Monday, September 24, 2012

Broadway or Bust: Episode Three

The third and final episode of Broadway or Bust aired on Sunday night. Unfortunately my cable was out, so I ended up waiting until today when the episode was posted on the PBS website to actually see the show. Being at work all day I managed to miss most of the spoilers, but I did end up finding out one of the winners before I saw the show. Le sigh. The cost of social media.

The show started out the morning of the Jimmy Awards. All of the kids were all being shown around the theatre and ended up on the stage at the Minskoff (where the awards were held). It was pretty amazing to see all of those kids walking onto a Broadway stage for the first time. There were tears. There was a TON of giggling and smiles. Overall, it was pretty awesome to get to see their faces.

On to the quickest tech EVER. With only a few hours, they teched the entire show. I think I might have lost my mind if I were trying to work on that show. There was a funny quote from the stage manager. She said that keeping those kids where they needed to be, and keeping them focused was like “herding squirrels.” I find that hilarious because my best friend, who stage manages shows locally, has often told me that stage managing is really just herding cats. I can’t imagine that herding cats OR squirrels would be easy.

And then it was time for the show. As the curtain came up and those kids started singing their opening number I couldn’t help but tear up a little bit. Just a few lines into the number and you could see some of the kids onstage tearing up as well. At that point, a tear might have escaped my eye. Then they did a camera pan to the audience and there was a woman that I’m thinking was probably a grandparent, who was openly crying. That was it for me. I sobbed.

It’s just so refreshing to see young people loving theatre so much AND getting an amazing chance that not many young people get. For some of them, this is as close as they’ll ever get to Broadway. For whatever reason, they may pursue a different career. Or maybe they’ll try to get to Broadway and won’t make it. Not everyone does. For some of them, this may be the biggest thing they ever do. For others, it may actually be just a stepping stone to greatness.

After their group performances the judges picked their top six; three girls and three guys. There were some great moments shown by many of the kids, and it could have been argued that there should have been some different picks for the top six, but I think overall they did a good job.

In the top were
Eric Durham
Evan Greenberg

Elizabeth Romero
Drew Shafranek

Joshua Grosso

Nicolette Burton
There were three of those six that I had thought would probably be in the top. Joshua, Elizabeth and Evan. Joshua and Evan both got quite a bit of screen time in the other episodes, and Elizabeth caught my eye because she looks remarkably like a young Sutton Foster AND is extremely talented.

Each of the top six were asked to perform their solo performances. Honestly, you always remember when Evan performs. He’s just that funny. Joshua sang his song in Italian, so that was totally memorable, and seeing Elizabeth perform her song, Disneyland, was like watching a full production. She’s just that impressive with her acting skills. Nicolette, Erica, and Drew all did great as well, but my favorite three caught my attention for a reason.

When it came down to it, Joshua Grosso was awarded Best Actor and Elizabeth Romero was awarded Best Actress. I find it kind of funny that Joshua came into it as the only runner-up, there fully by default. Honestly, I’d like to have seen who beat him out, because I thought he was fantastic from the start. Both Elizabeth and Joshua were awarded $10,000 to go toward their future schooling, and I can’t help but hope to see them in the future on a Broadway stage, or on tour with a show. It would just seem fitting.

Overall I think this was a great documentary. It was inspiring, fun, happy, and left me feeling like the future of the arts could be in good hands. Some people were calling it reality TV, but I really feel like it was more of a documentary. Reality TV is often negative and so disheartening. This was NOT that. I can’t help but hope that PBS does this again next year.

As a total unrelated side note, there was a scene at the end of the episode showing a cake that was for the cast and that cake was SO AMAZING! I make cakes and cupcakes as a hobby and I love seeing a cake that is well done. I kind of wonder who made it. Any insiders know the answer?

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