Little Me @ Encores

WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/5/14 at 11:06pm
I'm so giddy right now!! I love Encores so much. I firmly believe they consistently produce the best theater in New York. It's not even a competition with any other organization in the city. Little Me is up to their standards and then some.

Rachel York was wonderful tonight. Simply wonderful. The Other Side of the Tracks Reprise was a showstopper and her and Christian leading the ensemble in Deep Down Inside (one of my favorite musical numbers ever) was thrilling.

Christian Borle was a lot of fun, and if he was given a full preview period to find all the laughs he could absolutely lead a Broadway revival. For all the zany characters he gets to play I thought his Noble was the funniest.

The supporting cast, led by the ever incomparable Judy Kaye, was great and the ensemble could not have been more of a knockout, especially during the The Rich Kids' Rag.

I listen to both cast albums frequently so the real joy is hearing the riotous book that surrounds the score. I really think it ranks up there as one the funniest books for a musical, and it hasn't gotten creaky with age one bit.

Do NOT miss this!!!
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
muscle23ftl
Broadway Legend
joined:12/19/04
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/5/14 at 11:16pm
Rachel was wonderful, she has such a theatrical singing voice!
"People have their opinions and that doesn't mean that their opinions are wrong or right. I just take it with a grain of salt because opinions are like as*holes, everyone has one". -Felicia Finley-
Finch
Chorus Member
joined:9/14/08
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/5/14 at 11:18pm
Now you have made me more anxious than ever to see this. I'll be there Saturday night. This will be my 3rd viewing--I saw the original way back in '64 in NY and in '65 at its tour openig in Rochester. Again, thanks for the praise. Now if this weekend's snow prediction will stay away, I'll get up there from DC! My seat is waiting for me.
HBP
Broadway Star
joined:6/2/05
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/5/14 at 11:21pm
I saw the show tonight, as well. Full disclosure: I sat in Row H of the balcony, and the show definitely lost some of its magic up there. Christian Borle did a really great job. I think he needs to find his voice for Mr. Pinchley, but the rest was hilarious and he landed most of the evening's laughs. Rachel York sounded beautiful, but I thought she was rather boring as Belle. During a lot of the acting scenes, I also felt a very strong Sherie Rene Scott vibe. Any scene with The Buchsbaum Brothers just stopped the show flat in its tracks. Judy Kaye read from her script most of the time, but David Garrison and Christian Borle made light of it in a pretty funny way. The rest of the cast was fine.

I can't imagine the show getting a full revival. It wouldn't really be a vehicle for Christian; he's done the slapstick thing (brilliantly) in Peter and the Starcatcher and the constant role-changes in Spamalot. I'd rather see him try something different.

All said, though, I enjoyed the night and did laugh aloud quite a few times. I'm glad I got to see the show and I'd recommend it if you don't mind sitting a mile away. (:
Updated On: 2/5/14 at 11:21 PM
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/5/14 at 11:22pm
I've only read, never seen, the original Simon book and while I'm only a so/so Simon fan, I agree it has got to be one of the funniest musical books.

Who did the choreography? I'm glad the Rag was great, though the Fosse original got such raves I always wish it had been a part of Fosse (the one number I have seen is the original staging of Down Inside from Ed Sullivan--brilliant.) Did I Got Your Number cause women to run up to the stage like Swen Swenson claimed it did when he originally did it? :P

Glad it's a good Encores production.
Ed_Mottershead
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/5/14 at 11:32pm
Still debating whether to go or not. I LOVE ME, having seen the original 3 times, the awful revival in 1983 and the wonderful Martin Short in the late 90's. The weather predictions are iffy re: this weekend. Should I still try to go? HELP!!!!
BroadwayEd
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/5/14 at 11:38pm
Wow, Finch! What do you remember about the original? How was Virginia Martin live? I love her on the OBCR. Who was in the tour?

Joshua Bergasse did the choreography and he did a great job. Not only was the Rag perfect, but I enjoyed what he did with Deep Down Inside and the men's reprise of Real Live Girl. Some very fun stuff with that one.

Yazbek was AWESOME with I've Got Your Number, both the song and extended dance. It's always nice to see him on stage.

