I have often said, I wish my life was a musical. I mean my complaints regarding my life are pretty few and far between. But, the ability to randomly burst out into song is second only to being able to eat whatever I want and stay thin on the “things that would make my life perfect” list. My love of musicals and my wish to turn my life into one makes the following statement all the more shocking, before this year I had only seen three Broadway shows. Despite living in New York for 24 years, I had only made to see “Hairspray”, “Young Frankenstein” and “Wicked”. So when I thought about what to add to my 25 for 25 List, I made sure to include an item that would lead to more Broadway exploration. I feel as a New Yorker and a lover of the arts it is my privilege and my responsibility to explore Broadway. While I am still yet to see “Mamma Mia!” which is the musical I put on the list, I did see “How to Succeed in Business…” earlier this year and spent the past week doing some fun Broadway things.
My first Broadway moment came thanks to a scheduling snafu. I had heard Adam Levine was supposed to be on the “Today Show” to discuss “the Voice.” Only I apparently had heard wrong because he was not there. Uncomfortable with having to face such disappointment before 8 AM, I rallied. Dana, Kathy, Lauren and I hightailed it over to “Good Morning America” for their concert series. We got to see Ricky Martin, Elena Roger and the cast of Evita perform a few numbers in Times Square. Full disclosure my expectations were not that high, but Ricky really wowed me. I obviously know him thanks to his big pop hits, but this early morning live performance showed off his beautiful and strong voice. However, Elena Roger stole the show with her incredible energy during “Buenos Aires.” I had no interest in seeing “Evita” until I saw her perform in Times Square. In that number, she performed with the company in a brown wig. Later on, she returned to duet with Ricky this time outfitted as a blonde. She was so different in the two numbers I couldn’t tell if it was the same actress. She was boastful and fun in the first, then more demure in the ballad with Ricky. I wasn’t the only one impressed by what I saw, my friends and I discussed getting tickets for the show after taking in the GMA performance.
My other Broadway experience of the week, was not a morning concert but a legit show. After wanting to see it since last Fall when it opened, I finally made it to see “Godspell.” I’ve been dying to see it even before I got back into the habit of going to church because I love Hunter Parrish. Since his breakout role on “Weeds” to the success he’s found in movies like “It’s Complicated” and “Seventeen Again”, I just adore him. I entered the lottery twice before I actually won and got to see the show the night before Hunter’s final performance. I have to say, it was worth the wait and the struggle to get tickets.
The show is based on the Gospel of Matthew, and takes parables and lessons and presents them in fun and vibrant way. While religion is the basis, its more a refresher course on right and wrong. Showing off the hypocrisy within the church and inside us all. I almost went on Sunday, but decided against it since everyone in the cast would most likely be weepy and emotional for Hunter’s final show. And, I wanted a more accurate experience for my first and last time seeing Hunter as Jesus. I made the right choice because the chemistry amongst the cast was just amazing. You could tell the time they’ve been allotted has allowed them to get to know each other, their characters and the material. There were times where I couldn’t gauge whether the cast or the audience was having more fun.
I must confess, I feel guilty for not having more faith in Jesus. Hunter Parrish did not strike me as someone who was going to be an excellent singer and live performer. But, he sang, he danced, heck he walked on water. While I am excited to know he will soon be back to work on new episodes of “Weeds”, it is sad that he’s leaving Broadway because he is such a talented and gifted performer. Also, I know he was playing Jesus but at one point he was on stage in a wife beater and boxer shorts. And let me just say, Glory be y’all. God is good, God is generous, God has the most amazing biceps. Like I said, Hunter’s run has ended and starting Tuesday Corbin Bleu will be taking over. I still recommend seeing the show, as the rest of the cast especially Telly Leung, Nick Blaemire and Uzo Aduba are all incredible. Plus the lotto winners are put on the floor and the cast pulls people up on stage and gives the audience parts of the set to hold up. Making it all the more fun. I also want to retract my earlier statements, because after the show Hunter was a doll. Staying outside for over 25 minutes. Signing, chatting and taking pictures. He even granted me a retake because I hated our first picture. He may have played Jesus, but he had the patience of a saint.
All in all, I enjoyed both my Broadway experiences and was further reminded how I need to take more advantage of living in New York. Aside from “Mamma Mia” I have also added “Jersey Boys”, “Newsies” and “Death of a Salesman” to my list of must-sees. I do have to say, seeing Ricky Martin burst into song in Times Square along with the full fledged production of “Godspell” I have only grown more steadfast in my dreams of my life being a musical. So if you happen to see me singing and dancing in the street, you know why. And, please know you’re not just welcome, you’re encouraged to join in.