Over the past several weeks, I have seen the following:
1. “Superior Donuts” at the Studio Theatre. Tracy Letts’ one-set play tells the story of Arthur, the barely-hanging-on owner of a donut shop in a declining part of town, who befriends Franco, an overly bright and clever young neighborhood kid looking for a job because (unbeknown to Arthur) he is deeply in debt to a local thug and bookie. A standout performance by young actor Johnny Ramey. A wonderful script by Tracy Letts. See it if you can.
2. “Hamlet” at the Shakespeare Theatre – the simulcast (but now shown live) from the National Theatre of London, with Rory Kinnear as Hamlet. I looked forward to it, but concluded that seeing Hamlet on the big screen (maybe a too big screen) is not the same as seeing it live, and, truth be told, I didn’t think that Kinnear’s Hamlet was very good (in spite of the positive reviews). Don’t feel bad if you missed it.
3. “South Pacific” at the Kennedy Center. This was a wonderful production. The night we saw it, both leads (Nellie and Emile) were played by understudies. When you see that on the board as you walk in, you have to feel like you were cheated. But, as is often the case, nothing was lost at all. Kristie Kerwin was a very appealing Nellie Forbush (even if, at times, she had trouble holding on to her Arkansas accent) and Christopher Carl was a fantastic Emile – I don’t think anyone could have played the role better.
4. “How Do You Know”, the Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd movie at the Avalon. Totally vacuous movie. No reason to see it.
5. “Oy Vey in the Manger” at Theater J. The Kinsey Sixth, gay men’s drag a cappella quartet, singing comic Christmas and Hanukkah songs, making fun of everyone (but not mean spirited). Not my type of humor, filled with terrible puns (audience laughs and groans in equal amounts), totally silly, but……..these guys are very, very talented, which makes the evening worthwhile.
6. New Year’s Eve double feature (at home): Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino”, another well reviewed, but worthless film about a grumpy aging former Ford Motor Company worker and his Hmong neighbors. But worthwhile watching Eastwood. Followed by Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron in “Daddy Longlegs”. This one is so worthless that it makes Gran Torino look like an award winner.
Sorry we didn’t get to “Oklahoma” at the Arena. Let’s see what 2011 brings.