Based on the cast alone, I was wholly excited to see It’s Only a Play on Broadway. So, I saw it on 9/27 and walked away still excited about that cast, but extremely unimpressed with the play itself.

To be honest, the play wasn’t very memorable. It was a string of inside jokes about the theater/entertainment industry. I laughed not because the jokes were inherently funny, but because of who was delivering them. You laugh when Nathan Lane tells a bad joke because it’s Nathan Lane and he has this uncanny ability to contort his eyebrows into some serious furrows. You don’t groan quite so hard at Matthew Broderick’s epically long monologues because it’s Matthew freakin’ Broderick. He of Ferris Beuller’s Day Off and the How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying revival cast album from 1994 that I’ve listened to probably a billion times since I got it for Easter back in 1995.

The play seems to acknowledge how lackluster it actually is. The text is definitely nowhere close to anything substantial. It’s entertaining to a fault, but won’t leave you feeling inspired or challenged or moved.

I do appreciate the play for what it gave me. Or rather, I appreciated the theater-going experience. This was my one chance to see Lane and Broderick on stage together. This was my one chance to see Broderick and Megan Mullaly on stage together (as she’s also on that H2$ revival cast album…). This was likely my one chance to see F. Murray Abraham on stage. This was likely my one chance to see Rupert Grint on stage. This play introduced me to Isabel Keating (Stockard Channing was out with an injury, so Keating has been playing her part and she kicked ass). This play introduced the audience to Micah Stock.

Oh, Micah Stock. What a great Broadway debut. And the one performer in the show who provided me with my biggest laugh of the night… lets just say that Wicked is no longer the only show on Broadway that features “Defying Gravity.” (HE DOES ALL THE PARTS. I LITERALLY CLUTCHED AT MY NON-EXISTENT PEARLS AND DOUBLED OVER WITH LAUGHTER.)

I know a lot of people my age and younger are flocking to the play for Grint. He’s good in his role and a very likable actor/person. But he’s not the main character by a mile (it’s an ensemble show, but Nathan Lane is definitely the “star” and seems to log the most minutes on stage). Hopefully those who are seeing this for Grint will realize that they are actually in the presence of theater giants and should be grateful for that experience.

I’ve seen a few other shows on Broadway the past couple months that were infinitely better than It’s Only a Play.

This is Our Youth was entertaining and actually made me reflect on my 20s. I’ve been a fan of Keiran Culkin and Michael Cera for years, so it was great to see them on stage. This play started a bit slow for me, but then picked up the pace and was rather engaging. I had no idea who Tavi Gevinson was before seeing the show, but I was impressed with her stage presence. Each of the actors really added that intangible “something” to the production and I was really glad I saw this early in previews.

The same say I saw It’s Only a Play, I saw The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I read the book a few months ago and loved it. I loved the stage version as well. The set was amazing – it was basically a giant chalkboard that doubled as projection screens. It was really rather modern and fairly minimalist.

I was personally glad that Taylor Trensch was in as Christopher during the performance my friend and I attended. I saw him once before in Matilda (his understudy was in when I saw Bare) but wondered how he would be in a play instead of a musical… well, he’s wonderful. Christopher is such a complex character that I really related to when I read the book and it was a real pleasure to see such a capable actor portray him on stage. *This* is the play to see if you want to feel something real.

In addition to these three plays, I also went and saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch again. I had never seen Andrew Rannells on stage before and was desperate to see him in this before his run ended. (I will be seeing the show again when Michael C. Hall takes over, mark my words.) I saw the show when NPH was Hedwig and it was the single most amazing theater-going experience of my life. Rannells’s Hedwig was amazing as well and I am forever grateful that I got to see him in this role. The show itself is flawless and I just get so much out of it when I see it (or listen to it… that soundtrack is pretty much on repeat on my Spotify account).

The next thing I have tickets for is The Real Thing at the end of October and Cabaret in December (EMMA STONE, Y’ALL). I plan on seeing The Elephant Man and Hedwig again. And I just found out that Jake Gyllenhaal will be on Broadway in something at the start of the new year, so I’ll try and see that too.

Basically, SEE ALL THE SHOWS.

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