Gigi at the Kennedy Center

I saw an article a couple months ago about Gigi the musical being revived on Broadway this spring. I love Gigi the movie and have seen it several times, so I was excited to hear it was coming to the stage. Then I heard that they were planning to preview the production in DC for a couple months before it went to Broadway. Bingo!

Gigi

 

Since my parents are also Gigi fans, it was a perfect excuse to trick them into visiting me. We had a quick but tasty pre-theater dinner at District Commons in Foggy Bottom, then headed to the Kennedy Center for the show!

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The big name in the production is Vanessa Hudgens who stars as Gigi. I believe this is her big Broadway debut (or at least debut in a leading role on Broadway). Hudgens is of course known for her role in High School Musical and other Disney productions. She does all her promotional shots in that black dress but it’s actually not in the production, it’s her curtain call dress. It’s not really true to the period which explains why it isn’t in the actual show, but I’m not sure why they decided it was a good look for the promos… Besides Hudgens, there are a few Broadway names, but no other headliners.

First of all, I enjoyed the production. Second of all, they made some rather significant song changes that threw me for a loop. In the movie version, Maurice Chevalier plays Honore LaChaille, the narrator and wise older uncle to Gaston Lachaille (the leading man). He sings one of the signature songs: “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.” In this production they gave that song away to Gigi’s Aunt Alicia and Grandmother Mamita, and it lost a lot of the Chevalier charm in the process.

Also, in this production, Gaston is interested in science and technology and spends a lot of time at the “Exhibition.” I’m not quite sure why they made that addition because outside of a little dialogue here or there it doesn’t do much to the plot at all.

Of course every revival is going to have changes, but overall I thought it was a solid production. Hudgens was good, and I think Corey Cott who plays Gaston has potential. His songs always ended really strong but he needs to be a little more consistent throughout. In the movie Gaston is played by a much older Louis Jourdan but it was clear that they wanted to make the Gaston/Gigi relationship a little more plausible for the current audience (apparently a 30 year age gap just isn’t the norm anymore…).  I thought the costumes and sets were great and made several nods to the original movie which was nice.

Though it might have lost some of that “je ne sais quoi” from legends like Leslie Caron, Chevalier, and Jourdan, and I think it’s definitely worth the trip. It’s a great love story and period piece that makes me want to watch the movie again!

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Irma La Douce on Broadway

I stopped by my parent’s house a couple weekends ago, which my mom, of course, sees as the perfect excuse for a family trip to the theater. Then the stars aligned when a production of Irma La Douce was showing for a limited run during the visit.

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Pardon me as I use my pointer finger to push my glasses up the bridge of my nose, but for those unfamiliar: Irma La Douce is a musical that premiered in Paris in 1956, then went to London in 1958 and Broadway in 1960 (thanks Wikipedia). It’s about a Parisian prostitute who meets a man she wants to be faithful to, but alas, shenanigans ensue. It’s kind of like Pretty Woman but in the ghetto of Paris, and Richard Gere doesn’t have any money, so he comes up with schemes to keep Julia from selling herself. Plus a lot of other weird plot twists.

My family has been listening to the original Broadway soundtrack from the 1960 production since forever, and have been aggressively campaigning for a new revival on Broadway (in our living room). So the fam assembled at Rue 57, one of our go-to pre-theater restaurants, and then we finally saw Irma in person.

Irma

I will say two things about this production.

1. The orchestra was fantastic. The xylophone was unbelievable.

2. The rest of it left something to be desired.

Most of all, I just wish they had put on full-on French accents for the whole production. The actors often spoke in American accents then sang in French accents, it was inconsistent. I really think they need to watch Gigi and just do a French accent for the whole show like Gaston in Gigi. To be honest, I think most things would benefit from being a little more like Gigi.

At the end of the day, it just lacked the full “je ne said quoi” that a french musical should have. Dis-donc?

Eat, Pray, Love

Over the holidays, Sadie and I went to Frenchtown with our Chi O faves and made sure to go to Elizabeth Gilbert’s inspired store and eatery for Sunday brunch. I must say that the trip was a success. I thoroughly enjoyed shopping at Two Buttons while waiting to be seated at the Lovin’ Oven. After 45 minutes and the purchase of a signed copy of “Home on the Range”, we sat down to a satisfying meal. I was completely satisfied with their interpretation of sausage gravy and biscuits. They put the sausage gravy over a bed of garlic sauteed kale with a sweet potato biscuit on the side. On the way out, I noticed that they got a write up for the Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food network for their chocolate caramel tarte. I guess I know what I will have to try next time! Check this place out next time you are in the area. There is usually a bit of a wait, but it’s well worth it.  I even found some inspiration for a new display case at the bakery.
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