Posts Tagged: Washington DC

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.

Harvey Fierstein Fiddler on the Roof

Fiddler on the Roof – Harvey Fierstein Reviewed

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Harvey Fierstein Fiddler on the Roof

Harvey Fierstein Fiddler on the Roof

This weekend I got to take my mom to not only see a classic show Fiddler on the Roof, but I also got to go with her when one of Broadway’s most beloved Actors, Harvey Fierstein.

Not only are we both huge Harvey Fierstein fans, but getting to see him with my Mom and in a role that almost seems like it was designed for him, Tevye, just like when he played Edna Turnblad in Broadway’s Hairspray, the performance has to be amazing.   In this review I want to go over what makes an Actor like Harvey Fierstein so amazing and then review the show.

Harvey Fierstein is one of the most influential people in Broadway.  Not only has he created a career for himself and turned his extremely unique voice into one of his most sought after traits, but he brought gay people into the main stream on Broadway, besides in Cabaret when the guys admits he is bi or in Victor Victoria where they clearly love and accept gay people in France, with his shows like La Cage Au Follies or Torch Song Trilogy.  He pushes boundaries and fights for his beliefs, but he also does it in a way that is classy, comical and a way that attracts huge audiences.  Not only is he able to create a venue that gets a message across, but he does it in a way that is extremely thought provoking and not as in your face.  With that said, how does this relate to his career?

Harvey Fierstein is able to not only write in a way that main stream audiences will fall in love with it and he can get away with creating shows that are not normal or sometimes controversial, but he can also tie that into his body language, facial expressions and character development.  Not only can you see his eyes from everywhere in the theatre (or at least visualize them) but he is somehow able not only break character to give a shimmy or just before a well known song step out of the cast and point his finger to let the crowd know it is about to start and then come back into place seamlessly, but he can also carry the entire cast if he needs to.

People like Harvey Fierstein, Carol Channing, Barbara Streisand and others that have unique voices find ways to make their emotions speak and hit everyone in a crowd.  It is almost like you are watching their characters in their stories as if you were really there and somehow their presence is large enough that you almost feel what their character would be feeling.  If an Actor can do that and in real life, jump out of their character in a second and then all of the sudden be right back in line and get your emotions going crazy again, that is what makes them a star and what separates Broadway stars from Movie and TV Stars.  They have to be able to act, sing, dance and be able to improvise and remember hours of lines and be able to act along side different people every night and at the blink of an eye.  This is what makes theatre unique and people like Harvey Fierstein household names that everyone can fall in love with.

Fiddler on the Roof Washington DC National Theatre

Fiddler on the Roof Washington DC National Theatre

Fiddler on the Roof reviewed.

So anyways, the purpose of this post was to talk about Fiddler on the Roof.

Fiddler on the Roof is the story of a small and poor Jewish Village in Anatevka Russia.  It is the story of a Milkman names Tevye, his wife Goldie, his 5 daughters and how even though they are poor they can still be rich with love. Love is a reoccurring theme in the show.

Tevye is in love with God and his Traditions, not to mention his wife who has never said she loved him in the 25 years they were married or with Yenta who is the town Match Maker that chooses love for everyone else, even if they aren’t in love or don’t want love.  Tevye’s daughters who discover love and even though it is against tradition marry the Men they fall in love with and find a way to convince Tevye that it is ok to love people that they for themselves, instead of benefiting their families.  Love is the basis for Fiddler on the Roof.

Loving your family, loving God, loving your neighbors, your Country, your possessions, your enemies (if your daughter marries them) and everything else.  Without love then the characters in Fiddler on the Roof would be poor in food, posessions, heart and soul.  It is their love that keeps their faith, keeps them together and keeps them alive.  Love for reading and learning. love for change and love for each other.

