Oh What a Beautiful Theater Season – The Highlight Reel

Hi Group! I remember sitting last August with my computer on the deck in Montauk mapping shows to months. I distinctly recall worrying that this year would be a little light on offerings from a live theater perspective. Boy was that worrying ever misguided. What a treasure this year has been.

Tonight at The Tony’s we get to see many of the shows we viewed celebrated. Lots of articles here, there and everywhere making predictions on who’s gonna win what. I have some opinions (some of them are below in my highlight reel), but of key import is how grateful I am that we collectively got to see almost all of the nominees. I will happily cheer on whoever wins and whoever doesn’t win still has all my support and gratitude. If we missed shows that figure prominently tonight  – hey Temptations and Cher show – you know they will be on the list for the fall!  Lean in close when Gabby Hamilton (my housekeeper and family friend’s granddaughter) takes to the stage. As of last Sunday, she had no idea what part of her dream ballet she would be dancing. What an amazing and well-deserved experience for this amazing and super delightful 24-year-old to have. Go Gabby Go!

Happy Tony Viewing everyone and enjoy this look back on Grab Your Group and Go’s beautiful 2018/2019 season. Cheers. Linda

Season highlight reel:

Our group saw 22 shows from September to June 6th. There were 1297 visits to the theater via Grab Your Group and Go tickets. Here are some of the highlights.

To kick the season off we snuggled in clise off-Broadway to see the teen show sensation: Be More Chill. Central to the experience was the very up close and personal meet and greet at the end of the show. To read more click here. We then went back 6 months later to view it’s Broadway transformation where everything was bigger, brighter, and more squipped out.

Our first family show of the season was My Fair Lady. Never mind that all of the lead roles were understudies, a loverly afternoon was had by all. To read about it click here. This is closing on July 7th so go see Laura Benanti transformed into a lady if you can.

October and November were all about celebrating the strong female (my favorite kind). Janet McTeer showed us how to take on the role of Hamlet in Bernhardt/Hamlet and Elaine May broke our hearts in Waverly Gallery (I am betting she gets to grab a Tony for it and am looking forward to her acceptance speech). My blog post about her happens to be one my favorites, to read it click the show title or here. We also were fortunate to learn all about the remarkable life of Gloria Steinem in the play Gloria. A highlight for sure was the after chat with Gloria herself. What a woman! What a life! Thank you for everything Gloria. Click here to read about this singular female experience (and thank you Laura M. for the tip on this one). We concluded this streak with the lyrical Renascence where we got to witness the eccentric life of Edna St. Vincent Millay. The gorgeous and gifted Hannah Corneau who embodied Edna is someone to keep an eye on. We are hoping to cast our eyes on her soon as the current Elphaba in Wicked.

We then went gaga for the Go Go’s at Head Over Heels. This is a show that closed way too soon and I am grateful we got to see it. To read why click here. And our second family show of the season was viewing School of Rock before it closed. What in the world was I waiting for? Such a fun show.

The beginning of 2019 was punctuated by the power of the play. Astonished were we in our seats at American Son, Network, and the crowd pleasers for so many reasons The Ferryman and To Kill a Mockingbird. Fun highlight was seeing Bryan Cranston discover Jeff Daniels in the audience at Network.  Will be interesting to see which one scores the Tony between these two formidable actors. My vote would go to Jeff Daniels, but I think The Tony will go to Bryan Cranston.

Thank goodness for the musical interlude of Superhero, a show that won over the group for so many reasons. Many of them are listed here. We felt uber-fortunate to have a talkback with musical genius Tom Kitt – and I was proud and impressed with the group’s many questions. This show (among others) also taught me to consider the fallibility of the critic. Don’t just trust the critic. I’ve come to the conclusion that at times they are just being critical for sport and that is not doing anyone any justice. Go and see these things for yourself or ask a friend – ask lots of friends – but don’t let the critic’s pen sway you entirely.  And we can’t forget my guy King Kong (who also took a big hit from the critics) who had me at his very first growl. I still stand by my 2,000-pound boyfriend and hope the Tony voters do something to recognize the artistry of this beast. We were lucky to score a talk back for this show as well (thanks John M.). Kids hands were in the air and the questions that tumbled out were thoughtful and on point. Well done group!

We took the month of March off (phew) and returned with a walloping wonder of a show in viewing the brilliant performance of The Lehman Trilogy. That staging, the nimble cast, and the script were all impeccable. This show is quite possibly in the top 5 of my favorite performances of all time. Kiss me Kate infused us all with the light and bright that can be on Broadway and we chased that with the gangly and smoldering larger than life presence of Adam Driver in Burn/This. The chemistry for this show fell flat for me, but watching Driver dominate that stage was something to see.

Tootsie was a crowd pleaser with good reason – always fun to gather and guffaw. Loved everything about Santino Fontana’s performance (and I think he’ll get the Tony), but the roommate and the girlfriend stole the show for me. What The Constitution Means to Me was a worthy way to spend 80 minutes learning about the constitution and provided much impetus for further scrutiny of this important document. At 3 hours long with a lot going on and a dialogue that was difficult to follow King Lear was maybe not my best choice at the end of a long season – 30 of my group of 38 left at intermission.  The eight of us who prevailed were happy we did. I went in to see the magnificent Glenda Jackson, but was dazzled by Ruth Wilson (I am thinking she will be grabbing a Tony too). And finally, we saved some of the best and the boldest for last: Oklahoma and Hadestown.  These two show also happen to be my guesses for the top prizes. We shall see!

That’s all folks. 🙂


One Response

  1. I don’t get to see many musicals a year- but musicals are a huge part of who I am.

    When you live in America, but live in NC is why I don’t make it to NYC, so tours are my musical theatre world. 2019 was two musicals so far while 2018 was five musicals (three community college and two tours). Glad I live in Charlotte, a major touring city.

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Space does open up! When it does it’s often at the last minute. Will keep our fingers crossed. Would love to see you at this experience!