I've been convinced that my hair doesn't look that bad. So, here are some pictures of my journey to Spring Awakening... (courtesy of Amy's flickr account.)
I had to strain my back to try to fit everything in. As you can see, I was not successful. Apparently, Spring Awakening won the Tony for Est Musica.
Blake Daniel, being nice and signing Amy's playbill. Charming fellow. Has very red hair.
A mildly stalkerish photo. (I was bored, okay?) Matt Doyle, signing stuff that isn't for me.
Oh! Well look at that! Isn't that the STAR OF THE SHOW?
Matt has this ridiculously cute smile. Completely un-Melchior like. Makes me want to hug him. Not really sure Melchior would be the hugging type. But never fear; from what I could tell from my great seat in the very last row of the mezzanine, Matt did not smile like that throughout the duration of the show.
WHAT'S THIS? A TONY AWARD WINNER AND ME IN THE SAME PHOTO? Yes, that's John Gallagher, Jr. himself. I've been regularly shoving this in some of my friends' faces and gloating.
Well, that's that. I'll be blogging about Curtains soooon(ish). And then, I suspect, I shan't be blogging in a while as my bank account desperately tries to recoup from all the spending on musicals I've been doing.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I've been convinced that my hair doesn't look that bad. So, here are some pictures of my journey to Spring Awakening... (courtesy of Amy's flickr account.)
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Show: Spring Awakening
Venue: Eugene O'Neill Theatre
Date: Saturday 22, 2007
One of my friends from San Francisco... well, actually she's in San Diego now, but we both went to elementary school in SF... but anyway, she decided to come visit me before her quarter started. One of the things she really wanted to do was to see Spring Awakening.
I'd heard a lot about Spring Awakening, but at the same time, I knew practically nothing about it. I knew that it'd practically swept the Tonys, winning a total of eight, and I knew that there was on stage nudity, and I knew that you could get on stage seating if you wanted. Oh, I also knew that Duncan Sheik wrote the music. But anything else? Nothing.
So we went to go see the Saturday matinee. A few days earlier, Amy had informed me that Jonathan Groff (who plays Melchior) would not be performing and that Matt Doyle would be playing the role in his place. This, naturally, meant absolutely nothing to me at the time.
The theatre darkened, and on the lone chair in the middle of the stage stood a girl (Lea Michele). The music slowly started and the theatre was filled with Lea's lovely voice singing "Mama Who Bore Me."
At times, I felt the transition to the more contemporary music was jarring. (The musical itself is set in rural Germany circa 1890s) There were times where it worked really well ("And Then There Were None", "Totally Fucked") but other times where it didn't work so well ("Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise)"). Overall though, the juxtaposition of the contemporary music with the older setting definitely proved that issues that plagued the adolescents then are still very much relevant today. That, and the music was really good.
John Gallagher, Jr. who won the Tony for Best Featured Actor was absolutely fantastic in his role as Moritz. I think the character of Moritz himself sorta steals the show from its main protagonist, Melchior. And why wouldn't he? He has some of the best lines and John has this amazingly infectious energy that makes you sympathize and basically fall in love with his character. I was very impressed with his performance (He's only 23!!!). The whole time I was watching, all I could think was how he so completely deserved his Tony.
Matt Doyle gave a surprisingly fantastic rendition as Melchior. I'm often times skeptical of understudies, especially understudies of lead roles in big musicals. Granted, I've never watched or heard Jonathan Groff perform the role of Melchior, but good God, Matt Doyle was good. Melchior is a character who could easily be disliked for many reasons, but Matt played it so well. The final scenes were absolutely heartbreaking. One of the best parts of the musical was "Left Behind." The song and the placement of it are enough to get anyone going, but Matt performed the song with such tenderness, emotion, and anger (odd combination, I know, but if you've seen the musical, you know what I'm talking about) it gave that scene a completely new dimension. It was the closest I've come to crying in any musical.
The show has a lot of elements that are definitely different about it. The set is almost completely bare. All the adults are played by two people. (That was sorta confusing in the beginning... for a while, I was wondering why Wendla's mother was also the piano teacher and also the headmistress.) And definitely one of the most different things about it is the choreography. The choreography is... weird. To me, at least. There was a lot of interpretative dancing going on, and that kinda weirded me out. Not my cup of tea, I guess.
