Monday, December 20, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
So it is the review that most of you have been curious about, to our 5's of fans I hope you enjoy what we have to say.
Spider-man: Turn off the Dark
Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
I guess I should begin with that my review will most likely be very short I am going to hand a majority of this review over to Rhett. He basically says everything thing that I wanted to say, and then some, and my review are mostly observations on the experience itself.
I was laying bed last Monday night, when I received a phone call from Rhett, which is a shocker, the man never rarely calls you on the phone with him it’s mostly a text thing. First thing I say to him when I answer is “Who’s dead?” “No one, want to go and see Spider-Man on Wednesday?” “Hell yes!” I respond. This was his Hanukkah/ Christmas present to me, who could ask for a better gift than that of a Broadway Show.
I am excited as I finish up work and make my way down to the newly renovated Foxwoods Theater. I have to say they did a bang up job on the refurbishments; it is a beautiful show piece for 42nd street. As I approached the theater I could already see a mob forming around the corner and with two haphazard lines forming and people jostling to get in, I felt like I was at the 5th race at Aqueduct. As we push our way in and saddle up to the bar for an $18.00 drink (thank you Rhett). We take our seats and I immediately notice a 6 year old in a Spider-man pajamas, in front of us, and I behind me a 7 year old with his mother. Now I am all for introducing children to the Theater, but for show’s like Mary Poppins, Elf, Imagin-Ocean (see prior review) but not Spider-man. As the lights dimmed and the overture began, the curtain goes up and behind me I still here this child talking with his mother and not in hushed tones. I turn around and shush the lady and she’s tells me in a very loud tone “That was rude, you’re an asshole!” I said to her “nice language to use in front of your child” I turn around and proceed to try and enjoy this first night of Hanukkah, and time with my friend.
Ok, (deep breath in) Spider-man: Turn off the dark, wow what an Epic fail, I was all excited for this show and was hoping for the best, even though a little of me wanted it to bad. I was not disappointed, with Music and Lyrics by Bono and the Edge you would think, great a cool rock style musical along the lines of The Who’s Tommy, or American Idiot, and with Julie Taymor writing the book and dircting this show you would think what a cool visual treat it will be. WRONG!!!!! Visual it was but that alone couldn’t carry the show.
I have seen my fair share of Broadway, off Broadway, regional, and Summer Stock Theater, some good, some bad, and some WTF, I left in tears at the travesty that was The Tale of Two Cities: the Musical. I give everything I see a fair chance to win we over and I am all for a vague and confusing plot i.e. Elmer Gantry the musical at the La Jolla Playhouse 1991, Tennessee Williams’ Camino Real, and most recently A Catered Affair, but at least these shows had some sort of story arc, and in the case of the music and lyrics, Bono and the Edge really should have seen a few more musicals or at least read some more scores to get a better idea of what works and doesn’t. The music isn’t bad, and the lyrics of the songs work to an extent, but not in the context of this story they are trying tell. I walked out not humming a song from this show but singing Populism yeah yeah from Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson. I am thinking that American Psycho: The Musical would be much better than this, at least Duncan Sheik already has a Broadway Musical under his belt. I really think that this would have worked better as a concept album, sort of like The Who’s Quadrophenia, or Elton John’s Aida. But with almost two different storylines between the first and second act I found myself asking what’s going on. I hope Ms. Taymor’s take on Shakespeare’s the Tempest is a much better project than this. I feel that this whole thing was way too rushed to hit Broadway, and realy should have taken more time to iron out the glitches, but I also understand they are in previews and this is the time to work out issues. The one thing I have to touch on is that prior to the curtain going up the Co-Producer comes out on stage and thanks us for showing up and said that since they didn’t have a theater to have an out of town try out in, for us to bear with them as they work things out, but that was a cop-out, this show could have used a Vegas Venue or Universal Studios Venue, that has the space and the technical crew to handle a show of this magnitude
The technical aspects of the show were cool to say the least, the flying over the audience, and the LED screens were amazing, but it just seemed so thrown together without any continuity. I have to give major props to the Ensemble of this show given with what they are working with and without; they pulled it together and delivered a show. Albeit a bad one and that is not their fault. As you will read Rhett gets into the nuts and bots of the show, and I say this go and see and judge for yourself. It’s a spectacle, and it’s something you can always take with you and be able to say I saw a 65 million dollar flop.
On a scale of Top, Bottom, or Versatile. I give this show an Arrogant Bottom, one who thinks he’s the hottest thing on Manhunt but is a dud in bed.
See you on the Boards
Take it away Rhett!!!!!!!!!!!!
Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark
Wednesday, Dec.1st, 2010
Here it is kids!...the review you've all been waiting for! Spider-man the Musical has arrived on the Great White Way, and your Broadway Bitches Rhett and Carlos were first on the scene to get you the dirt on the most expensive show in Broadway History! (And boy is there some Dirt to Dish!...lol)
So Carlos and I thought we were being smart in arriving at the newly named Foxwoods Theater an hour early to pick up our tickets, and avoid the rush. WRONG!...at 7:05pm, half a block from the theater, I saw a huge Motley Crew of Gamers and Sci-Fi Geeks in their Spider-man garb flooding the streets waiting to get in.
Finally grabbing our tix, we each grabbed an $18 COCKTAIL! from the bar (good thing I snuck in a flask to replenish mine!...lol), and we took our seats.
Just to be clear, the show has just started its previews, we saw the 2nd performance EVER, and it's not officially opening until January 11th.
At 8:04pm, one of the producers, Michael Cohl, took the stage. "We're only 4 minutes late tonight! You guys are definitely the best audience we've had so far!"
By now most of you have heard the horror stories about the 1st preview performance: The show started a half an hour late, it stopped dead 5 times for technical problems, including one 20 minute pause that was perforated by a woman in the audience screaming, "I feel like a Guinea Pig!...It's like a dress rehearsal!", and numerous other glitches.
Surprisingly most of those glitches were fixed by the 2nd performance, only stopping once for 5 minutes at 8:55pm to retrieve one of the aerialists who plays Spider-man, when he flew across the stage but didn't quite make it to his landing pad in the wings.
That being said, there were still a lot of problems: at least a half a dozen times stagehands in jeans and sweatshirts ran onstage in the middle of a scene, or even in the middle of a Ballad!, to unhook a wire, or manually close a trap door onstage. When Spiderman, played by Broadway newcomer Reeve Carney, with nice rock vocals and a certain amount of charm, but NO real theater/acting ability, and such bad enunciation we wondered exactly HOW MANY marbles were in his mouth!?, rescued Mary Jane for the 1st time she couldn't get herself unhooked from him and delivered 5 or 6 lines of dialogue into his neck while she tried to break free. Just before the Act 1 finale, Spidey defeats his nemesis, The Green Goblin, by pushing him off the top of the Chrysler building and crushing him with a piano. But Patrick Page, who plays the Goblin, A.K.A Dr. Norman Osborne, lay on the stage awaiting his impending doom, looking up at where a piano was SUPPOSED to fall, but after 15-20 seconds, a small piece of the piano jutted out from the catwalk over the stage and never fell. The Goblin eventually just "pretended" to get crushed as a tether attached to his back dragged him upstage into the darkness!
While these significant issues were annoying, they weren't the real problem. The biggest problem here is the show itself!: Music that doesn't fit the story, Lyrics that are unintelligible and don't propel any character development, and a Book that's barely existent, and what does exist is juvenile, uninspired, and confusing!.
The show starts with the curtain opening on a giant bridge, a damsel in distress dangling in midair, and our hero, in his familiar Spidey suit, running in SlowMo to save her, every person in the audience is immediately captivated by the promise of a beautiful and thrilling love story about to be retold in a new, spectacular, and epic way.
