re: Pirate Queen Chicago 10/12

AberJ01
Understudy
joined:6/15/04
Pirate Queen Chicago 10/12
Posted: 10/13/06 at 04:37am
I thought I'd sit down and write a mini-review on seeing the premeire of The Pirate Queen tonight. I've read a lot of complaints about the show on this site, and while some I agree with and some I don't, here are my thoughts. Mind you I'm trying to keep any spoilers out of the review for those who may be seeing it soon, so my review may seem a bit vague.

First off, as someone else already said, the show is BIG. It's really a sight to behold. Costumes and set design will easily win this coming up year at the Tonys. While there were certain things I thought could be re-blocked before the opening, I'd definitely say that visually the show is at the moment stunning.

On to Stephanie J. Block. She truly does drive the show. She gives a stunning powerhouse performance in this show. It's definitely leaps and bounds quite a different performance that her two previous Oz shows of the past. Mind you, she did completely blow me away when I saw her in Wicked, but in this show she controls the stage and drives the show even more powerfully than she did in Wicked. As for her singing, her voice has definitely grown and become much stronger since Wicked, the only sad thing for me is that the music really doesn't showcase how good her voice really is. There is only one particular song in the show where she's quite angry that she's really able to song off her vocal range, the rest of the songs while she sings brillantly, don't really highlight her voice in the ways I'd have liked. Sure the score is the complete opposite of Wicked, but I guess you get spoiled hearing her belt and would like to hear more. After seeing tonight though, I do believe she will truly become a force to be reckoned with on Broadway. I think this show will really put her on the map in the mix with the leading ladies currently making the rounds on Broadway. She definitely has the potiential to be a Tony threat next year, even with the huge buzz around Ebersole. The performance in this show is good enough to put her as a contender, and while I believe the show will only get better in New York it could better her chances more and more.

The supporting cast for the most part was great as well, though the keyword is supporting. Hadley Fraser, who it seemed to me is making his NY debut from London, stands out probably the strongest to me. His first act powerhouse song was one of the standouts of the whole song. He's really got a voice, and besides Block is probably the only person I could see getting recognized with a possible Tony Nomination next year. The rest of the supporting cast was pleasant though. Linda Balgord's portrayal of Queen Elizabeth was the only true sour note for me during the show. To me about 90% of her words were eaten up by an overpowering vibrato. With a show with no dialogue driven only by song, it hit a snag while she was onstage. I know people will disagree with that, but to me she could be replaced. What really impressed me was the ensemble though. They sound AMAZING together, not to mention the dance is a wonderful added bonus to the show. I was a little worried going into the show that the irish themed dance might be a bit much for me, but it's placed very well in the show, and is much more a small bonus.

I would say in parts the show dragged, mostly the middle of the second act. I'm not exactly ready to say the show is too long or anything, I'd definitely say they could easily shave 15 minutes from the show easily. I don't think it helps either that the show has no humor or anything whatsoever, even up-tempo music is hard to find. While it's obviously a dialogue free show, it needs some sort of humor.

Overall the show was enjoyable. Block's performance mixed in with the sets and costumes more than made the show worth it. The show can be summed up with one word really, and that word is "potential". It really could be an amazing show with just really a couple of rewrites here and there. What they've got so far is really good, and that's a big advantage for them. There isn't THAT much to change. Talking to Stephanie after the show though, she even said there are alot of changes being made so I have the feeling what I saw tonight will not be the same at all in New York. I wish the show well though, it's a great piece of the theater that I hope does really well in New York. It should.
EponineAmneris
Broadway Legend
joined:5/25/06
re: Pirate Queen Chicago 10/12
Posted: 10/13/06 at 11:15am
This is the only new show I've been REALLY excited for in a long tiime. Not only becasue I like SJB and B & S's work, but it just seems exciting. I read the book and liked it.

Thank you for the review!
"TO LOVE ANOTHER PERSON IS TO SEE THE FACE OF GOD"- LES MISERABLES--- "THERE'S A SPECIAL KIND OF PEOPLE KNOWN AS SHOW PEOPLE... WE'RE BORN EVERY NIGHT AT HALF HOUR CALL!"--- CURTAINS
Updated On: 10/14/06 at 11:15 AM
BreakingTheCircle07
Broadway Star
joined:8/14/04
re: Pirate Queen Chicago 10/12
Posted: 10/13/06 at 11:26am
The "keeping out of spoilers" did not effect you well-written review. Very nice insight. I'm attending Sunday afternoon and I'm looking forward to see if any major changes have been made since its opening.
Variations on a Theme blog: http://panekattack.blogspot.com/
AberJ01
Understudy
joined:6/15/04
re: Pirate Queen Chicago 10/12
Posted: 10/13/06 at 08:08pm
My review died fast... lol
Popular
Broadway Legend
joined:1/8/05
re: Pirate Queen Chicago 10/12
Posted: 10/13/06 at 08:21pm
On to Stephanie J. Block. She truly does drive the show. She gives a stunning powerhouse performance in this show. It's definitely leaps and bounds quite a different performance that her two previous Oz shows of the past. Mind you, she did completely blow me away when I saw her in Wicked, but in this show she controls the stage and drives the show even more powerfully than she did in Wicked. As for her singing, her voice has definitely grown and become much stronger since Wicked, the only sad thing for me is that the music really doesn't showcase how good her voice really is. There is only one particular song in the show where she's quite angry that she's really able to song off her vocal range, the rest of the songs while she sings brillantly, don't really highlight her voice in the ways I'd have liked. Sure the score is the complete opposite of Wicked, but I guess you get spoiled hearing her belt and would like to hear more. After seeing tonight though, I do believe she will truly become a force to be reckoned with on Broadway. I think this show will really put her on the map in the mix with the leading ladies currently making the rounds on Broadway. She definitely has the potiential to be a Tony threat next year, even with the huge buzz around Ebersole. The performance in this show is good enough to put her as a contender, and while I believe the show will only get better in New York it could better her chances more and more.

How did I miss this one?!
RevolutionaryCostume
Featured Actor
joined:10/6/06
re: Pirate Queen Chicago 10/12
Posted: 10/14/06 at 12:07pm
I saw Pirate Queen on the 7th, and I didn't think it was as bad as everyone else is making it out to be.

I thought the show could use a little work. I think the second act is missing emotion BADLY. For those who have seen the show (and with respect to those who haven't). . there is a LOT of conflict to be written into it. .it's like they glossed over the emotional aspects of a really sad situation.

I really enjoyed the performance of Queen Elizabeth, though she was hard to understand, I think her performance was necessary the way it was. It's the stark contrast between the two cultures. . Celtic music/SJB's pop voice. . and harpsichord/vibrato. It was a lovely effect. This show will be much better when people have a cast recording to memorize before the show.

As for next years Tony's. . Ebersole deserves every bit of acclaim she's getting. I love SJB, but her role is not nearly as demanding or exciting as the dual-Edie's. . sorry, I'm a bit obsessed with GG right now.

~Jacob.
AberJ01
Understudy
joined:6/15/04
re: Pirate Queen Chicago 10/12
Posted: 10/14/06 at 03:37pm
Oh, I'm not saying the Ebersole doesn't deserve her acclaim for her role in Grey Gardens. I'm just saying after seeing Stephanie's performance a couple days ago I do feel this is the type of performance that could be a big spoiler come Tony time, especially with some changes. If anything I think she'll be the one to challenge Ebersole, and I think she can do it.