**One Man's Theatre Journal, Nothing more, Nothing less**

Monday, October 28, 2013

We interrupt this Blog....

***This blog is on permanent hiatus ***

For the record, I'm still out there supporting and seeing theatre! But theatre doesn't need another reviewer, and there's plenty of information out there. 

You can now find me at ShephardSummers.com.

~Shephard :)
(original date of this post 09.28.10)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

I'm on a Break


UPDATE: I should start up again VERY soon, after our trip to New York this month!


Friday, January 30, 2009

Billy Elliot

January 24th, 2009
Victoria Palace, London

Liking the movie, but not knowing what to expect, we were completely blown away. It's a powerful and energetic musical carried on the back of a young triple-threat actor who seems to believe his performance with every fiber of his being.

We laughed and were moved by the performances, absorbed in the music and story.

Music by Elton John, lyrics & book by Lee Hall (the screenwriter as well)

It's not a dance musical either. It's a musical. That said, the dancing was fantasticly entertaining!

Haven't seen the Broadway cast, but seeing it in London seems hard to beat, the accents and performances being so authentic. Really enjoyed this production! And you can't help but take away a very positive message from this production. The cental theme is being who you are, as evidenced in the show-stopper "Expressing Yourself."

As the song goes:

"What the hell's wrong with expressing yourself?....
Everyone is different, It's the natural state
It's the facts, it's plain to see
The world's grey enough without making it worse,
What we need is in-div-id-ual-ity."


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Chorus Line

May 25th, 2008
Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angles
Musical, we went with Theresa

This was my first time seeing A Chorus Line live. I've seen the movie as well, and I know the songs. And now I've seen it on stage.

The touring cast is full of great dancers and actors.

Stand-outs for me were Emily Fletcher as Sheila, Hollie Howard as Maggie ("At the Ballet") and the hilariously appealing Natalie Hall as Val ("Dance Ten, Looks Three" aka T*ts and *ss). Hollie Howard's voice was especially beautiful and likely the strongest in the production. We hope to see her in something again soon. And we all agreed Kevin Santos as Paul was very empathetic and appealing.

The choreography was energetic and crisp, and we did thoroughly enjoy this production. It's very funny and real, and I can't imagine a more accurate window into the world of Broadway performers.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Flora the Red Menace

May 16th, 2008

Reprise Theatre Company
Musical by Kander & Ebb
We went with Pam

Starring: Eden Espinosa & Manoel Felciano
Megan Lawrence, Katie O'Toole, Matthew Rocheleau, Katherine Von Till, Gibby Brand, Wilkie Ferguson, Perry Ojeda

The plot is about a depression-era working girl who gets mildly involved with a communist group's push for unionization.

Flora is anything but a "Red Menace." She's a salutary effect on everyone who comes into her life. The irony of the title is kinda lost in the book, however. I expected it to be a bit more kooky with mix-ups and hijinx. Nope. I couldn't help but think about the kookiness that Liza Minnelli must have brought to it (1965, for 87 performances).

But the want of kooky was quickly forgotten the moment Eden Espinosa sang. She's wonderful. We loved her in "Wicked" (she's our favorite Elphaba, next to Idina). She has tremendous color and control over her tight vibrato, and her high notes are lovely and clear. She can also belt with the best of them. Her last song, "Sing Happy," was a diva-calibre performance with thrilling vocals that left the three of us quite impressed.

It was also a kick seeing Megan Lawrence again (originally saw her as Little Sally in "Urinetown" on Broadway). She gave some real humor to the production. We enjoyed hearing Manoel Felciano (his voice was golden as usual, but the songs don't show off his impressive voice the way "Sunday in the Park with George" did). The set was a lot of fun and worked well in it's simplicity.

Another opportunity from Reprise to hear Broadway-calibre performers doing an oft-overlooked musical. An enjoyable night of theatre.

Most notable song: "It's a Quiet Thing" ~which Eden Espinosa sang with great control and soaring vocals.

