Sunday, February 17, 2008

you must be joshin'

leave it to a fellow milwaukeean to come to new york and finally inspire me.

in the two years i've lived here, i haven't seen much in terms of theater i've been inspired by. granted, sometimes i went to the truly awful stuff on purpose ("lestat", "hot feet".) and there have been moments i've loved ("drowsy chaperone", "spring awakening".) i haven't seen nearly enough non-musical theater. so take all that into consideration.

but i've seen some dogs. and this is supposed to be the gold standard, right? this is what we theater folk all aspire to: broadway. "not so much, anymore" my friend richard just told me.

last night, however, i saw "adding machine." it's billed as a new musical. i'm not sure i'd call it a musical, although it is definitely full of music. it's based on the 1923 elmer rice play, with a score by josh schmidt, and libretto by josh and jason loewith.

my friend josh played the piano for a cabaret show i did in milwaukee many years ago. back then he was a quirky, funny kid. and a brilliant musician / composer.

after a hugely successful run in chicago (which got the attention of the new york times) "adding machine" is now in previews off-broadway at the minetta lane theatre near washington square park.

it's an incredibly challenging piece, and there aren't many moments for the audience to sit back and relax. it's full of difficult, often dark, hauntingly beautiful music, but there aren't a lot of "tunes" (a few though.) it's got some fantastic performances -- the standout, i think, being amy warren as daisy.

and it's truly one of the best pieces of theater i've seen since i moved to new york.

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