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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread

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Mike Barrett
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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#1
Posted: 2/4/20 at 1:43pm

Performances begin tomorrow, February 5th, 2020 for the anticipated pre broadway engagement of the  revival of "Plaza Suite" starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker. Anyone going tomorrow night? I'll be there a week from tomorrow. Mostly excited to just be at the Colonial as its my favorite theatre, but hoping for a fun afternoon out. Anyone going this 1st week? 

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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#2
Posted: 2/5/20 at 7:05am

We will be there Sunday at 6 (?!) PM.

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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#3
Posted: 2/6/20 at 5:47pm
Anyone go?
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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#4
Posted: 2/6/20 at 7:05pm

I’m not seeing this until it comes to Broadway next month but I did see a few tweets about last night’s opener that indicates it was very funny and the chemistry was great, so I’m hopeful to see a great production.  Wish I could have seen it in Boston as the pics of that theater are incredible!

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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#5
Posted: 2/7/20 at 4:13pm

Saw this last night. Never saw another stage or movie version.  My personal bias is that I really love Matthew Broderick. I don’t understand all the disrespect he garners on these boards, but to each his own. SJP I like a lot, though not slavishly and uncritically devoted. The draw for me, as for most, I suppose, was certainly not “Plaza Suite” but to see them on stage together.

Let me preface by saying the audience seemed to really, really love it, especially the last two acts, and laughed often (in contrast to Act 1 the more somber and reflective, less silly of the three that was a little slower to take flight—but  the one, overall, I enjoyed the most). And, it WAS a lot of fun to see the two of them together on stage, their timing was terrific given it was only the second night of previews. But boy, never in a million years will I understand why they resuscitated this comedic chestnut-- other than Broderick’s stated affection for the part Simon’s work played in kickstarting his career and thus, perhaps felt he owed the late writer a first-class Broadway send-off. Couldn’t help but mentally rifle through all the much more interesting comedies that would have been so much more worthy of this pairing.

I can’t deny I often had a smile on my face for a good portion of the evening while still finding the production a bit tedious and, ultimately, unsatisfying. To sell these late 1960's put upon suburban characters, the tone seemed to include a lot of figurative winks (especially in acts 2 and 3) and some over the top camp, but was not enough for the play to rise above the tired romp it has become. I did not see it, but from reviews I recall that “Boeing, Boeing” was able to make the leap with somewhat dated 60’s material, perhaps due to it being a full out farce.

Despite her numerous charms, I never really bought SJP as the various dated variations of the suburban housewife. I thought she was most successful in nailing the most ridiculously written “Muriel” in the least captivating Act 2. And while she did lend a certain poignancy to “Karen” in Act I and hit her darkly amusing comic notes, she could not rescue the meh-ness of the marital malaise portrayed in this act—and this, to me, was the more successful of the three acts. In Act III, she seemed all over the place, as was Broderick. And, despite surface variances, I couldn’t help notice a certain subtle sameness she brought to all three characters.

I think Broderick had the tougher job of the two and seemed to struggle more with his three characters. Again, I blame the tiredness of the material and the gargantuan lift it would take to make these characters land in 2020. I think a somewhat impossible task for anyone, but maybe that is my Broderick bias. In the third act, especially, he seemed unsure as to whether he wanted to be Steve Martin or Walther Matthau and made some wild swings between the two. Perhaps he reconciles this in previews.

I will say that they both handled the farcical elements (timing, physicality) of the 3rd act fairly well, but the overall premise of this act and all the braying of no longer sparkling dialogue just never completely caught fire with me though I so admired their effort to make it float. Despite both SJP and Broderick both being in their 50’s and age appropriate to the roles, I could not help but think they seemed to be dressed up in their parents’ clothes playing at being adults.

Production design by John Lee Beatty-an incredibly sumptuous and spot on recreation of a Plaza Suite from the 60’s-- and lighting by Brian McDevitt were beautiful and first rate. SJP’s costumes by Jane Greenwood were appropriately staid and understated in the first act and lively and fun without overshadowing her in Act II and III.  However, the costume and hair choices for Broderick in Act II only served to severely sabotage the character, not illuminate. However, the audience seemed to be amused- the outfit appeared to get its own round of applause.

Though having its occasional bright spots and perhaps more will emerge as previews contine, I don’t think this particular Simon piece can ever successfully escape its theatrical time capsule, no matter the talent involved. “Plaza Suite” might be classic Simon but, for me, does not rise to level of timeless theater, as some of this other works might. I completely expect to be the outlier here, If people are enjoying the throwback that is “Grand Horizons” (which I disliked), the same audience might certainly more than enjoy the type of OG piece Wohl threw back to.

