Make me a Song!

December 19, 2007

“Make Me a Song” is a gorgeous kaleidoscope of about 20 individual songs and some musical vignettes from a number of William Finn’s most well known musicals and from a newer project yet to be produced.  It should prove to be an extremely exciting experience for those who are familiar with Finn’s work and a wonderful exposure for others.  Furthermore, my own knowledge of William Finn has been greatly enhanced by seeing this show.  It is filled with wonderful material about interpersonal relationships, often within families, and love relationships between women and men, and between men and men.  It also powerfully examines with the realities of illness, death and loss.  The songs in “Make Me a Song” express life experiences that are extremely sophisticated; sometimes surprising; often hilarious; sometimes tragic. Among the themes of the songs presented are: memories of family gatherings long since past along with somber remembrances of so many family members no longer living (“Passover”), one of the most powerfully moving pieces in this show called “Anytime (I Am There)” is a song in which a dying mother tells her children that no matter what they do or where they are, she will always be there with them.  While some of the themes may perhaps seem difficult or challenging to potential audience members, I feel that this aspect is what gives Finn’s music so much power.  There are some joyful songs too, especially the opening songs, “Make Me a Song,” and “Heart and Music,” which are very upbeat and heartfelt.  There are four performers, two men and two women, who are fine singers, and who can also act, which is extremely important for songs such as these, that express a myriad of human experiences and feelings. I do highly recommend it!

By Sae na Park (Korea)

December 3rd, 2007

The curtains raised, and there stood a girl wearing a luxurious, green dress sitting on an expensive-looking sofa in an extravagant house. Then, she starts talking about her step mother. As she tells us; her step mother is such a lavish woman, that it sounds like her mother doesn’t care much about her daughter or her family. Actually, her mother lives in a fantasy world and that’s what makes her think that she is the most beautiful princess in that ever lived. It is because of this, that she thinks she can get along with all men around her. Even though she has a rich and powerful husband, he is just a lovely decoration to her, a white elephant if you may, someone that gives her money as much as she needs. She also has a son, whom she can never love enough.
She tries to kill her husband, but her maid stood witness to her killing him. However, he didn’t die, but came back at the end of the scene to punish her. Yes. As you may think, it would be an old-fashioned drama if you followed only the story. However, there’s something more to the story. The character of the mother is actually male, but we would never notice it if someone didn’t say something. He plays the perfect roll as a woman in his performance. I was shocked when I noticed him. The son also gets into the homo-sexual character in the drama, he is not in reality though! He that roll, perfectly. For me, the story doesn’t make me think deeply at all, it’s just a fun play. The director, Charles Busch, is famous and this drama is well-known for a well-made story. However, the entire performance is pure bliss. They make the atmosphere very enthusiastic and the audience can do nothing but focus on them. We were worried about it at first because it’s not a musical, so we thought we wouldn’t understand it, but the result of our new challenge was very successful. Even though someone is a foreigner, they need not be worried about it. It’s just all in good fun, laughter, and good memories.

Monica Kim (Korea)

Die Mommie Die!

December 3, 2007

Die Mommie Die, now playing at the New World Stages here in New York City. Die Mommie Die is Mr. Busch’s return to Broadway where he tells the story of Angela Arden with a failed marriage to a Hollywood film mogul she no longer loves. Also, with this failed marriage, comes two problematic children.

The play begins in 1954 with a series of projections telling the story of Arden’s falling and fading star hood. Once America’s Sweetheart (as told through a series of magazine covers, movie stills and album covers), Angela now finds herself a box office poison. It also turns out that, “Marie Antoinette” – The Musical- was a flop. Her career unwinds and her singing abilities falter. Also, there’s mention of the tragic suicide death of her twin sister, Barbara. All of these tragedies lead to her retirement from show business.
Now set in 1967 (that’s where we join the action), she’s married to Sol Sussman, a very famous Hollywood producer who’s career seems to be on the decline as well. He’s back from Europe trying-with no success-to raise funds for his latest feature. His over-excited/mini-skirt wearing daughter, Edie is overjoyed at his return. Whereas his wife Angela is more interested in trying to revive her career and leaving Hollywood for a Greenwich Village apartment to share with her tennis instructor lover, Tony Parker. You realize that perhaps Tony may be more interested in Angela’s money, or perhaps something else. Needless to say, the affair is discovered. Sol refuses to divorce her, cancels her comeback tour of the Catskill Resorts and worst of all cancels all her charge cards. She becomes a prisoner in her own home. Her only hope is murder, which she tries to accomplish, but not quite. I would like to tell you exactly what happened, but I think you should go see it for yourself. It’s too funny to even explain.

