Monday, April 30, 2012

Contest: Win Tickets to Old Jews Telling Jokes

Update: The contest is now closed. Thanks to everybody who entered--I enjoyed reading your jokes. The winner was picked at random. Congratulations Jerry S.

"If you’ve ever had a mother, visited a doctor, or walked into a bar with a priest, a rabbi and a frog, Old Jews Telling Jokes will sit in the dark, give you a second opinion, and ask you where you got that," reads the official show description of Old Jews Telling Jokes, a revue created by Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent. The show, inspired by the website, features old and new jokes and comic songs.

To be entered to win a pair of tickets to see the show, tell me your favorite joke. For an extra entry, tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it. (Only one tweet or retweet will count for an extra entry.) You must be following on Twitter to win. The winner will be chosen at random on Friday, May 4 at 5:00 p.m. Please include your e-mail address or Twitter handle in the comments so I have a way to contact you if you win. Good luck!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Off The Bus

Photo credit: Joan Marcus
I had high hopes for you, Leap of Faith. When I saw you in Los Angeles, I thought you were flawed, but I saw potential in you. I thought maybe a new creative team could fix you, but they only created new, worse problems. Though the efforts of your cast are commendable, I doubt even Jonas Nightingale could perform a miracle that would save you now.

Leap of Faith, based on the 1992 Steve Martin movie, opened at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles in October, 2010. It was directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford, replaced by Memphis's director, Christopher Ashley, and choreographer, Sergio Trujillo for the Broadway production. Warren Leight was recruited to fix the book by Janus Cercone and Glenn Slater. Alan Menken and Slater remained as composer and lyricist.

Jonas Nightingale (Raúl Esparza) is a preacher who, with the help of his sister Sam (Kendra Kassebaum) and his Angels of Mercy, goes from town to town, conning desperate people out of their money with his religious revival. His bus gets stranded in Sweetwater, Kansas, a small town in the middle of a drought, and Sheriff Marla McGown (Jessica Phillips) allows him to stay for three days. In LA, the love interest was a waitress played by Brooke Shields. Marla's son, Jake (Talon Ackerman), who has been in a wheelchair ever since a car accident killed his father, is convinced that Jonas can make him walk again. What follows contains a spoiler alert, but if you've ever seen 110 in the Shade or The Music Man, you know exactly where this is going. At the end of the show, not only does the boy walk, but it rains. It may seem like a small thing, but it's a lot easier to accept one miracle than two, especially in a short amount of time.

The ballet that opened the show in LA isn't missed, but the new conceit is that Jonas Nightingale has set up a religious revival at the St. James and we are his audience. It's not a bad idea, but the characters actually stop during the show to explain their actions, which is not only lazy, but shows a lack of faith (sorry about the choice of words) in the audience.

This isn't my favorite Menken score--the gospel numbers all sound similar (do we really need two Menken gospel musicals on Broadway), but there were a few memorable songs: "I Can Read You," a more traditional musical theater duet, helped by the chemistry of Esparza and Phillips and "Are You on the Bus?" which showcases the powerhouse vocals of Krystal Joy Brown, who deserves a better musical to showcase her talents, as does the appealing Leslie Odom, Jr. And then there's Esparza, whose dedication to this show is admirable. He works really hard on that stage and has moments of intense brilliance, especially in the 11 o'clock number "Jonas's Soliloquy" (unfortunately in front of a starry background--Robin Wagner did the sets), but even his performance seems to be missing something since the LA run.

The closest thing to a miracle this show has is costume designer William Ivey Long, not only for the disco ball jacket, which got entrance applause, but for Bryce Ryness's (one of the Angels of Mercy) tight and very appealing costume.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

'S (Mostly) Wonderful

Full disclosure: I love myself an old fashioned musical, especially when Gershwin music is involved. So it was pretty easy for me to fall for the charms of Nice Work If You Can Get It, which opened last night at the Imperial Theatre.

This "new" musical comedy is inspired by the 1926 musical Oh, Kay!. Joe DiPietro's (Memphis) update to Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse's book feels surprisingly fresh, not in terms of the paper-thin plot, but the jokes landing with ease. Jimmy Winter (Matthew Broderick, whose dimwit schtick is getting old, as is he) is a playboy getting married for the fourth time to the finest interpreter of modern dance in the world, Eileen Evergreen (the hilarious Jennifer Laura Thompson). He meets Billie Bendix (the always dependable Kelli O'Hara), a tomboyish bootlegger, and they fall in love. Broderick and O'Hara don't have much chemistry, but for some reason, it didn't seem to matter. The love story doesn't make much sense anyway, but you don't go to shows like this for believability.

