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The Mick chats with host Jesse Tyler Ferguson, while Claybourne Elder photobombs.

I mean, I guess there’s no real way to NOT mention Hamilton, because there was no real way that Hamilton was not going to win every damn thing at the 30th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards last weekend. So like. Yeah. Hamilton happened. They took home hella awards. Lin-Manuel Miranda rapped his acceptance speech for Outstanding Musical, making it all about how he’s glad that Hamilton is a part of the Public Theater’s ongoing history off-Broadway. It was great.

My favorite speech from anyone in the Hamilton crew, though, came from actress Renée Elise Goldsberry, who found herself overcome at the podium, and apologized saying “I’m sorry, it’s just… I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve never won an award for my acting.” I may or may not have gotten a bit choked up myself, watching.

So even though Hamilton winning everything is already non-news, it seems fitting, I think, that Goldsberry won her first acting award there, at the Lortels. And not just because we’ve all seen her in a ton of off-Broadway shows these past few years. It’s more just… The Lortels themselves, really, and how I’ve come to know them these past few years — as a communal celebration of good things — felt like the right place to honor Goldsberry this first time.

Because honestly, it’s that very vibe– that sense of community gathering, and honor, and celebration, which has made the Lortels my very favorite of the awards shows each year.

It starts on the carpet, I think. It’s just… the best. Maybe because the actors aren’t exhausted by awards season yet (even the ones visiting from uptown on their Tony campaigns), so they’re bright and excited to chat and thrilled to be exactly where they are. Maybe because the carpet is just… crazy organized, and full of theater-focused journalists (as opposed to the Tonys, which are overwhelmed by international and pure pop-culture press), so it’s less of a shit-show and more of a bonding experience. (Seriously. It’s to the extent that this year, while waiting for the first few actors to make their way past the photographers and video journalists, we writers (and some tweeters, too!) took a quick dance break to perform a bit of High School Musical’s “We’re All in This Together.”)

And maybe that’s all crazy inside-baseball information, but I really do think it contributes to the whole vibe of the show. The journalists are happy to be there and the actors are happy to be there and happy to chat with us and everyone is just happy times happy times happy, which is like… happy cubed? Which, I don’t even know what that is, but I’m just telling you the result is so awesome.

Plus, like I said, that awesome feeling doesn’t stop on the red carpet. The show itself feels like such a lovely, warm celebration of a community, and the excellence of the body of work they’ve created together over the course of a season, that it’s just lovely to watch. There’s a warmth to everyone’s interactions. There’s a generosity of spirit as people listen to winners take their moment. There’s an honesty to everyone’s speeches — whether they’re accepting an award, or introducing an icon — that seems to get leeched out, or sanded down, or just become somehow less at some of the bigger awards shows. Maybe it’s the lack of cameras, or the smaller audience, I don’t know. But everything feels really… well, real, at the Lortel Awards. And even as a writer, there in the audience, you feel like you’re a part of it.

And then afterward, everyone files out of the theater, laughing and chatting and smiling, congregating in the entries and lobbies for ages, and it’s super lovely, but really, the party hasn’t even begun yet. Because you’re about to decamp into an elevator with like… Terrence McNally and head out for the after-party, which is just one big, chill hangout. There’s tons of booze, and cheese cubes, and some delicious pasta. But mostly, there’s just… conversation. No showboating or grandstanding. No cliques hiding in the corner. Just theater people of all stripes — actors, marketers, producers, lighting designers — hanging out, having a drink and a chat. And a drink and a chat. And a drink and a chat. And another after that.


PS. Just to talk about Hamilton one more time in this post that is not about Hamilton… Because the Lortels took place on Mother’s Day, I asked all the actors about their favorite ‘theatrical mother’ on the red carpet. This could be a real person, a character, anything. Hamilton star Daveed Diggs, who would go on to win Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, told me that co-star (and follow winner) Renée Elise Goldsberry is his favorite theatrical mother. Not only because she’s a great mom to her children, but also because she took care of the entire cast. Sweetest thing ever, right?! #swoon


Photo: David Levy


Much though I often wish otherwise, going to the theater is never a completely pure experience. Even when you don’t know anything about the show when you walk through those doors. Even when you’ve tried so, so hard not to have any preconceived notions about the material you know you’re about to face.

Because you bring yourself to the theater, always. Your good day, or your bad day. Your desire to escape. Your desire to see yourself reflected back at you on stage. Your desire to have a good time, or a thought-provoking one. Those things… they all walk in the doors with you. And they all become a part of your experience of the show you’re seeing.

