Weekend Question Thread

Do you like theater? What’s your favorite play?

I’m a sucker for some Shakespearean Henry, myself. My local Shakespeare theater group did a Henry V last summer that blew my entire mind. It was this steampunk-WWI version and it was all stripped-down gorgeousness. It didn’t make me forget Kenneth Branagh but it did give me the feeling I got when I first saw his, which is to say I kind of walked around in a daze for a day or so afterwards.

And I was officially off musicals (overdose culminated in Wicked which feels like the Beatles to me, like everybody else loves it so much I can’t tell if I love it or if it’s peer pressure) until I saw this.

Javert is my sort of thing anyway, plus Russell Crowe, plus my crush on Anne Hathaway is reaching Starbuckian proportions, so yeah, pulling out my high school Les Mis t-shirts and soundtrack tapes and singing it badly and loudly in the shower again.

A.

11 thoughts on “Weekend Question Thread

  1. darrelplant says:

    Did my thesis on “Henry V”, making the case for Shakespeare as popular entertainment rather than the de Vere school of work written by and for the elite. Branagh film came out just after my orals.

  2. darrelplant says:

    Would “Once More Unto the Breach” make a good song for a musical HV?

  3. pansypoo says:

    no. i have seen plays, some amusing, but hate HATE HATE MUSICALS. the ads for broadway in NY made me know i could never lie in NY.

  4. Elspeth Ravenwind says:

    I actually love big broadway stuff…but on my terms. I refused to see “Wicked” (i typically dig in my heels when something is soooo hyped) until I started dating my boyfriend in early 2010. I read the book and caught the show in NOLA at the Mahalia Jackson Performing Arts Center. Just on production value alone, and the songs…I LOVED IT.
    Last Dec my man and I saw “Wicked” TWICE in a day…didn’t mean for it, orig the matinee and then dinner, but as we left the matinee, he asked about any tix for the evening show, so we went again. He’s Fiyero to my Elphaba.
    The first broadway show I saw in its main venue was “Cats”… That came about via that my grandparents saw it in London in late 1985 (along w/”Starlight Express” and “No Sex Please, We’re British”) and they LOVED “Cats”. They brought back the (vinyl) soundtrack which I copied onto cassette and committed to memory (so to speak).
    I vowed to not see a touring production of “Cats” until I saw it either in London or in NYC. I got my chance in 94, in London. Magic. Effing magic. I loved it.
    I’ve since seen a touring production of it…in Houston, but for some reason, songs had been reworked vs the UK version. It sucked in comparison.
    I took my mom to see “Phantom of the Opera” that was touring in Houston..we were 5th row and in the first five minutes, she leaned over and told me “I don’t know what you paid for the tickets, but it was WORTH it already”. 🙂
    I’ve also seen “Crazy for You” a charming Gershwin-based musical, left me wanting to learn to tap.
    I saw “The Producers” also in NOLA (but at the Saenger), totally enjoyed it.
    Granted, I must admit: I love old theaters/music halls…too. I’m a backstage brat. I grew up going backstage before and after ballet performances courtesy of my (sadly died last thanksgiving) aunt who was a principal dancer w/the Houston Ballet. I have an addiction to costuming, theatrical makeup and the energy before a show.
    Many years back, I was an assistant stage manager for a local production of “Nunsense”.

  5. Kaleberg says:

    I love live theater, and I miss it living out where I do.
    Sometimes it’s just a little gem like Talley’s Folly (with Judd Hirsch) or Fences (with James Earl Jones) where a particular performance makes for the perfect theater experience. Sometimes it’s a farce, like Noises Off with its play within a play that just keeps getting more and more hilarious. I just went through my old Playbill collection, and I’ve seen more theater than I thought. Thanks for the question. It really brought back some memories.
    The most amazing play I saw was Angels in America, actually a pair of plays. It was a smash hit, but our hotel concierge got us front and center seats each time. Don’t even ask what we paid. The play was a spectacle of powerful writing, acting and staging, and it was all the more powerful with the AIDS menace devastating New York’s creative community.

  6. Ruth says:

    *Whispers* have never seen Les Mis on stage, despite living 45 minutes from the West End.
    But the film trailers did look good, yes. Must make the effort this time.

  7. Ruth says:

    Blimey, *answer the question, Ruth*
    Yes, I adore theatre, although no, I do not have a favourite play apart from “Shakespeare (not the comedies)”. Saw a wonderful performance of Brecht’s Mother Courage starring Judi Dench in the mid 80s.

  8. Diana says:

    the Hollow Crown stars the beautiful Tom Hiddleston as Prince Hal/Henry V.
    not sure it’s available in America, however.

  9. MichaelF says:

    I’m kind of fond of The Tempest, though I’m a little biased, since I was in a production of it that Tony Kushner (writer of Angels in America) directed in 1981 at a Louisiana gifted/talented school children program…

  10. I like theatre to the point that I got three degrees in it, write plays, and even got one done off-Broadway in 2008. My vacation time is spent going to theatre conferences and festivals: The William Inge Festival in Independence, Kansas every April, and Stratford, Ontario, every summer. That makes me a total theatre nerd, I guess.
    I’m not a huge fan of Shakespeare. Nothing against him; I just prefer post-war American theatre. My favorite play (other than my own, of course) is “Fifth of July” by Lanford Wilson. I wrote my dissertation on him and his work with Marshall W. Mason at the Circle Rep in New York.

  11. Dr A says:

    Love live theater…of all kinds including musicals! Don’t do it as much as we’d like due to the $ situation.
    When I was a kid, we went to the Jones Beach Theater (on Long Island where my grandma lived) almost ever summer to see a show there! (Always in August, around my sister’s birthday, and with a gaggle of neighborhood kids…my family was pretty cool about that…don’t know how they managed with half the neighborhood.) We spent all day at the beach and had hamburgers & hotdogs, then went to the show which was hosted by Guy Lombardo. The stage was out in the water and he would come in on his big beautiful racing boat and introduce it – The King and I, Sound of Music, Oklahoma, all the chestnuts! After the show, we would be leaving as Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians would start playing in the tent attached to the main building…if my parents or grandma wanted to dance for a number or two, we kids would all dance in the hallways! Good times! Did see Les Mis before it went to Broadway and am looking forward to the movie!

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