The second act was more powerful emotionally and had some of the better songs. The second act was where it all really came together for me. It was definitely darker... but it did have this one bright spot of hilarity - what Amy and I have come to call the seduction scene. Ernst and Hanschen are sitting together, and Ernst cheerfully dreams of being a country pastor and living in a small house with his apple cheeked wife... that is until Hanschen kisses him. Jonathan B. Wright was hilarious as the very gay Hanschen, and Blake Daniel was so endearing as the naive Ernst.
The show was great, and it seemed the entire audience agreed. When the curtains fell (metaphorically speaking... there weren't any actual curtains), everyone jumped out of their seats and gave the company a rousing ovation. For about five minutes. They came back two more times for two more bows. And yes, it was that good.
As good as the show was, waiting afterward at the stage door was almost just as fun. It was actually my first time. For all the shows I've seen, I'd never before waited afterward. Weird, eh? Well, this was actually really fun. Amy collected autographs and I took pictures.
We first talked to Blake Daniel who was taller up close than he looked on stage. I duly informed Blake that Amy flew all the way from California to see this show. Blake, with interest, asked what part of California. Upon hearing her answer, he replied, "I'm from Orange County." Yes! we were surprised. However, neither of us is really from SoCal, so the conversation sort of just died there.
Sometime during that, the door opened, and we heard very, very loud girly shrieks. So I knew: John Gallagher Jr. had just come out. Shortly thereafter, the door opened again, and another loud - though less shrill - round of shrieks. And so I knew: Matt Doyle had just come out.
It was a while before they made it through the throng of adoring fans. Matt made it before John did. (Totally on a first name basis with them, in case you couldn't tell.) As Matt was signing Amy's program, I once again pulled the California card. "Oh really?" he asked. "What part?" When we informed him we were from the Bay Area, he said, "I'm from Marin." Whodathunk? Everyone's from freaking California. He was super nice and super sweet, though very different than I might have guessed he would be... in a good way.
And eventually, John made his way to us. By this time, the crowd had thinned considerably. John was much more outgoing and comfortable with talking to us (more used to it, I suppose), and was very kind and charming. I (once again again) told John that Amy flew in that morning, and he was astounded. When I remarked, "I've never been in the presence of a Tony award winner before," he responded, "Oh yeah, I keep forgetting I won that!" Later, he thanked Amy for flying all the way in, and I cut in and said, "Thank you for being awesome!" He seemed genuinely surprised and pleased and responded, "Thank you!"
Everyone was really nice and obliging. It was nice to see that they hadn't been really affected by their stardom yet. Amy got pictures with just about everyone who came out: Blake, Brian Charles Johnson, Lilli Cooper, Matt, and John. I got two pictures - one with Matt and one with John. Unfortunately, I look completely disgusting in both since it randomly decided to absolutely pour right before we got into the theatre. Result: my hair was gross. Oh well. I shall cherish those pictures regardless.
To sum up: It was a great time! Not only did I see a great show, but I got to inform my friend I got a picture with John Gallagher Jr, much to her envy.
Go see it! It didn't win eight Tonys for nothing, you know.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Venue: Nederlander Theatre
Date: September 7, 2007
For those of you who don't stalk Broadway as I do (which I would assume is most of you), you may or may not have heard that a few months ago, Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal made their glorious return to Rent, reprising their roles from almost ten years ago. When I found this out almost half a year ago, I literally freaked out. Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal!!!!
So naturally, my friend and I decided to get tickets to see them. We got orchestra seats for about 70 bucks... which isn't too terrible. The theatre is rather small, so we could see pretty well from where we were.
It seemed like an impossibly long wait, the few minutes before the show started. I kept asking When is this bloody thing going to start? when all of a sudden the girls behind us started screaming loudly. I looked to the stage and Adam freaking Pascal was walking on nonchalantly - as if he weren't Adam freaking Pascal - with his guitar. He sat down on the table near center stage and the rest of the company came out. To the front came Anthony Rapp.
