Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

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Appa23
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Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#1 Post by Appa23 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:37 pm

Rather than join the bloviating on tomorrow's elections, I am going to take a moment to discuss some recent trips to see shows, as well as what is on the horizon.

While in Chicago for the weekend for college visits (mainly Loyola-Chicago), my son and I had the opportunity to shell out way too much money to see "Hamilton". I only say way too much money because the tickets cost close to what I paid for 2 tickets of a whole season of touring Broadway shows for this year (2018-2019), which includes Hamilton, in Omaha. However, the show itself actually was better than I even imagined. Lyrically, musically, staging-wise, it was top-notch. The audience had some issues, with late arrivals and early departures , and noise during the show. My son, the theatre snob, had some thoughts about the lack of theater etiquette.

Other than it is a cultural event, one of the other reasons why we wanted to attend the show was that The Boy was cast in his high school's production of "Bring It On" as Twig, so it was a chance to experience other actors' cadence and style with Miranda's lyrics.

This past weekend, we attended the opening show of the Broadway series here in Omaha -- "The Play That Goes Wrong". It was described on the radio as "Monty Python Meets Sherlock Holmes", and it is a very apt tagline. It probably was the funniest play that I have ever seen, both with clever writing and physical comedy. As it is a touring company, one of the things that they do is work local jokes and references into the show, so they had to bring up the new Nebraska tourism slogan -- "Nebraska, It's Not For Everyone". What made it even funnier was that the show correctly understood that the slogan is a comment not on Nebraska but rather ignorant "coastal" folk who view this as flyover country. If you haven't seen this show, I highly recommend it. [The only down side to the show is that my son attended a master class for high school students last week, and they just did improve exercises, so he was disappointed.)

Of course, in the coming weeks, as Christmas comes into view, we will be attending "Bring It On" as well as a lighter-than-normal amount of "The Nutcracker". Because of schedules, for the first time in 7-8 years, my son will not be performing in the ballet, as all of the various performances are the same weekend as the high school musical. However, a girl that danced with my oldest two is dancing the role of Clara in the Lincoln version before she heads to dance next year as a trainee at Ballet West in Utah, so we are catching a show. (Her mother was the first real ballet teacher for them, and is the reason why my son decided to seriously study ballet after being cast in his first Nutcracker in Lincoln.)

BTW, here is the rest of the season in Omaha: Aladdin; On Your Feet (Gloria Estafan musical); Come From Away; School of Rock; Miss Saigon; Hamilton (Sept 2019).

We will likely try to trade On Your Feet tickets for a touring dance show, plus attend Book of Mormon in Lincoln in December.

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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#2 Post by silverscreenselect » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:59 pm

It's interesting that we will be spending election night at the theater this year. I hadn't planned on it, but the Atlanta Opera Company is putting on a production of West Side Story with full orchestral accompaniment. They rarely do traditional musicals but they've conducted extensive auditions to get opera singers for this one. And since their tickets normally command top dollar, I jumped when I had a chance to pick up a pair very cheap... but tomorrow night is the only night they will have cheap tickets available.
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#3 Post by ghostjmf » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:16 pm

Why didn't they want Broadway singers?

WSS is not an opera. (I hate modern classical mezzo-sopranos, & will say this show does not call for opera singers in any part.)
Last edited by ghostjmf on Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#4 Post by Bob Juch » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:25 pm

I lived three blocks north of the CBIC Theater two years ago for the three months I had to be onsite at HCSC. I forget what they had playing then because it wasn't something I wanted to see. The only show I went to then was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Oriental, directly across from the door to my apartments.
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#5 Post by silverscreenselect » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:31 pm

ghostjmf wrote:Why didn't they want Broadway singers?
They didn't want Broadway singers because this is an opera company and their contacts are in the opera world, not musical theater. This particular production is a co-production with three other opera companies that was performed earlier this year in Houston, Kansas City, and Chicago. The Atlanta Opera Company has often gone somewhat afield in staging less traditional shows. Last year, they did Sweeney Todd, and their next show this season will be an operatic version of Dead Man Walking (their other two shows this season are more traditional selections, Eugene Onegin and La Traviata).
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#6 Post by Bob Juch » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:35 pm

silverscreenselect wrote:
ghostjmf wrote:Why didn't they want Broadway singers?
They didn't want Broadway singers because this is an opera company and their contacts are in the opera world, not musical theater. This particular production is a co-production with three other opera companies that was performed earlier this year in Houston, Kansas City, and Chicago. The Atlanta Opera Company has often gone somewhat afield in staging less traditional shows. Last year, they did Sweeney Todd, and their next show this season will be an operatic version of Dead Man Walking (their other two shows this season are more traditional selections, Eugene Onegin and La Traviata).
An Operatic Sweeny Todd must have been a blast!
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#7 Post by Estonut » Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:02 am

