Friday, March 20, 2009

My Toxerific Review: Opening Night of Previews

Sorry for the delay ... yesterday got a little crazy. Tell me again, why am I bassoonist working on Wall Street?! Oh right ... rent (and Bon Jovi tickets.) I keep forgetting.

ANYWAY, a little late ... here's a bit about opening night of previews for The Toxic Avenger. I'm generally a traditional musical theatre person - not the big blockbuster shows like Phantom or (god forbid) Cats - hell, I loved Once on This Island (which basically nobody ever heard of!) - so I wondered what I would think of this.

First off, the venue. Heck, I remember when that was the $2 movie theatre - damn, how old does that make me?! For my RL friends who know the story, this is the same theatre that I had my Schindler's List experience. (Speaking of which, deepest condolences to Natasha Richardson's family.) In any case, I didn't think about how far below ground the theatre is, so, sorry for the lack of consistent Twitters.

Upon arriving and getting my ticket, I went down to the theatre lobby and almost literally ran into David Bryan, who admittedly was looking a bit harried. Ahhh..opening night chaos, I know it well.

It was nice to see my friend, a fellow Soul fan, who came in from Jersey for the opening. Took a quick look at the merchandise (I'm a Jovi girl ... we always have to look at the merchandise, right?!) ... next time, definitely getting a t-shirt.

Saw David again just hanging out in the lobby, talked for a few minutes, wished him luck and went in to find my seat.

I ended up sitting next to a couple of young actors who are friends with Nick Cordero, who plays Toxie ... (only a friend could love that face ... LOL) Had a nice conversation with them about life in NY, the drama division at Juilliard and the crazy world of the performing arts.

When the show started, it was pretty obvious that there were a lot of fans in attendance and the energy was fantastic. Its a small theatre, so you really feel a part of what is going on up on stage.

I am not going to give too much of the story away because you should try to see the show yourself - its a good reason to visit NYC (as if you needed another one!)

I do want to say that the cast was terrific (Demond Green who plays "black dude" was absolutely wonderful.) They are definitely working actors -- playing multiple roles with quick changes and much diversity ... and they do it very well.

The script is incredibly funny with some hysterically witty references to certain people, places and events. I definitely need to go back and see the show again because you end up laughing so hard that you miss what comes next. And yes, there is a Bon Jovi (and Bruce, too) reference in the song Jersey Girl (which is brilliantly performed by Nancy Opel, seen in the picture below as the Mayor.)

Of course, I was all excited about hearing the songs ... and I wasn't disappointed. You've got "anthem" songs and love songs, solo numbers, ensemble numbers ... even an incredibly funny folk song moment (actually moments.) The band was small, but mighty - and could totally rock. And, of course, as a musician, I liked that they are on stage ... you have no idea how many creepy crawly things I have almost brought home in my bassoon case after playing a show in the pit ... LOL.

All-in-all, it was a great evening. I hadn't laughed that hard at a performance in a long time ... its the kind of thing where a while later you find yourself still chuckling at a line you just remembered. Its good fun ... I still think, however, Memphis is gonna be the one to absolutely hit it out of the ballpark. Get a shelf ready for a Tony. (Clips from Memphis.)

So, congrats to David and Joe DiPietro and the cast and crew of the show. May you have a good long run!

photo credits: Nick as Toxie (Kelly Ryman); Nancy and Nick as the Mayor and Melvin (Charlie Erickson)