At this point, I quite nearly had a heart attack. Anthony Rapp. Adam Pascal. Forget for a moment that this is my first time seeing Rent. Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal! It was so surreal. The audience started cheering wildly. Anthony opened his mouth to start the show, but everyone was applauding so loudly, he had to wait a whole minute before he could start.
Now, I know that it's been almost ten years since these guys performed these parts live. (Doing it for a movie is a different animal completely.) But I'm not joking when I say Anthony and Adam were absolutely pitch perfect. It was almost as if those last ten years never happened. Every line, every song, every move was so perfect. They sounded almost exactly the same as the recording they did nearly ten years ago. Though I've never heard or seen the roles performed by anyone else, I'm absolutely convinced that Anthony Rapp is Mark, and that there could be no other Roger than Adam Pascal. Convinced.
Now, much as I love Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal, they weren't the only stars in the show. Starring as Mimi was former AI star Tamyra Gray. I have never really liked the role of Mimi. Her songs aren't great, and her part isn't that good either... but I really enjoyed Tamyra's performance. She has a great voice and she definitely looked the part of Mimi. The short hair was different, but she rocked it. Mimi had some REALLY bizarre outfits. (Oh, and on that note... I really took offense to Roger's plaid pants. Thankfully, he changed them for Act Two.) She and Adam had some great chemistry too. "Light My Candle" was actually really, really cute. There were some bits that, especially, made me laugh. The best part though was when Mimi asks Roger to dance. Roger asks, "With you?" and Mimi replies, "No... with my father." When Tamyra sang that, she did this little hip twist. Then, in the next line, Adam Pascal mimicked that twist, and sang, "I'm Roger." SO CUTE. I loved that.
As it was my first time seeing it, there were a lot of new elements for me to discover. The OCR finally made sense to me. Lots of little lines of dialogue that I didn't understand before now were clear. I also noticed something regarding the show and the movie. Obviously, the movie and the actual show had a lot of differences in story. (e.g. "Christmas Bells", the timing of the songs, etc.) It seems that the show itself has an element missing from the movie. I'm not quite sure what it is. The show was definitely more captivating than the movie. I think it has something to do with the rawness and the simplicity of the set and the performances. The movie made everything to refined, too clean... that's not what Rent is about. And I think the power and strength of the show became diluted in the medium of a film.
The rest of the cast was strong. Justin Johnson was a great Angel. He definitely had all the mannerisms down and was so cute. Nicolette Hart did a good turn as Maureen... though I feel like she made Maureen a bit of a ditz. My friend argued that she liked her interpretation... Well, I just don't like the character of Maureen at all. ("Over the Moon" is actually my least favorite song.) D'Monroe and Troy Horne as Benny and Collins, respectively, also did very well in their roles.
I have always felt like Act One was much better than Act Two, and seeing the show confirmed that for me. However, my favorite song is in Act Two... and that's "What You Own". And I got to see it performed by Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal. Totally blew my mind. It was so heartfelt and raw and moving.
Another of my favorite songs and scenes is "La Vie Boheme." And can I just say... Mark is so damn cute in that scene. How he's singing and dancing on the table... yup. I love that song and scene! It's so cheerful and lively and colorful. And Anthony Rapp was so adorable in that scene... I wanted to hug him.
There was another bit in that song that made it especially funny. In one part, Roger is supposed to say, "And Mark Cohen will preview his documentary about his inability to hold an erection on the high holy days!" When this part came up, Adam Pascal jumped up on a table, and started the say the line. Except as he went on, he started to slow down. "... his inability to uh... hold a boner... I MEAN AN ERECTION..." The Rent-heads all went crazy with laughter. Afterwards, Adam was near the back of the stage, laughing and shaking his head.
There was one scene I considered more well done in the movie... At least, very distinctly better. That's Angel's funeral. For some reason, in the show, it didn't quite move me as much as it did in the movie.
The show was over before I knew it. The ovation was amazing. Everyone stood and cheered as the company took its bow. While Rent isn't my favorite show (that dubious honor still sits with Spamalot), it is definitely near the top. The music and the message are very real. And Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal made the experience so completely and utterly amazing. As my friends and I exited the theatre, my friend mournfully commented, "Now I want to see it again." Can't say I disagreed.
