Yes, yes, I know it’s spelled “batten.” Trust me on this. It’s a bit of a journey, but hopefully interesting and entertaining along the way until we get to the main point.
Back in 2013, I wrote an article here about the musical Barnum, and mentioned that the treat for me in the video I embedded from its Tony Awards performance was how the clip included a chorus member named Sophie Schwab.
I went to Northwestern when she was there, both of us in the School of Speech (she in theater, me in Radio, TV, & Film), though we never met at the school. (I did meet her later in Los Angeles, though incredibly briefly, more on that later.)
Far more notable to me during my Northwestern years is that she had also been the school's majorette in the marching band and had won many awards as a baton twirler. Now, saying someone was a majorette might have little meaning to most people, but saying that Sophie Schwab twirled a baton was like saying Picasso drew. So let me put this in perspective:
I began going to Northwestern football games with my dad from the time I was eight, but my dad had season tickets to Northwestern games for 51 years. And of all the baton twirlers he saw (and he saw A LOT over 51 seasons), Sophie Schwab was his favorite. No one came close. Indeed, in his 90s, he not only still talked about her with wistful admiration (she was always "Little Sophie"), but of all the others he saw over half-a-century she was the only majorette he even remembered. During my years at Northwestern I often would leave the student section to sit with him, and he always looked forward to seeing “Sophie” arrive, we both did. But he especially adored watching her, she was that good (no, really) and with such personality and charm leading 100 band members down the field. She wasn't just a twirler, she was absolutely remarkable. (In an interview I later came across about her in Barnum, she said that she could never remember dropping the baton during a performance – however she didn't mean a performance of Barnum, but any performance she had ever done, whether while marching or in a competition or on stage. From what little you can see in that Tony clip, her boundless skill is clear. I remember, too, reading about reviews of Barnum that singled out this small, talented performer tossing the baton -- not a few spins like you’d probably expect from a Broadway actress, but throwing the baton high above the proscenium arch, so far it was out of sight of the audience, doing a somersault or spin and catching it without a miss. Ever.)
Not shockingly, beyond her skills as an actress, it was her baton twirling that clinched her being hired for the show. How great was she? Lyricist Michael Stewart even changed a line in the song “Come Follow the Band” to refer to her -- “See the pretty lady toss that baton high, ain't she cute as a daisy?”
As I said, you can see what I’m talking about in that video I’d posted with the Barnum article back in 2013, but I’ll embed the video alone here for easier viewing. She comes in from the far left of the screen at the 1:28 mark. And you can hear the new lyric as she sends the baton soaring into the sky. Keep in mind, she did this every night. Without a drop --
(Side note: The video continues for a while after the song finishes at 3:30. Feel free to keep watching Jim Dale's solo number, or stop and come back here.)
We now bump up the story to two years ago.
I’d written an article several years ago about the Harnick and Bock show, She Loves Me, which I titled “The Great Movie Musical That Never Was.” And in 2020, a fellow named David Rosen came across it, and we began exchanging detailed notes about the show and musicals in general, eventually getting around to Frank Loesser’s show The Most Happy Fella. He mentioned that his wife was an actress and had done that show, presented by a well-regarded off-Broadway theater. Her name struck a chord, though I couldn’t place it. In a subsequent note of our conversation, we returned to She Loves Me, and he offhandedly commented that his wife had done that musical at -- Northwestern. Wait, hmmm, hold on, Northwestern, actress, musicals, something familiar, Sophie Hayden was her name…wait, I think that’s…that’s…Sophie Schwab!!!
And so it was. As amazed as I was, I said I was about to blow his mind by explaining I’d not only gone to school with her and written about Barnum, and embedded a video of it, but also singled out his wife in the video and wrote about her and her baton twirling, and even briefly crossed paths with her once! And yes, his mind was blown.
And he got to pass along the wonderful story about how she got hired for Barnum – not just in the chorus, but also as understudy for the female lead, who was…Glenn Close. He was a talent agent at the time, and had become a couple with Sophie. I’ll let him explain the story – again, keeping in mind that the producers were just looking for the most basic juggling skills for an actress and having NO IDEA what they were in for, auditioning an actress who was also one of the, literally, great majorettes in the country. David wrote:
“I got her an audition for Charity Barnum, which she aced, but Glenn Close had already been hired so they considered Soph for understudy. So they asked if she "had any circus skills" ie juggling, etc. She said, sure, I can juggle three fire batons. She said they laughed, and said to come back. Well the rest is history. And she came back, lit three batons up and kicked butt. Needless to say it was impressive. So she ended up in the chorus and understudied Charity. Also, the line in Come Follow the Band..."See the pretty lady toss that baton high" wasn't in the original score. : ) Being a stage door Johnny, I saw the show like 25 times! I still think its one of the best underrated musicals of all time.”
I can only imagine the producers laughing to themselves when this actress said she could juggle three fire batons, and only wish I was there to see their boggled amazement at what she could actually do, sending the fire batons flying all over the place amid somersaults. (After all, you saw part of her stage performance in the link above.)
What also became more clear as my exchanges with David Rosen continued was that while I knew Sophie Hayden had continued with acting (which relates to the play I saw her in, in Los Angeles – more on that soon…), I didn’t realize how substantively. And that the off-Broadway theater behind The Most Happy Fella was actually a Broadway production, which got nominated for Best Revival, had a cast album released – and she wasn’t just in it, but starred as the female lead, ‘Rosabella’…and got a Tony nomination for Best Performance for a Leading Actress in a Musical.
And though there’s more to this story coming in a moment, here first is a video of Sophie Hayden with Spiro Malas at the 1992 Tony Awards singing “Happy to Make Your Acquaintance.”
And as a bonus from the show’s original cast album, here she is singing her big, soaring ballad, “Somebody, Somewhere.”
Oh, and one other thing to bring this full circle -- The Most Happy Fella was one of my father's absolutely favorite musicals. He would have been utterly overjoyed by this. That his favorite "Sophie" starred in the revival on Broadway. And got a Tony nomination. Even without a baton.
Which finally brings us to what prompted me to write all this. This is the point. (Not that all that which came before isn't a joy...)
Around 1983, the Goodman Theater in Chicago had the weird idea to do Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors as a mad sort of circus production with The Flying Karamazov Brothers (a joyously wonderful troupe I’d seen at the periodically-mentioned here Ravinia Musical Festival). It eventually went to Broadway in 1987 and then toured the country, where it played in Los Angeles. It was staged at UCLA, as I recall, near where I lived. And loving the Flying Karamazov Brothers as I did, I anxiously got tickets – not having any idea who this “Sophie Hayden” was in the cast, until I read the actors’ biographies. And I realized, “It’s Sophie Schwab!!!” (Which is why the name “Sophie Hayden” was vaguely familiar to me when her husband mentioned it.)
In fact, she’d been in the original Goodman Theater production. As the New York Times critic Mel Gussow (who had seen the original production) wrote when the show was on Broadway –
“Sets, lights and breakaway costumes are by the same creative hands. But there have been a few minor changes on the road to the Beaumont,” he noted. “Sophie Schwab, still delightful as Adriana (wife to Antipholus), has changed her stage name to Sophie Hayden…”
And then later added – “Ms. Hayden, Gina Leishman (as her sister) and a few others have a genuine affinity for the Shakespearean language. On the other hand - as I said in my original review from Chicago - as classical actors, the Karamazovs are not about to challenge the Royal Shakespeare Company. But can Ian McKellen juggle?
“The Karamazovs use juggling as a comic instrument and for punctuation. In this production, the juggling is infectious, or, if you will, catching. Everyone does it,” Gussow noted. “Just as the Karamazovs use tenpins to make a point, Ms. Hayden twirls her baton, which could be regarded as singular form of juggling. For example, when she is angry, she swings her baton as if it were a machete.”
When the show played in Los Angeles, I anxiously went, thought it was an utter joy, was pleased to see that Sophie Schwab – er, sorry, Hayden, was in it and wonderful – and then waited around afterwards as the actors left to finally say hi after all these years. It wasn’t much, we briefly talked about Northwestern, marching bands, my dad’s joy from her, and that was it.
But the point of all this here was her performance in that show. The whole evening was wildly entertaining, filled of course with much juggling and every bit of vaudeville shtick you could imagine. And as it went on, all I could think was -- with all this vaudeville circus clowning, they just have to include her baton twirling. Have to. And I kept waiting and waiting. Surely they would do something. And then, at last, there came a moment in the show when the character of ‘Adriana’ walks out on stage, and -- and -- and she's holding…a big stick. And I quickly sat up, because I knew. Okay, this was it. The audience was about to be knocked for a loop. They just think she’s holding a stick. But oh, noooo, that’s not a stick. That is a baton. Trust me, folks. That -- is -- a -- baton.
The scene began normally. Keep in mind, too, that at this point this was an actress who the audience had seen as an actress simply doing Shakespeare for two hours -- doing it with great humor, of course, but there was no reason to expect anything different by now. And then, at first, there was a nice, fast spin and flip behind her back, and the crowd gave a very-surprised laugh and was politely appreciative. Whoa, that was unexpected, an actress learned to twirl the baton a bit, how nice. Well-done. No, no, I thought, oh, no, you folks haven’t seen anything yet. And then…yes, it built, and Sophie got to do her stuff. And built some more. And more. And all the while, the audience became almost silent, partly holding their breath, partly not sure what was coming and not wanting to miss the next twirl. Until finally, they at last broke into huge cheers. It's one thing to see a baton twirler in a musical about the circus. But in Shakespeare, while doing dialogue and then...during a soliloquy, a baton flying all over the place, and with acrobatics??!! No, the audience really wasn't expecting it. Well, okay, I was...
And after all this long tale here with diversions and details, even that tale is just background, because it brings us to the main point and the treat to prove it all, even more so than the wonderful Barnum video.
Because, you see, that Flying Karamazov Brothers production of Comedy of Errors was done for television. With, of course, Sophie Hayden. And even better, in one of my treasured finds, the video of the full show is actually online! I downloaded it, and then fast-forwarded through the show in order to find The Scene -- and have edited it down here. And you get to see that I wasn't lying.
This is the main point. This is Tony-nominee Sophie Schwab Hayden doing Shakespeare, no doubt as intended. But at the very least, as only she can. Every night. Without dropping the baton, ever.
Mary Badham is not a name most moviegoers recognize – even many who have seen and adore To Kill a Mockingbird. But she was the 10-year-old girl who played ‘Scout’ and got a supporting actress Oscar nomination for it.
She actually had a bit of a career as a young actress after making the movie in 1962 – including This Property Was Condemned with Robert Redford and Natalie Wood, and even was in the last-ever episode of The Twilight Zone. But acting was never her driving interest, and she’s been largely retired for 56 years, other than a small cameo role in a small, reasonably-charming independent movie Our Very Own in 2005 (which I’ve seen) after the filmmakers actively pursued her, and (to my surprise) a TV movie thriller, Erasing His Past in 2019. But that’s it. And she’s never done theater.
And is it ever a theatrical debut.
Opening just the other day, she’s now appearing at the Kennedy Center in Aaron Sorkin’s stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. As the expression goes – boy, howdy. That’s a stage debut.
Sorkin’s play opened on Broadway in late 2018 with Jeff Daniels starring as ‘Atticus Finch.’ It was a big success but had to shut down because of COVID, though he returned to the role when the play re-opened on Broadway. It also started a national tour with Richard Thomas in the lead.
Badham had seen the play on Broadway and loved it, but had no thought of actually being in it. However, the producer went all-out to get her involved. And finally she agreed, She’ll be playing the role of ‘Mrs. Dubose,’ who is the Finch family’s strong-willed, racist neighbor.
It’s not a major role, but an important one, most especially because of the character’s interactions with an often-confrontational ‘Scout.’ A Washington Post article on the production describes how “mind-bending” it is for actress Melanie Moore who plays ‘Scout’ in the play and shares scenes with Ms. Badham who originated the role 54 years earlier. (Unlike the 10-years-old that Badham was in the film, Moore plays the character over a range of ages and is 30.)
“In rehearsals, I would do things and make her laugh,” Moore says, “and she would come up to me and say, ‘Oh, that was so Scout when you did that.’ Moments like that brought me so much joy. I felt like I was really bringing something to the character that she felt like she recognized and also surprised her. But I can’t think too hard about yelling things at the original movie Scout as Scout myself.”
If you don’t remember the character of ‘Mrs. Dubose’ well, here’s a scene from the movie --
I haven’t seen any reviews yet of the production at the Kennedy Center, though have come across a couple of articles about her being in the show. This one here in the Washington Post is a pretty good, detailed one.
There’s also a long podcast interview with her by the entertainment reporter for local Washington, D.C. station, WTOP which I’ll link to below. But this is a brief, 40-second preview that’s highly-worth checking out because of a moment at the very end which will melt the hearts of fans of the movie. Presuming you have a heart
One of the things that stands out in her WTOP interview were her glowing words about Gregory Peck, who played her noble father ‘Atticus Finch’ in the film – but also of Brock Peters, who played ‘Tom Robinson,’ the man her father was defending.
“What you saw on screen is what we got at home,” Badham said. “I would go home with the Pecks on the weekend. We became very close and stayed friends right up until he passed. He was an Atticus. He really was. He was so kind, generous, intelligent, well-read and just a very good role model for me because I lost my parents very early in my life.”
In fact, since Badham lost her parents young, Peck became almost a real-life father figure to her.
“My mother died three weeks after I graduated high school and Daddy died two years after I got married,” Badham said. “He [Peck] would take the time to pick up the phone and call: ‘How are you doing, kiddo?’ … Whenever I was in Los Angeles, I’d go to their house. It was a very close relationship. He and Bernice picked up where Mother and Daddy left off.”
It turns out, too, that she stayed in touch with Brock Peters over the years and was sort of mentored by him.
“Brock and I did a symphony program together … in Kansas where they played some pieces of music [from the movie], then between the music we would tell little behind-the-scenes stories … things that happened off-camera,” Badham said. “I had my daddy, I had Gregory Peck and I had Brock Peters. Those three guys were my male role models.”
By the way, if one does know the name “Badham” in relation to movies, it’s more likely her older brother, John Badham. He became a director and a very successful one, making such movies as Saturday Night Fever, WarGames, and Blue Thunder. In fact, he’s still directing, mostly TV these days. She tells a funny story on the podcast about his reacting to her making To Kill a Mockingbird.
“All he ever wanted to do was be in film and theater, that was his goal, he studied at Yale, working hard, beating his brains out to make it,” she said. “He gets a call from my mother, ‘Baby sister is going to be in a movie.’ He’s like, ‘What?’ Fast forward, ‘Baby sister has been nominated for an Academy Award,’ and I don’t think he’s ever forgiven me!”
As a bit of a sidenote, I was intrigued for an odd personal reason by Mary Badham talking on the podcast about the film’s famous Halloween ham costume.
“It was made out of chicken wire and paper machete,” she said. “Our set manager made it [and] wanted to try it on me to make sure it would fit OK. When he did, it went right down and I couldn’t see out of the eye port, so he had to rig up a harness in there. It was so wide, it was a little difficult to maneuver around in it very easily, but we managed.”
Why this stood out for me is that many years ago, I was a tourguide at Universal Studios. And on Halloween, the tourguides were all encouraged to wear costumes. Now, one of the tour controllers, who sent out guides when a tram was ready, was a young woman named Spanky, and everyone there knew that her very favorite movie in the entire world was To Kill a Mockingbird, which was a Universal movie. (We guides would always point out the Boo Radley house when the tram passed by – Boo Radley played by a young Robert Duvall). And as it happened and fate intervened, Spanky herself was very small, less than five-feet. So, what several tourguides did was go to the studio’s massive property warehouse where props from Universal movies over the decades were still stored. And they asked if by any remote chance the warehouse still had the ham costume?? And…it did! The guides explained why they wanted to borrow it for a few hours – and the warehouse manager had a heart and love of movies, and actually gave permission. So, they sneaked the ham costume up to the tour center, and in a joyous ceremony presented it to Spanky to wear on Halloween. She not only was overcome with bowled-over emotion – but even better, she fit in it! And for the rest of the day, this overjoyed young woman went around for Halloween wearing Scout’s real ham costume.
But this is all about Mary Badham, who wore the ham costume for the first time when she was 10 years old. And is now making her stage debut at age 69 in the stage version of To Kill a Mockingbird at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. What a stage debut.
No word yet if she’ll continue on the national tour with the show. But if she is when it comes to Los Angeles in October, I will do everything I can to make the show my second to attend during the pandemic.
Here's the full podcast interview with her for Jason Fraley of WTOP.
There were a few shows that I hoped did well in the Tony Awards last night, but only one that I actually cared about, and that was The Lehman Trilogy. I just dearly love the play on several levels. And it went five-for-five! Best Play, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Scenic Design and Best Lighting Design.
(Okay, for sticklers, to be accurate it went five-for-seven, because it actually got seven nominations - since all three actors, the entire cast, were nominated for Best Actor. Though, of course, it could only win one of those.)
