What’s wrong with this picture?

 

Ha ha.

A New Chapter Starts Here…

The London chapter, that is. Stay tuned.

 London

Vintage J-Hud

That's my Oscar-winning girl! I heart her. She's sweet. In your face, Isaac.

Introducing RichAffannato.com

I've been at it again! No, I don't mean ignoring my blog, although that's the case as well, but I've been putting together another website. I'm a web design machine.

My amazing friend Rich is out in Vegas opening a new company of The Producers with the Hoff himself, and now thanks to me he exists on the web. Check out richaffannato.com and let me know what you think!

 

 

Long Time No See!

GASP. A post. If you've been checking this, well…I'm very sorry. I've been busy getting a new apartment; laying my darling (if occasionally troublesome) kitty, Ellie, to rest and adopting a new orange tabby named Lucy; packing up the old over-priced apartment to move to new/old Hell's Kitchen digs; and hosting the bro and sis for visits two weekends in a row. Oh yeah, and there were those holiday things. I had a nice visit to Maryland to see the fam and celebrate Xmas for a few days and came back to NYC for New Year's, which I spent furiously guessing for a spirited (and incredibly gay) game of "Celebrity" surrounded by a group of my favorite people. So, I'm sorry…but not all that sorry.

But now, since I have you here, it's time for some shameless self-promotion. Have a minute? Take a stroll through my recent Broadway.com work! Yeaaah!

Q&A: Josh Strickland, Tarzan
I just talked to Josh on Friday and he was a delight — very candid and very sweet. I feel bad that he wasn't acknowledged more for the work he does in Tarzan, because he deserves it. Greater things are in store I think.

Q&A: Ashley Brown, Mary Poppins
Ashley and I are the same age, which made her even more fun to talk to, I think. I simply can't imagine the pressure of being Mary Poppins, but she seems to handle it with grace. And what a voice!

Q&A: Raul Esparza, Company
I had been a fan of his since I saw him in Tick, Tick…Boom! in 2001 and it was a huge pleasure to get to talk theater with him. I already knew he was hugely talented and now I know first-hand how smart he is as well. Catch you at the Tonys, Raul!

FRESH FACE: Christian Anderson, High Fidelity
Poor, sweet Christian! If you follow theater, you know that his super-fun show closed not too long after we talked, which is such a shame. He did get a lot of attention for his performance, though, so hopefully there are great things in his future.   

Don't you love how they're all staring into space? Up on Thursday is John Gallagher, Jr. from Spring Awakening, which the sis and I went to again on Sunday. Every time I find something new to love and respect about that show and Johnny Gallagher lived up to every expectation that I had from him based on the word around town. See you then!

Meet the Cast of “Legally Blonde” the Musical

Just do it:

 

 

Les Mis Lives

Eden Riegel as Cosette in LES MISERABLESHave I ever told you how much I love Les Mis?

It has something (everything?) to do with my parents shipping me off with my Aunt Lenore to see my cousins Sam and Eden play Gavroche and Cosette on the national tour in Pittsburgh when I was 7. (That's now-Emmy-winner Eden over to your right!) I can't say that I understood the emotional and political content until later in life…go figure…but I sure as hell memorized every note and lyric. It was thanks to Les Mis that I was allowed to curse, but only when Mme Thenardier did it in a song. ("Comforter, philosopher, and lifelong shit." Mm hmm.) The obsession followed me into middle school, where Kevro and Brigitte and I used to harmonize to "A Heart Full of Love" on forbidden late-night three-way phone calls. Does this make it difficult to take me seriously as a Broadway journalist? Get over it.

So, I was obviously interested to hear that Les Mis was coming back this season and even more excited to find out that a bunch of people I enjoy would be in it. It's so difficult to criticize for me, so I jjust won't here in the wide, floating space of the www. I will say that beyond everything else I liked about the production, I adored Aaron Lazar as Enjolras and Celia Keenan-Bolger as Eponine. S-T-A-R-S! He is incredibly powerful and persuasive; she is quirky and heart-breaking. Bravo. 

