Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween... Broadway Style

I made this lovely pumpkin at a pumpkin decorating contest we had at work. I didn't win, but I didn't care. It now resides on my porch in all it's American Idiot glory. 


Have a wonderful and safe Halloween everybody! 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Making Choices

One of the biggest problems with NOT living close to New York City is that when it's time to go visit, you have to make tough decisions. Decisions like how long to stay (a.k.a. how long can I AFFORD to stay), which people you need to visit when you're in town (if you're like me, there are a lot of people you know there & it's a difficult decision), and most importantly.... 
Which musicals and plays to see while you're there. 

I'm planning a trip right now and currently, there are is only time to see 5, maybe 6 shows, if the timing works out correctly. That's a lot, right??? But if you're me, there are about 12 shows I want to see. And making a decision about which ones to see is difficult.

I'm going to ask for some honest to goodness input from my four readers (I hope there are more of you, but I'll take what I can get). 

Note: Each of the following descriptions was either taken from the website of the mentioned show, or from Broadway.com's website.



Snow Geese


With war raging abroad, newly widowed Elizabeth Gaesling gathers her family for their annual shooting party to mark the opening of hunting season in rural, upstate New York.  But Elizabeth is forced to confront a new reality as her carefree eldest son comes to terms with his impending deployment overseas and her younger son discovers that the father they all revered left them deeply in debt.  Together, the family must let go of the life they’ve always known.
Cast I love: Mary-Louise Parker, Danny Burstein, Victoria Clark
Reasons I'd like to see it: See above cast

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Beautiful tells the story of Carole King from her early days as a Brooklyn teenager (named Carol Klein) struggling to enter the record business to her years spent as a chart-topping music legend.
  • Cast I love: Jessie Mueller, Jake Epstein

  • Reasons I'd like to see it: I love Carole King. Also, Jake Epstein (can't pass up the chance to support an Idiot). 



    Matilda: The Musical 

    Based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book of the same name, Matilda follows Matilda Wormwood, a bright little girl who immerses herself in books. Matilda is discarded and belittled by her dimwitted parents—her father insists on calling her a boy and harps on her “stupidity” for preferring reading to watching the telly—and her hostile headmistress, the outrageous and wicked Miss Trunchbull. Reclusive, but with an ever-growing imagination and sharp mind, and with a caring protector in her teacher Miss Honey, Matilda dreams of a better life, daring to take a stand against unjust forces and to grasp her destiny in her own, tiny hands.
    Reasons I'd like to see it: Um, Matilda is a classic book. And movie. And I LOVE seeing kids on stage. 

    Romeo & Juliet

    One of Shakespeare's most well-known and performed plays, Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families.

    • Cast I love: Orlando Bloom, Condola Rashad, Jayne Houdyshell, Justin Guarini
    Reasons I'd like to see it: Justin Guarini. And I've never seen Shakespeare on Broadway. 



    First Date

    Aaron is a "blind date virgin," while Casey has been on more than her fair share. When the two are set up by a mutual friend, sparks fly—or do they? The night unfolds over the course of this couple’s hilarious first date, and it’s not without its share of surprises in the form of imaginary visits from Aaron’s ex-girlfriend, Casey’s uptight sister, the pair’s protective parents and even their future son! Google background checks, awkward pauses and bailouts are all there during this unforgettable first encounter between two romantics, who just might be perfect for each other. Or not.
  • Cast I love: Zachary Levi, Krysta Rodriguez
Reasons I'd like to see it: Krysta Rodriguez. And it's new. A new concept. A new musical. I like new. 


Big Fish


Based on the celebrated novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed film directed by Tim Burton, Big Fish centers on Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman who lives life to its fullest… and then some! Edward's incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him—most of all, his devoted wife Sandra. But their son Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales. Overflowing with heart, humor and spectacular stagecraft, Big Fish is an extraordinary new Broadway musical that reminds us why we love going to the theatre—for an experience that's richer, funnier and bigger than life itself.

  • Cast I love: Norbert Leo Butz, Bobby Steggert, Kate Baldwin
    Reason's I'd like to see it: Honestly, it isn't really on my radar, but a friend I know wants to see it. So I may go see it anyway. I've been pleasantly surprised in the past (example: American Idiot). 


