All tagged John Cameron Mitchell

Theatres We Love: Remembering My Times Visiting the St. James

Most people who attend Broadway plays and musicals on a regular basis have established a certain affection for a particular venue. Maybe we had a wonderful experience at a particular theatre, or maybe we have had several. Perhaps a certain theatre is more comfortable, more conveniently located, or maybe it just glows with the wonderful ghosts of shows gone by? For me, my favorite theatre will always be the St. James, owned and operated by Jujamycn Theatre and the home of a long line of Broadway hits that have been ensconced within its walls on 44th street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.

Dream Casting Sondheim Musicals

I was sitting the other night, catching up on this season of Orange is the New Black, and I was struck by just how terrific an actress Annie Golden is on the program. What makes her all-the-more special is the fact that her character doesn’t speak, but says so much with her eyes and her facial expressions. In one particularly thoughtful moment I found myself asking “Has she ever played Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd?” I think this would be an inspired casting choice, and Golden is no stranger to Broadway musicals or playing psychotic Sondheim characters, having originated the role of Squeaky Fromme in the original Playwrights Horizon’s production of Assassins (1990).    

This got me thinking: If I could cast some roles in Sondheim musicals, who would I choose and why? We all love a little speculative casting, so why not play that game right here. Today’s blog features some of my favorite choices for people I would cast in Sondheim roles. 

Remembering The Secret Garden

Lucy Simon is an eclectic composer who adeptly infuses her music with the sounds and folk styles of other cultures. With her new musical Doctor Zhivago opening on Broadway last night. I began feeling affectionate about and nostalgic for her first foray into writing for the Broadway stage: The Secret Garden. The Secret Garden is richly textured musically and features expert allusions to the music of India and rural England. In fact, the musical went so far as to employ instruments outside of the norm for a Broadway pit, including a hammered dulcimer. 

"Lily's Eyes" - The Secret Garden - Music of Heartbreak

The Secret Garden - it was not my first Broadway musical, but it was the first time I saved up my own money and went to New York City by myself to see a Broadway show. I remember, since I was by myself, that I was able to secure a 6th row center ticket at the St. James theatre for about $65 (full price) to see this show without knowing anything about either the music or the story. I had never read the book. Truthfully, I had a big crush on John Cameron Mitchell and that's what got me into the theatre. In fact, I allmost saw Nick & Nora that weekend (in previews), but after seeing Mitchell's picture outside the theatre, I decided to see The Secret Garden. I figured Nick & Nora would be a hit and that it would be around for a while. It's the only time my teenage hormones worked in my favor (The Secret Garden) and not the only time my teenage judgement of what would run worked against me (Nick & Nora). It turns out that this was one of the most glorious days of theatregoing I would ever experience. Sorry Nick & Nora