Monday, February 11, 2019

Weekly Margin 2019, W6: Superhero, Call Me Madam

2/06/19: Superhero
What: A new musical by John Logan and Tom Kitt at 2nd Stage, about a fractured family, a mysterious neighbor, and the balance of bravery and recovery.
And? I saw this very early in previews, so it's possible the show will grow into something else, but right now it feels fairly underbaked, both conceptually and storywise. I wasn't entirely surprised, as bookwriter/playwright John Logan has a history of disappointing me, of not quite delivering on the potentials he sets up (listen, Red boasted two stellar performances and some amazing painting sequences, but did anyone actually get anything satisfying out of the story? truly?). And the score seemed to hit a lot of the same emotional beats over and over, in terms of the family grieving, and there's only so much even the wonderful Kate Baldwin (and she is wonderful) can wring out of it. I'm pleased the show managed to skirt some cliched tropes along the way, especially the history in some sects of comic bookology of turning women into prizes rather than people, but I was still ultimately disengaged from the show. (side note, in addition to Kate Baldwin being wonderful, the often-antic (and hilarious) Bryce Pinkham delivers a surprisingly quiet but powerful turn as the mysterious neighbor) (second side note: the Playbill and website list a character named Dean Fulton, and for the life of me I cannot recall this character. Anyone else who's seen it, any insight? Was the role cut?)

2/08/19: Call Me Madam
What: Part of New York City Center's Encores! series, about a U.S. ambassador to the Duchy of Licthenburg, and, you know, some romance ensues.
And? Unfortunately, a very inert experience. Carmen Cusack, though funny, feels vocally miscast in the Ethel Merman role, and the sweet voice of Jason Gotay and the adorableness of Lauren Worsham aren't enough to elevate the show to anything memorable. Oh well.

Jason Gotay and Lauren Worsham as Kenneth Gibson and Princess Maria.
Photo by Stephanie Berger.

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