Drama Talk & Drinks: An Act of God “the writer has to be an atheist, right?”

This show had me at two words “Sean Hayes” (I’m a big Will and Grace fan). I actually didn’t know much about the show going in, so it was fun to learn that the writer David Javerbaum was a head writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and started the twitter account @TheTweetOfGod which has over 2 million followers. Since Brittany couldn’t make it to this one, I turned it into a date night. I mean there is nothing more romantic to me than entertainment about how ridiculous religion can be!

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Katie: Okay…the writer has to be an atheist, right?

Garrett: I don’t know, but now I’m even more of an atheist. I thought the show was freaking brilliant.  Sean Hayes was perfect. I don’t think many other actors could pull this off. His energy was so good, he made it really come to life.

K: Totally! Such a difficult show to do. It’s not easy to pull off pretty much a one man show, I mean the two angels roles were so minimal that barely counts. It’s great they kept it to 90 minutes, that format really couldn’t be a minute longer. The story was good for that length of time. Towards the end it was losing some steam, and I feel like the jokes were about to get old. But it kept my attention and it ended right when it needed to end.

G: I think it lost steam for me at a couple different points but not for very long and it picked up each time. I liked that it had a lot of topical and local humor and it was a combination of really specific current topics but with the broader scope of human existence, god and earth and all that fun stuff. And I liked how the actors played off the audience a little bit, making it feel like an improv show…really fun. And “God” even broke character temporarily to mock a group of people walking in late to the show. Awesome.

K:  With a one man show like this, I think that format of interacting with the audience made us feel like they were having a conversation with God. And by bringing in the audience it made us more present. I feel like if that character didn’t bring in the audience I don’t think it would have been as compelling. That format made us feel like we were all hanging out with Sean Hayes having a conversation.

G: Definitely. I would have to say this is the best one man show I’ve ever seen.

The Verdict: This is a really smart show and super entertaining. Must be open minded. The existence of God is always a sticky subject, but this format and acting style was wonderfully silly and successful.

The Drama Talk: The main character (Sean Hayes) doesn’t move much from the couch in the middle of the stage but his energy and range as an actor made this story come to life.  As with all SHN shows the technical aspects of this show, though simple, were amazing. The set never changed but the lighting, sound effects, and use of video were on point.

The Drinks: This is a show that we recommend going into a little loose. We had a couple of classy (expensive, yet strong) drinks before the show at the theater. Then afterward we wanted to take that class down a notch (or 10) and went down a few blocks to one of our favorite dive bars the Tempest.

An Act of God runs through April 17th at the Golden Gate Theater. Tickets are available through the SHN website and range from $75-$150. Right now there are tickets on Goldstar from $55-$70. Also, take note that a limited number of $40 Rush tickets will be available for every performance beginning 2 hours prior to curtain at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre Box Office. Tickets are subject to availability. Cash only. 2 per person.

 

Drama Talk & Drinks: The Boys From Syracuse “Looked like James Franco”

Once on a road trip back from Yosemite, Brittany and friends Chad and Thais got on the subject of musical theater. During the course of that conversation the lesser known 1930s Rodgers and Hart musical, The Boys from Syracuse, came up as a topic. Brittany had never heard of it. Chad had it on his iPod. The inevitable happened and the car filled with show-tunes.

One of the passengers was not a musical theater fan, so after a couple songs a new DJ was appointed, but Brittany was intrigued. She knew the songs and recognized the plot (it’s a musical retelling of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors), but she didn’t know the show. When she found out there was a production of The Boys from Syracuse happening at Eureka Theater, she knew she had to take Chad and Thais with her for a night of Drama Talk and Drinks.

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Brittany: Thanks for joining me for Drama Talk and Drinks, what did you think of the show?

Thais: I loved it, I thought it was a blast.

Chad: I thought it was fun. I love music from the 1930s. It’s jazzy, brassy and just fun.

T: The performances were fun too.

B: I liked three leading women in particular (Abby Haug, Elise Youssef, and Erin Yvette). The guys…some of them were better than others.

T: The guys who played Antipholus looked like James Franco.

B: That’s so true! They looked exactly like a taller James Franco.

C: They didn’t really stand out to me. “This Can’t Be Love” didn’t sound the way I expected it to sound. It should be more romantic. I know it’s a farce, but they didn’t take the time for a more serious moment.

T:  I loved the two Dromios though! The choreography, the references to Groucho Marx. It was hilarious.

B: The Dromios were great, but I agree with Chad on the love songs. I was hoping for more love. These songs are such Broadway songbook classics, even though the show isn’t necessarily that well known, they come with certain expectations. Also I could have done without the dance breaks.

C: You can only see a grapevine so many times. They were having a good time though, which made it enjoyable to watch.

T: The women’s voices were lovely too.

C: “Sing for Your Super” was the stand-out song of the show. It made my night.

The Verdict: If you’re a fan of Rodgers and Hart and the Great American Songbook, you’ll probably enjoy this show. It’s got some great voices, fun songs, and great energy. If traditional musical theater makes you want to pull the car over and scream, skip it.

The Drama Talk: 42nd Street Moon, the company behind this show, is committed to restoring, preserving and producing rarely performed musicals. The Boys from Syracuse is one such ‘lost classic’, typical of 1930s American musical theater, when the genre was in it’s hey-day. If you know Rodgers and Hart’s music, you’ve heard some of the songs in this show, you likely just didn’t know where they came from.

It’s possible part of the reason the show has been lost is the overtly sexist messages throughout the show. The idea of women singing for their supper is more than a little regressive now. But just like those awkward things your grandparents sometimes say, it’s a product of its time, so you feel like you can’t blame the musical. The three female leads are incredibly talented. The costumes are great. It’s generally a fun time.

The Drinks: Opening night started early and ended early, so we needed to get dinner and drinks after the show. Although Kokkari across the street would have technically been more fitting, since the show is set in Greece, we didn’t have $100 to drop, so we went to Osha on the Embarcadero. The sweet drinks and the bright colors seemed a fitting end to a technicolor Broadway “forgotten classic”.

The Boys from Syracuse runs through April 17th at the Eureka Theater. Shows are Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 6pm and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are available through the 42nd Street Moon website, and range from $22-$75, but Eureka theater is small enough, it really doesn’t matter where you sit for the show.

 

Drama Talk & Drinks: Dirty Dancing “If they left anything out they would have been criticized for leaving that out”

Katie & Brittany sat this one out, (they reviewed another DD production a few years back) and I took over for the week, to bring a Dirty Dancing superfan (my wife) to see SHN’s latest musical.
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Ariel: I had a good time.
Sharon: Me too.
A: But the biggest issue is that it felt to me that instead of a set and set design, the whole thing took place in a pinball game.
S: Yeah, the fact that they projected 90% of the backgrounds made it feel like it was trying to be a film production with live actors.
A: They were in front of video screens almost the whole time. It was really distracting. And it didn’t fit the style.
S: And they changed the set more often than they needed to, which made it feel like beat, beat, beat instead of a flowing story. And all the sets were so literal.
A:  And the story takes place all in one basic setting, they didn’t need to change the backgrounds that much.
S: I did really appreciate the set pieces that were there, I thought they were cool. The orchestra up top and the rotating centerpiece added great dimension to it.
A: Every time they revealed the orchestra it had an impact.
S: Yeah. I was unsure that live music was going to work, but it totally worked. The vocalists were great, and I was glad they were background dancers and not Johnny and Baby, which I had feared. The use of songs was good. The variation between prerecorded and live was solid. The singing and dancing were great. The acting was not as good. I don’t know if that was because of the acting or because of the direction. The movie is so sincere. And in the staged version they were hyper-caricatured versions of those characters. Baby’s sincerity is gone, it’s just her awkwardness, Lisa is just loud and you don’t care for her at all, etc.
A: Right, if you have a movie that has that archetypal feel, then you bring it on stage and lose a lot of the nuance, you reduce them down to the essence and it feels forced.
S: The combination of that with the constantly changing backgrounds/screens, plus, the audience has seen the movie and they clearly felt a responsibility to give everyone the part of the movie they’re looking forward to, and that’s hard.
A: If they left anything out they would have been criticized for leaving that out.
S: And what they ended up leaving out was the flow of it. But I did look forward to every number and scene because I too knew what was coming. But there was some really bad acting by people who are really talented at singing and dancing.
A: They weren’t allowed time to really act. Somewhere along the way pacing was sacrificed for getting every treasured moment in there.
S: It’s a tough one, to please everyone. But they included a lot of scenes that didn’t matter. I wish they had tested this before an audience of super-fans, we could have told them what didn’t matter.
A: On film you can get up in a character’s space, but in theater you’re held at a distance, so if you add more time, it has to be used really skillfully, or else it just feels like dead space. So every moment was filled.
S: Baby was a little too goofy. But they had good chemistry. I warmed up to Johnny. I liked Penny a lot.
A: The dad was more J. Peterman than Jerry Orbach.
S: Yeah, I didn’t like the dad. The mom is pretty much a throwaway character in the movie, unfortunately, and even more so here. Considering the subject matter and how strong Baby is in the movie, the mom and the sister are underused. There was also more humor than there was in the movie, which I had to get used to. I think they were trying to make it entertaining for the whole family, hence humor.
A: The beginning was a little tough to get into, the second act got a little better, but the finale was great.
S: The finale was the best dance.
A: The whole room was lit up by it.
S: And it was finally not relying on the screens. It was just the people dancing, their energy. It’s a tough one, bringing this to the stage. I think they did a pretty good job. I was entertained and wanted to keep watching. It’s worth it if you love seeing live dancing. Now I want to watch the movie again. On the big screen.

