A Scythe of Time
This was an entrant in the New York Musical Festival (NYMF), and also the first time I’d seen any of the shows in this festival. I was taking the opportunity to see Lesli Margherita, as I’d *only* seen her a few times in Matilda, and in concert. It was based on two short story companion pieces by Edgar Allen Poe, and it was a quite black comedy, about a newspaper owner in Victorian England which starts paying people to kill themselves, and write about the experience.
Lesli played Psyche Zenobia, who owns a smaller, rival newspaper. She decides to investigate the motivations of these sad journalists who are dying in large numbers, and is seduced by the idea of it herself. I won’t give away the rest in case it moves to a bigger run, but it’s available online for free if you would like to read the original story.
I found it silly and fun, and a great role for Lesli. Her assistant Pompey was normally played by an older gentleman who was not able to make it to the final performance, which I saw, and it was a great theatre moment to see the young associate director (a woman) take on this role. It didn’t take a thing away from the show, and she knew all the songs and lines perfectly.
Jason Robert Brown with Shaina Taub
This was an outstanding collaboration between two brilliant songwriters, and made a great birthday treat for me to see. They are each talented singers, and musicians, and also a lot of fun. I had only seen Shaina sing one song the week before, so it was quite a revelation to get to know more of her work. I adore her playing the accordion, although admittedly it’s not something I see particularly regularly (shout-out to Anne L. Nathan). I’ve seen many of these Jason Robert Brown performances, and still enjoy each one so very much. I really recommend looking up Shaina if you haven’t heard of her (her best known song is probably “When”).
God Bless You, Mr Rosewater (Encores!)
This was an adorable moral tale from the 60s, a musical based on Kurt Vonnegut’s novel of the same name, with music by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (who next hit it big with Little Shop of Horrors). I love their music, so I’m very glad to have seen this show. The cast was incredible, probably largely due to the attractively short run of Encores! concerts. I’ve been a fan of Santino Fontana since Submissions Only, and he played the lead with perfect voice, and his character’s struggles were quite moving.
It is a little eccentric in plot, loosely it’s about a millionaire who decides that he will give back to the locals of his family hometown, a poor place in Indiana. His family think he’s insane, with his wife particularly hilariously played by Brynn O’Malley, eventually leaving him due to the new-found lack of luxury. I would recommend everyone at least give the score a listen, I don’t know how easy it is to find, and in fact, I wish they would record this as they did with A New Brain last year.
Kristin Chenoweth x 3
As most of my friends (who are probably the only ones reading this) know, I’m quite the groupie when it comes to this particular singer, and have followed her around the world, and around the US (even when I was in Australia). With one of my best fellow-fan friends visiting from Brazil, I traveled to see these three shows within a week in August. We were quite spoiled, in that Kristin mixed up the setlists, and the banter, so it happily felt like we had three completely fun and unique shows! Some notes on each of the three:
Provincetown (9pm show)
The fun of Provincetown was partly just visiting such a unique place. The whole town feels like a party (largely gay), and most of the streets are full of people walking to/from bars and restaurants. We had a great time going to a piano bar, and the beach we went to nearby was incredible, with hundreds of seals just next to the beach. Kristin played up to the predominantly gay and male crowd at her concert, and was clearly having a great time being so beloved by the audience. She made some really naughty jokes (by her usual concert standards), so that was great fun to see!
She sang a second encore due to extreme foot-stamping, and it was a thrill to hear a new song from her new album for the first time (I Get Along Without You Very Well, best known from Linda Ronstadt’s version). After the concert she came to chat with some (of us) fans at stage door, and I will just note that her shorts are hilarious, probably self-bedazzled with some patches such as a hashtag, a unicorn’s head, a KC, and the word Nope (a reference to Trump?).
Atlantic City (Borgata Hotel)
My flatmate came to this one, so it was exciting to sit with someone who’d never seen her in concert before. She’d seen her in two Broadway shows, so she knew she could sing, but not really how thoroughly entertaining she is, and how she holds the audience’s love so completely for the length of the concert. She talked (from stage) to the six-year-old girl in the front row (directly in front of my seat), and probably gave her a memory she’ll have for the rest of her life. She joked about how any straight men in the audience were probably dragged there by wives etc, but one shouted that they were straight and loved her, and she did a fantastic, hammy, swoon onto the floor. She sang the new song again, but this time in the middle of the set.
This concert had a much larger band than the previous two, which probably explained part of the difference in setlist. I think she sang Moon River at this one, which is one of my absolute favourites, along with Over the Rainbow, possibly the favourite thanks to that 2008 Comic-Con performance. If you’re not aware, this is a gorgeous and huge outdoors venue just outside of DC, in which I also saw Kristin sing last summer. It’s a lot of fun, normally, to get there earlier, and eat on the lawn, even if you have seated tickets for the actual concert. This night was raining occasionally, so a little less fun this year, but we still had good food and drinks, even with occasional umbrella-holding. Happily for those sitting on the lawn, it held off later for the concert.
This concert was gorgeous, and just as hilarious as the previous two, but with a sad moment, in which Kristin explained that her dog, Maddie, was extremely sick (she has since died). We all loved that little dog, even though I’d probably only seen her in real life three or four times. The fact that two of those she was in costume still entertains me.
A more thorough review I liked from DC Metro: https://t.co/fdgFrLAMqF