Any man can put on a dress and be funny, but Charles Busch is perfect as the faded diva. It takes a good actor to make the audience forget he’s a man and truly believe in him as a woman. Charles Busch’s’ walk, gestures, facial expressions, voice and mannerisms all carry a delicate feminine overtone.

Die Mommie Die! will have you grabbing your sides from laughing so much that I strongly suggest you stretch before entering the theater.

By Sae Na Park (Korea)

Three Mo’ Tenors

November 29, 2007

Many seem to have their own opinions about music. Let’s face it, a person’s ipod says a lot about them as an individual and people are very protective when it comes to their choice of music. However, music brings this world together, brings people together and in an off- Broadway theater, brings together the Three Mo’ Tenors. A premeditated musical by the highly acclaimed Broadway genius, Marion J. Caffey; Three Mo’ Tenors will knock you off of your feet.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of watching them at the Little Shubert Theater and I was very impressed. They sang, danced, rocked, and jived. They moved seamlessly from opera to jazz to Broadway to soul, and they put on a very entertaining show. Three Mo’ Tenors is an astonishing staged concert that takes its audience on a passionate musical with three amazingly versatile classically trained African American tenors, who bring the house down with thrilling performances of Opera, Broadway, Jazz, Gospel, Soul, Spirituals, and the Blues. A performance started with opera, “La Donna E Mobile” from Verdi’s “Rigoletto” and “Recondita Armonia” from Puccini’s “Tosca”, visit Broadway with “Bring Him Home” from “Les Miserables” and “Make Them Hear You” from “Ragtime”, swing over to jazz with Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher”, sample soul with a medley of “Love Train”/”My Girl”/”Stop Look Listen”/”Midnight Train to Georgia”– with several other stops along the way.
The crowed cheered enthusiastically when James Berger took the stage in a hat, walking stick and coat with tails to sing Cab Calloway’s most famous song, “Minnie the Moocher.” “Hid-e Hid-e Hid-e Ho” the crowd sang in response to Berger’s musical call. They created beautiful harmonies when they performed together but were equally strong as soloists. The Three even added elements of comedy, donning turned-to-the-side baseball caps when they sang Usher’s “Yeah” the audience dancing in the aisles. It was a delight from start to finish.

For more information on this amazing show, please visit the website :

http://www.threemotenorsontour.com/ 

By Sae na Park (Korea)

Altar Boyz

November 19, 2007


If you have to go to NYC and see Altar Boyz. Go and let the Boyz save your soul!

The show is about the final night of a Catholic boy band’s tour, and it is a really entertaining concept. As soon as the announcer stated, “The Altar Boyz have arrived,” the crowd went wild as if they were attending a rock concert. The stage was actually set up like a concert hall, complete with a fog machine, a huge neon sign, and a live band in the background. It’s a take-off on boy bands like Nsync and the Backstreet Boys, and it’s a parody of Christian pop singing groups, but no one should be offended here. It’s all innocent fun. The Boyz are on tour to save some souls through precision choreography and sweet tenor voices. What kept the show going was definitely the music (Gary Adler & Michael Patrick Walker) and dancing (Christopher Gattelli). How these boys can dance like that and still sing; is astounding, never a heavy breath is heard.  Seeing a show like this makes me wish I could sing a bit better, and dance a little better too. The show was “great fun” because the “boyz” included the audience throughout the whole show.

