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a chorus line, and ted’s, and danny’s

kirk and i saw the new broadway production of a chorus line last night.

and we are impressed.

kirk had seen the original production, with the original cast.

twice. sometimes i just get so jealous of him.

anyway, he thought that it compared favorably with the original. i’d never seen it live (only the movie and the soundtrack), so i was a tabula rasa in regards to my experience. standout performances for me were deidre goodwin (sheila), mara davi (maggie), jessica lee goldyn (val), but especially jason tam (paul) who gave a devastating performance that brought tears to my eyes.

it’s a bit unfair to single out people, though, because everyone in the chorus line gave outstanding performances–some ever so slightly better than others, but no one was weak or ineffective. i’m not so much impressed with michael berresse (zach) who was so great in “light in the piazza” but here is far too sensitive with his character. zach, to my mind, needs to be a svengali-ish dictatorial force of nature. and that’s not conveyed at all. maybe it was a conscious choice, but i didn’t like it. his disembodied voice was not evocative of much emotion at all, let alone the right emotion.

everything else though? magnificent. you know all the songs and most of the dialogue, but it doesn’t matter. the production sweeps you away and effectively takes you back to a specific period of time. i didn’t find the show to be dated in the least, any more than a good production of any period piece would be.

if you’ve never seen the show, it’s a must see. and if you saw the original, you won’t feel that your memory is being trampled on. it stands on its own, i think.

dinner was at the new manhattan outpost of ted’s montana grill. to paraphrase a famous lyric from “a chorus line”:

food? 10. service? 3.

well, maybe in reality it’s food: 8 service: -1. i had a new york strip bison steak, kirk had a delmonico bison steak, and we shared. both were perfectly cooked and flavorful, tender and juicy and hot off the grill. the sides were good as well–i had a squash cassserole that was particularly good.

the problem? in-your-face, overtrained, upsell-happy, corporate-approved servers and workers. i felt like i was in a tgi fridays that was on steroids. the waiter was way way too chatty; kept at us to get a bottle of wine instead of two glasses; kept asking if we wanted appetizers and sides; didn’t give us time to peruse the menu; asked less than halfway through dinner if we wanted dessert, then brought the check immediately saying that “his manager liked it that way”.

i haven’t felt so rushed, discomfited, and unrelaxed in a restaurant in ages. maybe it’s just opening week jitters, but somehow i doubt it. i think that’s just their style–everyone chatted with us constantly, from the waiter to the hostess to the busperson. i don’t care to hear that you had salad for lunch and are jealous of my dinner. i don’t care to hear that you just moved to new york, and how cool is it that you live on a street that’s the same name as the city you came from. and so on.

i want to eat my dinner at my own relaxed pace, in a relaxed atmosphere.

maybe i’ll give it another try–the food was great and the prices weren’t bad. but if that service is endemic, i’m outta there.

the end of the evening, post-theater, was spent at danny’s, our favorite piano bar/watering hole. kirk sang (expressively and beautifully, of course) and we laughed with our friend stephen until the wee hours.

what a great night.


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