Monthly Archives: November 2012

Jekyll & Hyde Review – They Murdered a Musical

Posted by & filed under , , .

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.

Current 2012-2013 Winter Broadway Tours & What To See

Posted by & filed under , , .

There are a ton of amazing shows touring right now and what’s nice about the touring broadway casts is that you don’t have to wait in line in the cold at the TKTs counter in NYC to get a discount, instead you can order broadway tickets online by clicking that link. With all of the tours going on, which ones are kid friendly, which ones are fun and which broadway touring casts probably aren’t worth it. Here are my top 5 picks for touring broadway casts that you can buy as broadway gifts, or just for a fun day out with the family or a romantic night with a loved one.

1. Book of Mormon

I don’t think I have to tell anyone that this is one of the most sought after and in demand broadway touring casts you can see. It is not family friendly at all and deals with a lot of religious and anti religious topics. It is however an extremely funny show with some awesome music, and as long as you have a dark sense of humor, you will love the touring cast of the Book of Mormon. It is currently on a multi city tour and I did this post about how to get book of mormon tickets before they go on sale to the public. The Book of Mormon on tour is a must see for anyone who wants a fun night out and to see a funny show that will keep you laughing for hours.

2. Cats

I never thought people would get a chance to see this show again, but it is back on tour in the US and in Canada. Unfortunately it does not look like it is going to hit any major venues, so you need to look at cities outside of your region for it. If you click the link above for tickets, you can find when it’s going to be in a city near you. Cats is a family friendly show and kids and people of all ages will love it. The show has starred a ton of amazing Actors and the music is still sung and known by almost everyone at every wedding and other celebration event. This is an amazing show that millions of people love and this may be one of the last times you’ll be able to get to see it.

3. Les Miserables

This is one of the most classic shows and if you want the perfect show to cuddle up with your loved one, this is it. It’s touring through the summer and if it is the tour with the new stage, effects, etc… it is one million times better than any other stage production you have seen before. Les Miserables is a love story that takes place during the French Revolution. There is a movie version coming out starring a ton of broadway celebrities and the neat thing about it is that they had them sing live and they will make the music match their emotions and how they sang when they were being recorded. The show is incredible and is perfect for a date night with the person you love.

4. John Tartaglia’s Imagineocean

Most people know John’s name from his role in Avenue Q and then when he starred in Shrek. Other people know him for singing ridiculous songs about his cousin at cabaret shows and even though he may seem like he is insane, he put together an amazing black light puppet show for kids called Imagineocean. Imageineocean is about three friends who are on a treasure hunt. The three main characters go through and make new friends while singing and dancing and even interacting with the audience. This is a must see if you have kids and something that they will never forget.

5. Bring it On the Musical

If it ever leaves NYC, Bring it On the musical will be back on tour. This is the perfect show if you have teenagers who like cheerleading, self esteem issues or are trying to come out of the closet. Unlike the movie version, this one is very political and also deals with current issues like bullying, fitting in, being thin, dating, being gay, etc… It is high energy, stupid and probably some of the most fun you will have that you never thought you would. The cast recording is awesome and you’ll love the high energy routines. This is perfect for families and for anyone who just wants something fun to do.

There are a ton of other awesome tours right now like Jekyll and Hyde, Spamalot and even fun off broadway shows, but these are my top 5 for you if you are going with family, want a fun date night or need something to take your kids too. Feel free to add your own favorite broadway shows that are currently on tour through the winter.

Spaceballs – Hello My Baby

Posted by & filed under , , .

My friend ended up in the hospital the other day and they weren’t sure what was wrong with her. They ended up keeping her overnight. When I finally talked to her and she told me she had been in the hospital, she made a comment that the only other time in her life they made her sleep in a hospital was then she had a baby coming out of her. For some reason that instantly made me think of the movie Spaceballs and the alien that comes out of the guys stomach and sings Hello My Baby like the frog from the Looney Tunes.

Where babies come from may actually still be a mystery to many gay men. All we know is that women produce them and they can be adopted…but this movie made me finally realize why women complain about giving birth and why they say it is one of the most painful and magical things in the world. I’m thankful that I don’t have to have little alien babies pop out of my stomach, ouch, but it would be cool to see them start singing and dancing as they come out and take their first steps. Who knew that that is actually how babies are born and that it was that cool.

Anyways, I know where babies come from and the above is meant to be a joke so please don’t get upset or take it the wrong way. Giving birth is a seriously painful and amazing thing that shouldn’t be a joke, but when my friend was talking about it I instantly thought of the scene from Spaceballs where the alien comes out of the guys stomach and starts singing and dancing. If you have another favorite giving birth showtune or video clip, feel free to leave it below in the comments. I love the movie Spaceballs and think this is one of the funniest scenes from it. It also makes me happy that I don’t have to worry about giving birth, especially if its as painful as this movie makes it look. Thank you again for reading.

Magic To Do: Tribute to the Talents of Bob Fosse

Posted by & filed under , , .

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.

A Christmas Story The Musical Preview

Posted by & filed under , , .

A Christmas Story The Musical Preview

A Christmas Story The Musical opens at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York on Monday, November 19th with previews starting November 7th.

If you’re not familiar with A Christmas Story, it is originally a 1980’s Christmas comedy movie set in the late 1930’s / early 1940’s based on stories from Jean Shepherd’s “In God We Trust All Others Pay Cash“. The film often ranks on top Christmas movie lists and on Christmas Eve, is shown for 24 hours straight on TBS.

While a sequel to the movie was just released on DVD, the musical follows the storyline from the original 1983 movie. Directed by John Rando, choreographed by Warren Carlyle, with songwriters Benj Pasek & Justin Paul. Producers include Peter Billingsley, who played the role of Ralphie in the original film. The show ran in 5 cities last year (Hershey PA, Detroit MI, Chicago IL, Raleigh NC and Tampa FL) before the Broadway engagement was announced.

Dan Lauria is cast as Jean Shepherd, the narrator. He’s best known as the father from the TV series, The Wonder Years (which, coincidentally, was inspired by A Christmas Story).

John Bolton play the role of “The Old Man”, Mr. Parker. Strangely, Mr. Parker’s first name is never mentioned in the movie, but is used again and again in the musical. Erin Dilly, who starred opposite Matthew Broderick in Broadway’s Nice Work If You Can Get It plays Mrs. Parker.

The role of Ralphie goes to Johnny Rabe, who was also in last year’s national tour of A Christmas Story, The Musical (he played “Insistent Boy”) while Ralphie’s brother, Randy, is played by Zac Ballard.

In recent years, as children who watched the movie in the 1980’s have grown into disposable income, popularity of A Christmas Story has really exploded. The original house from the movie (in Cleveland, OH) is now a tourist attraction with museum and numerous products (from board games, to ornaments, to cookie cutters) are available. You can even be the proud owner of your own “Major Award,” with Leg Lamps available in all different sizes.

You can win tickets to the show by entering the competition on the official site (enter by 5pm on November 13), you can support and buy your broadway tickets here.

About the author: Eric Nagel is an avid fan of A Christmas Story, having spent a night in the house from the movie, and proud owner of his very own Leg Lamp.