Archives for the month of: September, 2018

It has been a week since TFP took herself to see GETTIN THE BAND BACK TOGETHER...and her mind….was blown.

The Reviewers were wrong.

The show was funny.


Not perfect, but that was part of the charm of it. She observed people gasping for breath to the left and right of her, she herself had a roaringly good time – as did every Broadway professional she consulted about their experience seeing this show.

Everyone enjoyed it.

No one could figure out the reviews.


Let the record show:

From Jesse Greene at The New York Times: The show aims so low that all it achieves is a ruckus in the tuchis.

From Frank Scheck at The Hollywood Reporter: Director John Rando (Urinetown, On the Town) keeps things moving at a sufficiently brisk pace, but it’s a mystery why he felt the need to have the performers constantly jump offstage and race down the aisles as if heading for the exits. It makes it look as if they’re trying to escape before the reviews come in.


Photo by Cherie Tay

David Cote, Observer: Having sat through the sweaty, janky garbage fire Gettin’ the Band Back Together, I strongly suspect that producer and book writer Ken Davenport has a chest tattoo that reads (in Gothic script), “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” Davenport, who is also responsible for My First Time (about losing your virginity), The Awesome ’80s Prom and That Bachelorette Show, seems to never hesitate in grabbing, shall we say, the fruit that hangs low.

Adam Feldman, Time Out New York: You can smell the flop sweat before Gettin’ the Band Back Together even begins, as Ken Davenport-the show’s lead producer and also, not coincidentally, its principal author-takes the stage with a handheld mic to deliver a curtain speech. “What you’re about to see is one of those rare things on Broadway these days: a totally original musical,” he claims. But although the show is not based on any single preexisting source, it is, in fact, supremely unoriginal, from its formulaic ’90s-movie plot to its instantly forgettable ’80s-rock score. A community-theater vanity production that has somehow surfaced at a Broadway house, it is schlocky at every turn.


Photo by Cherie Tay

Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast: This is a show, directed with a loopy Labrador’s energy by John Rando, that sells itself shamelessly to its intended audience. Perhaps in the next few weeks, the company will start handing out fliers at Penn Station. You’ll roll your eyes at that repeated geographical gag, and at much else in this musical, not least its hackneyed rock ‘n’ roll, ageing dreamers, reclaiming-past-glories storyline.

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Photo by T. Charles Ericksen

Elisabeth Vincentelli, Newsday: You can’t say the new musical “Gettin’ the Band Back Together” doesn’t try hard. At one point somebody shoots T-shirts into the audience from a cannon. Marilu Henner, who plays the lead’s mom, passes along Rice Krispies Treats during the intermission. Throughout, the game cast sells the action with undeniable energy – if Broadway quality was measured in sweat, “Gettin’ the Band Back Together” would be a shoo-in for a Tony. Unfortunately, other factors must be considered. The show is a willfully silly piece of cheese, but that stuff is actually hard to pull off – and “Gettin’ the Band Back Together” is no “Head Over Heels” or “Rock of Ages.”

Jesse Oxfeld, New York Stage Review: The show is too long. It’s plot mechanics are creaky. Some of those character numbers should be cut, delightful as they are-darlings waiting to be killed. (Bart’s, which is hilarious, is also too dirty for a family show.) And yet it’s all just a really good time.

TFP read those reviews and she had some feelings….


TFP gets it, part of the bargain that theater people enter into when they invite critics in is that critics have the right to write whatever they want.

These reviews are very pointed in their disdain for

  1. The Producer, Ken Davenport
  2. New Jersey
  3. Humor that is funny to the audience, but not British humor = therefore ‘low brow.’

We are the country that invented vaudeville and burlesque based on theatrical traditions from other countries.

We are ‘high brow’?

The people who kept MAMMA MIA open? CATS? ROCK OF AGES? (Yes, yes, they are all super fun and campy shows and we love them, but Shakespeare they ain’t)

Those ‘high brows’?


These are the people who get into raging debates  on the internet over being allowed to wear tank tops and shorts and flip flops to the theater, over dress pants and a nice wedge heel?

Because they want to be comfortable?

Like they are in their living room?

Does that sound like ‘high brow’ behavior?


