Last night I attended the Round House Theatre’s Gala concert with Cristin Milioti. The Round House Theatre is a non-profit theatre in Bethesda, Maryland and this was their annual fundraiser. My friend Heather did some costume design work for them on one of their shows earlier in the season so she got a comped ticket and was able to get a second one for half price. She graciously invited me and we split the cost of that ticket so we each got one for 1/4 of the price which made it very reasonable. Sorry Round House Theatre I certainly wasn’t helping you raise any funds last night, but I enjoyed myself.
There was a cocktail hour before the performance, so we stood around and mingled a little and Heather caught up with some of her theatre friends from around the area while I stood there and smiled and nodded. I’m not good at small talk anyway, so I’m happy to just stand around and listen to other people talk.
The actual event started with a three song set by the winner of the Bernard Ebb Songwriting Award, which this year was Justin Jones. He was a sort of indie country singer. I enjoyed his songs. After that there was a live auction that was definitely for people who live a very different lifestyle than I do. I wonder what it would be like to be able to bid on things for thousands of dollars. I’m sure I’ll never know. The biggest auction item of the evening was for 2 tickets to see Hamilton along with a backstage tour by the set designer and a meeting with Daveed Diggs. That one went for $10,500. I’m sorry to say I’m not the one with the winning bid.
The main part of the evening was a performance by Cristin Milioti who originated the role the Girl in Broadway’s Once, a show I could not adore more. I got to see her in it and she and the show were amazing. If you’re not a Broadway person you may know her as the titular mother in How I Met Your Mother. I was convinced after so many years of build-up that they would never be able to find someone to make the mother as great as she was made out to be, but then they miraculously did. Cristin Milioti was pretty much the only good thing about the final season of that show and every episode she wasn’t in was awful. I’m still bitter about how that show ended, but I digress. She was also starred in the second season of the TV show Fargo, so my point is you may know who she is even if you don’t think you do.
Unlike other concerts by Broadway performers that I’ve been to she didn’t really sing many Broadway songs. She sang a song from Follies and “Gold” from Once. The rest of the show she pretty much sang sort of indie rock songs from people like Aracade Fire, Bon Iver, Fiona Apple, and Radiohead. For the Radiohead song she actually played the piano, which I know she did for Once, but I wasn’t necessarily expecting given this podcast episode about how she had to cram to learn how to play in order to audition for Once. I guess she did learn to play more than just getting by for the show.
I’m not sure how well the set list might have gone over with the older VIP crowd who probably didn’t know any of those songs and were expecting some Broadway tunes, I really enjoyed her performance. She was very funny. She talked about each song before she sang it and just seemed very down to earth and fun. I wish you could see in the picture I have, but with that black dress she’s wearing you had on a pair of white sort of old-school Run-DMC Adidas sneakers. She said she had a pair of high heels to wear, but she’s tired of wearing high heels and she can’t play the piano in them anyway so she didn’t wear them. So that was her non-apology for wearing the sneakers.
After the performance there was a dessert reception and open bar. I have no idea if Cristin Milioti was contracted to be out mingling with the crowd after or not, but she was. One never knows about these things. I was at some NPR thing where Fred Armisen stuck around and talked to everyone even though he was only contracted to do it with the VIPs before the show, so although obviously someone knows if she was obligated to do it I don’t. At any rate even if she was technically being paid for it, she seemed very happy to be doing it. We were sort of standing near where she was talking to everyone, so I was watching her for a very long time while trying to sort of ease my way in to talk to her. I didn’t make a bold enough move because I am not good at these things so I eventually got cut off by a large group of VIPs and then she sort of wandered off to eat some of the dessert. But because Heather is awesome and knows people at Round House she got someone to ask Cristin to come take a picture of us, which she very graciously did. So I got to say hi and stupidly gush over how much I loved her in Once, which is why I generally avoid doing this stuff because I just feel like an idiot without anything real to say. She was very nice and very sweet to me. It was a great night, and I’m very glad Heather thought of me when she got the tickets.