Theatre Thursdays: Select 2013 Tony Performances

For the second year in a row I was unable to watch the Tony broadcast (grumblegrumble *work* grumblegrumble *adulthood*), so once again I must turn to YouTube to see the performances. Rather than posting all of them like I did last year, I’m just going to post the ones I was most interested in for this year’s ceremony.

Motown: The Musical

I’ve kept a tentative interest open on this musical since I first heard of it a few months ago. The story of black artists in the music industry is rife with drama and can certainly make for great musical theatre but I wasn’t sure to what extent this show would be a jukebox musical so I figured I’d wait and see some more from it. Would it include well-known songs in addition to an original score, or would it be entirely comprised of existing music?

Judging by the performance it seems to be the latter option, which doesn’t exactly thrill me. Just to be sure I checked out the show’s page and found this in the description: “an explosive new musical featuring almost 60 of the most beloved hits in the Motown music catalogue.”

Good Lord, 60?? Even sung-through musicals barely reach that high of a song count! I don’t feel this is one I’ll personally try too hard to see, but the cast looks and sounds phenomenal and it’s been selling really well every time I check the Broadway grosses so there’s clearly an audience for it. Maybe it really comes together when seen as a whole so if it tours I might give it a shot.


Though nominated in the Best Revival category, this is technically the first Broadway production of Cinderella, despite it being over 40 years old. This doesn’t really have anything to do with the performance, I just found it shocking and thought it was worth sharing so you could be as dumbfounded as I was when I learned this little fact.

The performance here is lovely; this cast is great, but the biggest stars of the number are those costumes! I mean, did you see that??? Those dresses just morphed in front of your eyes! And they do that live and in person eight times a week! I understand the basic concept behind the design but the flawless execution is beyond my comprehension. It is simply magic. Thank God they took home the award for Costume Design.


Beautiful performance. The cast has performed the “Naughty/Revolting Children” combo a few times already to promote the show on various television programs so I’m glad they also included “When I Grow Up” to make it a little more special for the Tonys and just because I love that song (or at least, what I’ve seen of it since I still haven’t seen this show). I love that it calls attention to the fact that “When I grow up” is kind of an ever-moving goal; we continue to grow throughout our lives and probably never really feel like the all-knowing, fearless, confident beings we thought we would become when we became “grown-ups”.

Guh, I just really love everything I’m seeing/hearing of this show and am dying to see it.

Bring it On: The Musical

I pretty much gushed about this show when I reviewed it so of course I was pumped up for their performance! I think this is the first time I’ve ever actually seen a show before it performed on the Tonys, so maybe that’s why I’m feeling like something is lacking from this showcase. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something seems off to me. Maybe it’s that the show closed and the cast hasn’t performed together in almost six months; maybe it’s the cuts made to the song to shorten it; maybe it’s that the lighting cues seem just a teensy bit behind; or maybe it’s just because this number was so phenomenal live and that can’t quite be re-captured when seen on video.

It’s probably that last one, since the experience is so great in my memory it just can’t be matched by anything other than a live, in-person performance. I’m glad this song was performed because it’s one of my favorites from the show and it shows off a decent amount of the cheerleading and most of the cast gets to shine, though it’s a bummer the song doesn’t feature Taylor Louderman’s character since she was more or less the lead and did an excellent job. I’m really glad Ariana DeBose got the spotlight for her section though, because she was one of the standouts for me when I saw the show but hasn’t gotten much mention in reviews I’ve read of the show (including my own, which I rather regret) so it was great seeing her work the stage in her featured part.

Kinky Boots

I think this show looks pretty great. Cyndi Lauper did the music; Jerry Mitchell the choreography; and it’s about the creation of the perfect drag boot so everything about it says it’s gonna be a fun night at the theater. This performance is exciting and though it doesn’t really revolutionize my view of the show, it reinforces my desire to see it.


Still just in awe of this production’s seamless incorporation of the circus performance into the show. It works so well with the music and the Fosse-style choreography and I don’t have much to say about this that I haven’t said before: Patina is still flawless; the production is still gorgeous; and I still want to see it. Thankfully, it’s touring.

Well, despite my intentions I think I ended up talking about almost every performance. Whoops. Well, it was a night of great performances, what could I do? The ceremonies seemed pretty nice this year. I’m glad they were once again held in Radio City Music Hall because I love the grandeur of that huge performance space and i really liked that the casts of other shows introduced the performances. Even if the connection between the two shows was pretty forced at times, it was good to see them there to remind people that so many great shows are still running and gave a good sense of the community of Broadway. Hopefully something similar will be done at next year’s ceremonies.

And hopefully I’ll be able to watch them live, because I’m sick of having to rely on YouTube!

Trailer Tuesdays: Pippin on Broadway

I already talked about my excitement for this revival a few weeks ago, so getting to see some footage from the show definitely makes me a happy camper.

What can I say? The show looks brilliant. The cirque work is phenomenal; Patina Miller is electric; costumes, sets, and lighting are all en pointe. If I could raise any complaint it would be that Matthew James Thomas’ (Pippin) snippet of “Corner of the Sky” sounds a little underwhelming, but to my ear it seems like a studio recording and those always come off sounding rather canned when paired with live footage. He sounds a lot better in “Morning Glow” towards the end of the trailer, so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt here.

I’m really happy with the way the company looks and sounds. It can be risky bringing in a group of specialized performers to a musical, in this case circus performers, because blending them in with the Broadway performers poses a challenge. Obviously, the circus troupe will be leagues ahead of the ensemble when performing acrobatics and the like, while the theatrical ensemble of trained singers and dancers will probably be stronger when those talents are called upon. Judging by the preview, these talents seem to have been blended very well and no one looks like they’re struggling with something that goes beyond their abilities in any aspect. Many kudos to Diane Paulus (Direction), Gypsy Snider (Circus), and Chet Walker (Choreography) for creating such a well-integrated production.

Now all I have to do is convince my New York buddy to see the show so I can see how everything works out in person!

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:

Ben Vereen and Patina Miller. Photo credit:

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!

Top Ten Everyman Characters in Geekdom

The Everyman (or Everyperson, as the case may be) is one of the most underestimated and important characters in storytelling. The Everyman is a character with no powers or special abilities outside of those that a normal person might have. The Everyman is not the chosen one; they usually are the stand-in character for the audience (though not always); and they can be the main character or supporting in the story. But the biggest and most key factor here is that they must be a completely and utterly ordinary character. This character represents what a normal person would be like in an extraordinary situation.

Many movies, TV shows, and books like to indulge in our fantasies by revealing that an ordinary person is actually someone amazing. These stories say, “Are you an awkward outcast and loner? Well, that’s actually because you’re a wizard/demigod/slayer/the chosen one!” And while this particular plot is great and all, at some point when watching or reading about one of these characters, you might wonder what it would be like if you were in the story. You then quickly realize that you are not a mutant/fairy/genius/alien and that you would be extremely screwed if you were to step into the story just as you are now.

But what if you weren’t? The beauty of the Everyman isn’t just that they are completely normal and average, but that they somehow survive against all odds in impossible circumstances.

So without further ado, here are my Top Ten Everyman Characters in Geekdom:

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Trailer Tuesdays: Some more Hobbit

Since there seems to be no end to my love for The Hobbit, I’m going to post another trailer.

Martin Freeman is the best Hobbit. I love it when his neighbor is asking “Where are you off to?” and he answers “I’m going on an adventure!” Can you blame me for being excited?! I also love Bilbo in the scene with Gollum, where Gollum is saying that he is going to eat Bilbo whole and Bilbo’s response is, “That’s fair.” Freeman’s face is perfect.

Also, Gandalf says “home is behind you and the world ahead”, which is a line in the song that Pippin sings to Denethor in Return of the King. If you guys don’t believe me, take a look below.