Drew Sarich also turns in an attention-grabbing ensemble performance and as "I am agog, I am aghast" skeptic/drunk Grantaire. Someone please cast him in a lead role immediately. He's ready to wreck Broadway forever. In a good way. Just watch him do this. And this. And this. Heck, watch them all. He's always so present and has this really sick mix of unbreakable rock tenor, meanness, vulnerability and sexiness that makes it impossible to not watch him at all times when he's on stage. Those things, and he's really tall. 

Ali EwoldtI also had the pleasure of recently interviewing Ali Ewoldt, who plays Cosette in the new production. My favorite part is when she talks about getting…ahem…visited by a bird on her way to her callback. Read it here.

I love when actors are ego-free, smart and open, as Ali is. It makes them so much more interesting. We also bonded over the MMC and The Party, as only kids bred on the Disney Channel of the early 90s can. 

So? I recommend seeing it. If you love the show, you will still love it and maybe notice something new. If you've never seen it, it's an epic piece of theater and you have no excuse!
 

The B-word

I've never seen so many of my buddy list friends with the same away message. And no, it's not even: "I am away from my computer right now." It's:

 Borat.

I do believe this bodes well for our future, my friends.

I hate New York

Just got home from my friend Anjali's production of Romeo and Juliet (with a lesbian R&J!) at Pace where I talked with friend David in the cab home about plans for the future. You know, the classic to stay or not to stay in New York talk. I opened my mailbox when I got home to find a renewal lease from the landlord detailing a just under $400/month raise in my rent starting with the new lease year in February. No, I'm not joking. And now I'm freaking out.

It appears that the little part of my original lease from January 2005 that said that I was renting the apartment for under its market value also meant that when they calculated my raise percentage when it was time, they were going to do that based on the market value. I had a terrifying thought that that could be the case when I signed it, but I pushed that away, ready to be excited about my Upper West Side studio on a lovely doorman-studded block.

What am I going to do? Who knows someone who needs a roommate in February? UUUUGH.

A First Look at High Fidelity

HIGH FIDELITY PosterI do agree with all the snakes who complain that shows should not be reviewed until they've gone through their whole preview period, but I promised some thoughts on High Fidelity in Boston and so, here we go. Take it with a grain of salt — the show still has a month until it officially opens on Broadway and as any good new musical should, I'm sure they will be working on it right up until that date.

First off, Will Chase is predictably excellent. If you've seen him in one of his past roles (the only believable John Lennon in Lennon, a post-Adam Pascal Radames in Aida, a post-Patrick Wilson Jerry in The Full Monty, or the final Chris in Miss Saigon) then this doesn't surprise you. As an actor/rock tenor/all-around performer he is consistently charismatic and brings a straight-guy edge that so many of Broadway's leading men are just slightly missing. As Hi Fi's Rob he's on stage for the whole show and he's funny and real.  

Will Chase HeadshotOk, enough of the Will Chase love, but can I just say that I still can't read New York Magazine without cringing when i see Jada Yuan's byline since that awfully dismissive five question interview she did with him in their fall preview? Jada, it may make you feel clever and funny, but people don't enjoy reading you flat out dismiss someone who doesn't answer your questions the way you had planned. Be a journalist and roll with the punches.

Moving on.  The show is a love-letter to music and I found it to be really fun and modern. The score (Tom Kitt and Amanda Green) is the catchiest new rock score I've heard since Paul gave me Bright Lights, Big City a couple of years back and I'm curious to hear the new ones they're still working on. (Catchiest being the key word, since Spring Awakening is by far the most brilliant.) As opposed to The Wedding Singer, which Will Chase & Christian Anderson in HIGH FIDELITY (Boston)I've already heard people mistakenly lump this in with, the book by David Lindsay-Abaire is specific, smart and edgy. He normally writes plays rather than musicals, which is the right background for something new like this. The fluid and constantly morphing record store/apartment/etc set is amazing! Yes, there are some things they need to work out before they open, including one strategic re-casting move, working on the structure a little and fixing the top five breakup "ladies'" costumes and bits. Oh, and Christian Anderson (who was in Rent the first time I saw it nine years ago in DC!) is heartbreakingly funny as shy, sad musical genius, Dick. Watch out for my fresh face with him down the road.

I think that's all I have to say. People who love the book and movie WILL like this. It's not a cheesy musical. Give Rob a chance.