Twelfth Night

In the household of Olivia, two campaigns are being quietly waged – one by the lovesick lord Orsino against the heart of the indifferent Olivia; the other by an alliance of servants and hangers-on against the high-handedness of her steward, the pompous Malvolio. When Orsino engages the cross-dressed Viola to plead with Olivia on his behalf, a bittersweet chain of events follows.
*Twelfth Night is playing in repertory with Richard III.

  • Cast I love: Mark Rylance, Stephen Fry
    Reasons I'd like to see it: See above cast members. Also, it's an all-male cast. And because I've never seen Shakespeare on Broadway. 



  • Richard III
    Richard, Duke of Gloucester, is determined that he should wear the crown of England. He has already despatched one king and that king's son; now all that stand in his way are two credulous brothers and two helpless nephews - the Princes in the Tower. And woe betide those - the women he wrongs, the henchmen he betrays - who dare to raise a voice against him.
    *Richard III is playing in repertory with Twelfth Night.

    • Cast I love: 
      • Mark Rylance


      Reasons I'd like to see it: See above cast members. Also, it's an all-male cast. And because I've never seen Shakespeare on Broadway. 



    Newsies


    Set in New York City at the turn of the century, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of "newsies," who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.
    Reasons I'd like to see it: I've not seen it yet, but I love the cast recording. But it is one that I'm SURE will go on tour, so I may just want to wait until I can see it on tour closer to home. 


    Once 

    On the streets of Dublin, an Irish musician and Czech immigrant are drawn together by their shared love of music. Over the course of one fateful week, an unexpected friendship and collaboration quickly evolves into a powerful but complicated love story, underscored by emotionally charged music.
    Reasons I'd like to see it: I've already seen it, but it was so beautiful, that I would love to see it again. And the cast has changed some, so it would be interesting to see a different take on it. 

    Cinderella

    The smart and beautiful young Ella lives in the care of her wicked, self-absorbed stepmother Madame and Madame’s two daughters, Charlotte and Gabrielle. Ella’s only friends in the world are the animals in the woods, “crazy Marie” and the revolutionary student Jean-Michel. Meanwhile in another part of the kingdom, Prince Topher is trying to find himself and learn his place in the kingdom. When his scheming advisor Sebastian suggests throwing a ball so the Prince could meet potential brides, Ella and Topher’s different worlds come together. Expect the unexpected in this clever retelling of the beloved fairytale.
    • Cast I love:
      • Laura Osnes, 
        • Santino Fontana
    Reasons I'd like to see it: See above cast. 



    Kinky Boots


    Based on a true story and the indie film of the same name, Kinky Boots follows young Brit Charlie Price, who abandons his family’s shoe factory to live with his demanding girlfriend in London. After the unexpected death of his father, Charlie returns to the struggling factory and finds it’s up to him to figure out a way to keep the business alive. Enter Lola, a fabulous drag queen, who gives Charlie the idea to create ladies’ shoes for men. Soon, the factory is turning out “kinky boots” under the supervision of Charlie and Lola, but can this harebrained scheme actually work? And can these two extremely different men find a common ground and become real friends?

    Reasons I'd love to see it: I saw it in previews, so I would love to see it again. Plus, any chance to see Billy Porter AND Stark Sands (back to my Idiot obsession) is a good day. 


    So now it's your turn: Help me pick which show to see! Help a girl out please! 



Which Shows Should I see in NYC
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Noises Off


Over the weekend I got a chance to go see Noises Off at the Clarence Brown Theatre, located on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville. 

Check out my review on BroadwayWorld. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

BroadwayWorld.com Opportunity

I'm passing this along for BroadwayWorld.com. I have been covering some shows, but I live so far out of Nashville at this time that I'm unable to see shows often enough to be fair to the local theatres. If you are in the Nashville area and love theatre and writing, see below! 

BroadwayWorld.com is currently seeking talented theater enthusiasts to head up feature coverage in Nashville.

All applicants should have excellent writing skills and an interest for giving local theaters and productions some prominence on BroadwayWorld.com -- the largest theater site on the net!

As a Contributing Editor, you will have the opportunity to review the shows of your choice, conduct interviews with local and touring talent, design features of your own choosing for publishing, and work/network with your local theater press reps to bring exposure to the theatrical offerings in your area.

Your compensation as a featured writer with us not only includes exclusive press seats to all of the shows you cover (as is standard in your area and arranged between you and the theater) but also the opportunity to be published under your own byline and publishing profile on both the local and main pages of the site for maximum exposure to our 4M+ monthly visitors.

