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My Summer Trip to NYC

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Dave13
Stand-by
joined:6/4/11
My Summer Trip to NYC
Posted: 7/29/14 at 05:25pm
Just came back from my Summer Trip to NYC. I try to go every summer and winter, and attend as many shows as I can.

This time I was in NYC from 7/24-7/27, and was able to attend 5 shows. My reviews:

Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. I had high expectations since it won Best Musical. I came away a little disappointed. I thought Jefferson Mays did an exceptional job with the various parts he performed. I thought all of the acting and the performance was superb. For some reason, I just couldn't get into the show. The Comedy was British comedy and similar to Monty Python. I have never been a fan of that type of comedy. There was a disconnect for me, and as much as I tried, I simply couldn't get into the show. Maybe I was tired from the flight and lack of sleep. Who knows.

Beautiful. The Carol King Musical. Loved it. Jessie Mueller does a phenomenal job. No question as to why she won best actress. I was excited to see Jarrod Spector after his days on Jersey Boys and hoped he had a bigger part. I thought he did a great job nonetheless. My only other complaint, I wish Jessie performed more of Carole King's songs. She did phenomenal with the songs she performed, but I wish there was more.

If/Then. Enjoyed it. I was blown away by Idina. She has a strong and amazing voice, unlike any other. I thought the idea behind the story was interesting, but beyond that I thought the story had much to be desired. I was often confused going between the two path's that Idina's role took in the show. I think the story lacked substance, and needed more. It felt that it was just an excuse to put Idina on stage. With that said, I felt Idina's talents could have been showed off more, as there was really only one song that showed off her vocal cords. For whatever reason, I still loved this show and it would be the first on my list to see again.

Newsies. Call me late to the party, but I thought it was a great show. I have tried to see this show that last few times I was in NY, but kept missing it. It is sad it is set to close. It was a Saturday matinee, and it was sold out. Would love to see again, but looks like my only chance to see it again will be on tour someday.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Outstanding. I don't think I have ever enjoyed myself so much at another Broadway Show. Neil Patrick Harris did a phenomenal job. No question as to why he won Best Actor. Not sure how someone can have that much energy each and every show. I will try to get back to NY to see Rannels in the role, but I have tough time believing he will be able to bring the same energy to the role as Harris. I will be waiting to see what these boards say in late August.

One question I have is Harris kisses a male audience member as seen at the Tonys and during our show. Is this a set up, or is it really random? I just can't believe that is random in this litigious world.
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dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
My Summer Trip to NYC
Posted: 7/29/14 at 05:37pm
It is not pre-arranged with the audience member.

If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
My Summer Trip to NYC
Posted: 7/29/14 at 05:43pm
Not to worry. Hedwig has exquisite gay-dar.
'First the Bastille than the butt plug.' -- M ______
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promisespromises2
Broadway Star
joined:5/23/13
My Summer Trip to NYC
Posted: 7/29/14 at 05:50pm
Yay for Beautiful! I just recently saw it for the first time as well. I would pay full price to sit and listen to Jessie Mueller sing every one of Carole King's songs! I'm glad you got a variety of shows in! I actually met a girl at the stage door of Beautiful who said what you said about Gentleman's Guide (in fact she saw the matinee of Beautiful and Gentleman's Guide that night and ran to stage door for Beautiful instead of staying at GG).

I love hearing about peoples trips into the City.
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mlsheehan
Leading Actor
joined:1/10/05
My Summer Trip to NYC
Posted: 7/29/14 at 06:25pm
Thanks for the write up. I was in town last month for my bi-annual Broadway-fest and saw three of the shows you saw. I agree on all three.

Gentleman's Guide was my least favorite of the trip (out of 11 Broadway shows). For me, it was pretty obvious, not particularly funny, and quite honestly a drag to sit through. I was surprised at how little I enjoyed the show, as this "should" be in my alley - musical, British musical hall style, actor playing multiple characters - all things that I enjoy. I actually thought Murder for Two was more entertaining in a silly, fun way.