The experience of theater is inherently subjective. You are uniquely yourself, and you experience material in a unique way. Which really, is pretty damn cool.

I mean all of this musing as a preface for the fact that the day I went to see The Heidi Chronicles on Broadway, I walked in the doors knowing next to nothing about the play, but so very looking forward to seeing a show, written and directed by women, starring a woman, that I knew had spoken so very deeply to many of the women in my life. I also walked in the doors after a series of several long days in which I spent a lot of time thinking about the ways we speak and write about women in the media today, particularly in conversations about domestic abuse. Earlier that evening I’d sent Lucky a final draft of this post for review, and at intermission, from my balcony seat at the Music Box Theatre, I pressed publish and put my thoughts out into the world. And I braced myself for backlash, as I’d wager any woman writing on the internet about women’s issues must.

To say I was in the mood for a play that would speak to me about my experience, and light a fire under my ass, or illuminate the path forward, is an understatement. I was SO looking forward to this feminist masterpiece. I was looking forward to having my life or my mind or my heart or my day or my something changed by Wendy Wasserstein’s work.

To say it pains me to admit that I completely disliked the show would also be an understatement. I can’t remember the last time I left the theater feeling less inspired and more solidly defeated than I did that night. It was wildly disheartening, and in the aftermath I struggled to understand what my friends had seen in the play that I’d so completely missed.

Because I walked out onto 45th Street feeling like… OMG. It’s been 27 years and nothing has changed. We’re no better off. A child of the 80s, I am quite literally Judy, and my life is full of the exact same struggles that Heidi and Susan (and Lisa and Fran and Jill) all face. I am still paid less for the work I do. I still have relatives telling me to stop worrying so much about my career, because if I don’t I might die childless and alone. I still struggle to form lasting relationships with men who are not intimidated by my professional drive (or loud mouth or forceful opinions) who are looking for an equal partner and willing to put in the work that it takes to BE an equal partner in return.

But what’s worse, was that I also walked out onto 45th Street feeling like… What even was the point of that? What was Wasserstein even trying to say? The show felt like a series of vignettes which, by the end, made no coherent statement at all.

Maybe The Heidi Chronicles was revolutionary in 1988 simply because it put the inner lives of women on stage, no matter what it did or didn’t say. Maybe in 1988 that was enough, and it didn’t need to have a cohesive idea around which it was organized. Maybe it didn’t need to make a comment, or create new context, because it’s existence alone was enough.

But it’s not 1988 anymore. And you don’t get points just for putting women on the stage. We’re half the bloody population and we’re 68% of the theater-going audience and just standing an articulate version of one of us on the stage is not enough anymore. That’s just… It’s basic. You gotta give me something else, here.

Maybe it’s that The Heidi Chronicles is so much of it’s time that it just hasn’t aged well. And maybe it’s just not a good play. (I kind of suspect that, actually, because, again… What are you saying, Wendy Wasserstein? And why on earth can’t I tell just by watching your play?)

But some part of me believes the production itself deserves at least some of the fault, here, too. Not so much the actors as the director, Pam MacKinnon. Because this production just felt like such a limp, literal interpretation and presentation of the work. It brought nothing new to light, gave me no new contextual lens through which to view the play nearly 30 years later, and frankly just left me feeling frustrated and cold and… ugh.

I know. I’m asking for a lot. But so is everyone who walked in that door. We all came in with baggage. For the women maybe it was uncles who say stupid shit at the dinner table over holidays, or men in our past who used the word ‘opinionated’ interchangeably with ‘bitch,’ or bosses who gave us side-eye when we reached a certain age, wondering when we’d abandon them to pop out babies, as if that was the only possible path. Maybe the men had stifled mothers, or sisters they’d watched struggle with the double-standards women are constantly being measured against. Maybe they’d spent pre-show drinks listening to a friend rail against the language Pat Healy chose to use in his latest article in the New York Times.

A great play, a great production, cuts through all of that. It grabs you by the throat and takes you along with it. Makes you see things in a new, powerful way. I want greatness from work like this. And sadly, I don’t think it was there at The Music Box that night.

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You guys, I’m still really struggling with this New York Times article by Patrick Healy about Marin Ireland, and the proposals in front of Actor’s Equity for improving “protocols for registering and handling grievances about harassment in the theater.” I’m struggling with it, because it’s a good thing, and I want (need) to support good things, but it’s also… It doesn’t really feel right. It’s a little hard to celebrate.

