Showing posts with label Broadway in Utah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Broadway in Utah. Show all posts

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Motown The Musical

Imagine a concert featuring the Temptations, the Four Tops, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, and the Jackson 5.  That is essentially what it felt like last Thursday night at the Capitol Theatre when I saw a performance of Motown The Musical.  As you can imagine, it was incredible because the actors looked and sounded so much like the Motown recording artists they portrayed.  The musical tells the story of the rise and fall of Motown Records, particularly highlighting the tempestuous relationship between founder Berry Gordy (Chester Gregory) and his superstar Diana Ross (Allison Semmes).  Interspersed with the telling of the history of Motown is the music from their legendary catalogue.  My favorites included "Where Did Our Love Go," "My Girl," "Stop in the Name of Love," "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," "Baby I Need Your Lovin'," "War," "Ball of Confusion," "I Want You Back," "ABC," "Reach Out (I'll Be There)," "Mercy, Mercy Me," and "Get Ready."  It is such great music and the choreography and period costumes made every number spectacular.  People in the audience were singing, clapping, cheering, and practically dancing in the aisles!  I really loved Semmes' portrayal of Diana Ross, especially during the song "Reach Out and Touch," because she immitated all of her mannerisms perfectly (I laughed out loud when she flipped her hair).  However, J.J. Batteast completely stole the show as the young Michael Jackson.  Where did they find this kid?  He sounded and, more importantly, he danced just like Michael Jackson.  Those scenes were the highlight of the show for me.  If you are a fan of this music, I highly recommend that you see this musical if you have the opportunity.  Unfortunately, the run at the Capitol Theatre ended last night.

Note:  My only complaint is that I wished that every song could have been performed in its entirety.  There were just so many that had to be included!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Seize the Day!

Before Hamilton, the show on the top of my must-see list was Newsies!  I had the opportunity to see it in Los Angeles last year over spring break and it was even better than I imagined!  When I got home from that trip, Broadway in Utah announced the 2015-2016 season and I learned that I would be able to see this incredible show again!  I liked it even better the second time!  Based on the Disney movie of the same name, Newsies tells the story of how Jack Kelly (Joey Barreiro), along with his fellow "newsies" and a determined young reporter (Morgan Keene), stood up to Joseph Pulitzer (Steve Blanchard) by going on strike when he raised the cost of the papers.  It is a high-energy show with absolutely dazzling choreography consisting of athletic leaps, jumps, and spins.  I loved it when all of the newsies (all amazing performers) danced in unison in the big production numbers "The World Will Know," "Seize the Day," "King of New York," and "Once and for All." I especially loved the song "The World Will Know" because it is so powerful and the cast sang it with such emotion.  I also really loved the set for this show.  There were three large towers which could be moved into different configurations representing apartment buildings and printing presses and they were covered with scrims which had newspapers and other backgrounds projected on them.  I loved it when the newsies danced on all three levels of the towers.  There were a lot of young people in the audience who responded with thunderous applause and cheering to every single number.  At intermission a large group sitting near me squealed with delight about how awesome it was.  It made me smile because I love seeing young people so passionate about the theatre.  Even though I was really tired after my long ordeal getting home from New York (more about that later), I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the amazing show and I highly recommend that you see it if you have the chance.  This run ends on Sunday but it is making a return to SLC in August.  Go here for tickets and information.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


