Posts Tagged: Broadway Show Reviews

Into The Woods by Stephen Sondheim Reviewed

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One of the shows that I think really ended up making me fall in love with Broadway and always be a permanent fan has got to be a classic Stephen Sondheim show, Into the Woods.  Into the woods is a story about life lessons, greed, envy, happiness, love, sharing, adultery and pretty much everything else the Church warns you about and adds in some music and dancing.  There is murder and plotting and even love and shopping and while you’re watching the mass chaos of a show with a million twists and turns, you’re also watching it from the perspective of your favorite childhood characters acting it out from their own perspectives.

Into the woods is actually the story of storybook characters coming to life and how they interact with each other.  You have Cinderella and her ugly stepsisters.  You have Red Riding Hood and an anatomically correct Big Bad Wolf.  A Rapunzel who is locked in a tower by a Wicked Witch.  Jack who climbs a bean stock and disobeys his mother.  You have kings and princes, you have mentions of Snow White and you have the Baker and his Wife and many more of your favorite storybook characters.  The thing that you have to remember is that the actual storybook stories aren’t always the way that Disney likes to make you think they happened.

Disney is about making everything have a happy ending and removing all of the gore and bad parts of stories.  Into the Woods on Broadway actually kept the original story lines and even though I love the Disney version I have to say that the original stories are much better.  You have the stepsisters cutting off their feet to fit into glass slippers and you have Cinderella talking to a tree which represents her Mother instead of a Fairy Godmother (which Whitney Houston did an amazing job performing in the Movie version of Cinderella starring Brandy).   You have all of the characters living their lives the way the stories were originally told and then slowly each of them find one way or another to interact with each other and eventually everyone ends up in one big fairy tale with all of their paths crossed and you finally get to see who the hero’s are and who is really a coward.  I love that the Witch turns out to be the smart one, not necessarily the “nice” one but the practical one.  You have the people who want to do only good but never really address that while saving one or two lives they still murder someone else.  I hate that the show doesn’t ever bring that part up but then again it would end up being an extra half hour if they had to.  I almost feel bad for the female Giant who ends up getting slaughtered because of decision of the Hero’s to protect themselves and the two kids they end up taking on as their own. The Witch in Into the Woods is who sold me on the show originally.

I was in my car and heard a rap about vegetables on a mixtape and thought it was the coolest thing.  I still have no idea where it came from.  When I asked everyone I knew who sang it it turned out to be none other than the fabulous Bernadette Peters playing the title role of the Witch.  Not only did I become a fan of the show but I also became a fan of Bernadette Peters and quickly went to go find other shows she had been in.  The thing is that even though you may fall in love with a cast or a certain voice playing a part, if it was before or they never recorded that cast then the talent and show is lost forever to the people who were not able to get to see the show in person.  Luckily when it came to Into the Woods, the cast that starred Bernadette Peters was recorded and released on video so I not only got to see her perform the character of the Wicked Witch but I also got to watch it over and over again.

The songs from Into the Woods have been made famous not only because of the fact that they were in a Stephen Sondheim show and performed by Bernadette Peters, but other famous singers and Broadway Stars like Barbra Streisand have picked up the songs and made their own twists on them.  The soundtrack to Into the Woods is one of the most beautiful soundtracks if you like classic musical theatre.  They don’t have the ballads or ensemble of Andrew Lloyd Weber or the fun and exciting styles of Rent or Rock Operas but what they do have is the timeless and classic Stephen Sondheim touch and spirit that every broadway fan loves.

Into the Woods is an amazing show and perfect for almost all ages.  The show would be boring and probably not one parents would want little kids to see but if you have teenagers and older kids and want a fun night out at the theatre, you cannot go wrong with Into the Woods if you want to watch your favorite childhood fairy tales come to life and all of them get mixed together.  I give Into the Woods 3 out of 5 stars.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical

Priscilla Queen of The Desert The Musical

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Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical

Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical

Since Friday is coming up in a couple of minutes and we are closing out on gay week and drag week I was thinking of what gets gayer than the three bears performing Say a Little Prayer from Glee.  The only thing that is going to top that which we used to top A Little More Mascara and I am What I am from La Cage Au Follies is Priscilla Queen of the Desert and instead of just showing you a fabulous video and clip from this fabulous new hit Musical in London I would also review the show and the basic main story line.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert was one of the original Drag Queen and Gay Movies to ever hit the main stream media.  Much like Hairspray it dealt with taboo issues and also went from a cult movie to a musical production.  Now we’ll have to see if they end up doing another version of the movie and changing it again to be more appropriate for even more audiences in a new movie form with new music like the Musical version of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert is the story of three drag queens who are doing what every Drag Queen wants to do.  Put on a show and perform for a fabulous audience and crowd, not to mention star in Austrailia’s version of a Las Vegas (The goal stage of every Drag Queen in the USA) casino which turns out to be owned and operated by one of the Queen’s exs who also turns out to be an actual female.  They sort of traded each other in for a new pair of shoes and an argument over whose gown looked better.  I vote for the chandelier gown worn by the more feminine of the two, the Guy.

The story progresses as the three queens work their way through the desert and get stranded.  While they are stuck in the middle of the Austrailian outback they begin to talk about their past and different things they have overcome.  After you get through all of the boring emotional stuff they begin to give you what you actually came to see in the show. a bunch of Drag Divas in ridiculous costumes lipsinking the lyrics to other people’s songs.

The not only perform for a group of Australian Aborigines but they also end up in a small town and the one almost gets gay

Priscilla Queen of the Desert Queens Theatre

Priscilla Queen of the Desert Queens Theatre

bashed, they get to perform in another small town but get shown up by an ex Asian prostitute (who then loses her husband to one of the queens) in one of the movies most memorable moments, the ping pong ball trick which you see referenced to this day in spoofs.

Eventually the queens make it to Alice Springs to put on their final show and during the trip you will not only want to get up and sing to some of the most fun disco music but the bright costumes, the lively acting, the high energy of everything and the LED tour bus will not only leave a positive memory and leave you singing for days but you will walk out in an amazing mood.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert isn’t one of those shows that is deep or makes you want to cry but it is like Jersey Boys where it is a fun loving funny and feel good musical.  It is currently playing at the Queen’s Theatre (Ironic isn’t it) in London England’s West End and tickets are definitely worth the price if you want something fun and different to do than the normal hum drum or classic theatre show.  It may not be the best show for kids but is definitely one that you will be able to take almost anyone to for a fun and feel good time out.  I actually loved Priscilla Queen of the Desert even though this normally isn’t my type of show and because I left singing the songs and loving the show I have to give it a 4 out of 5 stars rating.

If you have seen Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical please feel free to share your pictures and leave a message below in the comments section.

Here is a clip from the shows trailer that I found to share with you all. You’ll see the insane costumes, the amazing set and see how fabulous the show actually is.


Hairspray Reviewed…Is it worth it?

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Happy April Fools Day Broadway Reviewed Fans!  Although I’m not going to play a joke or start a rumor like Broadway was attacked by a 40 foot Bea Arthur looking for her Bossom Buddy, since they change it from Lucy to everyone else on her, but I am going to review one of my favorite pick me up shows that is still live on Broadway and I think touring the Country and at the West End Theatre in London England, Hairspray.

Not only is Hairspray the perfect show to review for April Fools Day since it is all about jokes, gags, making fun of each other and playing tricks on everyone, but it is also full of illusions by having Drag Queens play a main character, hairspray bottles that people pop out of and that shoot confetti cannons at you and even the main Character Tracy Turnblad lives with her family above her Dad’s Joke shop in Baltimore Maryland.  This is the perfect show to review for April Fools Day.

The show starts out with Tracy waking up in the morning and going into one of the most popular Hairspray Karaoke songs, Good Morning Baltimore.  Tracy is a bigger than life, both weight and dreams, loveable teenager growing up in the racist and not fat friendly city of Baltimore in the 1950’s.  Tracy decides to take on the world (Amber and her mother the TV Station Manager) to not only end her own hunger, but end racism and destroy the hate against fat people with her high school crush Link, her best friend Penny Pingleton, her Mom Edna (made famous by the Drag Queen Divine), Miss Motormouth Maybelle and an entire cast of fun loving and funny characters.

Tracy and her best friend Penny Pingleton are obsessed with a dance show called the Corney Collins Shows which is a local channel in Baltimore Maryland.  While watching the show, the Host Corney Collins announces that they will be holding auditions to replace a pregnant dancer on the show.  He encourages everyone to cut class early and head down to the station to audition.  Tracy and Penny couldn’t resist so they cut class and went to the station to audition.

At the station Tracy gets her first “taste” of reality when everyone in the studio, but Link, makes fun of her for being fat and she watches a girl get declined because she was black.  From that point on Tracy makes it her life’s work (while she is young and not hungry) to fight racism and discrimination because you are overweight.

The show takes a million interesting turns and has some of the most high energy, fun and funny songs out of any show.  The comedy also rivals Avenue Q a bit (The first time you see it).  Hairspray is a high energy fun loving, colorful and larger than life show that I love and highly recommend.  It isn’t deep at all but it isn’t supposed to be. Hairspray gets 4 out of 5 stars from me because not only did I leave the theatre singing the songs and buying the soundtrack, I wanted to go back and see it again and again.  I also encouraged all of my friends and family to get tickets as well.  Hairspray is a great show and I highly recommend it.

A brief background of Hairspray:

Hairspray started off as a movie by John Waters (a local independent film producer from Baltimore Maryland).  He created the movie which starred celebrities like Ricki Lake and Divine.  The movie took off and was loved by thousands and probably millions of people.

Later they took the movie and made it into a stage show (The current Musical Hairspray), however they did tone it down a little bit, change the original songs and make it a little bit more modern.  Then because the show took off so well, they turned the stage show back into another Movie.  Again they toned it down to make it more family friendly, but then again, sometimes they have to to make it more likable for the non theatre crowd.  Hairspray became a phenomenon and has been featured on a ton of shows including one of my favorites, The Ace of Cakes when they designed the movie premier cake, The Macy’s Day Parade where the cast performed and a ton of other shows.  Hairspray is a must see show that you cannot miss.