Appa23 wrote:Other than it is a cultural event, one of the other reasons why we wanted to attend the show was that The Boy was cast in his high school's production of "Bring It On" as Twig, so it was a chance to experience other actors' cadence and style with Miranda's lyrics.
I saw "Bring It On" about 7 or 8 years ago at the Ahmanson, but had no idea that Lin-Manuel Miranda had anything to do with it. Few had heard of him back then.
Appa23 wrote:This past weekend, we attended the opening show of the Broadway series here in Omaha -- "The Play That Goes Wrong". It was described on the radio as "Monty Python Meets Sherlock Holmes", and it is a very apt tagline. It probably was the funniest play that I have ever seen, both with clever writing and physical comedy. As it is a touring company, one of the things that they do is work local jokes and references into the show, so they had to bring up the new Nebraska tourism slogan -- "Nebraska, It's Not For Everyone". What made it even funnier was that the show correctly understood that the slogan is a comment not on Nebraska but rather ignorant "coastal" folk who view this as flyover country. If you haven't seen this show, I highly recommend it. [The only down side to the show is that my son attended a master class for high school students last week, and they just did improve exercises, so he was disappointed.)
Glad to hear this. It is coming to the Ahmanson next summer.
Appa23 wrote:BTW, here is the rest of the season in Omaha: Aladdin; On Your Feet (Gloria Estafan musical); Come From Away; School of Rock; Miss Saigon; Hamilton (Sept 2019).
"Come from Away" is the next play in our series. I will see it in early December.
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#8 Post by silverscreenselect » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:28 pm

ghostjmf wrote:Why didn't they want Broadway singers?

WSS is not an opera. (I hate modern classical mezzo-sopranos, & will say this show does not call for opera singers in any part.)
The show was very impressive. The quieter singing numbers ("Maria," "Tonight," "Somewhere Out There") sounded a lot like operatic arias and a lot more emotive than the local productions of WSS I'd seen before. The dance numbers were also excellent.
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#9 Post by Estonut » Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:25 am

Appa23 wrote:BTW, here is the rest of the season in Omaha: Aladdin; On Your Feet (Gloria Estafan musical); Come From Away; School of Rock; Miss Saigon; Hamilton (Sept 2019).
I just saw "Come from Away" at the Ahmanson Theatre last night and thoroughly enjoyed everything about it.
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#10 Post by silverscreenselect » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:52 pm

Mrs. SSS and I went to see a most unusual Christmas show tonight. It was the world premiere of the "Ethel Merman Disco Christmas Spectacular," an imaginary TV special that supposedly took place at Studio 54 in 1979. The "guests" on the show were Andy Warhol, Donna Summer, Truman Capote, and Michael Jackson. The actors playing the celebrities had the mannerisms down pat and the woman playing Ethel had her voice down as well. Probably because they didn't want to pay royalties to use any actual Merman songs (or disco songs of that era), all the music was disco versions of classic (and public domain) Christmas tunes and carols.

The show was put on by a gay-friendly theater company here in Atlanta, which made for an interesting experience at intermission. They had two unisex bathrooms, with the sign "we don't care" on both of them (although one did have a couple of urinals). BTW, I would say that the audience was about half male/female couples and half not.
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#11 Post by Appa23 » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:15 pm

silverscreenselect wrote:Mrs. SSS and I went to see a most unusual Christmas show tonight. It was the world premiere of the "Ethel Merman Disco Christmas Spectacular," an imaginary TV special that supposedly took place at Studio 54 in 1979. The "guests" on the show were Andy Warhol, Donna Summer, Truman Capote, and Michael Jackson. The actors playing the celebrities had the mannerisms down pat and the woman playing Ethel had her voice down as well. Probably because they didn't want to pay royalties to use any actual Merman songs (or disco songs of that era), all the music was disco versions of classic (and public domain) Christmas tunes and carols.

The show was put on by a gay-friendly theater company here in Atlanta, which made for an interesting experience at intermission. They had two unisex bathrooms, with the sign "we don't care" on both of them (although one did have a couple of urinals). BTW, I would say that the audience was about half male/female couples and half not.
I don't know if there are many theater companies that aren't gay-friendly, even if NPH says that Broadway isn't just for gays anymore.

FTR, ballet companies also are pretty friendly to gay people. :)

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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#12 Post by silverscreenselect » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:06 pm

Appa23 wrote:
silverscreenselect wrote:Mrs. SSS and I went to see a most unusual Christmas show tonight. It was the world premiere of the "Ethel Merman Disco Christmas Spectacular," an imaginary TV special that supposedly took place at Studio 54 in 1979. The "guests" on the show were Andy Warhol, Donna Summer, Truman Capote, and Michael Jackson. The actors playing the celebrities had the mannerisms down pat and the woman playing Ethel had her voice down as well. Probably because they didn't want to pay royalties to use any actual Merman songs (or disco songs of that era), all the music was disco versions of classic (and public domain) Christmas tunes and carols.

The show was put on by a gay-friendly theater company here in Atlanta, which made for an interesting experience at intermission. They had two unisex bathrooms, with the sign "we don't care" on both of them (although one did have a couple of urinals). BTW, I would say that the audience was about half male/female couples and half not.
I don't know if there are many theater companies that aren't gay-friendly, even if NPH says that Broadway isn't just for gays anymore.