A Greek Chorus of nerds, known as 'The Geek Chorus', tells the tale of our mild-mannered boy turned superhero by referring back to the worlds 1st Spider-man, Spider-Woman, actually. Arachne is the well known character from Greek mythology, who was a better weaving artisan than the Goddess Athena, and was punished by being turned into a spider: forever weaving her beautiful tapestries, but cursed with 8 legs, and forced to live in darkness. In an odd twist Arachne now lives in solitary immortality, appearing in the present, in Queens, NY no less, to torment Spidey's dreams, and ultimately challenges him as his greatest Nemesis.
There is no rhyme or reason to this or to a lot of other very important and confusing plot points in the show. What the hell is Dr. Osborne working on, and why does a Dr. from Queens have a southern drawl, and why does he hate Spidey so much? No reason is ever given. Why does Mary Jane ever fall for Peter Parker? I Don’t Know!? And most importantly, we are shown that when Peter throws away his Spidey suit, he loses his powers, but wasn't he 'injected' with those powers by a radioactive mutant spider? And if he "throws away" his powers, how does he then defeat the 'Sinister Six' villains that join the, supposedly dead, Green Goblin to attack him?!
Ugh!...so many questions, and confusing twists, that aren't even interesting, they just seem to exist to lend reason to another fight sequence; or they are used as an excuse to bring out 6 GIANT floor to ceiling LED video screens, which broadcast thrilling footage of our Villains in action, but they clash in juxtaposition to the rest of the 2 dimensional black and white sketched 'comic book' inspired set.
I also want it to be known that this is NOT a show for young children! The signs in the theater and on the website clearly say "suitable for children 8 years and up". Even that may be a stretch but there's NO reason why Carlos and I should have been surrounded by 4 and 5 year olds crying, whimpering, and constantly asking, "Who dat? Wha happened?" Although I did ask those same questions a few times myself! Carlos almost bitch-slapped 1 obnoxious mother, whose toddler was kicking and talking. "Seriously!?" he asked the mom. "Shut up Asshole!" was what she considered a suitable response in front of her young child...Ugh. I weep for the future!
My Pet Peeves? Scene 2: early evening in Queens and Peter is walking home from another day of being bullied at school. Ok. But why devote ANY of the 65million dollars to a little, insignificant 2x2 foot wide rotating treadmill, just so we can see Peter actually walking in place!? WTF!? And then, a small ridiculous Lionel Train set pops up to resemble the NYC subway, but on this elaborate stage, it just sticks out as a silly toy!
Oh, and speaking of 'silly toy's: in the last scene of Act 1, Spider-man shoots a web up to a skyscraper to escape, and we are taunted with a tiny action figure Spidey on a string slowly rising up to a cardboard building!? Does anyone remember the Act 1 finale of Titanic the Musical?...yeah, it was just as cheesy as that little toy boat sinking!
I digress, and remind you all that THIS ISN'T EVEN THE REAL PROBLEM!!! IT'S JUST A BAD SHOW!
Probably the most upsetting thing is the amount of talent squandered on this stage.
The character of Mary Jane, played so brilliantly, but to no avail, by 'Next to Normal' Tony Nominee Jennifer Damiano, is never given much to work with. Her big 11 O'clock number "If The World Should End" is actually a really beautiful musical theater love ballad, and Damiano, of course, knocks it out of the park. BUT, it doesn't fit into a show full of songs that have no theatrical depth, character development, or even coherent lyrics! To pour salt on the wound, immediately after Damiano's "moment" we are relegated to Reeve Carney's big number "The Boy Falls from the Sky", with no time to absorb or appreciate the emotion that Damiano just worked so hard to convey!
A bigger problem (if you can believe there is one!) is with Patrick Page as the Green Goblin. Page is a seasoned and talented performer, and it is to his credit that he could make ANYTHING out of this ridiculous, underdeveloped "villain", I use that word generously. Are we supposed to be scared of the Goblin? Given some background scoring, lighting, costume and a mask, you would be give that impression. But it's hard to be frightened of a man who plays vaudeville patter songs on a piano singing "I'll Take Manhattan" (Paige's solo turn) acting like Liberace, and running on in his Britney Spears-meets-Miley Cyrus laughable UNNECESSARY southern twang!
I LOVED the stunt/flying sequences, and believe me; when Spider-man, the Green Goblin and Arachne soar over the crowd a mere inches from your heads at Breakneck speed, it truly is the kind of EXHILIRATING theater magic that only Director Julie Taymor can deliver! However, a Broadway Musical can not rest on those laurels alone. Without any interesting characters, a driven story, or any worthwhile songs to speak of, this piece would be a better fit as a Cirque show in Vegas, or even a Spectacular stunt show at a Universal Studios Theme Park.
Alan Cummings and Evan Rachel Wood were originally slated to star (as Goblin, and MJ), but reportedly dropped out last spring due to "scheduling conflicts". Hell, I would have scheduled a year of root canal surgeries just to avoid the critical backlash these poor actors most assuredly have coming to them!
I have to make it clear that no fault can be placed on the backs of these performers, or the rest of the brilliant HARD working cast of actors, singers, dancers, musicians, and aerial stunt men. They are doing their jobs to the best of their ability and that definitely shows. I wish my fellow employed actors a full paid contracted run, and hopefully enough press and opportunity to "cut their teeth" from this show that they can easily transfer to another gig that will utilize their gifts and talents better. Unfortunately, I can not, in good conscience, bestow the same good wishes on the Theatrical Assault that is, "Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark".
At an operating cost of 1 million dollars per week, Spiderman would need to sell out EVERY performance for over TWO AND A HALF YEARS just to break even! For the sake of Broadway credibility and theatergoers everywhere, I hope the show is not around that long.
This is just One Rotten Egg that needed to incubate for a few more months before being hatched!
On a scale of Top, Bottom, or Versatile, I give "Spider-man: Turn off The Dark" (now known as "The Forbidden Show"!...lol) a Sloppy Pig Bottom! You know, the kind of messy bottom that's too tweaked out to realize that 'The party's over, and it's time to pack up your harness and GO!'...lol.
See you on the Boards!
Friday, December 3, 2010
Good Luck to you all.
Stonewall Sensation Week 10
Staff and Such
Host- Brandon Cutrell: Cabaret Host and Hoosier at Large.
Tickling the Ivories-Kat Shurelle: Lobby Pianist Virtuoso, Blogger (www.ayearofstandards.blogspot.com) and all around cool hip cat.
DJ- CT: Handsome Clove Smoking guy giving the contestants their voices.
Bartenders- Mike and Lawrence. ( I must give a shout out to these guys, these two are some of New York City's finest. Even with at times 6, 7 people deep at the bar, they maintain a friendly approachable countenance, even when there are assholes at the bar these two know how to keep everyone happy and drunk.)
Miss Fire Island 1776: Ariel Sinclair
Comic and Firebrand: Poppi Kramer
T.O.N.Y.Theater Critic and Nudnik: Adam Feldman
Note: I missed the first round of the show due to the fact that I along with Rhett were stuck at the Foxwoods Theater trying to turn off the dark with Spiderman, that review to follow shortly.
Week 10 Contestants:
1. (1) New Song
2. (1) Song already performed
3. (1) Judges choice Song
Round 1: New Song
1. Sara Straw: Beautiful Disaster; Kelly Clarkson
2. Jeff Jones: No Air; Jordan Sparks
3. Sarah Cummings: Beautiful; Christina Aguilera
4. Creighton Fraker: Alone; Heart
Round 2: Song Performed Already in the Competition
1. Sara Straw: Someday; The Wedding Singer the Musical- This was a great redemption song for Sara, she originally sang the song during a bought with a sever chest cold. The judges felt that she should have picked a different song that could have shown off her talent. I enjoyed the song it's a sweet number and she added a little of her own bit of sugar to it.
