Friday, March 30, 2007

October Road on ABC

Has anyone been watching ABC's new addition to their Thursdays line up, October Road?

Well, if you haven't, let me tell you what you've been missing.

The plot line is pretty basic: A young man leaves his small town for the big city, finds pseudo-fame and doesn't return for 10 years. He then goes back in search of himself, to find his ex-girlfriend has a child that coincidentally was born within nine months of his departure.

There are other facets to the plotline, spread amoung the varied supporting characters, but I don't want to get into all that. The point is, while it's a completely predictable story line, I think the show is definitely worth watching.

If for no other reason than the leading man (Bryan Greenberg, who I discovered in "Prime" starring opposite Uma Thurman) is H-O-T. So, if there is no other reason to watch mindless TV on Thursday night between 10pm and 11pm, then let the man eye-candy here be enough! It sure is enough for me...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Bowling, Greeks, and Clubs...Oh my!

What I thought was going to be a fun yet low-key night on the town turned into an all-out and all-night event on the town. I had agreed to join a friend of mine down at Chelsea Piers for some bowling with his gaggle of gays. I was very excited. It was my first time at the piers, and my first evening out with a group of people who shared my orientation. Don't get me wrong - I love my girls! - but sometimes this boy needs other boys to play with.
Bowling at Chelsea Piers is a wonderful experience. It's disco bowling meets trendy dance club in the heart of the gayest neighborhood in the city. It is everything you would expect, plus children. Yes, it was the strangest mix of family-fun I've ever seen. At first I was worried that the children were going to be distracting, but the staff was so meticulous with keeping our drinks flowing that I had no time whatsoever to even notice them once the gaming began! Bowling plus hard liquor equals good times!
At 11:30pm we were done bowling, and decided to move on to Nisos, a greek restauant/bar on 8th Ave and 19th St. One of the guys in our group provided our transportation. It was raining, so I was incredibly grateful that Mr. Trust Fund had his drivers (yes, plural…there were 2 of them) waiting in their Escalades when we finally left the Piers. We arrived at the restaurant at midnight, after the dining room had closed. But again, spending a night on the town with someone with money has it's perks. They opened the restaurant back up for our group, and had rounds of cocktails poured and waiting before we even sat down. The décor was classic Mediterranean meets Malibu. It was a great blend of comfort and class. I wish I had more to say about the venue, but one hour and two cocktails later, it was time to move on again.
The gang decided to go to ONE, a very trendy night club on Little West 12th, right across from the Hotel Gansevoort. Now keep in mind, we are all still in our bowling gear - blue jeans and button ups. When we arrived at ONE, we looked completely out of place. Everyone in the block and a half long line was dressed to the nines. And rightly so - that's what you do in NYC. But again, traveling with a "party gay" had it's perks. We were greeted with smiles (not from the people on line…) and passed right through the velvet ropes. Blue jeans and all. We were shown to a private booth, where they had carafes of orange and cranberry juices, buckets of ice, and three or four open bottles of Grey Goose. We were our own bartenders. It was awesome, and the liquor just kept coming thanks to the wonderful manager who obviously had some special relationship with a few of the guys in my group.
The club itself was deservedly popular. The décor was asian-inspired with low booths and candles filling the niches in the black stone walls. The music was popular dance mixes, perfect for alcohol-induced dance moves.
The night after that gets a little hazy for me. There was a meaty make-out session with, get this, a gay mormon. There was pizza after we left, but I barely remember having it. And a long cab ride back up to the West Side - that I do remember feeling like it took forever because I had to go to the bathroom.
And of course, there was the compulsory hangover the next day, cured ultimately by brunch at Brasserie 52 in Hell's Kitchen. The Bloody Mary's weren't as spicy as I normally like, and we had to send our Egg's Benedict back when they came out over-cooked the first time (who ever heard of a benedict with a solid yoke?!), but aside from that the meal was really good! The food had a side of cheesy potatoes that I certainly would've been more than happy to make an entire meal out of. So while not phenomenal, it served it's purpose and I was back to feeling in good.
I felt so much better in fact, that I ended up walking home through Central Park, making plenty of stops on the way for people watching. And by "people" I do mean "homo".

