Sunday, July 20, 2008

[title of show] on Broadway

If you live in or nearby New York City, or can make the trek here anytime soon, you simply must get a ticket to [title of show].

Yes, that's the actual name of the show...

[title of show] began as a demo CD of 4 tracks for a theater festival, and eventually was born as a full musical off-Broadway at The Vineyard. [tos] is a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical. And yes, it also stars those two guys who wrote the musical (Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen), alongside their two self-proclaimed secondary characters (Heidi Blickenstaff and Susan Blackwell) who play themselves, as well.

Avenue Q and 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee alum, Barrett Foa, first recommended the show to me one evening while he was dining in the midtown lounge where I was serving. He emphatically insisted that if I were to only see one show in the upcoming weeks, [title of show] was the one I absolutely had to see before it closed at The Vineyard.

I never did.

Following the off-Broadway run, I noticed on my iTunes "Just for You" section, that a cast recording had been released. I sampled it, and instantly fell in love. Shortly thereafter, buzz began circulating that the cast and creators of the show were producing You Tube videos, trying to gather support for a Broadway bow. Consequently, there now exists an entire international internet community of fans, known as [tos]sers.

If you can't make it to the Great White Way to see [tos], then you truly should go to You Tube and watch the [title of show] show... It is sidesplittingly ridiculous and wonderful. I recommend starting with the Christmas Special to get hooked, but then go back and watch from the beginning in sequence.

Long story not quite so long, [tos] is the little musical that could, and just a few days ago officially opened on Broadway. And today, I sat in seat A 103 in the center orchestra section, and found myself laughing, crying, and cheering with every single person around me...

The entire cast was spectacular, and perfectly suited for their roles (they play themselves, after all...)  Heidi Blickenstaff's featured song moved me immensely.  But something about Susan Blackwell really struck a chord.  Never have I seen an actor with such brilliant comedic timing, who is equally capable of exposing her vulnerability in the most tender of ways...  It was one of the most sincere performances I have seen.

For a show with no costume changes, relatively no props (other than a turkey burger and some Playbills), a single keyboardist (an adorable Larry Pressgrove) as the orchestra, a set of four mismatched chairs, and four actors who have never before been adequately showcased--you will never witness more sincere dialogue, original comedy, and heartfelt singing.  I could not more highly recommend an evening (or matinee) of theater.

You should [tos]itively see this show...

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