Having no idea what kind of party I was getting myself into when I walked through the doors of the New York City Center to see Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party, I knew as soon as Sutton Foster walked center stage and gave us that sly look, we were in for some trouble, and in for some fun, and in for some messy goings on (based on the Joseph Moncure March narrative poem of the 1920’s). Drugs, booze, and sex was in store, and we got plenty, along with all the threats of violence and betrayal that come with this or any wild Wild Party. All served up to us festively by the exciting people at Encores! Off Center and director, Leigh Silverman.
Sutton Foster’s Queenie, the lost nightclub dancer and singer, throws a party with her brutish and violent drunk of a lover, Burrs, the magnificent Steven Pasquale (who by the way, is welcome to come to any of my parties in the future, just so you know), and we know that this party will not have a happy ending. Sutton Foster throws herself, body and torchered soul, into the part and it’s difficult to take our eyes of her, as is the case with velvety voiced Black (Brandon Victor Dixon), the handsome guest and arm candy of Queenie’s friend, Kate. Spectacularly played by the power house, Joaquina Kalukango could blow the roof off of any party, especially when she belts out the incredible song, “The Life of the Party”.
Now with any drug and drink infused party, the energy can ebb and flow. Sometimes I felt like the show was just dragging along in the way some parties do, and I wanted something to happen, some mischief or excitement. It seemed to loose it’s momentum at moments, but just as I was thinking this is the time when a party gets dull, and we think about leaving, along comes Miriam Shor, playing the suit wearing lesbian Lothario. She livens the whole party up with the deliciously fun “An Old Fashioned Love Story”, and almost steals the show from it’s four exceptionally talented lead lovers/fighters. I only wish we had a few more of those naughty but wonderful moments throughout that party.
But happily, I left that Wild Party feeling energized and excited. Feeling that kinda boozy high you feel when you leave a wild fun crazy party in the hot summer days of Manhattan. Loving what those people are doing over at Encores! and happy I got to attend. (I’m not going to even mention how upset I am for being out of the country for Little Shop of Horrors…..).