Bleh with Barry

Random with a cynical twist of lime.

Posts Tagged ‘poignant

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.

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”.

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.

Notre Dame de Paris

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A musical of modulations is the best way to describe this little gem. It follows the story of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and does a wonderful job of it. It is one of the few adaptations that seems to really hold the spirit and beautiful agony that Hugo presents in his work.

In the musical, after Esmeralda has been killed and Quasimodo kills Frollo, he kneels over her and sings a very poignant song called “Dance my Esmeralda”. It is heart breaking and is more sadly defined by the dancing that occurs as the Esmeralda and Quasimodo doubles come out. The scene ends with the Esmeralda doubles floating on wires in the air. The song itself is very dramatic and heartbreaking as the hunchback declares that he will “die for love” and that in years to come people will find “their bodies joined as one”.

“Dance My Esmeralda”

When the years have all come and gone.
They’ll find beneath the ground.
Our two bodies joined as one.
Showing how we were bound.
How much Quasimodo once loved.
Esmeralda the gypsy girl.
How he was marked by god above.
Just to help him to bear his cross.
Just to help him to bear his cross.
Eat my body and drink my blood.
Vultures of Montfaucon.
So that death more than this life could.
Join our two names as one.
Let my poor soul just fly away.
From the miseries of this earth.
Let my love find the light of day.
In the light of the universe.
In the light of the universe.

Dance my Esmeralda, sing my Esmeralda.
Dance just one more time for me.
You know I’ll die for love of you.
Dance my Esmeralda, sing my Esmeralda.
Please let my poor soul fly free.
It is not death to die for you.

Dance my Esmeralda, sing my Esmeralda.
Please come sleep here in my arms.
You know I’d die for love of you.
Dance my Esmeralda, sing my Esmeralda.
Beyond, and beyond beyond.
It is not death to die for you.

Dance my Esmeralda, sing my Esmeralda.
Please let my poor soul fly free.
It is not death to die for you.

Originally done in French (and beautifully I might add), this musical is quite brilliant. Generally, I am not a fan of modulating keys; however, this show uses the key changes to add emotional highs and lows to the overall mood. It’s quite lovely and simplistic but complex and mind-blowing in its own right. Also, Garou (Quasimodo) is amazing. His gravelly voice adds so much to the character. Beautiful lyrics, well-intentioned lifts, and great voices add to the loveliness that is this musical.