Friday, September 01, 2006

MARTIN, MARTIN, MARTIN, MARCO! Martin McDonagh's excellent The Lieutenant of Inishmore ends its run on Sunday, so hurry up if you have any interest at all in seeing a polished production with gory humor--something that isn't always pulled off so effectively.

Non-gory humor is certainly more common on Broadway. Not very long ago I attended a preview of Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me and laughed plenty. I've enjoyed Short's showbiz-savvy comedy since he was on SCTV; here you can witness his capering in person, with more impersonation routines than I think I've seen anywhere else. Yes, celebrities are skewered...but only in the figurative sense. The songs are by Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman, with additional material by Alan Zweibel.

Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me is one of a number of recent shows that have extra zing for people who love Broadway and don't mind having some fun poked at Broadway either. Another example is Bob Martin's The Drowsy Chaperone, which I also saw in previews. Although this winner can charm just about anyone who goes to see it, it's a real gift for anyone who has an interest in what musicals were like back in the Twenties and Thirties...and what's become of them in more recent decades. It's also great at capturing the hold that an old cast recording (with liner notes) can have over a theater buff.

Discounts to the above have recently been available via websites such as Playbill Online as well as TKTS (which has a separate window for play tickets that can help you avoid waiting on the long line for musicals).

I'd like to take this opportunity to recognize one other memorable production: Marco Millions (based on lies), which recently ended a short but successful run at The Lion on Theatre Row. Produced by Waterwell, the show riffs merrily and meaningfully on the little-known Eugene O'Neill play Marco Millions, portraying the epochal encounter between crass capitalist Marco Polo and the grand empire of Kublai Khan. Congrats to Tom Ridgely, Hanna Cheek, Rodney Gardiner, Arian Moayed, Kevin Townley, Lauren Cregor, and everyone else who worked on this irreverent piece of theatrical fun.

Pictured: Rodney Gardiner, Hanna Cheek, Tom Ridgely, and Arian Moayed in Marco Millions (based on lies)

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