(thank you to Peter Goldman of Davidson & Choy Publicity for the photos; I'm assuming they were taken by Michael Lamont)


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Out of This World

April 21st, 2008
Musical Theatre Guild at The Alex
Cole Porter Musical, we went with Rachel

(Damon Kirsche, Terri Bibb)

If you don't recognize this title, it's Cole Porter's comic-musical about a Hollywood starlet and her husband-to-be (Teri and Damon, above) who land in the middle of Jupiter's Court, and his amorous machinations and very randy family of gods and goddesses. This tongue-in-cheek movie-treatment of a musical was actually a lot of fun. Cole Porter's melodies and quirky lyrics provided an evening of silliness and unexpected surprises. And the performances had the audience laughing and clapping from start to finish.

For a concert-style performance, I have to say the actors' command of the show was very solid and natural. I barely noticed books in hand at all because the performances were so much fun.

(Eileen Barnett and Marsha Kramer)

I may not have gone to see this if not for knowing someone in it, as Cole Porter is not one of my favorites. But I'm so glad I did, because I actually liked the story and had a great time! I'd see it again. The voices were all stellar (esp. Teri Bibb's soaringly lovely soprano and Richard Israel's very entertaining performance as Mercury).

We were all surprised by some very contemporary spins on a love triangle (much laughter), and howled at the actors' deft deliveries of Hollywood puns, zingers and cliches-come-to-life. The comedy and plot had a very Doris Day/Rock Hudson feel to it, complete with chase scenes, infidelity and mistaken identities.

(Richard Israel and a Bevy of Beauties)

The production design and costumes managed to evoke both Hollywood of the 50's and The Gods of Mt. Olympus. It's pretty much one of those musicals where everyone gets their moment to shine. A solid evening of professional theatre, spilling over with laughs and lovely voices.

Starring : Teri Bibb (Helen Vance), Richard Israel (Mercury), Marsha Kramer (Juno), Damon Kirsche (Art O'Malley), David Holmes (Jupiter), Melissa Fahn (Venus), Jill Townsend (Chloe), Eileen Barnett (Isadora St. John), Kevin McMahon (Apollo), Kami Seymour (Diana), Sam Zeller (Mars), Jennifer Gordon (Minerva), Erica Whalen (Night) and Quinn Van Antwerp (Bacchus).


Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Fair Lady

April 10th, 2008
Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles
Musical, we went with Theresa & Pam
(guests of artistic director, Michael Ritchie)

We were really looking forward to Cameron Mackintosh's full-blown touring production with great sets, lavish costumes and mostly British cast. We were not disappointed!

(photo: Michael Le Poer Trench)

(photo: Joan Marcus)

Well cast. Lisa O'Hare as Eliza, Christopher Cazenove as Professor Higgens, Tim Jerome (above) as Mr. Doolittle, and Marnie Nixon as Mrs. Higgens.
I read a review that claimed the Professor and Eliza had no on-stage chemistry. But I disagree based on the way this production was played. We got the impression that it was intentional to play down the romance between them (based on the end scene especially), and so it seems to me some reviewers didn't read the type of chemistry they were aiming for.

Lisa O'Hare (who was London's 3rd Mary Poppins) was bubbly, charming and has a Julie Andrews-esque voice (what the role requires). And Christopher Cazenove was an ideal Professor Higgens (he reminded us of Darren McGavin).

I hate to say this... but... it really was as if the movie came to life before our eyes. And in the case of this musical, that's a good thing! We loved the innovative choreography by Matthew Bourne ~ particularly the Stomp-like use of trashcan lids in one number, and the veddy British upper-crust choreography at the races, which got great laughter. And Marnie Nixon still commands a stage. We also liked Justin Bohon's comic take on Freddie (adding some real life to the character). The fluidity of set changes was impressive and graceful.