Monday, September 3, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Venue: Neil Simon Theatre
Date: August 29, 2007
As a sort of a "welcome back" gift, my aunt bought tickets so we could all go see Hairspray. I had wanted to see the movie (I super love James Marsden... heh heh heh), but I had wanted to see the musical first. So this was the perfect opportunity!
Anyway, the line was to get in was stupidly long. I don't understand. Why does it matter if you get in earlier versus later? It's not like you can get a better seat, nor is it like a baseball game where you can stalk players. Perhaps those people can't find anything better to do in New York City? Har har.
Our seats were decent. We sat about midway in the mezzanine, and you know, most seats in the theatres have a good view.
The show itself is very colorful and bright and happy and dance-y (not a word). While those shows aren't really my favorites (I'm more of a singer myself and thus prefer shows with more musical content and strong scores), I did enjoy this show. The show touches on some more weighty themes (no pun intended) but that's gaudily covered up with lights, smiles, and flashy dance moves.
I found the show started to lag at the end of Act One. Never really a good sign when you start wondering when the intermission is... but most of it was really strong. The acts, I felt, were a little too uneven. A lot of dancing and singing in the first act... not as much in the second. The whole jail sequence seemed slightly pointless to me, but it added more drama...? Like everyone was in jail and then they weren't...?
When I was entering the theatre, I already knew that Ashley Parker Angel (of O-Town fame) was in the musical playing the part of Link Larkin. What I didn't know was that Lance Bass (of N*SYNC fame) had also joined the cast. I noticed the billing as I was waiting in line to pick up our tickets at Will Call. But I was so utterly surprised. APA and Lance Bass?! Invasion of the former boy banders!!!!
Surprisingly, Ashley Parker Angel was one of my favorites. Why is this surprising? Well, mostly because five years ago, or whenever O-Town was popular, I used to make fun of him a lot. And I made fun of my friend Amanda who lurved him. Actually, I made fun of anyone who did. Not out of envy or anything... I guess I just never saw the appeal. He's too... I don't know... effeminate for me? I mean, besides the looks, his name is Ashley Parker Angel. (I think I found it hilarious that a boy could be named Ashley... Oh, give me a break, I was 13.)
I did, however, enter the theatre with an open mind. I have a friend, Diana, who adores Ashley Parker Angel (Jesus, that's a long name to type) and adores Hairspray. She had talked so often about him and meeting him and the show, I admit, I was curious.
He did an amazing job. He constantly caught my eye. For one thing, he's so tall, and his limbs are all so long that it's just hard to miss him. But mostly, he just seemed so... happy! He also had this charisma that made you want to watch him and constantly follow him. He was also a really good dancer (at least to me. I am not a dance expert by any means.) and a good singer. His boy band background was perfect for Link Larkin, the wholesome teen idol. He fit his part extremely well. His acting was... I dunno, slightly lacking, I think, but in a musical like this, you can kinda get away with it.
Lance, on the other hand, was underwhelming. Not that I was ever a fan of Lance or N*SYNC. (I was a BSB girl myself. Not that I listen to them anymore... *hides BSB CDs*) I just feel like he wasn't really right for the part of Corny. By the way, what kind of terrible name is that? Honestly...
I also enjoyed the performances by Tevin Campbell (Seaweed), Niki Scalera (Penny), and Darlene Love (Motormouth). I actually really liked Penny's character. She was one of my favorites. Seaweed had a great part, and Tevin did a spectacular job, though I think at times his mic was skitzing out. There were times where it was really hard to hear what he was singing, and other times, when he was the lead singer, the background vocals drowned him out. Darlene Love was absolutely astounding.
Truthfully, I didn't care much for either Shannon Durig, who played Tracy, nor Ashley Spencer, who played Amber. (I wonder if it ever got confusing during rehearsals... Ashley come over here! No, the other Ashley!) To no fault of their own, really. They did great jobs and performed their roles well, but... personal preference, I suppose. I didn't really like Shannon's voice all too much, though I recognize a good voice when I hear one. As for Ashley... maybe I just didn't like Amber's character. Ashley was really squeaky. (I'm not a fan of the squeaky.)
