Dear Evan Hansen: A Tasteless Exercise in Forgiving White Male Mediocrity

I love me some musical theater. So while I had heard from a friend that Dear Evan Hansen had a deeply unpleasant storyline, when my mom offered to buy me and my brother, who was visiting from my hometown, tickets, I figured I’d give the show the chance to prove itself. I headed into the theater last Saturday night knowing none of the music and with only my friend’s brief synopsis of the plot to go on. What followed was two and a half hours of the most disgustingly tasteless story I have had the misfortune to experience in a theater. I spent the entire first act feeling like I was actually going to be sick to my stomach, and found no real solace in the second act, which was frustratingly absent any repercussions for the title character’s reprehensible behavior.

(via playbill)

Spoilers for the show and a trigger warning for discussion of ableism and suicide after the jump.

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Throwback Thursdays: Wicked

The first time I saw Wicked, it was 2005, and my high school musical’s cast, crew, and a passel of chaperones had come to New York to see the sights—including the still relatively new show. We sat in the very last row of the very last balcony, and I cried like a baby at the end. (I still do, even just listening to the soundtrack.)

Time passed, and a million fairy tale retellings, Ozian and otherwise, came and went, inundating movies, books, television, and comics. But no matter how these stories ebbed and flowed in popularity, Wicked has stayed strong and stayed open, belting out its loving but revisionist history of L. Frank Baum’s fairytale world eight times a week at the Gershwin Theatre in New York. However, I haven’t seen the show in years, and the last time I saw it was with the national tour, rather than the Broadway version. So when a good friend came to visit me in NYC a few weeks ago and asked if I wanted to go see the show, her treat, I was delighted to agree. I was surprised to find, however, that despite the show’s age, it seems more relevant now than ever.

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Beautiful Made Me Feel, Well, Lots of Things

beautiful headerLast weekend was my mom’s birthday, and as part of her present we all went to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway. While I certainly wasn’t expecting to hate it, I wasn’t expecting to be blown away either; I didn’t know much about the story except what my mom had told me, and I’m not the biggest fan of jukebox musicals (musicals based on pop music). Despite all that, I’m happy to report that it was actually a beautiful and touching show.

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Theatre Thursdays: How I Learned Representation Matters

It is the sad duty of this blogger to inform the people of the internet that Theatre Thursdays, a weekly glimpse into the world of the performing arts, entered immortality at 800 hours today.

Cue requiem.

Yes, this article marks the end of Theatre Thursdays as a weekly column here on Lady Geek Girl and Friends. We’ve loved having it as a feature on the site, but the time has come to shift our focus elsewhere. Don’t worry! There will still be the occasional post on various live performing arts! We just won’t be devoting weekly articles to the genre.

With the close of this column, I want to finally write an article that I’ve been playing around with in my head. I’ve had this idea gestating for a few years but never felt quite ready to put it into words. This is the story of the time I saw the musical In the Heights and realized how important representation in entertainment really is.

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Theatre Thursdays: Is Race Lifting in Theatre a Lie?

This month, Keke Palmer will be the first Black actress to take on Cinderella’s glass slippers on Broadway, following in the recent footsteps of the likes of Norm Lewis being the first Black actor to star in Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera. We’ve talked a fair amount about colorblind casting on this blog, and I’d say these are examples of the practice working for its desired benefits: making sure actors of color get a fair chance at playing a variety of roles, including leading roles that have long been considered “whites-only” territory. However, I’m asking the reader to consider: is Broadway seeing its first Black Cinderella, or merely the first Black actress to play Cinderella? What is the distinction and why does it matter? Allow me to elucidate.

Keke Palmer's debut as Cinderella is September 9th, right around the corner!

Keke Palmer’s debut as Cinderella is September 9, right around the corner!

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Theatre Thursdays: If/Then

I had the extreme luck to see a bunch of awesome shows on Broadway last week (thanks, Mom!), one of which was If/Then. I had no idea what the story was going in; rather, we’d picked it based on its starring talent—namely, Idina Menzel, supported by La Chanze and Anthony Rapp.

IfThen musical playbillHowever, while the performance itself was definitely spectacular and the show’s premise was ambitious, the show itself was kind of unremarkable.

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Theatre Thursdays: Broadway in Black

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Gentle Readers,

This is my last post as a regular writer for Lady Geek Girl & Friends. It’s been a wonderful yearlong ride, so big thanks to everyone here at the blog and you all for reading my posts. I hope that I’ve written something in the past twelve months that made you think a little. Now that we’ve gotten all the sappiness out of the way, let’s talk about theatre. More specifically, let’s talk about diversity in theatre. I’m always on the lookout for good, diverse theatre, as well as projects and performances that reach out to non-mainstream audiences. I’ve made argument after argument about the importance of more inclusive theatre. At this stage, to rehash each and every one for you would be redundant. So let me take you somewhere else. Continue reading