Director Kathleen Marshall gets some nice bits of staging in, which also help put a new spin on old material. Take O'Hara singing the classic "Someone to Watch Over Me" while holding a gun. I tend to think that any show can be shorter, so I was concerned about the 2 hour and 40 minute run time, but the show entertains throughout. Sure, there are silly, unnecessary subplots, but the strong supporting cast make those scenes a pleasure to watch. The true stars, other than the score, are Michael McGrath as the "butler" Cookie McGee and Judy Kaye as Estonia Dulworth, whose duet of "Sweet and Lowdown" and "By Strauss" is the highlight of the show. I'd give Derek McLane's opulent set design top billing as well.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The SMASH Reality Index: Episode 12

Inspired by’s brilliant Reality Index recaps, Dave (@NineDaves, and I have teamed up to bring you our take on what’s keepin’ it real and what’s faking it each week on SMASH.

It was just announced that Meryl Streep will play Juliet in a one-night benefit reading of Romeo and Juliet opposite Kevin Kline. She might as well be playing Marilyn. But for now we're stuck with the slightly less but still age-inappropriate casting of Rebecca Duvall (Uma Thurman).

This week's episode is entitled “Publicity,” but it should really be called “Self Promotion.” Because that’s really what it was all about, a least for Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee) and Rebecca Duvall (Uma Thurman). Considering how little a fuck we give about them, this wasn't exactly our favorite episode. But on the bright side, Shaiman and Wittman are back in top form with "Secondhand White Baby Grand" and Ivy Lynn/Megan Hilty knocked it out of the park. How did the episode do reality-wise? You know the deal. On to the reality index:

Totally True
• “I usually come in early anyway,” Karen Cartwright tells Derek. Kiss ass. But this is in keeping with her character.
• It’s a couple of seconds into the episode and we already want to punch Ellis in the face.
• OMG TONY YAZBEK! Linda freaks out because he's singing and it's lovely.
• Rebecca Duvall walks in wearing sunglasses and a scarf (taking a page from Ivy Lynn) like the star that she is.
• We feel your pain, Julia. We wouldn’t want to get messages from Ellis either.
• “I have a date with a movie star!” Karen Cartwright’s excitement is a little annoying, but let’s be honest, we’d be acting the same way in the privacy of our own apartments if we were going to hang out with a movie star later.
• Rebecca Duvall has Karen Cartwright sing so she can check out the competition. Smart.
• The stage manager (played by Ann Harada) puts the smackdown on Tom and Derek. It’s part of the job.
• We get a lot of pleasure from the fact that Ellis is on smoothie duty.
• Karen Cartwright’s parents think she’s a lesbian because she’s hanging out with a movie star. Oh Iowa.
• It’s BAM! Brooklyn pride! Plus 50.
• “Is this tap? I actually need something bottled. Flat not sparkly. It doesn't have to be mineral water. Just something in a bottle." Movie stars are so high maintenance.
• After Dev tells her that there are no peanuts in Indian cooking, Karen Duvall asks the waiter if they have anything without peanuts.
• “The stillness they achieved. It seems like nothing's happening at all and yet it's completely mesmorizing.” Plus 300 because people say pretentious shit like this all the time at the theater.
• No Nick, it's not a bad thing to be a populist. Populism yeah yeah.
• Tom is crying and we want to hug him right now.
• This Bollywood number. Is ridiculous. But kind of amazing. At least the part with Raza Jaffrey (who was in Bombay Dreams!).
• Leo’s best friend is kind of a dick. Like every teenage boy.
• Derek smashes a camera. Angry Derek, we missed you!
• Rebecca Duvall realizes that all this time she'd been focusing on Karen Cartwright, but her real threat is Ivy Lynn.