Because here a The Craptacular we’ve known, for nearly three years now, about the incident between Ireland and Scott Shepherd. And the story we’ve heard (time and again, from sources that we cannot name) is much fuller and more disturbing than what the New York Times reported. The incident involves Shepherd striking Ireland, yes. But it also involves more than just a black eye, and it involves him forcibly refusing to allow her to leave his presence after he gave her that black eye, intimidating her while she was isolated an ocean away from home.

And I know. I know. That some of this is just… issues of journalism and ethics and the rules at the New York Times. That in a story like this, the Times can likely only report things that their fact-checkers can confirm with both parties. And that, on top of that, the story is really supposed to be about the proposal in front of Equity, more than the incident that inspired Ireland to take action. The article isn’t actually about Ireland. It’s about the proposals. And I also know that publishing any detail about the incident that is even remotely questionable would create doubt for some readers and ultimately distract from the larger point of the article.

(Lucky and I have certainly learned the hard way that the technical details of someone’s behavior and/or conviction and subsequent legal status can very easily distract from the real argument at hand. A fact that seems especially prominent in discussions of gender, sexism and misogyny, but I digress.)

But I keep coming back to this one fact: As a reader, and a woman, I hate how the Times article portrays the incident. Because it makes it sound like it’s sort of… not a big deal. And worse, like it’s something Ireland kind of asked for.

Stripped of additional context, and boiled down to a series of only three events that Shepherd and Ireland both agreed upon, the situation is presented as thus:

1. They had been ‘arguing about their relationship.’
2. Ireland slapped Shepherd.
3. Several days later, Shepherd struck Ireland, knocking her over and giving her a black eye.

And because the events are presented in isolation, and in that specific order, the first two facts color the readers’ perception of the third fact. They allow you to view this behavior as the natural progression of a set of arguments that had gotten a bit out of control. So as a reader, you’re allowed to think, “Well, they were fighting. And she hit him first! So I mean, obviously he hit her back. And that’s bad because he hit her worse, and she had a black eye, so yeah, bad. But really, she hit him first, so…”

It allows you to think “she was asking for it.”

Which is maybe my least favorite phrase in basically all of the world. We see it in the discussion of rape and sexual assault all the damn time. (What was she wearing? Was she drinking? Did she flirt? Has she slept with other people before?) And here we’re seeing it in the discussion of physical abuse. Ugh. Just… ugh. We have to stop talking about abuse this way.

As if there isn’t a right and a wrong. As if a man — who is much larger than his opponent, and who has training in how to fight — didn’t know he shouldn’t be violently laying his hands on someone smaller and weaker. As if the other details of this story are not publishable because the perpetrator won’t agree to that particular description of how he made his victim feel.

I don’t care that Scott Shepherd says he’s sorry. Abusers always say they’re sorry. It’s part of how they keep their victims around, so they can continue to abuse them. Abuse is a cycle.

And maybe Shepherd is sorry. Maybe that was an isolated incident and he’d never done it before and he’ll never do it again. But it is also possible to make decisions, as adults, that we can never fully recover from. And there is a right and a wrong. There’s wrong and there’s more wrong. And the world is a pretty fucked up place if we can’t report on an incident of abuse without getting full agreement from both parties.

Because we always report on all crimes that way, right? We always make sure we only include the details both the perpetrator and the victim agree upon. We report on muggings and beatings and murders that way, right? Because usually murder victims have asked for it. Same goes for people who’ve been mugged, right? …OH WAIT.

So yeah. I feel shitty about the reporting in this Times story. I’m glad — so glad — that it’s being reported on at all. Glad that the Times used their audience to shine a spotlight on this bit of news that could easily be taken as like… inside-baseball industry stuff and thus, be completely ignored.

And I’m fucking floored by Ireland. Awed by the bravery it takes to share a deeply private piece of her deeply private personal struggle and use that to fuel the fight for real, valuable social change. There is a courage in that which I am very seriously unable to articulate.

But that article was a bit difficult for me to swallow. And it felt important to talk about that here. Because it’s important to see the ways in which the world makes these kinds of battles so difficult to fight. The ways in which this world makes it difficult for women to stand up for themselves, to protect themselves, and to help the women around them, too. And jesus, don’t even get me started on intersectionality, and how this would have been different or worse or a thousand other things if Ireland (or Shepherd, for that matter) hadn’t been white.