"The Pirate Queen" on Broadway

"The Pirate Queen" was an experience that made me truly appreciative of good musical theater. Yes, it was just that bad.
With a book and music created by the same team that brought us "Les Miserables" and "Miss Saigon", I was very hopeful that this new musical production would be on par with their previous works that I love. I was amazed at just how short this show actually fell.
The story revolves around a true story. Grace O'Malley was the first female head of an Irish clan. She happened to lead at the same time that the first Queen Elizabeth was taking the thrown and leading an expansionistic monarchy.
In theory, the story could've been about these two women who ruled simultaneously at a time when women did not have any power. That would have been a very intriguing and rewarding story.
It could have been a three tiered love story. A woman and her country, a woman and her lover, and a woman and her son were the three obvious through lines that could've been developed in the story about Grace. That would have been a great story too.

It could have been an epic adventure. It could've featured sea-faring battles and exciting production/effect elements. That too would've been very entertaining...
Unfortunately, I can't really tell you what the show was about, because all of the above were so superficially developed that none had any sort of final emotional payoff. At intermission, I felt utterly confused about what was happening, and more importantly why I cared about what was happening. I've never been in a theater and actually considered leaving during the intermission. It was an extremely bizarre feeling for me.
The entire plot was completely contrived and predictable. A woman feels left out in a man's world. She gains the trust of men to become a great leader. She falls in love, but is forced to marry someone else (even though she's the ruler and could've changed that situation…). Her true love sticks around, so when the husband becomes totally worthless and betrays her the Lover can sweep in and save the day. But then there's the Queen of England who miraculously has a change of heart because she has no lover and sets Grace free, so really the Lover didn't save her at all when she got captured. And then the two queens are friends…
Confused? Ya, I'm sorry, but that's how I still feel. And I was there for the whole thing!
The show had a large ensemble that would randomly break out in RiverDance-esque production numbers that absolutely made no sense in the show. Only one of the four or five dance numbers could I even understand. Yes, at a wedding there would be dancing. But in a christening? What's with all the hardshoe Irish jigging? I mean, I get it. The show is about an Irish woman. And Riverdance is an Irish style. But aside from that little connection I cannot tell you why the show had choreography at all. Not that the dancing was bad. It was very good, but just so completely out of place!
There is a bar scene in Act One where the villain (Grace's arranged husband) sings about being adulterous. He is joined by barmaids and shipmates. The number was very crass. Understandably, it was to demonstrate the morals of the time period and the quality of life in Ireland. But they were all very clean. What I mean is they had meticulous wigs, clean make-up, and untarnished costumes. None of which are very realistic for a 1500's Irish pub. So the whole number was very off putting and seemed crass for no other reason than to be just that.
The only thing worse than that scene was any time the actress playing Queen Elizabeth was on stage. Her not-quite-legit soprano was nothing but grating. The overtones never even got close to correct. She was shrill and quite possibly one of the worst actresses I've ever seen. She was falsely emotive and intensely two dimensional. Her final change of heart and emotional pay off was so poorly developed that I was grateful for the dark theater, and that no one could see my eyes rolling in the back of my head.
To be fair, the leading actress (Stephanie Block - Grace) and the leading actor (Hadley Fraser - Tiernan) were wonderful. Both had wonderfully crisp and rich vocals, and it was only their solos/duets that stood out as Broadway caliber. It is unfortunate that they were cast in such a lack-luster production for what could have been big breaks in originating Broadway roles for the both of them.
"The Pirate Queen" opens next Thursday. Perhaps the incohesion of my experience will improve as the show ages and continues to develop. I hope it does.

I doubt it will.

Friday, March 23, 2007

"Ugly Betty" has a gay moment

Last night, Broadway leading lady and gay Icon Patti LuPone guest starred on ABC's "Ugly Betty" in what proved to be the best, and most wonderfully gay, thing on basic TV.

