More Life! (one last time)

Six months ago I did a rash thing and booked tickets for Angels on Broadway. I say a rash thing, the moment we knew it was going to New York my Mum immediately said ‘we’ll have to go’. I’m starting this blog, written just an hour before I leave for the airport, by saying how incredibly grateful I am to my Mum for making it happen. Not only has my poor, long suffering Mother agreed to spend two days of her holiday sitting through a two day show of Angels, she’s in fact positively shown off about it. Any friend she tells about the holiday gets proudly told we’re seeing an all day show twice. Secretly she loves it as much as I do. But I’m really writing this about her to say thank you- to her and a bunch of dogs. Anyone who follows me on twitter knows Mum started working as a dog sitter about a year ago (after losing our beloved family dog) and well, those monstrous mutts have meant I get to go back to New York and see Angels. As Mum says ‘The dogs are paying’ so thanks Mum. And thanks Dogs.

This is an obstinately sentimental blog. I’m beyond excited, firstly just for a holiday (aside from London I’ve been nowhere in 2 years). And to go back ‘home’ to New York, a city I’ve loved for decades, and feels as much like home as London or Cardiff does. And, fittingly it feels very much like going ‘home’ to see Angels.

As I said in the last blog it’s been interesting watching it all happen, watching from afar new people discover the play and others go back to it. And waiting until the end of the run feels right. My FOMO would have been worse had I seen it and known it was still there for several months.

Last time I was waiting to see Angels, I had a very different relationship with the play. It had been firstly over a decade since I had seen it, and honestly I wasn’t sure how much I still loved it. The PhD had sucked a lot of life- and a lot of love out of me. Luckily, we all know how that turned out. And so this time I’m returning with a love for the play, and for this production. There’s a wonderful sense of anticipation knowing what’s ahead, and the chance to once again immerse myself in that wonderfully indulgent day of theatre is something I will relish.

It’s been a wonderful lesson, these past two years or so, in how my relationship with the play continues to evolve- as something that’s become so entwined with life does I suppose. I’ve ‘grown up’ with the characters- when I started I was almost a decade younger than Prior and Louis, now the next time it comes around that point in my life will be a distant memory probably. Professionally I’ve grown up with it, through PhD, to never wanting sight of the thing or to hear Kushner’s name uttered again, through to loving it again and finding a different but renewed professional passion.

I’ve found friends because of this play. And I get to see a couple of them while I travel to see the play. That’s a wonderful thing.

And of course, this time is a little bittersweet. As much as it’s going ‘home’ it’s also a goodbye-in London I cheated, I already knew it wasn’t quite goodbye. But this time is a goodbye to a production that did change my life, and much like in Kushner’s writing reached in and changed me. I refuse to be sad about it, because again, it’s too wonderful a thing, and ‘The world only spins forward’ after all. But goodbyes are hard. And in London I knew it wasn’t goodbye. So it will be an emotional farewell.

But plays, productions and performances that reach under your skin this way, that change you a little or a lot are rare. And there is no sadness in that. So while in the moment it will be hard to say goodbye, in fact ‘The World only spins forward’ after all.

And above all else it feels like ‘going home’ being reunited with a thing that I love. The last few months have been tough, in many ways. Much like Harper’s souls wheeling, I’m hoping to re-absorb some of this play and be repaired.

And then I’m coming home to write the damn book.

More (Tony award) Life!

This blog is going to be about Angels, and why being the most nominated play in Tony history is important. But it’s also a little bit personal. The Tony’s have book-ended my Theatre Nerd career, and so my research career.
When I was 18 I flew to New York the night the Tony’s were happening. It was my first solo trip to the city, and I was going to see Hugh Jackman in The Boy From Ozagain. I’d seen it by accident the December previously, and fallen in love. Not just with the show, but with theatre, and as every theatre kid does at some point, with Broadway. That show changed me in that it’s the first I really connected with, but that show also put me on the path to my PhD. It is, for those who don’t know, the story of Peter Allen, Australian Singer-Songwriter who died of AIDS. (Except they never mention the word AIDS in the show, but that’s another thesis altogether). And to this day I can’t explain it but being a slightly strange kid (evidently) that set me on a rabbit hole of research, and years later I’m Dr-AIDS- in- Theatre.
Enough about me. Why did it matter that Angels was the most nominated in Tony history? Oh, many reasons.



