Posts Categorized: Ben Vereen

Pippin Reviewed – Corner of the Sky Video

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Pippin is one of those shows that no one really usually ever thinks of when they hear broadway or showtunes but everyone remembers and loves, especially when they hear one of the most popular and famous songs “Corner of the Sky”.  Pippin for me has a ton of meaning to it right now because I almost feel like I can relate to the story in a way.

I was talking to my mom about broadway and shows that originated in DC because we have Mary Poppins playing right now and Dream Girls is coming to the National Theatre where Harvey Fierstein gave us a fabulous revival of Fiddler on the Roof.  When talking about shows that debuted in Washington DC before they hit broadway three of the most famous shows come to mind.  Annie, West Side Story and of course Pippin which Ben Vereen won a Tony award for his performance.  So why is Pippin so special and why is it famous and why do I relate to it.

Pippin is sort of a coming of ages and discovering yourself story.  It is the story of a young man who grows up to become educated, to want to start a revolution, who gets caught in plots to murder or overthrow a government, to end tyranny and only find out that he also has to become a tyrant to lead his people after he murders his way to the top.  It is a story about betrayal, reinventing yourself, discovering how hard and how difficult life could be but also the rewards for your hard work and how you can always learn new things.  Pippin learns about how to start a revolution, lead a country, arts and music and also about love, himself and independence.  He learns a lot from many people but most importantly learns to try and find who he really is.

The reason why I feel like I relate to characters like Pippin and so many other people do or fall in love with his character is not because we murder people or overthrow governments (which I do not do either), but because I own a small company.  I worked my way up in companies to get to be able to start my own.  I constantly have to compete and watch others in order to get, keep and find new Clients for my business and have to struggle and fight off competitors to stay alive and be able to support myself.  I often want to find something else to do or want to give up but instead I find other ways to differentiate myself and make myself stronger than others and then can bring my clients that were stolen back and and really start to show why I can survive and why I am not that easy to push around or get rid of.  I think that people can relate to this whether it is in a social situation, a work situation, if they own their own company or work for someone else.  If you are in school and have to work to fit in and become the popular kids or popular in your own small group of friends.  If you want to play a sport and become the best or the head of the team or even just to fit in to your own family and group of friends.  We all have things we need to work at achieving and things we want to accomplish and when we watch Pippin go through his life we all sort of relate, especially as he grows up.  We may not have to murder and overthrow a government but we all definitely have had to struggle and fight for the things we want most in our lives whether it is wealth, love, friends, family that cares for us, money, vacations, promotions, apartments and houses or anything else we have ever wanted or believed in.

Pippin is a show you will walk out of and remember.  You may not always think of it but you will always smile and sing along when you hear the main songs and showtunes from the show at karaoke or showtunes nights.  My personal favorite is the one that everyone on earth knows and loves “Corner of the Sky”.  Because I think everyone can relate to Pippin and it is an overall amazing show, I give Pippin a 4 out of 5 stars as a must see show.  I love the music, the story and the acting and know that you will to.

Liza Minelli

I’m going to see Liza!!! Yes with a Z

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Ok, I know you all are about to be jealous of this star studded Diva oriented weekend in Washington DC.  Not only do we never get the parties that NYC, LA, San Francisco, London, Chicago, etc… get, but we never have the amazing Broadway shows or variety that these cities get.  The one thing we do have that is unique though is the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.

The Kennedy Center is not an amazing old styled theatre but it is a huge complex with amazing sound and can easily host all of the top shows in the world.  This is where I went to see Hairspray for the first time and many other shows.  We also have the touring cast of Mary Poppins coming through soon but more importantly we have the Kennedy Center Spring Gala coming through this weekend.

The Kennedy Center spring gala in Washington DC is sort of like the kick off season to Summer shows and events.  The Kennedy Center goes all out and brings in Broadway stars of all calibers and styles.  This year they have completely gone out of their way to bring in some of the best, most well known talent around.  The odd thing though is that there are still tickets available.  Some of my friends just bought theirs last night.  I found it shocking because of this years line up of talented performers and Actors.

The show headliner is none other than one of the original Divas, the great Liza Minelli.

Liza Minelli

Liza Minelli

Liza Minelli is not only the daughter of the famous Judy Garland, but Liza Minelli is an icon, one of the most recognizable faces and voices in American Pop Culture and history and no matter where you go or what you watch, you will probably run across a reference to her.  She has appeared in tons of movies, tv shows, jokes.  Liza has hit cds like like Liza with a Z and pretty much destroyed the show Cabaret for anyone else who would ever try to take it on.  Liza Minelli is a legend that I dare anyone to try to take on.  She is above and beyond going to be one of the highlights of this show.  This picture of Liza came from the Kennedy Center Website.  http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/specialevents/gala/

So if Liza Minelli isn’t enough of a headliner for you, the next star to take the stage is the amazing and seriously talented Ben Vereen.

Ben Vereen you’ll remember from countless Broadway shows including Wicked, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pippin and the list goes on.  For those of you not into theatre, which I don’t understand why you’d be here if you weren’t, he was in Funny Lady, All That Jazz, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will and Grace and the list goes on with his TV appearances and roles as well.  He is also the god father to R&B sensation Usher.  Ben is one of the most talented Actors in modern times and I cannot wait to see him perform.  He dances, sings, acts and steals shows.  Between him and Liza Minelli, can it get any better?  Actually yes.

Aaron Lazar, many of you will not know him, reinvented many roles and recreated some of the most loved characters on Broadway.  He was in the recent revival of Les Miserables, A Tale of Two Cities and the classic A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim.  Aaron has also been on TV in Ugly Betty, The notorious Bettie Page (if your name is Betty you better watch out for this one) and countless other show appearances.  Aaron may not be well known, but his talent should be.

The next Actor I would like to mention is one whose name you won’t remember but whose voice and image you will never forget.  Andrea McArdle was the original Annie.  Not only did she create the role of the red headed orphan, but I think she created one of the most memorable American Icons that almost everyone can remember from their childhood.  Everyone remembers watching it and everyone recognizes the red poster and red lettering for the red headed orphan.  Sure she has done other things since Annie but when you create such an iconic role and character as Little Orphan Annie, it is hard to do anything else.

Some other performers who will be there include Elizabeth Ashley, Raul Esparza, Opera Singers; Elmore James and Harolyn Blackwell and the list of show stopping celebrities goes on and on.  It is insane how much talent The Kennedy Center booked for the Kennedy Center Spring Gala 2010 and I cannot wait to watch all of these icons and amazing performers show why they are the incredible Actors and Actresses that they are and why they have reached Celebrity Status in the Theatre, Screen and Entertainment industry.

If you haven’t bought your ticket to the Kennedy Center Spring Gala yet, you seriously need to hurry up because if word gets out that people like Liza Minelli are in town tickets will sell fast!  Hurry up and buy your ticket today and then come back and share how you liked the show after.