I've seen The Lehman Trilogy twice, which is saying a lot because it's about 3-1/2 hours long. The first time was when it streamed a live production from London as part of the National Theatre Live series, with the original cast. It was spectacular - a look at the history of the Lehman Brothers who came to America as immigrants not speaking English, and following the family over the intervening 200 years through to the growth of the Lehman Brothers investment firm today and its ultimate collapse. It's a visceral production with three actors as essentially the entire cast - playing about 150 roles, men, women, children, adults and aged grandparents. Yes, really. (Again, to be accurate, in one scene at the very end there a half-dozen actors in non-speaking roles in the background, portraying the modern Lehman Brothers firm.) Most notable for me was Simon Russell Beale, who was one of my dad's three favorite British actors from my folks regular trips to London. (Seven years ago, I posted this video with him and others singing Stephen Sondheim's "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid" at the London Proms. It's a lot of fun and worth pausing here to check or -- or come back when you're done.)
In fairness to his brilliant performance, which won him the Tony for Best Actor tonight, all three actors in the show have equal parts, which he acknowledged in his acceptance speech. In fact, when the play premiered in London, the three actors were all nominated as Best Actor - as they were here at the Tonys - but with one huge difference: because it was near-impossible to separate their intertwining performances, the three were nominated together as one "person."
In fact, I raved about it here, three years ago, for those interested in more detail about the play.
The second time I saw The Lehman Trilogy was just a few months ago when the original cast brought the play to Los Angeles. (Well, two of the three - Simon Russell Beale and Adam Godley, who those who watch the streaming series The Great on Hulu about Catherine the Great will recognize as the Archbishop.) I dearly, dearly wanted to see it live and most-especially with Simon Russell Beale, but it was during COVID. And I hadn't yet cross the threshold where I was ready to go to the theater. But I kept checking the seating chart for the Ahmanson, and found a seat in the last row of the mezzanine where there was no one around me for five rows. So, I felt comfortable enough with that. And it was the first - and still only - theater production I've seen since the pandemic. That's how much I love the play and wanted to see it.
And I'm serious about the five rows. Here's the seating chart when I bought my tickets a few days before the performance. All the darkened dots are unsold seats. My seat is the purple dot in the last row at the bottom.
I obviously didn't have a great view of the stage, though they had a video screen and I brought binocular, so I divided my time between "live," binoculars and video. But above all, seeing it live with that cast (and, of course, Simon Russell Beale) was tremendous. And seeing the physicality of the almost-always turning set and actors moving props around to change settings added to it. And there was also a physical dimension and depth to the production (including with almost-impressionist video as a moving background) that didn't come across in the streaming version, which was deeply impressive.
I also had a sort of personally-memorable moment that overlaps the play. About three years ago, the Writers Guild screened the movie 1917, directed by Sam Mendes - who had also directed The Lehman Trilogy - and since he cowrote the film's screenplay, he was going to be present afterwards with his cowriters for a Q&A. I very much wanted to see the movie (which was great), but I was also considering getting called on during the Q&A to mention The Lehman Trilogy, having nothing of course to do with the movie, but it was that great. And given that I feel awkward asking questions at Q&As, it was even more of a leap. But I wanted to do so in part because it was indeed great, but also because the production was not well-known in the U.S. at that point, so I thought he'd like to know of an American awareness and admiration of it. As the post-screening questions about the movie went on, combined with my awkwardness, I ultimately felt it was not the venue to say anything there. But…hmmm, maybe I could go down to the stage after to say something. However, he and his reps immediately left through the side door. And so, I made a quick and weird decision. I raced out the theater, turned the corner and ran to the side door where were the waiting limos. The group was just exiting, but much as I wanted to say something, even more I didn't want to intrude. So…what to do??? I quickly had an idea. As they headed to the limo, I slowly and calmly timed my walk, so that as I passed the car as Mendes was getting in…all I said was, "I loved The Lehman Trilogy." And kept walking. That's it. I only paused to look back to see if he might have heard. And he not only did - he got out of the limo and walked to me. With a big smile on his face. So, I walked back. And said that, yes, I loved tonight's movie, but I most-especially loved The Lehman Trilogy and had seen it on National Theatre Live. He expressed his appreciation, we nodded, and he left. The thing is - as much as I went through that because I wanted to express my admiration for the work, even more I truly thought that because of what the production is (which anyone who's seen it can understand) he - and indeed anyone who worked on it - would be glad to hear appreciation of the monumental work. And it turned out, I was right about that. So, I'm glad that I made that silly effort.
And I'm glad that the play won five Tony Awards out of five, including Best Play, Best Director and Best Actor for Simon Russell Beale.
No trailer will do it justice, but it will give some sense of the tone and staging. That's Simon Russell Beale who starts the narration.