The Tony’s more than London awards are the event of the New York season. Productions still live and die on Tony nominations, and while that’s not the case for Angels having it included- and no less included in the opening, with the Angel flying in- is an indication the production has truly been welcomed back ‘home’. That the British production of the American play garnered quite so many nominations (a record for a play at 11) shouldn’t be underestimated in a theatre culture that mostly likes to recongise it’s own. 

Let’s start with the actors. Firstly, of course the Tony’s recognised their ‘King of Broadway’ Nathan Lane. And of course, he won. I’ll hold my hands up and say I was skeptical about him in the role. But I will say this- he gets Roy Cohn, he gets the charming devil-with-a-smile, but he also gets underneath his skin. I read a criticism that audiences laugh at Cohn’s lines with Lane in the role. Yes, and well they should- he charms them as the real Cohn does, and that makes his evil more frightening, and when the audience cares about him more complex. Lane may have been the predictable Tony win for Angels, but it was no less deserved.

And the women of the play. If I were feeling bitter I’d say it’s less a surprise they were overlooked as winners, as the women of this play often get overlooked. Thankfully Marianne Elliott has directed a production which places the women firmly alongside the men in this piece. To that end the nomination for Denise Gough’s Harper – a parallel and an equal to Prior in the play I would argue- is an important recognition. The work Gough does is surpassingly brilliant, and although there was no win for her, to see that acknowledged is important. Equally so, and wonderfully so was the recognition for Susan Brown. An actress who has said she’s striven for ‘invisible’ in a collection of roles that in Angels are often invisible. Brown delivers heart wrenching as Joe’s mother Hannah (my dear ‘Mother Pitt’) to the dark comedy of Ethel Rosenberg, to the oldest living Bolshevik and back again. British theatre collectively gave a cheer when she was nominated, because we’ve known for years just how brilliant she is.


And of course ‘the Prophet’ Andrew Garfield. What is left to say about his performance? (well personally a lot I hope I’ve still got a book to write). Each night- or day- he lives that experience of Prior Walter. He commits to the experience of going through what Prior goes through. And he gives an audience a raw, honest feeling but somehow- in keeping with the play- a magical performance. More than that though, in now almost two years of watching him take on this play, I love how deeply he has committed in every way. Personally I’ve got something of a radar for people who love and get this play and those who just give it lip service. Garfield gets it. His interviews about it go beyond simple actor-promotion and there’s a real sense of both his commitment to it, but also a love of what this play stands for. And a sense of the universality of it. As he accepted his Tony, Garfield reached out to “Countless LGBTQ people who have fought and died for the right to live and love as we are created to”. It’s for this, that I as both as an LGBTQ person, and lover of this play I thank Garfield. His work on stage is astounding, his voice off is much appreciated.


And what of the nominations for the play itself? Why is that important? Firstly, recognition as part of the canon. That’s not to say that Angels hasn’t been recognized for some time (a slew of Tony’s the first time, a Pulitzer just for starters). But there is something about acknowledging that, twenty-five years later, back on Broadway this play is significant, and it is still relevant.
Because also let’s not forget what this play is about- its subtitle ‘A Gay Fantasia on National Themes’. It’s easy to say that being gay has changed from when Kushner first wrote, and certainly when he set the play. No, it is not a community ravaged by plague any more. Yes, it is a community with the right to marry, be equal in society. But all too often that equality is only in name, it is tentative, and in danger, it is precarious still. Yes, in our safe enclaves- including the theatre- in our ‘liberal bubbles’ we might think all is fine for LGBTQ people. But we also know it is not- especially in the current political climate. The welcome of this play on Broadway, and yes, the external validation of awards tells the world ‘we see you, we see this play and the issues in it.’