The position offers flexible hours and the convenience of working remotely from your hometown. (**Access to New York City is NOT necessary**). There are no administrative duties associated with the contributorship. You simply see the shows, meet the talent, and write on your own time and terms! (Note that some theaters require a specific publishing turnaround which you will negotiate on a case-by-case basis).

If this sounds like you, please send a resumé and one writing sample to Christina Mancuso at christina@broadwayworld.com.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Actor Nightmares

For years I’ve heard stories about actor nightmares. That nightmare an actor has that is something along the lines of being onstage with no clothes, forgetting all your lines, going on for a role that you’ve never done before & don’t know any of your blocking or lines, or something else completely crazy.

I’ve heard actors have them when they are under lots of stress. Maybe during tech week, or right before a big audition.

I wouldn’t know. I’m not an actor. I’ve not acted in anything since high school. In fact, it was my junior year of high school, so it’s been….a while.

But every now and then I still have actor nightmares. A little over a year ago I had on in which I WAS an actor that I LOVE but when I went on to do my (HER??) role, I didn’t know any of the music or choreography. It was STRANGE.

Then, last night I had a dream that I was in the ensemble of Legally Blonde: The Musical. The tall, blonde lead got suddenly ill during the show and the director said, “You need to go on. They’ll never know the difference.”

Um, I’m short. And brunette. And in my dream none of the costumes fit me and I didn’t know any of my lines (I’m beginning to see a recurring theme here).  And the audience did notice.

I get that actors have dreams like that. But why ME?? And what on earth brings them on? Other than having recently seen a production of Legally Blonde: The Musical, there’s nothing that I can think of that would make me have a crazy dream like that. Do any of my non –actor friends have dreams like this? 

Here's one of my favorite songs in Legally Blonde: The Musical from the performance filmed for MTV. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Man of La Mancha

Another review is up! The Cumberland County Playhouse is currently running Man of La Mancha through September 27th.

You can check out my official review on BroadwayWorld.com by clicking HERE.


GO SEE THIS SHOW! I've already been back to see it a second time. It's that good.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Heart Aches for Murder Ballad

Today Murder Ballad is closing in New York. I never got to see it. I'm continually disappointed when a show I'm interested in closes before I can see it. None has bothered me as badly as the premature closing of Murder Ballad, which was supposed to run through September.


I have been thoroughly enchanted by the cast recording and the entire idea of the show. I've been saying for months that I would see it before it closed.

But just a few weeks ago, they announced a premature closing for today. And I wasn't able to make it to New York in time to see it.

I hope that it becomes popular with regional and community theatres. I want the chance to be able to see this show in some form someday. But I suppose only time will tell. Until then, I have to console myself with the cast recording (which is phenomenal, by the way!).


In celebration (or mourning) of the closing of Murder Ballad, I spent my morning making a batch of cupcakes inspired by the show. I wish I lived close enough that I could have seen the show and maybe even delivered these cupcakes to the cast. Instead, I'll share them with my co-workers, who won't get it, but will love that I baked. I'll be sure to tell them they should thank the show. :)


I also find it interesting that it's an Idiot date today. One of the dates mentioned in American Idiot when Johnny writes letters throughout the show. Today's letter was from Johnny to Whatsername, played by Rebecca Naomi Jones on Broadway. Even though Rebecca left Murder Ballad last week to be a part of The Public Theatrer's Shakespeare in the Park musical version of Love's Labour's Lost.

If you haven't been lucky enough to discover Murder Ballad yet, you can still check out the cast recording on their website and I'm including a video below of the title number of the show. Get into it!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Legally Blonde: The Musical

I went to see my third production of Legally Blonde: The Musical over the weekend. The FOURTH if you count the one that was on Broadway that they filmed for MTV. :) 


You can find it on stage at Chattanooga Theatre Centre


You can read my review on BroadwayWorld.com HERE

Friday, July 12, 2013

The King & I

The King & I plays at The Cumberland County Playhouse through August 30th. There's still pleanty of time to catch this show...but not too much time. :) Get on it. Go see it. 



Read my review for Broadway World by clicking HERE

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson

It's only open until July 12, but Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, now playing at Chattanooga Theatre Center, is a great show!



Read my review on BroadwayWorld.com by clicking HERE.

