Posts Categorized: Cities

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at the Kennedy Center Reviews

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I just dumped the guy I was seeing so it was the perfect night to get to see Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Unlike Jekyll and Hyde which was just at the Kennedy Center, I was tearing and balling because this show was absolutely amazing. Even when the dancers were a bit out of sync, they were smiling and everyone was loving it. The show was phenomenal and is one of the only ones I will ever give 5 stars to.

From the minute the show starts in World War 2 when the characters are talking about Christmas and performing for their troops, you fall in love with the show. From the whistles, the singing and the bad jokes that make you laugh, you are instantly drawn in. Shows like Wicked or Spiderman need a ton of special effects to make an audience fall in love with them. Shows like Irving Berlin’s White Christmas rely on quality acting, dancing and a cast that can bring you into their own time and make you feel everything they are feeling.

From the songs like “Falling out of Love Can Be Fun” to “White Christmas”, you are instantly brought to Vermont in the 1950’s.  The characters are perfect, the Actors are all amazing and everyone continued to feed off of each other and make the show amazing.  Whether you love Bob and Betty or the sisters or anyone else, you will feel like you are part of the cast.  Everyone did an amazing job, the dancing was perfect, the singing incredible and the show is the perfect thing that can help you cheer up if you’re feeling depressed.  Even if you’re lonely or just broke up with someone, this show is perfect for you and you’ll leave feeling amazing.

I couldn’t pick which song to put a video for from Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, so I found a trailer about the making of the show.  The video actually describes what I am thinking in that it is almost impossible to put shows like this together, but when you have someone like Irving Berlin whose music is amazing and you combine it with a talented cast that is all able to work with each other, the show is incredible and everyone was tearing at the end.  I actually teared more at this show than I did when I saw Les Miserables.  If you get a chance to see Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at the Kennedy Center, go.  The show is amazing and you will definitely love it.

purses for the theatre

Where to buy clothes before the Kennedy Center in DC – Second Hand Rose

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purses for the theatre

purses for the theatre

On the way to the gym I found this amazing boutique clothing store that carries the most amazing clothes and accessories for the theatre. It’s called upstairs on 7th and is in the lobby of a large law firms building. Ricki’s store upstairs on 7th carries amazing formal wear for women as well as dressy casual wear that is perfect for the theatre, dinners or anywhere you need to be dressed nicely, but want to remain comfortable. Her clothing choices are perfect for going to the theatre like at the Kennedy Center or even just to a piano bar. I love them and there are a few things that makes her store unique.

1. Your outfit will always be unique. Ricki orders everything at Upstairs on 7th 1 time and only 1 of each major size. When the article is gone, it’s gone. It doesn’t matter if it’s her local designers or the impossibly hard ones that she has what seems like exclusive access to, because she will only buy it 1 time in each size, no body will be wearing what you are wearing that night.

clothing for the theatre

clothing for the theatre

2. She carries designer clothing you won’t find anywhere else. Forgot department stores and couture shops, Ricki does the hard work for you and brings you amazing designer clothing that you will not find in other places and you can easily piece together the clothes into a perfect outfit for the night. Imagine walking into your dream closet filled with clothing, accessories and even purses and clutches and having everything be amazing, unique and perfect for you. That is what her store is like.

3. She’s accessible to all of the theatres and the best restaurants in Washington DC. Just go to the address below and you’ll find the perfect place for that last minute outfit where everything fits perfect and you’ll be able to be ready for any meeting, party, or event instantly.

Upstairs on 7th
555 12th St NW, (lobby Metro Center 12th & F streets exit, Washington, DC 20004)
Phone:(301) 351-8308

upstairs on 7th washington dc

upstairs on 7th washington dc

Now that we’ve gone over where to buy clothes for events, here is the perfect song to go with it. The only difference is that nothing at Upstairs on 7th is second hand, but second hand rose would still love to find them. I absolutely love this song and because it’s prepping for the theatre, I wanted to play the version sung live by Barbara Streisand for Second Hand Rose. I hope you all have a great holidays and thank you again for reading.

Sing a Long Showtunes Cabaret with Faheem at BlackFox Lounge DC

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I’m extremely excited to share with you all that Faheem will be playing piano for another sing a long showtunes night at the BlackFox Lounge in Washington DC this coming Tuesday 11/27/2012 from 8pm until 11pm.  Although it isn’t professional people jumping up to sing like at Don’t Tell Mama in NYC, the crowd is extremely encouraging and everyone who wants to gets a chance to sing.  That’s what I love about when Faheem does sing a long piano showtunes at the Blackfox Lounge in DC.  There are a few things you need to know before you go to the piano bar downstairs in the restaurant for sing a long showtunes.

BlackFox Lounge Washington DC.
1723 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20009
Phone: (202) 483-1723

The first thing is that it is all based off of sheet music so if you don’t know the words, you need to be able to sing a long while he plays the piano.  This can be a lot trickier than you think if you’ve never sang live.  It can be a bit intimidating.  Luckily it isn’t a huge crowd and everyone is there for fun so you’re nerves will be a lot more calm.

The next thing is that because it is all sheet music and played by sight, you may not find the songs you normally like.  If you want a specific song and in a specific key, buy your own sheet music and bring it to make sure.  Some songs are written in different keys or he may play at different speeds than you are used to practicing, which means if you don’t bring your own, he’s going to do the version in front of him.  You can buy sheet music by clicking on any of the links below (just make sure not to use any coupons or I won’t get credit for the sales and they may not advertise with us anymore).

The last thing is that it is all about having fun and getting to sing with someone playing the piano.  If you love theatre then you probably love watching video clips of your favorite stars singing with a piano player.  This is the perfect opportunity for you to be able to sing with a piano player and in front of a small group of people who will support you and cheer you on, een if you are tone deaf and sound like crap like I do.  =0)   I love the group because everyone will welcome you over and because they pour strong drinks, you won’t be afraid to sing a long either.

I hope you can all make it to see Faheem at the Blackfox Lounge in the downstairs bar for his sing a long piano bar showtunes night.  It is a lot of fun and only happens once a month.  Also, unlike the other group, there is no one announcing everything and hogging the stage do you actually get to sing and have fun.  See you all there and don’t forget to order drinks and Tip Faheem so he can buy new fingers after the show.  They must kill him after playing ridiculous songs for a few hours without a break.

Sheet Music Plus Broadway Music

Sheet Music Plus Broadway Music – Click the banner to find all of the piano sheet music for Sheet Music Plus’s broadway piano sheet music books.

Click here for a direct link to their broadway piano sheet music.

Jekyll & Hyde Review – They Murdered a Musical

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I just got back from seeing Jekyll and Hyde the musical at the Kennedy Center and for a show about murder, they got it right. Constantine murdered the show and people were walking out. At the end, he even started trying to get people to cheer and unfortunately for him, no one would. Before I get negative about the show, there were some good things.

The girl who played Emma, Teal Wicks, was amazing! Not only did she bring the house down with her voice, but even when Deborah Cox went flat, she pulled everyone through. Her acting was perfect, her voice amazing and she was the only one in the cast that could get you to have goose bumps when she hit a high note and the only lead that could belt a note. Emma was incredible and the only reason you should see the touring cast of Jekyll and Hyde the musical.

Deborah Cox who played Lucy actually did an awesome job acting. She was believable and her voice was gorgeous. She pulled off the role very well and brought people into her character, but where she lost us was in broadway vs. pop voices and vocals. Although she could hit every note and her voice is amazing, she just can’t belt a note or hit it solid enough to bring goosebumps to you. Her voice was beautiful to listen to and I would gladly pay to see her in concert, but in a lead role with a couple of iconic songs, she fell flat. Her voice isn’t made for classic broadway singing, it is made for main stream music. She did a great job, but she just can’t cross over into broadway. Constantine on the other hand was horrible.

He had a couple of good moments as Hyde, but he destroyed the role. People walked out after he couldn’t pull off This is the Moment and when he destroyed the role of Dr. Jekyll he lost the audience. I actually started to fall asleep a couple of times I was so bored when he was on stage. He couldn’t even get the audience cheering when he finished and was looking for applause. He has a nice voice, but he cannot act and he cannot sing a classic broadway show. He may have done a good job as Roger when he was in Rent, but for a classic show, he needs to go back to singing rock music. He unfortunately made the show fail and was one of the worst actors I have ever seen. His performance was amateur and lacked any emotion. Anyone could have gone up and after a few weeks of training done an equal to better job. Unfortunately I cannot recommend this show with him in it. With Deborah, at least you have a beautiful voice and good acting. Teal can sing and act her ass off and the ensemble stood out more than the stars…besides Emma. It’s hard to switch from main stream music to broadway, and when you cannot do it, it becomes obvious because the background characters are more interesting and get a better applause from the audience than you do.

I do not recommend seeing this cast. There are amazing songs in the show and Constantine butchered them. Deborah had a gorgeous voice and Teal showed what an actor can do, but overall you’ll probably be bored and wish you got a refund. The people next to me were equally as disappointed, half of our group walked out at intermission and the people in front asked if it was supposed to be bad or if it was just an off night. I would normally hope they were having an off night, but when Constantine sat there trying to get people to cheer and applaud louder, he even had to shrug and leave the stage. Normally I hate giving a bad review, but this show is not worth seeing or paying for. Bring something else to keep you entertained if you decide to go.

Magic To Do: Tribute to the Talents of Bob Fosse

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This Sunday Evening, November 11, 2012, Curtain Call Sing-Along @ MOVA Lounge DC presents “Magic to Do“, a tribute to Master Director-Choreographer Bob Fosse.  Here is a preview from VJ Jonathan Large.

Fosse was larger than life in many respects: creative, innovative and he burned the candle at both ends. Fosse’s jazz-ish dance style was “instantly recognizable, exuding a stylized, cynical sexuality.” Other trademarks included the use of turned-in-knees, sideways shuffling, and rolled shoulders (in a television interview, Fosse explained his shoulders were rounded; rolled shoulders were a way to distract this physical characteristic). Gloved hands were another Fosse trademark because he did not like his hands. Hats: Fosse was self-conscious of his early male pattern baldness so he clad his dancers with hats according to Fosse biographer Martin Gottfried.

The first number, “Magic to Do” is from the Broadway musical PIPPIN, featuring Ben Vereen with music by Stephen Schwartz. Fosse was awarded with a Tony in 1973 for PIPPIN (also in 1973, he won an Academy Award for CABARET and an Emmy for LIZA WITH A Z, the first person to win these awards the same year). Reportedly, Fosse was less than impressed with Schwartz’s score and rewrote the book. Critics lauded Fosse’s staging and were polite at best when mentioning the score.

Cole Porter’s KISS ME KATE, a Broadway musical retelling of Shakespeare’s TAMING OF THE SHREW, features an early Bob Fosse in a number not from the stage production, “From This Moment On”. Reviewed decades later by a New York Times critic for a then recent movie revival: “His big number, from ‘This Moment On,’ has the irrespirable sparkle of history being made on screen,” that Fosse capitalized his “liabilities – pigeon-toed gait sunken chest, stooped shoulders – and turn them into the loops of an original signature . . . Fosse provided the nascent artistry of a boy genius working out his ideas right in front of you.”

1957’s THE PAJAMA GAME featured Fosse’s volcanic choreography in several numbers, including “Seven and a Half Cents,” “Steam Heat,” and “Hernando’s Hideaway,” featuring the show’s Broadway lead, Carole Haney. Fosse was partnered on screen with wife Gwen Verdon in 1958’s DAMN YANKEES in the mambo dance number “Who’s Got the Pain.” He had choreographed this number for both stage and on screen.

SWEET CHARITY was a vehicle for Gwen Verdon on Broadway in 1966, but the Universal preferred Shirley MacLaine for its film version. The movie provided Fosse the opportunity to direct as well as choreograph for the first time. One of the most popular numbers in the film is “Rich Man’s Frug,” featuring once again Fosse favorite Ben Vereen and taking place at a swank Manhattan night club. The film was released as a “road show” attraction in March 1969 but failed to recoup its investment. MacLaine’s performance as a taxi dancer in a seedy Manhattan dance hall was Oscar nominated, but many critics at the time deemed Fosse’s direction as self-indulgent.

This is not the version Jonathan picked out, I liked this live version from 1966 more.

The critics changed their tune a few years later, however, regarding Fosse’s brilliant cinematic adaptation of Broadway’s CABARET. Fosse completely reworked the play for film, eliminating all the integrated “book” songs from the score. All musical numbers would be performed at Berlin’s Kit Kat Club cabaret – including the composed for movie “Mein Herr” (exception: the chilling “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” takes place out of doors at an impromptu Nazi rally). Stars Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey were rewarded with Oscars, as was Best Director Fosse. He faced formidable competition from “The Godfather” and its director, Francis Ford Coppola in the Oscar race.

LIZA WITH A Z, starring Liza Minnelli, features all the aforementioned Fosse trademarks – gloves, hats, rolled shoulders, etc. “Ring Them Bells” was one of the most memorable musical numbers in this television special and was a popular and critical smash.

CHICAGO opened in June 1975. It featured another Kander and Ebb (CABARET) score, stars Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera and Jerry Orbach – and direction and choreography by Bob Fosse. Watch Jerry Orbach and chorus from the original production perform “All I Care About.” CHICAGO was nominated for several Tony Awards but was shut out by another landmark musical that season: A CHORUS LINE. However, CHICAGO would take on a new life with its still-running revival and a very popular Oscar-winning film adaptation.

Fosse’s last screen appearance was as “The Snake” in the Lerner and Loewe screen adaptation of Antoine de Saint- Exupery’s THE LITTLE PRINCE. The 1974 film was such a flop that its studio, Paramount, yanked the film from distribution after only a few weeks. However, the film not only featured Fosse but other Broadway luminaries, Richard (MAN OF LA MANCHA) Kiley and Donna (A CHORUS LINE, COMPANY) McKechnie, as well as Gene Wilder. Nonetheless, Fosse’s number, “A Snake in the Grass,” is a tour-de-force. Watch closely, and you will discover the source material for several Michael Jackson videos.