If there is one thing you need to know about me it is that I love the Beatles!  I have loved them for as long as I can remember and, even though I have seen Paul McCartney several times, it always makes me sad that I never got to see the Beatles live.  The best that I can do is see a tribute band but there are some really great ones out there.  I've seen 1964 several times, I saw Classical Mystery Tour with the Utah Symphony last summer, and yesterday I got to see the Broadway show Rain which might be the best Beatles tribute concert I've ever seen!  Part concert, part theatrical experience, this show actually makes you feel like you are seeing the Beatles perform in various venues!  There are large screens projecting images such as the Ed Sullivan Show, Shea Stadium, and Abbey Road Studios.  I loved it!  I especially loved it when the screens showed footage of screaming fans from actual Beatles concerts next to footage of the crowd screaming at Kingsbury Hall!  Steve Landes (Johns Lennon), Paul Curatolo (Paul McCartney), Alastar McNeil (George Harrison), and Aaron Chiazza (Ringo Starr) look and sound so much like the Beatles that it is easy to imagine that you are seeing the real thing!  They began the show dressed in the signature matching suits and Cuban-heeled boots the Beatles wore on the Ed Sullivan Show and sang "She Loves You," "Please Please Me," "From Me to You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "A Hard Day's Night," "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You," "If I Fell," "Yesterday," "The Night Before," "Day Tripper," and then they got the crowd up and dancing to "Twist and Shout."  They changed into the Sgt. Pepper's uniforms and sang "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band," "With a Little Help From My Friends," "Eleanor Rigby," "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," "When I'm Sixty-Four," "Penny Lane," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band (Reprise)," and "A Day in the Life."  After the intermission they were dressed like hippies and played "Magical Mystery Tour," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Across the Universe," "Blackbird," "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," "In My Life," "Here Comes the Sun," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Come Together," "Get Back," "Revolution," and "The End."  Before the show they had the audience request a song from a list provided on Twitter and Facebook and they ended up playing "Norwegian Wood" which is the song I requested!  For the encore, they sang "Let it Be" and, of course, a rousing rendition of "Hey Jude."  I loved hearing the entire audience singing the chorus!  It gave me goosebumps!  I really enjoyed the selection of songs included and I was very impressed that all of the music is actually played on stage (A fifth member of the band, Mark Lewis, is on stage performing keyboards and other instruments to recreate the Beatles' sound).  I especially loved McNeil's guitar solo on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."  I thoroughly loved this show and I highly recommend it to Beatles fans!

Note:  Most of the audience members were my parents' age but I was happy to see quite a few kids who were singing every word!

Friday, March 4, 2016

A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Last night I had the opportunity to see the Broadway touring company production of A Gentleman's Guide To Love & Murder at Kingsbury Hall and I loved it.  I have wanted to see it for so long and it was definitely worth the wait!  It is absolutely hilarious and I was laughing out loud all night.  After his mother dies, Monty Navarro (Kevin Massey) learns that she was part of the illustrious D'Ysquith family and was disinherited for marrying his father.  He is really Montague D'Ysquith Navarro and is in line to inherit the earldom (there are only eight family members ahead of him).  When his vain and heartless girlfriend Sibella (Lesley McKinnell) decides to marry the rich and handsome Lionel Hallward, Monty decides to kill all eight family members ahead of him in the succession in order to become the earl and win her back.  Standing in his way are the Reverend Lord Ezekial D'Ysquith (who has an unfortunate fall from a cathedral tower), Asquith D'Ysquith, Jr. (who has a bizarre ice skating accident), Henry D'Ysquith (who is stung by his precious bees), Lady Hyacinth D'Ysquith (who is presumed dead in deepest darkest Africa), Major Lord Bartholomew D'Ysquith (who is decapitated while lifting weights), Lady Salome D'Ysquith Pumphrey (who is killed by prop gun with real bullets during her debut in Hedda Gabbler), Lord Asquith D'Ysquith, Sr. (who is driven to a heart attack), and, finally, Lord Adalbert D'Ysquith, the Earl of Highhurst (who is poisoned).  The entire D'Ysquith family is played by John Rapson and I can't decide who I liked more:  the outragrously flamboyant Henry who thinks everything is "Better with a Man" or the over-the-top Lady Hyacinth who just wants to do some good!  So funny!  Along the way, Monty falls in love with Phoebe D'Ysquith (Adrienne Eller) and marries her to make Sibella jealous.  Eventually, Monty becomes the Earl of Highhurst but is soon after arrested for the murder of Lord Adalbert, the only D'Ysquith death for which he is not actually responsible!  The charges are dismissed when Phoebe and Sibella each give proof that the other one committed the murder ("That Horrible Woman").  However, Monty might not live happily ever after because Chauncey, the next in line to the earldom, is lurking.  I can't say enough about this production!  Massey, McKinnell (who is the understudy), and Eller have incredible voices and Rapson could not be funnier.  The set is also a lot of fun!  There is an elaborate stage, reminiscent of an old music hall, with projections on a giant screen behind it.  The projections are particularly clever in all of the death scenes, especially when Ezekial falls to his death.  I certainly enjoyed this delightful comedy and I highly recommend that you see it during its SLC run (through March 6).  Go here to purchase tickets.