And the issues are also political, Kushner’s rallying theatrical cry was not meant to be one that endured this long. Indeed, it premiered on the eve of Clinton’s election. Things were (to borrow from British politics of the time) only supposed to get better. Well, we all know how that turned out. Again, in recognizing the play with awards, in focusing attention on it, that voice of politics becomes louder. Once again theatre rising as a voice of dissent. But also, a voice of tolerance. That Kushner used his acceptance speech to call for political action is no surprise- the play is itself a rallying cry. That he combined it with theatre, camp culture and politics is so Kushner, and so this play that it is the perfect punctuation for this revival, for this play. That Garfield in accepting this award, dedicated it to all those who had felt they didn’t belong, reaches to the heart of the play, and what this revival means; it is still necessary because it reaches out to those who don’t belong.
And then there’s the reason the Tony’s are important in the history of this play. It hasn’t been back on Broadway in 25 years. Since its original production. Parallel to this, the National Theatre had an intrinsic role in bringing the original version of Angels to life (more on that in an article of mine here). That the National Theatre flew these Angels back to Broadway…that’s something pretty special. That they did it with a woman at the helm…that’s something else.

No matter how long I write about this play, I don’t think I can quite do justice to Marianne Elliott’s achievement directing this play.  And for my money she made far more magic on stage than the Tony winner this year. It’s sheer magic that it got to the stage; Firstly, convincing anyone to stage it again is itself something. In today’s economic climate, it’s theatrical madness. In London the National doing it, as in the 90s was the only sustainable option. The safety net of subsidized theatre allows plays like this to happen. To then take that risk and bring it back to Broadway…that was bold, it was a risk. The business of it aside, artistically, to bring this production back- back to Broadway- and wipe the slate clean in many respects is so bold. This play, particularly for Broadway holds iconic status, and often Broadway doesn’t warm well to messing with its icons. Elliott went in with a production that doesn’t pay lip-service to the original- it takes the play at face value, treats it with respect but not enshrined reverence, and gave it back to Broadway re-formed.
And so the Tony’s are important. To recgonise this revival’s importance with a record number of nominations is truly phenomenal. That it didn’t win them all doesn’t matter. I will say it’s a travesty that the design teams weren’t rewarded, because this production was also built with design in mind from the ground up, and they have created some astounding work.
But what mattered in fact was to see this play back up there. It is as urgent as it was 25 years ago. To hear Kushner and Garfield give speeches as politically urgent as when this play was first staged shows how relevant it is. But artistically also, to come full circle, back to Broadway, via the National Theatre. That was truly something.

And the award might have gone to another director on the night. But that a British woman director brought this American classic home. And that Broadway welcomed it. Well that’s something. And it may not be a Tony, but I personally want to thank Marianne Elliott for that.

And thank you Tony Kushner, without whom none of this beautiful messy, important play would exist. 

More (Tony award) Life!

This blog is going to be about Angels, and why being the most nominated play in Tony history is important. But it’s also a little bit personal. The Tony’s have book-ended my Theatre Nerd career, and so my research career.
When I was 18 I flew to New York the night the Tony’s were happening. It was my first solo trip to the city, and I was going to see Hugh Jackman in The Boy From Ozagain. I’d seen it by accident the December previously, and fallen in love. Not just with the show, but with theatre, and as every theatre kid does at some point, with Broadway. That show changed me in that it’s the first I really connected with, but that show also put me on the path to my PhD. It is, for those who don’t know, the story of Peter Allen, Australian Singer-Songwriter who died of AIDS. (Except they never mention the word AIDS in the show, but that’s another thesis altogether). And to this day I can’t explain it but being a slightly strange kid (evidently) that set me on a rabbit hole of research, and years later I’m Dr-AIDS- in- Theatre.
Enough about me. Why did it matter that Angels was the most nominated in Tony history? Oh, many reasons.



The Tony’s more than London awards are the event of the New York season. Productions still live and die on Tony nominations, and while that’s not the case for Angels having it included- and no less included in the opening, with the Angel flying in- is an indication the production has truly been welcomed back ‘home’. That the British production of the American play garnered quite so many nominations (a record for a play at 11) shouldn’t be underestimated in a theatre culture that mostly likes to recongise it’s own. 

