Bleh with Barry

Random with a cynical twist of lime.

Posts Tagged ‘aaron tveit

Somethings that Make Me Tear Up Everytime

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So, I’ll be honest with you. I’m a person who is pretty dead when it comes to being emotional in front of people. Part of this may be due to my raising because in the south boys aren’t supposed to cry. Part of it may also because I am just a person who understands that there is a time and a place for emotions. For example, I don’t think that everyone should share the dirty laundry of their break up with people that they might at best consider acquaintances. It’s just a thing. Perhaps, I suffer alone without rhyme or reason. I don’t know. However, I will continue to do such because it’s ingrained in my nature now.

There are a couple of things that get me every time though. Both of them are musicals. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, music is the great emotional manipulator in my mind. Why? It mixes the strong emotions of the world with music.

 I am a sucker for music. It is a great love of mine. I love music from classical to contemporary because it hits on so many levels within my psyche. It manipulates me like no person will ever be able to. I am a wimp when it comes to musical manipulation or surprises (don’t get me started on this…the end of Atonement , a movie, and Next to Normal, a musical).

The main things that get me are musicals. It’s because of the music. It’s the one thing that will get me time after time. It breaks down all the barriers and makes me feel at ease before it shatters the barriers that I put up to contain my emotional baggage.

Recently, there have been two musicals that have done this to me. Next to Normal and Les Miserables cause me much grief as I listen to the beautiful heartache that is contained within the melodies and harmonies of each. They each have a great overarching story that makes me sad (what with a bipolar mother and the effects on the family and the French Revolution). However, each of them presents their sad tale in the form of a musical drama. This is the worst/best part for me. I love the music of each musical (matter-of-factly, N2N is brilliant across the board musically).

They set me at ease and then take me into the depths of despair. They each leave me with hope and allow me to face emotions that I would never think about pouring myself into. They make me think which is pretty phenomenal for anything that is supposed to be as superficial and candied as a musical. I find myself starting to get into the action and feel with the characters every time with these two musicals. Quite frankly, I suggest that if you haven’t heard/seen them that you do so as soon as possible because they are an experience not to be trifled with.

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Better Than Before (*Spoiler Alert*)

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So, I think I’ve already talked about this in some capacity, but I am going to rehash it now…so, yeah…The musical Next to Normal is brilliant. A friend and I were discussing it into the wee hours of the morning a couple of weeks back, and we both agreed that it would probably be on our respective iPods for many, many months to come. If you know us, this would make more sense. You see there are musicals and artists that go in and out of vogue for us as the mood strikes. Right now, I’m in a Les Miserables mood with a touch of 90’s music on the side.

The song from this show that I am recently infatuated with is actually two songs. However, I consider them one because they bleed into each other so perfectly. “Better than Before” and “Aftershocks” would be these two songs.  The song “Better than Before” is a happy melodic piece until the very end. The family is talking about how after Diana’s electro-shock therapy they will be better than they were. However, the end of the song hits very minor chords and harmonies which indicate that everything isn’t okay.

This idea is then expounded by the song “Aftershocks” which shows that everything is not okay. Gabe, the dead son/hallucination, sings that although he may be gone for now he can never be completely gone. This is the genius of the musical. It builds complex ideas and imagery into the chord construction and structure of the songs themselves. It’s quite beautiful and shows a lot of thought on the part of the composer and lyricist.

It just goes to show that creativity and interesting ideas are still out there. Like I said, this musical will be on my iPod for many months to come. I believe it should be on yours too.

Written by barryr22

May 11, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Forethought in Art

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I really enjoy forethought in the construction of a musical’s score/lyrics to add tension to the overall feel of the show. Why do I even reference? It’s because recently I have fallen deeply in love with the musical Next to Normal which is a musical/story which is all about forethought. Now, I know some of you are probably saying that every composition is about thinking ahead, but this musical is just brilliant in its usage of this device.

