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6 show weekend....thoughts....

Becky
Broadway Star
joined:5/14/03
Broadway Star
joined:
5/14/03
6 show weekend....thoughts....#0
Posted: 12/4/03 at 9:47am
Back from NY, 6 show weekend…

First, I have never been in the city when it’s been so crowded. With the crowds and the weather, I’m glad I had 6 shows booked in three days.

Little Shop of Horrors:

I didn’t care for the movie years ago, so I wasn’t sure how I would like the staged version. I was surprised to find it was very enjoyable and entertaining. Hunter Foster embodies the perfect ‘Seymour’ and I can certainly see why he survived the transfer to Broadway. Kerry had a beautiful voice and nailed the music, although I wanted a little more emotion (or something) from her character. Couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Not sure direction isn’t partially to blame for the semi-bland performance, but she certainly did a fine job and I liked her. Overall, I thought the production was fun and definitely worth it, and it’s one I would definitely see again.

Urinetown:

I’ve seen this a few times (all with different actors playing “Bobby”, and I found it just as enjoyable as the first time - maybe even more. The role of “Pennywise” was written for Carolee Carmello. She can look so evil and mean, and her voice could blow the roof off the Eugene O’Neil. Charles Shaunessy (sp?) was surprisingly great as “Cladwell.” He had a great delivery and his comic timing was right on. Amy Spanger was charming as “Hope” and I loved her voice - not to mention she had wonderful chemistry with Luther Creek (Bobby). Luther had a strong voice and acted the role very well. I still find the show to be clever and witty, and *so* well written....and watching James Barbour as “Lockstock” alone was worth the price of the show. When someone can make you laugh without saying a word? They’ve got it. It's such a shame they are losing their theater, but I can't wait for the tour to arrive here in June.

Cabaret:

Adam Pascal’s performance was striking. He is almost unrecognizable until he starts to sing and I couldn’t imagine him in this role - but he proved himself in a big way. I think he’s the most provocative Emcee I’ve ever experienced - and his voice was much smoother in this than the rock style I’m used to hearing from him. He seemed to capture a little of the androgynous aspect of the character in a natural way that didn't seem forced, and I have to say I was surprised at how comfortable he looked in that role. Until this performance, I’ve just been satisfied with the actresses I’ve seen as Sally, but finally Susan Egan captured everything I had wanted in that role and blew me away. What a wonderful way to end Cabaret for me, and that's another show I'm going to miss. So sad to see it go.

Rent:

After seeing the original cast and just about every tour and cast combination since, I was so happy to see the show in the condition it’s in at this moment. Many months ago they went through some casting choices that made me cringe, but now there's Jeremy Kushnier - Matt Caplan - Gwen Stewart (back as the soloist - and sounding amazing) - Merle Dandridge – D’Monroe, etc. and they were all outstanding. There has been so much written about the show over the years so I don't feel the need to go on and on - but some have expressed that the excitement and energy is gone because of the rotating cast members, etc. However, I’ve got to say that as hard/critical as I am of this particular show - they still have it. My father saw it for the first time in May, and this was the only show he wanted to see again on his return trip. He was floored by the production, and when I asked for his perspective on how he felt about the cast, etc, he thought they were phenomenal. Just goes to show some people are still being affected by it 7 1/2 years later, and he didn’t find it was lacking, nor did I.

Wicked:

I don’t think I can put into words how much I enjoyed this show from beginning to end. I’m not going to comment on specific moments or give away any spoilers, but I’ll say I am completely satisfied with how they adapted the book to the stage. I love what they added and what they LEFT OUT. I think the musical works in it’s current form, and I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much had they kept some of the same plot lines from the novel. I seem to remember reading some comments about the score not being very memorable (or something like that), but I personally loved the score and left singing many of the songs in my head. There are a few weak numbers, but I only found them weak in comparison to some of the outstanding songs - and I don’t think they took away from the overall quality of the production. The sets, costumes, and special effects worked well and I couldn't help but fall in love with it all. There should also be new words invented in the English language to describe how talented Kristin and Idina are in these roles. Kristin does have a wonderful role and it's well written - but I'm not sure too many people could pull off the natural spunkiness and charm Kristin brings to "Glinda". Idina on the other hand was breathtaking. "Defying Gravity" was such a powerful way to end Act 1, and she literally gave me chills. Kristoffer Cusick is filling in for Norbert for a while, and as disappointed as I was that Norbert was out - Kristoffer does a magnificent job as "Fiyero". He has a strong voice and has a lot of charisma. His role isn't as developed as I would have liked, but it works fine. Joel Grey = underused. I enjoyed watching
him perform, but I wish there was more to his role. I probably only felt that way because it *was* Joel Grey - for had it been some 'Joe Schmo' I probably would have felt the Wizard's role was adequate! I also felt his two songs were the weakest in the show, but watching him is so enjoyable I didn't mind. Overall, I felt I could have stayed there and sat through the whole thing over again, and I can't wait to make a return visit to see it again.

Taboo:

I was most curious about seeing this after all the press. I agree with some of what I’ve read, but now that I’ve seen it I feel some of the criticism has been unfair. The score is *amazing*, and it seems some critics are washing over that fact. I purposely went back and read some of the reviews now that I've seen it, and there were several negative reviews that neglected to really comment on the score at all. Makes me wonder if they didn't comment because they actually liked the score. I'm not completely serious, but it does makes you wonder a little. I mean, there was Riedel who thought the score was brilliant (or so he says) but because of 'newspaper business' wouldn't say so in print. Ugh. There really are some remarkable songs - and because the cast is so strong vocally the music really impressed me. The book has some weaknesses, but it mainly had to do with my desire to know more. I felt they tried to focus on too much and as a result I left not really getting to know who Leigh Bowery was, and I felt as if I was getting only minor snapshots into George’s life which didn’t always flow together. I know that's what happens when you are dealing with a two hour time span, but both men seemed very interesting and like I said - I just wanted to know more. Having said that, SO much of the show worked for me that it overpowered any problems I had with the book. Euan Morton (as Boy George) was extraordinary, and his voice was absolutely angelically beautiful. Boy George (as Leigh Bowery) had a stage presence and an attitude that was captivating - and it was interesting to see him in that element. Raul Esparza was brilliant as 'Philip', and his performance of the song “Petrified” was jaw dropping - and judging by the audience reaction others felt the same. The show isn't flawless, but it's a production I very much enjoyed and so did everyone I went with. The crowd was incredibly enthusiastic and responded well to the music, etc. The audience was also standing/screaming at curtain before the first group even made it out to bow. I know a lot has been said about "automatic" standing ovations these days...but only two out of the six shows I saw this weekend received standing ovations, and I haven't been around a crowd that energetic in a long time. The entire cast was solid and the show has a lot going for it in my opinion.

I also have to say that the use of the BCEFA “auctions” at curtain call seems like a good move. A signed Little Shop t-shirt with a painted “Audrey II” on the back went for $6,000 (with two people in a bidding war - they agreed to make two of them if they each gave $3,000 which is where the bid was at) - and they raised $1,300 for a signed picture of Raul Esparza w/ the real Philip Sallon and a replica broach worn by his character. I could be wrong, but I believe they also said Rosie was matching bids which I thought was nice.
bestofbroadway
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re: 6 show weekend....thoughts....#1
Posted: 12/4/03 at 9:54am
Sounds like you had an AMAZING, BRILLIANT, STRIKING, BREATHTAKING weekend.
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SueleenGay
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joined:6/9/03
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re: re: 6 show weekend....thoughts....#2
Posted: 12/4/03 at 10:11am
Thanks for posting that, Becky.
PEACE.
NBC
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re: re: re: 6 show weekend....thoughts....#3
Posted: 12/4/03 at 10:27am
Is James Barbour back in Urinetown? I know he was in for a few weeks over the summer when Jeff McCarthy took a leave to do another show, but I saw McCarthy in September. I hope he hasn't left the show already!
"I cried during the Frug." - MC
Becky
Broadway Star
joined:5/14/03
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joined:
5/14/03
"Is James Barbour back in Urinetown?"

Yes, he is back but I believe it's only temporary....
PJ
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What all "Sally's" did you see in Cabaret in the past?
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Broadwaylady
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re: 6 show weekend....thoughts....#6
Posted: 12/4/03 at 4:11pm
It sounds like you had a great time. I am glad you enjoyed the shows!!!!!!!!
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by moments that take our breath away." "Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain."
Hello Gorgeous
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joined:7/29/03
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re: re: 6 show weekend....thoughts....#7
Posted: 12/4/03 at 4:40pm
Wow sounds amazing! I'm glad you had such a good time!
~*Christa*~ "Don't ya wanna be the life of the party?" Idina Menzel, THE WILD PARTY
Becky
Broadway Star
joined:5/14/03
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joined:
5/14/03
"What all "Sally's" did you see in Cabaret in the past?"

Hmmm...I've seen Lea Thompson, Kate Shindle, Gina Gershon, Molly Ringwald, Debbie Gibson, and now Susan Egan. Debbie was the strongest vocally (in my opinion), but Susam just embodied "Sally" very naturally - and she acted the songs which I loved.
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BillyLawlor
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joined:5/15/03
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6 shows in one weekend is like a dream for me. It sounds like you had a fantastic weekend, and I completely agree on Kerry in Little Shop. I believe I may have posted this before, but I found Kerry a little bit empty. I mean, the emotion was there somewhat and her singing was on the nose, but there was something about her that didn't quite do it for me. Ellen Greene was a lot more convincing and heart wrenching as Audrey. I think one thing that adds to Ellen Greene's character that Kerry didn't have was the oppourtunity to sing "Somewhere That's Green" by herself in her room, in the movie. I liked this because we got to see a personal side of Audrey. What her house looked like, and how she really acts when in solitude. We really got to delve deeper into Audrey. I would have like if this element was added into the recent revival, but Kerry still did a wonderful job andway, and I still adore her performance.