I have been waiting for what seems like an eternity since Critical Role announced their live show in NYC. Well last night was the night! Matt Mercer and his group of nerdy voice actors took the stage at the United Palace Theater on Broadway to bring us episode 37. First the United Palace Theater was the perfect choice in venue. It had such a charming atmosphere that added to the feel of watching Dungeons and Dragons live. It was also small enough that even when standing in the very back you could still see what was going on. Not to mention they had a large screen above with the video of them playing which helped those who had a bit trouble seeing.
A special Q&A with the cast was held prior to the show for anyone who had purchased a VIP ticket. Brian W. Foster kicked off the night by laying down the ground rules. Mostly one question per person, must be Critical Role related, and try not to ask questions that would have been answered on prior Q&As or Talks Machina. For a moment it looked as if there might be a problem when the mics were having issues, however the group just made their way to the front of the stage for a more intimate connection. The Q&A was not filmed and was a special treat for the VIPs, but my favorite question came from the youngest fan in the audience. He asked Matt Mercer how old he was when he started DMing, which Matt replied 14. Our little fan has Matt beat by three years and even mentioned he was responsible for some player deaths, too!
Of course the VIP experience was only heightened by the swag bags set out on each chair. Inside contained some pretty sweet stuff from Critical Role, Cait May, as well as there sponsor Wyrmwood Gaming. Inside the bag included a set of metal Critical Role dice, an illustrated print from Cait May that was signed by the cast, and a Wrymwood Gaming dice box. After the show everyone in attendance received a $25 giftcard to Wyrmwood Gaming. I know for sure I am going to pick me up one of their amazing dice trays.
Another amazing thing that happened at this live show, Ashley Johnson was able to attend! Mere hours prior to going to live it was announced via Twitter that she was going to be able to make it after all! She initially announced right after tickets went on sale that she was unable to attend not only the live show, but NYCC 2018 as well. While she is still unfortunately unable to attend the convention, she did make it out to play. Ashley wasn’t the only surprise guest we got to see, the woman responsible for Sam Riegel, Momlan was in attendance. They brought her onstage during the Q&A as well as the break to talk with the fans. She is the biggest supporter of her son as well as the entire cast.
Now I won’t go into much detail regarding the episode itself to save people who haven’t gotten to see it yet from possible spoilers, but know it was fantastic. First and foremost the cast dressed as pirates for the live show. After the last few episodes where they had issues at the docks and accidentally stole a ship, they talked briefly about dressing up. I am beyond happy they were able to do it! They all look fantastic in their outfits and Sam even had a quick wardrobe change into a sailor boy outfit. They were not the only ones dressed to impress, Momlan had her little cook outfit on and Brian was rocking the “goth on Wall street” look. The episode was more story driven however it was truly a joy to watch. You don’t always need combat to get people interested!
Overall the entire night was truly magical. Everyone of them, Marisha Ray, Laura Bailey, Liam O’Brien, Taliesin Jaffe, Travis Willingham, Sam Riegel, Ashley Johnson and Matt Mercer, performed their hearts out. I’ve heard on occasion that voice actors do well behind a microphone because they wouldn’t be able to make it on stage or on screen. This is patently false. This group gave a truly remarkable performance and experience and still enjoyed themselves every second of it. What made this one so special for me was, it was my very first live show. After enjoying the show from my own home for over two years they finally found their way to the east coast. I hope that Critical Role is able to do this more often in the future! You can keep with Critical Role on their website, YouTube channel or Twitch stream!