As I recently wrote in my Mother’s Day post, “May Madness” leaves little time for anything that doesn’t revolve around your kids. The entertainment that’s my usual form of escapism has lately centered more around kids’ recitals, showcases and end-of-year performances than around collecting my usual stack of Broadway playbills. (Trust me, I would give my superstar children glowing reviews here, but you probably wouldn’t indulge me.)
I DID manage to see a few things in drips and drabs - and some were downright excellent. And thus, to continue, content I highly recommend:
WHAT TO SEE:
Pictures From Home. It’s not easy doing an entire play about a fledging artist, especially one whose greatest work was a photo-memoir spanning decades of the vicissitudes of his own family life. But Nathan Lane, Danny Burstein and Zoe Wanamaker can do just about anything. All veterans of the stage, their work here in telling the story of the late photographer Larry Sultan is humorous, poignant, and deeply engaging.
Summer, 1976. Ok, in fairness, I would watch anything with Laura Linney and Jessica Hecht. That said, to see these two icons of screen and stage taking on -- of all things -- friendship, motherhood, marriage, and migraines was the crème de la crème of perfect ways to spend an afternoon. The fact that it was written by a man, talented and genius as David Auburn is, still kind of blows my mind! Broadway magic indeed.
Good Night, Oscar. There are not enough ways to say that Sean Hayes CRUSHES it in this play. He’s up for a Tony and well, all I can say is damn straight! His performance as Oscar Levant, the irreverent and unwell comic/pundit/musician, one whirlwind night as a guest on The Jack Parr Show, is truly an unforgettable, tour de force. His acting chops and piano skills are so jaw-to-the-floor good, you won’t remember him as the guy from Will and who?
Ham4Ham: These short-but-sweet get-up-and go outdoor performances outside The Rogers Theater are back again, as Lin Manuel put it: “We just have TOO much to celebrate this Broadway season.” The latest Hamilton X Sweeney Todd mash-up is PURE talent and raw energy -- and the best of the best of what it means to live in New York! Here’s one of the coolest videos you’ll see this week:
BONUS: There will be ANOTHER live mashup TODAY (5/19) outside Rogers Theater at 4pm with Lin Manuel and stars from Hamilton, Camelot, A Doll’s House and Kimberly Akibo! I mean, seriously?! Who wants to go?!
WHAT TO WATCH:
Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret. Ok, so maybe I went to see it on Mother’s Day, when moms had the final say on who did what, but there were more full families in the theater than I’ve ever seen in my life. And guess who amongst us theatergoers were the most teary-eyed as the credits rolled? That’s right – it was the DADS. Not saying there’s going to be a Father’s Day rush for tickets – BUT there should be. Not all tears should be had on the back nine.
Succession. I am fully obsessed with Jeremy Strong. (He’ll be coming to Broadway in 2024 – woo hoo!) He might not be the most popular Roy of the bunch, but I’ve had a soft spot for his layered and tortured persona since Season One. Watching this season though, I was, in general, a little underwhelmed (despite the upgraded location scouting - and props due to whomever on the production team made Nectar’s look down-right romantic…). Even with the ginormous bomb drop in Episode 3, the show didn’t feel inspired until episode 5 or 6, so I guess my point is to stick with it! The behind-the-scenes Election night episode is top notch.
Transatlantic. This eccentric and exotic series has a glossy, fun pulse to it that belies its deadly serious subject matter. It centers on the real-life story of a literary journalist and American heiress who were living in Marseille and instrumental in helping pivotal Jewish writers and artists escape Nazi Occupied France. It’s a historical war story, but one that focuses on the idealists, and idealism, that persevered through the grimmest of times. Among those saved were some of Europe’s top artists and intellectuals including Duchamp, Ernst and Chagall. Worth a watch.
WHO TO FOLLOW:
Zarna Garg. Everyone’s obsessed. Are you? She’s a mom, and she makes the most of her everyday interactions with her family otherworldly funny. Like this one here:
Her Netflix special, One in A Billion, is on deck for me!
The Leighton Show. The Things I’ve apologized to my wife for…, and Inspirational Texts from my Teenagers, bits are relatable and hilarious: