Last week, I had a chance to see Preludes, a theater performance at the Claire Tow Theater at Lincoln Center. From the creators of the Tony Award-winning play Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, this show is about the early career of the great Russian composer Rachmaninoff, focusing in on the three years that followed the disastrous premiere of his first symphony — and his subsequent writer’s block.
Besides the music, there was something else that was special to me about this show: It’s star, Gabriel Ebert. Rewind back to about five years ago when Matt dragged me to see a teeny tiny production of a show called Suicide, Incorporated…on Halloween night. “It’s supposed to be funny!” Matt assured me. “Plus, it’s the only night I could snag tickets.” Begrudgingly, I went. The play was dark. Funny? Not so much. As Matt silently mouthed apologies from the seat beside me, I feigned annoyance and focused in on the show. The 85-minute production was incredible. Ebert — then, at the start of his now illustrious career — was exhilarating to watch in the lead role.
Fast forward through the evolution of my relationship with Matt: We caught Ebert on stage as Mr. Wormwood in Matilda on Broadway, a role that earned him a Tony (Matt faked me out that we were going to see Nathan Lane, then, after I dashed through the pouring rain to the wrong theater, surprised me with tickets to the much-buzzed about musical). Ebert’s now in trailers for the new Meryl Streep movie, Ricki and the Flash, and — as we discovered — back on stage in Preludes, a seemingly small, yet critically acclaimed production. In it, he acts, he sings, he dances. Ebert even takes a 5-minute nap in front of the audience during a “pause” between acts. His performance, again, is captivating.
The point of this post is two-fold. Mainly, it’s to spread the word about a piece of terrific theater that’s only on stage through the end of July. Simultaneously, it’s to share a New York moment — following an actor as his career blooms and using each of his performances as markers of my own time in NYC.
So, seen any good theater this month? 🙂