Peter Martins, Ballet Master in Chief of New York City Ballet, announced today that choreographer and NYCB Soloist Justin Peck has been named the Company's Resident Choreographer, effective immediately. In this new capacity Peck will create two world premiere ballets for NYCB each year, in addition to continuing to dance with the Company. Peck will become only the second person to hold the title Resident Choreographer at NYCB; the first was Christopher Wheeldon, who had the position from 2001 to 2008. (more...)
Good morning, BroadwayWorld! Because we know all our readers eat, sleep and breathe Broadway, what could be better than waking up to it? Today's big news: BROADWAY IN BRYANT PARK launches its summer season today, BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY begins off-Broadway, Leslie Uggams stars in GYPSY in Connecticut and more! (more...)
Sometimes jukebox musicals need to stay in the jukebox. There are some exceptions where it works. When it's a good review like “Smokey Joe's Café” or when there's a fun book like “Mamma Mia”. But when you take the songs of a classic rock band (such as Queen) and jam them into a completely contrived and nonsensical, thread thin plot the result (as with “We Will Rock You” currently at the 5th Avenue Theatre) is a barely entertaining mish mash of songs that left me less entertained and more embarrassed for those involved.
Now I love me some Queen. I'm a little too young to have been aware of them in their hay day but like many others discovered them after their run as their enduring songs continue to live on. Which is why I feel they deserve better than the show they got. A show where we're in a not so distant future and people live their lives online (not so different from now) and because of this, rock and roll has been outlawed. (And there's the main plot hole because what's on the Internet but lots and lots of music.) So when a hunky idealistic dreamer, Galileo (Brian Justin Crum) who keeps hearing the lyrics from long dead rockers meets another outcast Scaramouche (Ruby Lewis), the two set out to escape the clutches of the all powerful Killer Queen (Jacqueline B. Arnold) and find other rebels who want to bring back rock. And how will they do this? Um, play music. Yeah, that's ultimately what drives the bad guys away, music. But then we've had music through out the whole show including from the bad guys. See, plot hole.
And if this ridiculous story filled with so much bad, one repeated joke (how many times can we mention that the male leader of the rebels goes by the name Britney Spears?), sitcom humor and clunky exposition laden dialog from book writer Ben Elton weren't bad enough, but then they take these wonderful Queen songs and force them into the narrative often times changing the lyrics to try and make them fit. For example, they take the title song from the movie “Flash Gordon” and bastardize it so it's now all about giving the captured rebels electro shock therapy. Or how about Killer Queen singing “Fat Bottomed Girls” because, well I'm still not certain why she was singing it other than to check that iconic tune off the list. Did no one listen to the lyrics of the songs while trying to write the show? They're all quite narrative to begin with. And Elton couldn't come up with a story that fit in with those narratives? I mean he's even got characters names Galileo and Scaramouche but “Bohemian Rhapsody” (the thing all the bohemian rockers are striving for in the story by the way) isn't even performed until the end of the show as an after thought encore.
The cast does what they can. In fact they amp their energy and intent up to about a 17 in order to try and give this story some punch. Crum and Lewis certainly have incredible voices worthy of Freddie Mercury and they completely shred any numbers given to them. Arnold too has a gorgeous voice but doesn't seem as invested in playing the villain in this over the top melodrama. But I have to mention Ryan Knowles who not only lent some incredible pipes to his numbers but some delicious comedic timing and heart to his character making him completely “ROCK”. But even the infectious energy of this amazing cast can't polish away the stench of this turd try as they may.
The show is a somewhat fun ride but ultimately weighed down with such a horrible book and bastardized songs that it just feels insulting. Queen deserves better and smarter as do audiences, which is why I give “We Will Rock You” a NAH with my three letter rating system. Others may have enjoyed it but I just found it not worth the effort.
“We Will Rock You” performs at the 5th Avenue Theatre through July 13th. For tickets or information contact the 5th Avenue box office at 206-625-1900 or visit them online at www.5thavenue.org. (more...)
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Lincoln Center season features audience favorites along with fresh additions to the company's already extensive repertoire. The array of lineages celebrated in every Ailey program is not only a testament to the virtuosity of the company, but also highlights the astute curatorial eye of Ailey's Artistic Director Robert Battle. (more...)