Or maybe do, I don’t know. The point is, I want us to talk about these things. But I want us to talk about them in real ways. Ways that don’t massively fail victims and protect perpetrators. And the only way I know how to start anymore is just to… do it. So here we are.

[Article originally published on 3/18/2015, updated on 4/27/2015 to clarify descriptions of the domestic abuse incident between Ireland and Shepherd and the surrounding circumstances.]


Post-Hamilton. As you can see, @NineDaves and I are feeling pretty good.

So here’s my current dilemma.

Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hip Hop musical about Alexander Hamilton) was so fucking good — yes, Dad, that f-bomb was extremely necessary — so utterly mindblowing that I feel really, really overmatched by the task of writing about it. Except. EXCEPT. I loved it so much that I feel compelled to talk about it. Like. I want to evangelize. Like. Hamilton may be my new religion? And maybe it should be yours too?

Okay. I’m hyperbolizing.

But really, only just a bit. I really just. By the time the first number was over, I knew something special was happening because my scalp was tingling. The last time that happened to me at a musical? Spring Awakening. And this is way better than Spring Awakening, which, no matter how much I loved it, sadly suffered from some moments of like, oh, old white men, that’s a very nice try but you only THINK the kids talk that way. Hamilton just really doesn’t have those moments.

Then, midway through the first act, as Leslie Odom Jr. was SLAYING a song called “Wait for It” I actually felt so overwhelmed that I got teary. Not because this was a sad or particularly emotional moment in the arc of the story (nope, those tearjerkers were all in the second act) but seriously just because like… I could not believe how much I was loving the show. How fucking GOOD it was.

Seriously. The people in the seats around me were basically physically incapable of sitting still, of being quiet. They were saying “oh shit” and “oh my god” and at one point I think I actually said — out loud — “I’m going to die.”

I left the theater and I wanted to sit down with Lin-Manuel Miranda and spend six hours talking about the history of Hip Hop and R&B. Then I wanted to watch him talk to Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell about musicals, and musical forms, and how you make music that’s completely credible to it’s form also fully functional in the context of a musical. Then I wanted to talk to Lin some more, about the whys and the hows. About the ways he was able to connect Hamilton’s story as an immigrant, and writer, and revolutionary, to the story of the hip hop movement itself, and the moment he realized this was the story he wanted to tell, and the moment he realized it was actually going to work. I wanted to hear it all.

But mostly. I just wanted to go back and see Hamilton again. Already. Every day, maybe. Like maybe I can just sleep under the seats in the Newman, or something? I don’t know.

I just think this is big. Like. I sat in the theater and thought… I’m witnessing something here. A movement of the form. Where we’re credibly using the idiom of hip hop and R&B to tell a story that is both specific and universal, historical and of this very second. Where someone proved — again, like Bloody Bloody did 5 years ago, and Spring Awakening and Hedwig before that — that musicals are alive and well, and that we really can stop trying to replicate some long dead ‘Golden Age’ where everything sounds like some attempt to put a synth to Rodgers and Hammerstein, or we regurgitate more Gershwin.

I can only hope for more of this. So much more. More of Hamilton and more of Lin-Manuel Miranda and more of people smart enough to find the right ways to be authentic to both the musical and the music, more producers brave enough to put their heft behind this kind of work.

Until then, just… come at me bro, I am so ready to talk about this all day erry day. 5eva. (No please, I have so much to say, let’s be friends and talk, okay? Okay. BRB I’m gonna go write like a hundred more things about this show now.)

PS. Some of Thomas Kail’s direction was so straight up amazing I stopped breathing (holy shit the staging of “Satisfied” as he replays the events of an evening and the stage picture when he freezes Hamilton in the eye of the hurricane in the second act). Leslie Odom Jr. will be nominated for a Tony in 2016 for his performance as Aaron Burr. In fact, if Tony nominations don’t rain down on this show like Hamiltons in a rap video set in a strip club, I am going to make good on my previous Alex-Timbers-inspired threats to burn the Tonys to the ground and dance in the incinerated rubble, flames licking at my feet.


Which is an addendum to this post: Dear Broadway, Honestly, Why the Fuck Am I Even Here?

In the past few days, there’s a lot that I’ve thought and a lot that could be said here about the James Barbour situation.

