Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blithe and Becoming


Earlier this week I saw Blithe Spirit on Broadway starring Angela Lansbury. If you are my age, you know and love Lansbury from watching a decade or so of Murder She Wrote with your mother or grandmother as the population of Cabot Cove, dwindled down to 2: her and Bob Mosley. You also have fond memories of her from watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks on video and recognize her as the voice of Mrs. Potts in Beauty and The Beast. If you're a bit older than me, perhaps you also know her for many iconic stage performances, 4 of which won her Tony awards. Mame. New World. Gyspy. Sweeney Todd. I always wanted to see her on stage and I missed my chance last season with Deuce. I thought thought perhaps that would be it and it was just not meant to be. I mean, she IS old and it's not easy doing 8 shows a week when you're 84. But lo and behold, here she comes again in Blithe Spirit, and this time I made sure to get my ticket. Lansbury does not disappoint as she portrays the medium Madame Arcati who accidentally conjures up the ghost of a writer's dead wife in a parlor room seance. She has so much energy and is so physical in the role, and seems to having such a wonderful time. The rest of the show, despite a first rate cast, is kinda "eh" but she is great and you should go see it for her performance, especially if you're a long time fan of her tv and film work.

One other thing of mention: I absolutely hated everyone who sat around me in the balcony during this performance. I had a woman to my right who came in a third of the way through act one with no less than four giant noisy shopping bags and spent the rest of act one deciding whether or not to wear her coat during the show. I had no one directly next to me, but the guy one row behind me and two seats down on my left decided to extend his legs OVER THE BACK OF THE SEAT IN FRONT OF HIM! WTF?? You're not at a sports stadium sir. That's not appropriate. The seats in front of me and in back of me were filled with some college students from Loser University, who seemed to have no appreciation for the farcical nature of the show and if they were theater majors, they were definitely minoring in ADHD, with their complete inability to sit still and focus on the show. Seriously. what gives? Why even go to the theater if you don't want to watch it? I've never disliked the people sitting around me at a show so much. I've never NOTICED the strange people sitting around me at a show so much. And afterwards one of them mentioned to another one in passing how much they had disliked In The Heights, so i knew that my initial impression of them as horrible tasteless losers was right on point.

In any event, Angela Lansbury kicks total ass. We should all be so lucky to be in her condition at 84. It'd be amazing if she could rack up Tony #5 for this role. She certainly deserves a nomination. Best of luck, Ms. Lansbury! It was great to see you perform live, and I'm rooting for you!

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