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 Posted:   Sep 5, 2013 - 8:40 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a great admirer of spoken theatre. Everything you can do on stage you can do better on screen, as fluid camera work and editing can make even the clunkiest play come alive (I know, I tried to sit through The Woman in Black in London - and failed!). That being said, I sometimes go to the theatre to watch really great actors live at work. Of course it's mesmerizing to see artists you only know from either the silver or the small screen perform just a few meters away from you.

What are your fondest "stage memories"?

Mine, so far (and just a few months apart), have been - all, seemingly, actor-related:

- JAMES EARL JONES ("I AM your father", "This is CNN") in "Driving Miss Daisy" - Admittedly, this is not a great play. It's just TOO smooth, TOO polished, ultimately too bland. Yet I couldn't pass up on the opportunity to watch the greatest African American stage actor live, and having Dame Vanessa Redgrave play Miss Daisy didn't hurt either. And Jones was magnetic!

- LAURIE METCALF (Jackie in "Roseanne", and a veteran of the Chicago Steppenwolf Theatre) in A LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT. One of the finest plays ever written, and Metcalf was terrific in the female lead. One thing I like about the West End is that you get to see the plays as they were originally MEANT to be performed, not being wrecked by some director who wants to exorcise his childhood traumas.

- DANNY DE VITO and RICHARD GRIFFITHS in "The Sunshine Boys" - It was De Vitos first stage appearance in a quarter of a century, and the little weasel commanded the stage. Richard Griffiths, a fondly remembered British stage, TV and film character actor internationally known for the Harry Potter films, had always been a chubby guy. But seeing him here in 2012, he reminded me of Moby Dick (and more than one review made that same comparison). He died during heart surgery a few months later, shortly before rehearsals in L.A. were about to begin for a US tour of the play.

And if you ever go to London, don't miss out on THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS, based on the Buchan novel and the Hitchcock film (incl. some of Bernard Herrmann's music for other Hitchcock films) - Hands down, the funniest thing I've seen on stage - EVER. At the Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly Circus.

And for musical theatre: A tie between the London production of Mel Brooks's The Producers and Lionel Bart's wonderful Oliver!)

Now, what are yours?

 Posted:   Sep 5, 2013 - 8:43 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

My best theater experience was last year -- when I saw the Cirque de Soleil show IRIS at the Dolby Theatre in LA (with Elfman's music).

 Posted:   Sep 5, 2013 - 11:02 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

I really enjoyed watching Sean Bean play Romeo to Niamh Cusack's Juliet on stage with the RSC in the 1980s. Directed, apparently by Michael Bogdanov. Hugh Quarshie and Michael Kitchen added to the fantastic cast.

You can see some pictures from 1987 here:

 Posted:   Sep 5, 2013 - 11:29 AM   
 By:   gone   (Member)

2001 : the entire experience on a massive 70mm screen, with my 2 best friends

 Posted:   Sep 5, 2013 - 11:35 AM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

Oops. Not the kind of theater I thought this would be about. Haha!

I've only been to see a live play once, and that was way back in 6th grade (1990-91). All of the 6th grade classes went to see a local production of Romeo & Juliet, because we had just read it. I was 12 years old, and I remember grumbling about having to go see a play, but I ended up liking it a lot. I remember it being a pretty good production.

 Posted:   Sep 5, 2013 - 1:15 PM   
 By:   jenkwombat   (Member)

Tim Curry in "Me and My Gal" in the late 1980s (or was it the early 1990s?). He was great. He's as magnetic in person as he is in his movies....

Wish I could have seen the early productions of "The Rocky Horror Show" back in the 1970s, but I was too young and didn't know (or probably care) about such things.

 Posted:   Sep 5, 2013 - 1:33 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Seeing Eric Sykes & Jimmy Edwards - twice - in the long-running Big Bad Mouse.

It was probably only a year - maybe less - between shows but the material was so different that they were different productions.



 Posted:   Sep 5, 2013 - 2:45 PM   
 By:   Ralph   (Member)

Had some good West End experiences too.

— Alan Bates in “Butley.” Don’t think most of the audience back then knew Bates in real life was a tortured bisexual but the play was like a coming out.

— Alec Guinness and Jeremy Brett in “Voyage Around My Father.” Bore of a play but both were moving.

— Maggie Smith and then-husband Robert Stephens in “Private Lives.” Maggie’s shtick at its busiest.

