Archive for the 'Signature' Category

[title of post]

Whoa, another post?  I thought this blog was dead.

But there’s [title of show] playing at Signature, in the smaller (ARK) space, and it’s another one of those that keeps me going back there even though the large space has become home to mega-spectaculars (and Broadway-bound bombs like Glory Days).

Plus hey, Sam Ludwig!  When was it I saw him in Pippin?  Google says 2006.  Google knows everything!  (And Google is wrong; it has to be 2005.)  Yeah, and none of the girls wanted to kiss him in the orgy scene when they found out he was still in high school.  He was so clearly the standout that Jenna and I knew he was destined for stardom right there.  When he showed up to auditions for Assassins at KAT we were all, “Craig, you have to cast him!  Plus he can play guitar!”  He shoulda been the balladeer, but we had nobody who could play Hinckley, and Hinckley does have that whole play-guitary moment at the beginning of Unworthy of Your Love.  And Sam rocked it.

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You Guys Always Bring Me the Very Best Violence

There’s a maxim in comedy, which I’m sure has a proper name, but I just call it the 9-rakes rule, based on the Cape Feare episode of The Simpsons. Stepping on a rake once is funny, the second time is less funny, the third time starts gettting repetetive and boring, but sometime between the 4th and the 9th time it gets funny again. The same principle applies with violence; too much is often better than the right amount. Quentin Tarantino understands this, as does Robert Rodriguez. And so, it turns out, does Martin McDonagh. We saw his dark comedy, his “comedy of terrors” if you will, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, last night at Signature, and it goes so far overboard on the violence that it made me wonder if I was a bad person for giggling uncontrollably at some of the scenes.

McDonagh also wrote The Cripple of Inishmaan, which we saw at Silver Spring Stage in March. Cripple was very dark, and we had heard it was one of his cheerier plays, so weren’t sure what to expect from Lieutenant. Especially considering it was billed as comedy. But it was in the smaller ARK space at Signature, so at least it wasn’t going to involve the Broadwaysturbation that’s becoming more common in the MAX space (notwithstanding the fact that this play was nominated for five Tonys in 2006). We weren’t disappointed.

More, with some spoilers, below the fold.

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If You Give a Director a Cookie

Or rather, if you give a director a huge budget…

Saw Ace the other night at Signature. It’s advertised as a story about planes and war and WWI flying aces and stuff. About 20 minutes into the show I was thinking, “Either we came to the wrong theatre or this sure is a huge frame they’ve put this story in.” It seemed to be set in the 50s, and didn’t have much to do with flying. Well, except the set, which was all metal and riveted, with two enormous metal contraptions on either side of the stage, all set about with doors and lights and flapdoodles.

Turns out it’s really a story of a boy learning about his past. And said past does have not one, but two flying aces in it. And sure, all that the setup is more or less necessary to build up empathy for the characters, but it musta coulda been done quicker. As the story went on, it got much better. The songs tended somewhat toward the insipid, but the book (with the exception of the part where Ace pulled up and flew up to heaven or something) was really very good. Oddly, the book was written by the lyricist and composer. Perhaps I’m just spoiled; not everyone can be Sondheim when it comes to words. Maybe you have to be Joss Whedon (or a close relation) to do that.

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Der Besuch der Alten Chita

I’m not completely sure I like the new Broadway-themed direction of Signature Theatre in Shirlington, but I did enjoy seeing Chita Rivera on Tuesday night. She was dancing on Broadway before I was born, man. And George Hearn, too. I’ve only ever seen him in the DVD of Sweeney Todd (the stage production, not the movie). He’s got some acting range.

The show was “The Visit”, which I didn’t realize until later was a pretty faithful musical version of Der Besuch der Alten Dame, by Dürenmatt. Which like all good second-year German students I read back in college. Very, uh, German sort of story, which means who knows if I liked it. Hated the lighting design, though. Screw those Broadway designers, just give me Chris Lee.

Best part was when the power went out halfway through Chita’s song about marrying often and widowing well. They just kept on keeping on! Microphones, schmicrophones, it’s a small house and we’ll just project. Coolio!

So, overall, a worthwhile night for sure. Still, I hope Signature doesn’t go too Broadway as time goes on.