Monday, July 8, 2013

One Year

There are a million little things that have been going through my head for the past few weeks. Actually, to be honest, off and on for the past year. But as time has passed on, it’s become more frequent. A year ago today, I was in San Francisco. I was with my best friend. I’d met some people who have come to be great friends in the past year. And I was waiting. Waiting for what I knew was a goodbye to the first national tour cast of American Idiot.

In a way, it was a goodbye to the show itself. I’ve seen the second national tour cast three times, but for me, it isn’t the same. The magic and joy I felt the original Broadway cast and the first national tour cast brought to the show I loved so much is no longer there. For some, I’m sure it is. And I’m glad it gets to continue on in its journey and to have new people experience it. But my time with the show has ended.

It’s funny how much this show has come to mean to me. Not just for the show itself, but for the experiences I had because of it. And the people it brought into my life. I’ve made friends I’d have never met otherwise, been places I’d probably have never gone, experienced music and theatre that would have escaped my radar….all because of American Idiot.

There are days when I’ll hanging out at home by myself, cleaning, or cooking, or watching TV and I’ll suddenly think of a friend that’s on the other side of the continent.  I’ll see something on the internet that reminds me of something a friend likes. I’ll be listening to something on the radio and someone will say something that makes me laugh….not because of what they said; but because it reminds me of something one of my Idiot friends said.

I woke up this morning with this on my phone.


Last year, when we were waiting for our trip to San Francisco, I started a countdown on my phone. When it was over, I left it up. I couldn’t bring myself to take it off (it’s been on two subsequent phones since the original). And this morning it was official. It’s been a year. And yes, that’s a picture of the cast of the first national tour in the background. I thought it was appropriate, no?

If I had my way about it, I’d stay home today. In the dark, with ice cream and Idiot cast recordings and mourn. Sadly, I have to go to work. But it won’t stop me from thinking about it all day. I’m grateful for my experiences. I’ve got a few more stories to tell. A few more inside jokes with my best friend. A lot more new friends.


It’s been a year, but Idiot, and the year I had with my new friends, my travels, and the first national tour, will be in my memory forever. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

When It Rains, It Pours

You know how some nights it seems like nothing (or at least nothing much) has happened to make it on the news? They're showing the "feel good" pieces cause there's nothing else to report on? (And not to get off on a tangent, but I really wish they show MORE "feel good" stuff on the news.) And then some nights it's like they can't get it all in on the time that they have?

Sometimes I feel like that happens in the world of theatre. We hum along, things kind of going at a steady pace. A story here, an announcement there. Stuff is happening, constantly, but every so often it's like a proverbial hail storm of news in the theatre world. I felt like we had a theatre hail storm today.

All kinds of things (and not even Tony related things) seemed to have been announced today. Perhaps they wanted to take advantage of people paying attention because of the Tonys? Who knows. But it was crazy busy today.

Some stuff that particularly caught my eye today?

1.) Jason Robert Brown's musical The Bridges of Madison County is headed to Broadway in February 2014.

2.) Stephanie J. Block and Will Chase have been announced for the cast of the new Little Miss Sunshine musical headed to Second Stage Theatre in October. Just another note, both were in this year's The Mystery of Edwin Drood revival and are Tony nominees for their roles.


3.) The first photos of Lindsay Mendez and Derek Klena as Elphaba and Fiyero in Wicked have been released. I really, really wish I could see this. But I'm always too cheap to pay to see Wicked on Broadway.


4.) Motown: The Musical has announced plans for a national tour to begin in April 2014. Having just opened, the show has been extremely popular, grossing as one of the top musicals on Broadway (despite luke-warm critic reviews).


5.) Select seating for Aladdin have been released for sale for the show's run in Toronto, Canada. The creative team includes Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Chad Beguelin. I kind of want to go to Canada to see this, I won't lie. The show is set to begin in November.


6.) Two-time Tony winner Mark Rylance is headed back to Broadway in a transfer of Shakespeare's Globe theatre production of Twelfth Night and Richard III. These shows will play in repertory at the Belasco Theatre beginning in October. Also starring Stephen Fry (in my mind, the totally awesome shrink from the television show Bones), this cast is all male, as often performed in Shakespeare's day.This will also be the first time that there has ever been a transfer from the Globe to Broadway.





Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tony Predictions

There are so many of these Tony Prediction post going around right now that it’s making my head spin. Some of them I agree with, some of them not so much. But I’m not going to give my predictions on this blog. My reason? I only saw one Tony nominated show this season.

Yup. One. I saw Kinky Boots while it was still in previews, so even that can’t really count. Which mean my opinions on who will/should win depend completely on the opinions of others, theatre websites, and youtube videos. Not a very good way to be making predictions, that’s for sure.

What I CAN predict, pretty successfully, is where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing on June 9, 2013. Short of something major happening, I’ll be with my best friend (and maybe a few others) watching the Tony Awards at her house.

In the meantime, I’m counting down the days until this year’s Tony Awards for my yearly dose of theatre television (now that SMASH has been cancelled and all).



Where will you be? Any fun plans for Tony night? Or do you have any predictions you’d care to share? 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Curtains to SMASH

In just about an hour, the series finale of Smash is airing. There are a ton of things you could say about this show, but when it comes down to it, Smash was a chance for Broadway fans across the country to get to see their favorite Broadway stars on screen each week. It was a chance to let people that didn’t know much about Broadway to learn some new things and meet some new and very talented actors and actresses.


Sure, the show had its problems. The scripting wasn’t great. Honestly, it was just kind of jumpy and at times, very hard to follow. There was SO much drama going on, that it made it very hard for me to get emotionally vested in anyone. At times, I just wanted to smack them all and tell them to grow up.

The series spent so much time in the first season telling us to love Karen (played by Katharine McPhee) and to dislike Ivy (played by the lovely and talented Megan Hilty). But when it came down to it, everyone, even non-Broadway fans, could tell that Ivy was the more talented and suited for the role of Marilyn Monroe. So then, it seems, that the series picked up on it and tried to make us love Ivy and dislike Karen…but not too much. They just gave her a whole different plotline and musical.  

Throw in the rotating relationship issues between…well pretty much everyone in the show, and you just kind of had a mess. Was it a show about New York theatre? Was it a soap opera? And what was with all the fantasy sequences? It just didn’t work.

But what did work? The amazing music. There was some totally amazing songwriting going on in the show by many different New York theatre composers and songwriters. The music is something I can listen to over and over. And I continue to tune in every week (though sometimes through Hulu a day later because of the crazy moving of the air dates) because I kept hoping it would save itself. And to see all of the theatre actors and actresses, and theatre insiders, that I love so much.

I’ll miss Smash. I think it might have held on if A) The network didn’t keep moving the air dates of the show and the time slots and B) they hadn’t tried so hard.


I’m thankful we had Smash, even for the short two seasons. Because maybe it did introduce someone in middle America to Megan Hilty and Christian Borle and Leslie Odom, Jr. and Jeremy Jordan and Andy Mientus and Brian d’Arcy James and Krysta Rodriguez. And a million other actors and theatre insiders. And maybe someone will think “Maybe I might like to see a musical on Broadway. That looks like fun.” 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Eden Espinosa: Cabaret Style

Over the weekend I was able to attend the inaugural event of The Absinthe Cabaret in Franklin, Tennessee. Eden Espinosa headlined the event and I was thrilled to be there! Read about it on BroadwayWorld.com HERE.


9 to 5: The Musical


I recently saw 9 to 5: The Musical at The Cumberland County Playhouse. As it has been lately, my review is up on BroadwayWorld.com. You can find it HERE
My advice, in a nutshell, is to catch this show! 




Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later

My review for The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later at The Wesley Arena Theatre in Cookeville, TN is up on BroadwayWorld.com now. Go check out the review AND the show!


Cast in rehearsal. Photo credit: Kathleen Gilpatrick

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Here Lies Love

Here Lies Love, at The Public Theater, was my entire reason for heading to New York this past weekend. I didn’t really have much of an idea of what it was about, but when this Idiot loving girl found out that Kelvin Moon Loh was in the show, it had to be seen. When I started reading about it, I was intrigued. Fat Boy Slim & David Byrne for music? Standing room only? Ninety minutes of immersive theatre (that means group participation, right????)? I won’t lie. I was a little nervous. Not to mention that I knew virtually nothing about the Marcos regime in the Philippines. You can cut me some slack on that. I was barely more than a baby when the Marcos regime ended.  