2. Jeff Jones: Aquarius/ The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In); Hair- If you can sing this song well and have even an ounce of energy, you can get the audience going. Jeff Jones has the energy and the vocal power to pull this song off and get the crowd on their feet dancing singing and if it were allowed spark a DOOBY. Jeff has consistently been great this whole season, even with unfamiliar songs or genres. I have been a fan of his throughout the competition.
3. Sarah Cummings: Like a Prayer; Madonna- Sarah once again delivers a another solid performance.
4. Creighton Fraker: Wagon Wheel; Old Crow Medicine Show- O.K. so by now you have read my ranting and ribbing on this kid, and I have been verbally knocked around by Rhett saying that I don't know shit, and Creighton is amazing. In my own defense I have to say that I don't dislike him personally it's just the whole Johnny one tone aspect to his voice that bugs me. This song in particular had the makings of annoying the hell out of me, but I have to say I REALLY enjoyed his performance it was rocking and rolling, he added a cute guitar playing dude (with his own beer holster) to jazz up the piece. What I really liked about it was that he worked the arrangement around a bit, the original song a bit of a slower pace to it but Creighton sped it up a bit for an easily bored crowed at Stonewall. All of the Judges enjoyed his performance and two of the judges suggested to Creighton to not be afraid to leave his head voice and go into his chest voice. Great Performance Man!!!!!!
Round 3: Judges Pick
1. Sara Straw: Firework, Katy Perry; Picked by Poppi Kramer- I could tell that Sara was not very comfortable with this song and she struggled through it. The one thing I have to say about Miss. Straw is that she is not a professional singer. Poppi said it best that Sara is not a professional this is not her chosen career, but she likes to sing, she can sing, and decided WTF I am going to do this contest, and here is Sara down to the final four. Congrats Girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2. Jeff Jones: Waterfalls, TLC; Picked by Adam Feldman- Yet again Jeff brought the crowd to their feet with this great version of a classic song. Getting into the grove and feeling the music Jeff channeled his inner Ghetto Girl, patted his weave and Brought IT. What was great was that it seemed like he would skip the "Rap" solo by Left Eye, but…he…didn't….. winding up for the big moment Jeff reaches up to his face and just below his left eye smears some black make-up under his left eye and goes into the best Left Eye rap I have ever heard a white boy do(which is not a lot). The audience lost their SHIT!!!!!!! Yesssss Queeen!!!!! Great job Jeff you really are a great showman I hope I have the pleasure of seeing you perform again the future.
3. Sarah Cummings: Superstar, The Carpenters; Picked by Ariel Sinclair- Miss Cummings, has a quality about her voice that makes her very easy to listen to and one of the top performers in this compititon. I hope that she will continue her pursuit of singing after this competion, take a few more voice lessons to help her fine tune her skills and I know we will see great things from her.
4. Creighton Fraker: A case of you, Joni Mitchell; Picked by Brandon Cutrell- This has always been one of those songs that I have liked from the first time I heard it but forget about it until I hear it somewhere random. The simple sweetness of the song with that underlying bitter sweet heart break and yearning just reaches in into your soul and rummages around. I was very impressed with Creighton for pulling this song off. There were a few high and freaky hard notes to pull off and one could go just horrible with it, but Creighton really held his own. This folksy type hippy chick music is perfect for his vocal register. Good Job Man.
The judges did an amazing job at picking songs for our contestants, each one gave I think some of their best performances to date. I am excited to see who will win this contest.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Bells Are Ringing
Friday November 19th at 8pm
So there were no "pre-show" cocktails to be had this week! :-(
I was invited by our friend David (who recently won 2 Emmys for his editing at NBC!...mazel tov Meshpucha!), to be in the VIP section of the pre-taping for the Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center-With Live Performances by Mariah Carey, and Annie Lennox!...unfortunately, Miss Preggers Mariah was 2 1/2 hours late, and I was NOT about to miss "Bells Are Ringing" with my bestie Carlos! (sorry Mrs. Nick Cannon...next time!)
You know the expression "things can change in a New York Minute"? It is the idea that in NYC things move and change so fast that you can hardly recognize them anymore.
This can definitely be a said about City Center Encores, in past years the "Encores" series was known as a quickly rehearsed "concert version" or "staged reading" of long forgotten musicals, this is not the case anymore. While the cast can still be seen carrying black binders, which we can only assume contain their script though I barely ever saw a cast member read from it, every other aspect of "Bells Are Ringing" just screams "fully fleshed out Broadway Revival!"
With amazing staging and choreography, by the now inimitable Kathleen Marshall-of 'The Producers' fame, and an all star cast including; Tony Nominee Kellie O’Hara, Will Chase of 'High Fidelity' sad face emoticon, Dylan Baker, Judy Kaye, Bobby Canavale, David Pittu, Brad Oscar, and the adorably identifiable voice of David Hyde Pierce, the much loved (and in my opinion UN-forgettable) 'Bells Are Ringing' gets new life.
O' Hara is perfection in the comic tour-de-force role of Ella, originated by Judy Holliday-not to be confused with Jennifer Holiday-'and I'm telling you!, with the comic timing and "Lucille Ball"-esque physicality this young diva exudes she gives us all hope for the future of Broadway! Chase, whose smooth, and peppy vocals, and his Sinatra-meets Mad Men- dapper sexy style, is a great match for O' Hara. When the two team up to perform “Better than a dream” with its haunting yet uplifting harmonies they create an exhilarating duet, a duet cut from the 1960 film. Add to this duo, a fabulously funny cast of quirky kooks, like Pittu as Sandor, the bookie turned Austrian music aficionado (massacring the German language-"Lybe-shin!"), Oscar as a dentist who composes songs on the air hose, & Cannavale as a second rate Brando impersonator (but hella sexy!), and this slapstick, mistaken identity, love story becomes a fairy tale.
The subject matter is a bit dated, for example Ella works at "Susanswerphone", a phone answering service--before the days of cell phones, or even answering machines. There are some songs that could have been re-orchestrated, or even cut, Mu Cha Cha!...ugh for lack of a better example, but for the most part this show remains timeless.
Both Carlos and I agreed that this show is definitely on the fast track to a Broadway revival/transfer.
On a scale of top, bottom, or versatile, I give Bells Are Ringing a "Submissive Top"...give it a little direction and motivation, and ride that party train all the way home!
See you on the Boards!
Bells Are Ringing
Friday, November 19, 2010
So humming "Just in Time" my industrious little co-writer Rhett bounded up 55th street, as usual with only minutes to spare before curtain. Rhett had a busy evening he had been attending a pre-taping of the Christmas Tree lighting at Rock Center with performances by Annie Lenox and Mariah Carey, thanks for the Invite David you little pisher (just kidding, congrats on your Emmy's) Needless to say there were no pre-theater cocktails which was not sitting well with me, but oh well one gets by.
So we made our way into the theater, I have to admit I was surprised by how cheap our tickets were, they were $20 dollars each, and I soon found out why they were so cheap. I found this out when I entered the first balcony and the lady took a breath in and asked "Honey you want the stairs or the elevator?" I opted for the stairs.
I went to appropriate stairwell and the young lady said “that will be 5 flights up”.
