Memories of A Class Act - Compiled on Wednesday, August 29, 2001
A Class Act was, for me, the best musical of the 2000-2001
Broadway season. (Of course, I also thought it was the best musical on
or off Broadway, but that's neither here nor there.) I started
thinking about it while I was getting ready for work this morning, and a flood
of memories just came rushing back to me. I thought I would take this
opportunity to compile them here.
Among other things, I remember:
Sitting in the upper reaches of the rear balcony on opening night, watching
the spotlight near the top of the show slowly moving across the stage to
find Lonny Price sitting in a box, and knowing I was in for something
The wonderful neuroticism displayed by Lonny Price's Ed. The way he
dutifully arranged everything on top of the piano just prior to "Paris
Through the Window" was priceless by itself, but his innate fear at
having the door opened more than the tiniest crack just a few moments
earlier was hilarious, too. Whether he was originally a last minute
replacement or not, Lonny Price owned that role, and I don't think anyone
will ever play it better.
The look Patrick Quinn (Lehman Engle) had on his face when Ed (Lonny Price)
sharpened his pencil after "Paris Through the Window."
You are now leaving Mona... Michele Ragusa was good,
but no Nancy Anderson.
"Under Separate Cover." Everything about it, without exception,
including the perfect scene change at the end. One of the best songs on
Broadway in the 2000-2001 season. (As far as I'm concerned, the next
closest contenders also came from this show as well.)
"Don't Do It Again," when performed by Lonny Price and Sara
Ramirez. Enough said!
Sara Ramirez always--always--getting exit applause walking offstage
during "Gaugin's Shoes." (Ann Van Cleave just didn't have the
The "Gaugin's Shoes": dance. I was very disappointed when
Adam Heller didn't do this at the performance I saw. Something significant
"Better." Stephen Sondheim wished he had written this song for a
reason--the brilliant staging, the scenic effects, and the wonderfully
appropriate choreography, and the zesty orchestrations were simply the icing
on the cake.
Sara Ramirez's amazing belt on the last note of "Better."
"The Next Best Thing To Love." Who could ever tell this song
wasn't written for this show? Ann Van Cleave did well with it, but Randy
Graff inhabited that song, and wouldn't let it--or the audience--go
until it was time.
The way David Hibbard, as Michael Bennett, took to the floor during Ed's audition.
I'm only aware of two performances where it got a laugh, but, in retrospect, it was
perfect for a dancer.
The way Donna Bullock sang
for the role" in
"Broadway Boogie-Woogie." Carolee Carmello is great on the OCR,
but that moment always belonged to Donna Bullock.
The uproarious laughter and applause that nearly stopped the opening night performance
when Jeff Blumenkrantz appeared as Marvin Hamlisch for the first time.
The gasp that almost unfailingly resonated throughout the theatre when people realized
the song Ed never wanted to write was "What I Did For Love."
The stage effect at the end of the A Chorus Line
sequence--almost the first time with the entire cast onstage--when the stage
revolved while the mirrors were going crazy in the background. This moment
got spontaneous applause twice (not bad for a show with no real sets). A
"Say Something Funny." This song always got me.
At the final performance, Lonny Price getting nearly a minute of entrance applause,
and looking to the skies as the noise just wouldn't die down. (Randy Graff also
received entrance applause, even more unusual, a few minutes later.)
Also at the final performance, Lonny Price and Randy Graff kissing during the extended
applause following "The Next Best Thing to Love."
In the last minutes of the final performance, David Hibbard starting to cry during his
last lines in "Self Portrait."
The standing ovation that followed the closing performance, beginning almost as soon
as the performers appeared from behind the drops.
Nancy Anderson, sitting only a few rows behind me, cheering on her ex-castmates. (I
also got to talk to her during intermission--it was wonderful hearing her thoughts
about the show, actually seeing it for the first time.)
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