Month: April 2017

Amélie

amélie

Walter Kerr Theatre, New York
2017-04-15 • 20:00

I was never a big fan of the movie this show is based on… so it didn’t come as a big surprise that this production didn’t grab me. Phillipa Soo is lovely, but I found very little to enjoy in either the plot, score or staging.

I even allowed myself to go to sleep after a while, which provided a welcome relief amidst so much boredom.

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Bandstand

bandstand

Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, New York
2017-04-15 • 14:00

A pleasant surprise. In spite of a paper-thin plot, the show has many strong points: a wonderfully melodic, brassy score, a highly likeable cast… and, above all, the remarkably inspired musical staging by Andy Blankenbuehler.

Ragtime

ragtime

Ford’s Theatre, Washington DC
2017-04-14 • 19:30

An absolutely thrilling production. Apart from the trite staging gimmick of having the cast warm up on stage before the performance started and observe from the sides as in a Bartlett Sher production, there was little that I didn’t love.

The onstage orchestra was out of this world. The trumpet and trombone players, in particular, were outstanding and gave me goosebumps throughout the performance.

Kevin McAllister gave a wonderful performance as Coalhouse — more nuanced than most. Nova Y. Payton played Sarah with gusto, even though her voice erred a little bit too much into Effie White territory at times. Tracy Lynn Olivera, DC’s resident diva, managed to bring subtlety to the part of Mother. But no performance came close to matching that of Jonathan Atkinson as Tateh.

New Girl in Town

newgirl

Eureka Theatre, San Francisco
2017-04-13 • 19:00

Although I’d already seen a production of this 1957 musical adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie, I jumped at the chance of hearing Bob Merrill’s score again.

42nd Street Moon’s productions are always modest in size… and this one made do with a single piano accompaniment… but the glory of the music still shone through. It made me all the sadder that the show had been cut down to 90 minutes only — with a large proportion of the ballet music gone. (The original production was a showcase for Bob Fosse’s talent… so there was a lot of dance music, including an infamous “Bordello Ballet” in the second act.)

Both Allison F. Rich as Anna and Chris Vettel as Chris gave great performances. Joshua Marx, as Matt, did justice to the score’s greatest song, “Look at ’Er.”

Gosse de riche

gosse

Théâtre Trévise, Paris
2017-04-12 • 20:00

Quelle merveilleuse idée de la part de la troupe des Frivolités Parisiennes de ressusciter cette comédie musicale de Maurice Yvain ! Cette merveille de finesse et de bon goût, créée en 1924, est une source inépuisable de plaisir, d’autant que les interprètes, tant dans la fosse que sur scène, font montre d’une réelle familiarité avec le style de l’époque.

Honk!

honk

Union Theatre, London
2017-04-09 • 14:30

I’ve had a soft spot for Honk! ever since I saw it at the National Theatre in 1999, so much in fact that I went back a few weeks later.

This tiny production relies on seven performers only, which is a bit of a challenge. Its smallish size encourages creativity, but it also prevents the play from blooming into its full potential.

Carousel

carousel

The London Coliseum
2017-04-08 • 19:30

I’m not sure why this production by Lonny Price is billed as “semi-staged” when it contains rather more staging than many other recent productions. It is highly polished and altogether very successful, although obviously tailored to showcase its two stars, Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins.

The biggest thrill of the evening came from the orchestra pit. The full-size orchestra did wonders with the fabulous orchestrations of Robert Russell Bennett, under David Charles Abel’s precise and inspired baton.