Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Our Evening With A Cat

Today I’m in a much better state of mind since my last post. Calling out my frustration in my previous post was therapeutic. I had a good weekend and put all of that holiday drama behind me ;-) Thanks everyone for your comments and support. It meant so much to me :-)

Anyway…on with the show as they say….and it’s apt here because this post is about our trip to the theatre on December 23rd. It was truly wonderful! :-)

I love going to see plays and musicals and Brit Boy likes going along with me too. We both love an outing somewhere :-) I found out quite a few months ago about the Debbie Allen directed production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof coming to the West End after a highly successful run on Broadway. I did a happy dance when I found out. You should’ve seen me…lol. I told Brit Boy about it and we got tickets and then held onto them for a few months. Finally December 23rd arrived and off to London we went!

We took the train into Paddington Station and then took the tube to Covent Garden. We had left ourselves a bit of a cushion with the time, so there was an opportunity to get a bite to eat. We were starved. We dropped into a small shop and got drinks and sandwiches. Then we stood along The Strand right outside the tiny store and ate as we people watched. Everyone was bustling around on the eve of Christmas Eve with an air of expectation.

After we ate, we walked to the Novello Theatre. The theatre is beautiful and the perfect size…not too big, not too small. We got really lucky and had seats at the center of the seventh row. Just close enough, but not too close :-) We saw a matinee performance and it was truly thrilling.

As I mentioned earlier, this was a production directed by Debbie Allen. Many of you will probably remember her as the dance teacher Lydia Grant in the television show Fame. I used to really want to go to that high school when I was a teenager :-)

Anyway, Debbie Allen is an Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning director and her expertise definitely shows onstage. Her skill is ever so evident in this sumptuous production. She has taken this true American classic by Tennessee Williams that was made legend in the movie version starring Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor, and shown how universal the themes of family are as she presents this new cast. It was a beautifully true revelation.

Photo Credit: Jeff Fasano ; left to right, Rashad, Lester, Lathan, Jones

This production stars the truly legendary James Earl Jones as Big Daddy and the elegant Phylicia Rashad as Big Mama. It was indeed such a treat to see two Tony Award winners on stage together in Mr. Jones and Ms. Rashad.

James Earl Jones’ voice is amazing to hear in person and his rich baritone is just thrilling to the ear as he beautifully enunciates every word. I wanted to pinch myself. I couldn’t believe that I was seeing this truly great actor right before my eyes. Mr. Jones totally inhabits the role of Big Daddy. He is exquisite. We seem to throw around that word legend a lot these days, but on December 23rd, I saw one before my eyes :-)

Phylicia Rashad is wonderful as Big Mama too. She is Debbie Allen’s sister and is affectionately remembered for her role as Clair Huxtable in the classic sitcom The Cosby Show. I was so excited to see her too. She was the epitome of elegance and class as Clair Huxtable and the way she carried herself made such an impression upon me when I was in my formative years. I loved watching her on my TV screen each week back then. The Cosby Show was a truly landmark show.

Her depiction of Big Mama in the play reminded me so much of the elder women in my family. Her portrayal reminded me a lot of my mother and aunts. They were women who dressed up as we got together for traditional Sunday dinners back in Georgia and then they would sit on the front porch and fan themselves and talk :-) They’ve all passed on now, but their imprint is still in my mind and will never leave. Those are some of my best memories of growing up. So I thank Ms. Rashad for giving me a great gift. She is a wonderful actress.

One of the other leads is portrayed by Adrian Lester, who plays Brick, the son. Lester does a fine job in this role. I applaud his agility because he spends the whole play hobbling around with a cast on his leg. He is a fine actor.

The final lead is played by Sanaa Lathan. She plays Maggie, ‘The Cat’, Brick's wife, and gives a beautifully sultry performance in this role made famous by Elizabeth Taylor in the movie version. She earned my respect early on because most of the entire first act is her talking to Brick and he says very little. And I’m thinking to myself, how in the world does she remember all of that dialogue and it is said at such a quick pace???? She’s fabulous in this role and truly luminous.