I could ask you to think seriously about whether Barbour would have been punished more harshly, or given less opportunities for a second chance, if the victim had been a young man and not a young woman.

I could ask you if you’ve ever been the victim of any kind of sexual assault. Or really, truly known anyone who was. Whose life was changed forever in the wake of that crime.

Or if you’d feel the same way about ‘second chances’ if he’d committed, and confessed to, some other kind of violent crime.

I could talk about the fact that 60 days in prison seems paltry compared to the long term impact that his act would have had on his victim, but that is my opinion.

And even more importantly, all of that — getting bogged down in the technicalities of the law, or arguments over what is appropriate punishment for a person who commits and confesses to such a crime — is actually beside the point. My original point has nothing to do with the law, it has to do with how I feel as a paying member of the Broadway audience.

As a woman, I feel uncomfortable with, and alienated by this casting decision. And I know for a fact very many other women (and men) do too. This feeling contributes a larger sense that Broadway is not behaving like the kind of community that values women, or wants women to feel as if it is a safe space for them. It also makes me wonder if this Broadway — the one that casts men who confessed to sexual conduct with a minor — is a Broadway that I personally want to be a part of, or financially support.

That’s the point I wanted to make. That the James Barbour casting is one factor — admittedly a large one — in my sense that Broadway can be a very sexist and misogynistic place. One that is not welcoming to women, despite the fact that we are the people keeping it alive.

And I believe that we deserve better. That we can BE better.

Broadway can be better.


Welp, internet. I’ve hit my limit. It’s finally happened.

After five years running The Craptacular, and more years loving theater than I can accurately tally, I just cannot take another minute of Broadway’s sexist, misogynistic bullshit and stay silent. Just cannot be done.

Because guess what? Women make up close to 70% of your audience. Theater as a commercial enterprise literally doesn’t exist without women. And yet, every time I turn around, it seems like Broadway is going out of it’s way to make us feel unwelcome. To tell us we’re worthy of little more than the opportunity to fork over our hard-earned cash to buy your tickets.

Sometimes you’re just mounting generally sexist musicals, like Wonderland and Bullets Over Broadway (and, I hear, Honeymoon in Vegas). Other times charmers like John Why-the-Fuck-Are-You-Still-Writing Simon go about insulting little girl’s looks for kicks (turns out Little Red just wasn’t little and lithe enough for that dirty old man), while lovely gentlemen like Michael Riedel publish lovely little bon mots like this one:

Female empowerment is fine for daytime television, but it’s flesh-crawling in a musical.

Still other times it gets even worse, and producers and casting directors hire men who are confessed sex offenders — with a penchant for teenage girls — to take leading roles on Broadway without batting an eye.

And I’m supposed to keep giving you my money?

More and more I wish I could say ‘fuck no.’ Because honestly. Sometimes I don’t understand why I’m even here. Why I keep coming back for more in a space that is openly hostile to me just because I was born with a vagina and, 32-some-odd-years later, I continue to identify as a woman.

And worse, I don’t know how to change it. Other than this. Then calling it out.

Because I’m tired of being silent about it.

Tired of watching people like James Barbour sexually abuse little girls and then get high profile Broadway gigs. Tired of sitting back while men publish sexist shit in some of the most circulated papers in the country — and the world — and get applauded for being so hilariously witty and contrarian and whatever the fuck else you fuckers think Michael Riedel is. Tired of being told to brush it off, like I’m being oversensitive, when if you swapped the word “gay” in there for “female,” there’d be uproar. Tired of reading articles in the New York Times where men speculate about why women aren’t coming to the shows they’ve mounted — without a single woman in a prominent place on the creative or production teams — without bothering to interview them for the aforementioned articles they are writing. Tired of sitting down in my seat at the theater only to hear Frank Wildhorn’s show tell me that it’s the woman’s fault her marriage fell apart because she emasculated her poor unemployed husband when she got a job to support her family (Wonderland). Or turning on my television to watch a supposedly satirical musical refer to women as ‘frigid’ and ‘bitches’ without any aim of actually subverting those stereotypes for productive commentary (Galavant).

I’m tired of keeping your fucking shows afloat with my hard earned money — even when they dismiss me, or don’t tell my stories, or demean me — while you laugh all the way to the bank without promoting women in the ranks around you, Mssrs. Producers/Theater Owners/Artistic Directors. I’m tired of buying your papers and valuing your opinions on theater when you couldn’t find a single fucking female to talk to in an article where you talk about women seeing theater, or a single fucking female to edit your writers so they don’t say disgusting misogynistic bullshit in their columns.