"Excuse me?" I replied,
"5 Flights up baby" She replied
So I began my trek up, about half way I made base camp, I had wondered why there were sherpa's for hire next to the bar in the lobby, and it was then I realized I should have hired one. So at dawn with a fresh oxygen tank I made it to the summit, and realized I still had one more flight to go to get to my seat, d'oh! After taking my place on the aisle and trying not to look down the almost sheer vertical drop towards the stage, I noticed an out of breath and laughing Rhett shaking his and saying to me "this is what $20 tickets gets you." So we settled in, but not comfortably into our seats and we scoped out our move to better seats after the first act. What! You know you have done the intermission seat switch!
So curtain up, light the lights, and cue the orchestra.
Bells Are Ringing, Lyrics and Book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green with music by Jule Styne. Takes place in late 1950's New York City and tells of the story of Ella Peterson, who works at "Susanwerphone" a telephone answering service, this good hearted busy body plays, matchmaker, guidance counselor, and all around helpful Hannah to the lovelorn, jobless, and friendless. Pining away for a voice on the other end of the phone Ella dreams of Mr. Plaza 0-4433, this tale spins out of control as mistaken identities, an investigation by the feds and a clandestine book making enterprise threatens to send them all up the river.
With such catchy tunes like "Just in Time", "The Party's Over" and "Long Before I knew You", these songs have since become a part of the American Standards songbook. Comden and Green transport us to a much simpler time where there were no cell phones, voice mail, or facebook, and phone numbers had names instead of numbers. With their wit and banter the characters come to life regardless of what decade this show is performed. I find some of the reviews of this show a bit condescending to New York audiences by suggesting it is to outdated and that most of the audience would not understand the references. I beg to differ, granted the audience I was in was of a generation or two older than myself but the story is still universal boy and girl meet fall in love, miscommunication they looses each other for a short bit but all is reconciled in the end. I like to give audiences the benefit of the doubt and to be honest, how many times can we see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or any other specifically time stamped production?
Tony nominee Kellie O' Hara is joined by Mad Men handsome Will Chase, along side Judy Kaye, Jack Doyle, David Pittu, and the handsome Bobby Cannavale, to bring us a show that had all the trappings of a "Stage Reading" but delivered a ready for Broadway Production. The sweet vocal styling of Ms. O'Hara and her ability to effortlessly command the stage as a slap sticky Red-Head, then turn on a dime to become that vulnerable person who is looking to love and be loved is a talent that not many current actresses on Broadway can pull off. I have not had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Chase in other productions other than this one, but I was very impressed by his voice and from as high up as we were I think he looked handsome, maybe I should Google his picture and see what he looks like. I had waited in anticipation for the second act to hear one of my favorite songs, "Just in Time" and I wasn't disappointed by it, but there was one duet that I had not anticipated. "Better than a Dream" was so hauntingly beautiful and so well sung and the arraignment of the music and lyrics, shows that they don't write songs like this anymore. What is interesting is that this song was added about two weeks into the initial 1956 run, but was cut from the 1960 movie. Why they would cut this song is beyond me, maybe Dean Martin and Judy Holiday couldn’t pull it off? Who knows?
What makes a show great? Is a complex question a lot of factors are involved, book, music, lyrics, lead cast, ensemble, back stage help etc. No show can really be good without the workings of the other parts, and this show has something magical going for it, it has it all and for me the main stand out besides the lead characters is the supporting cast, I can't say enough about the ensemble of this show, this was a really tight group and their voices blended so well and really took on the sound of the music. Broadway shows of the 1950's have a unique sound to them and it is hard to replicate that, so I must give my hats off to Mr. Rob Berman for pulling everyone together as Music Director. I must say thank you to City Center for continuing the Encores program, because without it we would loose the heritage of our theater past.
Rhett and I agree that this should be fast tracked to a run on Broadway, it is a Hell of a lot better than that piece of crap Bye Bye Birdie that dared to pass itself off as a revival.
So on a scale of Top, Bottom or Versatile I give this show a "Versatile Top" the kind of show that you can take home to mom, but in the bedroom watch out.
See ya on the Boards
Monday, November 22, 2010
After what has been a very interesting few weeks we are coming down to the wire and the competition is heating up....... Blah Blah Blah, I feel like I am Tom what's his name on Dancing with the stars, let's face it this is a drinking game, albeit a game with some pretty damn talented singers, and a pretty sweet grand prize.
So without further ado here is the run down.
Stonewall Sensation Week 9
Ring Master: Brandon Cutrell
Kat Shurelle on the 88's.
Dj Chuckles filling in for CT.
And as always the every popular team of Mikey and LaLa aka Lawerence behind the bar getting us FADED.
So we had a few special guest judges, but for the life of me I didn't catch their names, but we had our usual suspects, to give us their judgement.
We are still left with 5 contestants:
The rankings this week were as follows;
With 69 Votes Jeff Jones
With 56 Votes Creighton Fraker
Safe in the Middle
With 54 Votes Sarah Straw
Tied with 44 votes each
This is the first time this has ever happened at Stonewall Sensation so the judges decided that no will be eliminated this week.
Theme: Up and coming songwriters, and Bartenders Choice.
Up and Coming Songwriters
Our merry band of performers were given a list of new songwriters, this reporter did not have a chance to see said list but I doubt I would have recognized any names on list, but I was told these are some of the newest and brightest talent currently on the scene. I really have no real input on the contestants during this act. It is very hard for me to make any positive or negative feedback on music I have never heard of, most of the choices this evening were all ballads, and as sweet and heart wrenching as some were. I was ready to take a whole bottle of Tylenol PM, chug a bottle of Jamesson, slit my writs and slip into a warm tub. The singing by all of the participants was well done, but I did see most of them struggling with songs and music they were unfamiliar with. It was a rough first act but all them pushed through and gave it their best effort.
Well done Kids!!!!!!!!!!!
Now this is the part of the show we were waiting for. Our intrepid bartenders have racked their Alcohol fogged brains to find the perfect song for each of our contestants’ voices. (Ahhh who am I kidding I think the guys got loaded after work and picked shit out of a hat.)
1. Sara Straw: I'm the only one, Melissa Ethridge
This is a great song for Sarah's voice; she added a bit of rock edge to it, which makes this song great for her vocal range.
2. Alex Amarosa: That's Life, Frank Sinatra
Alex sang this song very well and added his own little twist to it. He gave it a bit of a jazzy, blues, lounge act feel and made it his own. Alex is very comfortable in this genre and the showmanship he imparts lends to his appeal to the audience.
3. Creighton Fraker: Dream On, Areosmith
OK so I am sure by now you all know how I feel about this kid. As I have previously lambasted this young man for his lack of originality in his vocal stylings. His constant use of his head voice versus his chest voice, so it was I guess to be expected that the song choice for him this week would be Dream On by Aerosmith. It is a perfect song for his register and he pulled off the high notes and got into the campy showmanship that the song tends to offer. So I guess good job Creighton, I just wish I can hear you do something different, and blow us all way.
4. Sarah Cummings: The Man That Got Away, Music by Harold Arlen, Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
So most of us Queens and Theater Folk all know that Judy Garland made this song famous in the 1954 movie A Star is Born. This song is hard to pull off because everyone expects a specific way it should be sung, well at least how they think it should be sung. I give kudos to Sara for taking the song serious, and putting some effort into the execution of the piece. My only real issue I have with her performance was the choice of background track. It was to fast and she rushed through a deliberately slow song, the pace of the song is key and she has the voice for it. I think she cheated herself out of a truly great moment, by not taking the time to comb through the various tracks for this song.
