I was invited to attend a press preview of the Public's star-studded production of Twelfth Night in Central Park over the weekend. Alas, Mother Nature conspired otherwise, and the Sunday night performance was canceled due to rain. Never mind that I had planned an overnight to NYC for the express purpose of seeing the show. Harrumph.
But the day was hardly a total...wait for it...washout [CUE: rimshot], as it gave me the chance to meet up with some of my wonderful blogger friends, including Steve at Steve on Broadway, Mondschein at Third Row Mezzanine, and Sarah at Adventures in the Endless Pursuit of Entertainment. I also got to meet two new blogger friends, Vance at Tapeworthy and Byrne at Stage Buzz.
In addition, the trip gave me the chance to meet up with my dear friend Ann, and to take in another performance of Blithe Spirit, which I enjoyed so much when I saw it in April. (Read my review.) It's certainly not the deepest play ever written, but Noel Coward's droll -- if a bit stilted -- dialog is a delight, even upon repeated exposure. The performances seem to have morphed a bit. Rupert Everett appeared to be much more concerned with mugging and getting a laugh than embodying a credible character this time around. The same can be said for Christine Ebersole. But Jayne Atkinson, whom I found overly abrasive the first time, seems to have added a richness and a solidity to her performance that was previously lacking.
Of course, the real reason to see this show is to witness Angela Lansbury's now Tony-winning performance, and I'm happy to say that she remains a delight. Angela has always had this adorable, sparkling quality to her, at least on stage and in musicals. Even when she's playing Mama Rose or Mrs. Lovett, two rather despicable characters, Angela somehow makes you fall in love with her. There were a few more fumbled lines this time around, but somehow for me it added to the delicious dotty nature of her portrayal of Madame Arcati.
Blithe Spirit plays at the Shubert Theater in New York until July 19th. If you haven't seen it (or even if you have, right, SarahB?), I recommend it highly. It's not the tightest production, and again there are some ham-bone tendencies on the part of some of the performers to contend with. But how many times are you going to get to see the wonderful Angela Lansbury again? I mean, she's 83 years old. What are you waiting for?