So I guess that I don’t need to tell you all that I was on cloud nine the whole time. LOL. It was a fabulous way to spend an afternoon into evening with my Brit Boy. We both walked out of there with a smile on our faces as we walked out into the night.

After the show, we walked over a couple of blocks in search of food. The angels were on our side because we found a wonderful restaurant called Sophie’s. The food was delicious and the service was quick. The ambience was perfect. It was lit by candle light and the electric lights were soft and not overly harsh and yet you could still see where you were walking.

Brit Boy had soup for his appetizer and I had a house salad. Then for dinner we both had steak and fries. Very yummy!!! :-) It hit the spot. We don’t eat red meat a whole lot, so it was a great treat. I told Brit Boy that that was Christmas to me…just chilling and enjoying each other’s company. Brit Boy’s a fun date ;-)

So after our dinner, we wrapped back up and headed for the tube. We got to Paddington Station and waited for our train. Then we were carried off across the snowy landscape…back to Wiltshire… :-) I hope you enjoyed coming along for the ride!


Unknown said...

Sounds like a great outing. I've never seen the movie or the play. I love every member of the cast...all great entertainers.

Mike Golch said...

Dori,sounds like the 2 of you had fun.Sometimes a rant tends to clear your head,I know it does for me.I hope that you and Brit Bou are aving a great day!

Mrs Sweetwater said...

WWWWoooowwww,, you got to see Debbie's version. I can imagine it was thrilling to see blackfaces doing the tennesse williams classic. did you get your tickets same day at the half price kiosk ? I used to love to do that. glad you enjoyed yourself. Where's the Pics Sweets ? you have us spoiled for those clever pics of yours.
We Want Pics !!!

Patrice-The Soap Seduction said...

I wanted to see this production when it was on Broadway, but I couldn't make it at the time. I see Adrian Lester took over Terrence Howard's role. I'd love to see them adapt this version to a movie.

Deidre said...

I love Debbie Allen but am not very familiar with Cat on A Hot Tin Roof. Sounds like a great date, glad you had a fun time :)

Georgette Jones said...

Your writing is so great that I was on that outing with you all the way! LOL!

I'm glad you had a great time. The play sounds wonderful!

Janiss said...

Oooo, lucky you! I've seen the movie, and just imagining it live, with this cast - WOW! Would love this to come to Los Angeles.

JudyH329 said...

You lucky thing! I enjoy James Earl Jones! He's one of my favorite actors! You're right, his voice is amazing. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is one of my favorite Elizabeth Taylor and Angela Lansbury pictures. Elizabeth Taylor's voice in this movie is something else!

Alicia aka "Fashiona" said...

Sounds like you and Brit Boy a great time. I was able to see the production in NY with Terrance Howard and Anika Noni Rose...simply outstanding. I am with Patrice, I would like to see a movie verison of the all black cast. It would be our generation's Porgy and Bess.

Jason said...

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I'd like to exchange links with you to help spread some traffic around between each other. Please let me know if this is possible.


jacqueline said...

Hey Dori,
I looove Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. As always, you didn't disappoint. Thank you sooo much for sharing this wonderful outing with us. I felt proud just reading it. The actors are all great, but James Earl Jones is a national, ahem, an international treasure. :-)

I'm happy that you both had a wonderful time!

Mike Golch said...

Sounds like you had a great outting.

MOMSWEB said...

knock,knock...just dropping by to visit your blog! I enjoyed my stay. Happy New Year to you!

Krystal Grant said...

I would have LOVED to see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I saw the movie with Marlon Brando a few years ago and absolutely loved it. I am sure this cast did an awesome job with the play.

Jennifer said...

This sounds like a wonderful night at the theater ... and I must be hungry, because I checked out the menu at Sophie's!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking me along for the ride. I enjoyed the play from your eye view and what a fabulous evening you and Brit Boy had.

Harold Michael Harvey

Dori said...

I'm so glad that you all liked my account of our theatre trip. It was really fun. It was truly a wonderful production and yes, I'm with many of you, I would LOVE to see this cast do a movie version. I would be a breath of fresh air to see it on tv or the silver screen. Thanks to you all for your wonderfully lively comments :)