Way back when we first launched Head Over Feels, Sage and I wrote a post that encompassed our life philosophy of “Screw It We’re Doing This”. That philosophy has (just within the past year) gotten us into the press junket for the “Asylum of the Daleks” premiere (Matt Smith saying “What a thing to say to someone! Do you want to come with me?” to us will NEVER be replaced as my text alert) and it has gotten us pictures with Joel McHale, James Corden, Dan Stevens, Fred Armisen and Stefon. It’s that philosophy that brings all sorts of hate/love raining down upon us from our Twitter friends whenever we tweet about our adventures. The other (unspoken) part of our philosophy is “good things come to those who wait”. You’ve got to be willing to get up at ungodly hours and sit in line to have the adventures we do (especially if you are not rich). It’s only fitting that we had to apply this life philosophy to meet Rory the Roman. Sitting in a rush line for 4 and a half hours is comparable to 2000 years waiting outside of a box, right?
The moment we found out that Arthur Darvill would be taking over the role of “Guy” in Once on Broadway, Sage and I planned to be at his first performance, where we would of course meet him after the show at the stage door. However, we were thwarted in that, as they (oh so sneakily) put Arthur and his new “Girl” Joanna Christie over the weekend instead of the announced date of Tuesday April 23. It took all of our will power to avoid the bootlegs that started popping up on Tumblr over the weekend. Sage and I would both randomly start shouting “ARTHUR!!” We both took Tuesday off of work and planned to get in the rush line first thing in the morning. Why the rush line? The answer is simple: $35 tickets, as opposed to at least $70 at TKTS or $140 full price orchestra seats.
As we know better than to underestimate the Whovian fandom, I set my alarm for 5:30 AM (aka Stupid O’Clock) on Tuesday morning. The tickets, I should state, go on sale at 10 AM. But as Once is the current Best Musical winner, its rush line has been notoriously long. Factor in Doctor Who fans and you have potential for a shit storm. Another part of my life philosophy is that I would rather get somewhere early and wait longer but be GUARANTEED I would have tickets and my wait wasn’t for nothing. So 5:30 AM it was. After stopping at a deli for coffee and a bagel, I was in front of the Jacobs theatre at 5:50 AM. I was fourth in line. The girls ahead of me were clearly Whovians, down to one of them having a TARDIS bag, so I settled in and started chatting with them. That’s the other thing with rush lines. There is always a sense of camaraderie because you KNOW that the person sitting next to you is just as insane as you are…so why not make friends with them? What else are you going to do for the 4 hours you are in line? Besides, you’ll probably be sitting next to them at the show that night anyway! Sage showed up a little bit before 7, bringing a second round of coffee for me and Mad Libs for entertainment. And so we sat on the sidewalk. For four hours. In the unseasonably cold April weather, freezing our asses off.
I can’t believe I used to do that ALL THE TIME when I first moved to New York City. Because that last hour or so, due to the cold, was torture. It was worth it though. Cause we got our tickets.
For those of you unfamiliar with the story of Once, let me give it to you in a nutshell: Broken Hearted Irish Guy meets Spunky Czech Girl and they fall in love and make beautiful soul crushing music together. You don’t need to know any more than that. The musical is based on the 2006 film of the same name, and its anthem “Falling Slowly” won the Oscar for Best Original Song. It’s one of my favorite movies of the aughts. The musical won 8 Tonys last year. While I had seen the show Off Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Workshop (Whoops! This isn’t Smash. I mean New York Theatre Workshop, of course!), I had yet to see it on Broadway. Sage hadn’t seen the show at all, and had only JUST watched the movie for the first time over the weekend. Remember how I said “good things come to those who wait” at the beginning of the post? Well. Clearly we were just waiting for Arthur Darvill to be in the show. We just didn’t know it.
How was he, you ask?
