As a grad student I often feel that my life is not my own — as in — I do not have much time to allocate toward much beyond studying. This past semester was my final full-time semester of classes and I started an internship at GNWP (Global Network of Women Peacebuilders. Needless to say, it was quite busy, which also accounts for my lack of blogging.
In order to break up the reading, research and writing I attended a few theatre shows, well as it turns out, more than a few…leading to a two-part blog.
It had been a while since I had seen Shakespeare on stage, so I was excited when my university (NYU) – announced that the Globe Theatre would perform King Lear at NYU Skirball. I will say…that I had forgotten how long Shakespeare’s plays are but it had a solid cast. The only actor I was familiar with was Joseph Marcell as King Lear; he played the butler in the television show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He was a great, crazy King Lear.
Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar was on the top of my list of plays to see and it didn’t disappoint. The well-balanced cast included Gretchen Mol, Hari Dhillon and Josh Radnor. The Pulizer Prize-Winning Disgraced is a provocative story about identity that culminates in a dinner party that goes horribly wrong. The play culminates with an alcohol-fueled discussion that turns argumentative, actions and reactions that make audience members uncomfortable, and a subsequent divorce.
I also went to see a few musicals in 2014, which were all fantastic in their own way.
When it was announced that Alan Cumming would return to Broadway and reprise his role as Emcee in Cabaret, I knew I had to go. A group of us went and we sat on the floor at a table, pricey but definitely worth it. We went early in the run, when Michelle Williams was playing Sally Bowles. She was okay as Bowles but at times a little awkward. Cumming and the rest of the cast were fantastic.
The second musical I attended was with my sister when she came to New York for a visit — we ventured out to see Kinky Boots. Harvey Fierstein wrote the book, with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper. Billy Porter plays Lola and is the shining star of the show. The show is over the top — fabulous entertainment. The story is heartfelt, sad and hopeful. There is one particular moment when Porter stands on a pitch-black stage, alone, spot lit, in a white gown singing “Hold Me in Your Heart.” It’s a moving, gorgeous, spellbinding scene.
It seems like another lifetime, but I worked in music for a good part of my career, before my back-to-school adventure. During that time the film Hedwig and the Angry Inch came out. My friends and I loved the film and soundtrack, so much in fact, that the music could often be heard at my shows. Fast forward to 2014 – Hedwig comes to Broadway. It brought me back to a carefree time with friends during my youth. Michael C. Hall was amazing in drag and crazy heels jumping off a car and other props on stage, singing his heart out — he was brilliant, funny and tragic — fantastic!