Ed- This is a no brainer: GO!
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
muscle23ftl
Broadway Legend
joined:12/19/04
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/6/14 at 12:20am
It was enjoyable, but way too long. Sorry!
"People have their opinions and that doesn't mean that their opinions are wrong or right. I just take it with a grain of salt because opinions are like as*holes, everyone has one". -Felicia Finley-
bwayalltheway
Chorus Member
joined:10/22/08
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/6/14 at 12:32am
I saw the dress rehearsal Tuesday, and I thought it was simply wonderful. This was my first exposure to the show, and I had a fabulous time. I thought the whole cast was strong, but I had an especially big smile on my face every time the ensemble was onstage. It was a night of entertainment with little "flash": just an extremely solid book, catchy score, and wonderful performances. I'd highly recommend catching this one if you can.
WiCkEDrOcKS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/04
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/6/14 at 01:08am
What's the running time? Excited to see this tomorrow.
Current Avatar: Tony-winner Idina Menzel, delivering a sucker-punch of an 11:00 number, "Always Starting Over," in IF/THEN.
followspot
Broadway Star
joined:12/27/11
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/6/14 at 11:41am
2 hours 45 minutes last night
"Tracy... Hold Mama's waffles."
newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/6/14 at 12:19pm
Are they doing the entire original book, rather than the usual abridged adaptation?
forgetmenotnyc
Stand-by
joined:1/29/09
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/6/14 at 03:00pm
I knew this show from the '82 revival & both American albums.

To pick up WhizzerMarvin's initial posting here, I too found myself GIDDY with this silly story. Harriet Harris was well-used here near the top of the show to help set the ZANY mood. The show is really an endlessly creative & wonderful throw-back to 50's-70's TV sketch comedy & that makes it all that much more richly rewarding.

High points for me were Rachel York (esp. in 'Poor Hollywood Star'(threads of Apple Tree's Passionella/'Wealth.') which allowed her rich purr-of-a-voice to pick up some of the scores strongest melodic beauty. She looks amazing in her Act 2 blonde movie star wig & as much as I thought they could have played up her bosom a bit & put her in higher heels - I trust that the best decisions were made. She's a tall gal & Bourne is not, so higher heels could have worked against them I guess?

I also loved the title song sung in Act 2 by Rachel & Judy Kaye. (Threads of Sweet Charity's 'Baby, Dream Your Dream') even though I'm not sure how I felt about David Garrison being thrown into their number for good measure?

The chorus, like so many former Fosse shows, seemed to have lots of fun things to do. The S.S. Gigantic was so over-the-top fun!

'Deep Down Inside' reminded me of Lil' Abner & musically of the Rankin-Bass stop-motion '74 kids show with Mr. Snow & Heat Miser. Christian Borle's bespectacled WW1 doughboy character reminded me of something Carol Burnett did in her old variety show days & in my book that is good. Christian's Mr. Pinchley character was right out of Anna Nicole Smith's story with The Simpson's Mr. Burns/Grandpa thrown in. I refer to all these comparisons in a good way because I feel they do add up to represent interesting American themes & archetypes whether we care to recognize them or not.

You can see a little 'Chicago' in Belle's whole prison/performer segment along w/the hilarious Buchsbaum Brothers racket (which like the Act 2's dying Prince routine, COULD almost be seen as anti-semitic in regard to stereotyping of Jews in show business & overemphasizing money/capital?)

On a weak note - I kinda missed that some of Borle's choices were a bit too naturalistic rather than broad. Martin Short, even though I didn't see him do the show, did seem to bring some out-there comic choices. (His "I Love You" sung with garbled over-sentimentality sounds hilarious on the album) & the 'Boom Boom' # by French night club entertainer Val du Val performed on the TONY'S that season seemed to carry the almost frantic stylings of say an Aldolpho in Drowsy Chaperone. Martin Shorts Tony-winning job w/this show clearly worked broader with Noble & Val du Val (which just makes for a bit of a detriment here.)

Other weak links for me were Tony Yazbeck's 'I've Got Your Number,' & Judy Kay's script reading. (She did try a couple times to be off book, but it quickly showed us all how it was much safer for her to just keep it there.)

First act ran so long I was thinking they were doing the show intermissionless. I know everyone & their friends love suggesting their opinion of what could be slightly changed so as to make the show better, but as it currently stands, I could see ending Act 1 with Real Live Girl solo & the boys going off to war & then picking up Act 2 (after the Entracte) with the soldiers Real Live Girl?

There is SO MUCH that is working here, no one should think twice about NOT attending this if they are capable of getting there. I loved the brassy & xylophone & harp rich orchestrations, the largess of it all, & the sheer craziness of the proceedings. Have fun!

















Updated On: 2/6/14 at 03:00 PM
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/6/14 at 04:05pm
I couldn't help but think that, though Borle says his Pinchley voice is based on Grandpa Simpson, it also owes a lot to Short's nasal, mewling Fred Poitrine voice.
Demitri2
Broadway Star
joined:3/25/05
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/6/14 at 07:02pm
Interesting review on Talkin' Broadway was posted a few hours ago:

http://www.talkinbroadway.com/ob/2_06_14.html
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/6/14 at 07:17pm
This review and the clips I've seen kind of confirm what I always suspected about this show... I'm as much of a "Little Me" expert as you can possibly be without having written it, and the show ONLY really works when you have a cast willing to cut loose and not just play the roles, but play themselves playing the roles.