He’s fantastic. Nothing against “Guy” originator Steve Kazee, who won the Tony for the role and was wonderful, but Guy felt a little more authentic in Arthur’s hands. His acting was wonderful and he has a commanding stage presence. He is so comfortable in Guy’s skin that you never feel like you are watching a performance. I knew he was a good actor, clearly, but I was blown away by his voice and musical skills. There is no orchestra in Once, all the actors play their own instruments. While I knew Arthur had a band, I had not listened to much of the music, so his voice and guitar skills surprised me. His voice has a Glen Hansard like quality…raspy, soulful and capable of wrenching your heart right out of your chest. Sage and I were so overwhelmed by it, we kept just grabbing each other’s hands in excitement. I was so proud of him, I grinned from ear to ear the whole time. Until I started ugly crying that is.
Observations from the show:
– Our seats were “partial view” and were in the box. Because there was a good amount of space though, Sage was able to slide her chair in front of mine so we could both lean on the edge. We didn’t miss anything TOO major. And again…we paid $35 bucks.
– We had a LOT of trouble getting in and out of the curtains that closed off our box. Every time we tried, it looked like this:
– I know this post is mainly about Arthur, but I must give props to Joanna Christie, who plays “Girl”. That role can easily just be a token spunky magical girl who is really only there to change the life of a man, but Joanna (along with her predecessor Cristin Milioti) brought a wonderful gravitas to her performance. It doesn’t seem like it on the surface, but “Girl” is just as damaged as “Guy” is. It’s why they needed each other. She and Arthur also had a wonderful chemistry together that I can only assume will get better as they perform more.
– Once‘s set is the interior of an Irish Pub. Before the show (and during intermission) you can go on stage and actually order drinks. The ensemble also is out in full force before the show having a hootenanny. Obviously, we went on stage and got a (way over-priced, but hey, you only live once) beer and hung out. As they were ushering us off the stage for the show to start, Arthur quietly joined the hootenanny. I had been looking out for him, so I spotted him first. Standing a couple of feet from us. Cut to me hitting Sage on the arm to bring it to her attention and squeeing quietly.
– The song “Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy” is always a crowd pleaser and Arthur nails it. I wish I could have a gif of the little butt shaking dance he does.
– Don’t ask me to pick a favorite song or moment for Arthur. I can’t do it.
– Okay, fine. The real standout musical moments of Arthur’s are “Say It To Me Now” (he conveys the desperation of the moment perfectly), “When Your Mind’s Made Up” (he got completely LOST in that moment, in the best way possible) and Act One closer “Gold”. Here is their performance on the Tonys. The staging and choreography and everything about it is magical. Imagine it with Arthur…
– If you are not incredibly moved by the scene between Guy and his Da at the end of the show, something is wrong with you.
– The ending always gets me…even though I know what’s coming, I still openly weep. It’s staged so beautifully.
As soon as curtain call was over, we sprinted out to the stage door to take our place on the barricade to wait for Arthur to come out. We were the first ones there. Everyone act surprised. All week we had debated about whether or not to give Arthur a present at the stage door. It can be such a fine line between, as Joel McHale so lovingly put it “wonderful and creepy” and #supercreepyfangirl. And if there is anything we pride ourselves on here at Head Over Feels, it is being wonderfully creepy, not restraining order creepy 😉 We finally settled on a lovely guidebook to all the independently owned shops, restaurants and bars in New York City.
He said…and I quote “This is brilliant!”
He couldn’t have been nicer to everyone at the stage door. It was “Impossible Astronaut” Day and our two Whovian friends that we shared a box with asked him to make Silence hash marks on their arms, which he did, with a delighted giggle. One of the girls also gave him a picture she took of him on the set of “Angels Take Manhattan”, to which he said “I get presents?!” He stood and talked about the book with us as he thumbed through it and fawned over it and said how much he appreciated it. We got a good snuggle from him as we took our two pictures (you know…just in case we didn’t like the first one). It was one of the best stage door experiences we’ve ever had.
And we managed to get far far far away from the theatre before we started freaking out. THAT is why we are good fangirls.
Arthur is in the show until December 15th. You should go. We’re already planning to go again.