5. Jeff Jones: I Want to Break Free, Queen
Alright the showmanship award this week goes to Jeff Jones, after a quick costume change and a shave. Jeff Jones, comes out on stage to rock Queen's anthem to non-conformity, in cut off jean shorts, and sporting a 1970's porn star mustache Jeff rocked the house, and gave us Freddy Mercury realness. Great Job man!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Stonewall Sensation will be back 12/01/2010 after the Thanksgiving holiday
The theme will be 3 songs each to be sung:
1. Judges Pick
2. A song already sung w/Kat
3. A New Song to be sung w/Kat
I am looking forward to returning after the Holiday to see what our little monkey’s come up with, I am sure the time off with be greatly appreciated by them all and I hope they take the time to practice, practice, practice.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
It is now getting down to the wire as we say hello to our 5 remaining finalists.
This weeks Top 2 and Bottom 2
with 50 votes Creighton Fraker
with 47 votes Sarah Cummings
This was a non elimination round so everyone was safe, but had some been eliminated it would have been Jeff Jones.
Alex Amarosa was safe in the middle as this weeks "Lucky Pierre" everyone likes to be in the middle.
MFI Ariel Sinclair
Guest Judge Beca Johnson Southward
Staffing the Circus
Brandon Cutrell Hosting
Kat, I know girl! I keep misspelling your name, Sherelle on the 88's
CT in the DJ booth
Lawerence and Mike getting us all drunk
All righty kids, so this week was Duets in the first ACT each pair had to sing a song of the judges choosing.
1st up Sara Straw and Creighton Fraker; Take me or Leave Me, From Rent, picked by Poppi K
This number was good they preceded it with a few lines prior to the song starting and the two played well off each other.
Sara sounded good but could tell that she needed a little bit more time with the song and on some of the higher parts. Breath control and projection still needs a little work but all in all well done Ms. Lady.
Creighton has great musicality, and played the audience well, singing the part of Maureen was perfect for his unique voice. Creighton has never had a problem with going all out and putting on a show for the audience, but in this case he may have been a little into the part and I felt he could have toned down the performance a little, and played it less campy. But still the two were fine together as a team.
2nd Duet Alex Amarosa and Sarah Cummings; Separate Lives, Phil Collins, picked by Adam Feldman. Now I have never heard of this song and candidly the two singers had said just as much to me. Both Alex and Sarah show that they are professionals and even though they both clearly struggled get through the song, they didn't wimp out and half ass it. At points the range was a bit high for Alex, but he went for it anyway. Sarah had a few flat notes as well but I think it was due to the fact that she wasn't totally behind the song. I will say Alex and Sarah sing well together but, I would have liked them to sing a different song. "Take me to the World" from Evening Primrose or "Elaborate Lives" from Aida would have suited them very nicely. But Thank you Adam Feldman for Challenging these kids.
3rd up Jeff Jones and Brook Ishibashi (last season's winner); A Whole New World, from Disney's Aladdin. All I have to say was Jeff and Brooke did such a great job. There is a reason why Brooke won last season and I love to hear her sing. Jeff has a nice baritone voice and had bit of a struggle to hit some of the higher notes in the song, a little more practice and he'll be fine.
Ok so I really didn't think the Duets went all that well this week. There were some good things about the performances but there were alot of things that went wrong. I don't know if each pair had a lot of time to rehearse together, but I think a little more rehearsal would have produced a better number on the whole.
Prior to intermission Brooke Ishibashi brought down the house with a great number that I forgot to write down, but thanks Brooke!!!!!
As the second act started up, we were entertained by the Inspirational styling of Ariel Sinclair with her show stopping tribute to and I quote our Host Brandon Cutrell "5 time Grammy award Winner and the best contemporary Christian singer to ever live!!!! Ms. Sandi Patty" Ariel gave us "Make his praise glorious" click on the link so see it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nd_0IDVpnI
So with the crowd full of the Holy Spirit or Jack Daniels, sometimes it's hard to tell the difference, we begin the solo portion of the show.
The Theme for the contestants was an Inspirational song of their choosing.
Sara Straw: Wild Angels, Martina McBride. I could tell that this song meant something to Ms. Straw. I felt that this week Sara decided to "Bring It" and she did very well with her song choice.
Alex Amarosa: Being Alive, Company. Alex gave us a very good rendition of this song and I could tell that this also meant something to him, and the depth of this song was expressed in his voice, he faltered towards the end of the song on a note or two but he still attacked the song with confidence. Alex got slightly slammed by the judges on his song choice, they felt he played it a little to safe. I would have suggested to him if he wanted to sing a song from company I would have chosen "Someone is Waiting" or "Marry Me a Little". But I think, "If you can find me, I'm here" from Evening Primrose, would be perfect for his voice.
Jeff Jones: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine in; Hair. Jeff Jones gave us a wonderful up lifting number that will always gets the crowd going. He sang it very well and was spot on with the notes and the musicality of the piece. The only real suggestion I would have made was put a little more soul in the beginning of "Let the Sunshine In" the beginning of the song is slow and mournful like a funeral dirge and needs to be treated as such, then you break out with chorus.
Sarah Cummings: I do it anyway, Martina McBride. This girl has such a great voice and the song was perfect for her and I really enjoyed it. There was a slight touch of a "Miley" sound to her take on the song, which is not a bad thing. But try not to mimic, be yourself and find YOUR own voice and sound and use that when you sing.
Creighton Fraker: What if God was one of us? Joan Osborne. Ok this kid is a trip I can't express this enough. I have heard him sing all throughout this contest, and he keeps going and going, he has a following, and the judges seem to like him. Creighton's performance this week was well sung I guess and since it was a song sung by a girl it is perfect for his voice. The question I am wondering is if he can't help the fact that he sings in a high register? But it also seems like he is straining when he does sing that high, I know he is a man and I just wish he would allow his balls to drop and sing either in his chest voice or somewhere father down ,the boy has chops, but even Kurt Hummel from Glee sings in a low register every now and then. So Crieghton don't be scared to sing low, and like a man. You have the ability, talent, and showmanship to do great things just step out of your comfort zone.
This week had a some very interesting bits and pieces to it, and I can now see that the contestants are starting to take this more seriously, but I caution them to try and think about not just what they are going to sing but how. Really read into the lyrics of the song listen to the music and feel it in your soul and heart.
Songs by up and coming songwriters and Bartenders Choice.
See you at the Stonewall kids.
Monday, November 8, 2010
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I LOVE seeing a New Broadway show on a Saturday Night!...... the excitement and energy are electric! If you've never been to a Broadway show in NYC on a Saturday Night, you've never experienced the true wonder and joy of live theater in the Big Apple. As Carlos and I grabbed a booth to enjoy our pre-theater cocktails at the newly renovated "Barrage" on 47 and 9th Ave, our adrenaline was pumping and we had giddy little schoolgirl smiles from ear to ear! ( It helps that Barrage has TWO Happy Hours daily from 5-8pm and 10p-Midnight: pre and post theater happy hour!!!......Loves It!) After a cocktail.... or 3 (who can count you are so excited!LOL) , we made our way to the Barrymore (aka our "Default" theater when we don't actually know where a show is playing......lol....but this show was actually at the Barrymore!)
Jennifer Coolidge and Denis O'Hare return to Broadway fresh off their individual Hollywood successes (she's best known for "Best in Show" and her Character Paulette in "Legally Blonde"---"I'm taking the Dog Asshole!"...lol! He's most recently known as Russell, the Vampire King of Mississippi on "True Blood".) We also go to pop the cherry of Broadway newcomer Brendan Fraser (School Ties, Gods and Monsters, and Inkheart.... ugh!) Set in Oslo, Norway, this show is supposedly set " Present Day", but to this everyday American, it might as well be set in the 1920's, no cell phones to be seen, no television, bland clothing, and strange robotic verbiage. Apparently Norwegian humor differs from American humor ( mostly because American humor is...uh.. how do I put it?....FUNNY) the basic plot is of two diagnosed "Crazies" who meet in a loony bin. A la "The Odd Couple" we have the dirty, messy, sex and food driven Kjell Bjanre (pronounced Chell Beeyarnuh-ugh!0 played by Fraser, and the uptight, agoraphobic, momma's boy Elling played by O'Hare. Upon release from the nut house, the government places them in a subsidized apartment to reconnect with the real world, and break their unhealthy psychotic habits. They are visited and tested regularly by a state social worker, Frank 9played sufficiently, if not impressively by Jeremy Shamos).
