Forum Replies Created
April 26, 2018 at 7:09 pm #1202536192
Didn’t LaChanze get nominated for Featured Actress for Once on This Island?! Then who the hell is the lead?!April 26, 2018 at 7:03 pm #1202536190
Hoping to catch Waitress at the National Theater next month. It all depends on money since I’ve laid down a lot on my NYC trip in June!December 28, 2017 at 6:42 pm #1202450735
This was the final show I saw on my 3 day trip last year and here’s my review!:
About 8 years now, I signed up to help do stage crew for the new musical my community theater was doing that I had never heard of. Over the course of a few weeks when I finally experienced the show from start to finish rather than in pieces, I instantly fell in love with the tremendously beautiful score. Probably one of the best musicals that causal theater goers don’t know, it has finally made it’s way back to Broadway and I hope with this phenomenal production the show will finally get its due. With the exceptional Michael Arden directing after doing such a spectacular job with Spring Awakening a few years ago, it was unsurprising that he brought a new vision and really cool and interesting new aspects to this show making it a bit more modernized and planting a flag location wise making aspects of the show picture perfect to what current day Haitian life looks like in the pre show and sprinkled throughout the actual show. He also adapts the show well for the Circle in the Square theater making this a well rounded production in all senses. With incredible lighting, set pieces, costumes, sound design, and adjusted orchestrations, he really creates an immersive experience making you feel like you are on an island when it’s 40 degrees outside in New York. He also assembled a very talented cast that play around with the original format of the original production. He did go with a similar star is born treatment that the original did with LaChanze discovering newcomer Hailey Kilgore for the role of Ti Moune. She has a stellar vocal range, energy, and impressive dance abilities during the big ball scene especially and carries this beautiful show through her heart and spirit. All four of the Gods are perfectly cast with Quentin Earl Darrington doing a wonderful Agwe, Lea Salonga beautifully as Erzulie, and then gender flipped but really done well with Alex Newell stealing the show as Asaka with his superb performance of “Mama Will Provide”, and finally Merle Dangridge who makes very cool choices with Papa Ge with a really spectacular range. Isaac Powell is really lovely as Daniel and is a really excellent dancer as well and Phillip Boykin and Kenita R. Miller do a beautiful job as Ti Moune’s parents. The ensemble is a little scaled back with the Gods and Powell, Boykin, and Miller taking lines and falling into the ensemble at times to make it fuller and giving a new layer to the show’s format of a whole island’s village playing along to tell a story to a frighten young girl during a storm. This is truly a beautiful show that will hit you in all the feels especially if you don’t know what’s coming. I really hope this revival becomes a huge hit because this show has gone far too long for having the love and appreciation it deserves. I can’t wait for their version of the cast recording to be released in 2 months!December 28, 2017 at 6:22 pm #1202450726
Saw this last week finally! Absolutely fantastic and a night I’ll never forget. Also Paul McCartney was sitting a row over!!!!!!!! I want to go again mostly to catch Gavin Creel because he was out that night but the whole show is worth going to over and over again if that didn’t cost a fortuneDecember 28, 2017 at 11:07 am #1202450478
I really hope Once on This Island wins to give the original production some justice after being shut out of any wins. It’s so amazing and Michael Arden is definitely one of our great directors working right nowDecember 28, 2017 at 10:58 am #1202450461
After seeing both Spongebob and Once on This Island last week, I hope both will show up in many categories at he Tonys. My wish list:
Ethan Slater lead
Gavin Lee featured
Choreography (for Squidward’s number alone)
Sound (What a great year to bring it back!)
Lilli Cooper featured would be nice but not a must
Danny Skinner featured if they can fit him in
Jai’Len Christine Li Josey featured would be awesome but unlikely same with Wesley Taylor
Once on This Island:
Hailey Kilgore actress
Alex Newell featured
If it’s a slim year costumes/set would be cool too
All the Gods would be nice too but Newell is the stand out.
I saw someone above mention the possibility of Isaac Powell in lead and I could see that but I don’t think he’s in the show nearly enough to be considered a lead. He’s really great though I wouldn’t complain if he got inDecember 28, 2017 at 10:37 am #1202450445
Wasn’t Spongebob eligible for this Grammy cycle since it was released in September? I wish they held off because A. to be in next year’s cycle where the glowing reviews would have helped people to get to listen to it B. To actually capture the original cast on Broadway since some of the Chicago peps didn’t transfer (and their replacement’s sound ten times better).