On June 3rd 2014, The School of American Ballet's 50th annual Workshop Performance at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Lincoln Center once again proved that Balanchine was right when he famously said "But first a school". That remark was Mr. B's response after Lincoln Kirstein invited him to come to the United States to co-found a ballet company in 1933. Eight decades later, as evidenced by the overall high level of talent and artistry on stage, SAB continues to deserve its reputation as this country's foremost pre-professional training ground for ballet dancers versed in the Balanchine style. (more...)
The School of American Ballet's 50th Annual Workshop Performance on May 31, 2014, at 2 pm, was a delight. SAB students performed excerpts and one full length Balanchine ballet chosen to recognize the School's co-founder, George Balanchine, and former faculty member, Alexandra Danilova, who together launched SAB's first year-end student workshop in 1965. (more...)
In advance of the upcoming tour stop in Washington, DC - playing from June 3-8, 2014 - cast member Brian Justin Crum (Galileo) answered a few questions via email for BroadwayWorld.Com about the show, his experience with it, and his musical theatre career more generally. (more...)
The New York City Ballet proved that only the best can perform on this stage. It takes great talent to leave a solo dancer on a stage that large without them getting lost, especially when the costumes blended into the matching background (both of which literally caused the crowd to gasp as the curtain rose).Yet the ballerinas shone in the spotlight, strong and graceful. They had beautiful hands, relaxed shoulders, and light, quiet feet--all the little things that make a world of difference. (more...)
Halfway through celebrating its 50th year at the David H. Koch Theatre in Lincoln Center, the New York City Ballet showcased three diverse pieces influenced by the Company's greatest artists - Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, and of course, George Balanchine. (more...)
The worldwide smash hit 'rock theatrical', Queen and Ben Elton's We Will Rock You, built around 24 of Queen's biggest hits, opens at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre tonight, May 20, 2014 and will stage seven performances through Sunday, May 25 (a full performance schedule is below). We Will Rock You is produced by Queen Theatrical Productions, Tribeca Theatrical Productions, Phil McIntyre Entertainment and NETworks Presentations. (more...)
The All Robbins program offered this spring season by New York City Ballet is a testament to the range and depth of the choreographer's genius. 'Glass Pieces', the 1983 work to the driving rhythms of music by Philip Glass, is an ideal opener with its masterful blend of postmodern and classical movement styles that call to mind the pulsating urgency of urban life. (more...)
To jumpstart their 50th anniversary at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, the New York City Ballet began their Spring season not looking back but rather looking forward, presenting works from 21st century choreographers and showcasing the Company's ever-evolving mastery of their art. (more...)
As I child I remember being afraid of the 'Blue Man' that might sneak out of my closet at night, but that was before I saw the show. Now, I've seen the show six times. BroadwayWorld.com caught up with BLUE MAN GROUP's music director, Jesse Nolan in this Q&A. (more...)
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will perform at New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Saturday, May 10th and Sunday, May 11th for three performances. Metropolitan Area Audiences will enjoy the opportunity to see this beloved company perform their spring season in Newark. (more...)
It's not every rock band or musical act that could successfully create musical based on its many widely varying songs. There has to be a certain uniformity, power and resonance to the music, all of the music, carrying through many songs, rather than just one or two 'greatest hits.' And they have to be songs that can be strung together to create a cohesive whole that works as a musical with a plot, story, characters, etc. If there's any proof that it can be done, and done smashingly well, it's found in We Will Rock You, the 'rock theatrical' created through the combination of British writer Ben Elton and the music of Queen. (more...)
Whether you've been living under a rock for the past week or you're just in the mood for a recap, BroadwayWorld's 'This Week in Pictures' is here to satisfy your end-of-the-week fix! Take a look below to catch up on the latest happenings from the Great White Way to The West End (and everywhere in between) with coverage of press events, rehearsals, opening nights and more. Highlights this week include a peek inside the closing night party for Encores! THE MOST HAPPY FELLA!, a look at the IF/THEN and ALADDIN casts in the recording studio, and a first look at A.R.T.'s THE TEMPEST! (more...)