LuPone was appearing as Marc Weiner's mother, visiting NYC and her son for a cat competition. Marc asks Betty to be his "beard" because his old "girlfriend" Mandy and he had been together too long to not break up. Betty agrees to help him out, but doesn't realize what she has gotten herself into when her father ends up calling and inadvertently inviting Mrs. Weiner and her son to dinner a la Casa De Suarez! Hilarity ensues!

All I have to say is Thank GOD for this show. Marc Weiner, played by Michael Urie, is the first character on PrimeTime television since Jack McFarland to create a stereotypical yet lovable gay role. Sometimes the stereotypes are painful (like the many drag-queen-esque moments that the show has provided thus far…) but it is episodes like this that remind us that these "types" are very real. When Marc stood up to his mother in defense of Betty's "swishy" nephew, Justin, I almost cried.

I know, I know… I'm a dork.

But it was so very real to me. I once had to tell my own mother to stop talking shit about my own "swishy" friends. I was 14, and my mother had taken issue with the fact that two of my friends were obviously gay, and she didn't have very many nice things to say about it. I had to tell my mother to look at her own "swishy" son.

So I can relate.

I've never really been able to relate to closeted gay men, because I came out so early in my own life. Marc tells Betty "I can't just tell her. All we have is lies, and if I tell her the truth then we will have nothing."

Good for you, Marc Weiner, and every other closeted gay man, who decides to risk losing a false relationship for a chance at true connection.

It makes my heart smile

(Watch the episode of "Ugly Betty" here!)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Broadway's "Mary Poppins"

When I was in elementary school, I was in a 3 year production of OLIVER! To learn a British accent, the director had me watch "Mary Poppins" over and over, and over again.

And I've always asserted that "Mary Poppins" made me gay.

I had that reaffirmed last night when I went to see the new Broadway musical version of the iconic Disney film.

"Mary Poppins" opened on Broadway in November of 2006. Disney and Cameron Macintosh moved their hit musical, "The Lion King", from the New Amsterdam to the Minskoff Theater to accommodate what they anticipating being a smash-hit. Boy, did they hit that one on the head!
This show embodies all of the superfluous elements that theater-goers crave. You get huge awe-inspiring sets, every color in the rainbow in the brightest possible hues, the glitz that reminisces the golden age of Follies, and dazzling special effects that have become commodities in Disney's musical productions.

The set and costume designs were the standout aspects of this production. The dancing statues, flying set pieces, and bright costumes were incredibly well constructed. The backdrops were like watching film. The lighting designers created a moving night sky, complete with passing flocks of birds and light breezes. They were unlike anything I had ever seen before!

The special effects were able to embody the mystery and awe that the movie inspired so many years ago. In "Practically Perfect" Mary and the children unload that famously magical carpet bag of hers. Tall lamps, foliage, and a whole chaise lounge all come out of it. I have no idea how they did it! Mirrors? Trap doors? Probably, but I could not tell you for certain. And I love that! It created so much magic right from the beginning. It didn't lose it's luster either. Tap numbers on the ceiling, dancers walking up the walls in defiance of gravity, and, of course, the flying umbrella were all phenomenally well executed.

The production numbers were just that: Productions! I haven't seen a show with so much energy, color, and flare since the revival of "42nd Street"! The ensemble left me breathless and smiling from ear to ear, as well it should!

The title character, played by Ashley Brown, was also really well done. True, she is no Julie Andrews. But then, who is? She was able to keep the same lovable subtlety that was introduced in the original performance, while still bringing to the stage a new and different character. The portrayal of "Bert" by Gavin Lee was every bit as good (if not better) than what we know from Dick Van Dyke. He was charming, quirky, and gave so much heart to the role.

