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Bridges of Madison County Previews

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bwayphreak234
Broadway Legend
joined:7/4/10
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/17/14 at 12:15am
First preview is tonight. Who is going to be there?
"There’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music. "
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VotePeron
Leading Actor
joined:5/2/13
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/17/14 at 01:26pm
Has anyone stopped by the theater today inquiring about Rush tickets? They have plenty of seats still available as of last night online, and are on TKTS for 50% off today, so I am hoping they are offering something! Excited to see this!
lanecwilliamson
Swing
joined:12/31/12
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/17/14 at 01:55pm
Rush tickets are $37, sold at 10 when the box office opens and cut off at 11.
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iluvtheatertrash
Broadway Legend
joined:11/9/04
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/17/14 at 02:12pm
I'll be there tonight.
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
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broadwaydevil
Broadway Legend
joined:2/16/11
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/17/14 at 04:44pm
^Student or general rush?
Scratch and claw for every day you're worth! Make them drag you screaming from life, keep dreaming You'll live forever here on earth.
bwayphreak234 Profile Photo
bwayphreak234
Broadway Legend
joined:7/4/10
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/17/14 at 08:00pm
here's the set

"There’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music. "
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TBone
Leading Actor
joined:8/14/03
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/17/14 at 08:06pm
I have tickets to see it on Valentine's Day. I'm really looking forward to it and I'm very curious to read people's thoughts.
"Where nothing ever grows Where no one ever goes In lands of storms and snows We'll plant one burning rose, love..."
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RW3
Broadway Star
joined:7/20/13
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/17/14 at 11:22pm
How was it?
iluvtheatertrash Profile Photo
iluvtheatertrash
Broadway Legend
joined:11/9/04
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:09am
I've spent a year looking forward to this show. More than any other, truthfully. The source material is very dear to me for a lot of reasons. It resonates strongly because of my parents' divorce, a really difficult time for me. And I was rooting for this show more than I was any other this year. The score is stunning. The set is beautiful. The lighting design is extraordinary.

But the show falls flat. And they're both just too young - and the plot suffers because of it. The story is completely different when they're younger. It's harder to forgive them. It's harder to accept it.

Kelli is wonderful and will grow into the role. But the biggest obstacle is her age. And she can't fix that. Pasquale has a beautiful voice. But he's not Robert Kincaid. Or at least not the version the original author created. There are some lovely songs, some wonderful performances. But there's something fundamentally wrong here that I'm struggling with...

SPOILERS AHEAD (if you haven't read the book or seen the film)

As many of you will already know, the author originally provided a wonderful set-up. Francesca's children find her letters after her death. Her mementos have collected dust, but she's never thrown them away because of what Robert means to her. From the beginning, we know this is unlike any other love she's experienced. In fact, it may be the first time she's ever truly felt it. But here, this device is cut. And we never see her children forgive her. Or their struggle to accept what she did. And without that, it's awfully hard to feel any sympathy for Francesca.

Additionally, we learn about Francesca's life in Italy. This is hard because she seemed awfully unhappy there. And since Bud took her away and gave her a life, one has to wonder why she's STILL complaining? And one starts to think she'll never be happy, even if she does run away with Robert.

I could write a book about this because of how much I love the material... But it's late. And time to get to bed.

I wish them all a lot of success. And I'm going to go back and see it again soon. And I really hope they're able to fix these issues. But I fear that there are some they simply can't without some major re-writing. I'll be curious to see how they use this preview period.
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
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iluvtheatertrash
Broadway Legend
joined:11/9/04
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:33am
Don't get me wrong. It's hardly a trainwreck. It's beautifully sung and staged. But people who have a deep affection for the source material will struggle with how the plot differences ultimately change the story's entire scope.

On another note, there was one stop. Cass Morgan got a little excited and closed a drawer too hard. The dresser fell into the orchestra pit. A little frightening, but no one got hurt and the show began again in just a few minutes.
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
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BwayTday
Broadway Legend
joined:6/2/09
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:36am
Do you think the show would fall flat for someone who hasn't read or seen the source material? So I mean, do you think it's strong enough to stand on it's own when it isn't be compared?
iluvtheatertrash Profile Photo
iluvtheatertrash
Broadway Legend
joined:11/9/04
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:41am
It's hard for me to answer that. The person with me wasn't familiar with it, and enjoyed it. Thought there were problems, but enjoyed it. But after hearing me talk about how fundamentally different it is, he's planning to read the novel now to understand what I'm feeling abut what we saw.

