I had a nice nap Thursday night in the Screening Room at the Ritz 13. It was impossible to go completely to sleep because the music was so loud, and, to me, awful, but I still managed to doze off somewhat. I have never been fond of Stephen Sondheim’s music, but I thought maybe if I saw one of his shows all the way through, there would be something I could like. I try to be open-minded. But, after seeing Company, I haven’t changed my mind, and this 2011 performance had the wonderful New York Philharmonic backing up the singers. Even that didn’t make it worth the $18 ticket for me.
Now, the cast and orchestra were great. The lead, Neil Patrick Harris, was outstanding. and Stephen Colbert proved he can do more than political satire on the Colbert Report. But, without good material even the best performers can’t entertain me. I like a little melody, something I can hum walking out of theater when I go to a show. Ever try to hum Sondheim?
Still, I appreciate Carmike Cinemas for offering these specials. Special shows attract me. I have even gone to a few operas that were beamed into the theater live from Spain, Italy, and UK. The music was great, but I really didn’t go for seeing them in modern dress, with a Mercedes driving on the stage in two of them. Carmen does not lend itself to contemporary dress and staging. If you’re going to do a contemporary opera, fine, but operas like Carmen just don’t lend themselves to T-shirts and jeans. Fortunately, not all of them were staged on the cheap, and the traditional costumes were used in some.
This, of course, is just my personal opinion. Some people obviously like Sondheim’s stuff. When Company played on Broadway in 1970, it garnered a record six Tony awards. I don’t always agree with the Tony selections, nor the Oscars, for that matter.
If Carmike keeps the specials coming, I’ll continue to attend. One turkey does not a barnyard make.