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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#6
Posted: 2/7/20 at 7:57pm
When is the Boston Opening Night?
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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#7
Posted: 2/7/20 at 8:44pm

Plaza Suite is not the problem.  Plaza Suite would work just fine with the right actors and a director who understood the jokes and trusted the material.  I can't even imagine worse casting for this show than these two, and I like both of them very much.  The director?  Well, Neil Simon is not the first name I'd think of for this director - it would be just about the last.  And why does it need incidental music other than to cash in on a name?

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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#8
Posted: 2/8/20 at 9:15am

Attended Thursday night, only the second night of performances, and would echo much of what you said in your terrific and spot-on review.  I thought the performances were charming, the set was beautiful, and the whole thing went remarkably smoothly considering how early in the run they were.  Credit to Hickey, Parker, Broderick, and everyone else involved for true professionalism.

Honestly, I didn't even notice the music -- whatever they paid Marc Shaiman was a waste.   Regarding lighting, there is a very effective cue in the third act, but in the first act I found myself wondering if it would really still be that bright outside after 5 PM in mid-December in New York?  Ultra-nitpicky, I know, probably because I really didn't enjoy the first act very much.  I found the power dynamics of the couple very muddy.  Maybe it's the natural chemistry and charm of the leads.  SJP and MB are so obviously in love and having such a great time that I didn't find as much pathos or drama or crisis in the couple's relationship as I think we're supposed to feel.

SJP did shine in the second act, though the biggest crowd-pleaser was MB's Robert Evans-esque wig and costume.   The play itself was amusing, very dated but not as cringeworthy as you'd expect in the age of Harvey Weinstein.

I do agree the third act was the highlight, with Broderick doing an amazing job channeling Walter Matthau.  I much prefer Neil Simon in all-out comedy mode.  

Overall, I wish they'd found a better vehicle for the SJP/MB pairing than this tired old warhorse, but if you're a Simon fan, I can't imagine it being done better. 

On a side note, I just want to salute the Emerson Colonial for doing such a great job bringing pre-Broadway engagements to Boston.   "Moulin Rouge," "American Utopia," and "Plaza Suite" were all first-rate productions, and I really hope this renewed Boston-to-Broadway tradition continues!

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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#9
Posted: 2/8/20 at 9:45am
Did sjp come out and sign
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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#10
Posted: 2/8/20 at 12:30pm

Thanks for a great commentary on this show.  I’m really looking forward to seeing it.

Two slants on your post.  I saw an interview with the couple last nite on Public TV and ironically, SJP indicated that Act 1 was her absolute favorite of the 3 plays.  Also, I’m not sure how old you are but do you think that the play would resonate more to a middle aged crowd?  With revivals, I often see that a younger audience may find things very outdated but an older crowd might have an appreciation for it.

thanks again for the preview review!

Be Kind
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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#11
Posted: 2/9/20 at 6:37pm

I wonder if Same Time, Next Year would have been a better choice?

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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#12
Posted: 2/10/20 at 6:22am

Saw this last night, also my first exposure to the material.

 

i can understand SJP preferring Act 1, it is the only Act that requires her to act.

 

i won’t attempt to review the show beyond stating I preferred Act Two and disliked Three, but I hate farce. I got a strong Austin Powers vibe from Broderick in Act two.

 

show started just under five minutes after ticket time and ran about an hour. First intermission listed as fifteen minutes ran twenty. Second act was just under 40 minutes, second intermission listed as ten minutes, actually was fifteen.  Third act ended at 8:45, so 2:40 total running time.  Playbill listed one Fifteen minute intermission only, there was a full page insert that included the two intermissions. Costume changes require both breaks.

 

music was minimal, as mentioned. We were far on the right side of the theater and couldn’t see everything but it was easy to figure out what we couldn’t see.

 

there is an additional entrance to the Colonial about forty feet to the left of the main entrance if you want to avoid the crush at the door. Makes best sense to go that way if your seats aren’t in the right side of the theater

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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#13
Posted: 2/10/20 at 11:32am

Whoever said "Same Time, Next Year" would've been better: Damn, that's a smart idea. And both actors could've been charming, playing more dimensions in dimensional people for a full evening. Slade's play may be built on a gimmick, but it serves; he gives the characters room to breath and grow, and the use of time is powerful.  Parker seems absolutely right(er) for that. One wonders if it was ever considered. Unlike "Plaza," it stayed on the boards longer, though obviously not in NYC.  

"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Garry Shandling
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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#14
Posted: 2/10/20 at 2:45pm

I saw the matinee yesterday, and I have to say I loved it start to finish.    Although they're clearly still finding the play(s), they are naturally funny and great to watch and really going at it.  I was even moved sometimes.  I laughed a lot throughout, and I had no idea how funny these plays were, especially the last one.  I sort of disagree with the comments that the plays don't hold up.   For anyone who is married, I think each one kind of hits on a particular truth, especially the first one.  Given that now, 50 years later there is much more open conversation about couples having rules and arrangements, its funny that Simon was hinting at that in 1968.      I think this will be a big hit.   The theatre (which is beautiful by the way) was rocking with laughter.  I will definitely see it again in New York.   Does anyone know if it will have standing room?  