The book resonates a lot for me because it's something I shared with my mom. I've got a ticket to go with her next Saturday - we've been looking forward to it. But I wanted to see it first because there was a part of me that was frightened of all the memories it would bring to the surface. But it didn't bring up any tonight. And I'm shocked that I wasn't moved to shed a single tear.

I think people will be entertained. I don't know if it'll sell to the general public, but I think people will enjoy themselves. But my fear is that they won't be getting from it what they SHOULD be getting from it. I find it impossible to sympathize with Francesca in this musical. And that's really very deadly for the story...

I'm curious to see the changes they make. I'm a big fan of everyone involved and really rooting for them. It certainly has so much potential. But I was very disappointed...
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
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iluvtheatertrash
Broadway Legend
joined:11/9/04
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:42am
That doesn't really answer your question. Does it? Sorry. It's a tough one to answer because of how close I am to the material.
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
ilikebroadwaythings1
Swing
joined:1/11/14
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:47am
hmm that's very interesting you say that.. I've both read the book and seen the film, so I understand the audience's need to sympathize with Franchesa.. That really changes the story if that element is unclear.. either way I'm so excited for this production.. even though I won't be in NYC until summer..
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iluvtheatertrash
Broadway Legend
joined:11/9/04
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:50am
I hope that they see the issue and tackle it. There are two wonderful songs, but they damage how the audience thinks of Francesca. I'm curious to know over the week what others who know the novel and film intimately think. I did speak to quite a few other audience members on the way home. Some liked it, but those who knew the book as I do really struggled with how different the resonance of the piece was here.
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
dave1606
Broadway Star
joined:12/8/07
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:50am
I was there tonight and for the most part I loved it. Full disclosure, I have no affinity to the book or the movie. Regardless, this is the best new score in years, probably since Next to Normal for me. Soaring, rich, and varied, Jason Robert Brown's score is fantastic. I can hear nearly half of the first act in my head all ready, which is more than I can say for the entire score of something like Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder or First Date. It stays with you, and touches you deeply. The score is perfect for the material. You can feel Francesca's longing, and by the Act 1 closer, I got it.

Sadly things do fall apart a bit when we reach Act 2. The bluegrass band onstage was rather awkwardly staged (Derek Klena kind of wandered on and started singing along, it was rather strange) and things became rather meandering. We start to loose focus the less time we spend with Francesa and Robert. The ending really looses steam despite some truly amazing songs in the final moments.

While the show (in its current state) isn't perfect, what makes it work is Kelli. She is giving a phenomenal performance, far and away above Jessie Mueller. The nuances, and heck the opening number alone are simply stunning. Steven Pasquale has a gorgeous voice, and most importantly has great chemistry with Kelli.

The show definitely needs to utilize its preview period, but I could see this being a critical hit of the season for sure. The staging is very awkward at the moment (Intermission was very long and due to no curtain we had to watch the stage hands spend a great deal of time setting up act 2.).

I'm sure things will become more fluid in a week or two, but I cannot wait to return, and more importantly to own this phenomenal score on CD. Bravo, Jason Robert Brown.
mamaleh
Broadway Star
joined:5/11/04
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:51am
Thanks for your insightful comments. I saw it in Williamstown last summer and loved about 75 percent of it. Is it still 2:45 or was it cut? I, too, loved the score. I also thought Pasquale was in sonorous voice and predict he will be a Tony contender come spring. I intend to see the current incarnation of the show very soon. But while watching Elena Shaddow in the role written for Kelli O'Hara, I couldn't imagine O'Hara's being as luminous and authentic as Shaddow. I do hope the former grows more fully into Francesca as time goes on. I don't know whether age really matters as much as establishing believability and conveying the characters' great emotional need.
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ljay889
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/04
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:51am
How is Kelli at portraying an Italian woman?
dave1606
Broadway Star
joined:12/8/07
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:53am
I was on the street at 11:10pm tonight. So a little over three hours with a stop though for the crashing set piece and a long intermission.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:53am
Iluv,

I see your points, but not being familiar with the source material, I did feel a degree of sympathy for Francesca. After all, she feels unfulfilled in several important areas of her life, and, in the end, we all only have one life to live.... or waste, right?

I thought the show had some moving moments, but it's really something of a mood piece, and the mood is drab. With all the talk of Napoli, I kept wishing Kelli O'Hara would burst into Victor Herbert's The Italian Street Song. It would have been a welcome relief ftom the relentlessly doleful and unmemorable score.

I thought both leads were excellent, and the supporting players as well.

I think it would have worked better as a straight play. The material really doesn't cry out for musicalization. At least, not to this music, anyway.

