Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/25/12 at 11:53pm
And Ethel and Ted and Eunice and Pat and Joan and Steve and Peter and Jean and Sarge and Joe and Rose and rows and rows...

The decade is starting anew, and maybe the season is too!

This fall theater season had a rocky beginning and we've all taken our lumps with some of the offerings, but the past few weeks have seen a turnaround in quality and tonight was a dazzling flash of lightning with the arrival of this wonderful play.

(If Durang can be this hilarious and witty with Chekhov imagine what he could do with the Sondheim canon. If I had the money to commission a play from him, that's what I'd want next.)

The first thing you see is a gorgeous home on a pond in buck county. It's so beautiful to look at; they must have spent a pretty penny on this set. This small space is transformed into a country retreat (even the aisles the actors use have been sod with astroturf!).

The cast is SO SO SO good. Kristine Nielsen is effin hysterical. I mean she was getting laugh, after laugh, after laugh.
Slight Spoiler************
She goes to a costume party dressed as the evil queen in Snow White, as played by Maggie Smith. Her Maggie Smith impersonation is downright riotous.
End Slight Spoiler*************

The one who did cause a near riot and halted the show with a monologue was David Hyde Pierce. He's in top form, and looking very sexy with a bit of scruff.

Sigourney Weaver is also doing very funny work. Her character laments having not done enough stage work, and I echo this lament for Weaver in real life. She's simply luminous on stage. There was one point where she was supposed to be throwing a temper tantrum and fake crying. She then made her wrists limp in front of her like she was a cat and began licking her paws as "cried." Her performance was full of delicious details like this.

The other three actors were superb as well.

The real star here though is the play. The Chekhov references are pretty damn funny, but where most spoof/satire type shows fail, this one succeeds: it makes you care for the characters on their own terms.

Buy your tickets now. 100% pure enjoyment.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/25/12 at 11:54pm
Looking forward to seeing this. I've been a fan of his since "The Marriage of Bette and Boo" and "Das Lusitania Songspiel," which he wrote and performed with Sigourney Weaver.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/25/12 at 11:58pm
I didn't know Durang acted also. When was "Das Lusitania Songspiel?"

I hope you like this one as much as I did. Before I read After Eight's review I would have ventured to say it was impossible not to love!
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 12:16am
This is the play I'm most looking forward to this season... for Weaver's return to stage work, for the hilarious title, for Durang's take on Chekhov. Glad to hear positive things from you.
egghumor
Broadway Legend
joined:3/9/11
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 12:45am
Thoroughly thrilling first night dispatch from you, Whizzer. Thanks!
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 12:54am
Kad, The title cracks me up too and the way Durang weaves all Chekhov stuff throughout is great. They need to team up with CSC and sell packages for Ivanov and Vanya and Sonia.

Thanks egghumor. It was a thoroughly thrilling night at the theater!
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
AC126748
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/06
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 09:51am
I'm going this weekend and am very excited. Glad to hear that Weaver is in top-form. She was miscast and seemed very uncomfortable in the AR Gurney play she did with Nielsen five years ago, which was my first time seeing her onstage. It seems like she's better utilized here.
"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
WithoutATrace
Broadway Legend
joined:11/27/04
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 10:06am
I absolutely must chime in on this on to echo Whizzer's sentiments on this play. It was hilarious and I loved every minute of it. Weaver, Pierce and Nielsen are all so brilliant and so hysterical, and yes, the play itself is one of the best written in years. The other three actors with smaller roles are also great and each get their moments to shine.

This was such a fun night in the theater and I hope it gets the critical raves it deserves. Buy your tickets ASAP because when word of mouth spreads, they will become scarce quickly. I wish I could go back tonight!
mamaleh
Broadway Star
joined:5/11/04
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 10:28am
Glad I'm going in early November. I heard Hyde Pierce will be out of the show on Sunday, which date I had originally contemplated.
newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 10:32am
I'm awfully glad to hear that Durang is back on his game. I loved his work up til Sex and Longing, and feel he's been trying to recover his voice ever since that mis-step.
macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 10:38am
Mamaleh, is this what you're referring to? From the Telecharge site:

*David Hyde Pierce is not scheduled to appear at the Dec 28 performance.
SonofMammaMiaSam
Broadway Legend
joined:11/7/03
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 10:44am
Run, don't walk to get tickets. You will enjoy every single second of this delicious play. Every character has a monologue, with Hyde Pierce's making a run at the early "Can the Adults Please Smoke" thread over on the Off-topic board.
Et al, lah ... Poof! Cheyenne Jackson ordered me a drink at Standing Ovations 2 waayyyyyy before Girly hung out with him in the dressing room and he tickled D2.
macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 10:51am
I think it's hard to get tickets already, just judging from my perusal of Telecharge.
dave1606
Broadway Star
joined:12/8/07
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 10:57am
Truly one of the best plays of the season.

Comparisons to Other Dessert Cities are apt. They really have a hit on their hands. I honestly think this should have opened on Broadway because it is just that good.

