Bleh with Barry

Random with a cynical twist of lime.

Posts Tagged ‘nyc

The Phantom of the Opera

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Recently, I got the opportunity to go to New York City for the second time. While I was there, I got to watch several musicals (my whole reason for wanting to go…there’s nothing like watching a musical on Broadway). Of these several, I got to see The Phantom of the Opera (POTO) for the third time, and honestly, I can say that I enjoyed and felt like I was watching it for the first time because new actors bring nuances to characters that I might not have ever thought of before. However, with this being said, some other thoughts came to my mind after I enjoyed watching the show.

I’m sure some of you have heard of the sequel to POTO that just premiered in England and will be making its way to Broadway in the fall. I have heard the music and the plot and believe that Webber is making a tragic mistake in trying to write this particular musical. Love Never Dies is set in Coney Island, New York where the Phantom runs a freak show. He lures Christine to him…and then, all hell breaks loose….it’s an odd concept. Also, most of the songs are slow and musically boring for me. It lacks the pizzazz of the original…My thoughts about the whole thing are as follows.

1. With POTO being in the Majestic Theater for the past 23 years, I wonder if they are going to try to replace it with the sequel. I think that this would be sheer lunacy on their part because POTO has never had an unsold seat (as far as I know)…I was there the other day, and all the seats were filled to brimming with people of all nationalities and backgrounds. It still mystifies people even now.

2. Will the sequel be successful? I think in my own mind that it will have some success because it is tied to POTO, but I also believe that the success will be short lived. Listen to the cast recording, and you’ll understand. Their voices are nice; however, the songs themselves have no substance….I started listening for  “Masquerade” or “Point of No Return” and heard nothing that reminded me of any of POTO other than they used the same characters…

3. Will this musical have an effect on POTO? Is this musical going to cause POTO to lose its popularity? Or is there nothing out there that can make this happen?….Honestly, I don’t know about this one…it’s a toss up because people are fickle. If people were predictable, then, this question would be more answerable in my mind.

4. Is Andrew Lloyd Weber losing his touch? Since the 80’s, Webber has enjoyed limited success with his music….he has opened a few musicals (Woman in White, etc.) that haven’t done well at all…has he lost his touch? I think that it may be because he is trying to find something fresh and new for himself when he should stick to his 80’s power ballad style…

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.