One other stand out performance came from a character who was not in the Disney film - Miss Andrews. Miss Andrews is the father's childhood nanny who comes to instill the militarian qualities of Order after Mary Poppins leaves. The character isn't around for long, but is exquisitely devilish, singing of punishment by "brimstone, treacle, and cod liver oil". The final showdown between Nanny Andrews and Mary Poppins is by far the best "new" number in the production.

My only complaint would be that the story did have moments in the (too long) first act that seemed to drag a bit. The parents were not bad, but paled in comparison to the other performers. So anytime the scenes were being carried by them I found myself losing focus. It wasn't that they were bad, but they just couldn't keep the pace that the other cast members initiated and miraculously maintained.

You won't get the kind of ground-breaking vision or demanding acting chops that other new shows this season offer (see "Spring Awakening"). What you will get is 2 1/2 hours of Quintessential Broadway: high kicks, glamor, and a feel-good experience to be cherished for a very, very long time.

How Upset Are We Really?

Let's be honest…

We may have given a damn about the first upset of the competition - Ms. Sloan - but do we even now remember why we liked her? Not so much. And, by the end when Melinda Doolittle is taking the crown from that gray-haired guy from last season, we will not remember the ghetto fabulousness of Ms Stephanie Edwards either.

No, she did not deserve to go home yet. But she really didn't have a chance at winning. It all comes back down to the demographics! She was in direct competition with Melinda and LaKisha, and there was no way she could possibly usurp either of them. She just lacks the "likeability" (not that I like LaKisha, but she's far more talented and I know that a lot of people really do like her.)

The question is: Who is the heir-apparent to Stephanie Edwards fans?

Her loyal voters are obviously going to pass to one of three contestants: Doolittle, Jones, or Sparks.

But who is the most like Stephanie?

Melinda Doolittle has the same soul that Edwards had early on and lost as the competition progressed. She is consistent (unlike Edwards) and it wouldn't be surprising for Edwards fans to jump on her band-wagon. But is Doolittle too old? She definitely lacks the young contemporary edge. And she is so nice. I think that those that appreciated the ghetto in Edwards won't adore the humbleness that has set Doolittle apart.

LaKisha Jones has the same ghetto-fabulous factor shared by Edwards. But, may I say, Jones may just be too black? I know how that sounds, but she is the Effie in this vocal horse race. Her sound is much more intense than the light and contemporty sound that Edwards fans were committed to.

And then there is Jordin Sparks. Jordin has a youthful presence and very contemporary pop-relevant sound. But does she have the soul? Can she embibe the fans who had clung to the ghotto factor? Um, no. She has about as much soul and ghetto in her as one of the Cosby kids.

It will be interesting which of these three ladies comes out on top in this race.

The bright side to this is that we know one of the boys will be leaving next week, as NONE of the Edwards votes will be going to any of the gentlemen.

Please, sweet lord jebus, let it be Sanjay.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Feeling Something Like Home

It's no little secret that I have been down and out since relocating to New York City. I've got a good job and a great family, but I haven't been able to fill the void that was left by all of my amazing friends in Salt Lake City. I've gone out, and met a few people here and there. But nowhere I have been nor no one that I've met has felt like 'home'.

Until last night.

Last night my friend Katie and I decided to go out, which is strange for me because I haven't been out on a "school night" since leaving Utah. We started at some random sports bar. The drinks were good, but I paid seven bucks for a vodka and tonic. No Bueno. It's one thing to pay $10 for a froofey drink (which I did for the second round, and now I know that I don't love Rum Runners...) but for a well drink? That's a little ridiculous, even for New York.

After the second round of disappointing and over-priced cocktails, and getting frustrated by not understanding a damned word coming out of the Irish bartenders mouth, we decided to move on. Katie suggested that we go to Rudy's (see pic above) She described it as kind of dark, gritty, and divey.

So I need to thank my best friend, Marci, for teaching me to appropriately appreciate the wonder that is the American Dive Bar.

You're greeted at the door by the cutest pig (not the one on the cell phone...). I can't even begin to tell you how odd that porker seems standing on Ninth Avenue in the heart of a very trendy Hell's Kitchen. We made our way into the bar, which wasn't well lit. The floor was grimey, the booths had tape on them, and there were drunks dancing in the middle of the floor.