The critics wrote those reviews for New York City’s mythical 400, those lofty robber barons who aped European standards to create New York High Society around the turn of the century in the late 1800’s. In short, not the average theater audience. People come to the theater for all kinds of different reasons, but escaping ‘real life’ for two short hours is a legitimate reason to grab a ticket, no matter where your family origins hail from.

The critics did not, with rare exception, point out how talented the cast was, or that they were delivering stellar comedic moments in a solid manner.

The cast did their jobs – they sang and danced and made people laugh. The Critics failed to realize that the comedic rule of three – first one, tiny laugh, second one, bigger laugh, third one, hysteria – was well in play in this production, and used to great effect.

The point of these reviews seems to be to punish Producer Davenport, who had the temerity to get up and give a pre-curtain speech on opening night about the fact that this show began as an improv.

A show that began with an improv, not with a film or television show establishing it’s provenance, which makes it a risk. Which is to be lauded, but apparently not ‘too’ much and not by a person of mixed race.


There has to be, on Broadway and Off, and regionally, of course – room for all kinds of theatrical experiences. There can be a rainbow – it is freaking BROADWAY, folks!

Sometimes your show experience will be DEAR EVAN HANSEN and sometimes your show experience will be GETTIN THE BAND BACK TOGETHER – and it is ok. The important thing is for the audience to have had a good time – theater is  a service industry.

Theater people serve at the will of the people – just like public office. Yes, theater ‘makes people think‘ or ‘have the feels‘ or help them reach a ‘realization‘ – but  theater, as much as it is a magical, unicorn band of people who create it – create the work to be part of a service industry.

A luxury service industry.

Frankly, not everyone with money necessarily has high brow taste, and even those who do sometimes need to go slumming. The world is too tense right now to have to ignore that  the basic inalienable right to laughter, is one of the best reasons to go to the theater.

There is room for both EVAN HANSEN and GETTIN THE BAND, both shows, which yes, TFP has seen and enjoyed and where she viewed the casts do their jobs.

Or did, in the case of GETTIN THE BAND. It did it’s job, and TFP is sad that it is closed.


Photo by Lia Chang

It was not nearly as raunchy or dirty as these reviews made it out to be – in fact, AVENUE Q has equally if not more room for parental concern, if we are to be honest. Singing about having sex with someone’s Mom is not as graphic as watching puppets with no genitals go at it for an extended number.

It is TFP’s considered opinion that the show should still be open. The audience she viewed it with went WILD, and upon further investigation, she was told that audiences consistently went wild as the show ended. That has to count for something. Audience response should count.


Photo by Lia Chang

While attending the matinee, TFP sat next to a woman who, at intermission, informed TFP that she had seen GETTIN THE BAND BACK TOGETHER five times already. She had seen the show FIVE TIMES.

It opened in AUGUST.

Closed SEPT 16th.


TFP was astonished, she needed to know this story.

Here, paraphrased, is what she was told.

It is a good time.  It is a solid good time. You know, I started coming to the theater when I was a caregiver for my husband, and…my Brother In Law would come and watch my husband and then _______ and I would take the bus in – you know the bus is around $3 as a senior…Anyway, I saw the name.

I thought “That sounds fun”. I am from New Jersey, this show is set in New Jersey. I knew of one of the performers. So I came. It was so funny. I had a great time. The next time, she asked me what I wanted to see – I said GETTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER.

So I came again, and again. Five times. Oh – they are so talented. You know, if you see it more than once, you see SO MUCH TALENT on that stage, not just the lead – well, I do love Brandon, he is so handsome – but the supporting cast. They all play instruments, and sing and dance, and are funny….there is no reason not to love this show.

I am sick that it is closing. Sick. What are all those talented performers going to do? Oh, it makes me sad. The show is happy, but it makes me sad.


Photo by Lia Chang

Thank you for that, Jersey Jenny – you were feeling sad and GETTIN THE BAND helped you feel better.

It did what it was supposed to do.

Let’s all take a moment – because this show will be done regionally and people will get to enjoy it – and decide that Broadway, for all it’s lofty aspirations, began it’s reign as a pastime for the regular folks of New York, and that as long as there ARE still ‘regular’ folks of New York, there was room for the band to get back together.

Plenty of room. Eight shows a week.


download-1ROCK ON!

The Fairy Princess kinda went on hiatus for most of August, she had to get ‘back into the grind’ of New York – however she wanted to take a moment to share that she had a chance in her career to work with the luminous Marin Mazzie.


