Sunday, April 08, 2007

NYC: The Play ...

I love theater.

Last year, I bought a subscription to The Goodman, a long-overdue commitment.

But it had been too many years since I'd seen a play on Broadway.

When Kevin Spacey became the artistic director of The Old Vic in London, I vowed to go see one of his productions. I love London. I hardly need an excuse to hop across the pond, but my London plan hadn't materialized, even though I was so geeked about seeing him play C. K. Dexter Haven in "The Philadelphia Story." (Very few people should ever consider stepping into Cary Grant's shoes. But Kevin is certainly an acceptable heir to that throne.)

Happily, Kev returned to New York and brought "A Moon for the Misbegotten" with him.

That performance was my sole reason for going to New York. Everything else was incidental. I would have gladly flown in that afternoon, taken a cab to the theater, watched the performance, hopped in another cab back to the airport and caught the red eye home.

So while I enjoyed my time in the city and seeing my cousins and seeing John and eating amazing meals, it wasn't until I was in my seat that the excitement of the play really set in.

It officially opens on Monday, but my preview performance was perfection. The theater was built in 1926, when everyone was 5 feet tall, apparently. My knees were pressed against the seat in front of me. But did I care? Hell no. I was in the second row of the mezzanine, dead center. And in such a small theater, I was practically on top of the stage.

The set is sparse yet detailed, the acting so charged with emotion that I often found myself holding my breath.

The evening ended with an extended standing ovation and two curtain calls. Kevin, though, generous man that he is, was not the last actor to take a bow. He graciously ceded the spotlight to Eve Best, the female lead. She does indeed carry the play, and as such, should be the final actor to receive the audience's applause, but while she shares the marquee equally with Kevin, he is undeniably the show's biggest star.

Filing out of the theater, I was momentarily aside a woman who said to her companion in an accent that was very unmistakably New York, "It was just so down and depressing."

I repeated that to my mom quietly. "What was she expecting?" I said. "It's Eugene O'Neill."

"Yeah," Mom said, without skipping a beat. "Not Neil Simon."

Funny, my mom.

After watching Kevin for three hours, rapt, I pondered waiting for him by the stage door. It's known that he comes out after performances to greet fans. There were barricades erected outside the door, a little corral of sorts in which for the stars to step for their meet-and-greets. A good-size group had already gathered. I walked on. I figured, even if I got 10 seconds with him, it wouldn't mean anything. I would be yet another faceless fan.

I saw Kevin perform at the House of Blues during his concert tour to promote "Beyond the Sea," and I was charmed by his voice and his schtick and his tux. I wrote a letter to him following that performance, which I've mentioned, and he replied, which I've mentioned, too.

As I walked west on 47th, I turned over my shoulder to look at my mom and said, "I'll write him another letter." Which I did. That night. In my hotel room. I'll type it up and send it on its way.

If I ever meet Kev, it should be to share a couple glasses of scotch or something.

Maybe when he returns to London. My friend Ciaran, an actor, is based there.

They all know each other, right?


Anonymous girl and dog said...

Your mother is precious! :) I hope Kevin writes back again!!

10:43 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Yup, mom's a keeper, that's for sure!

I hope Kev writes back, too. He used to trade letters with Katharine Hepburn. I'm no Kate, but it would be fun to trade letters with him.

Though I seem to remember hearing that she made great brownies.

And I make great brownies.


10:46 PM  

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