The story line of Fiddler on the Roof is great and tragic.  It is emotional and shows the plight of the Jews in Russia when they were forced out of their homes and beaten for their religion.  It has some of the most well known songs in theatre including Match Maker, Sunrise Sunset and If I Were a Rich Man which has been done over and over again by everyone from Pop Stars like Gwen Stefani to TV Shows.  The only things missing from this show are songs were people belt out a tune and hit a high note.  Unfortunately this show lacks that and even though the characters are very memorable, the DC and touring cast, except for Harvey Fierstein were very weak.

It is very rare that you leave a show and not love multiple characters.  The only person in the show everyone talked about was Harvey Fierstein.  Everyone else was somewhat talented but none of them stood out.  None of them was absolutely amazing and none of them were holy crap incredible.  Overall the shows music is great, but no show stopper songs, the characters are extremely well written, but this cast was poorly acted and the story line is classic.  Unfortunately since the cast I saw was extremely weak, except for Harvey Fierstein, I have to give Fiddler on the Roof 2 out of 5 stars.  If you are a Harvey Fierstein fan then it is worth going.  If you have never seen a show before it is somewhat worth going, but if you are a theatre fan and love to see a great show with a ton of amazing talent, this is not one for you to spend your money on.  Harvey Fierstein is amazing but if he wasn’t in the cast I would have given the show an even lower rating.

I love the show but would have loved a better cast.  I am being a little harsh and should give it a 3 out of 5 stars, but for some reason I just didn’t love the show when I saw it.  Maybe it was just an off day because the talent was there, but then again they should all be able to give it their all, Harvey was able to so it would have been nice to have seen them all give a performance like his.

Mommy Dearest Abba Remix – Sidetracks/EFN Lounge Version

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Ok, you can never go wrong with a classic from a showtunes night.  This video was made famous by Sidetracks in Chicago Illinois at their showtunes night and then copied and played over and over again across the country in every bar from Texas and New Orleans to JRs in DC and even up in New England.  I think I even saw it in California in Laguna Beach when they had the drag queens performing.

Everyone has seen the versions that all the bars have, but until you have gone to Sidetracks Chicago to see the full version of the Joan Crawford Abba video you have not seen how funny the video really is.

There is nothing funny about how Joan Crawford acted and treated people, if the way she was portrayed in the movie Mommy Dearest was accurate or true, but when you combine Abba and a brilliant VJ together and then throw in Mommy Dearest, you have a sure fire hit on your hands for every gay bar and showtunes night in the Country.

One thing that I was completely shocked about this past weekend was to find out that Sidetracks has been helping to launch showtunes nights in other cities now.  (This is a rumor only right now that they are helping to launch showtunes nights) and one of these showtunes nights is in DC at a bar which has a very bad reputation for being in a dangerous neighborhood called EFN Lounge.

I went to EFN Lounge last Sunday when I heard they had showtunes and when I saw everything from every show and that it was actually a fun filled and quality showtunes night, I decided that it is definitely worth the risk to walk through the area…and btw, the area used to be bad but is cleaning up very fast.  Just don’t be stupid if you’re walking through and use common sense and you should be fine.

Anyways, when I saw this posted on their Facebook Fanpage and also saw the ad saying that it was Sidetracks/EFN Lounge, I was shocked, they actually got Sidetracks to give them their Joan Crawford Mommy Dearest Abba remix.

Now, there is absolutely no comparison on the way the video is shown and watched in other cities compared to Chicago, there isn’t as much audience participation and the people laugh and love it but don’t go crazy over it, but it is still always a huge hit (pun intended) and everyone is one of it’s fans.  So race over to the nearest Showtunes night in your city (especially if it is being hosted or run by Sidetracks Chicago) and and grab your flask as you wave left, right, left, right, and shout out how you know the original and that they should give you the respect you are entitled to and have a great time.

So here is the Joan Crawford Mommy Dearest Abba Remix.  (Before you watch this, I do have to warn you that there is a lot of swearing and some disturbing scenes from the movie so please do not play it if you are not ok with some foul language and not so pleasant clips about child abuse, drinking and violence).  Enjoy!