The songs that I happen to be referencing “Better Than Before” and “Aftershocks”.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWWGrptSpvg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8GnpG_bE88

The first song blends into the second seamlessly (you need to hear it without the break)…why does it do this? It’s because they’re wanting to build the ominous tone to make Gabe seem like he’s up to something. This is coming right after “Better Than Before” where the family is finally getting back to normality after Diana’s (the mom’s) stint in a mental facility…They’re trying to tell you that everything isn’t peachy. While this may seem hokey or overdone to some, I love the amount of planning that this must have taken on behalf of the composer and the lyricist. It builds complexity into the score of any show…or any musical piece because there are some classical pieces like this such as Haydn’s Symphony 94: the “Surprise” Symphony.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLjwkamp3lI

Overall, I just like good forethought on an artist’s part whether they be composer, novelist, painter, etc. It’s nice to know that they had a definite plan for themselves as they performed their artistry. Michelangelo had to have his golden vision of the Sistine Chapel in his head before the first brush stroke. If not, the place might have looked like crap…

Next to Normal

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Next to Normal is a stunning, fairly new musical on Broadway in New York City. I had the privilege recently of going to NYC and seeing it for myself. Now, I’m not one to divulge a lot about a musical just in case people reading this plan to see it. I don’t want to ruin any beautiful moment of it. However, I will say that I give it 5 stars (out of 5) because it intrigues me and because its story made me cry.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPfxUGMKgLA

In the show, you are introduced to a seemingly average family. Yet, this facade is not long lived as we find out that the mother Diana (played by Alice Ripley) has a history of mental illness. The show gives insight into how families deal with psychological disease and how they cope. N2N is grounded in amazing visuals and tight harmonies with the cast of six providing all the vocals for every song that is sung from “Just Another Day” till the finale “Light”. All the actors I saw played their parts wonderfully. Alice Ripley played the part of Diana superbly, belting out the “You Don’t Know” and bringing it down for more intimate numbers like ” I Miss the Mountains”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZQM7ELKrRA

J. Robert Spencer (playing Dan, the Dad), Adam Chanler-Berat (Henry), and Louis Hobson (Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine) performed to top-notch standard. They all left me feeling connected to their characters at various times during the show. However, the two standouts of the cast I saw were Kyle Dean Massey (Gabe) and Meghann Fahy (Natalie). These two play the children of Dan and Diana. I didn’t know if I was going to like Massey because I had heard him from recordings on youtube. I didn’t know if he was going to stand up to Aaron Tveit’s original performance; however, he blew me away because I thought him to have more poise and better pitch than Tveit (in live recording’s Tveit sometimes has sketchy pitch). Massey was wonderful. Fahy, who is in fact the understudy for the part of Natalie, did a better job in my opinion than Jennifer Damiano because she was less screechy and whiny on the top notes than Damiano is. This fact speaks wonders to me because I like to have a smoother sound in the tight harmonies. Sometimes, Damiano’s voice just seems to clash with the others (although the notes are there).

If you haven’t seen Next to Normal and you live in NYC or are visiting, I would suggest going to see this gem. Staged in the Booth Theater between 45th and Broadway, it boasts amazing sets and spectacle to keep anyone on their toes. The music and story will thrill you, chill you, and leave you sobbing yet hopeful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wN6KXFeMK8A&feature=fvw

Next to Normal, Addams Family, and Wicked: Oh My!

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From listening to the soundtrack and watching clips on youtube.com, I am getting excited about seeing this musical. In a few days, I will journey to New York City with other members of the college choir. This musical seems interesting because it plays with the existence of nonexistent characters. In the show, you have a woman, Diana, who is losing her mind. It seems to be an intriguing look into the aftermath of losing a child and what happens to the family surrounding that person. Diana begins to lose her grip on reality, and her family must deal with this in order to try to salvage what is left of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYo-dflx4Gk

Addams Family the Musical also interests me because of the cast of characters. I am a fan of the Addams Family because I enjoy their type of macabre humor. The musical would probably target me quite well. It also stars Nathan Lane, Bebe Neuworth, Terrence Mann, and Carol Lee Carmello. All of them seasoned Broadway stars. This musical should be vocally good if not exciting over all. I really hope that I can find tickets to the preview….*sigh*…..

Also, I am very excited about seeing Wicked with the group. This is the one musical that I am assured to see. I am excited to see the hidden story of Oz unfold before me, Elphaba fly, and to experience the spectacle. I am a great believer that when going to New York you should at least see one show that relies heavily on spectacle because where else are you going to get the experience of the big theater.

I am throughly excited to get the opportunity to go to New York again….I hope that I am able to experience some musical goodness while I am there. I love music. I feel that it is the undercurrent of our souls. It speaks to us in ways no words can. Musicals are no exception.