My wife and I went to the Theater! recently, signs of normal-ish.
In February, we went to the new Capital Rep Theatre in Albany, just a few blocks from the previous venue. The production was called Fly. It was a story, written by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan, about four black men from different backgrounds trying to become Tuskegee Airmen, despite pushback from the system.
The Wikipedia page describes the potential pilots. ” Chet, from Harlem; W.W., from Chicago; Oscar, from Iowa; and J. Allen, originally from the West Indies—who represent the varied backgrounds of the men who went through Tuskegee’s training, not all graduating and not all surviving the war.” Three “other actors portray white men—instructors and pilots—who questioned the idea that black men could fly in America’s military.”
As the Cap Rep description noted, “You will see and hear the men’s inner conflicts and triumphs through ‘Tap Griot’… in a way that cannot be felt through words alone.” This device worked exceptionally well. Wikipedia: “A dancer who uses tap dance steps to set a mood that is ‘part sublimated anger, part empowerment.’ This character appears numerous times throughout the play, ‘commenting choreographically on events and emotions.'” This device worked quite well, and the dancer, Omar Edwards, was exceptional.
I don’t know where or when Fly will be produced again. The Albany run doesn’t even appear on the Wikipedia page.
About three years ago, I bought season tickets for Proctors Theatre in Schenectady for the 2019-2020 season. When the calendar was postponed because of COVID, three of the shows remained. One, Summer, I saw in December. as I noted, the book was weak.
Com From Away, which I was supposed to see in September 2020, came to Schenectady in late January 2021, just as the Omicron variant was surging locally. My wife asked me NOT to go – she didn’t have a ticket – because she feared if I got COVID and gave it to her, she might spread it to her students.
I stayed home, but I’d be lying if I said wasn’t quite disappointed. The story of a Newfoundland town finding a way to take care of people whose planes were grounded after 9/11 was the show I most wanted to see. There is a production of it online on Apple TV, but of course, that’s not the same thing.
My wife and I DID see Dear Evan Hansen in March. I purchased the Broadway cast album a few years ago in anticipation of seeing the musical. And it’s odd that I feel the same about the music and script. Act 1 ends so joyously.
The story is that the title character failed to correct a false impression. He became popular online and in person, makes another family happy, and gets to date his crush. Of course, morally, the story can’t end there, but a very small piece of me wishes it could have. It reminded me a bit of Into The Woods, where the fairytales all end happily ever after. But then the story continues.
I liked the digital motif of the set design. The cast in this show, and also Summer, were excellent, as they almost always are. This show continues to tour into 2023, which you can check out here.
The Shire City
We also saw a production online. Actually, 10 Ten-Minute Plays by 10 Playwrights at the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA, which we ‘attended” for the second year in a row in April.
Stealing a Kiss By Laurie Allen – “Two elderly citizens meet at a bus stop where raindrops, turn to rain”…- sweet.
Love Me, Love My Work By Glenn Alterman. Misunderstanding about a new play.
Honestly By Steven Korbar. A young man and woman end their short romantic relationship and find they can speak to each other with complete honesty for the first time.” Oddly true.
Gown By Robert Weibezahl. A mother and daughter are shopping for the perfect wedding gown. My favorite; very touching.
An Awkward Conversation in the Shadow of Mount Moriah By John Bavoso. “Things are a little tense between Abraham and Isaac after the almost-sacrifice.” I found it quite funny.
Escape from Faux Pas By Cynthia Faith Arsenault. “Newcomers to a prestigious condo community find themselves in a precarious social situation, having inadvertently opened their neighbor’s Amazon delivery of…” Meh.
Liars Anonymous By Ellen Abrams. “Max and Charlotte clean up after a Liars Anonymous meeting and regale each other with creative renditions of their lives that sound suspiciously familiar.” Too much of a similar schtick.
Misfortune By Mark Harvey Levine. “A couple gets some disturbing news from a fortune cookie.” For what was essentially one joke, enjoyable enough.o
Climax By Chelsea Marcantel “For Sam and Teddy, the long-awaited kiss proves to be the easy part.” It rang very true.
The Voice of the People By Cary Pepper. “Who’ll be HomeHaven’s new mayor — the candidate with impeccable qualifications, or the one with no experience, no platform, and no agenda?” Too many caricatured citizens.