So I’m standing there, second row centre (yes, it is worth spending literally 11 hours on my feet to ensure that my 4′11″ miniscule self can see), in the middle of Keala Settle’s unreal performance of Pasek and Paul’s new song, This Is Me, and I turn to @room108 bug eyed and shaking my head and say “I cannot believe how f***ing amazing this (Elsie) is.”
Surprise after surprise. Hit after hit. Truly guys - Darren has created something so magical. I was blown away.
I like to try to give those who couldn’t come a sense and details that I haven’t seen around. So without further ado - the good, the really good, and the best:
1. The politics -
Given the current dystopia that is the United States right now, Alan Cumming and Norm Lewis in particular, wove politics into their performances, elevating the whole thing from ‘yay fun day with Broadway
songs!’ to feeling like somehow coming together to sing was part of the resistance. It made me happy to be there:
Alan Cumming referenced I believe it was “calm before the storm” and “you’ll find out” tongue in cheek at his intro (can others remember the details of this?) and noted that while today was to celebrate, we need to resist all that is going on. In his set, he told us about a law coming into effect today in Mississippi that will allow employers to discriminate against LGBT employees and will allow doctors to refuse treatment to LGBT people (??!!!). So he said he’s singing a song he only sings for special occasions like weddings, as a form resistance - ‘What More Can I Say?’ from Falsettos as it’s a same sex love song written from a male for another male.
Norm Lewis chose the aptly titled ‘What’s Goin’ On?’ and used it as a political message - At the end of the song he sang: ‘what’s goin’ on?…ISIS. what’s goin’ on? Russia, what’s goin’ on? Throwin’ paper towels. What’s goin’ on? Las Vegas….Watch here. You can see him kneel and make a fist in the air at the very end. Resist.
2. The Moments -
So many but just a few that come to mind:
3. The Flow -
- Keala Settle and Norm Lewis coming out pre-show during the Marie’s Crisis sing-a-long to join us for ‘One Day More’
- Etai Benson thanking his roomie from college, Darren and vice versa
- The true surprise and glee of Elvis Duran talking about who would introduce Lea Michele… “here to introduce our next performer blah blah blah and this guy thought it would be a good idea to cast Darren as a murderer…Mr. Ryan Murphy” - Shit son. I was stoked that he was there.
- While we knew Jenna was there from tweets, wasn’t clear she was going to sing and then in the midst of Darren’s set, Darren introducing Granger Danger “blah blah blah and for those who wanted Glee and Starkid world’s to merge, here it is - Jenna Ushkowitz is going to sing this song with me”. So much excitement. Fun fun.
- The sweat literally POURING from Darren during Cough Syrup. Just watch that guy perform - wow.
- ONE OF MY FAVE THINGS - Darren’s serious and true reverence of and love for Ingrid Michaelson. So Darren is very often the goof in the face of praise, turns serious-ish things a bit jokey etc…But not in the face of Ingrid Michaelson - Introduces her as one of the greatest songwriters he knows, whom he aspires to, loves her voice, so brilliant. And he told a story of how on Glee, they were talking about their fave long songs of all time, and her song “The Way I am” was his choice - and then they sang it. It was just lovely to see him so serious and reverent.
- Auli’i Cravhalo correcting Darren - Moana is not a princess, she’s a heroine. And her trio with Chuck and Darren on Lost Boys Life was gorgeous.
- Chuck and Darren saying “I love you” to each other as Chuck left the stage after Lost Boys Life. And Chuck’s Lea Michele cut off tee that Darren pointed out - so perfect!
- That Pasek and Paul song - This is Me - sung by Keala Settle is the fucking bomb. Seriously amazing.
- Of course Darren’s Tom Petty encore - acoustic, alone - and his voice was so beautiful.
Two things I thought worked so well that were different from other years - 1. Having two current Broadway
shows (Miss Saigon and The Band’s Visit) perform a bit from each show, 2. Having a bunch of the guest stars perform with Darren - This made Darren’s set really long and satisfying AND we got to watch all the interactions between them. Really loved it.4. The Glee of it all
- As a glee fan, it was pretty impossible not to have all the feels…Darren and Lea sound amazing together (kill me with Falling Slowly), Ryan Murphy (what?!), surprise Jenna. What was particularly nice for me was - two years after show is over - to see them together, supporting each other and having fun - I have always found the tumblr drama around who talks to whom/does this person not tweeting mean they hate so and so, silly. You know, I don’t think they’re besties. But they like each other and we got to see it. It’s so nice. And also Ryan Murphy coming out to see Darren’s creation with Darren in his element - I just thought that was really awesome. And hanging with my fellow tumblr geriatrics all day - cherry on top.
The show was truly something special. Magical. The venue was challenging for those who weren’t willing or able to stand for very long periods of time and it was also impossible to get in and out of the venue - you may not peee! Or eat! But if needed people sat in bleachers in the back and the rest of us survived with the huge adrenaline rush.
Darren has created something unique and a gift to gleeks, broadway
fans, and Darren fans. And I hope I get to go again.