Note:  Broadway in Utah has changed its name to Broadway at the Eccles in celebration of the 2016-2017 season in the new state-of-the-art Eccles Theatre, which will be complete in the fall.  The shows were announced last night and I couldn't be more excited!  I have already renewed my season tickets and I am particularly looking forward to Kinky Boots.  Go here for more information about the shows and how to purchase tickets.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Producers

Last night I had the opportunity to see the musical The Producers and I could not stop laughing!  I have seen this show several times before so I have been looking forward to its return to SLC ever since the Broadway in Utah 2015-2016 Season was announced!  Max Bialystock has just had one of the biggest flops on Broadway (Funny Boy, a musical version of Hamlet).  When his mild-mannered accountant, Leo Bloom, tells him that he could actually make more money with a flop than a hit, the two of them team up to produce the biggest flop Broadway has ever seen!  Their plan is simple:  all they need to do is find the worst play ever written, Springtime for Hitler, hire the worst director in town, Roger "Keep it Gay" De Bris, and hire the worst actors in New York, most notably, a blond bombshell from Sweden named Ulla.  Max raises two million dollars to finance the show by shtupping every little old lady with a checkbook in New York and they begin holding rehearsals. Of course, the show is a huge hit and instead of running away to Rio, Max and Leo end up in Sing Sing (where they produce the show Prisoners of Love).  It is completely over the top with jokes about Hitler, Nazis, women, and homosexuals that are so tasteless that they are hilarious!  David Johnson and Richard LaFleur are great as Max and Leo, respectively, but in my opinion Thomas Slater, as the fanatical playwright of Springtime for Hitler, and John B. Ross, as the flamboyant director, steal the show!  My favorite moments were "Der Guten Tag Clop-Hop" (especially the pigeons), the aforementioned "Keep It Gay," and "Heil Myself," complete with tap dancing brown-shirts!  I really loved it and I definitely recommend it for a fun night out.  It runs at Capitol Theatre through Feb. 7 and tickets may be purchased here.

Friday, September 25, 2015

42nd Street

The Broadway in Utah 2015-2016 season began with 42nd Street and I got to see it last night.  What a fun show!  The story is about a young dancer from Allentown trying to make it big in a brand-new show called Pretty Lady during the Great Depression, but more than that, it is a singing and dancing extravaganza featuring many familiar songs such as "You're Getting To Be a Habit With Me," "I Only Have Eyes For You," "We're in the Money," "Lullaby of Broadway," "About a Quarter to Nine," "Shuffle Off to Buffalo," and "42nd Street."  The young performers are absolutely amazing, many making their debut during this tour, and it almost seems as if their experience performing in this show mirrors that of the characters they play.  All of the big production numbers are completely over-the-top with dazzling choreography and sparkly costumes.  At the beginning of the show, when the curtain slowly rose to reveal row upon row of tap-dancing feet, the entire crowd cheered.  Matthew J. Taylor (Julian Marsh) has a fabulous voice and can really belt it out and Kaitlin Lawrence (Peggy Sawyer) is an incredible dancer and I especially loved her performance in "With Plenty of Money and You."  I definitely recommend this high energy musical for a really fun night out.  It plays at Capitol Theatre through Sunday.

