OldDogNewTits











{January 24, 2014}   I’m Giving Cheese a Break and Talking About Theater Today

My friend, Kelley, called me this morning. I had just shared a link on Facebook that grabbed her and she wanted to chat about it immediately. For those who don’t already know, I’m a theater freak. To me, there’s no better day than one spent in a theater seeing a great show. While eating high-end cheese. But also being skinny. And having my feet rubbed. Sitting next to Johnny Depp. Or maybe Ellen Degeneres. It would depend on the show. But I digress.

My shared link was all about Broadway Across America, the touring company that consistently brings exceptional (some shows more than others) musical theater to my part of the world. They just announced their 2014-2015 season. And what a season it is.

As I said on my personal Facebook page, it’s the “strongest season we’ve had in a while. Almost every one is a home run. And that’s as sportsy as this theater geek is gonna get.” (So far I’ve called myself a freak and a geek in this post. Very self-deprecating but at least it’s poetic.) Let’s take a look at the season and I’ll offer you my two cents. (Because I have no friggin’ idea what’s going to happen at the Super Bowl. Seriously, who’s even playing?)

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I’ve seen this show twice on Broadway. It’s one of my all-time favorites. The first time I was lucky enough to see Bebe Neuwirth in the role of Velma and even meet her afterwards. (We took a picture but I’m going to blatantly lie and tell you I can’t find it. Because my eyes were closed. And it’s from, like, 15 years ago so it’s stored way out of reach. Plus I looked fat. Because I was standing next to freaking Bebe Neuwirth!) Each song is better than the last and the show actually made me laugh. So many shows have tired jokes in them. Oh, and I have never seen the movie so I can’t offer any comparisons.

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I’ve seen this show a few times. This music is very pretty and sophisticated. It’s an Andrew Lloyd Webber production for Pete’s sake. But, personally, I like a little spoken dialogue in my show. Mr. Webber and I disagree on this point. Every one should see the show at least once, on Broadway if possible in a stationary production so that the iconic chandelier is at its most grand. Beyond that, I find my soundtrack to be satisfactory. Many will disagree with me here. I welcome other opinions in the comments.

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I haven’t seen this show and would normally be a little wary. I am not typically a fan of clumsy adaptations that gets their roots in mainstream cinema. Flashdance, Ghost, Legally Blonde … these don’t usually resonate with me. However, I will somewhat (bashfully admit) that this show intrigues me. Maybe it’s because it’s already filled with music and, obviously, dancing. Or maybe it’s because I was a kid when I actually saw it the first time so it holds major nostalgic moments for me. (Dear Broadway Producers, I would also like to see theatrical mountings of Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, ooh, and maybe Better Off Dead. Thanks, Michele)

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I’ve seen this show countless times. Heck, I think my daughter’s seen it countless times, too. And, yes, we’ll be going again. Confession. I’m pretty sure I can sing every word to every song in the score. Go ahead, judge. One day I’m going to put on a red wig and that old costume my grandmother made for me decades ago and sing my heart out on YouTube for all of you. I expect that my kids will probably be removed from my custody that same day. But I’ll just stick out my chin … and grin … and saaaaaaay …

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I have not seen this show. Nor have I seen the 2006 movie of the same name upon which it was based. What I know is that it received eleven Tony nominations in 2012. And then went on to win eight of them including Best Musical and Best Book. It’s a different kind of show, one in which the cast also serves as the orchestra. And a very minimalist set with a bar in the middle of the stage is used.  A bar that, for the Broadway production, actually operated as a real one serving drinks to theater patrons before the show and during intermission. I have no idea if the traveling show will be able to reproduce that charming offering but it’s pretty cool. I’m very much looking forward to this one.

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I’ve seen this show a few times. It’s my exception to the Andrew-Lloyd-Webber-I-wish-there-were-dialogue rule. Joseph is a fantastic show. And I’m not just saying that because Vivien and I were lucky enough to perform in it with a great cast last summer. The show is a clever take on the ancient biblical story of Jacob and his many sons. The lyrics are smart and every song draws its roots from a different musical genre including classic county & western, calypso, jitterbug,  disco, French ballads, etc. We even caught Dave and Dean humming the music under their breaths a few times last summer. And that’s saying something.

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I’ve seen this show several times, both on and off Broadway. It’s a fun show but, in my opinion, you have to like ABBA. Fortunately for me, ABBA was in frequent rotation on my Dad’s turntable back in the day. Thus, I was pretty familiar with most of the music. Of course, there is an actual storyline, too, so you could go for just that. But some of the songs are pretty shoe-horned into the plot. Which is hilarious if you actually know (and don’t hate) the music. (Confession. One day, I hope to see this show with a bunch of women and gay guy friends. That sounds like a blast!)

* * * * * * * * * *

So, I’ll be plunking down some big dollars soon to renew my season subscription. Fortunately, I’m raising a junior theater freak so maybe I can just blame it on her. “But Dave, Vivien would LOVE to see Annie” …. “Well, yes. I KNOW she’s already seen it, but THIS time I hear the dog’s actually going to go out into the audience and do tricks!”

That sounds believable, right?

This post was written in response to MamaKat’s writing prompt: Who was the last person to call you? What did they want?

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Kir Piccini says:

I love that you LOVE the theater, I too am a crazy theater freak. I have already asked for “BEAUTIFUL: The Carole King Story” tix for my birthday in Feb, and we’ll be spending a lot of money to ensure that I see it from the 1st or 2nd row.
Wicked, Jersey Boys, Spelling Bee, Avenue Q,….and on and on, we’ve seen so many shows on Broadway and when we talk about moving South to a warmer climate, we always get misty and say “we’d miss NYC too much”.

but we have also seen so really amazing shows at the STATE THEATER in Easton, PA (only 15 minutes from us and across the street from the Crayola Factory! Aida, In the Heights, Hairspray…I loved them as much as I would have in NYC (Maybe…;) )

next time you get to NYC, I’d love to see a show with you , in the meantime I’m so happy you’re getting to see those incredible shows close to home.



I can’t wait to hear about your “birthday show.” Be sure to let me know how it was, okay? :)



El Guapo says:

We’ve seen Chicago, and I saw Joesph… way back when, off Broadway, two weeks before it relocated to Broadway
We just saw Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in Waiting For Godot. Brutal play, but they were fantastic.

Looks like you have a good season lined up!



Linda Roy says:

omg – so many favorites here! I still want to see Once on Broadway and I’m bummed I missed the original cast. Annie? I wore that record out and saw the show a zillion times. LOVE! Joseph (saw it with David Cassidy in the lead role. Squee!) and Chicago is coming back to B’way and I want to see it so bad. I hope Alan Cumming is going to star again.



Why, oh why, have we not sung together yet, Linda? (Sigh)



Lance says:

So when I go into a rock club and smell the stale beer, leather jackets, and admire the marshall stacks, that;s like when you to the theater and admire the set pieces, costume changes, and singers’ registers?

gotcha

I love your passion for this



Yes, Lance. That’s it exactly. Chills for no apparent reason. Tears when it’s not a sad part in the story. It consumes me. Just like you and your music. I like that you get that. :)



Mel says:

“But Chris, Michele says I’m invited.” I’VE ONLY SEEN ONE OF THESE! And it was with you. :)



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