So I’m just gonna keep on talking about it. I’m gonna be that girl. And I know already that it’s going to be annoying and exhausting. It’s a banner I’m really not in the mood to bear. But clearly no one else is going to do it. So I’ll be here just making noise. Maybe someday someone will hear me.

I bet the comments section on this post is going to be a bastion of really intelligent conversation, too. Can’t wait for that, either.


Addendum: And Also One More Thing About the James Barbour Situation



It feels like a travesty, every time this happens. Every time we manage to snatch an hour or two of the general public’s time and make them face a thing about musicals, or a musical itself, or both, and then we fuck it up. Because we get so few of these opportunities, and it seems like every failure just decreases our chances of increasing our chances, if you know what I mean.

As I’m guessing you can tell, I’m not sorry to say I don’t ascribe to the idea that like… we have to play nice. That we have to sit around and say only kind things because if we don’t support our own art form when it somehow sneaks it’s way into the ball, like Cinderella in a shabbier dress, then who will?

I think that idea is bullshit. Because I think bad musicals make musicals as a whole look bad. And I think we look like idiots with no taste who don’t know any better when we applaud bullshit. This is the genre that brought us Next to Normal! And The Book of Mormon! And Fun Home! Musicals can be smart and funny and touching and thoughtful. They can DO something. They can SAY something. They can be utterly filthy, and written entirely in the modern parlance — seriously, have you MET Alex Timbers? — and still be intelligent and good and tightly crafted.

And Galavant was none of those things. A cut-rate Men in Tights/Spamalot mashup, maybe three jokes in the entire hour landed. The only actors who looked like they understood what show they were in were the King and his huge lunk whose face I recognize but whose name I can’t even be arsed to go look up. Which is bad news if I can’t even care about the only good performances in the whole damn show. Plus, I swear there was only one song, re-written with forty different sets of lyrics, which, who do you think you are, Les Miz? (Newsflash: No one is Les Miz. Les Miz shouldn’t even be Les Miz.) And the words all felt like… like they were written by old men who were trying to sound young and cool. You know, as opposed to people who actually are young and cool. Sorry Glenn Slater.

And while we’re at it, I’d like to point out that while Galavant seems to think it’s very smart and TOTALLY subverting gender stereotypes, it used both the word “bitch” and the word “frigid” to insult female characters. And insinuated that being “a man” is like… only one very specific thing. And I know this show is set in the fucking dark ages, but it’s 2015 here in reality where this show is airing. And if you’re going to pretend to be smart and witty and say things just like the kids these days, then you look like a dick when you keep trading in shitty, outmoded gender roles.

Also. It didn’t make no sense? Like. I get, now, that we were getting the story in pieces. And that Galavant was being lied to by the Valencian Princess. But the way the story unfolded was convoluted and the truth wasn’t clear and neither were the lies and I’m still not sure what’s what and you guys I like to think of myself as a pretty savvy consumer of musicals and TV and story telling and if I can’t follow you at all you really are doing something wrong.

Ugh. You guys. It was just… I trusted Alan Menken! I thought we could do this! I KNOW there are smart funny people out there who write good shows. I believe in musical comedy. I don’t think The Book of Mormon is the last work of genius we’ll ever get to see. So why, why, why, when we finally get to the big dance, do we fuck it up like this?

Why can’t we find a way to make our own genre compelling?

And christ, what can we do to help? Besides, you know, mindlessly complimenting anyone who endeavors to put any musical thing on TV during prime time. Because I’m sorry. That’s not a thing I can do. And clearly, it doesn’t help anyway. We keep landing ourselves with this shit.


Look At This Hot Photo of Jonathan Groff, Though

JonathanGroff - The Art of Discovery

Happy holidays, y’all! Just thought you needed a little more merry to put in your, um, stocking.

Recently I was leafing through this lovely new coffee table book called The Art of Discovery only to… discover… that it included this biceptually revealing photo of Broadway’s OG mid-2000s boyfriend, Jonathan Groff. The book contains a bunch of artful photos of celebs and a bit of text for each where they describe something that truly inspired them.

The best part about Jon’s entry? Besides the pleading look in his eyes that implores me to join him immediately in a four-poster bed? His inspiration of choice is all to do with Spring Awakening and his 4 eva bestie Lea Michele — an experience that we TOTALLY SHARED WITH HIM VIA THE MAGICAL MAGIC OF LIVE THEATER.

