So, over the weekend my mother, sister (neato72), and I went to see a couple shows:
Angela Lansbury stole the show as eccentric Madame Arcati, though I will say she had some stiff competition from Susan Louise O'Connor making her Broadway debut as the maid, Edith. Jayne Atkinson and Christine Ebersole were wonderful in the roles of Charles' duelling wives living (mostly) and dead (mostly) respectively. Rupert Everett was excellent as Charles, though by now he's played that same basic role in a variety of historical periods: Elizabethan, Victorian, post-World War, post-Cold War, etc. Overall, I would say the only problems with the productions was the perhaps too long gap between scenes (the use of the Noel Coward songs sung by Ms. Ebersole, was nice, but seemed to force extra time onto the show where none was truly needed) and the fact that the major plot device was never truly well explained (I shan't spoil it here).
I've never been a huge fan of South Pacific (or Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals in general), but this production converted me. Firstly, let me say that, for her sake, I hope that this production removes any lingering taint Laura Osnes' name has as a result of having been cast in Grease via a reality show. Ms. Osnes' did an admirable job in the role of Knucklehead Nellie Forbush deftly balancing the "corny" and the "cock-eyed" with the conflicted. Opera singer David Pittsinger was a moving Emile in glorious voice (if a little bit too stiff at some points, specifically the final lines of "This Nearly was Mine"). Loretta Ables Sayre was an alternatingly amusing and menacing Bloody Mary. One, I hesitate to say low, maybe odd, point was Andrew Samonsky's portrayal of Lt. Joe Cable. He seemed to be affecting a voice and bravado in his book scenes that didn't fully work for me, and seemed at odds with his singing voice (beautiful) and the scenes of him on the radio. And, of course, one can't discount the most important cast member, the sumptuous 30-piece orchestra which truly deserved the attention that was lavished upon it.
- "...just a Broadway Baby."