Can't wait to see this show in a few weeks! Does anyone know big the band is this time around, and are they still onstage? Curious to know the overall sound of the show too... I recall the ART production being somewhat percussion and synth-heavy. Is that still the case? Anyone with the playbill know who did music programming for this show?
petersmithnyc said: "Can't wait to see this show in a few weeks! Does anyone know big the band is this time around, and are they still onstage?"
Onstage, yes. I was in the "box seats" or whatever those are, so I couldn't see how many were in the other corner of the stage, though.
The band was pretty big. A nice, decent sized string section made up a big part! The band is mostly on one side of the stage but the other corner had some percussion.
I saw this last night and I was blown away by the performances and the music. Whizzer is right about the story needing to be tightened in some way, but I'm not exactly sure how they would do that. (make cuts?) Regardless this show gave me chills several times and took my breathe away. LOVED IT!!! I will have to see it again immediately.
I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE the name of the show. Invisible Thread (the song) is stuck in my head, but that doesn't mean it should be the title of the show. I heard the producers tested the title Witness Uganda and found that Broadway audiences would be scared to buy tickets supposedly. I liked that title, but it still needs a new one. I suggest the title COLORLESS, which was one of my favorite songs/moments in the show.
I can see COLORLESS on t-shirts, and mugs, and billboards...
I don't like this trend of changing the titles of musicals after they've already become buzzy. Changing FAT CAMP to GIGANTIC also seems like a terrible idea - especially since GIGANTIC is the name of the next Disney musical. Wah-wah!
On my way home after tonight's preview, this is a COMPLETELY different show than ART! Yes, some of the plot points and overall theme are the same, but SO much has changed, I don't even know where to begin!
My best guess of where to start with is the addition of the boyfriend and the elimination of the girlfriend. This adds so many different plot points and focuses a lot more on Griffin being gay in Uganda. This was certainly present at ART, but was not a key plot point as it is now.
The overall production is also very different. The set at ART included a rising platform which is now not present. To make up for this, they seemed to take the easy way out, projections. I thought the platform made the show a lot more interesting to look at, but hey, what can you do?
I also remember there being a big 11 o'clock-esque number for Griffin which is now not apparent. I think having a big song at the end worked and would have liked to have seen it still in place.
Im on my phone so I'm sorry if any of this doesn't make sense. Overall I did still really like the show and am happy to answer any questions!
Interesting. I was curious how little his being gay played out in any of the Uganda bits... for a show based on his actual experiences, they certainly have been very flexible on finding the dominant narrative, it seems.
Right now we're in the middle of our New York trip. Normally I wait until we get back to post reviews. However, I had to make an exception for this show We saw this today and were blown away. Easily as good as anything on Broadway right now, and better than most. I'll post more thoughts when we get back. Go see this.
I saw this last week and thought it was really incredible. There are certain things in the story that didn't work as well for me, however:
Because it's based on a true story, I felt that sometimes they were sticking a little bit too close to fact, and included events that weren't dramatically or structurally interesting. I felt that way about most of the scenes that took place in America (the church scene in act 2 being a huge exception - one of the highlights of the evening).
Another huge example is the whole boyfriend character. I realize he's sort of integral because he's one of the creators of the show, but honestly I found him to be the least compelling character, and I was honestly pretty disappointed when...
he showed up in Uganda in act 1
In general, I think they would have benefited from creating a musical that could be labeled "inspired" by their experiences or "based in part" on their experiences, rather than sticking so close to what happened.
I'm bringing up these qualms for the sake of discussion, but honestly it didn't ruin my experience at all. I loved the show and would definitely recommend it. The score is great, the staging is great, and the performances are great.
I saw the alternate for Griffin, Jeremy Pope. His singing, while not bad at all, wasn't as strong as I would expect the lead actor's to be. His performance was excellent though. From what I've seen in the videos of the Griffin Matthew, it seems that Jeremy comes across as younger. I was really impressed at how Jeremy was able to channel the intense emotions and make them very real for himself, even though he is the alternate for the guy who really experienced it. During Bela Musana he was full-on crying.
