Cheap Anna Tickets: Student Rush, $21.25 when box office opens.
First is a very short abridge of the recently closed Anna in the Tropics, Nilo Cruz's Pulitzer Prize winning play. This play seemed to require you to have read "Anna Karenina", which the play mirrors and refers to twenty times a minute. Which might mean that the play is a great companion piece to the book for those who've read it. But I wondered, how could something win the Pulitzer that barely stands on its own for those (like me) who haven't read the book? I feel like I found the answer in Ben Brantley's review: "On the page, such rhetoric scans better than it does on the stage. It makes sense that the Pulitzer judges awarded the prize to ''Anna'' without having seen it performed." And not that it was performed badly; the cast was good. But the play seems better-off read than performed.
Unfortunately the entire time the show's plot points and characters don't make much sense and haven't been thought through. Take poor Joel Grey for example. The guy tries as hard as he can, but obviously nobody had a clue about what was supposed to happen with the Wizard. Are you supposed to hate him? Are you supposed to like him? Are you supposed to feel bad for him? You have no clue because it's so underwritten.
This is the majority of the show. Fyero's supposed to be the romantic lead, but you're indifferent. Glinda's supposed to be the bitch, but you actually root for her more than anybody else. Elphaba is the hero, but god is she boring until she's doing something pissy (at no fault of Idina Menzel, by the way). There's only one moment that I found truly inspired, and that's the final two minutes of the play, which made me re-think the entire Wizard of Oz story from a different viewpoint. It was a "so you mean that was going on all along?" moment. With some script help, they really could have had more of these moments.
Seeing a Broadway Abridged theme here? It's called disappointment. Ah well. Here's to the spring season; with a new production of Assassins and The Frogs it has to be promising...