Let’s start with the actors. Firstly, of course the Tony’s recognised their ‘King of Broadway’ Nathan Lane. And of course, he won. I’ll hold my hands up and say I was skeptical about him in the role. But I will say this- he gets Roy Cohn, he gets the charming devil-with-a-smile, but he also gets underneath his skin. I read a criticism that audiences laugh at Cohn’s lines with Lane in the role. Yes, and well they should- he charms them as the real Cohn does, and that makes his evil more frightening, and when the audience cares about him more complex. Lane may have been the predictable Tony win for Angels, but it was no less deserved.

And the women of the play. If I were feeling bitter I’d say it’s less a surprise they were overlooked as winners, as the women of this play often get overlooked. Thankfully Marianne Elliott has directed a production which places the women firmly alongside the men in this piece. To that end the nomination for Denise Gough’s Harper – a parallel and an equal to Prior in the play I would argue- is an important recognition. The work Gough does is surpassingly brilliant, and although there was no win for her, to see that acknowledged is important. Equally so, and wonderfully so was the recognition for Susan Brown. An actress who has said she’s striven for ‘invisible’ in a collection of roles that in Angels are often invisible. Brown delivers heart wrenching as Joe’s mother Hannah (my dear ‘Mother Pitt’) to the dark comedy of Ethel Rosenberg, to the oldest living Bolshevik and back again. British theatre collectively gave a cheer when she was nominated, because we’ve known for years just how brilliant she is.


And of course ‘the Prophet’ Andrew Garfield. What is left to say about his performance? (well personally a lot I hope I’ve still got a book to write). Each night- or day- he lives that experience of Prior Walter. He commits to the experience of going through what Prior goes through. And he gives an audience a raw, honest feeling but somehow- in keeping with the play- a magical performance. More than that though, in now almost two years of watching him take on this play, I love how deeply he has committed in every way. Personally I’ve got something of a radar for people who love and get this play and those who just give it lip service. Garfield gets it. His interviews about it go beyond simple actor-promotion and there’s a real sense of both his commitment to it, but also a love of what this play stands for. And a sense of the universality of it. As he accepted his Tony, Garfield reached out to “Countless LGBTQ people who have fought and died for the right to live and love as we are created to”. It’s for this, that I as both as an LGBTQ person, and lover of this play I thank Garfield. His work on stage is astounding, his voice off is much appreciated.


And what of the nominations for the play itself? Why is that important? Firstly, recognition as part of the canon. That’s not to say that Angels hasn’t been recognized for some time (a slew of Tony’s the first time, a Pulitzer just for starters). But there is something about acknowledging that, twenty-five years later, back on Broadway this play is significant, and it is still relevant.
Because also let’s not forget what this play is about- its subtitle ‘A Gay Fantasia on National Themes’. It’s easy to say that being gay has changed from when Kushner first wrote, and certainly when he set the play. No, it is not a community ravaged by plague any more. Yes, it is a community with the right to marry, be equal in society. But all too often that equality is only in name, it is tentative, and in danger, it is precarious still. Yes, in our safe enclaves- including the theatre- in our ‘liberal bubbles’ we might think all is fine for LGBTQ people. But we also know it is not- especially in the current political climate. The welcome of this play on Broadway, and yes, the external validation of awards tells the world ‘we see you, we see this play and the issues in it.’


And the issues are also political, Kushner’s rallying theatrical cry was not meant to be one that endured this long. Indeed, it premiered on the eve of Clinton’s election. Things were (to borrow from British politics of the time) only supposed to get better. Well, we all know how that turned out. Again, in recognizing the play with awards, in focusing attention on it, that voice of politics becomes louder. Once again theatre rising as a voice of dissent. But also, a voice of tolerance. That Kushner used his acceptance speech to call for political action is no surprise- the play is itself a rallying cry. That he combined it with theatre, camp culture and politics is so Kushner, and so this play that it is the perfect punctuation for this revival, for this play. That Garfield in accepting this award, dedicated it to all those who had felt they didn’t belong, reaches to the heart of the play, and what this revival means; it is still necessary because it reaches out to those who don’t belong.
And then there’s the reason the Tony’s are important in the history of this play. It hasn’t been back on Broadway in 25 years. Since its original production. Parallel to this, the National Theatre had an intrinsic role in bringing the original version of Angels to life (more on that in an article of mine here). That the National Theatre flew these Angels back to Broadway…that’s something pretty special. That they did it with a woman at the helm…that’s something else.

