[NOTE: This review was written in February 2021 as part of my 2010-2019 decade-in-review post.]
Richard, Tom, Liz, Jere, Dale, and I saw *Far From Heaven* at Playwrights Horizons in June 2013. It was an adaptation of the film by Todd Haynes, which I had loved. The creative team was Richard Greenberg (book), Scott Frankel (music), and Michael Korie (lyrics). These three guys had previously collaborated on the musical *Grey Gardens,* which I was crazy for, so my hopes were very high for this show. I was not disappointed.
The central couple was played by Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale, both of whom were wonderful. I had a sense that the creators of the show were really writing for O’Hara’s strength, just as Haynes was writing for Julianne Moore’s strengths in the movie. The show was beautifully put together, the music supported the drama, and they had a thoughtful variation in musical style while keeping a consistent tone. The show also had that magical extra something, that feeling of, “Yes, this is a show I want to see. It was a great idea to make this into a musical.” None of these things are a given.
The biggest treat of the show is that someone I know was in it. Here’s the whole story. I first read about the show when it had its out-of-town workshop at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in July 2012, a year before the off Broadway production. I was totally jazzed up because of the cast, the source, and the creative team. The article I saw said the show was going to have a later production at Playwrights Horizons, so I started stalking their website every month or so, so I could jump on tickets as soon they became available.
The show was announced sometime in the early spring of 2013. I was at work, looking at the website, trolling through the cast list to see if I knew anyone else in the show. One of the members of the ensemble was named Victor Wallace. That name rang a faint bell and his photo looked slightly familiar, but I hadn’t seen any of the shows he had done, so whatever. I went back to doing my job and then fifteen minutes later, out of the blue, I shouted out (to no one in particular), “VICTOR WALLACE!”
He was from my hometown. He’s significantly younger than me (6-8 years, maybe) so we were never in school together but we knew of/about each other because we were both involved in the theatre.
I lined up my friends for a date, bought the tickets, and wrote Victor a letter (care of the theater), saying, “You might not remember me but I’m from Delavan, I’m seeing your show, maybe I could visit you in your dressing room after the performance.” He emailed me the loveliest note. He said that he had made his whole career in musical theatre and the first show he ever did was *Alice in Wonderland,* which had songs written by me! Totally touched my heart.
We went to the show. I don’t believe I had laid eyes on Victor since he was about 10 years old, and I was flabbergasted when he walked out onstage. He had an unfair advantage because he was wearing a double-breasted tuxedo, but even if he’d been wearing a T-shirt and jeans, I would have been blown away. He was so handsome and hunky, I couldn’t believe it. He was in the ensemble for the show, he had a few choice moments and a song of his own. He was wonderful.
He met us in the lobby after the show and could not have been sweeter. My mom, her best friend Joan, and I saw him in *Mamma Mia!* on Broadway a few years later and he was just as charming, even more charming. He’s something else.