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Stillman Soars in Laguna's Session!


"So, what did you think V.J.?”

"Oh, I thought it was great, Michael, even better than in New York.”

"How so?”

"Well, first, the theater. The 47th Street theater is just a small hole in the wall kind of place. The Laguna Playhouse is a beautiful facility. It allowed for more movement on the stage.”

"And a bigger set?”

"Oh yeah. Wasn't that set beautiful? And the lighting too.”

"Did it lose some of the intimacy being in a larger house?”

"I thought about that, wondering if The Last Session would work in a larger house. I suppose it loses some of the intimacy, but all for a better production really. In New York, it was in your face. Here, in Laguna, I felt safer if that makes any sense. But I don't think it would work in a big Broadway house. That would be too big. One of the smaller houses. The Walter Kerr Theater would be perfect if it ever hits Broadway.”

"What did you think of the cast? Any differences?”

"Well, for a newcomer, Traywick did an amazing job. It wasn't easy following in Bienskie's footsteps.”

"Who was better in the role of Buddy?”

"Oh, you just can't compare performers like that. Either the actor delivers or he doesn't. And Traywick simply delivered. He was a different Buddy, but it worked beautifully. What a voice, huh?”

"Oh, yes! What about the others?”

"Well, Amy Coleman was in the New York production so what you saw was essentially the same except that she's "new and improved” the role. Her comic timing is simply superb and the show depends so much on that. And that goes for Michele (Mais) too.”

"Great singers too.”

"Good Lord yes. Y'know, you could throw away the book and still have a good concert!”

"Why? You don't like the book?”

"Of course I like the book. It's just that in this theater the voices just filled the place and I could have listened to all of them forever.”

"Anything else different than in New York?”

"Well, the sound system at Laguna is first rate for one thing. Brochu took advantage of that by adding P.M. Howard's electric bass, making the music fuller in certain songs.”

"You haven't mentioned Bob Stillman.”

"Yeah. I know.”

"Why? I thought he was pretty good.”

"Pretty good? The guy is disgustingly good.”

"Now, there's a pull quote for the producers to use.”

"Right. I can see the ads now. ‘Stillman - disgustingly good...Talkin' Broadway'.”

"Wasn't he the same in New York? He did originate the role of Gideon, no?”

"Yes, he did, but he's very different in this production. Again, it's the theater and Stillman knows it too.”

"What do you mean?”

"It's kind of hard to describe, but there is just more space. The 47th Street theater is kind of narrow and not very deep and now that I see this production I get the feeling that Bob was holding back in New York...not because of any artistic interpretation but because of the house limitations with what you can do with your voice. Does that make sense?”

"I suppose to a degree. What was different?”

"Well, it seems to me he was given free rein on this production. In other words, his wings were unclipped and as a result, he soared. Have you ever heard a voice like that on Broadway? I mean, the range is amazing and it just seemed his voice was floating over the audience just to be absorbed in the perfect stillness.”

"He certainly got enough applause after each number.”

"Oh yeah. Y'know, he's the musical director of the show too. Guy plays a mean keyboard and can act up a storm. He was in Grand Hotel on Broadway so he can probably dance too. Studied at Juilliard, graduated from Princeton. Everything he does, he's just excellent. See what I mean about being disgustingly good?”

"You would think he would get a leading role on Broadway.”

"It's just a matter of time. He did Kiss of the Spider Woman though and he also did Guettel's Saturn Returns Off Broadway.”

"He also does that thing on Nickelodeon...”Allegra's Window” or something like that.”

"I know. He's also a composer/lyricist.”

"Now I see what you mean. This is disgusting. Too much talent in one person should be illegal.”

"There ya go.”

"What are you going to write about the show? Are you doing a review of the Laguna production?”

"No, I'm not really a critic. Jerry is going to do it.”

"Why not write about Stillman?”

"No way. I hate to stroke a performer's ego like that even if he does deserve it. Why don't you write the column for Sunday?”

"No problem.”

"When will you write it?”

"We just did.”

"Oh. Add this. I didn't like Buddy's shiny pants.”

"The worst thing you can say about this production is Stillman is too talented and you didn't like Buddy's pants? Do I have this right?”

"Hey, I'm a perfectionist. What can I say?”

See you Sunday!


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