Sigourney Weaver gives a fantastic performance, full of physicality and wit. The character seems perfectly written for her.

Neilsen nearly steals the show from under Weaver though. In addition to the hilarious bit that Wizzer mentions, she has one of the most touching scenes of the fall season thus far.

David Hyde Pierce was definitely channeling Niles last night, but I really loved it. His act 2 speech was fantastic.

The other two cast members were fantastic as well. The writing was extremely clever, but and I appreciated that it you didn't need to be a Chekov scholar to get many of the references.


I think this will be a huge hit, and would be shocked if it doesn't follow the same path that Other Dessert Cities did.
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 11:07am
Whizzer--Lusitania was a "crackpot Bertolt Brecht-Kurt Weill cabaret" that Sigourney Weaver and Chris Durang had performed while they were at the Yale Drama School.



The two of them co-wrote it and were adorable together.



The funniest bit--and one I remember still--was Sigourney Weaver's re-creation of the "silent scream" created by Brecht's wife Helene Weigel's in the original production of Mother Courage. Mocking the artistic seriousness of the Berliner Ensemble, Sigourney said, ďAnd now, although I am not as homely as Miss Weigel, I shall recreate for you that milestone in theatrical history."



She held that pose for a long time, "silently screaming," until a tiny squeak seemed to inadvertently escape from her mouth, at which point she frowned, snapped her finger as if to say "Darn!" and started all over again.

It was before she was famous, but everyone who saw Signourney knew she would be a star, as they did, of course, with Meryl Streep, who was also in that very talented class at Yale. (As was Wendy Wasserstein, Albert Innaurato and my friend, the late Peter Mark Schifter, who directed Lusitania.)



Here's a short audio clip of the two of them:
Chris Durang and Sigourney Weaver: Audio Clip from 'Das Lusitania Songspiel'
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
SonofRobbieJ
Broadway Legend
joined:12/10/09
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 11:18am
It could be the hangover...or the consistent drug use during the early Aughties...but I feel like they brought it back at some point in the 90's with...someone else involved as well. A friend tells a story of watching the third person do a version of '16 Going on 17' while she was being date raped. It made me laugh.
macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 11:23am
I did manage to get tickets to Vanya and Sonia...lousy seats. All the way to the side! How will the view be from there? Well, at least I'm in the theater!



Updated On: 10/26/12 at 11:23 AM
dreaming
Broadway Legend
joined:4/24/09
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 11:36am
Just got my Linctix for 11/30. VERY excited!!!!

Maybe Ivanov next. I'm getting to know my Chekhov and his followers very well.
SonofMammaMiaSam
Broadway Legend
joined:11/7/03
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 11:37am
Almost the entire play takes place on the porch, which is center stage.
Et al, lah ... Poof! Cheyenne Jackson ordered me a drink at Standing Ovations 2 waayyyyyy before Girly hung out with him in the dressing room and he tickled D2.
macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 11:40am
I haven't been in the Mitzi Newhouse for a long time. Will I be able to see the porch from where I'm sitting on the far left? Thanks for any info!
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 12:00pm
All the positive word of mouth has compelled me to purchase a ticket for December 21st. Looking forward to it immensely.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 12:21pm
PJ- Thanks for all those pics! Durang was so cute, and Weaver looks exactly the same. She actually looks dressed to play Lesley Ann Warren's role from Clue in those pictures.

dreaming- Go see Ivanov too. CSC has put on such high quality Chekhov productions in the past 5 years. They've pretty much done a complete cycle of his works in that time and I feel like Vanya and Sonia is the bonus question on the quiz at the end of it all.

macnyc- The action is center, but slightly downstage of the far side seating. You might have moments where an actor has his back to you, but I think you'll be ok.

Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
WiCkEDrOcKS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/04
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 01:04pm
Seeing this next Sunday! Very excited!
Current Avatar: Tony-winner Idina Menzel, delivering a sucker-punch of an 11:00 number, "Always Starting Over," in IF/THEN.
dreaming
Broadway Legend
joined:4/24/09
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 01:32pm
Whizzer-CSC's prices are kinda crazy. We'll see. I'm not that hot on it that I need to see it.
justoldbill
Broadway Star
joined:10/17/07
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 08:30pm
Back when LUSITANIA was playing at the Chelsea, a group of us supernumeraries from the Met's MAHAGONNY went to see the show one night. Needless to say, we were on the floor in hysterics, especially with their off-kilter version of (I believe) the "Alabama Song". What a delicious night!

Well-well-well-what-do-you-think-of-that-I-have-nothing-here-to-pay-my-train-fare-with-only-large-bills-fives-and-sevens....
Updated On: 10/26/12 at 08:30 PM
Buffyfan51
Chorus Member
joined:2/28/10
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Posted: 10/26/12 at 09:24pm
Got tickets for December! If anyone that goes stage doors it please post your experiences.
Updated On: 10/26/12 at 09:24 PM

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