Monday, November 11, 2019

Weekly Margin 2019, W45: Mean Girls, A Bright Room Called Day

11/06/19: Mean Girls
What: A musical adaptation of Tina Fey's hit film.
And? It was perfectly fine. It wasn't as bad as I worried it would be, based on the show's Tony performance, and the cast was overall very good, especially Kate Rockwell as Karen. The songs aren't memorable but the book is good. Production-wise, I think it relies too heavily on the digital walls, and the choreography is repetitive and uninteresting. But not bad for a Wednesday night in pink.

Ashley Park, Taylor Louderman, Kate Rockwell, and Erika Henningsen as
Gretchen, Regina, Karen, and Cady. Photo by Joan Marcus.

11/10/19: A Bright Room Called Day
What: The Public Theatre revives Tony Kushner's first play, about a group of artists in Weimar Germany, facing the rise of fascism. In this revised version of the text, Kushner himself becomes a character, attempting to fix what's wrong with his play.
And? I wanted to like it more than I did. It's impressive and ambitious, and one can see that it's the same voice that could produce the transportive Angels in America and Caroline, Or Change, but this is less cohesive than either of those, and the revisions to the interruptions don't feel fully formed yet, either in the writing or the performance. Zillah criticizes the playwright for not giving her a life outside the interruptions, and unfortunately that remains true here. There are some impressive performances, particularly Nikki M. James and Linda Emond and Nadine Malouf, though Grace Gummer seems out of her depth a lot of the time. I'm glad I got to finally see a play I'd only read (I've had the luck of that happening several times this year), but I can't say I got everything out of it that Kushner and Eustis wanted me to.

Jonathan Hadary, Nikki M. James, Michael Esper, and Crystal Lucas-Perry
as Xillah, Agnes Eggling, Vealtnine Husz, and Zillah. Photo by Joan Marcus.

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