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November 6, 2017 at 6:02 am #1202403128
Caught Love Never Dies on Saturday night. It commits the cardinal sin of any melodrama–it’s dull for long stretches, particularly in Act One. There doesn’t seem to be any real reason for it to exist–did you really want to know that the Phantom ran away to Coney Island of all places and is now running a cheesy sideshow theater with the help of Meg and Madame Giry? Or that Raoul has turned into a churlish alcoholic gambler trailing around after Christine like a spoiled puppy? Or that they have a young son, Gustave, with preternatural musical gifts? (Hm, wonder where that’s going.) Just about all of the songs seem like things that would have been cut from the original for something a little better. We get the best shot, “‘Til I Hear You Sing”, right out of the gate (or, at least ALW seems to think it’s the best shot since it’s reprised about a dozen times). There are some Coney Island pastiche numbers, natch, and a couple of overblown Christine/Phantom duets that come back-to-back, and a Phantom/Raoul duet with the improbable title of “Devil Take the Hindmost” (rhymes with “find most”) that is deemed worthy of a reprise as a quartet moments later. There’s also the operatic title number, performed by Christine in front of a giant peacock feather curtain for some reason. And lest you miss the original tunes, just about everything except “Music of the Night” and “All I Ask of You” comes in for at least a brief callback here. (“Twisted Ev’ry Way” is reprised almost in its entirety when Christine is in a nearly identical situation here as she was when it was originally sung.) The recitative passages often reek of a shocking amateurism. If I gave you some lines of flat dialogue and told you to sing them like opera, anything you would invent on the spot would be better than what’s here. The plot moves at a snail’s pace, with lots of unnecessary sideshow numbers stopping things cold. There are some howlers in the dialogue–“That perfidious Raoul!” bellows the Phantom at one point. I will give it credit for a surprise ending that I didn’t see coming, but even that turns silly and the actual finale is uncomfortably similar to Miss Saigon.
What it does have going for it is a cast of tremendous singers who make everything they touch sound better. Gardar Thor Cortes and Meghan Picerno handle a lot of material admirably as the Phantom and Christine and Picerno brings down the house with the title number (though admittedly, the staging kind of forces extended applause). Karen Mason brings her old-pro skill to bear on the rather thankless tasks Giry must undertake. Sean Thompson has a very pleasing tenor that manages to elevate his pedestrian material, such as the baldly-titled Act Two opener “Why Does She Love Me?” At my performance, Jake Heston Miller took the role of young Gustave and was charming (even though he has to scream a lot) with an ethereally beautiful boy soprano voice. Gabriela Tylesova’s sets and costumes are also evocative with the right mix of tacky flash and tattered elegance. An arch designed with a sort of abstract, twisted phantom mask at the top provides a signature piece to bring the physical production together.
But overall, the story is still inert despite all the revisions that have apparently been done (I’m not familiar with any previous incarnations), the music is second-tier, and the lyrics are some tier decidedly below that.November 6, 2017 at 6:19 am #1202403148
I didn’t get to see it last week, but it sounds like I didn’t really miss much.
Though I did get to interview Karen Mason, nice lady…
https://www.broadwayworld.com/raleigh/article/BWW-Interview-Karen-Mason-of-LOVE-NEVER-DIES-National-Tour-20171019#November 6, 2017 at 12:20 pm #1202403420
Here’s an exclusive first look from broadway.com of Karen Ziemba in the national tour of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. https://www.broadway.com/buzz/190258/exclusive-get-a-first-look-at-tony-winner-karen-ziemba-in-irving-berlins-white-christmas-national-tour/November 14, 2017 at 7:47 am #1202410236
Caught The Book of Mormon at the Kennedy Center two weeks ago and breaking news to all that have known for 6 years now, its fantastic! The current cast is really stellar especially Kevin Clay (Elder Price)November 15, 2017 at 8:19 am #1202411170
Last season’s Tony-winning Broadway show, The Play That Goes Wrong will launch a North American tour next year…
It should be interesting to see how this does in bigger venues.November 15, 2017 at 9:22 am #1202411190
This must be some sort of passion project for JJ Abrams, otherwise I can’t imagine how they made a tour happen. It’s a fun piece but it’s very slight. I can’t imagine it filling the Ahmanson for one week, let alone five. We’ll see what the other venues are, and how many of them.November 17, 2017 at 8:41 pm #1202413914
Yes. I’ll post my review tomorrow.November 29, 2017 at 9:11 am #1202424632
So I was able to catch the School of Rock tour last night, and I had a great time. I thought the adaptation itself honored the original movie, but was able to dive deeper into the story, especially by putting the kids more in the spotlight. In fact, if you went into this show not knowing anything about it at all, you’d never guess that Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote this score (and I mean that as a compliment).