They mainly stayed downstage and interacted with the audience since they were recreating a tour. One lucky audience member also got serenaded onstage to “Something About You,” the slow ballad about abstinence. Even though the show poked fun at religion with all the songs having an underlying Christian message, it was still “good-natured.” Religion and faith were never really questioned, but were more like the backdrop and motif of the musical. It is definitely an upbeat, family show that lets the audience decide between what they think is satirical and what they think is true. My family is coming from Korea in a few months and I can’t wait to take them. They will love every single minute! 

By Sae na Park (Korea)

Another Review:

When the curtains of Altar boyz was raised in my country, I really wanted to catch it, but I couldn’t. However, good fortune suddenly came to me last night when I got two tickets for the show that I missed in my country. Furthermore, it’s on Off-Broadway in the Big apple, I didn’t want to miss it for the world!
It is still a smash-hit show since it opened in November 2004, yet, the huge crowd is still astonishing. At 8:00, the show started; quite loudly, and five boys danced, sang, and acted in a funny and gorgeous way for 90 minutes. The audience could do nothing but keep their eyes on them for the whole time.
Actually, I can say it’s not only a musical but also a concert with a minor plot. They make a perfect accord with their nimble voice, danced to music fantastically. Especially, the leader of the group, who has the sweetest voice and the best appearance of all in the band. (It’s just my opinion, though!) The cast of the show has changed recently, but they looked like they were born to be “Altar boyz.” They made witty praises to God and sang funny gospels, but yet produced a meaningful story and show.  I was constantly laughing and wiping tears from my eyes throughout the entire show.
Time passed so quickly that I didn’t even notice that we were already at the end of the show. I was full of positive comments after the show, and now I even regret that I didn’t buy their CD.  I can  proudly say that I am now an Altaholic!


By Kim Hyo Ryeong (Korea)

 

Many people in New York City, whether they be tourists or residents, have been seeing Off-Broadway shows. In recent events, the “Strike on Broadway” has definitely boosted ticket sales for Off Broadway shows, making for packed houses, producing new fans for smaller shows. This was the case last night at the Westside Theatre for My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, & I’m in Therapy.

In this one-man-show, developed by Steve Solomon, and preformed by Paul Kreppel. The character is waiting for his therapy appointment to begin when he goes into a long story about his life. He tells the story of an unconventional, and multicultural upbringing. To many people this upbringing would be considered, completely normal. Hey, this is New York City, nobody’s parents are from the same culture!

The audience was full of older people, who all looked like my grandparents. With every small joke, the audience bursted into laughter. The show hit just about every crank possible that has to do with the old time Jewish people, and of course, the Italian people. If I was twenty years older, this show might have struck a stronger chord with me, but I know my elders would have loved it! If you have no interest in cultural bashing, humor, or pointing out flaws of multiple religions and cultures, maybe this is not the show for you.

The successful Off-Broadway show currently in NYC and San Francisco was thought to be closing very soon, but it is NOT closing… If you were planning on seeing it, go to see it now anyway!

The theatre is very small, being the downstairs of “I Love You, Your Perfect, Now Change” at the West Side Theatre. The show feels very long, as there is no intermission, but Paul Kreppel’s voice fills the room and is exchanged with huge laughter, which makes it a good time. After (or before) the show, you are left on the famous 9th Ave, where you can eat at some of the best restaurants in the world. So if your Broadway show was canceled this weekend, go see My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, & I’m in Therapy.

-Written by: Stephanie Weingart

Stranded as Broadway Strikes?

November 12, 2007


As the holiday season quickly approaches and the one thing that is dampening the NY holiday sprit is the strike that is currently happening on Broadway. Until negotiations are set and an agreement has been made, many tourists from all over the world are left wondering what to do on their trip to NYC. Good thing NYC has so much to offer and it will definitely keep you busy and your mind off the strike. Yes, it’s disappointing that you had your heart set on seeing Wicked, The Grinch, Chicago, etc…but as a native New Yorker who has spent most of my life not seeing theater shows all the time, here are some old and new tips to do while visiting NYC.