I love the Dolly recording and I think it could win but I’m still predicting Hansen.November 15, 2017 at 8:08 am #1202411163
Just imagine how mainstream next year’s Tony Awards could be with Escape to Margaritaville, Frozen, Harry Potter & Cursed Child, Mean Girls, and/or SpongeBob SquarePants as potential nominees.
Nell Benjamin is a woman, not a man.
Whoops my mistake! Thanks for pointing that outNovember 14, 2017 at 8:35 am #1202410262
I’ll be interested to hear what you think. I really don’t know how it’ll play for non fans. Sat next to an old woman that I can’t imagine saw the movie and didn’t get the vibe she was enjoying it all that muchNovember 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 14, 2017 at 7:22 am #1202410229
This is an old thread but might as well bring it back! As a Maryland native and work in DC two blocks to the left of the National Theater, I got to see the out of town try out of Mean Girls. I wrote about it on my blog but here’s what I wrote about it:
One of the luxuries of living back in Maryland is that the theater scene in DC is often times very plentiful and full of great special events. When I was in Florida for college, I missed the first try out of Dear Evan Hansen and as you can tell, that was a HUGE miss. Last year, Come From Away tried out at the Ford’s Theater and I didn’t go out of lack of interest but once again, it did pretty well. Not all DC tryouts are winners as Bright Star has its fans but didn’t last too long on Broadway but I think the latest Broadway bound try out will do pretty well with it’s preexisting fan base. Mean Girls is a big movie for my generation and is one of the best high school comedies of the 21st century but in my opinion the best of all time. For a movie with so many iconic lines and sequences, there’s a bit of a high bar going into making a musical version because you know you have to keep iconic things in and amplify others.
Seeing this musical it occurred to me the “blue hairs” (the little old ladies of Broadway) are probably going to either hate this or not understand it. The audience uproars in applause almost every time one of those iconic lines are said/sung and it can come off as pandering at times but that’s not the shows fault at all it’s just the magnitude of a fan base this movie has’ fault. There’s also plenty of updating to today’s high school culture regarding iPhones, social media, and even our president that seems a tad off from the heart of the 2004 movie but personally social media humor always feels immediately dated to me as it is constantly changing. Tina Fey wrote the book for this as she did with the movie and it’s still sharp and wonderful and the score is great as well by her husband Jeff Richmond. The lyricist is Nell Benjamin and she also did the lyrics for one of the most underrated modern musicals Legally Blonde. I thought she is the perfect choice to write lyrics for another iconic comedy of the early 2000’s but unlike something like Legally Blonde where her lyrics are just so rich and full of sharp humor, this one was a tad lacking in that department. Though I loved many of the songs especially Damien’s big number at the beginning that is almost like “Stick to the Status Quo” from High School Musical laying out the land of the cliques. There’s alot of great power ballots and fun group numbers but none to me will be a big breakout song which is somewhat needed in such a do or die Broadway climate these days. I guess Janis’ big climatic number about giving a middle finger to society and is full of female empowerment can crossover ESPECIALLY for what is going on in the world right now but not many of the others seem destined for high school theater IE events at their Thespian Festival. I felt there was one to many belt notes written into the score that it almost started feeling like they wanted to just let the actors show off that they CAN belt rather than they need to belt at any given moment. It may be the sound issue or a diction issue but often times I really couldn’t make out the lyrics because the music and ensemble would get a tad chaotic and I was sitting pretty close to the speakers so maybe I was just overwhelmed with sound. I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to sets (it helps that I love props and set decoration alot) so I am a tad disappointed the main set is just a wall of monitors that create the sets for you but I understand the necessity for it and they do incorporate it well but for someone who was sitting really far on the side, it was hard to even make out the set because a lot of it is on the back wall at times but I did like the set pieces they did incorporate on a choreography stand point mostly like how the students roll in on their desk/chair combos and shift together to create a new class and how they moved the cafeteria tables during that Damian number. The lighting design more coincides with the monitors and the sound design as I mention was a tad messy but I think that is something they can fix on their way to Broadway. I don’t know how the August Wilson compares in size to the National but it could tone down a tad. The costumes are solid but shout out to all of Damian’s shirts because from Liza to Cher he had all the divas represented and I also enjoyed the Halloween choices. I’ve had quite a Casey Nicholaw-fest these past few weeks seeing his other big hit The Book of Mormon and he does a great job directing this and blocks everything pretty well even though it would have been nice to see some of the things happening on stage right but that’s more of a slap on the wrist to me for waiting but to me it is important that your whole ticket paying audience deserves to see a majority of the action (even if they could implement monitors like they do at SNL tapings).