I loved both Beautiful and Hedwig. With Hedwig being my favorite of the trip.

Cheers and thanks for the trip report.

Updated On: 7/29/14 at 06:25 PM
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GilmoreGirlO2
Broadway Star
joined:4/13/05
My Summer Trip to NYC
Posted: 8/1/14 at 02:42pm
I, too, had a marathon theatre-going trip (12 shows in 7 days) back in June and “Gentleman’s…” was, by far, my least favorite show of the bunch. I, too, “should” like it, style-wise. It's something I normally would appreciate (especially with all of the comparisons to “Drood,” which I adore). I was on the fence about seeing it, however (I was sure I would have a great time, but felt I knew what to expect from it). After their Jimmy Fallon performance, I was extremely hesitant until I heard many fans of the show say that the song came off very odd out of context in that performance and was not indicative of the show. Hearing that, and after seeing their excellent their Tony performance (and being slightly influenced by their win), I decided to get tickets. Unfortunately, I found that their performance on Jimmy Fallon was a perfect indicator of the show.

If there is one bit of praise I hear most about this show it's that it's clever, yet I didn’t find it clever in the least. I rarely laughed – it often seemed like the actors were so aware that what they were doing was meant to be funny that it had the opposite effect on me. I also felt it was a bit over-directed: I could be wrong, but I got the feeling that every single movement and facial expression that happened onstage the actors were TOLD to do as opposed to having come naturally, which left all of these moments feeling artificial and forced. There were times where I chuckled because I could appreciate the IDEA of the joke happening onstage, but the actual delivery just didn’t land for me most of the time.

I was also disappointed in the leads. I really enjoy Bryce Pinkham as an actor (and thought he was the better of the two), but just found his performance to be nothing special. I was most disappointed in Jefferson Mays – all I had heard was how he is giving a tour-de-force performance, but I found most of his characters to be the same; all Mays is doing is just hammy shtick that I didn’t find funny. In my opinion, Pasquale should have gotten a Tony nomination over either of these two.

I thought the structure of the show was also very odd. Because there is only one left to kill by the end of the first act, I assumed that the last one would take many attempts, be the most interesting, or there would be lots of plot twists within it. None of these happened and most of the second act just felt like reiteration of what we already knew. That final heir, in fact, was probably my least favorite and I thought the dinner scene was extremely muddled and the length of it seemed pointless.

I also was extremely disappointed in the score. I found the songs to be extremely repetitive (in terms of just reiterating what we already found out from the scene prior), unfunny, and dull. My least favorite (and most confounding) song of the night was “Sibella,” which had such an ominous, dark melody to it that I thought the tone of the song was going to be a precursor for something bad or manipulative to come in regards to that relationship. However, nothing did (at least nothing that we didn’t already know). On top of that, the song also seemed pointless – it's simply Monty expressing feelings we have known he has since ten minutes into the show.

I thought the set was extremely constricting as well and found myself wishing that the actors could get out of that small space.

My overall feeling was that this should have been a 90 minute straight play instead of a two and half hour musical. It truly did feel like a chore to get through. I wanted to like it so much and was extremely surprised at how much I disliked it. “I’ve Decided to Marry You” is, by far, the best moment in the show, but no other moment comes even close to reaching the level of this song. I wish I hadn't let the Tony's influence my opinion – this was the only show of my whole trip that I felt was not worth having seen and was a waste of a show slot.

Updated On: 8/1/14 at 02:42 PM
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inception
Stand-by
joined:11/2/13
My Summer Trip to NYC
Posted: 8/1/14 at 06:09pm
Thanks for this post GilmoreGirl. I skipped Gentleman's Guide during my trip last fall when it was in previews as everything I could find about it online looked silly rather than funny - if that makes sense. Then I spent the last 8 or 9 months kicking myself, especially after I got the cast album, which I think has some very fine singing. But I have been holding back from getting tickets for my trip this fall as I question a few things such as: how well the book scenes integrate? and also is this just a light entertainment without much deeper going on? and do I really want to be cheering on a murderer - even in a comedy?
...
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RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
My Summer Trip to NYC
Posted: 8/2/14 at 01:36am
I hated it. Granted, I was in a rush seat on the extreme side front row. But even that, it's just not my thing. The comedy to me is very obvious. I didn't find it original or interesting, so to each their own. I'm not sure who the Tony should have gone to, but I am glad it went to the underdog.
justherehanging
Chorus Member
joined:4/15/12
My Summer Trip to NYC
Posted: 8/2/14 at 04:04am
I am going to NYC next week for my Summer adventure....