No matter how long I write about this play, I don’t think I can quite do justice to Marianne Elliott’s achievement directing this play.  And for my money she made far more magic on stage than the Tony winner this year. It’s sheer magic that it got to the stage; Firstly, convincing anyone to stage it again is itself something. In today’s economic climate, it’s theatrical madness. In London the National doing it, as in the 90s was the only sustainable option. The safety net of subsidized theatre allows plays like this to happen. To then take that risk and bring it back to Broadway…that was bold, it was a risk. The business of it aside, artistically, to bring this production back- back to Broadway- and wipe the slate clean in many respects is so bold. This play, particularly for Broadway holds iconic status, and often Broadway doesn’t warm well to messing with its icons. Elliott went in with a production that doesn’t pay lip-service to the original- it takes the play at face value, treats it with respect but not enshrined reverence, and gave it back to Broadway re-formed.
And so the Tony’s are important. To recgonise this revival’s importance with a record number of nominations is truly phenomenal. That it didn’t win them all doesn’t matter. I will say it’s a travesty that the design teams weren’t rewarded, because this production was also built with design in mind from the ground up, and they have created some astounding work.
But what mattered in fact was to see this play back up there. It is as urgent as it was 25 years ago. To hear Kushner and Garfield give speeches as politically urgent as when this play was first staged shows how relevant it is. But artistically also, to come full circle, back to Broadway, via the National Theatre. That was truly something.

And the award might have gone to another director on the night. But that a British woman director brought this American classic home. And that Broadway welcomed it. Well that’s something. And it may not be a Tony, but I personally want to thank Marianne Elliott for that.

And thank you Tony Kushner, without whom none of this beautiful messy, important play would exist. 

Project book update…oh who the hell knows anymore

Book what book?

So it’s been a while. And when I sat down to write this update that’s not an update I thought I wouldn’t have anything to say because I haven’t been working on the book. But while I haven’t been comitting words to a page, I guess there is still work that’s been done. Even if it is mostly the ‘waving pages around in rage’ variety.

Firstly, yes the book has mostly been on pause. This is mostly because for the last 6-8 weeks my life has been consumed with getting a first draft of a play to the page (and juggling temp job, and life). In April it came down to making a decision about which to work on. And the play won simply because timelines of me getting it to the page, impact more people than myself. I could have negotiated an extension, but the knock on effect there is wider than myself, and the book quite frankly isn’t. So for the past 8 weeks I’ve been consumed by that. Anyone interested in that ‘journey’ can read about it here. And so project Angels book has (sort of) been on hiatus. To the extent last week I negotiated an extension to the first draft deadline.

And that for a moment felt like both failure and relief. I’d known for some time that I wouldn’t be able to deliver on my original deadline. As things crept ever closer I increasingly worried that I’d get it taken away from me. No matter that I rationally know that most people end up extending such deadlines, the anxiety ridden part of my brain couldn’t help but worry I’d have it taken away. And I’d feel guilty about writing the play. And tell myself I should be focusing on the sensible ‘grown up’ thing of the book (I didn’t say my brain was rational here). But then worry I’d be losing the chance at the play if I pushed back that deadline etc etc. Oh and in-between all this I go and work as a receptionist and get shouted at a lot. It’s super fun.

Ultimately it was all fine. The publisher is perfectly understanding and we’re now working to a much more realistic deadline. But there’s something in doing this independently, in juggling a temp job, allegedly job hunting, and a number of other projects that increases the stress of this exponentially.

