1776, Aaron Lazar, Adam Pascal, Alain Boublil, Anthony Rapp, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Broadway, Brother Russia, CenterStage, Deathtrap, Do You Hear the People Sing?, Doug Kreeger, Emily Skinner, Evita, Ford's Theatre, God of Carnage, Hippodrome, Into the Woods, Jesus Christ Superstar, Keegan Theatre, Kennedy Center, Les Miserables, Mary Poppins, McLean Community Players, musical, Newsies, Ragtime, Really Really, Rent, Signature Theatre, theatre, Working, Xanadu
One of the line’s I loved in Dempsey and Rowe’s Brother Russia is “Was the destination really worth the journey? No, no, it was the journey that was worth the destination.” I’ve been on a quite a theatrical journey the past couple months, and it has been inspiring. There wasn’t enough time to see everything I wanted to see, but below is a list of what I did have the pleasure of seeing.
Washington, D.C. Area Theatre and Concerts
- 1776 at Ford’s Theatre
- Aaron Lazar’s Cabaret at the Kennedy Center (part of Barbara Cook’s series)
- Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp at the Birchmere
- An Evening with Brian Stokes Mitchell at George Mason University’s Hylton Performing Arts Center
- Brother Russia at Signature Theatre
- Deathtrap at Alden Theatre (McLean Community Players show)
- God of Carnage at Signature Theatre
- Do You Hear the People Sing? at the Strathmore
- Emily Skinner’s Cabaret at the Kennedy Center (part of Barbara Cook’s series)
- Into the Woods at CenterStage in Baltimore
- Mary Poppins at the Hippodrome in Baltimore
- Really Really at Signature Theatre
- Working at Keegan Theatre
- Xanadu at Signature Theatre
- Jesus Christ Superstar
Highlights of these experiences included:
- Sam Ludwig’s touching rendition of “Mamma Look Sharp” in 1776 at Ford’s Theatre.
- One of Aaron Lazar’s inspired medleys that included “96,000” from In the Heights and “Great Big Stuff” from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I was also thrilled to hear “Shiksa Goddess” from The Last Five Years and “Love to Me” from The Light in the Piazza at his cabaret.
- Experiencing Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp sing the music of Rent live. Anthony Rapp singing “Without You” in tribute to his late mother was incredibly moving. There’s something special about Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp singing “What You Own” together. I was so pleased that Adam Pascal sang “One Song Glory” as well. Both have an immense understanding of the lyrics to Rent.
- Brian Stokes Mitchell singing “Wheels of a Dream” from Ragtime. Ragtime has been a show near and dear to my heart. It’s the show that introduced me to Brian Stokes Mitchell (as well as the rest of the amazingly talented cast), and I am so grateful for that.
- Seeing the evolution of the first incarnation of Brother Russia. The entire cast gave brilliant performances every night. The show developed greatly at Signature Theatre, and the whole cast’s performances grew stronger along the way. Doug Kreeger arguably ran the theatrical equivalent to a marathon during the show, and I was vastly impressed by his performance each time I saw the show. I think he’d make a great Jean Valjean in Les Miserables in the future.
- Finally understanding the plot to Deathtrap thanks to the McLean Community Players’ production. For those who have seen the show, I hope you know what I mean. It’s a well-written show and reading the script was interesting, but until I saw it performed live, I didn’t quite get it.
- The gifted cast of God of Carnage, who exquisitely brought to life the hilarious, shocking, and dramatic moments of the show at Signature Theatre.
- The entire Do You Hear the People Sing? performance. I’m a huge fan of Alain Boublil’s and Claude-Michel Schonberg’s work, especially Les Miserables. The stunning cast included Eric Kunze, Terrence Mann, Jennifer Paz, Kathy Voytko, and Marie Zamora. The best part of the evening actually occurred after the show when I serendipitously got to meet Alain Boublil. He profoundly changed my life when after seeing Oliver, he was inspired to turn a classic book, Les Miserables, into a musical. What a surreal moment.
- Emily Skinner singing “My Brother Lived in San Francisco” from Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens. She introduced me to a heartbreaking show that I’ve come to love.
- Into the Woods’ talented cast and wise lyrics. So many of the lyrics resonate with me, and I was captivated by each member’s of the cast’s moments to shine.
- The joy Mary Poppins exuded. Disney has a knack for sharing happy, uplifting stories, and the latest tour of Mary Poppins leaves the audience feeling like they got their money’s worth.
- Really Really’s intelligent script and rousing performances by the cast of the Signature Theatre production. I hope this makes it Off-Broadway so that more people can see Paul Downs Colaizzo’s play.
- The realistic, relatable, and moving stories presented in Working at Keegan Theatre.
- The wit and sparkle of Signature Theatre’s production of Xanadu. This show just started at Signature Theatre, and it’s a great performance to help you unwind after work.
- Witnessing Max von Essen and Rachel Potter in Evita on Broadway. Although Max and Rachel really only have one big number each, each’s performance is extraordinary.
- Seeing Bruce Dow, Chilina Kennedy Paul Nolan, and Josh Young perform in Jesus Christ Superstar. Some of the notes Paul and Josh hit were insane. The ensemble also deserves a shout out for their spectacular performances.
- Finally experiencing Newsies live on Broadway. I’m not sure I was ever so excited to see a show on Broadway. I’ve wanted Newsies to be on Broadway since I saw the film. The energy and talent of the cast is inspiring.
Whew! The icing on the cake is I accomplished my New Year’s resolution. Not only have I seen 100 different musicals, but I am now at 102. I wonder how many I will have seen by the end of the year?!