Friday Night:
Beautiful

Saturday:
Violet
Cabaret

Sunday:
Atomic
Hedwig

I really wanted to see Sex with Strangers, I wish I could sell back my Hedwig. Rather see Andrew in it when I come back in October, but oh well.

I was lucky I saw most of the other shows back in March, but I will be in NYC August 8th for a few nights if anyone wants to hang out or something
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GilmoreGirlO2
Broadway Star
joined:4/13/05
My Summer Trip to NYC
Posted: 8/2/14 at 08:49am
inception, To answer your questions (from my opinion):

For me, the book was stronger than the score. That being said, it felt like we would get a scene followed by a song just reiterating everything we just learned already in the scene. The songs felt pointless to me, but, if you already like the songs then you may feel differently.

It is all light entertainment - nothing deeper.

I didn't find myself having a hard time cheering on Monty because he's a murderer, but I did find myself having a hard time cheering him on because I just didn't care about him that much. I don't think the show allowed for much time to create a connection between Monty and the audience to really WANT him to succeed. I didn't really care either way.
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broadwaydevil
Broadway Legend
joined:2/16/11
My Summer Trip to NYC
Posted: 8/2/14 at 09:02am
I can verify that it's definitely not a set up as Hedwig made out with me and I received no prior warning. Quite an experience.

I loved Gentleman's Guide for its wit and uniqueness, though I felt from the moment I saw it that it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea.

Scratch and claw for every day you're worth! Make them drag you screaming from life, keep dreaming You'll live forever here on earth.
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Princeton Returns
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/10
My Summer Trip to NYC
Posted: 8/2/14 at 09:39am
Oh I had been thinking of seeing gentleman's guide next time I came to nyc but the comment about the humour being British and like monty python has put me off. I'm British but hated spamalot
KathyNYC2
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/10
My Summer Trip to NYC
Posted: 8/2/14 at 10:06am
I dunno..I REALLY liked Gentleman's Guide..but I saw it before the Tony's and there was much less hype. I think once a show wins BEST SHOW or is even nominated for BEST SHOW - you have different expectations. I didn't expect that much but was pleasantly surprised.

I can think of many shows that fall into that category - the actual show does not match the hype and people are disappointed...even if the show is a totally fun experience on it's own.
ArtMan
Broadway Legend
joined:9/10/08
My Summer Trip to NYC
Posted: 8/2/14 at 10:31am
I liked Gentleman's Guide but part of the like was a great discounted mezzanine seat. However, once I sat there (second to the last row) I felt that my 6'3 frame was being stuffed in a can. Really uncomfortable. I was moved to the fifth row aisle of the orchestra during intermission. I enjoyed the show quite more from a closer and comfortable view. Would I see it again...no.
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Someone in a Tree2
Broadway Star
joined:10/9/12
My Summer Trip to NYC
Posted: 8/2/14 at 12:18pm
Totally agree with those who were disappointed in GG, and particularly the poster above who claimed that 7 of the 8 heirs

SPOILERS*******************************************************
die by the end of Act I,
END SPOILERS**************************************************

with virtually nothing fresh or unexpected to make Act II worth sitting through. They really had something interesting going on late in Act I where Monty grew to love his benefactor. Here at last, I thought, would be some delicious conflict in Monty's mind between his need to off an heir and his adoration of this one decent relative. Did it last? Nope, not even through the Intermission. That's where the show lost me for good.

 
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