She blew the doors off of what I thought Nora could be and astounded us all with her vulnerability and strength. I was mesmerized by her every move and still remember how she threw her gloves onto the couch! A child who became a woman before our very eyes. Magical.
This production was sublime in every way, but on the performance I attended, a doorframe on the set started to splinter and break off. The audience saw it, as did Langella, and we all started to laugh. Allison Janney had her back to the offending door and was confused until Mr. Langella charged across the stage, ripped the board off the frame and threw it through the door yelling, "And next time, pay the mortgage!" The whole place erupted in laughter. A great lesson from a pro on dealing with less than perfect situations. All while being screamingly funny.
Highly theatrical, dark and dangerous and with vibrant performances at its center, this musical thrilled me. The power of imagination to lift one out of one's circumstances is at the core of this story, as is understanding and loving someone who on the surface appears to be so different. Those are truths I hold dear. Also, Chita Rivera showed us all what star quality really means.
I had to go back and see this musical twice because I sobbed through the first time. Its sheer beauty, elegance and sophistication of the design and direction transported me to another place and time. All of the performances were astounding in their simplicity and fullness. The score is one of my favorites, exquisitely sung and so strongly acted. Bliss.
Lieutenant of Inishmore
How can I be absolutely horrified and laughing my head off at the same time? Leave it to Martin McDonagh. This story, in all its gory, deadpan depiction, shocked me, but at the same time I was totally delighted because it was a form of comedy so surprising and so unexpected.
Carousel (1994 revival)
For a piece I thought I knew well, this production was a revelation. For the first time I saw it as a gritty struggle, as people clinging to hope but being overwhelmed by their fears. Never has the famous bench scene been so absorbing and, of course, I fell in love with Audra McDonald the minute she shouted, "Here I am!"
For encapsulating yearning, romantic love, which pulses underneath a buttoned-up exterior, Emma Rice's production takes the prize. The use of multi-media, music (both instrumental and sung) and complex yet seemingly simple stagecraft was masterful. I was enchanted by the world she created and pulled into the delicate story of longing.
Gut wrenching and completely riveting. A poignant story set in the struggling American South, it felt like a real depiction of just how difficult it is to change. The frustration of it all hit me hard. The breath of fresh air was the realization that our hopes and dreams will be carried by the next generation. I stood up and cheered.
Assassins (2004 revival)
Perhaps my favorite Sondheim score, this revival was perfectly cast and expertly realized. Uncomfortable, neurotic musical theater at its highest functioning, gliding toward an awesome nervous breakdown. I'm looking at you, Denis O'Hare. Captivating.
She Loves Me (1993 revival)
I fell in love with this production because of the gifted actors, jewel-like design and near-perfect score and book. If there ever was a more charming musical, I haven't found it. And remembering Judy Kuhn, Boyd Gaines and the whole company of stellar actors puts a huge smile on my face.