Ellen (ennienyc) wrote,

Go Back, En, Do It Again

I don't like seeing things multiple times. I don't normally play music over and over, reread books, or rewatch movies and TV shows. Still, there are a few things I've revisited in the last several months. (This is just a sneaky way of crossing old, unblogged events off my list - by grouping them in this category.)

I loved the goofy "Toxic Avenger" and its score, so when discount tickets came up a few months later, I went again with neighbor J (who had not seen it). We were in the first row, but did not get hit with any toxic substances and it was just as silly and fun as before. Melvin and Sarah were understudies, but the Black Dude who had been an understudy my first time was the regular guy, so that was a wash. Luckily, the fantastic Nancy Opel was there both performances. This closed in January and there's supposed to be a national tour, but research found companies only in Korea, Calgary and Australia.

I became an instant fan of Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich when they performed at Symphony Space's Broadway event, so was happy their kids' musical "Dear Edwina" was revived last winter. I went on a snowy Sunday just before Christmas, and while the show was essentially for kids, it was witty and enjoyable. The music included the catchy "Hola, Lola" they sang at Symphony. Then in January, it was announced that Marcy and Zina themselves would do a brief concert after certain performances, so I had to go again. By now, I'd listened to everything I could of theirs (Kennedy Center video, "Edwina" and their own CD). I sat through the show a second time, and then the concert. Nothing new there, but still nice to hear them live again. I have since bought their songbook which has great piano arrangements; really high-quality stuff.

After seeing Richard Maltby/David Shire's "Closer Than Ever" at the Cherry Lane in late 1989 (more a revue of wonderfully crafted songs than a show with a plot), I became obsessed, getting the CD and pricey piano score. On my recommendation, my sister saw 2 different productions in Miami. I babbled about my love for the show to Maltby when he gave out the ACPT awards in 2007. So when this was revived to celebrate its 20-year anniversary, with original cast members Sally Mayes and Lynne Wintersteller, original music director/pianist Patrick Brady and bassist Bob Renino (now Mayes' husband), and director Maltby, it was a must. One slight problem: it required a shlep to Queens, at the Theatre in the Park on the old Worlds' Fair grounds. 

So on a Saturday afternoon in April, I took the 7 (running local) to Willets Point, and then the theater's van. I was the only passenger heading to the theater, and babbled about my love for the show to the driver, who said there seemed to be unusual interest in this production. My seat for the show was in the middle of a group of women (one couldn't come at the last minute, and the box office gave me that seat), so I moved over to let them be together. It was near the back, but the theater-in-the-round setting had good sightlines. My 1989 program had noted that the sound was not amplified, but this was not the case here. It wasn't too loud (my usual complaint) but sounded a bit overly miked. Still, it was wonderful to see and hear the female cast again (Wintersteller looked exactly the same, though Mayes seemed older; a reviewer commented that they were really too young for these parts the first time and now were up to the world-weariness of the material), the new male singers were great, and the music remains gorgeous. I left teary-eyed, in a good way. I considered going again, but one shlep to Queens was enough.

I saw the Flying Karamazov Brothers in 1993 as part of an exhilarating "Music and Mayhem" show (with PDQ Bach) at Carnegie Hall (I could not find the program, which must be in the mishmash of classical playbills, but vague memory mixed with Google unearthed the event). Only one member remains from that show, the distinctive-looking Paul Magid, but these Karamazovs were just as fun in "4Play," now at the Minetta Lane. Lots of juggling and silliness, with some maybe unnecessary dance numbers.  I went with another NPLer and we were greeted by Lorinne, juggling away behind the concession stand (she's not there every performance). We were near the front, but did not get hit with any flaming objects.

I'd seen Alvin Ailey several times in the '70s and not again until recently, when I went 3 times during their Christmas season (including Christmas Eve, which one might think would be empty but was packed). One performance included their signature piece "Revelations"; when the curtain opened on the familiar tableaux, tears came to my eyes. I also really liked Love Stories (with music by Stevie Wonder), and two sampler programs left me wanting more. 

Generally more tutus/tights than Stevie was the New York City Ballet. I managed to go 8 times this spring season, sitting on every level (I actually prefer high up, since I can see the whole stage). I'm usually clueless about any story and just watch the dancers move. There were a few repeats; one of the dances I saw twice, "The Lady with the Little Dog," made more sense the second time around. Also at that performance were crossword fiend Orange's family and we compared notes on the outdoor balcony during intermissions.The only ballet I didn't like was "Morgen" featuring Richard Strauss songs; I just can't tolerate operatic voices.

I said I don't play music over and over, but I lied. A month after seeing Level 42, I'm still reliving the concert via YouTubes (I kept changing the links as more videos were uploaded, but I think it's set now). I've been listening to almost no one else. Besides old favorites (like the gorgeous "Freedom Someday" - especially the part at 2:18), there are gems I hadn't heard before, like "The Sunbed Song" - done as an encore in LA during the recent tour, but with better production values in this 2001 show (ha, Mark King mispronounces "epitome" like I did until well into adulthood). "I really love your mind, though I can't forget your body. I think about it all night long" - hypnotic! I'm happy Rhapsody, which has a somewhat limited Level 42 selection - "World Machine," "Level Best" and a few live albums - just put up the new 30-year anniversary box set, "Living It Up." Like most fans, I beelined for the new acoustic tracks which are... strange. I'll probably like them eventually. King says the group is coming back next year, and I'll be there - even if I have to shlep to Queens.

I shlepped to Queens (Citi Field) for Paul McCartney last year, but his closest concerts this summer were Philadelphia and Montreal so Paul and I remained apart. However, N and his brother (who went with me last year at Citi) just saw Paul in Pittsburgh (where they are from) and deemed it "fabulous." This is the general opinion: Google "best concert" and "Paul McCartney."

Tags: level 42

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