Friday, July 21, 2017

City of Angels

Got back from City of Angels at the Beck Center.  Interesting musical, the last of all our subscriptions for the season.   The story alternates between the detective story from an author (Stine) and the author's life as he writes his book into a screen play.  He has a micromanaging producer and this leads to conflict and metatheater situations.    Not my favorite genre, but a decent show.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

An American in Paris

I wanted to like An American in Paris.  But I didn't.   I haven't seen the movie, so I came in to it with a fresh set of eyes.   I love George Gershwin's music.   This show was a great disappointment to me.

There are three Americans in this show, and I only liked the female, Ms. Davenport, the secondary love interest.   The two guys were former soldiers who decided to live in Paris after World War 2, as an artist and musician.  They fall in love with a French girl, who is poorly developed as a character but a fantastic ballet dancer.  She is already in a relationship with another guy, so we have this love triangle going on from the beginning.

I found the Americans' inability to say no to the pursuit of a relationship a real turnoff.   The staging, costumes, ballet, and projections are all wonderful.  The plot and relationships leave something to be desired.   If I was to produce this show, I'd make it a straight out ballet and cut all of the dialogue.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Really Really

Just got back from the regional premier of Really Really at the Beck Center.   That was some heavy material.   College, rape, money, privilege, and what is the truth.   It pains me to see people use whatever means necessary to get what they want.  There is a lot of selfishness in this play.  It also bothers me that this play reinforces the sterotype that of poor people lying and cheating to get ahead.   It's not happy, but it makes you think.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Hand to God

I got to see Hand to God the other day at Dobama Theater.  I enjoyed it and all of it's dark humor, but it wasn't what I was expecting.   It was advertised as a cross between Avenue Q and the Book of Mormon, two shows that I really love.  This show had puppets and a religious theme, but that's where the similarities ended.

Premise: a widowed woman works for the church and is trying to put on a puppet show.  Her son, Jason has a puppet (Tyrone) that has a very dark streak, eventually leading the group to believe that he is possessed by the devil.   

Tons of dark religious psychology in this show.  Eventually, Tyrone is revealed to be a manifestation of Jason's pain for his father's death.   Also, lots of violence and a gratuitous puppet sex scene.   This show is definitely for the 21 and over crowd.   It's not a musical, so you don't go home with a song in your heart.   Tyrone's last speech actually reminds me of Puck's at the end of A Midsummer Night's Dream.  The effect is eerie and fascinating.   :If you like creepy plays, watch this.  If dolls and puppets scare you, or if the religious overtones hit close to home, I'd advise you to avoid it.   It's not every day you see a guy bludgeon his own hand with a hammer.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Something Rotten

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of seeing Something Rotten.  We saw it on the final weekend, which is very unusual for us, but we had scheduling conflicts that couldn't be moved.   This is a really fun, original story for any fan of the Broadway musical genre.   Basically, two Brothers in during the Renaissance are writers in direct competition with William Shakespeare (who is portrayed as the David Bowie of his day).  With the gleanings of a soothsayer, they decide to write a musical, centuries before the genre is supposed its debut.  

The fifth number, A Musical,  garners multiple ovations in the middle of the first act.  Check out the link to see all the allusions to Broadway shows.  

The music is classic 1930's Broadway with lots of incongruous, campy, slapstick humor.  If it comes to your city, go see it!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Pelleas and Melisande

I went to see the opening night of Pelleas and Melisande with the Cleveland Orchestra.  There are performances tonight and Saturday, and I really recommend it.

The plot is what happens when family and lovers don't communicate and assume very bad things.   Golaud finds Melisande at a pond in the forest.  She is a survivor of some kind of trauma.   They get married with them not knowing much at all about each other.   Pelleas is Golaud's younger half brother, and he develops this childish crush on Melisande.  It is mostly flirting and games, and ends act 3 with a kiss.   Golaud kills his brother over this and eventually Melisande dies after childbirth.

The staging and music were way better than the plot.   It's Debussy, so the music is very beautiful.   The singers were among the orchestra, and the action was done in a box far back on the stage.  It was full of dancers, smoke, lights, and projections.  The glass went cloudy or clear with electric charge.   It was a pond, a grotto, and oftentimes a forest.  It was just as impressive (yes, intentional pun) as the director's previous staging of the Cunning Little Vixen.

The opera is 3 hours long.  90 minutes (acts 1-3), 20 minute intermission, and then 65 minutes for acts 4 and 5.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Freaky Friday the Musical

I have seen all three versions of the Freaky Friday movie franchise.   Although the characters were different in all versions, the premise is the same: a mother and daughter switch bodies and experience one another's lives.   I was quite happy with the musical at Cleveland Playhouse last night.  This show has not been to Broadway yet, but I imagine it will once it earns a following.   CPH has even extended its run by an entire week.  Go see it!