The Verdict: If you like to sit at home on your couch and watch Dancing With The Stars, the music and dancing here is well worth getting out of your house. If you’re a huge fan of the movie, you will enjoy seeing it on stage, but maybe you’ll just end up wanting to watch the movie again. And you’ll be excited to go home with a “Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner” shirt.

The Drama Talk: We felt like the producers weren’t able to make this their own, since so many different parts of the movie are iconic to the fans who will come out for this. It’s a difficult challenge, and the storytelling suffered. If the singing and dancing weren’t great, it would be a bomb, but those two aspects helped it still feel worth the experience.

The Drinks: We went out before the show (had to get back for the babysitter) to Farmer Brown. We split a bunch of appetizers, and they were all really good. Especially the ribs and the shrimp hush puppies. Ariel had an Old-Soul Fashioned, which was all kinds of tasty flavors, and nicely strong. Sharon had the Front Porch Ice Tea, which was good, but tasted pretty watery.

Dirty Dancing plays through March 2oth at the Golden Gate Theater, you can buy tickets here.

Drama Talk & Drinks: Tinderella “I’ve done some online dating myself”

Modern times call for modern fairytales. So when we heard there was a new musical called Tinderella, by FaultLine Theater, happening at PianoFight we knew we wanted to check it out.

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Tinderella’s Nightmare Exes – Photo courtesy of FaultLine

Brittany: I enjoyed it. I thought it was delightful. They were really good voices and it was clever.

Katie: I was pleasantly surprised at the talent. All of the 5 actors had good voices and the two girls – WOW such great voices. Also, I’ve done some online dating, so I felt close to the content too.

B: Yeah, but I don’t think my mom would get it . There were too many pop-references. You kinda need to be living in San Francisco, or another big city, and be in your 20s or 30s to really get this show.

K: Definitely. I also thought they could tie in the story of Cinderella little better, since it is called “Tinderella”.

B: Yes the only thing she really has in common with Cinderella is she forgets her shoes at a party. But it’s pretty unrelated otherwise. He doesn’t look for her when she runs. She doesn’t have weird family drama. There’s not any magic (although one bizarre moment where she appears to talk to birds). It wasn’t a fairytale, more of a story about how fairytales don’t really happen. Also the ending fizzled a bit for me. It felt like they ran out of ideas and just found the fastest way to wrap it up.

K: The night itself definitely didn’t fizzle for me. I really enjoyed the whole night out. A good show, good food, good drinks. Just one Lyft and everything you need for a great night all in one venue.

B: I’m already looking forward to our next DT&D date at PianoFight!

The Verdict: If you are in your 20’s or early 30’s and have done some online dating, this show will be a hoot for you.

The Drama Talk: Overall, good cast and funny concept, but the script still needs a little work. It just seemed like they ran out of material, and never really lived up to the un-said promise of giving us a contemporary retelling of Cinderella. We left wanting more, specifically more live dramatizations of Tinder date train-wrecks.

