BWW Reviews: One of the Finest Tuned Spectaculars to Play a Cabaret Stage
For the Record: Baz Luhrmann in Concert is the brainchild of Christopher Lloyd Bratten (musical director) and Shane Scheel (producer) who have previously produced concerts incorporating the music from the films of the Coen Brothers and also John Hughes and Quentin Tarantino, among others. The Luhrmann show is on its third extension - now through January - and it is easy to see why. The entire Rockwell Table and Stage is converted into a grande theatrical playground for an experience like no other, with playing areas for the 9 singers/actors in the round...complete 360 degree surround, including playing areas at and around the bar. Elevated stages are used, so there is little or no problem seeing the performers except if you are seated directly behind a pillar, offering partial obstruction.
It is exciting to see the actors portraying Romeo (Payson Lewis) and Juliet (Janel Parish), Daisy (Charissa Hogeland) and Gatsby (Daniel Hartman stepping in for the weekend for Jonah Platt) from The Great Gatsby, Fran (Nicole Parker) and Scott (Darryl Semira) from Strictly Ballroom and Satine (Danielle Mone' Truitt), Christian (Steve Mazurek) and Jason Paige as the narrator/Harold Zidler from Moulin Rouge move with alacrity and precision around the space as they sing and play out highly dramatic scenes from the four movies during the two-hour piece. The actual songs from each soundtrack are honored/performed like "Love Is in the Air", "Kissing You", "Lady Marmalade", "Nature Boy", "Let's Misbehave"... and the intertwining of the four stories about the beauty and the perils of love makes for an adaptation that is truly amazing. Derek Ferguson's choreography especially for the Strictly Ballroom segments is electric.
The performers are brilliant, the direction from Anderson Davis is superb; the entire show is the best I have seen in a cabaret space anywhere. In fact, it has won an Eddon Award and is on my list for 2013 as a Special Event Not to be Missed. It supercedes cabaret: it's music; it's drama; it's comedy; it's theatre at its finest hour. For the Record: Baz Luhrmann in Concert at Rockwell Table and Stage.
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