Leslie Kritzer's Beautiful Disaster Hits Joe's Pub

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14 May 2013

Narrated by Kritzer, who switches seamlessly from one character to another, Beautiful Disaster is performed in an old-fashioned cabaret style. It cleverly juxtaposes the idea of a glamorous woman in a sparkling gown lounging on a piano with an angry teenager in faded flannel as Kritzer ascends the onstage piano, thudding heavily in her velour dress and Doc Martens. She interacts with the audience throughout the night, teasing and winking at people and helping herself to the french fries and water from the front-row tables.

Popular songs from the 1980s and 90s are part of Kritzer's story as well. She opens the show by belting "Eye of the Tiger," portraying the fierce and frantic energy she felt as a teenager who wanted to be a star. Yearbook photos of everyone she talks about are projected onstage. (While many of her classmates' yearbook photos had inspirational quotes printed underneath them, Kritzer's said, "Here she is, boys. Here she is, world. Here's ROSE!" from Gypsy.) "Wig in a Box" from Hedwig and the Angry Itch illustrated her desire to pretend she was someone else, and an intense rendition of Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" portrayed her mother's rage at her father about their divorce.

While Beautiful Disaster was thoroughly entertaining, the show also contained elements of real sadness. Her parents' divorce was obviously extremely complicated, and it was clear Kritzer felt torn between her mother and father while trapped in her hometown with no escape in sight. Whether she was describing binge-eating Taco Bell with her "best gay" or finally asking her father for help with getting in to college, the audience went on a journey with her, constantly laughing and cheering, even when Kritzer concluded the show by saying, "Anyone from my high school: I'm sorry, but not sorry."


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