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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#15
Posted: 2/10/20 at 3:01pm

BroadwayBen said: "I will definitely see it again in New York. Does anyone know if it will have standing room?"

If you mean when it transfers to the Hudson, I would assume not, as American Utopia (and other productions at the theater) have not offering SRO. 

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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#16
Posted: 2/10/20 at 3:39pm

ooblogway said: "I wonder if Same Time, Next Year would have been a better choice?"

IMO they are too old for STNY.  In the beginning, they are supposed to be young, and they age over time.  Ellen Burstyn was luminous in the role on Broadway; and, even though 40 at the time, she looked much younger than she was.  SJP will be 55 when the show opens on Broadway, and looks every year of it.  One would need total suspension of credibility to believe MB is remotely (like under 50) young in the earlier scenes.  He looks middle aged in every way possible.  

Also, I imagine that it is as dated as Plaza Suite, although I do feel that the movie of STNY has held up better than PS.

 
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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#17
Posted: 2/11/20 at 3:29am

ooblogway said: "I wonder if Same Time, Next Year would have been a better choice?"

While I also love STNY, in the interview I saw last week, the couple indicated that the main objective of their pairing was to honor Neil Simon and recreate one of his classic plays.  I’m not sure they would have considered a project by another playwright.  

Be Kind
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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#18
Posted: 2/11/20 at 10:42am

Wee Thomas2 said: "Saw this last night, also my first exposure to the material.



i can understand SJP preferring Act 1, it is the only Act that requires her to act.



i won’t attempt to review the show beyond stating I preferred Act Two and disliked Three, but I hate farce. I got a strong Austin Powers vibe from Broderick in Act two.



show started just under five minutes after ticket time and ran about an hour. First intermission listed as fifteen minutes ran twenty. Second act was just under 40 minutes, second intermission listed as ten minutes, actually was fifteen. Third act ended at 8:45, so 2:40 total running time. Playbill listed one Fifteen minute intermission only, there was a full page insert that included the two intermissions. Costume changes require both breaks.



music was minimal, as mentioned. We were far on the right side of the theater and couldn’t see everything but it was easy to figure out what we couldn’t see.



there is an additionalentrance to the Colonial about forty feet to the left of the main entrance if you want to avoid the crush at the door. Makes best sense to go that way if your seats aren’t in the right side of the theater
"

Is this "entrance", the same "exit" that you take when leaving the Orhcestra and head to the right of the lobby bar and lounge? If thats opened that'd be doopeeee. Hate the metal detector lines at the Colonial. 

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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#19
Posted: 2/11/20 at 10:55am

Has anyone visited the stage door for this afterwards? 

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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#20
Posted: 2/12/20 at 10:26am

Anyone know if they're selling Souvenier cups for wine/beer? I love getting those. Also usually means I can get a double :) 

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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#21
Posted: 2/12/20 at 5:48pm
Can’t recommend Plaza Suite personally. If you LOVE Matthew and SJP, go for it. I’m 22, found the play to be outdated, boring, uncomfortable at parts, and not funny! I don’t understand how this is going to Broadway if I’m being honest. SJP and Broderick do the best they can with what’s given. I don’t see the need at all for this revival minus this couple doing it.

Just my opinion, crowd seemed to really enjoy it. I really don’t understand the appeal here. Set was nice, performances were fine, not worth broadway prices. I’m sure there are better options on the great white way this spring.
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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#22
Posted: 2/12/20 at 5:55pm

Mike Barrett said: "Can’t recommend Plaza Suite personally. If you LOVE Matthew and SJP, go for it. I’m 22, found the play to be outdated, boring, uncomfortable at parts, and not funny! 

You're not the target audience.

 

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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#23
Posted: 2/12/20 at 7:19pm

JSquared2 said: "Mike Barrett said: "Can’t recommend Plaza Suite personally. If you LOVE Matthew and SJP, go for it. I’m 22, found the play to be outdated, boring, uncomfortable at parts, and not funny!

You're not the target audience.


"
clearly, and I get that. Hence why I put my age. If anyone my age was questioning to see it, don’t. 

 

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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#24
Posted: 2/12/20 at 8:05pm
I was very interested in seeing this until I saw what they were charging. Despicable.
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Plaza Suite Boston Peformances Thread#25
Posted: 2/12/20 at 8:08pm

Mike Barrett said: "JSquared2 said: "Mike Barrett said: "Can’t recommend Plaza Suite personally. If you LOVE Matthew and SJP, go for it. I’m 22, found the play to be outdated, boring, uncomfortable at parts, and not funny!

You're not the target audience.


"
clearly, and I get that. Hence why I put my age. If anyone my age was questioning to see it, don’t.


I am 58, presumably well within the target audience, and agree with everything Mike Barrett said.


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