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'GIANT' first preview

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jv92
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/05
'GIANT' first preview
Posted: 11/10/12 at 08:50pm
Not much of a review but...

I went today and found it wonderful. I have been warming up to La Chiusa this year with QUEEN OF THE MIST, which was wonderful, and now this, which is probably his best score to date. The score is melodic and soaring.

The book was also very impressively constructed, and despite a 400+ page source material, it crammed everything necessary in there in a little more than three hours. I thought the three hours flew by.

The cast is wonderful, and the final musical scene between Kate Baldwin and Brian D'Arcy James is gorgeous musical theater writing and performing. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed myself.

Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
'GIANT' first preview
Posted: 11/11/12 at 06:32am
Look, for being as sprawling as the story is, the show is not a mess. And it really, easily could have been. I actually think the book is quite strong, I was more impressed by Pearson's work than LaChuisa's. For a piece so large they do have to indulge in shorthand. For instance, they try to establish everything with Vashti with a song before we have any idea who she is. And that is supposed to last us as we really get no more character definition again. That's sorta rule breaking, but LaChuisa and Greif have been around and know the rules so well they have earned some rule-breaking. I'd argue a more egregious choice was giving Jett his 'I want' song back to back with his 'I am' song. And then nothing ever comes of either really (he is used here more as a representation of what Texas becomes as opposed to a real character). I wonder if his affair with Bick's daughter Luz2 was in the original four hour version. Brian was fantastic and his character DOES change, its just more subtle than Rock Hudson's in the film. I'd argue Kate's character is the one that is somewhat static, but her performance is so very well sung and smart I could care less. I don't think the show will every be strong enough or get the reviews to move to Broadway, but I'm very glad I saw it.

Updated On: 11/11/12 at 06:32 AM
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newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
'GIANT' first preview
Posted: 11/12/12 at 12:00pm
Something about the "Outside Your Widow" tune that kept reprising over and over and over was bothering me, and I just now realized that it sounds a lot like "Chip On Your Shoulder" from Legally Blonde.

Apropos of nothing...
Holster2
Chorus Member
joined:7/25/12
'GIANT' first preview
Posted: 11/14/12 at 12:28pm
I got to see it this past weekend, and I thought it was great. Too long? Maybe. I can't tell you what I would cut though. There isn't anything glaring that is just screaming "TOO MUCH!" or "REDUNDANT!!!" in the show. I would love to see this go to Broadway, even though it is not commercial in the slightest. Being based on the novel and popular film, it already has an audience - an audience that is much older, the kind of audience that actually pays to go see shows on Broadway. LaChiusa has his audience. I'm sure people would check it out because of Greif's name being attached. It might not last long, but it would certainly get some Tony nominations and most likely awards.
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WiCkEDrOcKS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/04
'GIANT' first preview
Posted: 11/17/12 at 09:20pm
I saw the show this afternoon and I have to say I really liked it and appreciated it, but I didn't love it. Most importantly, it is very impressive and exciting to see a musical like GIANT; it is very ambitious, very challenging, and very different. Even if not all of it works (and not all of it does), I would rather see 85 GIANTs than another NEWSIES or ROCK OF AGES.

Firstly, the cast is simply wonderful. Save for a slimy yet bland PJ Griffith and an almost hammy Michelle Pawk, there is not a bad or even mediocre performance in the entire group. They are all excellent, particularly Kate Baldwin of course. Her voice is gorgeous and she really knocks the book scenes out of the park. Brian D'Arcy James, always wonderful, is the ideal match for her. Katie Thompson (that voice!) and Bobby Steggert also made strong impressions on me.

The score is really gorgeous overall. The orchestrations are fantastic and there are some moments in this show that work so perfectly that it sent chills down my spine. But I have to echo a lot of the general complaints about the score; there are a handful of superfluous songs that side characters don't really need and some cuts can be made here and there. But (and I don't think I've ever felt this way about a show before) I almost feel as though those cuts could and should be filled in with more songs and more character development for Baldwin and D'Arcy James' characters. If the show needs one thing, it's a clearer focus. I completely understand the book (and the film) are sweeping, long, grand, and...well...giant. But in the show (maybe it's just this truncated version), it comes off as disjointed and a bit manic. When the show takes it's time and focuses in on one specific relationship, moment, or character, that's when it really soars (the opening, many of the scenes between Steggert and D'Arcy James, and the breathtaking final 30 minutes all spring to mind). The second act has a much clearer direction and focus than the first, in my opinion. It also takes its time a bit more to tell the story and develop the characters. The Virginia sequence in the first act goes by WAY too quickly, and most of the first act felt choppy to me. I was getting whiplash from all of the new plots and characters and storylines being introduced, just as I was settling in to the scene or character that was introduced before it. That said, the three hour running time went by rather quickly.

Greif lends his steady directorial hand to the show, and it's all the better for it. He really continues to impress me.

I would love to see a future for GIANT. There is really a lot in the show that impressed me and some moments that even blew me away; and with another revision or two, I really do feel as though this show could be something incredible. But as it is a the Public, it's an ambitious musical in which not everything works. But the potential is absolutely there.
Current Avatar: Tony-winner Idina Menzel, delivering a sucker-punch of an 11:00 number, "Always Starting Over," in IF/THEN.
Updated On: 11/17/12 at 09:20 PM
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muscle23ftl
Broadway Legend
joined:12/19/04
'GIANT' first preview
Posted: 11/18/12 at 02:38am
I was at the same performance, Saturday at 1pm, and I agree a 100%, but the 3 hours didn't fly by for me, it was rather slow and I couldn't wait till it was over.
It was a good show, and it has potential, nothing as innovative or avante garde as "See What I Wanna See", but it was a good show.
It need major cutting, and the show should be maybe 1.45 or 2 hours intermission included.
The cast was very good, the woman that plays Brian Darcy's sister was a bit annoying, but not sure if it was her or the character that was absolutely dreadful.
Kate Baldwin was great, and so was the girl that played her daughter, they sang wonderfully.
"People have their opinions and that doesn't mean that their opinions are wrong or right. I just take it with a grain of salt because opinions are like as*holes, everyone has one". -Felicia Finley-
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EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
'GIANT' first preview
Posted: 12/18/12 at 01:42am
This was probably posted and I missed it--but a search didn't come up with anything. Not a big surprise, but I'm pleased

http://www.playbill.com/news/article/173178-Michael-John-LaChiusa-Musical-Giant-Will-Be-Recorded-by-Ghostlight-Records-for-Spring-2013-Release#.UMt6Wwr2ogM.facebook

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