Ah, it felt like home! For my Utah friends: Imagine Todd's before it changed management.

It's the kind of place where people come to hang out. Not to be "seen", not to get crazy. Just a place to let your hair down, laugh as loud as you want, and maybe join the bar in a chorus of "Margaritaville" after throwing a few back.

We saddled up to the bar, where I introduced Katie to Pabst. I was a little amazed that she had never had it. Albeit she's not really a beer drinker... but still! And in a city where I have seen bottles of Bud Light sell for $6, the $2.50 price tag on their draft was much appreciated! As we were settling, I got the best surprise of the night... COUNTRY MUSIC!

Rudy's doesn't host a DJ. It's just not that kind of bar. Instead they have a digital juke box and the crowd pics the music. And someone in the crowd had picked "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" by Kenny Chesney. Who I'm really not a huge fan of, but just the fact that Country had been turned on made me feel not so lost in this big ole city.

I wish Rudy's was closer to home. I would have no problem going to that place a few times per week.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not ready to settle in there. There are still far too many places to go and check out. But finding a place like that gives me hope that there's room for this little closet cowboy. And everything is just less scary...

Friday, March 9, 2007

"The Apple Tree" Broadway Revival

I have to take a moment to exude my overwhelming appreciation for the artist that is Kristin Chenoweth. Classical intonation, unmatchable range, vocal characterization, and impeccable comedic timing – She is the quintessential Broadway powerhouse packaged in one very beautifully curvy yet tiny package!

The Broadway revival of “The Apple Tree” closes this Sunday. I am a huge fan of the leading lady, so I decided that I just couldn’t miss the chance to see her in this show, especially with all of the critical acclaim she had received for the role.

I wish, however, that I had done a bit more research on the show itself before going.

If it weren’t for Kristin, this show would have NEVER been moved from the Encore! Revival stage to Broadway. The triptych show is one of the most random pieces of theater that I have ever seen. Act one, “The Diary of Adam and Eve” is supremely delightful. Despite the bland staging which consisted of a bunch of ladders in various sizes and one small palette of grass (which looked like something made for an elementary school production) the piece was completely engaging!

It opens with Adam (played by Brian d’Arcy James…soon to be seen in "Young Frankenstein") waking up and being instructed to name all the animals. He proceeds to name all the flying things “flyers”, the crawling things “crawlers”, etc. He then comments on how wonderful it is to be the “single man among all the animals”. No sooner does he revel in this than he is struck by a pain in his ribs, and out comes Eve (played by Kristin Chenoweth) on that small patch of grass. He dismisses her with an “I’ll name that animal later…”

Eve awakes, and begins giving animals their real names, based on the reasoning that “it’s just what they look like” and “I just know!”. The first encounter between Eve and Adam is hysterical, each trying to decide what kind of animal the other is, and why it can talk when none of the others (except of course for the Parrot) seem to be able to. The show typifies the differences between men and women: Adams dislike of anything without purpose, like flowers; His response of “that’s just the color of wood” when Eve questions the color scheme in his home; Eve’s suggestion of rubbing some berries into the wood to give it some “pizzazz!” etc.

Of corse the fun is ruined when the Snake (played by Sean Palmer...yum!) convinces Eve that the forbidden fruit isn't actually the apples, but rather the bad jokes that Adam has invented. She then passes the misinformation on to Adam, and they both are forced to leave the garden.

The funniest part of the first act is the sequence when Eve is pregnant, and Adam questions her weight gain. I was in tears I was laughing so hard! The sequence continues with the baby arriving, and neither of them knowing what kind of animal it is. Adam can’t understand how he hunts all day and Eve never leaves the house, yet she seems to be able to catch a strange animal. Eventually they realize they are people, just like them: Cain and Abel.