That aside, I’m glad I’ve pushed it back. I’ve waited long enough to write this book, and I’m damn well going to do it right. Because I’m not committing anything to paper on this play that I’m not confident is the best work I can do. I’ve always had a lot to prove- from a disaster PhD, and supervisors who thought very little of both my topic and my work on it. To now fighting independent of the academy, still a bit outside the theatre world, to show what I can do. And in a stubborn point of pride that no, I didn’t have a book out while Angels was on Broadway but instead I get the incredible privilege of reflecting on that production. And while in the short term that might have been a struggle, in the long term I’m going to be incredibly proud of what I can and will write.

And so yes, since I last wrote…well anything much on the play, it’s been chugging along on Broadway. And doing incredibly. So while I’ve been not-writing I have been doing a lot of listening. Reading the press (the good, the bad and the ‘what the damn hell’) and watching fans tweet and share their excitement.

As someone interested in audiences this has been fascinating. Firstly the Broadway press machine and what it thinks audiences want- especially in comparison with the classy, engaged campaign the NT ran last year. There have of course been some wonderful engaged articles from some of the very knowledgeable American theatre writers. But there have also been pieces that…well. What can I say, I offered my ‘Dr Angels’ services many times and was rejected…

What has been an utter delight is watching fans engage with the play. Seeing tweets and blogs spring up from people seeing the play for the first time, or returning after decades away. While the good press and the awards are a delight to see this is the stuff that makes my heart sing both as a researcher and a fan myself. Delightful in particular have been the Lee Pace fans. A few of his fan accounts have engaged with me on twitter and its been lovely to see a dedicated but respectful group of fans come to this play via their favourite actor. Meanwhile just seeing people experience the wonder and the joy of the play from afar has been delightful. And honestly that reminds me why I’m doing this. And why I love it.

Research wise I can’t write this blog without an acknowledgement of the wonderful Marianne Elliott, who spoke to me once again to help with the research. And who continues to not only give intelligent brilliant insights into the play that help me, years into this nonsense, but is also so supportive and generous with her time. In the middle of a particularity bleak run of weeks my research interview with her re-energized my commitment and faith that I know what I’m doing (spoiler, I probably don’t but I’ll give it a go). And I feel very lucky to have the director of this piece be so generous with her time.

So that’s where I’ve been. And now I’m in the ‘home run’ before seeing Angels. I’m going out the final week in June, and it feels like waiting to ‘go home’. Practicalities meant the end of the run was most sensible timing-wise. But I’m glad I waited- seeing it early in the run and knowing it was carrying on after would have been torture. Waiting to see it until the end has just made me savour the build up.

I’m doing the 2 show day twice in a week (sorry Mother…) once for ‘research’ to make notes, evaluate the changes and all that fun stuff. And the second time for me, to enjoy, and to say goodbye. Already if I think about the latter I start to cry. In London I knew it wasn’t goodbye at the last show, but this time it is. And I know I’ll be a mess (Sorry Mother…). Because as much as I know this play will always be around, it comes back every ten years or so, this production has been something special for me. And as much as I’ll be enjoying every minute of that final visit. It’s also going to be one tough goodbye to this play.

But hey, once it’s gone I might actually get the rest of this book on paper.

Project book update…oh who the hell knows anymore

Book what book?

So it’s been a while. And when I sat down to write this update that’s not an update I thought I wouldn’t have anything to say because I haven’t been working on the book. But while I haven’t been comitting words to a page, I guess there is still work that’s been done. Even if it is mostly the ‘waving pages around in rage’ variety.

Firstly, yes the book has mostly been on pause. This is mostly because for the last 6-8 weeks my life has been consumed with getting a first draft of a play to the page (and juggling temp job, and life). In April it came down to making a decision about which to work on. And the play won simply because timelines of me getting it to the page, impact more people than myself. I could have negotiated an extension, but the knock on effect there is wider than myself, and the book quite frankly isn’t. So for the past 8 weeks I’ve been consumed by that. Anyone interested in that ‘journey’ can read about it here. And so project Angels book has (sort of) been on hiatus. To the extent last week I negotiated an extension to the first draft deadline.

