The Play That Goes Wrong – sidesplitting.
As a girl I dreamt of a life on the stage, I acted in neighborhood and college theater, and spent a wonderful summer directing camp productions, but alas I didn’t pursue the dream. (See Theater Dreams, and Piano Man – Remembering Herb)
But going to the theater has always been a guilty pleasure, and it’s what I missed most during the pandemic when Broadway and Off-Broadway houses were shuttered.
Over the years I’ve seen innumerable shows and if I saved all the Playbills they’d surely cover many yards on the proverbial football field. And my most memorable? Of course numerous productions of Shakespeare done traditionally, radically, in modern dress, with non-traditional casting, or every which way – I won’t even count those. And so in no special order, here goes.
Almost anything by Tom Stoppard, including his most recent, the brilliant and devastating Leopoldstadt. And all of Terrence McNally. (See And Things That Go Bump in the Night)
And the long-running Cats except for the awful set. And my favorite playwright Edward Albee, especially Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and Zoo Story. And Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa and Philadelphia Here I Come.
And The Man Who Came to Dinner, and of course all of Samuel Beckett including Waiting for Godot and Endgame currently being revived at the Irish Rep.
And West Side Story and Assassins and almost everything else by Steven Sondheim. And Chorus Line, and She Loves Me. And all of Tennessee Wiiliams, especially The Rose Tattoo and Streetcar. And all Neil Simon’s wonderfully clever plays, and Frank Lesser’s Guys and Dolls. And Ragtime, and Kander & Ebb’s marvelous and moving Cabaret.
And Fiddler on the Roof twice – in English and in Yiddish. (And no, you don’t need to speak Yiddish to understand the play, and anyway it’s all translated unobtrusively on the backdrop.) (See Tradition)
And Eugene O’Neill’s autobiographical Long Day’s Journey into Night. And William Inge’s Bus Stop, and the fabulous 42nd Street. And Alfred Uhry’s poignant Driving Miss Daisy. And the irresistible Jersey Boys, and all of Rogers & Hammerstein, especially my favorite, their sublime The King and I.
And lest I forget Athur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and anything by Anna Deavere Smith. And the surprisingly moving Come from Away, and the absolutely side-splitting The Play That Goes Wrong. (If you see it wait for Duran, Duran.) And How I Learned to Drive, and The Vagina Monologues.
And Agatha Christie’s always-running-somewhere The Mousetrap. And The Fantastics, and Noel Coward’s canon. And anything produced by Elevator Repair Service Theater especially Gatz. And Beautiful, and Million Dollar Quartet. And Wendy Wasserstein’s Heidi Chronicles, and August Wilson’s painful Ma Rainy’s Black Bottom and Fences. And all the other wonderful plays I’ve loved and left out.
But please don’t think I’m not discriminating, quite the contrary. I’ve walked out of the theater dozens of times well before the final curtain. So if you sat through Book of Mormon, we’ll still be friends – but don’t tell me what happened after the first act, I couldn’t care less!
The King and I – sublime.
Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!