Just once.

It was not an extended run, or an intimate concert – it was the first workshop of the musical DAVE, written by Thomas Meehan, Nell Benjamin and Tom Kitt. It had a different director than the show that was just closed in D.C. at Arena Stage, it was somewhat of a different show. Ms. Mazzie played Ellen Mitchell, the First Lady, and TFP played a news pundit.

When TFP walked into rehearsal that first day of that first musical and saw Ms. Mazzie, her heart skipped a beat.


There were ‘more famous’, technically, people in the room. There were some in the room that are part of the television and film ‘firmament’, and good times were had by all – but Marin Mazzie was the voice that had been so intrinsic to TFP developing her own sound….and TFP went SILENT and stopped dead in her tracks when she saw her.

(Which, let’s face it, is very hard to make her do.)


Ms. Mazzie could not have been more gracious or kind. She joked around, she made everyone feel welcome around her, and she knew – as all great theater Diva’s know – that sometimes their power makes others feel intimidated. There are two ways to deal with that – and Ms. Mazzie chose the kinder way.

It was how she was.


That was a glorious week.

We had a great new show, and yet, all through rehearsal, on every break, if she would look over at Ms. Mazzie, all TFP could think about was this glorious sound, a sound that her heart had absorbed from the moment she first heard the notes. The richness, it was effortless.

Listen. Close your eyes. Majestic.





Three TONY Nominations in 6 years – and we cannot give her a MINUTE?

A tireless performer who, even with her illness, continued to fundraise and to sing, and to take to the stage, because she was a creature OF the stage?

The Broadway League cannot dim for one damn minute for the 41 theaters that are part of the League?


Honestly and sincerely, WHY?


For someone whose Cast Recordings and videos of performances, intimate and grand  will live ad infinitum and inspire generations of young kids to try?

For someone who changed the way we listened and thought about acting through song?

Who was literally the definition of an Actor who Sings and a Singer who Acts?

The Broadway League cannot give her one minute?

When she gave a lifetime?

Ain’t that a kick in the head?

TFP is TIRED of the disrespect shown to Female performers – remember when there was a big fight to get everyone to#DimForJoanRivers? Recall that for Jan Maxwell, a five time TONY nominee, only two theaters dimmed the lights?

Oh yes, everyone LOVES or LURVS or YAAAAASSSess the Divas, but now is the time for respect.

Now is the time for actual homage.

Now is not the time to count theatrical lights and a dimming switch like they are priceless jewels.

Now is the time, oh Broadway League, to acknowledge that you could not do what YOU all do so well, without women like Marin Mazzie.

She did straight theater and musicals. She was gifted. She put butts in seats.

So weird cuz like, when Tony Soprano, Actor, James Gandolfini unexpectedly passed – there was no question the lights would be dimmed.

All of them.

James Gandolfini had a TONY nomination for his performance in GOD OF CARNAGE, and in 1995 appeared in “On the Waterfront” and “A Streetcar Named Desire” in 1992.

They dimmed them all.

When men pass, great men, btw, great men of the theater – there is no actual question asked, naturally the lights dim for NEIL SIMON. Of course they should, OF COURSE THEY SHOULD!

They dimmed the lights for ROBIN WILLIAMS – on Broadway twice, once was a concert, no TONY nomination – and of COURSE they should. He was ROBBIN EFFIN WILLIAMS!


However you see it, right? The automatic ‘female tax’ that is applied when deciding these things?

Shall TFP tell you what she thinks of you?

For Performers who are considered part of theatrical history – the lights should be dimmed. We should not be ‘tallying up’ as to someone’s worthiness.

Well this one had that many awards, and over here, that person was on a television show.

It is ridiculous. Blah, blah, blah.

They are Actors. They lived and made an impact on people around them and their craft. They changed the world, for GOOD. They let light and magic in where it once was not, and they did it eight shows a week, sometimes five on a weekend.



Marin Mazzie was a theatrical legend, a wonderful person, with a loving and devoted Husband and Family.

Give her her GODDAMN MINUTE.

Or TFP is going to ouija board the crap outta Elaine Stritch,  till she comes and berates you for trying to minimize the passing of one of the great voices of our time.


Rest in Power, Marin Mazzie.

Rest In Power.