Act One at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center. When I first heard about this show and found out that Tony Shalhoub (A.K.A. Mr. Adrian Monk) was a part of the cast, I knew that I had to see it. But it wasn't until I looked up some information on the show that I got genuinely excited. I did some googling and found out that Act One was based on the autobiography of Moss Hart. Now, when I heard that the play I going to see was based on an autobiography, it was kind of a deterrent. I don't know many people who associate autobiographies with being exciting, myself included. But when I read more about Hart's story, I was quickly reminded that when someone works in the theatre like Hart did, there is never a lack of drama. I mean, hello! The theatre practically invented drama.
We picked up our tickets at the box office and were shortly seated in the Orchestra. I was taken aback by how small the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center seemed for a Broadway theatre. It wasn't tiny, but compared to the other Broadway theatres I had been to, it was definitely more... intimate. Although the red curtains were still drawn over the stage, they were slightly transparent, allowing us some glimpses of the set which looked quite extensive. The curtains were raised to reveal a life sized model of a theatre built on the stage, complete with balcony seats and an applause track! The set proved to be even cooler than I thought when it rotated from scene to scene, displaying new additions each time: Hart's childhood home, various offices, George S. Kaufman's house, etc. The set was so detailed and complex, that the actors deserved some serious credit for simply navigating through it all.
Hart is basically a theatre legend and the play went into all of it: how he, a skinny boy from Queens whose family struggled to make the rent, managed to make a huge dent in theatre history. Act One dealt with mainly all of the headaches, failures, and rewrites that go into making a hit Broadway play and the fact that the play in question (Once in a Lifetime) is a real play that premiered on Broadway to rave reviews in 1930 made it all the more fascinating to watch. As a lover of theatre with dreams of one day making it on Broadway myself (as a singer), Hart's journey connected with me on a very personal level.
Because if Moss Hart, who was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth or into a famous family, was able to make it big, then why not me?