Sunday, April 20, 2014

Willkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome!

I had a Saturday off from all jobs, so first I resolved to be a tourist in my own backyard.

I work three jobs in New Brunswick, NJ, so I'm usually rushing through that city with my head down. But yesterday I took some time to really look around:

A beloved nook: top floor of the College Ave. Barnes & Noble. I creeped a picture of a girl reading in an armchair, shoes off:

But then I did something else that's cool in New Brunswick: I hopped a train to Manhattan with a friend.

Ambled through a rummage sale on the way to dinner in Hell's Kitchen:

Casellula is a really charming wine bar, and I liked everything I tried there. (Though if the menu tells you a cheese from Croatia is "strong," YOU'D BETTER BELIEVE THEM.) So many good flavors--spicy mango, Peppadew in buffalo mozzarella, and whatever a Spätzle actually is.

But the whole night was really leading up to: Cabaret, oh Cabaret!

I was NOT supposed to take this picture of Studio 54... but I couldn't resist:

Michelle Williams brought a certain intensity to her role as Sally, and it made me rethink how I feel about some songs. But I still walked away feeling like her inspiration for the role was Renée Zellweger in the Chicago movie adaptation, which, meh. I get that Liza Minelli left big shoes to fill and it is Williams' Broadway debut, so there's a lot to be intimidated by. But I know the character of Sally--she blows with the wind, she's fragile, she's talented and knows it. And Williams' interpretation was some brassy 1920s mobster's girlfriend... in Berlin. Hmm.

But Michelle Williams was not the star of this production. Alan Cumming was the star of this production. The show was his; he had all the laughs, and people came out to see him reprise his role as MC (I certainly did.)

First question: How does he look exactly the same as 15 years ago?!

Oh, right, he is an X-Man:

It was a night of naughty fun, and yet heart-wrenching. Yes, love affairs came to an end end, but innocence ended in other ways. We watch the characters on stage respond as the Nazi party began its rise in Berlin, even if the artists, entertainers and musicians we identified with wanted to keep the party going.

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