The Real Thing tells the story of Henry, a successful playwright who is unhappily married to Charlotte, the lead actress in his current play about a marriage on the verge of collapse. When Henry’s affair with their friend Annie threatens to destroy his own marriage, he discovers that life has started imitating art. After Annie leaves her husband so she and Henry can begin a new life together, he can’t help but wonder whether their love is fiction or the real thing.
Ewan McGregor has made his Broadway debut in The Real Thing. Victoria got us tickets for my birthday. We saw it for the first time October 18th when it was still in previews.
I liked it (and even more when I saw it the second time). It’s funny and smart. I especially laughed when Henry (Ewan) compares good writing to a well-made cricket bat that can send a ball far. Really good analogy.
I also liked the relaxed singing parts and the classic Motown soundtrack.
My one critique is that it is very wordy and you really have to listen to know the topic. So don’t see the play when you are tired. You have to pay attention. Also, don’t see the play hungry like I did. Whenever they were eating on stage, I wanted to ask if I could have some too.
So after the matinee on Saturday, October 18th, I was starving. I bought some chips for a snack and then we went to the stage door. It was not packed but we were not up against the barricade either. I did bring my camera but was very unsure that anyone would come out because actors usually don’t in between performances.
Well Ewan did come out and I was not prepared at all. I was stupidly standing 2 or 3 rows back eating chips without my camera or Playbill ready. Victoria managed to sneak her way to up to the barricade. She spoke to Ewan and he signed her Playbill. I heard her talk to him about how it was a pleasure to meet him and how she enjoyed his performance.
By the time I got to her he had moved on and I only got a couple of photos of him. After Ewan walked off towards Eight Avenue with the actress who plays his daughter. I suppose he was getting a bite to eat before the evening performance. Imagine just randomly seeing Ewan on the street or in a restaurant. So cool.
I still kick myself for missing this photo opportunity. It was light out and not cold. It would have been a great photo.
Anyway. I did get Magge Gyllenhaal’s signature (she does not take photos with fans), and Ronan Raftery’s (Billy) signature on the cover of the previews Playbill, which is too dark to see.
Then on Sunday, October 26th Vic and I spent the day in the city and went to the stage door about 45 minutes before it let out. It being Sunday with only one performance it seemed like a good chance. Plus the sun was still up and it was not too cold. Ewan didn’t come out though because he had to go to a charity event for orphans. What a waste. Not the charity for orphans part but that I did my make-up that day and made sure my hair looked nice. (Alex Law’s quote in Shallow Grave would fit in right here though. You get extra points if you know what I am talking about.)
I did ask Cynthia Nixon, Magge Gyllenhaal, and Alex Breaux (Brodie) to sign the inside of my Playbill where it is more legible. Cynthia will take photos with fans but I didn’t want one. I was saving the camera’s resources for Ewan. Which turned out to be a bust.
Take 3: On Saturday, November 16th, Victoria and I were in the city to meet friends for dinner. We thought maybe third time is charm. Of course now it gets darker earlier.
Well, Ewan did not come out this time between performances. I think only Maggie or Cynthia did? I can’t remember which, but I told her she already signed my Playbill and her performance was great.
Finally on Sunday, November 30th we were successful. Vic and I bought rush tickets. We wanted to see it again, not in previews, and get the better Playbill cover with the cast. The play was more enjoyable the second time, even from the last row of the top most balcony. After when we went to the stage door we got spots right up against the barricade. Not bad considering our seats.
Cynthia Nixon and Josh Hamilton came out before Ewan. I told them their performances were great and got their autographs. It was a new Playbill and it was my chance to get the main cast to sign it. I did not get photos with them. Again I wanted to save my camera for Ewan. Cynthia did take photos with other people. I took a photo of Josh since in the all the times I have done the stage door it was the first time I had seen him come out. I already have a few photos of Cynthia and Maggie.
I had a really good feeling at this point because my heart was racing. When I get nervous like that it is usually a good sign what I want to happen will happen. When I am too calm, like the last two times, it is usually a bad sign.
Then Madeline Weinstien, the actress playing Ewan and Cynthia’s daughter, Debbie, came out. She signed our Playbills, and I wish I had gotten a photo of her or with her, but she came out the same time as Ewan. They started at opposite ends and their paths were crossing right in front of us. Before Ewan approached us Victoria commented that Madeline’s character was having a very open conversation about sex with her dad, and Madeline said she would never talk about that with her real dad. I agreed. As she was speaking to us I realized she is American and I complimented her English accent in the play. At this point I knew I’d have no time to ask for a photo because I saw Ewan coming towards us.
Our interaction was short and sweet. He was moving down the line quickly and I feel like when he came out, people got a little crazier. I looked into his beautiful, blue eyes and said that I enjoyed his performance and singing. He might have said thank you. I usually am so overwhelmed with emotions when talking to actors at stage doors that I tend to lose my sense of hearing. He signed my Playbill and I asked for a photo. After my photo with Ewan my sister took one with him.
Maggie Gyllenhaal came out last and signed our Playbills. She had a cute, furry hat on. Victoria told her she liked it. Maggie replied it’s her gift to herself.
The Real Thing – Signed Playbill.
Top left to right – Magge Gyllenhaal and Ewan McGregor
Bottom left to right – Madeline Weinstien (Debbie), Cynthia Nixon, Josh Hamilton