sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 18, 2005


bright lights, big city, funny show
posted by soe 11:01 pm

We’re back from the whirlwind trip to NYC — there and back in 26 hours. We didn’t have time for nearly everything we hoped to do, but we managed to squeeze in a French cafĂ© for lunch (I had a grilled brie on baguette), visits with friends, and a Broadway show. Of course, we almost missed our plane back, but hey — no trip is perfect.

After landing at JFK, we headed to the South Street Seaport where we did a little shopping and bought discount tickets at the TKTS booth. Then up to the Village, where we had lunch at a bistro, looked at yarn (too pricey to buy), bought coffee, looked at toys, and bought cds before heading up to Union Square where our friend Erik was waiting for us.

He walked us up to our hotel where we finally got to put our bags down and spiff up a little bit before heading out for the night. The three of us then headed out to meet up with Erica, my college roomie, for a chat in Madison Square Park. Erik is absolutely hysterical — definitely one of the funniest people I know. And Eri is a sweetheart. I was glad we actually managed to catch up with the two of them, especially since it looked questionable at the last minute.

Then off to Times Square. I hadn’t told Rudi what we were seeing, but I think he was pleased when we walked up to the Imperial Theatre where Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is playing. Originally I had been leaning towards Avenue Q per Erik’s rave reviews. But when the Tony Award nominations came out last week and DRS netted 11 nominations, I thought catching the original cast might be cool.

John Lithgow is a funny guy. He is not a great singer. But he is a funny guy. And when he sticks to songs in the octave range he has, he’s really, really good. But you can tell he wasn’t cast for his voice. He was cast for the imperious nature he brought to Third Rock from the Sun and for his comedic timing.

Norbert Leo Butz was amazing. Think Peter Scolari (from his Bosom Buddies days) meets Jack Black.

The show also features Joanna Gleason, whom I recognized from her brief stint on The West Wing, Gregory Jbara, and Sheri Rene Scott, who has an amazing voice — all nominated for their roles.

The story is one of a playboy (Lithgow) who is starting to feel that he’s grown complacent with his scamming of women after he meets an American (Butz) who’s doing the same thing on a low-brow basis. To spice things up the two men decide to woo an American debutante (Scott); the loser agrees to cede the territory to the victor. It was sort of a musical Marx Brothers comedy with its emphasis on slapstick comedy and its quick wit.

I thought the show started a little slow, but it picked up quickly and the second half was excellent. The funniest moment came in the last few minutes of the show when Butz and Lithgow are lying on the beach. Butz asks Lithgow a question, and, from what I could tell, the answer was not the one Butz was expecting. He cracked up, Lithgow cracked up, and the next few minutes suddenly had an improvised feeling to them, but in a really good way.

If you want to laugh a lot and then hum Broadway tunes for the next several days, I’d definitely recommend Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. And the good news is that the show hits the road starting September 2006 so you won’t need to brave Times Square just to see it.

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