Friday, October 12, 2007

Drowsy Chaperone & Mary Stuart

Last night I saw The Drowsy Chaperone for the first time since the fringe production in 1999. I was told that this was how they had always wanted the show to be. It didn't disappoint. I found myself remembering the fringe cast as the characters were introduced at the top of the show, but the polish that has been added has helped it immensely. It was nice to see it on that scale, now really feels like a 1920s musical.

The performances were wonderful, even if I still have a huge problem with Aldolpho. I was really disappointed though, in the Show Off number. Having seen this number on the Tony awards, I expected it to feel bigger than it actually was. Guess that's the problem with expectations. What was really wonderful about the show was the joyousness infusing it - although I was surprised by the amount of bitterness the Man in Chair has at one point. It feels more pointed than I remember, which gives the show a bit of an edge.

Now having seen Bob Martin's acclaimed performance as Man in Chair, I'm dying to see Jonathan Crombie take on the role. He's currently playing it on Broadway and will take over from Bob when the tour moves to Cleveland.


Saw Mary Stuart tonight and thought it well done. Joe Ziegler did a good job directing it. My problem was that I wasn't feeling much sympathy for Mary and a ton of it for Elizabeth. This made it hard for me to just go along with what Schiller wanted to say. I had a huge problem with the whole "Mary is so beautiful and pure that every man falls in love with her" bit. (I'm guessing I've been forever tainted by Lana Lang in Smallville.) I also really love the Elizabeth/Leicester story and find it really romantic, which made it hard for me to believe that he'd ditch Elizabeth for Mary.

The program notes talk about Schiller's interest in "ethics, aesthetics and questions of human freedom", but I really couldn't go with him on that. So its power was greatly diminished for me. In a way, I'm thinking this is a case where my love of history was stronger than my love for theatre. But not all was lost. I fell in love with Stuart Hughes all over again.

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