Note:  If you get tickets you might want to go early because parking downtown is really tricky due to Salt Lake Comic Con.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


Thursday night I had the opportunity to see the musical The Book of Mormon.  I have wanted to see it for a long time and it certainly didn't disappoint.  It is the funniest show I have ever seen!  Two Mormon missionaries, Elder Price (Billy Harrigan Tighe) and Elder Cunningham (A.J. Holmes), are sent to a remote village in northern Uganda to convert the natives to the church.  However, the natives are much more concerned about famine, poverty, AIDS, and a violent overlord than in hearing their message.  The devout Elder Price is discouraged and wishes that he had been called on a mission to Orlando but Elder Cunningham, who has never read the Book Of Mormon "because it is just so boring," starts embellishing the message with references to Star Wars, Star Trek, and Lord of the Rings to make it relevant to their lives.  He begins to convert the natives after he baptizes Nabulungi (Alexandra Ncube), the chief's daughter who dreams of a better life in Salt Lake City.  The elders eventually get in trouble for their false teachings but they realize that they have made the lives of the natives better and eventually convert the overlord.  The musical numbers and choreography are absolutely incredible and I especially loved the songs "You and Me (But Mostly Me)," "Turn It Off," "Man Up," "Baptize Me," and "I Am Africa."  The crowd cheered during the song "Sal Tlay Ka Siti."  In fact, the crowd laughed and cheered throughout the entire show because many of the lines are just hilarious!  I was laughing so hard that I had tears coming out of my eyes.  The line that got the biggest laugh is when one of the villagers tells Nabulungi that Salt Lake City isn't a real place because it's just a metaphor!  There is a lot of swearing in this show and many people might be offended by the subject matter, but if you understand going in that it is a satire, you will have a really fun night out.  The Book of Mormon is sold out for its entire run at Capitol Theatre but you can line up 2 1/2 hours before the show each night to be entered into a lottery for 20 available tickets.  It's worth the effort!

Note:  I have never seen a more enthusiastic crowd for a show in SLC, Wicked and Lion King included.  The energy in the crowd was palpable and it made watching the show so much fun!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Illusionists

My house is now officially on the market.  It's scary, stressful, overwhelming, and exciting all at the same time.  Within an hour of being listed yesterday, I had multiple requests for showings, most of which took place last night.  Luckily, I had plans and just added dinner to the evening's festivities so I could be out of my house for several hours.  My plans involved seeing The Illusionists at the Capitol Theatre and it was definitely a lot of fun.  There are seven performers: The Trickster (Jeff Hobson), The Futurist (Adam Trent), The Anti-Conjurer (Dan Sperry), The Warrior (Aaron Crow), The Escapologist (Andrew Basso), The Inventor (Kevin James), and The Manipulator (Yu Ho-Jin).  They perform in a magic show that is a cross between an old-fashioned vaudeville program and a Las Vegas spectacle with special effects and choreography.  There are big production numbers (literally using smoke and mirrors), classic card tricks, sleights of hand, daring escapes, and plenty of audience participation all with The Trickster as a flamboyant master of ceremonies.  I loved it!  My favorites were The Warrior's trick with an arrow through an apple (with a twist), The Manipulator's sleight of hand tricks (there was a giant screen above the stage with cameras directed closely on his hands and I still couldn't figure out how he did some of his tricks), and The Anti-Conjurer's Russian Roulette trick (he was really charismatic in a dark, edgy, and scary sort of way).  However, the most dramatic trick of the night was when The Escapologist replicated Harry Houdini's Water Torture Cell trick.  He was handcuffed and lowered upside down into a glass case filled with water and then padlocked closed.  It took him almost three minutes to pick the locks using only a paper clip.  The crowd gasped in audible relief as he emerged from the case.  I tried to hold my breath with him and I made it about 45 seconds.  It is a great show and I highly recommend getting at ticket (you can purchase them here).  It runs through Sunday at the Capitol Theatre.

