Two Gentlemen of Verona: A Rock Opera

Can you think something is fun but still not like it?  Lady says no, but I think yes.  Think of roller coasters:  they’re fun, but I don’t like them.  Ditto for cotton candy.

Well, that’s my review of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of Two Gentlemen of Verona: A Rock Opera

I’m probably supposed to like it:  It’s a musical based on Shakespeare’s play.  The original Broadway production (in 1971) won the Tonys for Best Musical and Best Book.  The Public Theater revived it in 2005 — and I saw that production at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park right after starting law school.

But I just don’t like it.  There are some funny moments, but overall the show feels very 1970s to me:  It’s poppy and brash, heavy with political aspirations (lots of feminist and racial awareness and one cynical Vietnam-era anti-war number).  In the end, it amounts to nothing more substantial than the empty calories of a Sprite.

This production didn’t help itself by being a “concert staging,” meaning that instead of doing a full-on production of the play, all they did was put the orchestra on stage with actors who’d spent nine days rehearsing and had just enough blocking to sketch out the scenes — while carrying scripts!  Quelle horreur.  Maybe if I’d known ahead of time that they weren’t going to be off-book, I wouldn’t have minded so much.  But it surprised me, and I spent the whole time feeling distracted by the fact that the leads were declaring undying love with their nose in a stack of papers.  Then when they tossed their scripts (which were looseleaf) in the air during a moment of passion, all I could think about was HOW ARE YOU GOING TO FIND YOUR PLACE AGAIN WHEN YOU FORGET YOUR LINE?  Very stressful.

I’ve never yet walked out on a live performance.  Other members of the audience weren’t so patient.  Part of me wished I’d gone with them.

Dinner beforehand, however, was lovely.  I finished work around 6:00pm with plenty of time before the 8:00pm curtain, so I headed over to the newly opened Le Pain Quotidien down the street.  For those who aren’t familiar, this is a Belgian cafe chain that I came to love in Brussels (they had this thing called a “bombe au chocolat” that was awesome) and which has since crossed the pond.  They started opening cafes in New York while I was there for law school, and now they’ve made it to DC.  I settled in with my new biography of Catherine de Medici (who, by the way, is fascinating) and had a wonderful dinner until it was time to walk over to the theater.

Tartine with Paris ham, aged Gruyere cheese
and three mustards

Gaufre liegeoise

Shakespeare Theatre: Sydney Harmon Hall

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Seth's Blog

Seth Godin's Blog on marketing, tribes and respect

Owning My OCD

Making sense of my world

Master Class

Travel, Teaching, and the Arts

%d bloggers like this: