Archive for the ‘MUSICAL THEATRE’ Category

October 2018 Movies and Broadway Season   Leave a comment

The big theatre news is that the Broadway Across America has arrived for the 2018-2019 season starting with the 5th visit by “Phantom of the Opera” and will follow by “The King and I” in Fort Lauderdale and “Fiddler on the Roof” in Miami November 20 and, oh yes, some little show called “Hamilton”!

I am flabbergasted that an important, new, excellent movie “The Hate U Give” is not doing smash business. Come on, it is being beaten by “Venom”!!  “The Hate U Give” and the performance by Amanda Stenberg is a MUST SEE!

While “A Star Is Born” is not quite as good and entertaining as the Judy Garland version, which is considered a classic, Lady Gaga acquits herself in both the singing and acting  while Bradly Cooper makes a good directing debut.

And don’t forget the entertaining “Tea With The Dames” which is like spending time with 4 friends who tell it like it is whether talking about each others, themselves or other people in their lives!

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“Jersey Boys”–touring company review   Leave a comment

 Jersey boys

“Jersey Boys” is often referred to as a ‘jukebox musical’ meaning a group of hit songs is taken, made into a story and presented on stage but this show is more than that with one of the hardest working casts on any musical stage. Sixteen actors/singers/dancers make it seem as if there are at least 50 people on stage plus each one of them is moving props on and off stage.

This is a “true” story of 4 guys from a blue-collar background in New Jersey, though technically Bob Gaudio was from Michigan, who become Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and each one has their own truth. The facts are they brought a new sound to pop music with such tunes as “Working My Way Back To You”, “Walk Like A Man”, “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Oh What A Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” among others, won Grammy awards and, to them, one of the most important awards of all, their entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Miguel Jarquin-Moreland as Frankie Valli, Corey Greenan as Tommy DeVito, Tommaso Antico as Bob Gaudio, and Chris Stevens as Nick Massi each take a turn at telling their truth and even though they had many personal problems when they get up to sing it is as if all is right with the world as the soaring harmonies wash the problems away, at least for a few minutes when they are lost in their songs.

Just as gifted as these four men are the cast working with, behind and in front of them including Dianna Barger, Ben Bogen, Tristen Buettel, Sean Burns, Jonathan Cable, Wade Dooley,Todd DuBail, Caitlin Leary, Keven Patrick Martin, Michelle Rombola, Jenna Nicole Schoen and Kit Treece. Nor can one forget the orchestra who give solid support to all of them.

The set is basically simple with a projection machine offering color and illustrations to the various scenes and the various tables, chairs, microphones and other props which help keep the show moving.

With the book by Marshall Brickman and Rice Elice bringing many clichés that are familiar to most of the audience they can hit a moving scene such as Frankie learning of his daughter dying or the knowledge that Tommy got into debt to both the mob and the IRS that make the audience realize these are human beings with a world away from songs.

“Jersey Boys” is an entertaining musical that had the audience on their feet swaying, clapping and some even singing along to the encore song, after their bows, of the cast singing “Oh What A Night”. The show is entertaining with a story that holds your interest and a score that will bring back many memories to many in the audience and will sound familiar to the younger members and have many dancing up the aisle as they leave.

Between “Chicago” in Miami and “Jersey Boys” in Fort Lauderdale South Florida and Broadway Across America are ending their season in high form with talent equal to any to be seen on Broadway!

“Jersey Boys” runs 2 hours and 30 minutes including a 20 minute intermission. It will be at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts until May 20th.

I’ll be seeing “Chicago” and Camil on May 8   Leave a comment

The National Touring company of Chicago will welcome Latin sensation & “Jane the Virgin” star Jaime Camil making his tour debut in the role of Billy Flynn beginning Tuesday, May 8, 2018. He will play a 1-week limited engagement at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County until Sunday, May 13th.

Tickets to CHICAGO are available through the Arsht Center Box Office in person at 1300 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL 33132, by calling 305.949.6722, or online at arshtcenter.org.

Look for my review May 8th or 9th

Posted April 25, 2018 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MUSICAL THEATRE, Uncategorized

The Fort Lauderdale Broadway Across America 2018-2019 season   Leave a comment






Posted January 27, 2018 by greatmartin in MUSICAL THEATRE, THEATRE, Uncategorized

“Riverdance 20”–A dance review   4 comments

 


Superman can fly but can he tap dance, do flips and take your breath away at the same time? The supermen and superwomen of the 20th-anniversary tour of the Irish dance phenomenon called Riverdance can do all that plus sing and leave you exhausted while they just keep on going!

Aside from Irish hard tap dancing and ballet, there are The Riverdance Russian Folk troupe, a Flamenco soloist, an ensemble of Irish dancers and singers from all over the world plus two African-American tap dancers and the Riverdance band consisting of 4 members.

The stage consists of the drummer on stage left and the fiddler, saxophonist and the combination Uilleann pipes/low whistle/tin whistle, concertina player stage right. In the center is a wide flight of steps backed by a projection of animated scenes.

Each and every person on that stage gave their best and you felt as if they were enjoying what they were doing as much as the audience was.

There is a rotation of male leads consisting of Will Bryant, Kieran Hardiman and Jason O’Neill with an equal number of women leads being Maggie Darlington, Amy-Mae Dolan and Ciara Sexton. Obviously, these 6 have to be the best of the best, looking glorious as they dance. The members of the ensemble are so fine that any could dance the lead without disappointing the audience.

While it really isn’t fair to choose anyone as outstanding in this outstanding troupe particular attention has to be given to DeWitt Fleming Jr and Tyler Knowlin, the two African-American tap dancers, who face off against the Male Troupe in a number entitled “Trading Taps” which stopped the show and had the audience at first taking sides and then giving up as they were all superb! Just before the competition started DeWitt Fleming Jr showed off a rich baritone singing “Heal their Hearts-Freedom”. 

Another outstanding member of the company was the drummer Mark Alfred who among other percussion instruments played a Bodhran, which I had never been aware of before, that got the audience really worked as much as the dancers did.

“Riverdance 20” takes what is known as ‘folk dance’ and makes it international, spectacular and leaves you exhausted in a good way.

Though the only performances at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts remaining are today and tomorrow get whatever tickets they may have remaining for an exciting time of theatre and dance!

The show is 2 hours and 5 minutes with a 20-minute intermission! For tickets call 954-462-0222 or go to wwwbrowardcenter.org

Theatre 2017–My picks   Leave a comment

Theatre 2017 collage

It is no secret that I love the theatre! There is a certain magic about it that I don’t find in movies, on television and/or reading a book though I do find a different kind of magic in each. There is a scene in “Finding Neverland” that blew my mind and I knew it could be explained logically but I didn’t want to know.

I’ve been invited to press conferences and in my early youth I was invited backstage a few times (which I declined) and I’ve blocked out a period in my life where I was involved putting a play onstage all because I didn’t want to know what goes on behind the scenes nor did I want to meet any actors and not have them live up to the characters they played on stage. Strange? That theatre.

This past year I saw 19 shows of which 3 stood out with the first being “Something Rotten”! I found it fun, original, had a great score and defined the “Broadway Musical Comedy Theatre” for me. I would love to see it again and hope it comes back to South Florida.

The second show was one I saw over 50 years ago and this was the first time since then and this production of “The King and I” was that pure magic I talked about and made me forget Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner who I saw in the original and that was hard to forget.

The third show was “Beautiful”, which featured the music of Carole King and I had seen in 2016 and watched the second time as if it was the first time I saw it. That makes for a good show!

Tonight starts the 2018 season and I will be seeing “Riverdance 20” and next Tuesday “The Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” to be followed by “Wicked”, “The Color Purple”, “The Bodyguard”, “Waitress”, “Jersey Boys” and “Chicago”. Stayed tuned for my reviews.

Theatre 2 2017 collage 

I could listen to this all day every day! From “Something Rotten” at the Tony Awards “It’s A Musical”!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnvF6A2DCAE

 

And this one with show references

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KFNcy9VjQI

“Finding Neverland”–touring musical review   Leave a comment

Finding Neverland Dec 2017 collage

In 1897 the playwright J. M. Barrie met the Llewelyn Davies family which had 5 young boys and in 1902 introduced Peter Pan in a novel but it was in 1904 that he wrote “Peter Pan or The Boy Who Wouldn’t grow up” as a play and the world came to know the boy of the title.

“Finding Neverland” tells the story of Barrie’s interaction with the 4 boys (in the show) and how he based the characters on the boys and various people who touched their, and his, lives. The book of the show by James Graham plays a little loose with the truth but keeps the musical running smoothly while the music and lyrics by Gary Barlow & Eliot Kennedy give everyone in the cast time to shine.

The standout is Billy Harrigan Tighe as Barrie singing solos such as the theme of the show “My Imagination” or duets such as “Neverland” with Lael Van Keuren, as the boy’s mother Sylvia, who falls in love with Barrie, or with the boys Peter (Connor Jameson Casey), Michael (Turner Birthisel), Jack (Bergman Freedman) and George (Colin Wheeler) singing “We Own The Night” and is always a standout in the ensemble numbers. Tighe not only handles the acting with ease but as a dancer he is so agile that sometimes you don’t believe the step(s) he just did in front of you.

Lael Van Keuren has a show-stopping number “All That Matters” which allows her voice to soar throughout the theatre and her scenes with the boys and/or Tighe are solid.

John Davidson as Charles Frohman, the producer andmodel for Captain Hook, is a pro nailing every song, every line and even a dance step or two.

The four boys are especially fine playing boys who just happen to be singers, dancers, actors and pirates while Casey as Peter holds his own in a fine duet with Tighe called “When Your Feet Don’t Touch The Ground”.

Kristine Reese as the first Mrs. Barrie, Karen Murphy as Sylvia’s mother and the boy’s grandmother along with various members playing parts of the production company that Frohman runs bringing the characters such as Wendy, Captain Hook, the crocodile and others that children all over the world are familiar with to life.  Dwelvan David playing the family’s dog in the Peter Pan production is as good as, and even funnier, than the real dog Sammy who plays Porthos.

The musical not only presents the magic that Peter Pan has cast over children and adults for 114 years but also shows the magic, not only in scene after scene but in one particular scene set by Air Sculptor Daniel Wurtzel, of the theatre for hundreds of years.

“Finding Neverland” is a first-class production that touches the audience and brings out the kid in all of them at such times like when they are asked to clap to revive Tinkerbelle and at other times touches their heart.

 

 

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