Friday, April 10, 2015


Last night when I walked through the doors of Kingsbury Hall, I had absolutely no expectations about the musical Once.  I didn't know anything about it; it was just a part of Broadway in Utah's 2014-2015 season.  When I walked out those same doors several hours later, I literally had tears streaming down my face.  It is a beautiful and moving story about the impact one person can have on your life.  A Guy (Stuart Ward) is singing one of his songs when a Girl (Dani deWaal) overhears him and strikes up a conversation.  He tells her that he wants to give up on music because all of his songs are about a girl who left him to move to New York.  She loves his music and encourages him, eventually arranging for him to record a demo.  The most poignant moment in the story is when he tells her that he wrote all of his songs for one girl but now he is singing them for her.  She then says that her estranged husband wants to work things out and he needs to go to New York to be with the girl he really loves.  I think we have all had people come into our lives and impact us profoundly before inexplicably leaving.  I know that I have and I had an almost visceral reaction to the story, particularly when it becomes apparent how much she loves him.  The music is absolutely incredible!  I really loved "Falling Slowly" because it is one of the most beautiful love songs I've ever heard and Ward and deWaal performed it with such emotion and passion.  I also really loved "Gold" and "If You Want Me."  The action takes place in a Dublin bar (you could actually go on stage and buy a drink during intermission) with minimal props and all of the incidental characters played instruments.  It was so clever and the musicians were outstanding!  I cannot recommend this show enough!  There is quite a bit of profanity (they are Irish, after all) but if you can overlook it, the story is just so beautiful!  It plays at Kingsbury Hall until April 12.

Note:  I downloaded all of the music at intermission.  It is wonderful!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Mamma Mia

Friday night I had the opportunity to see the Broadway touring company perform Mamma Mia at Kingsbury Hall.  It was just as good as the first time I saw it in London twelve years ago!  Sophie Sheridan is getting married and wants her father to walk her down the aisle but she has a problem:  she doesn't know who he is and there are three possibilities!  She invites all three candidates to her wedding without her mother's knowledge and chaos ensues!  Add the music of Abba and you have more fun than should be allowed in a theatre!  I really loved the entire cast of this production, especially Georgia Kate Haege as Donna, Jeff Drushal as Sam, and Chelsea Williams as Sophie.  The highlights of the evening for me were Haege's rendition of "The Winner Takes It All" and Drushal's performance of "Knowing Me, Knowing You."  Both of them gave me goosebumps!  I also really enjoyed "Dancing Queen" performed by Donna and the Dynamos (Haege, Bailey Purvis as Tanya and Sarah Smith as Rosie).  It is hilarious when they try performing some of their old dance moves and hurt themselves.  All of the choreography is really fun, particularly in "Voulez Vous," "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!," "Under Attack," and "Lay All Your Love On Me" (I loved the fins).  However, the best part of the show just may be the encore after the bows.  The cast comes out in spandex jumpsuits and platform boots to sing "Mamma Mia," "Dancing Queen," and "Waterloo."  The audience usually sings along and dances in the aisles and it is so much fun!  This is definitely a show that I can see over and over and still enjoy!  I highly recommend getting a ticket if you have the opportunity.  It closes tonight at Kingsbury Hall but you can still get tickets here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Last night I went to see the musical How The Grinch Stole Christmas at the Capitol Theatre.  I didn't know if I would like this show because I am not a fan of Seussical (in fact, I hated Seussical so much that I would have left at intermission if I hadn't been with friends).  Since this show was a part of the Broadway in Utah season ticket I decided to go.  I'm really glad that I did!  Unlike Seussical, this musical actually has a plot and it is incredibly sweet and heartwarming!  It definitely got me into the Christmas spirit.  The story is narrated by Max the Dog (Bob Lauder) as he reminisces about his time in Whoville when the Grinch tried to stop Christmas from coming.  It reminded me a bit of the movie with Jim Carrey, although the actor playing The Grinch (Stefan Karl) definitely made the iconic role his own to the delight of the many children in attendance.  Actually, much of my enjoyment of this show came from listening to the laughter of the children.  My favorite moment was when The Grinch performed "One of a Kind" complete with high stepping kicks in front of a shimmering green curtain and then returned again and again for curtains calls milking the audience for applause.  Max begged the crowd not to encourage him!  I loved it!  I'm not sure how much of The Grinch's role was improvised but he was absolutely hilarious!  I loved the adorable young actress who played Cindy-Lou Who (Raleigh Shuck).  She had the sweetest voice and it was easy to see why The Grinch was so affected by her song "Santa for a Day."  Of course the crowd loved when Max sang the ever popular "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!"  He even had the audience sing along during the reprise.  The scenery looked like the illustrations from the original Dr. Seuss book and the Who costumes were like a big pink confectionery dream.  The choreography was a lot of fun, especially when the Who children performed "Wha Cha Ma Who."  I had such a great time, which was just about the exact opposite of what I was expecting!  It runs at the Capitol Theatre until Sunday, November 23 and I recommend getting a ticket (especially if you have children).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Who Could Ask For Anything More?

