Each play inspired me in it's own way: November was wonderfully well-executed. Nathan Lane dropped his "Broadway Baby" schtick and delivered an hilarious and smart performance. Laurie Metcalf is a force of nature when she does comedy. She always does some kind of wacked-out utterly surprising physical movement that astounds me. The 39 Steps was fun and it was pure pleasure to witness the virtuosity of the actors. I love movement-based theatre and the original choreographer of this play was trained in the LeCoq method, something I have always been deeply interested in. But the real stand-out for me was August: Osage County. This play is should be up there with Death of a Salesman and The Crucible. It is truly an American masterpiece. I can't stop thinking about it. The writing and the performances were sublime. Particularly Amy Morton. She was magnificent. I have no idea why she wasn't nominated for a Tony. She is an amazing actor. But really everyone was fantastic. I wept at the end, not just because of the subject, but because of being reminded of what a moving experience live theatre can be. Those actors and that particular audience, of which I was a part, shared a few hours together in an intimate and focused way that will never be repeated. That is part of what I love so much about live theatre. It is a living thing. The show is a little different each performance: the audience changes, laughing in a new place, or not laughing at all. The actors change--they are a day or a week or a month older, an actor has had a fight with their spouse hours before the show, or has a cold. Live performance is ephemeral. And when the performance is over there is no record. It burns to ash.
A couple of great NY moments:
1. On the subway on Monday heading uptown, I glance to my left and see that one of the actors from August is sitting right next to me. Frank Wood. He played Bill Fordham. A wild coincidence since I had seen the show only the day before. I struck up a conversation--told him how much I loved the play. Incredibly nice guy and a great actor.
2. At the Met with my good friend Michael Lally. We were walking in a crowd and I was goofing with him and said in a funny voice "Get off my back." A guy to my right says "You don't want to hang out with me then!" I turned to see a young attractive blind guy smiling at me, one hand grasping a cane and the other on his friends back as he was being guided through the crowd. We cracked up.