The Drinks: You are in luck. Going to a how at PianoFight means you have access to a full kitchen and bar. AND you can bring your drinks in the theater and sip while you watch.

Tinderella runs through February 27th at PianoFight. Tickets are available on Faultlines Theater’s website for $20-$30. Right now there are VIP front row tickets available on Goldstar for $20.

Drama Talk & Drinks: A 24-Decade History of Popular Music “a radical faerie realist ritual”

When we were contacted about reviewing the Curran’s last show of their “Under Construction” series we hesitated because Brittany was going to be in DC for work. However, I thought if this show has even half the entertainment value, innovation and beauty of the previous show we saw at this venue…I really needed to be there! So while Brittany was being snowed in, I took my reoccurring stand in Garrett Lamb and we powered through the rain and headed downtown.

Taylor Mac 3 resize (c) Jim Norrena

Taylor Mac at the Curran: Under Construction (c) Jim Norrena

Katie: Wow. I have few words…still processing. All I can say is that was really impressive. I can’t believe I’ve gone my whole life without experiencing, as Taylor Mac (the writer, performer, and co-director) called it, a “radical faerie realist ritual”. So, what did you think?

Garrett: I don’t know, but I think I liked it. The format was unique. Sort of a storytelling/musical/drag show/concert. And of course the venue was unique too!

K: Hell yeah! How cool was it to be on the stage of the Curran and be looking out towards the orchestra!

G: Totally. But thinking about the show, some of it didn’t make sense, and wasn’t very polished. Like when they handed out a pamphlet on “Equality of the Sexes” and didn’t really refer to it, or use it with the audience. Or when he wanted us to be eating apples but his “dandy minions” hadn’t given them to us yet. But I guess Taylor did mention this was a workshop in progress. That said, everything else was on point and very moving and entertaining.

K: Agreed. For a performance art piece, this is the one of the best I’ve ever seen. I mean, to be able to command the room like that for three hours was really special. Plus, the idea of doing a 24 hour concert later this year in New York is super intriguing. But I can’t lie, I was really distracted by the fact that Nancy Pelosi was sitting in our row!

G: Me too! That was amazing, I’m glad Nancy was into it. I wonder what she thought when Taylor stripped down to only a golden thong, and then gave her husband a lap dance!

The Verdict: It doesn’t matter if you like or don’t like performance art, drag shows, or musicals. This is a very special experience that should be had by all. Taylor Mac’s performance was provocative, present, raw, hilarious, honest, beautiful, uncomfortable, comforting all the while very philosophical.

The Drama Talk: I’m not going to lie, when I saw that this show was 3 hours long without an intermission I thought twice about going, but the time went by so fast it was crazy. From the venue, to the ridiculously amazing costumes, down to the talented band there is so much to see and hear, there is never a moment you are daydreaming about your instagram feed. I do think time went by so fast because the show has interactive moments where you will be asked to participate. I usually don’t like to participate at the theater but the way it was done in this piece really enhanced Taylor’s theme of “imperfection fostering community”. That night we were a community and this was more than a show, it was a profound shared experience. Go in with an open mind and you will leave with a heart full of love for how art can change lives.

The Drinks: There is a bar on the stage. So get there a little early and grab a drink. And don’t worry, even though the show is 3 hours with no intermission there are little breaks where Taylor changes costumes and you can run down to the bathroom.

A 24-Decade History of Popular Music runs through January 30th at the Curran. You can purchase tickets on Curran’s website for $50.

Drama Talk & Drinks: Star Trek Live – Mudd’s Women “I just wanted to stare at her”

Little known Drama Talk & Drinks fact: Katie’s great uncle, James Doohan, played Scotty on the OG Star Trek. So when we got notice that there was a drag-king version of one of the original Star Trek episodes, “Mudd’s Women”, which was happening at Oasis, we knew we had to check it out. 

Amber Sommerfeld as Spock, Leigh Crow as Captain Kirk, and Honey Mahogany as Uhura

Amber Sommerfeld as Spock, Leigh Crow as Captain Kirk, and Honey Mahogany as Uhura

Brittany: That was fun! The woman who played captain Kirk, Leigh Crow, was amazing!

Katie: Yes, she totally nailed a spoof of captain Kirk, she got the campy-ness.