What happens when a wealthy playboy stumbles out of a speakeasy and meets a sassy bootlegger on the run from the police?  Of course they fall in love and provide the basis for a light and effervescent comedy filled with Gershwin songs, eccentric characters, and dazzling choreography!  Last night I went to Nice Work If You Can Get It, the first Broadway in Utah show for the 2014-2015 season, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The plot is pretty formulaic but it doesn't really matter because the show is so charming!  I loved hearing all of the familiar songs by George and Ira Gershwin like "Someone To Watch Over Me," "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off," "S'Wonderful," "But Not For Me," "I've Got  A Crush On You," and the title song.  Many of the characters are absolutely hilarious including Duchess Estonia Dulworth (Stephanie Harter Gilmore), a temperance worker who, in the course of an evening, inadvertently drinks alcohol and ends up swinging from a chandelier, Eileen Evergreen (Rachael Scarr), a modern interpretive dancer, and Cookie McGee (Reed Campbell), a bootlegger duped into being a butler.  They provide many laugh-out-loud moments!  The choreography is amazing, especially when Jimmy (Alex Enterline) and Billie (Mariah MacFarlane) perform "S'Wonderful" and I loved the big production number when the chorus girls and the vice squad perform "Fascinating Rhythm."  The entire cast is extremely talented but Enterline is particularly endearing and MacFarlane can definitely belt out a tune!  I really liked the elaborate sets showing various views of Jimmy's Long Island mansion and the fabulous flapper costumes are like a bit of confectionery.  There are many jokes which poke gentle fun at both political parties and politicians themselves and they got the biggest laughs of the evening ("I'll be a high ranking member of the Senate and you'll do something important").  This show does not have a lot of substance but I recommend it to anyone looking for an evening of pure entertainment!  It runs through September 28.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Defying Gravity

While Les Miserables will always be my sentimental favorite, Wicked is definitely a close contender!  I love this show so much because I think it is extremely clever!  It tells the back-story of the Wicked Witch of the West, Glinda the Good, and the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  After all, a lot happened before Dorothy dropped in!  Oh and by the way, the music happens to be fantastic!  I think anyone who has ever felt a little bit different can relate to the songs "I'm Not That Girl" and "Defying Gravity" and I think everyone who has ever had a good friend in their life can relate to "For Good."  Last night I had the opportunity to see Wicked again at the Capitol Theatre and it was such a good production!  I thought that both lead actresses were spectacular!  I loved Chandra Lee Schwartz's rendition of "Popular."  In every production I have ever seen, the actress playing Glinda has added her own touch to this particular song.  Schwartz was absolutely hysterical, especially with the tossing of the hair!  Emma Hunton was incredibly powerful as Elphaba.  I think she blew the roof off the Capitol Theatre in "Defying Gravity" and I had goosebumps during "No Good Deed."  I think she was one of the best Elphabas I've seen!  Nick Adams (Fiyero) was a fabulous dancer (and pretty easy on the eyes).  He and Hunton had great chemistry, especially in "As Long As You're Mine."  The rest of the cast was great but I was not a fan of Madame Morrible (Alison Fraser).  I thought her voice was really raspy and I had a hard time understanding her sometimes (it seemed to come and go so she may have had a cold).  As always, I loved the set, costumes, and the choreography.  The whole production was wonderful and I had such a good time watching one of my favorites! I highly recommend seeing it if you have the opportunity.  Wicked will be playing at the Capitol Theatre until Aug. 24.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Memphis Lives In Me

