We took another of my infamous trips to New York City to see Sunday in the Park With George at New York City Center. The reason for this trip was Jake Gyllenhaal. The last few times I’ve taken these trips it was a nightmare. Travel has become ridiculous, hotels too expensive, and lately it hasn’t been worth it. Jake is more than worth it. Recent experiences make me feel like I need to stop travelling as much as I do which isn’t even often but I’m really glad I went tot his show and if it’s my swan song as an uber fan, then what a great one it was.
We love Jake. We all love Jake. Whether it was Brokeback or, in my case, going back to Bubble Boy, we know he’s a great talent as an actor. So last year when I hear that he’d been in a performance of Little Shop of Horrors in New York, I was upset that I found out after the fact, because I’d love to see him do a musical. But then when I found it he was actually a good singer I was even more upset that I didn’t see it. So when this popped up there was no way I wasn’t going.
Jake was amazing in Sunday in the Park with George. For some reason, II I’d never seen any version of this. This wasn’t a total production it was a concert version. I’d never been to the City Center before. But I had seats in the second to the last row in the balcony and it was fine. The seating is a steep incline so you can definitely see everything but it’s not scary, like it is in arenas or other venues like that. I didn’t feel like I was going to rolling down and die the way I usually do in places like this. This theater got those arrangements right. And there are elevators so you don’t have to walk up all the way, thank goodness. We were really high up. The only problem for this production was that you couldn’t see the projections they had on a screen from that angle but I don’t think it mattered. It was supposed to be some kind of art installations.
The rest of the cast was fine but that’s not what’s important right now. Jake sings way better than I imagined. Now knowing that he was up for Moulin Rouge makes a lot more sense and I’m questioning why Baz chose Ewan. Not that I don’t love the movie as is, but now that what I know Jake can do I wonder. Maybe he’s just really worked on his voice all these years in between. I don’t know. But As I marveled at what I was hearing, I was like “that timber! I can’t believe it!” Somehow I knew what timbre meant without really knowing because when I got home and read the NYT review after seeing it, they went for the same word. I was thinking about the specialness of the sound of his singing voice, which was actually lower than I thought it would be. I don’t know why but in the bus ride home I was wondering what he’d sound like singing a song from the Doors. lol But he had some kind of amazing range too which is especially noticeable when he switches between singing as the dog and the cat. I really hope someone recorded that. I had all my equipment with me. lol. But I’m reformed and haven’t done that sort of thing in a long time. In fact I only took a pic of my tickets and one from my seat before it started because I wanted it all to work out well and felt like I needed to behave to not cultivate any bad karma.
So about this dog and cat thing. You’re already amazed at Jake’s singing ability and then time stops when he’s acting out (singing) what this dog and cat in the park are thinking. You’re just mesmerized because a) it’s surreal already but b) Jake was fucking nailing it. It almost seemed humanly impossible. I mean this is live. It’s not like you have a bunch of takes and editing to get that right. I’ll never forget that, and I forget a lot. I just can’t go on enough except to use the overused word “amazing” or and over but that’s what it was. I can’t believe I got to see it either. Once in a lifetime.
The female lead was really great too. But this takes us back to timbre. She was perfect, but I’ve heard a bunch of other Broadway style singers who have the exact same voice. I don’t know if that’s fair. But years ago I saw a production of Whistle Down the Wind and the female lead sounded pretty much exactly like her. Her name was Andrea Ross and the fact is if you watch enough of that type singing you’ll hear that voice often. That’s why Jake’s “timbre” was so special, and why I was on the bus trying to figure out whose voice it was close to. I am a fan of music like everyone else but I really appreciate a fantastic male singing voice and it basically makes me think that a person with one is better than the rest of us. So I guess I sort of collect them. For instance, Steve Perry is one of the all-time great voices, as is Freddie Mercury, as is Frank Sinatra. But they sound nothing alike. The fake Journey guy does an impression of Steve, but he still doesn’t sound exactly like him. You can’t because he’s special. Well come to find out Jake is special too. Maybe not that special, but let’s give it time.
I really want Jake to keep doing musicals. And I want them all to be recorded so that human kind may benefit forever.