Generation NEXT at the Bickford Theatre 1: Prepping for Date Nite...Without the Date.
For those not familiar with Generation NEXT, GET FAMILIAR. It’s for us young professionals: the over-worked and under-paid, whom would rather see a bulk of our measly paychecks, go towards more social and cultural after-work activities as opposed to our over-priced Tri-state rent. When I’m offered a chance to meet and socialize with like-minded culture vultures my age and see a show within my limited budget, I’m in! So here I am, clearing my Friday afternoon schedule and checking NJ Transit.
I hate to admit this as a “Theater Geek,” but somehow I missed the 12 year run for I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change when it was Off-Broadway. It is the second-longest running Off-Broadway show in the history of theater (first being The Fantastiks). So clearly, there’s something that works for this show.
From what I recall, it’s the timeless story of boy meets girl; boy and girl fall in love; boy and girl are ready to kill each other due to one another’s quirks and annoyances. Before we had Sex and the City, we had Musical Theatre to show us the humor in the trials and tribulations of struggling and failed relationships. What better way but through song and dance to reflect on that first time when you looked into your significant other’s eyes and thought, “WHAT THE F… is wrong with you!?” I will be coming to see this show with only one preconceived notion: Boys are stupid. PERIOD.
My evidence, you ask? When originally invited to come see the show, I was offered an extra complimentary ticket in the hopes of luring a date/fellow blogger to voice the male’s perspective on the onstage relationships. However, finding a straight male not only to attend a theater event but to also simultaneously write about his feelings from the experience is like buying a piece of IKEA furniture that arrives with all of its necessary parts. It happens…but it’s a rarity.
So instead, I’ll be bringing one of my good gal pals who is always up for an evening of new experiences. Or at least she’s someone always willing to make sure I stay out of trouble (a very good friend, indeed). I have no doubt we’re in for an evening of memorable stories. Theater Geek Fact Alert (I told you I was one): Did you know that during the run of this show on Off-Broadway, there was a recorded 61 proposals, all resulted with “yes’s?” Maybe this will be my lucky night after all.
Generation NEXT at the Bickford Theatre 2: The Show!
So much to blog, so little space. As expected, Generation NEXT nailed their opening season with this event! Let me begin with the actual musical, especially since this is its final weekend of performances.
My friend and I were hoping for a night of uncontrollable, gut-busting laughter and we were not disappointed. In fact, first audience applause erupted within the first 2 minutes of the start of the show which has to be some sort of record, at least for my Theater Geekdom standards.
Act I of the show is a series of short vignettes that follow the absurdity and awkwardness of dating rituals both for men and women. Why do we spend hours of preparation on a blind date that has a very good chance of only lasting a few minutes? Why not just skip the awkward first, second, and third dates to fast forward to the sex? Or even better, the thrill of the first fight followed by the even-hotter make-up sex? In “We had it All,” the two actors are able to go through an entire relationship within a 2 minute song. (I can think of a few of my own relationships that I wish had lasted that long.)
Act II highlights the post-dating phase of our lives from raising children to growing old together. Memorable moments include a scene where the single friend comes to visit the newly proud parents only to find his once-upon-a-time cool friend only to find he has been replaced by an alien version of himself who only says words like “poopy-woopy” and “gabba babba boo.” We have all lost that friend to “the baby cult.”
Next up: More on the show...
Generation NEXT at the Bickford 3: The Review!
(Sorry this show is just so good; I really couldn’t edit this down!)
There are some genuinely tender moments in this show, especially Christine Marie Heath’s rendition of “I will be loved tonight” and Marc G. Dalio’s performance as an old man looking across the table to his wife of many years and singing “Shouldn’t I be less in love with you?”
Even though the ages in the theater seemed to range from 21 to 75, there wasn’t one member who laughed particularly louder at a comic scene or sighed at a touching moment. There really is something for everyone.
My moment would have to be the single woman trying to get off the phone with her anxious mother wanting to know if the man she went on a date with the other night has called yet. She chides her mother with “he said he’d call tonight so of course he won’t call tonight” line. Every single woman knows the x 3 rule when it comes to a guy. (Take the day he says he’ll call you and add three days and that’s the actual time you will hear from him. It’s as valid as the Pythagoras Theorem). So imagine the woman’s surprise, along with the audience’s, when the man actually calls her!
The stage erupts into a musical spectacular of “He Called Me,” complete with a dancing duo of Italian pizza delivery men. When the man calls her again, the spectacular abruptly ends as she turns to the audience with a sigh to say “He’s needy.” And alas, the relationship ends before it can even begin. I hate to admit it but I am guilty of such a judgment. So I guess after seeing the other side, I will have to respectfully retract my former statement that “boys are stupid” and merely conclude that it is not about finding that perfect person but finding a person who embraces your “baggage” and inner-weirdness.
When I find mine, he will take me to see theatre.