Direction by Alex Timbers (who I must say also directed the other show I saw this past weekend, Peter and the Starcatcher) is brilliant. Immersive theatre is a strange creature. I’ve not ever been a fan, because I really dislike being the center of attention. But Timbers makes immersive theatre seem natural and unforced. The audience becomes a natural part of the show that you don’t even notice.

When you enter the theatre, you are entering a club. There are platforms on either end of the room, a huge turning platform in the middle of the room and other platforms around the edges. All of them move during the show, and the audience moves with them with the help of ushers (??) dressed in brightly colored jumpsuits.

Surrounding the room are also screens and projections throughout the show. Projection design was done by Peter Nigrini and I was truly a fan of this. During the show there were many of the projections on the walls that also helped tell the story. Mixed with photos and videos of the actors playing the lead roles, we also had actual footage of the real Marcos couple.

In the corner of the room, up in a platform, sits the DJ and sometimes narrator of the evening, Kelvin Moon Loh. He warns early on that you will get separated from the friends you are with. And he’s right. My friend and I got split up three different times. Toward the end of the show, I ended up on the stage (as did about a third of the audience) and my friend was not.  

Nearly completely sung through, the show takes you on a journey through the life of Imelda Marcos with song and dance. We see Imelda as a young girl at the beginning, dressed in tattered dresses and dirty shoes and dreaming of more than she has. Played by the lovely and superbly talented Ruthie Ann Miles, Imelda starts out as someone you truly relate with and want to see succeed. Miles has a way of taking you with her on her journey. She makes Imelda the kind of character you want to love, even though you know she’s very much in the wrong.

We see how Imelda’s quest for power and control leaves Estrella, the woman who helped raise her, hurt and left behind. In a way, Estrella helps represent all the people of the Philippines. Played by Melody Butiu, Estrella has the strength and determination of her people as she refuses to be paid off by an embarrassed and ashamed Imelda. Estrella refuses to hide where she came from.  

Jose Llana charms as Ferdinand Marcos. He charms Imelda and marries her after only an eleven day courtship. He charmed the people of his country, and the audience of The Public, as he campaigned for the presidency. Llana is so charming and commanding in his role that it is difficult to imagine that he could be so thoroughly evil, until we begin to see the actions of both he and Imelda as their time in power continues.

In a twist of fate that couldn’t have been better if it had been made up, Imelda’s first heartbreak, Aquino becomes the leader of the opposition. He speaks out loudly against the corruption and wrongdoings of Imelda and her husband. Eventually he is imprisoned by the Marcos regime and after a heart attack, Imelda releases him to the United States for surgery and tells him not to return. Aquino, played by Conrad Ricamora, is the voice of reason for his party and his country. In the end, he gives everything he has to see that his country wins. He returns to the Philippines and is assassinated as he leaves his plane.  

As the show winds to a close, Imelda lets her rage show during “Why Don’t You Love Me.” She sings of her anger and how much she feels she has given to her country and its people. Both she and her husband are baffled as to why they’re country is so unhappy with them. We then feel the U.S. Marines coming in to evacuate the Marcos family from the palace and out of the country. This is beautifully done with lighting and projections and even wind. As someone who has been near a helicopter as it landed, this was very realistic feeling.

The People Power Revolution, as it was known, was a relatively peaceful revolution. As the show ends, the DJ comes down to sing a beautiful song inspired from actual quotes of the people of the Philippines after the revolution. Though I’m unsure of the actual title of the song (there was no song list in the Playbill and this was the only song not on the concept album released a few years ago), I’m pretty sure it should be “God Draws Straight.” At this point in the show, I was a mess. My emotions got the best of me and I cried for the rest of the show. I cried for the characters in the show, for the people of the Philippines, for Aquino, and because I had just experienced something so wonderfully beautiful and powerful.

Here Lies Love is political without being preachy, fun without being fluff and a history lesson for anyone under the age of 35. It walks a fine line, but does it so skillfully you don’t realize, until it’s nearly over, that you’ve seen something incredibly breathtaking and special.

Bottom line: Go see this show. Tickets seem to be hard to come by, but it’s worth it. I promise. And if you’re looking for a less ramble-y and much better review of the show, go check out what my friend wrote on her blog. Or check out this tweet I got from a friend who'd seen the show before I did. 


Also, can I champion for a cast recording? Please? Pretty please? The concept album is great, but this cast is amazing and deserves to have their work captured. Plus, I want that final song! It's not on the concept album and it's too beautiful not to have. 


