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Elaine Strich @ Disney Hall.......Oh boy

DAME Profile Photo
DAME
Broadway Legend
joined:4/15/04
Well... what is she.. 87 years old? It was a evening that truly tested ones patience. I adore her. But she could barely get through the show, Except for her opening of "I feel pretty" and her standard " Ladies who lunch"; every number was massacred. Forgetting words, stopping, re starting, cursing up a storm, and lots of stories that she would start and then forget what she was talking about. And tons of Sondheim blah blah blah. Anyone else there? The audience was very forgiving and adoring.. but after 3 numbers of this you could feel the energy really changing.



HUSSY POWER! ------ HUSSY POWER!
Updated On: 5/20/12 at 01:33 PM
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ljay889
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/04
Same thing happened at Town Hall last year. I still love her.
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DAME
Broadway Legend
joined:4/15/04
I am all for performers continuing doing what they love for as long as they can and all that. But at some point you have to put yourself aside and have some respect for the audience. I am glad I saw her in her day. I wish last night wouldn't have tainted my memory of that.

HUSSY POWER! ------ HUSSY POWER!
Updated On: 5/20/12 at 01:38 PM
AC126748 Profile Photo
AC126748
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/06
I will always love her, but I can't bring myself to go see her anymore. It's too painful and embarrassing to watch her struggle.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
sklabam
Chorus Member
joined:11/27/11
She's drinking again?
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DAME
Broadway Legend
joined:4/15/04
No. I don't think so. I think it is just age and past hard living.

HUSSY POWER! ------ HUSSY POWER!
Updated On: 5/20/12 at 01:44 PM
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Gypsy9
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/06
I will always love Elaine Stritch, too, but I have to agree with Dame & AC126748. Things just become too embarrassing for all concerned. Unfortunately, there comes a time...

"Madam Rose...and her daughter...Gypsy!"
Updated On: 5/20/12 at 01:46 PM
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ABB2357
Broadway Star
joined:7/29/09
I was there too, Dame, and while I share your concerns I did enjoy the show. I'd heard these same reports from her last run at the Carlyle, so I was prepared for what might happen (she was, however, note perfect both times I saw her in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC).

She frequently went up on lyrics, called out for lines in the script, forgot where she was going with a transition, etc. but her honesty and frustration about those challenges were refreshing and real. It's clear that Stritch thrives on performing in front of an audience, and the warts-and-all confessional format of AT LIBERTY has helped her level with her public. While I think the flubs were made worse by her constant acknowledgement of them, there's a certain gratification in seeing a performer so committed to perfection that she'll stop at nothing to get it right (as she did when she restarted the end of "Rose's Turn" to nail the lyrics).

This is by no means to say it wasn't at times uncomfortable, but because Stritch is Stritch, she holds you in the palm of her hand and you go on the journey with her. I also wonder if this wasn't more stage fright than a memory issue - she said several times that she was nervous, and it must be daunting to perform a cabaret show (the same one she's done in the intimacy of the Carlyle) in front of 2,200 people at Disney Hall.

I'd be interested to hear anyone else's thoughts too, as it was certainly a memorable night (for varying reasons, depending on your opinion).
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Will42
Broadway Star
joined:5/27/10
I LOVE Ms. Strich! Shes a true legend, national treasure, the one and only, etc. and I hope she continues performing for many years to come, but shes 87 years old and there is nothing wrong with that. Perhaps, its time for her to concentrate on film and TV work as well as occasional stage appearances that doesnt require such physical strength as stage performance especially as demanding as one-woman show.
Not that Im in a position to tell her what she should do with her life, but still.
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DAME
Broadway Legend
joined:4/15/04
"but because Stritch is Stritch, she holds you in the palm of her hand and you go on the journey with her."