Oh Hell No!
• “I think you’d make a brilliant Marilyn,” Derek tells Karen Cartwright. Are you taking Ivy’s crazy pills?
• What’s up with your hair his episode, Bobby? It’s especially Beatle-esque today.
• “You don’t replace songs with scenes,” says Tom. But you do need to have some book scenes in a musical, Tom.
• “You are not an understudy! You are a star!” Rebecca Duvall says to Karen Cartwright, waking us up from our nap during that song. We know you’re trying to get on her good side so you can destroy her later, but that’s a little much.
• Karen has a rock star voice, Rebecca? Surely you can think of a more appropriate adjective.
• Karen Cartwright and her new bestie Rebecca Duvall make all the tabloids by… dancing and drinking tequila? That’s not really that scandalous.
• Katharine McPhee is not very convincing as a drunk.
• We love you Brian d’Arcy James and always want to see more of you on this show, but don’t interrupt Christian Borle singing unless you are going to duet. Which needs to happen before the end of the season.
• Leo is missing and is it bad that we are excited about this?
• Rebecca is teaching the stage manager how to make a smoothie and she’s just putting up with it? We get that she’s a movie star, but Linda the stage manager doesn't seem like the type to put up with this bullshit.
• We would have liked to see more of the poster images for Bombshell, but based on what we could see, Derek did not go with the best one.
• Remember when Karen Cartwright made Dev Indian food? Now she's taking him to an Indian restaurant and imaging him in a Bollywood number. Everyone's a little bit racist.
• Why is the whole fucking cast in the Bollywood number? This is Karen Cartwright’s fantasy and she’s kind of focused on Dev and Rebecca Duvall right now, so would she really be bringing Eileen, Eileen’s bartender boyfriend, Ellis, etc. into this?
• Eileen looks kind of ridiculous in this outfit, which is too young for her.
• “I’m famous. I’ve had plays on Broadway,” Julia says. That doesn’t exactly make you famous in most of the world.
• Surely there must be teenage boys who can act, but you'd never know that from watching SMASH.
• Presumably, Mason’s mother knew that Leo was there the whole time, so would she really have hid it from his parents? A mother wouldn’t do that to another mother.
• Ivy, stay away from Ellis! He’s evil!
• What does Ellis have to gain from helping Ivy? Although she is dating Derek, surely she’s not powerful enough to warrant this much attention from him.
• Unfortunately, Leo did not learn how to act in his time away.
SMASH always does this thing during musical numbers where we see everyone at home and it’s unnecessary and doesn’t make sense because they’re all watching Ivy Lynn singing and can't be in two places at once.

So how’d we do this week? Hit up the comments section and let us know!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Contest: Win Tickets to Seminar

Update: The contest is now closed. Thanks so much to everybody who entered! The winners were picked at random from all the entries. Congratulations Max Schwager, Shoshana, and Katie!

Theresa Rebeck's comedy Seminar now stars Jeff Goldblum (Pillow Man, Jurassic Park, Independence Day) as author Leonard, the teacher of a private writing seminar to four students played by Justin Long (He's Just Not That Into You, Going the Distance), Zoe Lister-Jones (Whitney, The Little Dog Laughed), Jerry O’Connell (Jerry Maguire, Stand By Me), and Hettienne Park (Tony Kushner’s The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide).

I am excited to give away three pairs of tickets to the play. To be entered to win, answer this question in the comments: If you could take a writing seminar taught by any author, who would it be? For an extra entry, tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it. (Only one tweet or retweet will count for an extra entry.) You must be following on Twitter to win. Three winners will be chosen at random on Thursday, April 26 at 6:00 p.m. Please include your e-mail address or Twitter handle in the comments so I have a way to contact you if you win. Good luck!

Discount valid for performances through May 27:

Monday through Thursday Evening, Wednesday Matinee and Sunday Matinee
$84.50 ORCH/FRONT MEZZ (Reg. $116.50-$121.50)
$69 REAR MEZZ (A-F) (Reg. $76.50 -$81.50)

To order tickets visit or call 212.947.8844 and use code SEFNF316

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Peter and the Starcatcher, or, Why Isn't There a Tony for Best Ensemble

I must admit, I had reservations about how an intimate show like Peter and the Starcatcher would play on Broadway. It was a perfect fit (though not a perfect show) at the New York Theatre Workshop, but not much has been lost in the move to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre and in fact, the play is stronger and more cohesive than it was off-Broadway.

Peter and the Starcatcher, about how an orphan boy became Peter Pan, is based on the book series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Directors Roger Rees and Alex Timbers use theatricality in the most magical way, where a person can be a door or a wall and an actor can levitate without wires. What bothered me off-Broadway was the disconnect between the more touching parts of the story and the juvenile humor (Rick Elice wrote the book). This time, the show felt more of a whole, though I still think there are too many anachronistic jokes.

But what remains true is that Donyale Werle's set is brilliant (if you see it, take some time to look at the details in the proscenium before the show), as is every person in the cast. Of course, the standout is Christian Borle, delightfully chewing the scenery as Black Stache, the man who would become Captain Hook. But before he puts on his mustache, he doesn't pull focus, blending perfectly into the ensemble.I've never understood why there isn't a Tony Award for best ensemble, and if this show doesn't make a case for it, I don't know what does. And while we're at it, let's give it an award for its logo.

