Sunday, August 21, 2005

B. D. Was So Wong

My mother and I saw a really C- production of PIPPIN at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor the other night, starring B.D. Wong as the Lead Player.

Here's the gushing, deluded review from the Stephen Schwartz web site:

My take?

"There's a reason that Broadway favorites Rachel York and Karen Ziemba backed out of this production and had to be replaced. It's called shoddy production values and directorial insanity. Who does 'Pippin' without any dancers? Who thinks that throwing a bunch of wheelchairs on stage during 'Just No Time At All' isn't an egregious rip-off of Susan Strohman's hilarious granny-walkers bit from 'The Producers?' Who paints skeletons in Day-Glo on leotards and then passes of the brilliant dance break after 'War Is a Science' as a campy high school 'dem dry bones' routine?

Who the HELL destroys 'Extraordinary' by having four members of the ensemble -- all Equity, all accomplished -- dress as DUCKS and quack around Pippin as he tries to get through the number with a modicum of dignity? Who, when blessed with a Catherine as beautiful and fair of voice as Anastasia Barzee, destroys the simple loveliness of 'Love Song' with endless sight gags and cheap laughs?

You know how at the end of the story (whose second act really is a mess : Mother of PeaceBang remarked, 'It seemed like someone was backstage writing the thing and giving the cast their numbers right before they came out.'), the Leading Player invites Pippin to make a thrilling end to his life by climbing into a fire box and committing self-immolation?

Think about the sun, Pippin
Think about her golden glance
How she lights the world up
Well, now it's your chance...

I was very happy that the adorable Pippin (Peter Larsen) declined that particular honor. However, I nominate director Jack Hofsiss for the fire box, and the Bay Street Theatre for allowing this travesty against the memory of Bob Fosse to be committed on their stage, with such talented performers, costume designer, and orchestra.

Anne Reinking and Ben Vereen, you were sorely missed.



Post a Comment

<< Home