B: Also Spock (Amber Sommerfeld) rocked, and Honey Mahogany is beautiful. I just wanted to stare at her.

K: So true! I think they created an entertaining world. They had fun lighting, and sound effects, the set was cool and the costumes were on-point. Even though they were parodying the show, they did it in professional way that honored what they were making fun of.

B: You can tell that the people who really rocked their characters are totally Trekkies, that’s the only way they could have nailed those roles. The “Stump the Captain” Star Trek trivia game at intermission was not only fun, but showed a true level of devotion to the series. Unless those questions were planted, which I don’t think they were, there’s no way she could know all that trivia without being a fan.

K: Also the Beam Me Up Scotchy was delicious. No problem with meeting the two drink minimum with that, and I don’t even like scotch usually.

B: Overall a fun night of beautiful drag queens, talented drag kings, strong drinks, and lots of Star Trek nerds. What more could you want?

The Verdict: Go see it, it’s a good time. If you like Star Trek, and think campy drag shows are fun, you’ll really enjoy this.

The Drama Talk: Shows at Oasis hold themselves to a high standard for production values and talent, while still not taking themselves so seriously that it loses the fun. This show is a drag-king version of a particularly camping Star Trek episode, so don’t expect any deep earth shattering revelations. But if you’re a Star Trek fan looking for a fun way to spend a chilly rainy night, this is a great option. This is technically the show’s second time around – it opened in September and sold-out that run – this is the encore so tickets may go fast.

The Drinks: Oasis has a great bar, and friendly bar tenders. On the night we went you could stay after the show to drink, and get to see the late-night male-revue after, so if you go on a weekday you may also get so lucky. They had a special menu of Star Trek inspired drinks and the Beam Me Up Scotchy was the clear winner of the bunch.

Star Trek Live!: Mudd’s Women; A Drag Send Up Of The Groundbreaking Sci-Fi Series, runs through January 23rd at Oasis. Tickets on the Oasis website are $25 for general admission, $35 for premium seating, or $225 if you want the The Vulcan Champagne Table which is a front row table for four people with a bottle of Chandon. Right now there are also tickets available on Goldstar for $12.50-$35.

Drama Talk & Drinks: Santaland “super not PC”

The final countdown to Christmas has begun! If you’re all done with your shopping, and have already seen Star Wars, you’re probably looking for something festive to do this holiday season while you’re off work and half the Bay is away visiting family. We did the leg work for you and went to Eureka Theater to check-out their holiday show of the season, SantaLand Diaries, by David Sedaris.

Brittany: That was cute. I really enjoyed it.

Katie: Really adorable.

B: I’m always impressed by people who do one person shows and can keep the energy up the whole time. He did great voices too. He was sweating like crazy, but he was on it.

K: I definitely agree, but keeping the energy that high bordered on corny for me; and I don’t usually respond well to corny. Most of the time I laughed, but there were other times when I felt “simmer down actor”. I really liked the writing though. I’ve never read anything by David Sedaris, but it was a really dry, raw humor.  The script was great and he was good enough to make it a really entertaining show.

B: I didn’t mind that it was corny, it’s a Christmas show after-all.  I was pleasantly surprised it was a little less cheesy then I expected. I also liked that it was not that long- like an hour.

K: True, I could have happily sat through more.

B: The stories are funny and some of them are sweet. You can tell it’s written a while ago though – a lot of the references are dated and I’m sure there are jokes I didn’t get because of that. There were also some things in it that were super not PC, that you would never hear now – making fun of people with learning disabilities, differently able-bodied people, etc.- so that was interesting… but as long as you can take a joke, I think this is a great time.

The Verdict: If you’re looking for laughs, or to appear “cultural” to visiting family, SantaLand is the way to go. It’s quick (runs for about 60 mins), entertaining, holiday fun.

The Drama Talk: Sedaris is a hilarious writer. His sardonic dry wit helps us laugh at ourselves, while bringing out moments of heart and humanity to soften the sarcasm. This production at Eureka theater has been running for fifteen years, and you can tell why it’s a holiday staple. The Crumpet we saw was full of energy, and kept the show moving. We left wanting more, which is always a good sign. If you’ve seen the nutcracker, and are looking for something with a bit more of an edge, this show’s for you. 

