As part of the kids' Christmas gifts this year, we planned a Broadway Day -- two shows in one day with dinner in between.
The first show was "This Is Our Youth", a comedy by Kenneth Lonergan. It starred Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson. While I enjoyed the show, and especially the performances, I couldn't shake the feeling that the actors were performing an early draft. I'm sure there are plenty of people who loved the show and will say I'm nuts but it just didn't feel fully formed to me. It is billed as a comedy and there were certainly funny parts, but the tone was not very comedic and there was not much humor in the ending. Plus the dialogue got repetitive a number of times, rehashing ground that had been covered just moments before. All that being said, the most pleasant surprise for me was Kieran Culkin. It has been many years since I've seen him in anything. He gave a performance that was bold, daring and delivered some of the biggest laughs. Overall, interesting and enjoyable but not my favorite play.
The second show was the musical, "Once" based on the movie. The show is closing on Broadway on January 4th. This is the second time Pat and I saw it and we thoroughly enjoyed it both times. The voices were amazing, it was inventively staged on a single set and the musicianship of the entire cast (each of whom plays at least one instrument throughout the show) is so impressive. Unlike the first show, Once tells a complete story and feels fully formed. My wife felt the acting and writing were better written and more consistent. My daughter left the theater asking if we could buy the Broadway cast recording.
Both kids enjoyed both shows. My daughter, who generally prefers musicals over plays, preferred Once, saying that she found TIOY a bit depressing. My son said he enjoyed both shows. He said TIOY kept his attention throughout the entire show while he felt Once was slow at times. Both kids really enjoyed and appreciated Broadway Day and it led to some interesting discussions about the shows. The weather cooperates and made it pleasant to walk around the city so overall a very fun and successful day.