I went for Stephanie J. Block. I had seen the movie and other than Lily Tomlin I wasn't too impressed with it. It's cute, quirky, a little weird, but whatever. I was so excited to see that Stephanie would be in it though, once they announced it would be a musical. Since I discovered who she was/is, I have been following Stephanie J. Block. Anything I can find about her, interviews, images, blogs, Youtube. Call it stalking if you want, I call it admiration. Well, I admit it, I have a crush on her. She's so...so...marvelous. I can't say enough about Stephanie obviously, but I risk being repetitive so I'll let it go at marvelous. Fantastically, amazingly, marvelous. And she was. She played Judy Bernly just right, a timid, novice girl growing into a confident, capable woman. And Stephanie's quite right in her interview, her song in Act Two, "Get Out and Stay Out" was kick butt. Really, the best part of the play, except for maybe "One Of The Boys." Because if I went for Stephanie J. Block, I stayed for Allison Janney. She was...impressive. That woman keeps surprising me with her talent and ability to play different roles, different styles. Now I can add musical theater to the list. Really, really good as Violet Newstead. Surprising, and totally solid. She can sing!
Megan Hilty was good as Doralee Rhodes. You could totally tell that she had been inspired by Dolly Parton's portrayal but it worked. She seemed to have more songs? Maybe just that she had the connecting pieces of songs? Whatever, it seemed like she sang solos a lot. But she's got a great voice so it was okay. The songs definitely added to the show. It made the dream sequences fit better, I thought, and it was surely good to hear them all sing. Probably not a Tony winner, except for the set designer. That guy, Scott Pask, he deserves a Tony. It was a really intricate set, but not cumbersome. Really flexible, and creative. They utilized the trap in the middle of the stage. (It's my guess that that's what caused the technical difficulty in the middle of the second act.) My sister totally has a crush on the musical director, Stephen Oremus. He was cute but the guy that was really yummy, for me, was Andy Karl, who played Joe. Oh boy, he can ask me to make copies any time he likes. The "boss," Franklin Hart was played by Marc Kudisch and he did such a good job that I didn't like him. I know we're not supposed to, but I certainly didn't, so I guess that makes it a success?
The sad part is, I can't recommend the show to my friends. All the good parts were really good, but the gratuitous nudity was not. I don't agree with it but I could at least understand why they thought it would be funny to put the guy with the hospital gown in, but what was with the girl in the lavatory scene? No need for that, no point, it didn't even make sense. That was a bummer. Because, otherwise it was a cute show. It was funny - the required political comments - it was musical, Dolly certainly did a good job with the lyrics and everything. I will be buying the soundtrack, if they make one and if Stephanie is on it. It was creative. But I can't send people I know and like to see it.
This is me, back from the theater.