The story comes to a close with a monologue from Eve, lamenting over the “emptiness that consumes [her] home” after Abel is killed by his brother, and Cain runs away. The delivery was such a sharp contrast to the humor-filled act. The emotional payout continues after her speech with Adam telling us about how Eve has passed away. He is on his way out to water the flowers. Eve’s flowers. Afterall, while he never liked them, they were her favorite.

And again, there was much crying.

Both Chenoweth and James gave such amazing performances. I was so impressed. And I was so excited to see the next half of the show! The second act was set to be two plays: “The Lady or The Tiger?” and “Passionella”.

“The Lady or The Tiger?” is about a princess who loves a soldier, which is apparently forbidden, though it’s never explained why. When discovered, the soldier is given a “fair trial” which consists of the defendant picking one of two doors. One door will have behind it a maiden, who the man will then marry on the spot. The other door will have a man-eating tiger. So when the princess learns which door holds the tiger, she is torn – the beautiful woman that her lover would have to marry is her nemesis. Does she tell her lover how to live and sacrifice him to a marriage to her enemy? Or does she let him die? After all, if she can’t have him….

The music was painful. The costuming/design was bad Vegas Cabaret. The ensemble was annoying. The only bright spot in the whole show was a number by Kristin after she discovers her dilemma. She does the whole thing with a Brooklyn accent. Very “Fanny Brice”. Her comedic timing saved me from wanting to cry through this part of the three-part show.

“Passionella” is a Cinderella story. The main character “Ella” is a chimney sweep who dreams of being a movie star. Her first number was hysterical. First, Kristin is one of the best female Broadway vocalists on the stage today. The character, Ella, was a TERRIBLE singer. The entire audience, myself included, was in stitches! She was off-pitch and shaky and absolutely brilliant!
Anyway, her God Mother (played by Sean Palmer, also knows as “Marcus Adent” from Sex and the City) allows her to become the beautiful star “Passionella”, but only during prime time tv hours. The number “Gorgeous” was a stand out. I had seen Kristin perform this number in her solo concert at the Met, but within the context of the show was even more impressed!

So she becomes famous. Falls in love with a rockstar who accuses her of not being “real”, and she starts to lament her transformation. Again, the ensemble is seriously lacking. And the two male leads (The Rockstar – d’Arcy James, and Narrator/GodMother – Sean Palmer) were not very note-worthy either. The plot gives you a predictable ending. The rockstar falls in love, and ends up being a transformative-geek as well. So the awkward chimney sweep and dwerby guy fall in love and live happily, if not unattractively, ever after.

Very disappointing. I left the theater feeling so resentful. How dare a show build me up so much in the first act, only to be bored out of my mind in the second act?!
Again, all applaud to Kristin Chenoweth, who made the most out of the script and music to create for herself another shining moment on Broadway. I just wish the Encores!, Round About Theater Co, and Studio 54 could have had a better production, rather than a tepid revival of a mediocre musical that relied much too heavily on it’s star power.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Broadway's "Spring Awakening"

My latest impulse buy is by far the best thing I have purchased in a really long time.
I walk past the Eugene O’Neil Theater every day, going from the C train subway stop to my office. And every morning there are people lined up outside, hoping to get last minute tickets to see the O’Neil’s current production, “Spring Awakening”.

I had heard talk of this show over the last little while. Between Rosie O’Donnell and my best friend dash Broadway expert (albeit in his own mind…) the show had been highly recommended as one for me to see. I went online and checked out the website, and noticed that they have a seating section called “On Stage Seating. This piqued my curiosity, so I stopped by the theater on my way home after work. The guy at the box office (very cute!) offered to let me see the stage, so I went in with him. Literally, there were three rows of tiered seats right on the sides of the stage. There were no wings.

“Wow” I said, “Are there any for tonight?”

“Not til June” he said. “Are you single?”

I was completely taken off guard by the cute box office boy…until I realized that he wasn’t in fact hitting on me, but trying to determine how many tickets I was after.

“Just me!” I said, praying my face wasn’t as bright red as it felt.