Yeah you see... I think you were perhaps part of the more forgiving audience. Good for you. I didn't think she took anyone on any journey ( my opinion). And I think her shtick of being frightened and scared is shtick she has used before. The Sondheim adulation was also very off putting. The forgetting and messing up was endearing at first... but then after that every time she started a number it was like... dear god please let her get through it so I can get out of here.
HUSSY POWER! ------ HUSSY POWER!
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ABB2357
Broadway Star
joined:7/29/09
What did you find off-putting about her words for Sondheim? I agree it was problematic, mostly because it was repetitive and used to cover the fact that she had lost her place, but I didn't necessarily find it offensive.
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theaternut
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/03
I thought the evening was a unfortunate train wreck. At first I thought it was going to be one of those nights when the audience is on her side and rooting for her to get through. But there is only so much you can ask from your audience. And yes.. I don't need to hear the words Sondheim or the Carliyle on constant repeat ever again.
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DAME
Broadway Legend
joined:4/15/04
I didn't say it was offensive . Just repetitive. And a bit of a shtick.

HUSSY POWER! ------ HUSSY POWER!
Updated On: 5/20/12 at 04:16 PM
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morosco
Broadway Legend
joined:7/10/04
Why does Stritch continue to put her audiences thru this ordeal? Surely she realizes that a performance like this is painfully tedious for an audience to sit through. Why can't she swallow her pride and at least use a teleprompter? Or an earpiece? If she can't she should retire the one woman show approach.
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ljay889
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/04
She is very insistent about not using any assistance with lines/lyrics.

I'm sure her forthcoming documentary will deal with this topic. Should be interesting.
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AC126748
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/06
^ And the result is embarrassing. It's a pity that she can't put her pride aside and use the assistance she seems to really need.

Based on the trailer for the documentary, it looks like the issue will be addressed--it features a scene of her going up during a performance.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
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jv92
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/05
Elaine is a class act. She actually phoned me in regard to an arrangement of a song she did at the Carlyle a few years ago. I'm saddened to hear that she's having difficulty regarding lyrics and words. Perhaps it's time for her to either retire from major stage performances or use a teleprompter, etc. It's supposedly helped Barbara Cook and Angela Lansbury tremendously.
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theaternut
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/03
I just watched that trailer. Saddens me that they are aware of the problem yet it is not addressed and audiences still are made to sit thru that. The venues themselves should stop booking her if she doesn't start using a prompter or do material she is capable of doing at her advance age. Love her. But last night was hard.
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Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
There's no shame in admitting you need that kind of help, especially at her age. There is shame in knowingly making audiences pay to be uncomfortable for two hours having to sit there hoping you remember what you were going to say. But we're not talking about the most "humble" of human beings here, either.
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SondheimFan5
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/10
Elaine, as everyone else has said, is a class act. But through the years, she has got worse with remembering things. She even had trouble during the original run of company (at age 45) remembering things, but that was due to her drinking problem.

It is unfair to an audience who is paying $50+ to see her perform to see a show that she can hardly get through. It is extremely uncomfortable for an audience to watch a performance like that.

An ear device like Angela L and Barbara C use could greatly benefit her.

Coming from a huge admirer of Ms. Stritch.
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Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
Everyone keeps saying she's a class act. Please define "class act".
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theaternut
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/03
I want to know as well.
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ljay889
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/04
DON'T HATE!!!!
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Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
No no no. I'm not hating. But I am curious. Because I think you all are just defining "Class Act" as someone who's been around for years. And well, I mean, I'm just sayin'..., y'know...
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Bettyboy72
Broadway Legend
joined:3/31/06
Night Music was interesting. She was forgetting everything-lyrics, lines and would mutter, "where was I, where was I" until she was prompted from offstage. She would make lines up. She worked it into the character and the audience ate it up, but I couldn't help being irritated that she was sh@##ing on Sondheim and Wheeler's work.

I eventually got into it but it irritated me. It got to the point whenever she rolled out, the audience went mad waiting for another f@#k up and she gave it to them. She actually started to work the crowd like a stand up comedian.

At the end of the show people went wild for her and gave her a standing O. I mean no one is giving her an indicator that it isn't working. Why the hell would she stop?
"The sexual energy between the mother and son really concerns me!"-random woman behind me at Next to Normal "I want to meet him after and bang him!"-random woman who exposed her breasts at Rock of Ages, referring to James Carpinello
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Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
Well she IS a class act.

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