 hour flight, and once at intermission during the play, at which time I scooted out to the lobby to blow my nose and sip my water until the tickle in my throat passed.   Not only did my efforts allow me to see this wonderful musical with first rate performances by the cast, but to enjoy a convivial dinner at the much improved (due to new Chef and menu)  Kendall's Brasserie with my sister and brother in law, who both unanimously agreed the play and performances were right up there with Osage County.

I've never watched a musical where the dialogue was so precise and enunciated with such care by each and every cast member so that not one word was missed.   The excellent story about a household coping with the mental illness of the mother is so up to date and relevant and the music and set designed so perfectly to enhance the performances with the musicians housed on several levels of the multilevel set, that it all worked together flawlessly to move the players through their paces ... the whole of it  just one  wonderful and mesmerizing piece of theater that got a very "spontaneous" standing ovation for its players.  There was not one false note and the audience was right there with the story every step of the way.

Alice Ripley and the wonderful Curt Hansen
On a very inconvenient, rainy Los Angeles day, I truly thought that the attendance would be sparse, with people not willing to tackle the freeways.   Not so!   This excellent piece of theater played to a packed house and this was absolutely theatre at its very best.

I'm so glad I pulled myself together and went!  If you can scrape together a few nickels to see this, do so.  You won't be sorry!


Alice Ripley        Diana
Asa Somers         Dan
Curt Hanson        Gabe
Emma Hunton     Natalie
Preston Sadleir     Henry
Jaramy Kushnier  Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine

Directed by Michael Greif
Music by Tom Kitt
Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

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