It made me happy. Also it made it hard to concentrate for the next hour.

If you would like to be similarly concentrationally challenged, you can get the book — which is published by Rizzoli and is a collaboration between The Creative Coalition and Renaissance Hotels –wherever bookish things are sold.


Sometimes you have these moments where you’re just like “What is my life?”

Sometimes they happen when you’re in the office, on an average Monday, and you catch your colleague answering the phone with “City morgue, you kill em, we chill em…” when, you know, you work at a direct marketing agency.

Other times, they happen when you’re sitting in a theater, glass of altogether decent champagne in hand — okay, in a cup-holder specially designed for stemmed glasses — about to see Mamma Mia and you feel the entire theater rock beneath you and you remember that holy shit, you are on a fucking boat. A cruise ship, actually. The Quantum of the Seas to be exact. Where there is seriously a full production of Mamma Mia happening, well, possibly as we speak.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that Lucky and I got to take a quick cruise to nowhere on the new Royal Caribbean ship a few weeks ago, as a part of their “Big Apple Launch” and while aboard we obviously had to carve time into our busy schedule of drinking/riding bumper cars/gambling/drinking some more for some Broadway at Sea. Because honestly, who would we be if we skipped out on the chance to see some cute boys sing and dance (shirtless) when it was basically smacking us in the face? (Answer: We don’t even know.)

If I’m honest, neither one of us had terribly great expectations for Mamma Mia. It’s not really our show, to begin with. And like… how good could it be on a cruise ship, really?

The answer to that is highly fucking excellent, it turns out. Color us shocked.

Everything was just so… tight. On point. Firing on all cylinders.

I don’t know you guys. Mamma Mia is always Mamma Mia. It looks a bit out of date, these days. And the sound design is like… from outer-space. Sometimes there’s literally no logical reason for anything that’s happening on stage.

But the cast was excellent. I have literally NEVER seen the dancing so good. And everything just felt… fresher than it’s ever been when I’ve seen in on Broadway. Maybe it’s because the cast just got out of tech five seconds ago. Maybe it’s because I was drinking my champagne in a flute like a big girl and not a sippy cup, I don’t know. And the thing is, I don’t care. That shit was damn fun. And totally worth three hours of my seafaring life.

Plus, the fun thing about theater at sea is like… the cast is right there. All the time. They live on the boat with you. So, if you’re like me, and you have a crush on the adorable boy who plays Pepper, you can chase him through the casino to chat him up. (If you’re me, you can also fail miserably.) And I probably shouldn’t encourage that kind of behavior but WHATEVER. I do what I want! Especially when it concerns cute theater boys.


The Phantom of the Side Show #ThereIFixedIt

Look. Here’s the deal. I really didn’t like Side Show.

I didn’t hate it. It didn’t make me hellaciously mad, or want to like… stab everyone in a seven foot radius.

I just didn’t get it. The lyrics are horrid — they have no rhythm or really useful rhyme structure, and a complete lack of any kind of natural flow so it mostly just sounds like people are stumbling around trying to spit out words as fast as they can. And there’s maybe one melody in the entire show, which like… is a thing I could get over (I love Les Miz, for example), if like… somehow the material really made me care. Or feel something.

But basically the only moment I gave a fuck about anyone on that stage was like, 99% of the way through the show, when Sir came back to beg for a job or whatever, and like… OMG. If the only time I feel any real emotional pull is at the end when the bad guy gets his comeuppance, there’s really something wrong. I really shouldn’t have more sympathy for that guy than for the stars of the show.

Anyway, here’s the thing. I think I figured out how to make this work. Because in the middle of the second act, when Terry — who’s name I honest-to-god could not remember for the entire show — sings that song about only loving half of the Daisy and Violet duo, and then does a dream ballet, I had a very important epiphany about Side Show.

It would be better if The Phantom was in it.

Which I think means that I’ve also figured out where Andrew Lloyd Webber got the idea for Love Never Dies. And I’ve basically never laughed so hard in the theater as I did at Love Never Dies. So really, I stand by this The Phantom of the Side Show idea. Like. Make the impresario The Phantom and I’m going to laugh my face off for three hours and buy it on DVD to watch again and again.

So sorry Side Show. Until you make another edit and find a real emotional core — one where I actually feel for Daisy and Violet — or add in The Phantom, I’m just never going to love you as you are.