— Deborah Kerr in “The Day After the Fair.” No one cared about the trifles happening on stage — all eyes were riveted on the legend. Breathtakingly beautiful.

And in Mexico City, “Les Misérables.” Robust, even explosive in energy as it builds to a finish that charged the audience with camaraderie. Watching its swirl of superbly choreographed blocking, in no way hampered by its big cast and multi-use sets changing like “transformers” before our very eyes, Hugo’s material might be moldy but not the music: every song felt like a climax, each one stronger than the one before. (Unlike the movie, one anti-climax after another.)

 Posted:   Sep 5, 2013 - 4:04 PM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel and Bobby Morse in "Wicked".

The road company of the revival of "South Pacific".

Baz Luhrman's "La Boheme"

The revival of "A Chorus Line" (pre-Broadway)

Road company of "Annie"

Dame Edna Explains it to You

Barbara Cook in "Mostly Sondheim" Concert

And in my way yonder distant past:

Maggie Smith and Robert Stephens in "Private Lives".

Most DISAPPOINTING Theatrical Experience:


 Posted:   Sep 5, 2013 - 6:53 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

Well there was this beautiful girl sitting next to me and she just was as h---- as can be so she put her hand down my ----- AND THEN she made me feel like John Travolta, well that was the 70's for you. But if you are talking about the lesser experience, well that would be THE GIN GAME- FANTASTIC PERFORMANCE by the 2 leads and I had a front row seat with my then girlfriend, incredible emotional experience in a secondary manner[ha-ha]

 Posted:   Sep 9, 2013 - 2:40 PM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

I haven't had many, alas, but I've had a few, and my favorite was a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream that I saw in Munich in 1986. Very funny.

 Posted:   Sep 9, 2013 - 7:06 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

Fell in love with a girl while watching GODSPELL on Broadway .

 Posted:   Sep 9, 2013 - 7:58 PM   
 By:   Eugene Iemola   (Member)

A few years ago my family and I saw URINETOWN on Broadway and for an encore they did the dance in the garage number from WEST SIDE STORY. They were awesome, and the number was completely unexpected!

"Boy, boy, crazy boy
Stay loose, boy! . . ."

 Posted:   Sep 9, 2013 - 8:37 PM   
 By:   zooba   (Member)

Probably Robert Morse as Truman Capote in TRU at the Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood.

1991 when they brought the show to L.A.

Morse was simply awesome!

I remember, Betty White was in the audience the day I saw it.

 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 4:06 PM   
 By:   arthur grant   (Member)

What a great question.

I have two.

The San Francisco production (long running) of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest


Jason Robards last performance as Hickey in The Iceman Cometh in Hollywood.

The one I wish I could have seen was:

Arthur Hill and Uta Hagen in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 5:24 PM   
 By:   Ray Faiola   (Member)

Without a doubt it was seeing Joseph Buloff as the junkman in Arthur Miller's THE PRICE. It was the most astonishing thing I have ever seen. Or heard. When he whispered the floor under my feet vibrated. This was at the Public with Fritz Weaver, Mitchell Ryan and Michael Learned.

We had Orson Bean do the role at the Shadowland a few years ago. He was very, very good. But he wasn't Buloff.

 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 7:25 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Apparently I've been to one, It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman. I was three years old, and slept through the whole thing according to my parents. big grin

 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 7:41 PM   
 By:   Altamese   (Member)

Apparently I've been to one, It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman. I was three years old, and slept through the whole thing according to my parents. big grin

About 20 years ago, the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, under the direction of Garland Wright, put on productions of Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V over the course of a month or so. On selected Sundays they performed all three plays one right after the other. I saw the final "day and night" for these three shows and it was absolutely spectacular -- a company of actors with each one playing multiple the beginning and end of Henry V the company received the longest standing o's I've ever seen - and much deserved.

 Posted:   Sep 11, 2013 - 8:57 AM   
 By:   moviejoemovies   (Member)

Non-Musical: The Steppenwolf Theatre Production of "The Grapes of Wrath" in 1990.

Musical: The Original Broadway Production of "Follies" in 1971.

 Posted:   Sep 11, 2013 - 8:58 AM   
 By:   moviejoemovies   (Member)

Non-Musical: The Steppenwolf Theatre Production of "The Grapes of Wrath" in 1990.

Musical: The Original Broadway Production of "Follies" in 1971.

Sorry for Double-Post.

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