The Roommates bicker and fight, but also push each other to conquer their fears. When Kjell goads Elling to leave the house, Elling decides to run away to spite him, and finds solace at a nearby Poetry den. Elling ends up making a friend in Alfons, played with John Gielgud-esque poise by Richard Easton). the only real fun is brought in the form of 3 outlandish, big breasted Scandinavian Strumpets, all portrayed by the superbly unique Jennifer Coolidge. Most notable is her main character, Reiden, a single pregnant blue collar broad, who lives in the apartment above Kjell and Elling, and is constantly smoking and chugging wine (at 8 1/2 months pregnant).
While O'Hare has moments of brilliant self-reflection, and some fun physical comedy shtick, Fraser is literally is a lump on the stage. Fraser, like his character, is an "orangutan", but not nearly as endearing. Easton steals a few choice moments, but is not given nearly enough of the character to really challenge him. The standout here ( and the only real reason to this otherwise mediocre play) is, of course Jennifer Coolidge. As a disgruntled Nordic waitress, or an eclectic spastic Poetess with a black beehive hairdo. She captivates and cajoles the audience. In her role as "soon-to-be Mother" Reiden, she has us laughing along with her so heartily that we forget to care that her unborn baby will probably be born premature and with fetal alcohol syndrome!.... lol. Sometimes we see a play and it's clearly great, or terrible, but more often than not it falls into a grey area, where we measure the good aspects vs. the bad, with Elling, the scale falls far to the side of the later. In my opinion seeing a few great actors in a mediocre play is still better than seeing mediocre actors in ANYTHING.
Walk, don't run, and get some reduced price tickets to "Elling" (if you have some time to kill)
On a scale of Top, Bottom, or Versatile. I give Elling a Versatile Bottom: the kind of trick you may not call again, but you don't regret hooking up just once.
See ya on the Boards
Hope you enjoy
Det er type av morsom som og som jeg har dradd se, har vært jeg den som ha blitt kjørt sen. Jeg tekst Rhett og forteller ham som jeg er en blokk borte og jeg får responsen som han er der og «jeg er i hjørnet. .......watching du kysser hennes ohhhhhoohhh. ......” Jeg elsker Robyn. hva et Hva en Dork ! ! !
Alright Pre-Teater drikker ble holdt på Barrage 47 og 9 Ave, den store tingen om denne bar, har de to glade timer : Pre Teater 5p-8p og Posterer Teater 10p-12a. I løpet av de Glade Timene er alt 1/2 prissatt, ikke dårlig å betrakting som overskrift til en aften av teater, en må temmelig mye ta en andre pantelån ut på deres hjem. Med våre drikker i hånd og ha noen mye måtte innhente tid med min yndlingsJøde, Rhett og jeg fastsatte inn i vår banquette, jeg kunne ikke hjelpe under på den behagelige og rommelige bar Strøm har blitt, det tydelig gjennomgikk en hovedrenovering og lar en industri, steril coziness føle til det. Slik med et par en runder av drikkene under vårt belte og litt forskning på Rhetts dekorert områdetelefon, kunne utpønske vi utstillingen som vi ser. All som vi visste var at Brendan Fraser, gjennomførte Denis O'Hare, Richard Easton, og den Gale Jennifer Coolidge, så litt mer enn summet vi trudged av inn i striden som er Tidskvadrat og laget vår måte til Barrymore.
fredag, på den 5e november, 2010 er
8:00pm Ethel Barrymore Teater
Elling et skuespill som blir basert på en serie av bøkene ved Norsk Forfatter Ingvar Ambjørnsen. Denne spesielle produksjon ble tilpasset inn i Engelsk ved Simon Bøyd og dirigerte ved Doug Hughes. Elling, som blir lekt av Denis O'Hare er historien av en mann som har levd hans helt liv med hans mor og blir tatt å leve i en institusjon etter hans mor passerer borte. Han blir roommates og venner med en simpleminded mann som er DEN 40 årige gammele kjønnet obsessed Jomfruen, blir Kjell Bjarne, lekt av Broadway nykommer Brendan Fraser. Etter blir utløst fra institusjonen dette mismatched paret trekket til Oslo, hvor skuespillet blir satt, og ved hjelp av deres sosial arbeider, Frank ?sli som blir lekt av den vittige Jeremy Shamos, det to forsøket og integrerer tilbake inn i gjennomsnittssamfunn. Langs måten møter de en eksentrisk dikter, som blir lekt av Richard Easton, og gravid nabo, som blir gjennomført av Jennifer Coolidge.
Etter at jeg finne ut dette var et Norsk skuespill som jeg ble hisset opp og engstelig om det jeg er en stor Scndiaphile. Jeg er alltid nervøs skjønt når utenlandsk skuespill, er overrakt til Amerikansk publikum, du vet aldri hvordan reaksjonen vil være til en forskjellig stil av humoren mest Amerikanere er bruk til Britisk humor og til et omfang Canadisk humor men noe som helst på hovedkontinentet det kan bli litt flyktig. Mens utstillingen begynte jeg ble mint av hvordan tørr Scandinavian humor kan være, jeg brukte en kort tid i Stockholm, Sverige og jeg visste hvordan deres mening av humoren er, er Nordmennene meget liknende i deres levering av deres vidd. Skrifttypen ble godt skrevet og dialogen og historien som blir klippet med på et godt skritt. Denis O'Hare mens Elling lekte en ekstremt beskyttet mammas gutten med slik oppriktighet. Brendan Fraser for hans først avbrudd av porten på den store hvite måten, dradd av det kjønn obsessed Kjell Bjarne med en noe nøling, jeg tror for en filmskuespiller som er bruk til flerfoldig tar ved prøveen å få en gjørt scene, det må være vanskelig, et trinnskuespill eller musikalsk, får du en skudd pr. natt å få prestasjonen til høyre. Jeg har en følelse som mens dette løpet fortsetter Herr Fraser vil bli mer og mer behagelig med rollen og hans tilstedeværelse auf der b. Jennifer Coolidge, som du all kan vite fra Beste i Utstilling, som Venter på Guffman, og Lovlig Blond, lekte et par forskjellige kvinnelige karakterer i utstillingen, leverte hennes ledninger og med den samme vanskeligheten som nesten har blitt hennes handelmerke som fungerer stil. utstillingen var i det er tredje dag av previews og kastet syntes litt nervøst om der og bekymret med hensyntil hva publiket ville tro.
Generelt tror jeg kastet sant tror på utstillingen og mens ukene avanserer, jeg tror at de vil finne deres skogholt og utstillingen vil ha et hyggelig glatt løp. Jeg likte det, og det har ført opp noen interessante spørsmål som er vi virkelig om, hva definerer oss, og i samfunnlevebrøddag til dag vi all er tilbøyelig til å føle litt forskjøvet og muligens galt, som er hva er normal om oss som Mennesker.
lik på en målestokk av Toppet, Bunn, eller Allsidig.
Jeg gir denne Prestasjonen av Elling, enAllsidig.
It's kind of funny that the past few shows Rhett and I have gone to see, I have been the one who has been running late. I text Rhett and tell him I am a block away and I get the response that he is there and "I'm in the corner........watching you kiss her ohhhhhoohhh......." I love Robyn.
(Rhett you are a Dork, but not as much as me for writing a review in Norwegian!!!)
