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3 For D.C. in NYC

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It's true, as I said in my last HuffPost Local Theater Blog (god that's way too many words!) that I was seeing all these shows in NYC in October (again, sorry D.C.!) I did see three fantastic musicals in NYC the other week that each has, coincidentally, a D.C. connection.

First, there's Sondheim's Follies on Broadway. The story of the love affairs and regrets of two aging showgirls, Follies is melodramatic on the face of it, but Sondheim explodes each cliche into something unexpected. Hallucinogenic. Excessive. Insightful. Lush. Sublime. Okay, maybe I should not have gone there directly from the NAMT reception. Still. Wow. I feel like I would have to see it 10 times to begin to have an opinion about it. Of course, Bernadette Peters is a marvel. Director Eric Shaffer (D.C. Connection: artistic director of Arlington's Signature Theater) made sure Follies has the full showgirl treatment, with 35 people on stage doing a Buzby Berkeley and a genuine 24 piece orchestra. I've only seen a handful of Eric's shows, but I'd venture to say this is some of this prolific director's best work. It IS on Broadway, along with Eric's popular rock 'n' roll musical, Million Dollar Quartet. I'm sorry I missed the original production Follies at the Kennedy Center. From the sublime to...

The Fatiste, by Charlie Schulman, with music and lyrics by Michael Roberts (Golf, the musical) tells the musical story of Albert Pujol, once one of Paris' most popular entertainers, whose unusual instrument was his musical anus. The show won Best Musical in NY Fringe in 2006 and has finally found a home in the basement cabaret Sofia's. You've walked past the place a million times, 221 West 46th Street, just off 8th. Bet you didn't know there was a theater down there. Neither did I. The odor of success hangs over this delightful can-can romp -- pun-filled fun for the whole family! D.C. Connection: although Charlie teaches dramatic writing at NYU, he lives in D.C. much of the year because his wife is a prof at AU.)

Finally, I think the highlight of the NAMT festival for me was seeing Adam Gwon's new show Bernice Bobs Her Hair, based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story of the same name. It's rightly billed as the original "mean girls" as Bernice goes at it with her catty cousin during a steamy summer at the beginning of the century. Fun. Insightful. Empathetic. And more coherent than the promising developmental production of The Boy Detective Fails at Signature Theater, which I enthusiastically wrote about in my first blog entry lo so many many weeks ago.

A reading of my Best Show 2011 DC Fringe, Who's Your Baghdaddy or How I Started the Iraq War is tentatively scheduled for 7:30 pm Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater in NYC. There will be some tickets sold to the general public. To follow my adventures, learn more about my projects, sign up for my soon-to-be-world famous (and spam free!) Quote of the Week (quoteoftheweek.com) email, which delivers its light cargo of borrowed wisdom to over 8,000 close personal friends every Monday.