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Review the last Broadway/West End/Tour you saw! 
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Saw Dreamgirls tonight. I'm lazy this night so it will be brief.

In the souvenir brochure, the producer says this production tips its hat at the original Michael Bennett production while giving it a fresh look. This production more than just tips its hat at the original--it practically IS the original, just grittier and often flashy in appearance.

It still has the innovative use of the moving towers, which are more like giant video panels here. They move about silently and position themselves denoting various settings. I liked the way they shimmered, glowed, and gave many of the scenes splashes of color.

It worked for the most part but I have come to the conclusion that giant video monitors and film should be used sparingly in the theatre. Why bother showing video in a stage production? Whatever you show isn't going to be nearly as impressive as actually staging it. In other words, the use of video and stills didn't add a thing. Thankfully, it didn't take much away either, as it wasn't constant. But when it was there, it felt like they were trying to recreate scenes from the movie. The funky backgrounds and newspaper articles spinning into view in the movie were fine in the movie. They are just distracting here, often too bright and loud, and they pull focus away from the stage and actors.

They have dumped the score's string section in favor of money-saving synthesizers, which drained many of the show's most beautiful musical moments of their beauty.

The cast was excellent and gave performances full of energy and enthusiasm. There's nothing more wonderful than seeing a cast put forth 110% and obviously having a great time up on that stage. There wasn't a single cast member who failed to deliver. Top notch cast. It really doesn't get any better than this.

While providing a touching moment, "Listen" was also awkwardly placed.

I was puzzled by the way they chose to end "And I'm Telling You." It was staged virtually the same as in the original production. But instead of having Effie sit before the mirror, hit that last note, and desperately reach out toward the audience and have the whole setting move backwards and cinematically "fade out" as the Dreams "fade in," the dressing room setting, desk and all, are carted away backwards on tracks like in the original, sans Effie who remains standing center stage and then runs backwards as the Dreams take the stage. Why they'd automate the set exactly as it was in the original but block it differently--and less effectively--is beyond me.

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Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:13 am
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Avenue Q Australian Tour.

Perfect, put simply.

A few lines were changed to be local.

"Mexican Bus Boys" was changed to "Indian call centre operators"
Jupiters Casino was added to the list of where Lucy has toured.
"Tony Abbot is only for now" would have to be a recent add. It can't have been there for the start of the tour.

Kate Monster/Lucy and Gary Coleman are replacements for the original cast, and I saw the understudy for Princeton/Rod. I would say they are all better than those they replaced.

Leah Howard is incredibly convincing as Gary, and has the voice down pat. During "Loud as the Hell You Want" she sings loud, without losing any tone.

The Bad Idea Bears were hysterical, and so cute.

Christina O'Neill is perfect as Christmas Eve. Her timing is spot on and she never misses a beat. She brought the house down with "The More You Ruv Someone" as she has an incredibly powerful and stunning voice.

I remember Brian (David James). I grew up watching him on playschool. It just made watching him in such an inappropriate show even better.

Natalie Alexopoulos is fantastic as Kate, not to mention maintains character well by when she had to cough during "It Sucks to be Me" she made the puppet cough as well. Her voice is beautiful, and she dropped the character voice gradually in "There's a Fine, Fine Line" which worked wonderfully. She also has a wonderful Lucy voice, that plays up the character, without sounding silly.

At the end they opened up the curtains on the top floor of the set, so you could see the band playing behind them.

At only $65, I wish I had the time to go again.


Sat Mar 06, 2010 4:35 am
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I saw the tour of A Chorus Line last week......pretty much hated it. I thought the dancing was great and the actors did a great job with the material, but I think I just didn't like the show itself. Wasn't a fan of the music, the story....yeah. I was pretty bored throughout. Glad I only payed 15 bucks student rush to see it.

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Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:16 am
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Post Singing in the rain
I dont know if sweden productions really count here but its a good place to drop a review.

I saw singing in the rain (swedish version) yesterday and I really liked it. The cast were great and from what I could hear from all the laughs it looked like the audience had as much fun as I have.

Every actor performed superbly and really did the most off his or her part and the chemistry made for perfect and excellent comic all the way. More than a few off them are well known comedians and it really come through to make the show more off an comedy theathre than a thrue musical.

Best actor was Reine Mirro as Don Lockwood, who I recently saw as Rum Tum Tugger in Cats, and there was actually more than a few cat hints when he was on in the begining, to my joy.

In total a great show worth spending the ticket money on, even thou there was way to many scene changes for my taste.

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Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:45 am
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The last Broadway tour I have seen was over a month ago, and that musical is called Wicked. Because of it, I have been drawn into the world of theater and all the things that come with it: happy and upbeat songs, hour-long discussions about who is the best actor for a certain musical at a specific theater, debates that go on for weeks about the tiniest details of each and every scene, song, prop, and character, and so much more.

As for Wicked itself, I was truly amazed at the visual appeal it gave. My excitement was soon to be disired the instant the curtain went up. It may not have been Idina-Kristin quality, but, surely, it was incredible all the same. The enemble provided the best part of the visual appeal, next to the lift in "Defying Gravity" and the smoke in "As Long As You're Mine." I don't believe there was a single moment in which I was disapointed. Even the view I had was among the best; a left seat in the balcony high above it all, a perfect angle to see all of the stage at once. In short, Wicked was truly enchanting, and there is no doubt that I would go out some day to see the show again.


Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:27 pm
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^ Welcome to the world of musical theatre.

It's magic.

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Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:00 am
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elphieglinda16,
Welcome to musical theatre! I was also someone who got into musical theatre because of Wicked. It wasn't from the whole show itself but the score was so powerful and moving that I wanted to be a part of it.

