I’ve been trying to write about Yank! (A WW II Love Story) for approximately a week and a half now. There are scraps of paper in my apartment. Partially written documents litter my hard drive. I’ve got dozens of potential beginnings, middles and ends. Still, I haven’t been able to come up with something substantial and the worst part is that I don’t even know why.
It was a good show. I think afterwards I even used the word ‘great’ to describe it. I left the theater really happy I’d seen it. So why can’t I think of anything intelligent to say?
In the interest of trying to sort things out and just freaking write something, I’ve decided to make a list.
Things About Yank! in No Particular Order:
- Bobby Steggert was aboslutely lovely. He gets a bit ‘Leading Man-ish’ at times, like it’s something he puts on instead of something he just has, but I didn’t mind. Boy can sing. And act. And he’s got some beautiful angles.
- Ivan Hernandez was likewise lovely. And hot as Hades (in spite of the fact that he looks a lot like Mario Lopez. A much hotter Mario Lopez, imho.). I thought about throwing my bra up on stage at him, except…that would have been totally inappropriate on so many levels. Instead I just imagined how nice it would be to have him sing me to sleep. With no shirt on.
- Is it just me or did Nancy Anderson do her best Bernadette Peters impression for most of that show?
- I adored the supporting cast. Tally Sessions’ Czechowski and Zak Edward’s Melanie, especially.
- This may mean nothing to most of our readers, but I really wanted to see Artie played by Sean Altman (of Rockapella and ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?’ fame). I have no idea why.
- Unlike the Times, I actually thought the First Act ran a bit long, and was a bit out of joint in its balance of Book and Music. I also quite enjoyed the Second Act, though it probably could have used a bit more Book and a bit less Dream Ballet. (And yes, I liked the Dream Ballet. It just ran a little long for my taste.)
- I do, however, agree with the Times about things getting a bit mucky at the end. You don’t need to throw in two other thematic veins right at the last minute (‘Be a credit to the uniform’ and ‘Gay love by nature can/can’t be committed love’). Because seriously, Yank! is at its finest when it’s focused on one thing: the love story between Stu and Mitch. And how the love story—no matter what gender those lovers are—is it. Is love. Is the same. Because love is, in many ways, the greatest equalizer. You don’t need to preach to prove that. In fact, you prove that most beautifully when you’re not preaching.
- The York Theater is tiny and Lucky and I were in the second row. It was sort of a weird experience seeing a show that felt big in such a small space. I mean, we were close enough that if Stu had been played by Jonathan Groff and not Bobby Steggert, she and I would have left that theater soaked in saliva. Ew.
- Speaking of the Groff. I couldn’t help but spend half the show thinking “this role was written for Jonathan Groff” over and over and over. I don’t mean that to sound like a dig at Bobby Steggert, though I’m sure it does. It’s just…Jonathan is the young Broadway actor I most identify with that shifting liminal space of youthful innocence and adult passion that I saw so much of in Stu.
I guess at the end of the day, it’s just a young show. I know, I know, it’s been kicking around the scene here since 2005. But it feels young. And maybe in the life of a show in development it is still young. Maybe it’s really not. Ultimately, to me Yank! felt like the theater equivalent of a teenager or a college student. It needs a little time in the real world before it can finish sorting itself out and actually be an adult, or in this case, finally take the big stage.