I've never understood why people refuse to do bad news over the phone. You know what's worse? Being ambushed by bad news when you walk in a room and everyone gets to watch your face fall as you realize what's happening. Let me at least have the option of hanging up and not having to interact with anyone, OK?
Ivy is not given that option when it comes to finding out that her mother Bernadette Peters will be playing Marilyn's mother, Gladys. Instead, she's forced to decide if she's fine with that casting or not in front of her mother and the rest of the cast. Her answer means the difference between the cover of the New York Times arts section or the end of any possible good press. What else can a gal say but yes?
(To be fair, it's a huge story to have a Tony-winning legend come out of retirement to return to Broadway in a show in which her daughter has her first starring role.)
But despite their talent, both are reluctant to dig into the anger and pain between Marilyn and Gladys in their scene. Too close to home for them both, but it's the week before tech (so much for long lead publications' coverage) so Tom is forced to resort to ugly tactics.
"How did you find me?" Jimmy bellows at a seedy character. Weren't you in Time Out New York recently? Isn't your name on posters all over town?
Back in the interesting storyline: Bernadette Peters won a Tony Award for starring in Anything Goes. And she also played Maria in The Sound of Music, at a time when Ivy was eight and got very fat. "Don't be so uptight!" Leigh tells Ivy as she tries to tell the story.
Thus begins a tense, faux jocular mother-daughter scene that Julia could never even begin to write, one that ends with Ivy defiantly telling Bernadette Peters, "Guess what? The best part of my career is still ahead of me."
Downtown, Hit List is performing at a benefit for Manhattan Theatre Workshop, and even Karen's father is in attendance! He's there to wonder aloud why his daughter threw away her Broadway dreams to do a "downtown" show, and remind us that Derek is skeezy. No reminder needed, thanks! There's also some confusion in which he thinks Derek is the leather jacket–clad man who climbed out of his daughter's window earlier when he got to town. I have very limited patience for disapproving families. Just cut them out of your life!
Eileen is flirting with that Times editor Richard, though they both say that to get involved would be a conflict of interest. As an arts editor, I would respectfully say that exceptions should be made for producers who possess unerring aim with a cocktail. (Eileen, call me.)
Then we get the great Krysta Rodriguez singing "Reach for Me" and doing some stellar silks work. I have been to many benefits, and I have never witnesses a performance this all-out. Kudos to everyone involved! (As long as we remember that Jane Krakowski invented silks work in the revival of Nine!)
Back in rehearsal, Tom's evil plan worked because it forced a detente between Ivy and Bernadette Peters, which means we get the moving "Hang the Moon" in which Gladys sings to Marilyn about how she'd re-edit their lives and remove all the bad parts if she could.
Ivy has no qualms about doing what's right for the show by acquiescing to her mother's casting—but she draws the line at staying friends with Tom, especially after she learns that it was his decision to bring Leigh on board. I'm sure Tom will handle this with aplomb and focus on the work at hand with this, his directorial debut, and not become distractingly upset that his leading lady wants to be just an employee, right? Yeah, that sounds right.