ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Merry Christmas From Avenue Q's Christmas Eve, Ann Harada

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19 Dec 2011

Ann Harada
Ann Harada
Photo by Carol Rosegg
A week in the life of actor, radio host, music director and writer Seth Rudetsky.

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It's not even Christmas Eve yet, but I celebrated it with Ann Harada already. Last Monday was her third annual Christmas Eve with Christmas Eve. Yet again, the writing, performing and direction (by Alan Marouka) were amazing. It's so hard to do a one-night event and land every joke because you often need an audience to tell you what works and what doesn't, and yet every year her show never has a clunker. Brava! The concept is that Christmas Eve (the character Ann created for Avenue Q) has one wish for Christmas: to sing duets with Broadway leading men…and make them take off their shirts. This year, Santa gave her an option — have her wish come true or get two house seats to The Book of Mormon. She struggled with the decision, but decided to do the duets. The first man to come out was Norm Lewis who was in the middle of tech rehearsals for Porgy and Bess but was able to make it. Of course, Christmas Eve went crazy over his sexiness and then "accidentally" dropped her pen so Norm was forced to bend over to get it. Inappropriate ogling ensued. They then sang "Wheels of a Dream," the Coalhouse and Sarah duet from Ragtime. Norm sounded so fantastic and Ann pushed Christmas Eve's Japanese accent to new heights. When Coalhouse sings "We'll go down South and see your people…," Sarah responds, "See my folks!" Of course, when Christmas Eve heard that Coalhouse would take her down South to see her people, her Japanese accent made her enthusiastically respond, "See my forks!" I texted Ann after the show and she wrote back that she herself is still laughing about that line. There were so many other highlights but one that stands out in my mind was she and Marc Kudisch singing "Anything You Can Do" from Annie Get Your Gun. They changed the lyrics from time to time, and at one point he was towering over her and sang, "Anything you can be, I can be taller." Silence from her. One of my other favorite moments was when she and Daniel Jenkins sang a full medley from Big River together. I had never seen him play Huck Finn on Broadway, I had only heard the record, and it was so cool to see him looking like an adult, but still having the same voice. I, of course, had full tears in my eyes and soon as he hauled out "Look out for me…Oh, muddy water…." If you've never seen Ann in action, here's one of the Playbill Obsessed! videos I did with her!



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