Alright Pre-Theater drinks were held at Barrage West 47th and 9th Ave, the great thing about this bar, they have two happy hours: Pre Theater 5p-8p and Post Theater 10p-12a. During the Happy Hours everything is 1/2 priced, not bad considering that heading to a evening of theater, one pretty much has to take a second mortgage out on their home. With our drinks in hand and having some much needed catch up time with my favorite Jew, Rhett and I settled into our banquette, I couldn't help marvel at the comfortable and spacious bar Barrage has become, it apparently underwent a major renovation and has an industrial, sterile coziness feel to it. So with a few a rounds of drinks under our belt and a little research on Rhett's fancy space phone, we were able to figure out the show we are seeing. All we knew was that Brendan Fraser, Denis O'Hare, Richard Easton, and the Crazy Jennifer Coolidge were performing, so a little more than buzzed we trudged off into the fray that is Times Square and made our way to the Barrymore.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Ethel Barrymore Theater
Elling is a play based on a series of books by Norwegian Author Ingvar Ambjørnsen. This particular production was adapted into English by Simon Bent and directed by Doug Hughes. Elling, played by Denis O'Hare is the story of a man who has lived his whole life with his mother and is taken to live in an institution after his mother passes away. He becomes roommates and friends with a simpleminded man who is THE 40-year old sex obsessed Virgin, Kjell Bjarne, played by Broadway newcomer Brendan Fraser. After being released from the institution this mismatched pair move to Oslo, where the play is set, and with the help of their social worker, Frank Åsli played by the witty Jeremy Shamos, the two try and integrate back into mainstream society. Along the way they meet an eccentric poet, played by Richard Easton, and pregnant neighbor, performed by Jennifer Coolidge.
Once I found out this was a Norwegian play I was excited and apprehensive about it I am a big Scndiaphile. I am always nervous though when foreign plays, are presented to American audiences, you never know how the reaction will be to a different style of humor most Americans are use to British humor and to an extent Canadian humor but anything on the main continent it can become a little sketchy. As the show began I was reminded of how dry Scandinavian humor can be, I spent a brief time in Stockholm, Sweden and I knew how their sense of humor is, the Norwegians are very similar in their delivery of their wit. The script was well written and the dialogue and the story clipped along at a good pace. Denis O'Hare as Elling played an extremely sheltered mamma's boy with such sincerity. Brendan Fraser for his first time out of the gate on the great white way, pulled off the sex obsessed Kjell Bjarne with a some hesitation, I think for a movie actor who is use to multiple takes in trying to get a scene done, it must be difficult, a stage play or musical, you get one shot a night to get the performance right. I have a feeling that as this run continues Mr. Fraser will become more and more comfortable with the role and his presence on stage. Jennifer Coolidge, who you may all know from Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, and Legally Blonde, played a few different female characters in the show, delivered her lines and with the same awkwardness that has almost become her trade mark acting style. the show was in it's third day of previews and the cast seemed a little nervous about there and worried as to what the audience would think. In general I believe the cast truly believes in the show and as the weeks progress, I think they will find their grove and the show will have a nice smooth run.
I liked it, and it did bring up some interesting questions about who are we really, what defines us, and in society where living day to day we all tend to feel a little displaced and possibly crazy , this is what is so normal and real about us as Human beings.
So on a scale of Top, Bottom, or Versatile.
I give this Performance of Elling, a Versatile Bottom, with a wow did I just pick you up on the Subway and bring you home?
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Reported By Agent 008
Last nights placements were as follows:
In the number 1 position after last week Alex Amirosa with 42 votes
In the bottom two:
Bradley was eliminated with only 16 votes
This weeks themes were
1) A rock song performed with Kat Sherrell on the piano
2) A Jackson song performed with a track
Sara Straw sang:
1) Paint it Black by the rolling stones: Judges said the song was good for her range but definitely needs to work on her confidence you can really see she has the talent, the looks but is lacking the self esteem( Sara AGREES)
2) For her Michael Jackson song she sang "Billie Jean" Judges liked the performance and stated that it was definitely better than her first song of the night. It fit her voice well.
1) Call me by Blondie ( JUDGES loved it) they were memorized, entertained and he was just amazing.
2) Who's loving you (jackson song)...judges loved his interpretation of the song and all around the boards and in the audience everyone couldn't get over how much he showcased his talents last night "Will the real Creighton Please stand up" and last night he did taller than anyone.
1) Aerosmith "Cryin" Judges raved about her voice but Adam stated he is going to start getting a little nit-picky because she is so good but well of course everyone loved her and her american apparel outfits.
2) I get so lonely by Janet Jackson---judges loved the song but some thought it was just a little to boring for a Jackson song since there was so many other good choices out there.
1. Some song by Heart
2. Ben by Michael Jackson
1. Faithfully by Journey
2. I want you back by the Jackson 5
Next weeks topics are:
1) An inspirational song of your choice with Kat on piano
2) Duets!!! With Kat on the piano.
Match ups are:
Sara Straw and Creighton Fraker singing "Take Me or Leave Me" from Rent
Alex Amirosa and Sarah Cumings singing "Separate Lives" Phil Colins
Jeff Jones with special returning winner of season 5 singer Brooke Ishibashi singing "A Whole New World"
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
A few happenings this month:
Molly Pope will be appearing at Joe's Pub on tuesday, november 23rd 7:30pm
go to http://www.mollypope.com/ for more details
"Perfect Isn't Easy" A Cabaret
Tuesday, November 9, 2010 9:30pm
at the Laurie Beechman Theater
inside the West Bank Cafe
407 West 42nd street and 9th Ave
plus a $15 food and drink min.
Reservations are suggested
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
National Comedy Theater
347 west 36th street Between 8th and 9th Ave
I had an very interesting night at the theater, well first off I was flying solo my usual cohort Rhett was stuck in Key West at the airport trying to get back to NYC, but kept getting bumped or was doing bumps it's all a bit vague. So going stag I stopped into some random hotel bar three doors down from the theater had my usual drink, and waited. At 10 min to 8, I made my way to the theater and waited to see what the evening had in store for me. What I got to see was a new musical called Blood, it was being performed by the performance/comedy troupe called by the mummers.
According to their web site "By the Mummers is an ensemble of traditional artists interacting live and online....Our shows follow an interactive play within a play format, creating character driven original pieces inspired by History and Literature."
As I entered the theater I was greeted by up beat dance music and lots of people milling about some audience members, and most of the cast. The cast and house staff were running around setting the stage, putting up decorations, chatting with audience, and horsing around with each other. I had a feeling that I was walking into a Middle School or High School, and I say this without meaning they were unprofessional or anything. It was more a very relaxed environment and it reminded me of my group of Drama friends in High school and my current theater friends now. Aundre the technical director, I guess for a lack of a better term, greets the audience and begins to explain the group and the play, all the while there are light and sound cues still being worked on, a few actors interrupt him and ask about script and notes changes for the night. It is by this time realize the show has actually started, and we will see during the rest of the first act, this breaking of the fourth wall.
The Plot: I am going to take a direct quote from the leaflet for the show rather than try and give you all the details.
"Year after year, Birnham High School is a hot bed of supernatural bloodshed. At the start of each school calendar, the student body loads up on the big events before their teenage lives are snuffed out like candles. the morning of the welcome Back Prom finds the ambitious and sparkling upstart Mack rising amongst the hallway ranks of pretty girls, nerds, jocks, & studs. His girl, Maura is readily at his side, trying to escape the normalcy that is her life with best friend Jacques- who is anything but normal.... when Blood begins to spill, a prophecy revealing 'The Chosen One' shall determine that fates of the Brirnam Woodsmen and, most of all, Duff, the struggling dismissed cheerleader." The show had a lot of elements that draw from the Twilight Series, Degrassi High, Noises Off and a lot of Macbeth (oh sorry guys the Scottish Play) factor into the telling of this story.
