Making a quick trip to see family in New Jersey, I can never fly into Newark without spending a weekend to see a few shows in Manhattan, the airport being “Only Forty-five Minutes From Broadway” as the George M. Cohan tune goes. A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER was my first destination and its stars, and in fact the entire Ensemble, positively dazzle with Olympian singing chops and over the top physical comedy propelling this visually and musically smart and nuanced farce about inheriting the family fortune circa 1909 into rewarding, romping and roaring, hilarity. Next, young Andrew Mueller was just cast to star as “Mark Cohen” in Paramount’s final show of Season 3, RENT, (via video submission) and having seen him in MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG at MTC, I simply had to catch him in PETER AND THE STARCATCHER. Here among another Ensemble of actors driven by varied clever theatrical minimalist devices, Andrew was the standout for me with the clarity of his very fine voice, shining intelligence and scene stealing stage presence. His terrifically talented sister Abby was newly cast in KINKY BOOTS, but that sure to be long running monster hit is sold out! Andrew & Abby’s sister, Jesse, stars as Carole King in BEAUTIFUL, and at TKTS, I copped a great seat for Saturday’s matinee, still in previews. Jesse’s performance is star making, and I sit there tears streaming down my sentimental old face remembering directing her in Drury Lane’s MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS but, even more so, moved by Jesse’s stunningly mind blowing vocals and powerfully honest portrayal, how she is out of this world brilliant! As a side note, the father of these Mueller Kids on Broadway, the great Roger Mueller is starring in Paramount’s next show, 42ND ST., and their beautiful mother, the lovely Jill Shellabarger, played The Queen of Transylvania in the Ensemble of MY FAIR LADY, just 2 seasons ago in Paramount’s very first Broadway Series production!
Now going from The Mueller Family to The Corti Family, I am really getting into the holiday spirit seeing my mom and siblings and nephews and nieces, and the children of my nephews and nieces (as I’m Uncle Jimmy and now, holy crap, Great Uncle Jimmy)! I’ll be back on the job on Friday when Principal Rehearsal for 42ND ST. begins. These next few days are precious…so very precious…looking at who you love and where you come from. Stealing this time away from work and suddenly so grateful there is this holiday to bring us together. Cherishing the heart and warmth and laughter (and hell yes dysfunction) is all a part of the whole of who we are…of who one is. Loving family is loving one’s self. Family at home. Family at work. Reflections of ourselves. My holiday wish for you is that you love what you see!
My love & my thanks,