I don’t know what I’ve been so “busy” doing lately, but I’ve been meaning to write about what I’ve seen since Donny & Marie. I know no one cares, but I want to remember what I saw and my impressions of each show, so I’m going to do a little recap here. In my mind I can’t write anything else until I finish my show comments, so here it goes. I was tagged by Melissa for a fun 11 things post, and I’ve been working on that, but like I said, for some reason (probably laziness/just making excuses to myself) I HAVE to get these shows off my chest! So, here goes nothing:
La Cage Aux Folles - I wasn’t going to see this but scored a pretty sweet deal on a ticket, so I was happy to check it out. It was my first time at the Bank of America theatre, and I was not a fan of the venue. It’s tiny, and almost every seat is obstructed in some way. I was in the first row of a balcony, so I could see, but it just felt cramped in there. Anyway, this show starred George Hamilton (that really tan old guy from… I don’t know what he’s from) and Christopher Sieber (the dad from the Mary Kate and Ashley show “Two of a Kind”), and is very much like the movie The Birdcage. The first act kind of dragged by (get it? “Drag”ged by hahaha), but in the final scene before intermission Mr. Sieber brought down the house with his stirring rendition of “I Am What I Am.” During intermission I overheard a lady saying she thought the show was “R rated” and how she was glad she didn’t bring her teenagers with her. I wanted to turn around and tell her that I thought the message (summed up in the line “Life’s not worth a damn ’til you can say, “Hey world, I am what I am!”) would be great for a teen, or anyone, to hear. Too bad she wasn’t able to see past the cross-dressing. I, for one, walked away with the notion to more fully embrace and love myself, flaws and all. I think everyone can use a little more self-love and acceptance, and I thought this story did a great job of portraying that message. If I had to give it a grade, it’d get a B+.
The Addams Family – I saw this on New Year’s Day (again, nabbed a great deal, $20.12 tickets in honor of the new year), and it was the smallest audience I’ve ever seen at one of these shows. It was so small, in fact, that in the balcony, they weren’t seating according to your ticket, you just told them how many people were in your party and they pointed you toward a section of seats. They basically upgraded everyone, which was awesome. However, I was so embarrassed to say that I was alone, a party of one, because I appeared to be the only lone bird. But, it worked out, because I got a great seat (for the balcony anyway, front row of the loge) and then stopped caring that I was alone. So, the show. It was great! I didn’t know what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it comedic and cleverly written. It’s similar to the old tv show and movies, but they gave it a modern twist (Wednesday has a normal boyfriend that she’s invited to dinner, and she implores her family to act normal for just one night). I loved the character development, the actors were impeccable (including a child–Pugsley–who was amazing; I didn’t think kids on tours could act based on my Mary Poppins experience), and it was hilarious. I give this show an A! I would definitely see it again.
Mamma Mia – I already wrote about this abomination here. I’m not saying anything else, except giving it a well-deserved F.
A Chorus Line – After being wowed by the Paramount Theatre‘s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in November, I was excited to check out their next Broadway endeavor, and I wasn’t disappointed. A Chorus Line gives us a taste of what it’s like to be an actor, particularly a Broadway actor auditioning for a coveted spot in the chorus line of a Broadway show. We meet nineteen hopefuls and watch as they’re put through the paces by director Zach, who, for much of the show, is a disembodied voice. He asks them tough questions, not what you’d expect at an audition (like I know or something), and they answer in song and dance because, well, it is a musical, after all. In the end, we learn who makes the cut, and then, for curtain call/the finale, the performers don identical gold tuxedo-y costumes to illustrate how they are essentially one (“One” is the name of the song) anonymous blob of ensemble. That is, actually, how I view the ensemble in most shows, not that I discount their talent or value in any way, but they really are interchangeable as far as the audience is concerned, and it was interesting to see the perspective of these “anonymous” performers. The hour-long drive to Aurora was worth it (tickets are a bargain out there too!), but this wasn’t my favorite show ever. The set was really cool, featuring moveable mirrors and such, and the acting, singing, and dancing were swell, but the story didn’t pack as big a punch as I was expecting. I give it a B.
South Pacific - The first time I saw this show was at the Calumet Theatre when I was younger, and I remember thoroughly enjoying it, so I was happy to check it out as this tour passed through town. I LOVED this show, it was captivating. South Pacific takes place during World War II in, you guessed it, the South Pacific. It’s a love story between French ex-pat Emile and Navy nurse Nellie Forbush, of Little Rock, Arkansas. An odd couple, especially considering the fact that Emile has two mixed-race children from a previous marriage to a Polynesian woman. Back in the day, it was a bigger deal than it is now, obviously. I loved the costumes (old timey and fantastic), sets (working showers during “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair” was one highlight), props (surprisingly realistic cigarettes, none of that e-cig nonsense for these guys), actors (the role of Nellie had just been taken over by the former understudy, and she was phenomenal), and singing (the man who played Emile was a fancy opera singer). (Enough parentheses for you?) I would love to see it again. I give it an A.
Then, I went to New York where I saw Wicked, Anything Goes, and Wit. I will write a separate entry (probably in six months or so) about those shows.
Bring it On – The day after I got back from New York I went down for opening night of Bring it On, which was inspired by the movie of the same name. I was very tired after my whirlwind trip, and was worried I may not be able to stay awake. I did not have to worry, however, because this show is so high energy and fast-moving. The cheer sequences were literally breathtaking, the girls were thrown so high into the air I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know how many times I audibly gasped. The story was cute and easy to follow, and while I didn’t think the lead actress was as strong as she could’ve been, the supporting cast and ensemble more than made up for her. It was a fun show, and I would definitely see it again. I give it an A-.
Riverdance – I’ve wanted to see this since the late 90s, and since this is allegedly the final North American tour, I was first in line to secure my ticket! Just kidding, I actually bought it on a whim when it was featured as one of Broadway in Chicago’s $25 on the 25th deals. I was like, ehh, why not? I was nerdily excited, and right away I was pleased with what I saw. The dancing is just what you’d imagine, so precise and impressive, and I loved every second of that. However, I wasn’t aware that show was basically half dance and half music, and the music part, to me, at least, was so boring. I fell asleep during the first musical interlude, a man was playing some sort of pipe thing and it just sounded like a lullaby, I couldn’t help it! I came to dread the robes (when performers came out in robes, it meant we were getting a song), and though the musicians were very talented, I didn’t come to see them. All in all, I enjoyed the show, but I would have preferred to see more dancing. I don’t know that I would see Riverdance again, I think I’m good with one show, unless they cut 90% of the music things. But I would have no way of knowing that until I got to the show, so no, I probably wouldn’t risk it. I give it a C.
Whew! There, I did it. Maybe now I can get on with my blog life. But then again, maybe not!