Ok so with that out of the way, I have to say what a great night out it was, the show was lame, awesome and random. The music and the lyrics for the show had me in awe, I know it's not easy to write a musical and so I give the music team props for taking on 15 original songs. A few songs that stick with you, Puppy Love and Raising the Stakes, in the first act. Act two has Unleashed reprised, All the Way, Out, Out Brief Candle, and the Finale Children of the Night. The song that gets stuck in your head would have to be the opening number of the second act, (There will be no Virgins After) Tonight. I found myself laughing out loud and shaking my head and constantly think WTF is this? There were some great performances and singers, Jake Ottosen as Jacques is someone to watch out for in the future, as well Nora Munde Gustuson as Maura, the person who really blew me away with her voice was Aileen Targett as one of the three 'Chorus' members. The comic styling of Matt Harvey as Rennie are not to be over looked as well. With a cast that has great chemistry and great sense of humorbeacuse of this cast and thier determination made up for the weakness of the book.
There were a few things that I would have tightened up, in the first act there were elements of Noises Off where the technical director would interject his comments have the actors re deliver their lines, and would argue with girl and guy running the light and sound board. When these little asides were done, but the consistency wasn't there, the show would continue for great while before another interjection was added and it seemed unnecessary. If you are going to go the Noises Off route be consistent. The only other critique I would give is have the actors slow down a little in their delivery of their lines, I feel some great jokes were missed because they were rushing, and also some of the enunciation was lacking, I strained to hear what Rennie was saying as well as Duffy.
This was a fun show I really enjoyed myself and wish my side kick was with me. Rhett would have loved the sheer absurdity of the whole spectacle, I am sure some people would have hated and said it was bad, the great thing about this troupe I think deep down they all know it's not a Tony winning show, but it's new and fresh and silly, and the whole Ensemble truly belived in the show and were proud to show off what they had created, and to those who would look down their nose at this production I would say "let's see you write an original musical." I am looking forward to seeing what this crazy little group will do next, Hey guys you have a New Stalker.... I mean Fan.
So of the choices for my review of TOP, BOTTOM, or VERSITILE
I give this show a VERSITILE, do some manscaping on the script and tighten up a few songs and I can see this show being a Halloween staple year after year...........
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Here it is week 6 of the singing competition, and the one thing that strikes me is the tenacity of these singers. Each week they arrive to a semi full bar, sheet music in hand and wait with baited breath to put their souls on display, ready to be judged.
This week our Top 3 are:
Tied with 33 votes each Sarah Cummings and Jeff Jones
With 32 Votes Sara Straw came in second.
Our Bottom 2 this week:
Bradley Zellars and Lovlee Carroll
We bid a sad farewell to Lovlee Carroll who as here final number gave us a greatfelt and well sung version of "It won't be long now" from the Musical In The Heights.
Also saying good by to us is Darius Harper.
So here are the remaining contestants:
Our "Distinguished" Judges for the evening included:
Miss Fire Island 1800 Ariel Sinclair
Drag Queen to the Stars Jason Cosmo
Nightlife Icon Kenny Holcomb
and some dude named John Forsyln?
As usual our host for the evening is Gad About Town and Cabaret Host Icon Brandon Cutrell
I have yet to really mention the amazing support staff that help make our evening at Stonewall Sensation a great time.
First up giving the singers thier voice and lighting CT at the DJ booth, this guy is amazing. As Brandon let us all know CT is dealing with sound and lighting equippment that has been purschased at a corner Bodega in Crown Heights, and kept together with nail glue and glitter, so a great big thank you to CT for making it all work.
Getting us drunk behind the bar, we have the ever sweet and johnny on the spot with your drink, Lawerence, and his side kick, our token Straight boy Mikey.
Then we come to our songstress Kat Sherell on the piano. This amazing pianaist and muse to us all, brings out the best in all the singers. This talented and wonderfully genuine person also has an extremly funny and at times touching blog in which she is attempting to learn a new song everyday. So check out A Year of Standards at http://ayearofstandards.blogspot.com/
Each remainging contestant from now on has to perform two songs each week. This week our little monkey's had to perform one song of their own choice, and one Conurty Western Song on a Karoke Track.
Highs and Lows
Sara Cummings- Halo, Beyonce
Sara has a strong voice and technically sang the song well but sounded like Christina Agulaire, meets Rhianna, give the song your own voice is what i would sy=uggest to her.
Jeff Jones- Going to Carolina, James Taylor.
One of my favorite songs, but this version I felt like he was holding back and and not giving us that sense of relaxed excitment.
Sarah Straw- I Can't Make You Love Me, Bonnie Raitt
This is such a great song that really can't reach in a grab your heart out and stomp on it. And what I felt was lacking from Sara's performance was her lack of quite desperation that this song requires. It was still heart felt but I just needed a little bit more.
Alex Amarosa- Johnny One Note, Babes in arms
It was great to see a sinnger not have to rely on a Mic to make himself heard and Alex made himself heard. a strong powerful voice singing a great fun song like this. He engaged the audience and made the song his.
Bradley Zellars- My Man, Funny Girl
It was ambitous of this young man with the delicate voice to try and take on this iconic song, and unfortunaetly he fell flat in a number of places. I think that Bradley needs a few more singing lessons that would help cultivate the sound that he wanted to aim for. I will say he stuck with it to the end and finished what he started.
Creighton Fraker- An Orginal song by Creighton Fraker
Ok here's the deal, I do not like this young man's voice. I find it annoying and nasaly.... there I said it! But I want to stress that this young man is talented and can write a great song and arranged it beautifully. And I wish all the best as he continues along his choosen career path and can't wait to see who will sing his songs.
Highs and Lows
Sara Cummings- Sang A carrie Underwood Song
She can belt a song when needed but the beginning of this song felt lost and rushed.
Jeff Jones- Amarillo Sky, Jason Aldean
Jeff fell into place with this song and I really could his comfort zone with this performance. He cas excellent Volume control and was able to make me feel the songs emotions.
Alex Amarosa- Forever Amen, Randy Travis
This was a great song choice for Alex and by engaging the audience he made the song his, told a story and gave us a great performance.
Bradley Zellars-Martina McBride, This Ones for the Girl
This was not his best performance.
Creighton Fraker-a song from the Old crow Medicine Show
Going back back what I said earlier, I am not a fan of his voice, but this song and performance was really entertaining and fun.
Judges Pick of the week
John- Sara Cummings
Next week rock Songs
1 Song with Kat that she chooses
1 Song hard rock i.e. Blondie, Rolling Stones, Ac/Dc, Kiss, Journey etc.
Stonewall Sensation Upstairs Wednesday Night 10:00pm
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I missed unfortunately
We had a drop out this week and sadly Travis Morin will no longer be in the compitition.
Mike and Lawrence at the Bar and the Lovely Kat Sherell on the 88's
Lovlee Caroll still brings it every week even though she still needs to project more when she is singing softly.
Jeff Jones still has a classic Broadway leading man sound to his voice but still would like to see more personality.
Sarah Straw sand Superstar by the Carpenters what was interesting was that she made the song her own and showed some vulnerability.
This week we had some fun extra entertainment Ariel Sinclair gave us a Halloween inspired Patsy Cline number and the Cast of Blood a new Musical entertained the hell out us with their number there will be no Virgins after tonight.
Next Week the remaining contestants will have to sing two songs one they choose and the other a karaoke Country Track.
See you all at he Stonewall 10pm Upstairs No Cover