The Martin Short revival was extraordinarily well-received (with the possible exception of the lucky few who saw the first production), and not only did Neil Simon retool the book to suit the comic sensibilities of the entire cast, but Short was allowed to ghostwrite some material himself and to improvise, as Caesar was during his run in the show. This freedom with the part enabled Short to milk the roles in an analogous way to Caesar. Plus, speaking of additional changes, I understand why it was omitted, as Borle had a limited rehearsal time and two old Broadway legends were cast as the Buchsbaums, but I really enjoyed the gag in the revival in which Short as Otto has a rapid-fire conversation with Short as Benny in the bathroom.
Ed_Mottershead
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/6/14 at 08:55pm
I saw Virginia Martin do it 3 times and she was wonderful, as she had been in How to Succeed the year before. Unfortunately, Young Belle, as the show is written, has the least opportunity to stop the show -- her part isn't bad, but the men, Older Belle and George Musgrove have more of a chance to stop the show cold in its tracks, which they inevitably do. Martin went on to do some television work but, as far as I know, no further Broadway. A shame -- hers was a great talent. And she was a VERY nice person.
BroadwayEd
WiCkEDrOcKS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/04
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/6/14 at 11:32pm
Just got in from tonight's performance and I really, really enjoyed it. This ranks up there with some of the better offerings I've seen at Encores. Christian Borle really surprised me; I've never been a huge fan of his, but he mostly won me over here. I couldn't help but think how much I'd love to see Sean Hayes play this part though. But Borle was mostly very strong, even if some of his characters weren't as funny as they could have been. York, Yazbeck, Harris, and Kaye are all sensational.

Great choreography, beautiful costumes, and as is the norm with Encores, the orchestra couldn't have sounded better. Sure, it may be a bit long, and as I mentioned some of the jokes just don't land like they should, but it's two hours and forty-five minutes of sheer joy. I had such a great time, even way up in the balcony. Definitely worth seeing!
Current Avatar: Tony-winner Idina Menzel, delivering a sucker-punch of an 11:00 number, "Always Starting Over," in IF/THEN.
broadfan327
Featured Actor
joined:3/20/08
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/8/14 at 12:45am
I attended Friday night. It was my first exposure to the piece. In general I thought it was wonderful, not to be missed.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/8/14 at 01:19am
"Martin went on to do some television work but, as far as I know, no further Broadway."

Ed, she later appeared on Broadway in Carmelina.
goldenboy
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/05
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/8/14 at 01:28am
Loved it in spite of looking at my watch toward the end. 20 minutes too long. Lost interest when the prince showed up at the casino. That being said strong performances from Rachel York, Christian Borle, Judy Kaye, Harriet Harris and the singer dancers. The choreography was excellent. The direction intelligent andflowing.Didn't love the Bucksbaum Brothers. I thought there applause was just polite. I still highly recommend that everyone go. Another great Encores Production overall. It's not Encore's fault the book is 20 minutes too long.
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/8/14 at 04:50am
A positively entertaining and delightful production. Yes, the show is too long. But the performances- especially Borle and York- are fantastic. Just... a great way to put someone in a good mood.
ChairinMain
Featured Actor
joined:4/2/07
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/8/14 at 04:43pm
With regards to Forgetmenot's theory about Anti-Semitism in the show:

Neil Simon is Jewish.
Sid Ceasar is Jewish.
Carolyn Leigh was Jewish.
Cy Coleman was Jewish.

So.....
South Fl Marc
Broadway Legend
joined:6/23/04
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/8/14 at 04:54pm
It seems to have gotten rather good reviews, except Matthew Murray, who is a complete idiot and whose opinion means nothing to me.
Now living in DC. I really have to change my name on the board.
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/8/14 at 05:49pm
The Prince Czerny bits are still funny, but (like the central framing device with Patrick Dennis) no longer work PRECISELY like they were supposed to, because the thing they are parodying is mostly forgotten.

Prince Czerny of Rosensweig is a spoof of the "Graustarkian novel," a popular genre of fiction from the late 1800s to the 1950s or 1960s. The stories of these novels were of royal intrigue and drama in fictional Eastern European countries. Mistaken identities, bankrupt kingdoms, dying monarchs and scheming prime ministers made up some of the standard tropes and cliches of the genre. The end of the Czerny bit, in which (SPOILER) Belle accidentally-on-purpose poisons the suddenly-recovered Prince (/SPOILER) parodies the way a devious underling was often responsible for the waning health of ruler and kingdom alike.

Other than "The Prisoner of Zenda," not many Graustarkian stories are remembered today.
macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
Little Me @ Encores
Posted: 2/8/14 at 08:04pm
I loved loved loved this! So funny, with such wonderful performances. Our balcony seats were fine, but we missed seeing the projections. I could hear people below us laughing, but we couldn't see anything. Could someone post what the projections were? I'm kind of surprised the balcony didn't get our own view on the walls, as they did for A Bed and a Chair.

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