Last night I saw the Broadway touring production of Memphis.  I didn't know much about it except that it won the Tony for Best Musical in 2010.  Of course, it was absolutely amazing and deserving of the Tony, as well as every other accolade heaped upon it.  Really, how could a musical co-written by a member of Bon Jovi be anything but amazing?  Huey Calhoun wanders into a "colored" club when he hears Felicia singing and promises to make her famous in Memphis.  He cons his way on to the radio, and eventually television, by promoting Felicia and the music he hears at the club.  When Huey and Felicia fall in love, which is frowned upon in 1950s Memphis, the couple is physically assaulted.  Felicia, tired of hiding the relationship, wants them to move north and auditions for a record company in New York.  Can Huey leave Memphis behind?  Can he relinquish control over the star he "discovered?"  Joey Elrose is hilarious as the irrepressible Huey and I especially loved his stirring performances in "The Music of My Soul" and the heart-felt "Memphis Lives in Me."  Jasmin Richardson has an incredibly powerful voice as Felicia and just about blew the roof off the Capitol Theatre in "Colored Woman."  The ensemble cast is extremely talented and the big song-and-dance numbers are a lot of fun to watch.  I still have "Someday," the song Felicia sings live on the radio complete with a band and backup singers, stuck in my head.  This story has a very powerful message about prejudice but it was sometimes difficult to hear the many racial epithets throughout the show and the ending was not what I was expecting.  However, I was practically dancing in my seat and I definitely enjoyed it.  I highly recommend seeing Memphis if you have the opportunity.  It continues through June 1 at the Capitol Theatre.

Monday, April 28, 2014

War Horse

Last week I was able to see the show War Horse at the Capitol Theatre.  It was absolutely incredible! It is based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo (I haven't read the book but I absolutely loved the movie version), a touching story about the bond between a boy and a horse set against the backdrop of World War I (a particular interest of mine).  The play is every bit as powerful as the movie but with the greater intimacy that the theatre always provides. The horses are full-sized puppets, created by the Handspring Puppet Company in South Africa, and each are controlled by three puppeteers. They reminded me of the puppets used in the musical The Lion King.  The horses have their own personalities and they snort, whinny, and flick their ears just like real horses.  They were astonishing and, after a few minutes, I actually thought they were real and I couldn't see the puppeteers any more.  I thought the staging was exceptional.  The rural village of Devon and the battlefields of the Somme are portrayed with projections on a large screen with very few props and the minimalist style is very effective.  The performances of the actors were wonderful but I sometimes had a hard time understanding the accents.  However, I felt that the horses were the real stars of the show!  I really loved the musical score;  it reminded me of the music in a movie.  The war scenes were sometimes very hard to watch and I actually cried when the horse Topshorn died (I cried again when Albert and Joey were reunited).  My only complaint was that the second act seemed to drag on a bit but it was worth it to get to the heartwarming end.  I highly recommend seeing this wonderful show if you have the opportunity.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Blue Man Group

When I got home from my spring break trip I was able to see the Blue Man Group at Kingsbury Hall.  I had seen this show before so I thought I knew what to expect but, when I got to my seat (in the front row), I discovered a rain poncho.  This was somewhat disconcerting to me!  There was a lot of nervous laughter among the people sitting in the first few rows as we speculated about what might happen to us!   A few "before" pictures were taken!  There was a preshow with flashing LED screens above the stage giving funny messages to the crowd and then the performance began in earnest when three men in blue body suits came on stage and proceeded to create art by spitting paint balls onto spinning canvasses.  The man sitting next to me was the recipient of one of these masterpieces!  The theme of this show was wide-eyed wonder at the ordinary including playing with giant interactive iPads, opening twinkies with a member of the audience, and practicing various moves needed at a rock concert (raise the roof, put your hands in the air like you just don't care, etc.)  In between these multi-media presentations, the blue men performed music using various PVC pipes as percussion instruments.  This was incredibly cool!  Of course the show was interrupted by a siren and flashing lights announcing a late arrival and a camera and spotlight followed this unfortunate couple to their seats!  At the end of the show, giant multi-colored spheres were launched into the audience.  It became one giant dance party with everyone hitting the spheres into the air.  I had so much fun and I highly recommend seeing this show if you have the opportunity!

Note:  We needed the ponchos because there was a little splatter of various substances.  I was hit by bananas!
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