The Drinks: At one point in the show it’s pointed out that Santa is an anagram for Satan, so we decided to head over to The Remedie Room at The Devil’s Acre for post-show cocktails. Brittany got the Bourbon Crusta and Katie got a Sherry Cobbler and we toasted to making merry this holiday season.

Santaland runs through December 26th at The Eureka Theatre. Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets for $25-35.

Drama Talk & Drinks: The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes

It’s time for one of my favorite SF holiday traditions. Nope, not those lame ugly sweater parties or shamelessly drinking ginger bread lattes.….Yep you guessed it! The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes. Brittany wasn’t able to make opening weekend this year, but I couldn’t pass it up so I brought “Thank you for being a friend” Garrett Lamb and we headed to the Victoria Theater with anticipation of reliving our 80′s/early 90′s child hoods.

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Garrett: Wow. I will never look at the Golden Girls the same. That was fabulous! Such a riot. I wasn’t sure what vibe to expect, but they really nailed it….and the audience was super into it. Some people were a little too drunk, and yelling out lines, but oh well. The expressions and inflections of the girls were right on. They captured the characters so well.

Katie: This is the second time I’ve come to Golden Girls and it was just as fun as the first time around. Perfect pure entertainment value. Good writing executed in a live performance by amazing drag queens is my heaven. And the Golden Girls had some good writing. I love this cult show. I hope it comes back year after year.

The Verdict: Did you like the Golden Girls? Do you like fun? Then go, go now and get your tickets before this show is completely sold out.

The Drama Talk: It’s amazing how this 80’s TV show translates so well to today. The actors execution of the dry humor dripping with double entendres and sexual overtones is impressive.  Equally impressive are the many 80′s outfits these ladies wear that get as much reaction from the audience as their outlandish lines. It’s no surprise why this show sells out every year. Our advice, get there early to get a good seat and get a drink.

The Drinks: Last time we went to the Victoria Theater to see Golden Girls we went to Esta Noche for drinks which was my favorite gay bar. Unfortunately Esta Noche closed over a year ago and was replaced with Bond Bar. I’ve been curious to see how the place was transformed but haven’t been in until now. And it’s what was to be expected. Another artsy cocktail bar…the mission needed another one of those I guess. Well if you’re wanting to grab a fancy cocktail after the show this can be one of your many options.

The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes runs through December 20th at The Victoria Theatre. Tickets are $25 and available at http://goldengirlschristmas.eventbrite.com/.

Drama Talk & Drinks: If/Then “I wonder if it’s an early mid-life crisis thing?”

When we heard the ”The Wicked-ly talented, one and only Adele Nazeem,” (aka Idina Menzel – i.e. Elsa from Frozen, Elphaba from Wicked, Maureen from Rent) was coming to San Francisco with her latest Broadway Show If/Then, we knew we had to take this opportunity to see the star live. Growing up Rent-heads, we were even more pumped when we learned that her fellow co-star, Anthony Rapp (who originated the role of Mark in Rent), was also part of the star-studded tour. So like the musical fan-girls we are, off we went to the Orpheum to see two of the voices that helped us get through middle school.

Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp in If/Then

Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp in If/Then

Brittany: I can’t believe that likely the only time I’ll ever see Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp live, I didn’t feel like giving a standing ovation.

Katie: I know! Idina Menzel was amazing! She’s ridiculously good, but I couldn’t stand for an ovation either. Why are either of them in such a mediocre show?!

B: I wonder if it’s an early mid-life crisis thing? If this show really speaks to her as a 44 year old woman who’s feeling “I’ve done all these things with my life, but is this really where I want to be?” It’s hard to believe she’d have regrets though, given she’s one of the most famous women in American theater. Although breaking up with Taye [Diggs] would make me question my life decisions too. I actually like the idea behind the show; the little decisions you make end up changing the course of your life, but the execution was kind of corny.

K: Totally corny. The structure of the play just didn’t really hold up for me, bouncing between one possible fate and another. Of course, she’s gonna end up with the love of her life in both story lines. Fate? Really?

B:  So true. Aside from one or two songs the music isn’t that memorable either.

K: All the songs pretty much sounded the same to me. The play sounded like one generic – extremely well sung – song. Other then Idina Menzels beautful voice, nothing really stood out to me. Overall, I was expecting to be more wowed.