Updated On: 1/18/14 at 12:53 AM
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iluvtheatertrash
Broadway Legend
joined:11/9/04
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:55am
Kelli's accent is fine. But I'm not the best judge of that, to be honest. For me, it's her aging that is less defined. But I'm sure she'll improve that with preview time. (Honestly, the design team needs to consider a wig for the later scenes.)

Does anyone else think that Francesca sister's song about telling him and seeking forgiveness really sends the wrong message? I struggle with this especially, because the sister has been so clearly defined as, well... a skank. But Francesca is everything opposite. Why should another of her sister's dalliance have such a deep impact on her decision? It threw me. Though the song is lovely.
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
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iluvtheatertrash
Broadway Legend
joined:11/9/04
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:57am
Thanks for your post, After Eight. I'm definitely eager to hear more of what people think. It really threw me today. I don't like that we're seeing something of the husband that's supposed to make us feel a certain way about him... Because I don't think that Francesca cheats because he's a bad guy. She cheats because it was never true love. She cheats because she's discovered TRUE love much later in life. And she can't resist this very foreign feeling that Robert brings out in her.

Meh. I'm too close to the source material, I think. But still, I look forward to seeing how it grows. It's a very smart, very talented creative team. I'm sure they'll use this time. (And if they are reading the boards, I hope they'll take my comments as constructive. Because there is a wealth of wonderful up on that stage...)
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
center
Understudy
joined:2/10/12
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 01:17am
I fell in love with the show at Williamstown. After tonight, I think I realized that I had fallen in love with the score and with Elena Shaddow. Like someone said above, I can not *wait* to own the cast recording.

I've never read the book or seen the movie, but I agree that Act 2 falls a little flat. It's too long, and the timing is off; the stories of years are told very quickly and then it felt to me like there were several rather repetitive songs in a row that didn't move the narrative forward. I could listen to them all day, they're stunning, but I was getting antsy. I also felt like that in Williamstown, but there was something about Elena Shaddow that gripped me, and Kelli O'Hara didn't do that for me. She's in absolutely fantastic voice, but there was more of a hardness and an edge to Shaddow that, interestingly, made it easier for me to empathize with her. O'Hara's Francesca felt a touch more passive. That being said, I'm not sure I would have noticed if I hadn't seen Shaddow first.

I also agree that there's an age problem, not the least of which is that Derek Klena and Hunter Foster, at least from the mezzanine, were not plausible as son/father.

I will be back closer to opening to see how it's coming along and simply to revel in the score live as much as I can! And I'll be there in a heartbeat if I see/hear that Shaddow is going to get to go on.
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DramaTeach
Stand-by
joined:3/17/13
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 01:29am
ILuvTheatreTrash, I think you're the person I sat next to at tonight's show. I definitely don't have the same understanding and connection to the original as you do, so I approach it from a different perspective.

I thought both leads were absolutely wonderful. I was so surprised by the strength in Steven Pasquale's voice, and while I wasn't surprised by Kelli's, it's still such a stunning voice to hear live.

Since I don't have the background of the book, I did struggle to sympathize with Francesca. There were moments when I understood her and wanted her to find happiness, but there were moments where I felt myself thinking, "Her husband is not a bad guy. What is her problem?"

The show was long. It most definitely has songs and scenes that can be trimmed and needs to eventually cut about a half hour off of its current running time. This shouldn't be an issue, as certain moments lagged.

I know everyone on this site has a fervent love of all things Jason Robert Brown. For me, the songs were good. I was waiting to truly be moved, and that didn't happen until the second act when Francesca and Robert sing a song together (I can't remember the name).

Overall, I think this has the potential to be very good. At the moment, it is just good.

grumpyoptimist
Featured Actor
joined:2/26/11
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 03:05am
This nails it:
"Overall, I think this has the potential to be very good. At the moment, it is just good."
I am one of those people who had no freaking clue about the source material. Never read the book or saw the movie. I didn't know Kelli's character was Italian until they started talking about Napoli, to me her accent in Act I was just odd. I thought for whatever reason, she did much better in Act II. Having seen Jessie Mueller both in SF and Thurs on Broadway, I still like and appreciate her performance far more than Kelli's. I thought Pasquale was phenomenal. And this will not be the show that makes me despise Hunter Foster less.
Technical note: I recognize this was the first night of previews, but what the f*** with all the banging backstage? There's less offstage noise at my goddaughter's high school productions.
h6p8gv
Understudy
joined:7/31/03
Bridges of Madison County Previews
Posted: 1/18/14 at 03:46am
Can someone please post a song list

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