And as a bonus, here's one minute of a scene --
“How dare you! You think we don’t have hearts?”
-- Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
I may owe Mr. Gohmert an apology for ridiculing him on social media about saying this yesterday. My initial reaction was that everyone has a heart, even Al Capone and Stalin, and that what's important is how one uses it. And so it came across like faux-tears whining from someone who enabled Trump's hate-filled actions for four years against Mexicans, Asians, children in cages, judges, the press and more that put lives at risk
However, it has since occurred to me that Gohmert may not have been foolishly whining at all. Rather, it is very possible he was just rehearsing for an upcoming Capitol Hill production as Shylock in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, and simply got the speech slightly wrong.
"If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die?"
What threw me is that the words were close, but just a wee bit off. That, and also I couldn't see Louie Gohmert playing a Jew.
But I should have figured it if only from the last line. "And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?" I guess what threw me is that Shylock was actually wronged.
Now, if Shakespeare had written, "And if we are treated fairly and most properly, but we think we hath been wronged for that things didst not turn out the way we wanted, shall we not revenge?" -- then I probably would have gotten it right away.
Before going back to Nichols & May together, we're going to stick with Elaine May alone. And while this isn't very long, or overly funny, it is surprising and wonderful.
Elaine May was famous for her comedy work Mike Nichols, and then on her own for things like directing The Heartbreak Kid (which starred Charles Grodin and her daughter Jeannie Berlin) and writing The Birdcage, that reteamed her with Nichols who directed. She did star in the 1971 movie A New Leaf opposite Walter Matthau, which she also wrote and directed (which isn't a shabby trifecta), but she did very little "ensemble" acting. A very few small things here and there over 50 years. The only notable work was when she wonderfully starred in 2016 as Woody Allen's wife in his 6-episode series for Amazon Prime, Crisis in Six Scenes. (It was just fair, but the scenes between the two of them made it all worth it.)
But then, in 2019, starred on Broadway in The Waverly Collection by acclaimed playwright Kenneth Loneregan, who won an Oscar for writing Manchester by the Sea. And...she won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play.
This is her acceptance speech. It is SO gracious, short and sweetly funny.
For a couple of years, I've wanted to see a streaming special, but it was on Hulu, which I didn't subscribe to. I knew I could sign up for a month and then cancel, but there were other things I was in the midst of watching and I also wanted to wait until there were a few others things on Hulu that I wanted to watch.
I finally had a few shows on my list and was caught up on other, so I signed up for Hulu for the month -- it turns out that they offer 30 days for a free trial, which is all the better.
I watched the special a couple nights ago, and it was excellent. Since one can get a month free, to try the service out (or you might already subscribe), I think it's worth checking out, and probably doesn't have a title most have heard of. It’s a videotaped production of a one-man off-Broadway show called Derek Delgaudio’s In and Of Itself.
I heard of it when Stephen Colbert was raving about the production on his show a while back and had Derek Delgaudio on, along with Frank Oz who directed the video version. Colbert said he and his wife were so blown away by having seen it on stage that they wanted to help get it made as a film, and are executive producers. I actually turned off the interview, though, because from the way all of them set the show up, saying how near-impossible it was to describe without giving anything away, I didn’t want to know anything more. (But that’s just me being me. I don’t read reviews beforehand because I don’t want to know anything.)
Whether the show is to everyone’s taste, I don’t know, it's pretty different, but I think it would be for most people. It’s really good. If you’re interested, I'm embedding the trailer below. It sets the tone well, but doesn’t give much of anything away. If (like me) don’t want to know anything at all, though, then avoid it. Otherwise, it’s fine. The show runs about 90 minutes.
By the way, now that I’ve seen the film, I tracked down Colbert’s interview with Derek Delgaudio and Frank Oz, and an earlier one with Delgaudio alone They all talked about how difficult it was to promote the show without talking about almost anything about it, including simply what it was. At one point, Colbert asks Oz how he describes the show when not being able to say much about it, to which Oz replies, “The problem with answering that is that for me to tell you my opinion of what the show is…goes against what the show is.” Colbert laughed and said, “Exactly!! That’s perfect. Well, that’s it for tonight, goodnight, folks!”
So, here's the trailer. (You'll see a couple familiar faces in the small audience, there are a few more in the full film, as well.) If you're intrigued by it, just know that you're intrigued without knowing pretty much anything about it. That's a tough thing to pull off...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor