Posts Tagged: Broadway Shows

Current 2012-2013 Winter Broadway Tours & What To See

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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.

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 YouTube.com 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.

Mary Poppins on Broadway Reviewed

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If there is one thing I love more than anything, it is amazing choreography and solid voices.  Although Mary Poppins has the dancing, there really aren’t any songs that enable the Actors to show off their voices but there are moments in almost every song where you get to see their amazing choreography and how talented they are with their ability to dance.  Disney gets a lot of crap from the Broadway Community about Broadway being about talent and natural ability, not huge budgets and wardrobe, but I have to admit, sometimes I love the huge budgets and classic characters.

If there is one thing that Disney can do like no other show or production company it is create a story that people will fall in love with, characters that we will remember, heroes and heroines that we will admire and villains we will hate.   Not only can Disney do this with their movies and tv shows, but they have now found a way to bring these amazing characters to life and not just through the screens or running around their theme parks, but on Broadway and in touring casts all over the world.

Disney brings their animated cartoons to life with elaborate costumes and helps characters like Mary Poppins fly through a theatre above a crowd who stares in complete shock.  Combined with their deep pockets and ability to recruit the best talent on earth, if I’m in the mood to watch a classic story and fall in love with childhood heroes, there is nothing I love more than a Disney show and Mary Poppins is the perfect one to see.

Mary Poppins is a nanny who finds two little kids who need someone that can not only be their friend but also teach them responsibility and how to enjoy their lives.  Mary takes them to magical places and into dreams to not only discover more about themselves, but also how to be an adult.  Mary shows them how to sweep a chimney, enjoy a rainy day and teaches them to respect everyone no matter how much money they have or where they fall into the world socially.   Mary Poppins on Broadway is a classic Disney show with amazing dance routines, elaborate and colorful costumes and songs that we all remember from our childhood.  Although no one can replace Julie Andrews on the silver screen, no one can replace this new and real life Mary Poppins that floats above crowds and brings the character to life.

Between the singing, the dancing, the costumes and the music, Mary Poppins on Broadway is a must see family favorite.  Not for the hardcore theatre buff or artsy type but for the family or someone who wants a feel good thought free stress relief and great time with great dancing and music and an even better and more memorable night out with their friends and family.   Mary Poppins on broadway is appropriate for all ages and even though there is no real heavy thought or deep meaning to the show, I still have to give Mary Poppins a 4 out of 5 because to be honest, I love the music, the costumes and the choreography.  Although Disney gets a horrible reputation for ruining broadway, I personally think that sometimes you need a break from shows that make you think like Spring Awakening or shows about rebellion like Rent or even shows for adults like Phantom of the Opera.

Even though Disney shows are geared towards kids, we were all kids at one point and almost all of us remember the songs.  This is why no matter who you are and how much you hate that Disney has taken over broadway, you end up having to sing a long and even smile during a Disney show, especially a show like Mary Poppins.  Mary Poppins is a classic Disney Show and one that I highly recommend if you want a night out with the family and want something you can sing along to and remember for the rest of your life.  This classic tale is perfect for everyone in your family so don’t worry about having your kids there or even leaving the kids at home.  Mary Poppins  is a great classic Disney show and I give it 4 out of 5 stars.  If you’ve seen Mary Poppins on Broadway, feel free to leave a comment below and tweet this post by clicking the green box at the top.

Avenue Q

Avenue Q Reviews…Is Avenue Q Worth it?

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Avenue Q

Avenue Q

If there is one modern day show that I not only love because of its ability to make me laugh, but also because it is just plain hilarious for everyone…at least teenagers and up,,,,is Avenue Q.

Avenue Q is the story of a young man, well more of a Puppet or a Muppet, that really hits it home if you are just out of college, if you have kids who are in highschool and graduating or if you are or have college students that are about to or just graduated.

The show starts with a character looking for an apartment in a city styled like NYC, unfortunately he cannot afford much since he has just graduated college and has no skills and no one will hire him to teach him anything.  He works his way from the expensive areas like Avenue A, B, C and others and finally hits Avenue Q where it may not be classy, but the people are friendly and it turns out that Gary Coleman from TV’s Different Strokes is the resident manager.  Not only does the neighborhood welcome this new resident, but they decide to sing songs about different things relevant to them, their lives and their society.

They sing about not having a job even though they have a B.A. in English, about how their lives suck, about wanting jobs, how the internet was built for Porn, that there is a lot of things to do even though you don’t have a job and you may not have a lot of money as well as falling in love with each other and showing it by sharing a mix tape.

One of my favorite songs from the show Avenue  has to be the ballad song Mix Tape.  It is about falling in love and how a mixtape is a way to express your feelings for the other person by choosing songs that are relevant for that person and how you feel.  Sure the tape has a couple of oddball songs in it like Fat Bottom Girls, but overall I love the part where it says “I Have to Say I Love You in a Song”.  It was really sweet and they even say that.  It reminds me of when I was in and just graduated from college.  Then the main character asks the female Muppet Kate out on a date, and not to the strip club to see another Muppet Christmas Eve.

The show walks through a ton of social situations like coming out of the closet, searching for a job, feeling alone and depressed and even how to overcome some obstacles.  It shows that people really do care, if you know the right people they will go out of their way to help you when you need it and is a really fun show to watch and has a soundtrack you will  want to play for everyone and sing along to while you drive or even get ready for work in the morning.

Overall the show is fun, has a ton of jokes, a soundtrack that is great to listen to even if you haven’t seen the show and extremely entertaining.  It gives you everything you want from a show.

Drama, comedy, something to think about and remember and it even combines a very famous kids show that we all grew up to and mixes it with the show Rent.  I love Avenue Q and remember seeing cabs covered in faux Muppet fur in Las Vegas and I think in NYC promoting the show when it had first come out.

Avenue Q gets four out of five stars from me being original, funny and a great time out at the theatre.  Just to be clear, I know the story line isn’t extremely original and is just mixing a famous kids TV show with the musical Rent, but the way they did it and because of the catchy music and fun songs I will say that they added their own spin on the show and made it their own which makes it an original show.

I love Avenue Q and highly recommend seeing it.  However if you are taking small kids to the theatre and don’t want them around swear words, this show may not be for you.  Avenue Q gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and if you loved or hated the show, please feel free to share your opinions here.