So I think I covered most of the production values so let me talk about the performances. I think the whole ensemble is fantastic together and have such a great energy throughout the show for one that is so rapid pace and seemingly has something for most of the ensemble to do at all times. I’m surprised that most of this cast was still able to come out with a smile on their face to the stage door because I was tired just watching some of them. Shout out to one particular ensemble member who was always burning the stage with his dance moves (unsurprisingly he was a Newsie) Ben Cook. Of the actors, Grey Henson who played Damian, was the stand out. He captured the excellent comedic timing of Daniel Franzese from the movie perfectly but still managed to make it his own especially keeping up with the times with gay culture like today’s pop divas and drag race T shirts. For the women, of course the lead that played Cady, Erika Henningsen, did a fantastic job carrying the show but I have to give a shout out to Barrett Wilbert Weed as Janis but also Kerry Butler who did triple duty playing a Hairsprayesque “female authority figure” role of Cady’s mom, Regina’s mom, and perfectly as Ms. Norbury making me think Tina Fey was actually on that stage reprising her role from the movie. The titular mean girls were all excellent and did the roles justice to the movie types though Taylor Lauderman could get a tad soft at times where I couldn’t understand what she was singing (side note: she is GORGEOUS). Kate Rockwell aced Karen’s barely functional ways and Ashley Park aced Gretchen’s woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown well. Kyle Selig did a great job as Aaron Samuels but I didn’t think he was given enough to do to really stand out. He gets a handful of solos in maybe two songs and I think maybe a song or two just for him would have been a nice touch (side not: he is GORGEOUS). Cheech Manohar killed it as the rapping mathlete Kevin and Rick Younger channelled Tim Meadows “I’m tired of this shit” principal excellently but he also seems to not have enough to do. It would be fun to see him and Ms. Norbury get a song about dealing with the mean girls or school in general. I loved the touch at the end that the male ensemble all pull a Producers in Along Came Bialy and go drag to fill up the female ensemble during the climatic burn book outing scenes and the iconic gym after school detention scene.
Overall, it’s not a masterpiece but it’s a great night at the theater and alot of fun if you adore the movie like I do. I’m just not so sure how this will play for some of the non movie fans and might dismiss it as they did with Legally Blonde as a cheap cash grab from a big hit comedy. I already know from my summer binge of Theater Talks throughout the years of critics roundtables of the ones who will not like it and some of the ones that may go to bat for it. I don’t think this show has officially “opened” which is weird for a 6 week run try out so no official reviews have dropped but I will be interested in how the theater critics react to this because I am anticipating it to be mixed as most shows are lately unless you’re recent
Tony winners Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton, and Fun Home. If you’re in DC and can win a lottery, it’s worth doing especially for the 25$ front row seats but if it really comes down to the obstructed view seats like I sat in (and unless you want Premium seats that’s as good as you’ll get at this point), it may be best to wait for Broadway so you can really get the whole set in view and really soak up the show rather than trying to lean over as far as you can go. I’m sure certain moments would have had a way bigger impact if I was in a proper seat like the big mean girls entrance. It ended up be just like when I saw Sunset Boulevard in April when I sat in the last row middle balcony where the lottery winners go and the balcony above cuts off the top view so when Glenn Close came out, I couldn’t see her and thought people just LOVED the song that just ended. So yeah, if you can get a lottery ticket, go for it but if you have to sit in limited view, it’s still a good show but you are clearly missing out on some great moments.October 26, 2017 at 2:18 pm #1202248962
Just saying the Globes love rewarding new hit shows and the ratings have sky rocketed for the show in it’s 2nd season and it’s a big hit for them. Not saying it will happen but I wouldn’t count it out. It has much of a shot that 13 Reasons Why does except that Riverdale is currently airing and I see tons of people predicting that for some reason. I’m always thinking new over quality when it comes to GlobesOctober 26, 2017 at 10:45 am #1202248857
This is my favorite new show of the Fall season! Everyone, especially Maya Rudolph, are giving tremendous performancesOctober 26, 2017 at 10:43 am #1202248856
The Affair won’t be back this year so I don’t know why it’s in the prediction center. With the CW love for Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex Girlfriend, I think we should be considering Riverdale can it be added to the prediction center please?October 26, 2017 at 10:37 am #1202248846
I wish Netflix promoted this show more especially on Fridays. I just think, like most of their content, it was buried and people didn’t even know it was on. I causally watched it and liked it but if Netflix wants to continue in the talk show business they really need to work on making it more visible