Photo credit: O & M Co.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The SMASH Reality Index: Episodes 10 and 11

If you're looking for the SMASH reality index for episodes 10 and 11, you can find them on Thanks to Dave for picking up my slack during my vacation. Next week, we'll be back to writing them together and posting them on both our sites.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Q & A with Godspell's "Wunderstudies"

So I already told you about the understudy talkback at Godspell, but "wunderstudies" (as they're known to their fans) Eric Michael Krop, Corey Mach, and Hannah Elless were nice enough to answer some bonus questions for all of you. So read on to find out the best places to eat by the theater, what it's like to find confetti everywhere, and more:

Q: Because most characters go by their own names in the show, how do you differentiate between different tracks? Is it a combination of your own personality and the person usually in that track?

Eric Michael Krop: Each of the three main boys that I cover are so different. Back in rehearsals, [director] Danny Goldstein put it perfectly. He told us understudies that when we go on, we do get to play ourselves, but through the telescope of the person we go on for. Because there is no actual "character" to study, but more of a personality type, we have a lot more freedom.

Corey Mach: Pretty much. Each track has a basic character trait that is seen throughout the whole show. I try to incorporate as much of the person I'm playing into the character, as well as a little touch of my own personality.

Hannah Elless: Every character in Godspell has a different story arc and song, so as long as you follow their journey and be yourself it usually works out pretty well. Our director Danny has said before, and I think that it's really true, that the best way to approach this show is to be yourself. No matter what track I am performing, I make sure to bring a lot of myself to the role so that it's honest.

Q: Do you have a favorite track to perform?

Eric: I can't choose! I love singing Telly's songs, but I really love being the smart ass when I go on for Nick. Overall, George's track might be the most fun because of how silly he is.

Corey: Probably Jesus. It's such a ride, and our director, Danny, gave me free ride to make the role my own and inject as much as my personality as possible. I also prefer to be in charge onstage, and all of the characters rely on Jesus through the majority of the show, which generates a huge payback towards the end of the show. It's a fantastic journey.

Hannah: This is a hard question to answer because all of the tracks have different little nuances and moments that I love! I guess, for me, being on stage in any role is thrilling--I really try to soak it up. And I am an "instrument" girl, so of course I always enjoy the track that plays all the instruments.

Q: The first time I saw Godspell was back in January and I was still finding confetti in my purse and shoes months after. Do you constantly find confetti everywhere? Is that annoying?

Eric: It is not annoying to find confetti everywhere. I actually went on last night, and found confetti stuck to my chest a few hours later.

Corey: It's pretty funny right? I find it in my room, in my shoes, bookbags, at friends' houses. I bring it everywhere with me on accident. The best is when I find it blocks from the theatre!

Hannah: YES! That Godspell confetti will show up in the strangest of places! I'll be pulling my wallet out of my purse at Starbucks and a piece of confetti will fall out. I'm used to the strange looks--I consider it a Godspell badge of honor!
Q: What do you do while the show is going on when you're not performing or watching the show from the audience?

Eric: I like to get work done! When I'm not chatting it up with the other understudies, we are watching our favorite TV shows, writing songs, and just last week I did some audio editing for a friend's live show.

Corey: Recently I've been catching up on a lot of TV--Downton Abbey, Six Feet Under, and now Breaking Bad. The other understudies and I play Wii, write music, and sometimes play games.

Hannah: I watch the show pretty frequently. But if I'm not tracking someone that day, I'm usually in my dressing room working on material for other projects that I'm involved with like concerts, readings, writing my own music, etc. Or catching up on Top Chef episodes--cause let's be honest, I'm obsessed with that series.

Q: What's your favorite place to eat by the theater?

Eric: Well, I live 5 blocks from the theater, so there are kind of too many restaurants to name. But if I had to choose, I would say AOKI sushi on 48th. Great lunch specials and the most amazing sushi.

Corey: I love Cosi! So many options. I've been also known to frequent Chipotle, Qdoba, and Subway.

Hannah: I just found Chai Thai Kitchen on 55th St. and 8th Ave. It's wonderful! Order the Pad Sea Eiw--you will not be disappointed!

Q: Is there a show that you saw or performed in that made you know that you wanted to pursue musical theater for a living?

Eric: I knew from a very young age that I wanted to sing, and as I got older I had to come up with a plan. Musical theater is so fun to do and I get to sing! I really fell in love with musical theater while doing a children's theater production of Jesus Christ Superstar playing Jesus. It was the first time I felt like a rockstar.

Corey: When I was in first grade, my mom took me to see the tour of Cats in Cleveland. I knew before that show that I wanted to pursue acting, but I think the spectacle and the music made it the clincher for me that early on. I hate the show now, but being in first grade and seeing these huge, realistic cats in front of me--but they were actors--made me want to do the same thing.

