Tag Archives: staging

All in the family

Turns out you can’t judge a musical by its poster.

Fun-Home-1

The only thing I knew about the Broadway show Fun Home before I saw it last night was a) the critics loved it and b) the Tony voters did, too.

It scored 12 nominations earlier this week.

I didn’t know the soundtrack or the book upon which it was based. I walked in the theatre about as clueless as a person could get.

So imagine my surprise when the show wasn’t the singing, dancing Partridge Family parody that I had cooked up in my head.

If you too are in the dark (and wish to remain so), stop reading now.

Have they left?  Okay.  So the rest of you know why my mind is a bit blown right now.

The musical’s narrator is a lesbian cartoonist. (Yeah, this show’s no Cinderella.) With the help of her very young self and college-aged self — two incredible young performers — she tells her life story.  With captions.

(‘Cause she’s a cartoonist.)

Fun-Home-2How her father was a part-time teacher and part-time funeral director — FUN HOME was the family nickname for the funeral home — and a closeted gay man who slept with lots of boys and committed suicide while she was away at college.

Yeah.

But that’s not to say there weren’t moments of humor and laughter.  Her first girl-on-girl experience in college inspired “Changing My Major to Joan,” one of my favorite songs in the show. And the kids did do a little Partridge Family at one point, so the graphic designer gets to keep his job.

The cast is all-around amazing. I do wish I had seen the show off-Broadway before they were plopped down into this in-the-round venue. It has led to a lot of ‘singing to the audience’ staging that seems amateurish for a story of such complexity.

It is quite a ride.

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Lottery deja vu

It’s hard to believe that it has been three and a half four years since I first saw The Book of Mormon in previews on Broadway.

I was in the audience twice in the first two weeks (in case it closed)…but luckily the critics and New York audiences agreed.

It was the “musical of the century.”

imageI won front-row orchestra tickets on Twitter for last night’s show. The faces have changed, and possibly some nuances of the staging, but it was just like seeing it for the first time.

Only better.

I made eye contact with the cast, said hello to the conductor and got spit on.

Spit on.

I got to take my friend Derek for his first-ever viewing.

This blog was created with a little help from my post last August, when I won the BOM Twitter lottery the first time.

Lottery winner

It’s hard to believe that it has been three and a half years since I first saw The Book of Mormon in previews on Broadway.

I was in the audience twice in the first two weeks in case it closed…but luckily the critics and New York audiences agreed.

It was the musical of the century.

image

I won front-row tickets on Twitter for tonight’s show. The faces have changed, and possibly some nuances of the staging, but it was just like seeing it for the first time.

But better.

I made eye contact with the cast, said hello to the conductor and got spit on.

Spit on.

Broadway Harry

Potted Potter, the parody of the seven Harry Potter books now on Broadway, was tailor-made for kids.

It’s only 70-minutes long, is super high energy, and even features a quidditch match with audience participation.

 

No wonder I liked it so much.

Brits Dan Clarkson and Jeff Turner, who also wrote the show, bring all the characters to life with minimal props, costumes and staging.  The humor is decidedly British as well, but Potter lovers — and the family and friends who they drag along — will find it easy to translate.

Obviously some plot points are skipped in such a short synopsis, but the ones that made the cut are treated with high hilarity.  Favorites include Lord Voldemort, the dragons from book four, and the bigger-than-life quidditch snitch.

Dan and Jeff cracked up a few times during the show, but the reason was pretty obvious —

They are as wild about Harry as the audience.

Twice

I loved the movie Once. 

So much that I boycotted the musical when it opened off-Broadway .  The original stars weren’t in it — how could the musical compare?

My heart was closed.

Then the show moved to Broadway, and the TV commercials began.  Yes, ‘guy’ and ‘girl’ were different, but their voices, the harmonies were as beautiful as the movie that inspired them.  So I decided to give the show a shot.

Last night I was in the audience for Once on Broadway. I loved the staging, a working Irish bar — they even served drinks during intermission — that was transformed throughout the evening by creative lighting.  Every actor also played an instrument, so there was no orchestra pit.

Most importantly, every voice, every note was perfection.  There were a lot of tears in the audience.  (People were talking about it as they left the theatre, so it wasn’t just me.)

The only thud in the production — which occurred at the start of the play and made me sad — was the playwright’s need to ‘funny up’ the script, making the characters extreme stereotypes of themselves.  This was especially true of ‘girl,’ who was a quirky, jokey one-liner, which was counter to her gentle spirit in the movie.

But once she and ‘guy’ began to sing, she softened and the music drove the show, as it did the movie.

And all was forgiven.