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Peter and the Starcatcher


Over the weekend I attended a play that I’ve actually wanted to see for over a year now. Peter and the Starcatcher started out at New York Theatre Workshop, transferred to Broadway (where it won five Tony Awards), and is now back off-Broadway at New World Stages.


There are so many things that I could say about this play that is called “the adult prequel to Peter Pan.” Based on a novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the play is written by Rick Elice and directed by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers. While not a musical, and not considered choreography, “movement” is by Steven Hoggett. I must say that the movement is beautifully choreographed. I can’t help but admire Hoggett’s work. Every piece I’ve seen has been spectacular.

Quite possibly the most noticeable thing when you see the show is the set. Scenic design was done by Donyale Werle. To put it simply, it’s magnificently simple. Everything on the stage that is part of the set, all of the props, and even the items used in the proscenium around the stage are “found” items. I was lucky enough to be in the first row, so I had a great view of the proscenium. At first glance, it’s gold and ornate. At second glance, it’s covered in things like shovels, action figures, rope, bottle caps, wine corks, and other items. They’ve been placed on the frame to make a beautiful pattern and then covered in gold.

When you look on the stage there are crates, a couple of trunks, and some very basic set pieces that appear to be nothing more than something that a group of children (though very talented, creative children) would make. The props are things you’d see in a back yard presentation of a neighborhood play. Broomsticks and toilet plungers become swords. Rope goes from showing a room’s walls to becoming the rough and tumble ocean waves.

Throughout the show you feel like you are watching a return to your childhood, which is something that Peter Pan really defines, isn’t it? Peter Pan himself stands for perpetual childhood. His Lost Boys always had found items that they used. Why would this play be any different that the childhood cartoon and book we’ve come to know and love?

In this prequel to Peter Pan, we meet young Molly and her father Lord Aster. Motherless, Molly has grown to be quite the tomboy and her father’s right hand man…in training. When Molly can’t accompany Lord Aster on his journeys, she has Mrs. Bumbrake, her nanny, to care for her. Nicole Lowrance plays Molly with childlike exuberance and joy. The kind that makes you want to be a little girl again.

Mrs. Bumbrake is played by Jon Patrick Walker. Yes. You read that correctly. Mrs. Bumbrake is played, quite hilariously, by a guy. Walker over acts every action of his character, but that’s what makes him so darn funny. I spent half the time he was on stage watching his facial expressions and actions. At times, he was a scene stealer. I loved him.

When Lord Aster is sent on a mission for the Queen, we begin to meet many of the characters that will become those we know in the classic story. Two ships, two crews, two sets of pirates. One with Lord Aster and his crew, the other with the ship that Molly has been sent on with Mrs. Bumbrake.

We also meet the pirate Black Stache. Known for his famous black “stache,” Black Stache is the resident villain that wants to find his hero. Played by Rick Holmes, Stache spends most of the play being clumsy and trying to convince people that he’s evil. More specifically, he meets Boy, and spends quite a bit of his time trying to convince Boy that he needs to be the hero to Stache’s villain.

Boy and his friends Prentiss and Ted are orphans who are sold off to pirates. Jason Ralph plays the mistrusting, withdrawn Boy well. Boy trusts no one because of his rough childhood, but most specifically, he really doesn’t trust grown-ups. We see Boy learn to trust Molly, and to a very small degree, trust others. But while Prentiss and Ted are fighting about which of them is the real leader, Boy becomes their leader.

I wish I could convey the entire story to you in this post, but it might ruin too much of the magic of the show. I will say this… There are treasure chests, secrets, switch-a-roos, cannibals, volcanos, mermaids, magic, flying cats, sinking ships, giant reptiles, sword fights, and bedtimes stories. So much happens as we see Molly teach Boy, Prentiss and Ted what it’s like to have a real childhood, and as we see Boy turn into the leader who eventually ends up with his name…. Peter Pan.

This show is truly a simple show. Simple, beautiful and powerful. Seeing Peter and the Starcatcher is like taking a journey with the actors, and the audience. A journey back to a time when things were simpler. A journey back to your childhood. You laugh. A lot. You find yourself remembering how much fun it was to put on that play with your cousins in the living room of your grandparents’ house. And if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself shedding a tear or two (or more) toward the end of the show and Molly grows up and Boy becomes Peter Pan.