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)

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

JUMP

October 19, 2007


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“Jump” is in the air, but it’s still a little mysterious; everyone knows it’s a play, people talk about it, its posters are spread all around the city…even Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and their one million children went to see this new, cool attraction.

While I was wondering how a party of jumping Koreans became such a trendy and fashionable show in this big crazy city, my supervisor gave me tickets for it: “Mati,” he said, “go and see what happens in that theatre, should be at least interesting”…But the skeptical expression on my face lead Mauricio to say something that sounded a bit more ‘persuasive’ to me, like “You know, it has been given very good reviews in “Time Out” and other important magazines in NYC.”

jump-2.jpgI’m not the kind of person that goes mad about flying kicks, karate poses or crazy screams… let’s call it ‘Jakie Chan stuff’ but at that point, I was curious (I thought, why not?..I mean, the worst thing that could happen to me was that I would fall asleep), and unbelievably enough, in two hours I found myself on the subway, in the direction of the Union Square Theatre.
To whom has never been there – like me that night – it’s a small off-Broadway theatre, not so obvious to find, overlooking one of the most packed areas of the city (speaking as a tourist to other tourists, this is why the first time I stepped around Union Square I was so impressed..I mean, it’s exactly as I imagined NY to be!).

As soon as I walked in, I realized that I will have fun there; only young people were sitting among the audience, the atmosphere was warm. A strange, funny old Korean man, with white long hair (it was clearly a wig, and was equally clear that he was an actor) was walking with his trembling steps and his ancient stick between the rows.

After the beginning had been promising, the continuation turned out to be better. Actually, the play is a party of foolish Korean warriors, but it’s hilarious, a well choreographed idiocy!!
I mean, the plot was nonexistent –a family of warriors, from the noisy grandfather all the way down. It was just a pretext to let these great acrobats, martial artists and comedians perform their incredible abilities!
Hard as it to classify this show, comic relief? Yes! In the background.

Karate exhibition? Of course, but in a weird, new way.
Dancing? The music plays an eventful and important part in the show, and is constantly changing from disco to pop, to even tango…and can you even imagine how funny it is watching Korean warriors struggle at a tango’s pace??? –a blast, really!-.
I don’t want to forget one of the most comedic moments during the night: when guests in the audience were invited on stage to participate in a super silly fight with them.

Although I’m still not sure I can hit a definition for this Chul-Ki Choi show, I can definitely state that I spent 90 minutes in a row (the perfect time, not too short nor too long, with no intermission) of pure, light, idiotic and relaxing fun. Guess what? I didn’t fall asleep! Amazing!

Maria Teresa Armano (Italy)

Intern @ NYC Pocket & Travel Guides

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