An enjoyable production.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cry Baby

April 7, 2008
Marquis Theare , Broadway
Musical, based on John Waters' 1990 musical-comedy

We've been waiting so long for this to hit Broadway, and we're over-joyed that it didn't disappoint! It's a fast and furious, splashy, tongue-in-cheek parody of good and bad in the 1950's...with all the stereotypes rewired!

Cry-Baby singing "Girl, Can I Kiss You (with Tongue)"

Elizabeth Stanley as Allison, singing "I'm Infected"

The songs were great fun... esp. the above two, and also "Squeaky Clean," "Screw Loose," "Thanks for the Nifty Country," and Harriot Harris singing "I Did Something Wrong Once" (a showstopper).

You can tell just by the song titles that this musical goes for the smug Middle-American jugular, and it does so expertly. Book written by Mark O'Donnell & Thomas Meehan ("Hairspray") and songs by David Javerbaum (The Daily Show) & Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne).

James Snyder plays Cry-Baby Walker with an innocence and freshness that I didn't expect. He's got you right where he wants you from the beginning... in his swiveling, tight back pocket. He avoided cliches like "Elvis," and played Cry-Baby like a reluctant rebel, and it worked beautifully. And the chemistry between Cry-Baby and Allison was palpable. Great voices and harmony.

Alli Mauzey cracked us up as Cry-Baby's psycho-stalker smitten-kitten (who has carved his name in her arms, lol). She has a wonderful belt and sings the heck out of (what else?) "Screw Loose."

Christopher Hanke as Baldwin, the goodie-goodie square, was perfect, great voice, and very funny.

And Harriet Harris played the uptight but sympathetic Mrs. Vernon-Williams with panache.

Dupree, played by Chester Gregory, got songs that showed his voice in a much greater light than his run as Seaweed in "Hairspray." Boy, can he sing!

Carly Jibson (Pepper, left), Courtney Balan (Mona "Hatchet-Face," right), Lacey Kohl (Wanda, in back) were always there with tight harmony, back-up and great site-gags and one-liners.

We thoroughly enjoyed this fun little musical, and highly recommend it! I can't wait for the cast-recording. It was a fresh, fun evening of theatre.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Young Frankenstein

April 6th, 2008
The Hilton Theatre, Broadway (at 42nd)

Roger Bart (Frederick Frankenstein)
Megan Mallally (Elizabeth ~ the Madeline Kahn role)
Shuler Hensley (The Monster)
Fred Applegate (Inspector Kemp/Hermit)
Andrea Martin (Frau Blucher)
Christopher Fitzgerald (Igor)
and Sutton Foster (Inga)

I've read a lot of disparaging remarks about this musical. No, it's not the movie. Get over it and enjoy it for what it is. We had a great time. We laughed and revisited one of our favorite moives, live. We loved Megan Mallally and were impressed with her voice ~her songs suit her range and style. And she was just plain funny!

Sutton Foster was very sweet as Inga.And as expected, Andrea Martin was the perfect Frau Blucher. Fred Applegate made a great hermit, and Christopher Fitzgerald was a real stand-out as Igor (SO intuitively funny, deserves a nomination).And Roger Bart has excellent comedic timing, a great voice and he made us laugh from start to finish. He paired nicely with Christopher as Igor.

We enjoyed the big splashy sets, creative costumes and fun production numbers (where else can you see umpteen tap-dancing Frankenstein monsters?). It was fun. We didn't mind it being a re-framing of the movie. So sue us.

To me, this is a cast-centric production; this is the one and only cast to see in this musical. I knew that going in, and was not going to make the mistake of missing this cast (the way I did with "Spamalot").


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[title of show]


Avenue Q


Triumph of Love, starring Susan Egan, Betty Buckley, Roger Bart

Urinetown ~tho the title sounds gross, the musical is hilarious with fantastic music and an environmental and social message

Miss Saigon

I'm a creative novelist & writer, living in LA with my partner of 20 years and 4 very quirky, lovable cats.

link to 100 Things About Me
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