» versions of “gypsy” i have seen/heard prior to last night:

the rosalind russell movie version
the bette midler tv version
the bernadette peters broadway version
the ethel merman broadway cast recording
the genesius theatre version in kirk’s boyhood home of reading, pa

kirk could add:

the tyne daly broadway version
the betty buckley and debbie gibson version at paper mill playhouse

i don’t think he saw angela lansbury as mama rose, but he can correct me if i’m wrong.

at any rate, to say we had “gypsy” burnout would be an understatement. we really didn’t want to see it this past spring at genesius, but kirk knew people in the cast and we had season tickets, so we went and it was good. even though patti lupone was getting raves in the latest broadway incarnation, we just decided to take a pass.

we were sung out, louise.

but then we saw the tonys, and she performed, and she won a tony, and boyd gaines won the tony as herbie, and laura benanti won the tony as louise, and they were all wonderful and we got chills and so forth, so we looked at each other and said “ok, get the tickets”. so we did, and got a decent deal, and went last night. house was packed — a good audience that we didn’t have to shush. amazingly, i think some of them were unfamiliar with the musical; there were lots of audible gasps when baby june took off at the end of act one.

we really enjoyed ourselves. the staging was good — there was a tattered proscenium onstage which symbolically lifted at the end, making it a “play within a play”. i especially loved the interplay between herbie and louise. the actors gave that relationship an added depth i’d never seen. june was alternately manically perky when “onstage” and bitterly cynical when “offstage” — great job. the most world-weary and ancient electra i’ve ever seen — hysterically funny.

and patti lupone was indeed a marvel. force of nature. complete presence. all the adjectives. two standing ovations — at the end of “rose’s turn” and at the end of the play.

even if you think you never want to see this warhorse (“gypsy”, not patti lupone!) on stage again, it’s worth the money.

» dinner before the show at bocca:

no silly, not the sandwich shop. the italian restaurant in gramercy. very nice experience. we had the prix fixe: for me, pomodori (fresh tomatoes, sliced onions, avocados, olive oil), trota (trout with roasted bell pepper salad and grilled potatoes), and frutta e zabaione (strawberries and bananas served with sabayon); for kirk, polpettine (veal meatballs served with melted truffle, pecorino cheese and veal jus), straccetti (pan seared oregano flavored shredded filet mignon served with roasted cherry tomatoes and wild rocket pesto), and the aforementioned frutta e zabaione. i had a glass of white, he had a glass of red. espresso after dessert (please don’t have your coffee with your dessert, says the food snob. so tacky!) we skipped the bread in deference to kirk, but it looked great from across the room.

everything was incredibly delicious because they did a great job of the one thing i love to see in restaurant food — each dish was just a few extremely high quality ingredients chosen and combined simply and well. not fussy, not cluttered, very clean yet surprisingly complex. good job.

they have a nice drinks menu as well and seem to get an after-work one-drink crowd; kirk started with a really yummy basil-infused gimlet.

total bill with tax and tip was $145 — a splurge for us but worth it.

» weekend update:

we’re going to reading for the second weekend in a row.

last weekend we went, borrowed kirk’s father’s truck and went camping at hickory run state park. we’d planned to hike a lot and be all active, but we lucked into choosing one of only eight campsites that were on the park’s babbling brook (out of 300+ campsites; what were the odds?). so we sat by said babbling brook and read, thursday through saturday. left early saturday afternoon due to impending thunderstorms and saw a production of “the women” in ephrata, pennsylvania. very fun.

this weekend, we’re taking an old steam train with kirk’s parents. it runs from somewhere to jim thorpe, pennsylvania and basically takes the whole day doing it. sounds like a relaxing time — looking forward to it.

next weekend, kirk makes the third consecutive trip to reading for sweeney todd auditions. i think my reading visit streak will end at two.