As for the show itself... like I said, I enjoyed it. There was nothing else that really called out to me (i.e. costumes, sets, etc) but the overall package was good. The story dealt with stereotypes and segregation, but in a very lighthearted manner... almost flippant, really. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I realize it's a show and an escape from reality and people want to be entertained, not depressed, but the way the show ended in such a nice, neat, little package bothered me. As if the cheating, lying, skank of a producer like Velma von Tussle and her brainless daughter Amber could change just because of a five minute dance sequence, after they spent the entire musical trying to thwart Tracy? Mreh. It's a musical, I guess... not reality.
The bits with Edna and Wilbur were great. John C. Vogt and Jerry Mathers improv'd a lot of stuff, and the audience just ate it up. There was a lot of chemistry between them... er... you know what I mean.
I wish we saw more of Corny's character. He seems to have been really unexplored, and I feel like he could have been very interesting.
I loved Seaweed and Penny together. So cute. Their duet together in "Without Love" is one of the highlights of the show, in my opinion.
All in all, a good show and another wonderful experience on Broadway. I can't wait to see the movie! Hmmm... maybe a movie/show comparison is in order if I see it? At any rate, if you have some spare cash... and even if you don't!... go see Hairspray. I recommend it to everyone!
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Venue: Shubert Theatre
Date: April 6, 2007
I love Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a movie I consider one of the quintessential comedies and classic movies that everyone in the whole world should see. That being held true, Spamalot would logically then be one of the quintessential musicals that everyone should see.
I'd listened to the entire soundtrack several times before I went to see the show, but it never really occurred to me exactly how true the musical is to the movie. The musical has a lot of the same jokes as the movie... and yet they're still quite funny!! Almost every memorable joke in the movie is in the musical, and there are some new ones as well. You have the Knights of Ni, Tim the Enchanter, the Killer Rabbit, and the Black Knight. There are some new jokes as well, some built off of off-hand remarks in the movie (Galahad to Lancealot: "I bet you're gay.")
If you want to see a classic Broadway show with the lights and the dancing and set changes, this is it. It has a real "show" feel... a show that's aimed at entertainment for the sake of entertainment. I adore this show. It's possibly my favorite. Hard to say. I'm biased though since I love love love the movie. I love love love LOVE the musical.
The cast was pretty good... though I wasn't too overly impressed with the person playing Lady of the Lake. I'm accustomed to Sara Ramirez's take and she's absolutely amazing in the recording (and in the Tony performance) and I felt the one I saw was somewhat weak in comparison. She was a good actor and she had a good voice but mreh. The Knights were great. Prince Herbert was fab. I loved the pink slippers.
This show is DEFINITELY for a more mature audience, as there are a lot of sexual/mature references. And you probably should watch the movie before you go see it. I could tell who had seen the movie and who hadn't just based on reactions in the audience (and the fact the little girl in front of me kept giving me strange looks when I'd laugh at certain scenes). Oh, but the BEST was "You Won't Succeed on Broadway"... omg. The song, the choreography, the big bright shining Star of David... oh God. You have to see it to believe it.
I had balcony seats which actually kinda sucked. Usually I don't mind wherever I'm sitting but they have lights up in the balcony that kinda illuminate the whole area, and you can see a lot of the effects happening before they do. I could see the guy who was holding the stuffed bunny during the Killer Rabbit scene. There were other things we missed too, sitting so high up. If I were to see it again, I'd like to sit in the orchestra or mezzanine.
Oh! Another bad experience I had... Usually when I go to shows I ask for two playbills. I tear off the cover of one and keep the other. I pin up the torn off cover on my wall. Anyway, at almost every show, the ushers are very nice and compliant and more than willing to hand me an extra. NOT SO AT THIS SHOW. The old woman was very cross and rude and told me to go sit down. I was so mad.
All in all, a WONDERFUL show that I'd love to see again. Though, I've said that for most of the ones I've seen, haven't I?