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Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:14 am
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WickedToo wrote:
elphieglinda16,
Welcome to musical theatre! I was also someone who got into musical theatre because of Wicked. It wasn't from the whole show itself but the score was so powerful and moving that I wanted to be a part of it.


I know what you mean. Wicked was my first Broadway show (my parents didn't want me seeing live theatre until I was old enough to appreciate it, so for my 14th birthday I begged my dad to go to NYC) and when the curtain call happened, it was kinda like an epiphany in that I was like, okay, this is my calling. I'd been immersed in MT for about the past...3 years, but it was a hobby - now it's so much more<3

/threadjack

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Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:37 pm
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WickedToo wrote:
elphieglinda16,
Welcome to musical theatre! I was also someone who got into musical theatre because of Wicked. It wasn't from the whole show itself but the score was so powerful and moving that I wanted to be a part of it.


Really? That's awesome!


Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:40 pm
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Show: Young Frankenstein
Location: Toronto, ON (Tour)
Date: April 7th, 2010

Okay, so I went to this this show with absolutely no knowledge of the plot, I had never seen the movie or even really heard of the show until a friend recommended it to me. Let's just say, I was very grateful for that! :P

The entire cast blew me away, especially Roger Bart as Dr. Frankenstein and Beth Curry as Elizabeth Benning. The ensemble was fantastic, the sets and effects were stunning and the songs... well I'm still singing them loudly 24/7! =D>

I'm really hoping to be able to see it again before it's final performance in T.O on the 18th.


Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:58 pm
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Grease - The swedish version.

I must admit that I had mixed feelings with this one, not only is this classic translated to swedish but placed in sweden with swedish teenagers as well so I was a bit scared that they might killed the musical...

Well no need whatsoever, it was great and the entire cast did a splendid work mixing the speach based story with first rate sing and dance numbers and keeping every one in the audience happy. Well worth seeing.

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Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:43 pm
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What: National tour of Hairspray

Where: Orange County Performing Arts Center

When: 9 April, 2010 @ 7:30 p.m.

Having seen several non-equity tours in the past that turned out to be nothing short of travesties, I attended this performance with some trepidation.

Arrived an hour early, so I walked around the huge theatre and was surprised by the number of children in attendance. I'd say there were more than at the Mary Poppins performance I attended in January @ the Music Center.

Took my seat and was impressed by the way they simplified the show's opening display, which was originally an elaborate and fancy show curtain. Here they created the illusion of the curtain's 'ripples' by stringing thin pieces of yarn-like material horizontally and placing a lighted curtain behind them. Hard to explain but it was clever.

I was in the 4th row so I walked a few rows down to take a peak at the orchestra. There was none, LOL. There were two keyboards, a drum set, some reed-like contraption, and an electric guitar. Uh-oh.

After a clunky start in "Good Morning Baltimore," I worried this was going to turn out to be a mistake. First impressions included: Sound system was the crappiest I've ever heard in my life (think walkie talkie); the orchestra actually sounded OK, to my surprise. Fake, yes, but OK for a fake orchestra; Danielle Arci (Tracy) couldn't sing. Double uh-oh.

Thankfully, the show only got better from there and miss Arci soon put any doubts about her singing ability to rest. The entire cast was first rate. They are all very young and just starting out in the business as indicated in their bios in the program and they infused the show with an electric enthusiasm and showmanship that is rare.

Long-time Edna Jerry O'Boyle had just departed the company and we got newcomer Norman Craig (I could be wrong. His name was announced at the top of the show and there were no program inserts, but this is what I remember). He was absolutely brilliant. His Edna was not only hilarious but really exuded a warm, maternal essence without being overly effeminite. It's true--part of this role's charm is that the actor never tries to actually be a woman and his mannerisms only suggest instead of tell. In the end, the actor so completely morphed into this persona, I think it would be jarring to see him out of costume as a male. After the show, I couldn't help but wonder why on earth they chose to tone down the character for the film. Had they hired this actor for the film, he would've done wonders for it as Travolta's Edna left me cold and indifferent towards the character. It actually came off as a gimmick to have Travolta in 'drag.' In reality, this is far from a drag role.

Danielle was excellent as Tracy. She was everything a Tracy should be; cute, rotund, great dancer, and good comedic timing. Erin Sullivan's (Amber) use of the typical squeaky "musical comedy voice" got old by the middle of the first act as it was higher pitched and squeakier than most. But if Ms. Sullivan's aim was to get the audience to completely and totally loath the character of Amber, she succeeded. I couldn't stand the character by the end of the show and there was nothing more than a quiet ripple of applause when she took her bow, which made me a little sad for the actress as everyone else got wild cheers and applause. But hey, she was soooooooooo annoying!!! LOL. And for that, kudos to Ms. Sullivan for a job well done. Apart from making us hate Amber, she delivered a great singing and dancing performance.

I was pleased to see this was the original production. Unlike other original versions of shows, I don't think this is one that will end up being the definitive one. Its designs are cute and serve the show well but I could see other stagings taking what I saw that night and improving it. The choreography by Jerry Mitchell was amazing. Why he didn't win the Tony that year is beyond me.

Richard Crandle's cartoonish Seaweed was spectacular. This guy moved like no other--he appeared to be made out of rubber, or something. The way he moved was so odd. Very flexible body. Quite impressive. =D>

The show was surprisingly crude. I LOVED that!! This is, after all, derived from an original John Waters work and we all know how famously crude he is. And being a long-time Waters fan, I was very much pleased to see his brand of humor up on that stage.

For a non-equity production, this was incredible. Worthy of Broadway. Yes, even the fake orchestra.

The sound system was indeed horrible though. I'd have complained had the performance not been so good. But it was and the sound only occasionally stood in the way.

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Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:24 pm
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