Just wonderd which you version you preferred. Cambridge or NY? Saw it at the ART and loved it! Really moving. I liked the female friend and the performance of the actress that played. Didn't know if it changed for the better and would be worth seeing and recommending. Is the band on the stage with Matt Gould leading it? Hope it continues to do well, evolve and get to broadway!
Is there a set schedule for the alternate Griffin?
I saw this tonight and I was totally along for the ride in Act 1. Great energy, great pacing, engaging storyline, fantastic music. In Act 2, it felt like, "BUT YOU WERE DOING SO WELL!" It lost some of its identity along the way. Too neat, too tidy. You could almost have ended it with Griffin building the school and then us learning what the kids (as 26 and 27-year-olds) were up to now.
The subplot with Jacob was
kind of annoying, because we learn that he had lied to Griffin about being kidnapped by Pastor Jim, but it all got tied up so easily? I loved the actress who played Joy, and the way she confronted Griffin when he returned to Uganda, but after that betrayal, it felt like the plot mostly went nowhere.
And interesting to learn that Ryan was a woman/best friend role previously. I agree that he felt a little third-wheel. I would've liked more exploration regarding Griffin being seen as white by the Ugandans, and how much one of the students hated the Sudanese.
EDIT: LimelightMike, my playbill doesn't list a schedule for the Griffin alt.
Was fortunate enough to see this, last night. This is, easily, my favorite new musical since Dogfight and Next To Normal. It is wonderful, touching, funny and inspiring. I agree, I don't like the title. The original title is better and should be changed back.
The standing ovation was immediate, spontaneous and seemed sincere. The cast is uniformly great. There is not a week link in the bunch. I have a few quibbles, like the band is sometimes, too loud and drowns out the performers and the role of the boyfriend is a bit underwritten and could be bumped up a bit.
Based on a true story, Griffin, a 23 year old, out of work actor, leaves his boyfriend, behind, and sets out, for Uganda, to find his place in the world. But, when the idealism of youth clashes with the harshness of the real world, he learns some universal lessons that had me nodding my head, in recognition, more than once.
The music is a blend of standard Broadway, pop and African/world music. It is engaging and, at times, electrifying. The choreography is interestingly non-traditional. There are several scenes that had the audience applauding, mid-scene. One scene, in Act Two, had me and much of the audience, cheering, applauding and weeping. I found myself, several times, saying "wow" aloud. I would rather not give more away, but I cannot wait to return and see this again.
Kudos to Second Stage (which, I think, is often, hit or miss) for bringing this to NY. I rarely think shows should move to Broadway, but his show deserves a transfer and a longer life and it deserves its old title back.
Go and enjoy!
Would Griffin be on for 'Griffin' for a Saturday matinee?
Maybe, but maybe not... you saw the end of my post, right?
You may want to tweet Second Stage. Or go there if you're in the area and ask.
Was able to see this show on Sunday and was simply blown away. For me this ranked up with shows like Fun Home, and Spring Awakening Deaf West, for being able to combine education and reality into a beautiful show. The music was super catchy and the choreography was simply sublime. I cried a few times in both acts, especially at the end. I was able to see Griffin and I'm glad, because I think he brings so much heart to the show and really grounds it in being his story. The show has some standout numbers, especially Beautiful, Invisible Thread, Bela Musana, and the finale.
I think the storyline with the boyfriend showing up in Uganda could be cut, or just explained a bit more. Right now that character feels a bit underused, although I appreciate their relationship and the way they bring up LGBT rights in Uganda.
I strongly recommend seeing this show if you can!
Sorry double post!
When I was actually watching the show I wasn't biased but because of some later developments I don't think I can be completely objective or brutally honest in my opinion. I will just stick to the positives. There are some really strong performances. I think the set was pretty great with a slight overuse of the projections. The dance numbers and choral numbers made really good use of the ensemble and they were joyous and thrilling and kinetic. It did make me very emotional. I think that this is a show that is really going to hit home for a specific audience and for that audience it's going to be absolutely brilliant. I do think it's still too flawed and not deep enough for Broadway just yet. I hope they're still working on it as there's a lot of good here.
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