01 July 2009

[Insert Myriad Avenue Q/Ragtime References Here]

When I read the news that Avenue Q would be closing, I said, out loud, at my desk, at work, with other people in the office, a sad "Oh no." I realize the show has had a tremendous run, many times longer than what one would think a small-scale adult-themed off-Broadway-transfer puppet musical could sustain. I remember watching the Tonys the year it came out, and the tremendous hope that came with its win - this small, sharp, brilliant show triumphing over a bloated, overhyped, dramaturgical and aesthetic trainwreck. That June evening, anything seemed possible - the underdog had won, and we were all the underdog.

Fun fact: the friend whose apartment we were in went on to be in the Avenue Q tour, and even played Princeton on Broadway for I think three performances.

And when I went back to see him in it, I was reminded what an awesome, tight show it is. Thematically, lyrically, musically, everything's woven together in a way that makes my little dramaturg's heart flutter. I can never get over the lyrical brilliance of "For Now," the double-edged reassurance and warning. Okay, and yes, totally vulgar puppets. They are also awesome.

So, Avenue Q, I honor you, and your improbably long, well-earned run. Vineyard Theatre, ye off-Broadway home for daring shit, I honor you. Tony voters, with the hope you offered that one year and then seemed to rescind, hell, I honor you, too. The internet is for porn, everyone's a little bit racist, and everything in life is only for now. Oh, and put your finger there.

* * *

In news of Broadway arrivals, rather than departures, I have gotten the impression that I should be ashamed to be this excited about Ragtime coming back to Broadway. I will not be. My love for this musical (documented here) springs from a nostalgic ground, having spent a full summer in high school driving around with two beloved friends singing this shit. But I have looked at my love with a cool head and clear eyes, and I believe it is real. Yes, there is the nostalgic component, but I believe it to be a pretty damn awesome musical. 50 people on stage, singing out full-voiced? Awesome. The Henry Ford song? Awesome. Okay, yes, "Gliding" is boring as shit, and "I call them mooooo-ooovie books!" is ridiculous, and maybe the musical tries to be too epic, and relies too much on sweeping, stirring music, but it is waaaay better than Les Miz, don't even front.

But whoever came up with "Fireworks!" for the Playbill.com headline was trying to win, like, a Most Obscure Reference contest. May I suggest "My People Were Also Brought Here On Ships"? Because, they were.

this is sarah's baby! you wanna cookie?they're right, that is totally how jews dance.
i imagine the photo just couldn't capture the bootyshaking on the other side of the stage.

2 comments:

Rocco said...

Thank you!! I thought I was the only one rolling out the red carpet for RAGTIME. Seriously, I've had like three fights about it.

"I Know How To Blow Things Up - Ragtime Returns To Broadway"

GregM said...

Did not realize "Ragtime" was coming back; it's one of the shows I was lucky enough to see on Broadway (me not living in or near NYC when I was growing up). That is full of win, and I think it's somehow even more resonant now than it was in 1998 thanks to President Obama.
Still not sure why someone hasn't optioned & made it as a movie.

Gotta disagree with you on "Gliding," though. That song is sweet and full of earned emotion.

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