The Verdict: If you’re a Idina Menzel or Anthony Rapp fan, it is really awesome to see them live. Otherwise, if you’re only going to drop Broadway Tour kinda money once this year, we’d say skip it.

The Drama Talk: Idina Menzel is flawless. Anthony Rapp is so fun to watch on stage. Although we didn’t come into the theater knowing her as well, LaChanze was also stellar. The rest of the cast is not nearly as strong as these three, and since the supporting roles are pretty big parts, it made the show feel uneven. The play itself wasn’t a hit for a reason. The music doesn’t make a huge impression, and the show feels a bit disjointed as it jumps from one possible life to another.

The Drinks: Since the show was slower than we hoped, we got some sparkling wine at intermission. Skip the main bar in the lobby and head straight to the Blue Room near the entrance to order drinks, that is if you didn’t think ahead to pre-order before the show started. 

If/Then runs through December 6th at SHN’s Orpheum Theater. There are currently tickets available on Goldstar for $40-60. SHN is also doing a new “mobile lottery”, so if you’re feeling lucky go to the SHN website, download the app, and try to win $25 tickets (you can buy up to two if you win). Otherwise, you can buy tickets directly from SHN which will run you from $40-$200+ depending on the seats.

Drama Talk & Drinks: The Broken Knife – “never seen anything quite like that”

We have been wanting to check out a show at ODC for a long time. So when we heard about a show with a mix of movement and fun storytelling we were all about it. I mean who wouldn’t be interested in a show described as “A Graphic Novel for the Stage”? Unfortunately, Brittany had a last minute work thing come up. Luckily, I called upon Garrett Lamb (of Garrett’s Granola) last minute and he was more than happy to join me for the world premiere of 13th Floor’s The Broken Knife.

Julie Mahony as Cupid and Colin Epstein as Hermes. Photo by Andy Mogg.

Julie Mahony as Cupid and Colin Epstein as Hermes. Photo by Andy Mogg.

Garrett: I’ve never seen anything quite like that. I liked the style of dancing with the acting thrown in. But the writing and acting weren’t very strong, so the rest of it needed to be really good. It was pretty impressive as far as the dancing…but it didn’t really do it for me overall. I was a little confused as to what is was about. It didn’t really take a stance one way or another on the style. They needed to either choose old school or modern dialogue. Instead they went back and forth.

Katie: I can sum up everything you are saying in one word: Inconsistent. Inconsistent performances, inconsistent use of movement, inconsistent story, inconsistent use of sound and lighting design. All around it didn’t have a strong foundation in one thing.

G: I really liked the lighting design and the sound effects that they did use, but yeah, it was inconsistent.

K: I loved the sound design. There were really good sound effects when characters were motioning with their hands or bodies….but also moments when they were shooting some sort of invisible energy from their hands at each other and there was no light or sound cue. To be consistent, there should have been some sort of sound there.

G: Yeah, I would have liked it more if they did the sound effects 100% of the time…it would have been more “graphic novel-ish”. They were talented dancers, and I like the style of fighting, tumbling, and acrobatic stuff, but other then a couple exceptions, it looked like a bunch of good dancers trying to act and it didn’t work for me.

K: There were really great moments in this piece when the movement, design and story were in harmony, but unfortunately that occurred only a few moments. The show just felt half baked to me.

The Verdict: Overall this is very unique and fun theater experience. Check it out if you love seeing something different opposed to something perfectly executed.

The Drama Talk: Great effort and heart went into this show. The movement was really beautiful and so was the stage combat choreography. Unfortunately, they fell short in regards to making this graphic novel inspired, greek mythology centered, theater, dance show come together in a way that worked. The piece wasn’t grounded enough in a clear consistent style and well crafted story.

The Drinks: Right across from the ODC is the Mission Bowling Club, which oddly enough I’ve never bowled there, but have really enjoyed their food and drinks. It was a great place to grab refreshing cocktail after a refreshing theater experience.

The Broken Knife runs through November 15th at ODC Theater. Tickets can be purchased directly through their website. Tickets are between $15-$45. ($45 Patron of the Arts, $25 Advance / $30 at the Door, $15 Senior (60+), $15 Student (with valid ID), $15 Child (12 and under), $15 Low Income)