Saturday, November 12, 2011

Not Wolverine...

Anonymous (hi there) inquired if I was going to see Hugh Jackman's show.  I was tempted, but I'd already seen it when he did an out-of-town tryout in San Francisco.  (Really!  I did!)  And there was so much stuff I still hadn't seen, it seemed better to go for something new.

So, no Wolverine last night.

Instead:  Harry Potter.

Now, obviously, Daniel Radcliffe did not take the lead in a revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying for the money.  This is his second Broadway show (his first having been Equus), and in this one, he's called upon to sing and dance and be charming and generally be a leading man.  And he pulls it off.  From clips I'd seen on television, I had my doubts, but he was genuinely good.  (Indeed, he might have improved a bit from earlier performances.)  Actually, he had a bit of a misstep in the big dance number -- he either slipped or got slightly lost in the choreography; it went by so fast, I couldn't be sure.  And I was happy to see him make that mistake.  Because from what I'd seen from him in Equus, that never would have happened before.  His performance was competent, but safe.  And with that sort of safety, you never miss a step, but you also miss out on the opportunities for real greatness -- you miss out on getting lost in the play and letting the moment take you someplace unexpected.  So I was pleased that he's loosened up enough to the point where a tiny mistake is allowed to happen.  It means he's not so caught up in making it perfect that he misses the chance to make it wonderful.

This is also that fun time of year when shows compete to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.  Most shows have collection buckets; some sell off autographed merchandise.  At the end of How to Succeed... Radcliffe makes the BC/EFA sales pitch.  He is accompanied by John Laroquette (who won a Tony for playing the company boss).  Radcliffe takes out a card and reads, in his own voice, a list of all the good things BC/EFA does.  Laroquette waits a beat, then backs up in shock, saying, "You're BRITISH?!!"  (Much audience laughter.)  Radcliffe then explains they're going to auction off the signature bowtie he's wearing on stage.  He and Laroquette will autograph it and personalize it (and pose for pictures...).  Bidding starts at an embarrassingly low $50, and is soon about $1000.

I got a great seat for this show.  It was the last seat available, a cancellation, sixth row center orchestra.  I'm seated more or less in the middle of a bidding war, as people right behind me are fighting it out with people a few rows in front.

(When they're around $3000, a voice bids from somewhere in the back.  Laroquette asks the bidder to stand up, as they can't see him.  The bidder is finally identified as sitting in the mezzanine.  Laroquette quips that he could probably have afforded a better seat.)

The bowtie finally goes for FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS, a price which makes the dude sitting next to me comment, "I guess we've been sitting with the one percent."

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