Hannah: It was a slow boil for me. I can remember watching a community theater production of Annie when I was very young and getting goose bumps. Little did I know that many shows, and many goose bumps later I would be performing in my first Broadway musical!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Understudy Talkback at Godspell

Last Tuesday, I attended the final Godspell Tuesday Night Talkback. Julie James of Sirius XM Radio hosted the talks, focusing on a different cast member each week. This talkback featured understudies (in photo from left to right) Corey Mach, Julia Mattison, Hannah Elless, Eric Michael Krop, and Amina Robinson, who just joined the company as a temporary swing. During that evening's performance, Mattison went on in the track usually played by Celisse Henderson.

Godspell is a pretty different animal than most Broadway shows in terms of understudies. Usually, in a big Broadway company, you'll have swings, who can go on for multiple roles, and understudies, who are usually part of the ensemble. A standby usually covers one principal. Godspell is a cast of 10 principals since all the roles are leads, so the understudies are all under principal contract as well. Also of note:

-All the understudies (except for Robinson, who hasn't gone on yet and has already been on Broadway) made their Broadway debuts in Godspell. "You never think you're going to make your Broadway debut as a principal," Krop said. The cast is very supportive of each other and they all got emotional for each other each time one of them went on for the first time.

-Anna Maria Perez De Tagle is the only person in the cast who has never called out.

-Everything in the show was made up in the rehearsal room and all the actors (including the understudies) were involved in the creative process. The hardest part for the understudies was not being able to write anything down because the show was constantly evolving.

-Instead of learning all 5 male tracks at once, which would probably be impossible, when they were first learning the show, Mach learned the Jesus and Judas tracks and Krop learned Telly Leung's and George Salazar's track and they both learned Nick Blaemire's track.

-If you're at Godspell and the person next you is dancing in their seat and singing along, it may be an understudy. Usually understudies don't get to rehearse with the rest of the cast. "You know what loneliness is when you're by yourself onstage singing your part of the 'Tower of Babble.'," Elless said.

-Three is the most understudies who have gone on for one show.

-Because Circle in the Square is in a round, the understudies think of the stage like a clock to remember where they are supposed to be when.

-Mattison was actually in Godspell on opening night. Morgan James was injured during tech right before previews started. Mattison was going to take her to the hospital, but then she learned she would have to go one for her. Since she had barely had rehearsal time at that point, the first time she went on, Mach fed her lines from the book.

The SMASH Reality Index: Episode 9

Inspired by’s brilliant Reality Index recaps, Dave (@NineDaves, and I have teamed up to bring you our take on what’s keepin’ it real and what’s faking it each week on SMASH.

Before you start reading this week’s SMASH Reality Index, we must issue a warning: This week’s episode was hands down our favorite episode yet. So we may or may not have spent some time pausing. And rewinding. And rewatching things over and over again to make sure we got everything just right.

It’s episode 9, and everything post-workshop is, as the episode title suggests, “Hell on Earth.” Really, we’re not sure what these people know about “hell on earth.” It’s not like they actually have to watch some of these episodes of SMASH. That’s hell on earth.

Still, things could be going better. Despite the fact that Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) has a steady job in a Broadway show, she’s totally addicted to pills now and basically ruining her life. Derek (Jack Davenport) might be replaced by a Roundabout Theater Company director (jeeze). And he’s still stuck sleeping with Ivy. Julia (Debra Messing) may be the worst one of them all. Not only is she a terrible book writer, but also she totally fucked things up with Frank (Brian d’Arcy James). For shame!

But despite all that, the search for the next Marilyn goes on. If we had it our way, we’d cast Norbert Leo Butz as Marilyn. And Joe DiMaggio. And Arthur Miller. We want an I Am My Own Wife version of Marilyn the Musical starring Norbert Leo Butz. Although come to think of it, Norbert Leo Butz as Marilyn and Brian d’Arcy James as Joe DiMaggio could work too. And you thought producing wasn’t all about casting? We seem to be doing pretty well.

Let’s see how SMASH did on the index this week:

Totally True
• Brian d’Arcy James would probably get us to eat bacon too. And we’re both vegetarian. Plus 50.
• Tom tells John, “I’m excellent arm candy. I can look very dashing.” We will gladly take you up on this offer, Tom. ESPECIALLY BECAUSE YOU LOOK LIKE MICHAEL STOYANOV.
• Tom’s boyfriend is a republican. DEALBREAKER. That’s clearly the worst thing he could be. Now that black straight-acting guy Sam is looking pretty appealing to you, huh Tom?
• Ivy Lynn’s purse is filled with pills, but then tells Sam, “Don’t judge me.” Girls are always concerned with people judging them. Come to think of it, gay men are too.
• Derek is openly mean to Ellis, and we like that about him.
• Julia tells everyone, “I hate chasing movie stars.” We know Julia. You just like chasing Broadway leading men.
• Norbert Leo Butz’s name pops up on the screen as a guest star and we both lose it. As in, pause the DVR so we can catch our breath. Plus 100. (Don’t worry – we’ll add more points later when he actually shows up).
• Eileen tells Derek to basically stop acting like a total baby about this Marilyn thing. “You had a fight with your collaborators and you lost.” We’re pretty sure this sort of thing happens a lot.
• Derek refuses to keep working on Marilyn the Musical until he sees a finished script. He also asks for a year after that to develop the show. “Tom and Julia need the time,” he says. We totally agree they need the time – and he probably shouldn’t have signed off on doing the show in the first place without seeing a finished script. But a year? If we’re in the same place at this time next season, we’re going to lose it.
• Eileen Rand considers replacing Derek with director Doug Hughes. Doug Hughes, meanwhile, hasn’t really had a hit since 2005’s Doubt. Unless you consider a bunch of brief runs and early closings a hit (see: Born Yesterday, Elling, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Oleanna, The Royal Family, A Man for All Seasons, etc., etc.). We like Doug Hughes just fine, but he’s not exactly the best pick. Makes sense Eileen would pick him of course – we wouldn’t say she’s the most forward thinking producer (unless you count banging a bartender on the L.E.S. as “forward thinking”).
• Karen Cartwright’s coworker is being a bitch again. Plus 5 because Karen Cartwright deserves it.
• Karen Cartwright books an orange juice commercial. “SHE’S PERFECT!!!!”
• All of the names Julia has come up with for Marilyn the Musical are about as terrible as the book of Marilyn the Musical. We thinks Julia be the problem…
• Holy shit guys. Heaven on Earth looks fantastic. We thought it was some sappy romance, but it’s clearly a Book of Mormon-style comedy. Consider us surprised.
• Okay we’re freaking out a bit about “The Higher You Get The Harder You Fall” number we just witnessed from Heaven on Earth. First of all, plus 200 for Norbert Leo Butz’s hair. Second of all, clearly Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman just wrote Norbert a watered-down version of “Don’t Break the Rules” from Catch Me If You Can. Which we love. Third of all, Norbert is playing god. In our world, he’s had that part since The Last Five Years. Fourth of all, we just watched this twice in a row and we plan on watching it a few more times before the night is over.

• We’ve been wondering why Heaven on Earth was such a hit. And now we know: Norbert Leo Butz.
• And don’t think we didn’t notice Memphis’s James Monroe Iglehart backing up Norbert in that number. In a world where Memphis doesn’t exist, it’s good to know Iglehart will always be at the Shubert.
• Brian d’Arcy James is singing and playing the piano and we’re still trying to catch our breath after Norbert Leo Butz’s performance and now we’re going to die.
• Brian d’Arcy James is not playing Guitar Hero. Plus 10.
• “Do not tell me it wasn’t anything. It was a total betrayal of 18 years of marriage.” We kind of feel like Brian d’Arcy James is breaking up with us and it suuuuucks.
• Karen Cartwright is dressed in a green screen suit for an Orange Juice commercial. What, is she playing a straw? “SHE’S PERFECT!!!”
• Come to think of it, those sunglasses DO make Karen Cartwright look like a slut.
• AHHH! The poster for the Off-Broadway production of Once. AHHH!
• AHHH! New York Theater Workshop! AHHH!
• We may have watched the scene where Brian d’Arcy James punches Will Chase three times in a row. One of those times was in slow motion. We’ve wanted to punch him in the face since episode 3, so we’re clearly very happy about this.
• Plus 100 because Brian d’Arcy James actually gets to act in this episode.
• When Eileen’s having dinner with Doug Hughes, Michael Riedel shows up. Hughes tells Riedel, “I don’t want to read about me in your column,” which is something people probably always say to Riedel.
• Plus 100 for using Michael Riedel as a plot point. Power of the press!
• Sam tells Tom, “I’m glad you came.” Mmhmmm…. You’ll be saying that again real soon.
• Tom orders a glass of Sauvignon Barf at the bar. And he’s a total snood about it. See how opposite he is from Sam?
• Plus everything for this bitchfest about Karen Cartwright:
Ivy Lynn: How does she do that? She just walks into this city with a Midwestern moon face and lands everything.
Jessica: She didn’t land Marilyn.
Ivy Lynn: Neither did I. (storms off)
• Ivy Lynn enters her apartment continuing her rant about Karen Cartwright as if Derek had been listening to her since she left the bar. We like to think she went “wee wee wee” all the way home.
• Ivy’s complaints about Karen are so ridiculous, we actually love them. “I’m so sick of that chick. I can’t even have a drink with my friends without her name coming up. To be competing with someone with so little experience…”
• Karen Cartwright keeps Ivy Lynn’s sunglasses, presumably to give back to her. Plus 10, Iowa.
• Ivy Lynn throws out Karen Cartwright’s sunglasses, presumably to fuck with her. Plus 100, New York.
• Ivy Lynn still has all the Marilyn cutouts on her mirror.
• “Let Me Be Your Star” underscores as Ivy Lynn looks in the mirror and throws back a few pills. If there’s a better scene on television right now, we demand to see it.
• Derek calls Ellis a Chihuahua and we want to high five him.
• More Marilyn cutouts on Ivy Lynn’s dressing room. Plus 5 for consistency.
• Ivy Lynn is one episode away from her “I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I’m so scared” moment and we can’t wait.
• Oh hey Sean Dugan from Next Fall. Plus 5!
• Remember back in episode 3 when we said that Ellis being straight was the most unbelievable thing of the episode? WE WERE RIGHT. HE’S TOTALLY BOINKING THAT DUDE!
• Tom looks so cute in his suit. We like to think that Elle Woods dressed him. QUEUE UP “TAKE IT LIKE A MAN” IMMEDIATELY. #LegallyBlondeTheMusicalForever
• John tells Tom, “I’m glad you came.” You and Sam have so much in common!
• Shubert Alley!
• Plus 20 for Norbert Leo Butz sliding down that banister.
• We now know what it’d be like if Norbert Leo Butz replaced Raúl Ezparza in Leap of Faith. And we’re not mad at it.
• Ivy Lynn tells Karen Cartwright that she “didn’t put enough on the line.” And by “enough on the line,” she means popping pills.
• Finally, we found Karen Cartwright’s backbone! Well, kinda anyway. As she tells Ivy Lynn, “Yeah okay. I didn’t sleep with Derek. You’re right. I didn’t do that. But trust me, it wasn’t because he didn’t ask. You weren’t the first choice. Sorry.” Of course she apologizes after, but we’re still happy to see this side of her.
• Ivy Lynn’s retort to Karen’s criticisms are perfect. “Please, my mother said worse things than that regularly at Sunday dinner. School nights too.” It’s always your mother’s fault!
• Tom’s reaction to John’s political speech is exactly how we feel all the time when people talk politics.
• Tom and Sam both find themselves on Ivy’s stoop and boring.
• We spy a Seminar billboard! Hey Theresa Rebeck! Bet we won’t be seeing any of those next season!
• We also spy a Rebecca Duvall (Uma Thurman) poster, for a fake movie called Casual Friday 2 that we kinda want to see.
• Ivy Lynn refuses to let Karen win. “Hey. We’re not best friends now, okay?”
• Tom tells Sam, “I haven’t been up all night since I camped out for Rent tickets in 1996.” First of all, it’s only 5 a.m. Calm down Mary. Second of all, plus 100.
• We love Michael Riedel – especially because if he saw his performance in this episode, he would have trashed it in his column.
• Eileen tells Ellis “producing is more than just casting.” This is usually true. Quick – tell the producers behind that Constantine Maroulis / Deborah Cox led Jekyll & Hyde revival…
• Just when we feared Ellis had an upper hand on Eileen Rand, she bitch slapped him and put him in his place. If only she had a cocktail in her hand…
• Tom tells Sam he’s received a message from “someone he’s been seeing.” Because why would you tell the guy you want to hook up with about your boyfriend?
• Julia meets Michael at the Westway Diner! Here for another slice of apple pie? Oh wait no, YOU JUST ATE THE WHIPPED CREAM.

Oh Hell No!
• Karen Cartwright asks Dev’s opinion on how she looks in some sunglasses. First pair, Dev calls her a “girl next door.” Second pair, Dev calls her a “slut.” Karen Cartwright says nothing. First of all, have you ever seen slutty sunglasses? Is that even possible? Second of all, DEV CALLED HIS GIRLFRIEND A SLUT AND SHE HAD NO PROBLEM WITH IT! WTF!
• After calling Karen Cartwright a slut, Dev then tells her she’s a “hard working girl.” THAT’S A DEALBREAKER LADIES.
• We totally believe that Ivy Lynn would still be sleeping with Derek. She has low no self-esteem and is clearly clingy as all hell. But why would Derek still be sleeping with Ivy? Surely he would have dropped that crazyball by now.
• No one takes all of their pills out of their bag like that. We’ve watched a ton of TV. Usually, your pill-popping habit is found when you drop your purse and everything comes flying out. OR when Zack Morris comes over and finds you napping in your bedroom before the big concert.
• Ivy Lynn is taking Prednisone, Ambien, Klonopin, Tetrazepam, and “I don’t know, some new stuff.” Get it guys? She IS Marilyn. Minus 10.
• Ellis and Eileen have a list of celebrities they’re going after for Marilyn, and they’re all completely ridiculous: Anna Paquin, Anna Farris, and Kate Winslet. First of all, half of these people would never be Broadway box office draws (Anna Farris? Really?). Second of all, half of these people would never do Marilyn the Musical (Kate Winlset, though we love her, is far too old). On second thought, maybe this should be a “Totally True” item. The list is just as dumb as the people who made it.
• We overhear the casting director say that Karen Cartwright “was perfect” for her audition. What were they casting? A piece of wallpaper? She’s hired!
• Karen Cartwright’s coworker is wearing an “I Love New York” shirt. And she clearly doesn’t work in Times Square. Minus 15.
• We get it. Ivy Lynn hates Heaven on Earth. But no Broadway chorus girl would be that obnoxious. She was basically throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of that number. She would be fired if she acted like that during the show.
• WTF! We didn’t get to see the big ending of Norbert’s number?!? AHHH!
• Boring boring scene with Ellis boring boring
• During their big fight, Frank tells Julia that he doesn’t want to hear all the stupid things that people say at times like this. And then, he goes on to say all the stupid things that people say at times like this.
• Ellis is the worst thing ever and no one cares.
• Why is Derek hanging out in Ivy Lynn’s small apartment when he has a huge beautiful apartment all to himself?
• Ivy Lynn is complaining to Derek about Karen Cartwright. But didn’t Derek hire Karen Cartwright last episode to replace Ivy Lynn? This doesn’t make any sense.
• Derek tells Ivy she could play the “dead hooker” in his new TV pilot. What’s up with all the guys in this episode calling their girlfriends whores?
• Derek finds out about the Riedel article that night. There’s no way Riedel would have that article up that quickly. First of all, he was still at dinner. Second of all, he would save it for the morning traffic.
• They both found their sunglasses at the same time and ugh.
• Eileen tells Derek, “I believe in Marilyn. I believe in this team. I’m not apologizing to anyone.” We kind of wish Theresa Rebeck would apologize to us for writing that shit.
• Derek screams, “Get me a star!” as he storms out of the room and we roll our eyes so hardcore, they almost fall out of our face.
• We’re pretty sure actors can’t go outside in costume during a show, let alone bring their friends backstage to watch the show from the wings.
• Also, who returns sunglasses as at night? (Don’t go there…)
• We don’t know much about Norbert Leo Butz’s character, but we think he’s too professional to yell, “Get off the freaking stage,” at a fellow cast member halfway through his number.
• You definitely can’t leave the theater in your costume. We don’t care how fucked up you are Ivy Lynn. There would have been a stage manager stopping you before you even had the chance.
• Wasn’t Ivy Lynn so fucked up she couldn’t walk straight like, two seconds ago? How is it now that she’s stone sober and yelling at Karen?
• Aaaand we’re back to Ivy Lynn being totally stoned again, wearing her costume and sunglasses, and buying liquor. Minus 500 for everything we just described – plus the fact that there’s no liquor store anywhere near Times Square.
• Patrons wouldn’t ask for their money back after one chorus girl ensemble member fell in one number. It’s not like she’s the star (ooooooh snap!).
• We love seeing the 2003 Bernadette Peters Gypsy logo in Times Square. We also love seeing the American Idiot billboard. And we’ll deal with The Addams Family and Bonnie & Clyde billboards if we have to. But WTF are they doing there at the same time!?! Is this some bullshit Broadway snow globe that we didn’t see?
• Also, WTF with this terrible cover? We will not be drinking to this.
• Seeing Karen dance in a hip-hop fashion with a black guy just feels racist. It also makes us want to watch Save the Last Dance.
• And now Karen is taking her clothes off. And she’s wearing a turtleneck. And we can’t.
• You see people singing in Times Square all the fucking time. And no one ever stops and forms a circle around you and claps along and sings along and has a damn good happy time. You understand that, tourists. We don’t want that shit happening in Times Square. So don’t get the wrong idea and think something like that is okay. IT’S NOT OKAY. And if either of us sees that, we are going to push our way through your fucking party so fast, you’re not going to know what hit ya.
• Ivy Lynn and Karen are now besties. See the power of music? Minus 10,000.
Bombshell? Barfshell.
• Julia stares out of the window, drinking, while “Let Me Be Your Star” underscores again. Is she the next Marilyn?

So how’d we do this week? Hit up the comments section and let us know!