And that for a moment felt like both failure and relief. I’d known for some time that I wouldn’t be able to deliver on my original deadline. As things crept ever closer I increasingly worried that I’d get it taken away from me. No matter that I rationally know that most people end up extending such deadlines, the anxiety ridden part of my brain couldn’t help but worry I’d have it taken away. And I’d feel guilty about writing the play. And tell myself I should be focusing on the sensible ‘grown up’ thing of the book (I didn’t say my brain was rational here). But then worry I’d be losing the chance at the play if I pushed back that deadline etc etc. Oh and in-between all this I go and work as a receptionist and get shouted at a lot. It’s super fun.

Ultimately it was all fine. The publisher is perfectly understanding and we’re now working to a much more realistic deadline. But there’s something in doing this independently, in juggling a temp job, allegedly job hunting, and a number of other projects that increases the stress of this exponentially.

That aside, I’m glad I’ve pushed it back. I’ve waited long enough to write this book, and I’m damn well going to do it right. Because I’m not committing anything to paper on this play that I’m not confident is the best work I can do. I’ve always had a lot to prove- from a disaster PhD, and supervisors who thought very little of both my topic and my work on it. To now fighting independent of the academy, still a bit outside the theatre world, to show what I can do. And in a stubborn point of pride that no, I didn’t have a book out while Angels was on Broadway but instead I get the incredible privilege of reflecting on that production. And while in the short term that might have been a struggle, in the long term I’m going to be incredibly proud of what I can and will write.

And so yes, since I last wrote…well anything much on the play, it’s been chugging along on Broadway. And doing incredibly. So while I’ve been not-writing I have been doing a lot of listening. Reading the press (the good, the bad and the ‘what the damn hell’) and watching fans tweet and share their excitement.

As someone interested in audiences this has been fascinating. Firstly the Broadway press machine and what it thinks audiences want- especially in comparison with the classy, engaged campaign the NT ran last year. There have of course been some wonderful engaged articles from some of the very knowledgeable American theatre writers. But there have also been pieces that…well. What can I say, I offered my ‘Dr Angels’ services many times and was rejected…

What has been an utter delight is watching fans engage with the play. Seeing tweets and blogs spring up from people seeing the play for the first time, or returning after decades away. While the good press and the awards are a delight to see this is the stuff that makes my heart sing both as a researcher and a fan myself. Delightful in particular have been the Lee Pace fans. A few of his fan accounts have engaged with me on twitter and its been lovely to see a dedicated but respectful group of fans come to this play via their favourite actor. Meanwhile just seeing people experience the wonder and the joy of the play from afar has been delightful. And honestly that reminds me why I’m doing this. And why I love it.

Research wise I can’t write this blog without an acknowledgement of the wonderful Marianne Elliott, who spoke to me once again to help with the research. And who continues to not only give intelligent brilliant insights into the play that help me, years into this nonsense, but is also so supportive and generous with her time. In the middle of a particularity bleak run of weeks my research interview with her re-energized my commitment and faith that I know what I’m doing (spoiler, I probably don’t but I’ll give it a go). And I feel very lucky to have the director of this piece be so generous with her time.

So that’s where I’ve been. And now I’m in the ‘home run’ before seeing Angels. I’m going out the final week in June, and it feels like waiting to ‘go home’. Practicalities meant the end of the run was most sensible timing-wise. But I’m glad I waited- seeing it early in the run and knowing it was carrying on after would have been torture. Waiting to see it until the end has just made me savour the build up.

I’m doing the 2 show day twice in a week (sorry Mother…) once for ‘research’ to make notes, evaluate the changes and all that fun stuff. And the second time for me, to enjoy, and to say goodbye. Already if I think about the latter I start to cry. In London I knew it wasn’t goodbye at the last show, but this time it is. And I know I’ll be a mess (Sorry Mother…). Because as much as I know this play will always be around, it comes back every ten years or so, this production has been something special for me. And as much as I’ll be enjoying every minute of that final visit. It’s also going to be one tough goodbye to this play.

But hey, once it’s gone I might actually get the rest of this book on paper.