Theatre Thursdays: King Kong, the Ape’s Alive!

Hi there! PolyglotPisces here, and I’m overjoyed to be writing my very first post for Lady Geek Girl and Friends. I would like to take this time to introduce the theatre-loving world to a spectacle that somehow has evaded my notice until recently, despite opening months ago. And should this article strike your interest, make haste: the show closes in less than two weeks. Drum roll, please.

Ladies and gents, the World’s Eighth Wonder!
Now on stage in the great Down Under!

(See how that rhymed? That was fun.)

King_Kong_(musical)_logoYes, true believers and unbelievers, that’s right: King Kong Live on Stage. I don’t know about you, but I have definitely felt the void in my own life from the lack of gigantic animatronic apes on the musical theatre stage. Luckily, other people out there have felt it too, and they did not stop until they did something about it. The creative forces behind this musical include: music by Marius de Vries, lyrics by Michael Mitnick and Craig Lucas, and book by Craig Lucas, and also some additional music from contemporary musicians. After five years of pre-production work, King Kong opened in the Regent Theatre in Melbourne, Australia on June 15, 2013, with Carla Pavlovic as producer, Daniel Kramer as director and John O’Connell as choreographer.

The show is an adaptation of the 1933 film King Kong, directed and produced by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, and written by James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose. (Who knew that one of the most iconic films of all time was co-written by a woman? Especially in 1933! #girlpower #readwomen2014.) Continue reading

Theatre Thursdays: Is First Date worth a second call?

First Date- Zachary Levi and Krysta RodriguezStarring Krysta Rodriguez and Zachary Levi, First Date is a new Broadway musical comedy. The show, which tells the story of young singles Aaron and Casey meeting for a blind date and all the awkwardness that entails, is currently in previews at the Longacre Theatre. I got to see the show last Thursday and quite enjoyed myself, but there were definitely some issues with it.

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Theatre Thursdays: Pippin Broadway Revival

Stephen Schwartz’s 1972 musical Pippin returns to Broadway for the first time since closing in 1977. This show is pretty popular but I have never seen it and know almost nothing about it. I know the famous song “Corner of the Sky”.

And I know that Bob Fosse choreographed the original production, but beyond that I have almost no experience with this musical. As such, I’m excited that there is a revival currently running because it gives me an opportunity to see and hear more about the show. I’m already inclined to like it because I’ve yet to hear a work of Stephen Schwartz (the man behind GodspellWicked, and the Disney films The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Pocahontas) that I haven’t liked, so I don’t feel like I’m in danger of disliking the score. As for this particular production, there are also some specific things which excite me.

First: Patina Miller as Leading Player. This role was originally played by Ben Vereen and is traditionally a male role, so it will be very unique to see a woman in that role (I mean, for people who know the show. Everything’s brand new to me anyway.) and how it will work out. Patina herself is extremely talented, so even without the fact that her casting is breaking the gender norm it would be exciting anyway. She has this spark that she brings when she performs. I don’t know how to describe it but there’s so much joy and vitality in her singing and acting.

Ben Vereen and Patina Miller. Photo credit: broadway.com

Ben Vereen and Patina Miller. Photo credit: broadway.com

Second: the circus inspiration. I believe the original setting of the show focused on a troupe of theatre performers so adjusting that to a circus act is an interesting choice and one which looks very promising to me. The spectacle of circus performing will add a really interesting layer to this very stylized show. Bob Fosse choreography (which is still inspiring the choreography in this new production) is very unique and in some ways whimsical and I think it will play very well in a circus show.

The good news is that the show is getting very good buzz. It’s still in previews so there’s no critical response yet, but word of mouth has been pretty positive about both cast and direction, so things are looking good for this revival!

Theatre Thursdays: Seussical the (Flopped) Musical

Quite a while ago I had an idea for a series talking about my favorite Broadway flops. Being the brilliant wordsmith I am, I titled this series “A Few of My Favorite Flops”…get it? Like that song from The Sound of Music? But with the word “flop” instead of…eh, you get it. Anyway, I started with Carrie and that led into a lot more posts than I intended and I never went back to the series. Today I will be continuing “A Few of My Favorite Flops” with Seussical the Musical.

I performed in this show my freshman year of college and fell in love with it. The music and lyrics are by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty who are honestly my favorite musical creators (Ragtime, Once on this Island, and Seussical are three of the most perfect cast recordings I own) and the original production was directed by Frank Galati. As you have probably guessed, the story is based on the works of Dr. Seuss with the main plot of the musical being comprised of the stories “Horton Hears a Who” and “Horton Hatches the Egg” so our protagonists are Horton the Elephant and Jojo (the son of Whoville’s mayor) with the Cat in the Hat serving as narrator. Other main players include Gertrude McFuzz, Mayzie LaBird, the Sour Kangaroo, and the Wickersham Brothers, with special appearances by notable Seussian characters such as the Grinch and Yertle the Turtle.

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Theatre Thursdays: Broadway Back on Track!

As you all know, the United States’ East Coast has been very affected by Hurricane Sandy and Broadway has been no exception, cancelling scheduled performances and special events as NYC, like many other cities, was crippled by the dangerous weather. Thankfully, as of Wednesday, Oct. 31st, most Broadway shows have returned to their regularly scheduled performances!

It’s good to see the city getting back on its feet and comforting to know that the lights of Broadway will be shining once more. I don’t mean to belittle or downplay any of the damage caused by Sandy. I’m not here to say “Broadway’s up and running so nothing else matters!” because I know there has been loss of life from this storm and damages to neighborhoods which will mean hardships for those who try to rebuild and those tragedies greatly outweigh the small misfortune of a play being cancelled. The reason I’m celebrating this is because after a tragedy there needs to be hope and that’s what this news says to me.

The performers, technicians, and theater staff employed by these shows are able to return to work; the audience members get to be transported again by the magic of the theatrical arts; and everyone involved gets to enjoy this gift once again. I really believe that the arts can have an uncanny ability to heal and Broadway’s return will hopefully be a promising start to the rebuilding for those affected by this storm.