1) If you really wanted to see a show, and not your show in particular but any show, there are shows still happening and going on. Only 8 Broadway shows are still playing which are: Young Frankenstein, Mary Poppins, Xanadu, Mauritius, Pygmalion, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Ritz and Cymbeline. Also, all Off-Broadway shows are continuing their normal schedule. You can check with the TKTS booth located right inside the Marriott Marquis hotel.

2) So you are stuck in Times Square. You come all the way to Broadway to find out your show is not playing. There are many attractions within that area you can visit. A) Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is worth the trip. You’ll be up close and personal with the stars as oppose to watching them from the nose bleed section. B) Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Will have the very strange and bizarre that will make the stage hands on strike not so much an oddity anymore. C) Toy R Us at Times Square will cheer any kid up who cried because they couldn’t see the Grinch on stage. D) Dave & Busters will not only keep you sheltered from the cold, but if your kids get bored, they can roam around to play the many video games that are there. E) The Pond at Bryant Park now in it’s 3rd successful year as a new place to skate with a gorgeous view of the Empire State Building. The adrenaline of this will be sure to burn off the coldness of the strike. Sure the grief of No Broadway show can’t be spared but the day can be salvaged with much more to see in Times Square. Other places to visit: The Yankees Store, Hello Kitty Store, Virgin Megastore not to mention dozens and dozens of places to eat within the area.

3) Can’t handle the crowd? Need to get out of the now overcrowded Times Square area? There’s much more to see beyond Times Square. Downtown: A) Head down just a few blocks to 34th Street. Visit the Empire State Building, Manhattan Mall and Macy’s at Herald Square and other stores to shop at such as Old Navy and H&M. B) Visit Union Square where they have the Farmers Market, Artists displaying their work for sale, and other places to shop such as Virgin Megastore, Forever 21, and Barnes & Nobles Bookstore. Also note that there are theaters in this area as well. This area is the location of where the show Jump and the new show Fuerzabruta from the creators of De La Guarda. Uptown: A) Columbus Circle has been newly renovated within the last two years now that we have the Time Warner Building. Inside the Time Warner Building you will have luxurious stores to shop at, Borders Bookstore and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Club overlooking Central Park is located in this building. Check their website for schedules of show times and ticket availability. B) Lincoln Center is not suffering from the strike and has everything happening from Ballet to Opera and much more. You also might want to check out their schedule to see which of the many shows are playing now at this crucial time. C) 5th Avenue has much to see for tourists ranging from Rockefeller Center to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. If you walk or take a subway ride or a cab a little further beyond you will come across Central Park, Central Park Zoo along with many top museums such as The Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum, National Academy, Cooper Hewitt and much more to be seen. D) You can also travel a little further uptown into the Bronx and visit the New York Botanical Garden or The Bronx Zoo.

4) Whether you are here for a short stay or an elongated stay in NYC, you can always rely on the many tours available throughout the city. We have many Grayline or CitySight bus tours that takes you into different neighborhoods, scavenger hunt tours from Watson Adventures, Big Apple Bike Tours, On Location movie tours, The Sweet Walks chocolate tasting tours and Foods of NY tasting tours and not to mention the Circle Line Tours that take you to the statue of Liberty and Ellis island.

So while you are waiting for that refund from Telecharge (Expect refund in 2 business days), Ticketmaster (Expect the refund to appear in 7-10 business days), or the Box Offices (refunded through the mail or hold onto tickets until the strike is over), you still have options as far as entertainment during your stay in NYC. If you plan on coming back to NYC very soon and want to past date your tickets or hold on to your tickets until the strike is over, then keep checking I Love NY Theatre or Live Broadway for updates on how to redeem tickets lost during the strike and to find out what’s happening with the strike while you are here. Worse case scenario, dial 311 if you still have questions on what to do. We hope that all this information has been very helpful to you and that you enjoy your stay in NYC.

By: Jasmine Bermudez

Add to Technorati Favorites Web Page Hit Counter

Recent Readers

View My Profile View My Profile View My Profile View My Profile View My Profile
View Entire Community Provided by MyBlogLog