When in London: See a Show

When I studied abroad in London during the summer of 2007, I managed to see 16 shows.

Now let me back up: I was studying theatre management at university and specifically studying Shakespeare and contemporary British theatre at Richmond University in London. I was, and still am, a total theatre person, despite not working in theatre anymore. Needless to say, yes, seeing as much theatre as possible was a priority when I studied abroad and I think you can say that I succeeded.

So when I found myself with 4 days in London and no plans last summer, I looked up what was playing and found out that Angels in America, by Tony Kushner, was still playing at the National Theatre starring Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield. I decided I wasn’t going to see both parts (at that point, I didn’t want to spend two nights seeing a three and a half hour play each night) and when I found a 20 pound gallery (orchestra!) seat for Part Two on my first night there, I scooped it up and got excited. Angels in America is an epically important work of art in America and worldwide. If you haven’t seen it it, you should at least watch the HBO miniseries.

Despite having seen 16 shows in 2007, I’d never made it to see one at the National Theatre so this was totally exciting. I bought a too-expensive glass of wine and a snack (because when you’re on holiday…) and settled into my seat for the show.

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It was an extraordinarily quick three and a half hours and, not to mention a brilliant one. I’d seen Andrew Garfield on Broadway in 2012 in Death of a Salesman, but I wasn’t sure how he’d do in this immensely demanding role. I’m happy to say he nailed it as Pryor and Nathan Lane was unsurprisingly excellent as Roy Cohn.

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possibly an illegal photo of the curtain call, shhhh. Andrew is in the center with the long red scarf.

It was a perfect night at the theatre. After meeting Andrew Garfield at the stage door (when unique opportunities arise, you grab them), I walked across the Waterloo footbridge and hopped on the tube back to the CitizenM Hotel. A few months after, it was announced that Angels in America would be transferring to Broadway, so I’ll catch Part 1 after all (just out of order and on different continents).

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Even if you’re not a “theatre person,” as they say, checking out a show in London is a must if you’re there. The quality of their productions is A+, almost always, and it’s a different experience compared to the States.

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