Friday night, June 1st, my husband and I were again treated to a bevvy of calories and feasts of the eyes and ears – dinner and lunches and tickets to three Broadway musicals in a row! First up was a trip back to Sardi’s Restaurant to sit amongst the famous caricatures and eat a good meal with some good Malbec wine. I had the crab cake appetizer, the pork chops, some wine, and said hello to an old friend’s portrait on the way to the women’s room.
Malbec and Crab Cakes
Pork Chops – a bit dry, but nicely garnished with veggies!
The Producer’s Shot
WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOLLOW!
We then popped a few blocks north to see “Nice Work if You Can Get It” at the Imperial Theater. I’m writing this blog on Monday the 11th, so by now you should know that the great character actress Judy Kaye won a Tony last night for Featured Actress in a Musical (as the Dutchess) in this show, and Michael McGrath won for his portrayal of Cookie as best Featured Actor in a Musical in it. Which is really where the accolades should lie – their individual numbers (and a hearty duet in the second act) was worth the ticket price. I consider Judy Kaye a blueprint for my own career – mature-voiced comedic character actress with youthful energies, a big operatic voice (among many other roles, she played Carlotta in “The Phantom of the Opera” – a role I covet, and Jenkins in “Souvenir” – a role I plan on performing one day). She sang one of my favorite Gershwin songs – “By Strauss” – and the song was marvelously counterpointed by McGrath’s gruff but sweet bootlegger-butler. I enjoyed the music and song choices, the musical orchestration, and inclusion of some Gershwin material I recognized from background music in Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers music (“Rhapsody in Blue” lovingly placed during dramatic-comedic moments, and the orchestral “Walking the Dog”/”Promenade” from the Astaire-Rogers film “Shall We Dance” was used as scene change music). I had hoped the chorus would have been given tighter and more intricate vocal harmonies (but then again, I’m spoiled with the tight harmonies of my vocal group‘s rendition of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”).
However, I was unfazed by the script, a brand new book inspired by those written in the 1930’s…but less successful at matching the brilliance, comedy, romantic pathos, and madcap-ness of “Anything Goes” or “Girl Crazy.” Elements were hilarious (Kaye and McGrath being the biggest), and some choreography and against-expectation staging were appreciated (Kelli O’Hara singing a particularly lovely Gershwin song with a gun was a great choice, but it never paid off), and unfortunately the male ingenue Matthew Broderick beautifully set up in the first scene didn’t have enough gas to make me care about him and his predicament later on in the show. The direction missed several moments in character logic and reactions, although Kelli O’Hara was working hard by taking a fluffy script and making it as real as can be from one moment to the next. In general, there were some fine comedic performances from many actors singing some fantastic Gershwin music…but that might have been the issue – too many characters with not enough focus. The last fifteen minutes of the show tightened up and revealed the kind of brilliance the show *could* have had throughout (and also revealed the brilliant Estelle Parsons), so I’m glad I saw the show for that and the wonderful featured (and now Tony Award-Winning) performances of some great character actors.
I do want to play the Dutchess some day!
After the show we went straight back to Sardi’s for a dessert – a baked Napoleon (I think that’s what they called it), architecturally designed to sit atop two scoops of ice cream (mint chocolate and cherry), then covered in chocolate sauce, fruit, and whipped cream. Pure decadence, and worth every calorie!
Coming up: “Evita,” “Spider-Man,” The Waldorf-Astoria, and more.