Broadway times 3

Anna Maria Perez de Tagle in 'Godspell'

By Jean Charisse A. Arboleda

Our contributing writer had her fill watching shows on Broadway, and off. Here are her impressions and some sidebars.

Wit or Without Her
I have just seen one of the most real and the most depressing plays on Broadway. “Wit,” starring “Sex and the City’s” Cynthia Nixon, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about a demanding professor of 18th century poetry who is diagnosed with stage four cancer.

I wasn’t convinced about seeing the show but I wasn’t about to waste perfectly free tickets to a play either, no matter how depressing it was. So I went ahead and watched it with a co-worker who was dying to see it, pardon the pun.

A bald Cynthia Nixon in 'Wit'

Several times during the show, particularly when Dr. Vivian Bearing is nitpicking John Donne’s poems to a group of teenagers, I felt myself rolling my eyes. The student is right: Why does Donne have to make everything so complicated?

But toward the end, my co-worker and I were wiping away tears by the time the college professor lay on the hospital bed with her student reading her uncomplicated bunny tales of Beatrix Potter.

My goodness, I needed a chocolate cocktail after that. Mocha Love, anyone?

Casting God’s Spell
Another night at the theater. I was out with a friend to see “Godspell” at Circle in the Square. Being just a few steps away from my place of work, one or two members of the cast and the musical director Stephen Schwartz would come to the restaurant for drinks, so some faces were familiar.

One face was strikingly familiar but for a different reason. I can sense a Filipino from a mile away. She didn’t even have to speak. Plus, I’ve read about Anna Maria Perez de Tagle debuting on Broadway. I immediately pointed her out to my friend and saw several Filipino faces in the audience.

I was so ready to see another musical after watching “Wit” a few weeks ago. What better way to banish all negative thoughts than to see a frenzied, bubbling-over, highly-caffeinated, culturally diverse bunch of young ‘uns bouncing and trampoline-ing across the stage as Jesus’ disciples. Even Jesus, played by Hunter Parrish, is a kid himself.

We had front row seats. From John’s baptism of Jesus, we were bombarded with several things going on at once and didn’t know where to look. Then I felt uneasy and a tad impatient. In spite of all the contemporary jokes and over-the-top, made-me-tired-just-looking-at-them antics these young people still managed to sound olden days, Ten Commandments preachy. It’s not just the language being adapted straight from the Bible. Of course, I don’t know how anyone can do a show about Jesus and his disciples without sounding like the homily. One couldn’t help it, I guess, but they lost me there. I’m going to hell.

And while I enjoyed certain parts like Telly Leung’s take on famous movie lines and Anna Maria’s “Day by Day,” I found some of the jokes referencing Donald Trump, Lindsay Lohan, Facebook and Occupy Wall Street way too corny and contrived.

Eyes Will Roll
I went to see an off-off-off-off Broadway show called “Frogs” at the Fault Line Theater on Fourth Avenue a few nights ago. The comedy is by Aristophanes, and oh my goodness, I’m too stoopid for these Greek plays. It was way too corny for me, and spoiler alert, it wasn’t about amphibians at all.

The men of 'Frogs'

The only thing that kept me laughing all night was the almost transparent groin area of the men dressed in green spandex suits. Pictures available on request.

Jean Charisse A. Arboleda loves to write and travel. She would love to go on a train ride on the California Zephyr from Chicago to L.A. if she ever finds the time. She works two jobs: a receptionist at a theater district restaurant and a paralegal-in-training
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