He had a seat, second row and center, which had just come available. The price was more than I had thought I would end up spending, but after seeing the stage and spending a day reading reviews and watching youtube videos…I splurged!

And I am SO glad that I did!


Spring Awakening” is set in the late 1800’s in Germany. The cast is very young. I believe that no one is older than 23! It is a look at what happens when teenagers and adults lack the communication necessary when going through sexual development.

The opening scene involves our ingénue, Wendla, asking her mother “Where do babies come from?” Her mother doesn’t want to talk about it, but is forced to when she threatens to “run right out and ask the chimney sweep” instead. While the mother submits, she still does not offer up the whole truth.

The leading males, Melchior and Moritz, take the next scene when Moritz tells Melchior of his haunted dreams by a woman in “blue leggings” and the “sticky horror” she causes him. Melchior is the most learned of all the boys, and on his own discovered books on sex and the difference between men and women. He responds to his friend with “Oh! That kind of dream…” Moritz does not want Melchior to explain the sex to him, but rather asks him to write it all down…including illustrations if he so desires.

The show continues with all the other characters divulging their sexual secrets. One girl confides in her friends that she is sexually abused. This inspires Wendla, who marvels at what the pain of being beaten must feel like because she has never felt “anything”. This pursuit of pain is what opens her up to sexual exploration.

I want so badly to continue to write on the plot, but would not want to ruin anything for anyone! So I will stop there.

The young talent in this show is astonishing, with particular applaud to the three leading characters: Moritz, played by John Gallagher Jr; Wendla, played by Lea Michele (Mark my words…she will be HUGE); and Melchior, played by Jonathan Groff.

I was amazed by the acting chops these three young stars demonstrated. I cannot pick a favorite out of the three as there were so many things I liked about their characters that just aren’t comparable to the others. Moritz is dark and twitchy, but is portrayed in a way that you instantly are on his side. He immediately connects! Melchior is brooding and (sigh) handsome. His role required so much depth, from excitement to overwhelming sobs that had me in tears. Big time. And Lea Michele’s VOICE?! Oh. My. God. The girl is phenomenal, and the acting is superb as well. That character develops so much from the time she is questioning her mother about the origin of babies, and pursuing the boy next door for sex. All three gave performances that were out of this world!

The show requires some huge energy because of the style of music. The showstopper “The Bitch of Living” wraps in a mosh-pit-esque dance sequence that left me out of breath. The cast delivered huge numbers and modern sound throughout the entire performance that left my dying for more. The music provides the thoughts and emotions for the characters. The characters actually use hand held microphones when singing to demonstrate the disconnect from their “reality”. At first, I didn’t know how I felt about it. But the way it was executed was superb! I felt it was an awesome and totally original choice by the director. It’s not that no one has ever used hand held mics before…but it was the way it was done that was so impressive!

The one thing I did not understand was all the hype over one of the smaller characters, played by Lauren Pritchard. The playbill noted that she has original music on her myspace account, which I found totally cheesy. The New Yorker had sort of spotlighted her as an up and coming pop star, but she paled in comparison to the rest of the cast! Not that she wasn’t great, but definitely not deserving of more attention than the three leads.

I also don’t understand all the comparison that this show is getting to RENT. This show is about sexual discovery and loss. RENT is about living each day like it’s the last, and finding hope in a poor disease-ridden city. Yes, both shows were a big “shock” to the theater community when they opened in that the content was more risqué than anything else. But if that is the only comparison, then you could logically compare this show to “A Chorus Line” or “Cabaret”, which were ground-breaking and shocking pieces for their time.

And I don’t think that anyone is going to be running a comparison of “Spring Awakening” to “A Chorus Line”… (Which, by the by, I saw the revival of a few months ago and would also highly recommend it to everyone!)
All in all, this is by far the best thing I’ve seen on Broadway. Ever. (For those of you who just thought “What about RENT???” – I’ve only seen that show once, and it was on tour, not Broadway. So it doesn’t count!) If you come to New York anytime soon, go see it. I promise you will not be disappointed!