I also thought Rob Colletti gave a performance that is both hilarious and heartfelt as Dewey Finn, who almost seems like a modern day version of Harold Hill from The Music Man as he poses as someone he isn’t, and is able to form a band out of the students at Horace Green. Each of the kids in this show deserves their own special shoutout as they are all such quadruple threats. They sing, dance, act, and play their own instruments very well.
Overall, I thought School of Rock had something for audiences of all ages, including a great message of how much music can enrich our lives (especially children).
You Can Read My Full Review Right Here!November 29, 2017 at 10:22 am #1202424708
Good to hear. I’m seeing it Saturday. It has to be better than the last ALW show that came through, the bombastic headache called Love Never Dies (But It Should).January 2, 2018 at 7:13 pm #1202454052
To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., a national tour of Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop is being launched, starting on January 12 at the Numerica Performing Arts Center in Wenatchee, Washington and concluding on April 23 at Lenfest Center at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Gilbert Glenn Brown and Karen Malina White will star. http://www.playbill.com/article/cast-set-for-38-city-tour-of-katori-halls-the-mountaintopJanuary 3, 2018 at 9:06 am #1202454454
A new national touring production of A Chorus Line, directed by original cast member, Baayork Lee, will be launching in Somerville, New Jersey on January 20th with 33 cities to follow in the USA, before it embarks on an engagement in Tokyo, Japan…
https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/A-CHORUS-LINE-Announces-2018-National-Tour-Launching-January-20-20180103January 3, 2018 at 9:14 am #1202454461
So I was able to catch the On Your Feet! tour last night, and let me start by saying that a few minutes into the performance, there was a technical mishap with a set piece, so they had to pause the show for a few minutes to fix it. With all of that aside, I will say that the book penned by Oscar winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman) doesn’t feel as dramatically engaging as other biographical musicals, which I’m not viewing as a criticism by any means. In fact, he seemed to have done a pretty good job by having Act I go through all the trials and tribulations that stood in Gloria & Emilio’s way of making it in the music industry with some heartfelt musical performances to go with them. Though it’s in the middle of Act II where we really start to see some drama when something tragic happens (anyone who’s familiar with the Estefan’s history knows what I’m talking about).
I also think the production has a very talented cast dancing to Sergio Trujillo’s incredible choreography while wearing Emilio Sosa’s stylish costumes under Kenneth Posner’s excellent lighting. Christie Prades was out sick last night, so her understudy, Arianna Rosario, went on as Gloria Estefan. In any case, Rosario shines like a star up on stage, showing herself as a true triple threat. She’s even got some great scenes opposite Mauricio Martinez as Emilio Estefan, who proves to be a perfect match for her. Other highlights for me included Nancy Ticotin as Gloria’s overprotective mother, Gloria Fajardo, and Alma Cuervo (who was my first Madame Morrible in Wicked) as Gloria’s encouraging grandmother, Consuelo Garcia.
Overall, I thought On Your Feet! was wonderfully funny, entertaining, and heartfelt with a great message. There was nothing like the Conga to help me ring in the New Year.January 6, 2018 at 1:48 pm #1202458080
Austin Scott and Nicholas Christopher will take over the roles of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in the national tour of Hamilton. http://www.playbill.com/article/austin-scott-and-nicholas-christopher-are-new-stars-of-hamilton-national-tourJanuary 15, 2018 at 7:21 am #1202467652
The national tour of Groundhog Day has been canceled. http://www.playbill.com/article/planned-groundhog-day-national-tour-canceled