FTR, ballet companies also are pretty friendly to gay people. :)
I struggled with the best way to describe this company. From their website:
Out Front Theatre Company, was established to tell stories of the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intergender, Allied) experience and community, giving voice to LGBTQIA+ authors, composers, artists, and creators through the medium of theatre and the performing arts. Out Front plans to develop new works and produce classic pieces of theatre that have communicated these stories of the LGBTQIA+ population to a wider audience over time.

As a non-profit organization with a dedicated focus to better the LGBTQIA+ population, we strive to:
•Produce established works and premiere productions created by members of the LGBTQIA+ society,
•Generate productions with universal themes, which are important to the LGBTQIA+ community,
•Educate the populous to LGBTQIA+ history through quality theatrical productions,
•Work with local and national LGBTQIA+ organizations to bring awareness of issues facing the LGBTQIA+ to the greater Atlanta area through the medium of theatre,
•Create artistic and educational opportunities for at-risk LGBTQIA+ youths by collaborating with local educational institutions and organizations,
•Expand the number of theatrical opportunities for artists who are members of or who support the LQBTQIA+ community.
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#13 Post by Vandal » Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:38 am

For my birthday, I got tickets to see Jersey Boys in Providence next May. I'm really looking forward to it.

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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#14 Post by Estonut » Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:23 pm

Vandal wrote:For my birthday, I got tickets to see Jersey Boys in Providence next May. I'm really looking forward to it.

Image
I was never the biggest Frankie Valli fan growing up. I knew and liked the stuff I heard on the radio, but never bought an album of theirs. "Jersey Boys" was part of my Ahmanson Theatre subscription in 2007 and, again, in 2017. I enjoyed both performances very much. The first time, I remember being astounded that I knew all but 2 or 3 of the 24/25 songs in the play. The second time, I had not remembered so much of the story being mob-related. I don't know if that was because they fleshed out that part of the story in the 10 years between, or if I was concentrating more on the music the first time around.

Anyone who had a radio back then would like this musical. Even moreso if you are a fan of the band.
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#15 Post by Appa23 » Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:00 pm

Estonut wrote:
Appa23 wrote:BTW, here is the rest of the season in Omaha: Aladdin; On Your Feet (Gloria Estafan musical); Come From Away; School of Rock; Miss Saigon; Hamilton (Sept 2019).
I just saw "Come from Away" at the Ahmanson Theatre last night and thoroughly enjoyed everything about it.
Saw "Come from Away" yesterday, and it now is my favorite musical to see live. I think that it runs about 90 minutes, no intermission, and is incredibly funny and incredibly moving. I love scaled down productions, where the focus is on the acting/singing/music. [My sole "nerdy" complaint is that there are references to bonobo chimpanzees being on one of the planes, when bonobo and chimpanzee are different species, which one can see at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. I just attributed that dialogue to trying to express how a Newfie might describe them.]

The cast remarked how poignant it was to perform the musical in an area still recovering from a natural disaster, where so many people stepped forward to help people that they did not know.

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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#16 Post by Vandal » Mon May 13, 2019 7:16 am

My wife and I saw Jersey Boys this weekend at the Providence Performing Arts Center. It's a beautiful 3100-seat theater located in the Arts District in downtown Providence. Here's the inside of the PPAC:

Image


Jersey Boys was incredible! Everything about it--the acting, the singing, the staging--was top notch. We had balcony seats and they were great (not a bad seat in the house). The set was sparse, just a metal catwalk above and stairs down the side, similar to this:

Image

The actors pushed props on and off the stage as needed (and they needed to a lot). What a production. It was two and a half hours with a fifteen minute intermission.

I'm amazed that since this show's debut in 2005, they've managed to find so many talented Italian-looking singers who are just over five feet tall, and can act and dance and can sing with a falsetto like Frankie Valli. I read in the program that some of the cast members have played multiple parts in the play over the years. What fun!

The highlight of the show (for me) was the song Can't Take My Eyes Off You. Several horn players came out on the catwalk for the brass parts. The song brought the house down and got a well-deserved standing O.

Did I mention that we liked this show? Yes. Yes, I did. Go see it if you get a chance.

Oh, what a night!
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#17 Post by BackInTex » Mon May 13, 2019 7:31 am

Vandal wrote:My wife and I saw Jersey Boys this weekend at the Providence Performing Arts Center. It's a beautiful 3100-seat theater located in the Arts District in downtown Providence. Here's the inside of the PPAC:
Wow! What a gorgeous venue.

I haven't seen the show but both my wife and I would like to, one day.
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#18 Post by Beebs52 » Mon May 13, 2019 8:56 am

Coolcoolcool.
Oh please.

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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#19 Post by T_Bone0806 » Mon May 13, 2019 9:00 am

BackInTex wrote:
Vandal wrote:My wife and I saw Jersey Boys this weekend at the Providence Performing Arts Center. It's a beautiful 3100-seat theater located in the Arts District in downtown Providence. Here's the inside of the PPAC:
Wow! What a gorgeous venue.

I haven't seen the show but both my wife and I would like to, one day.

Saw a road company version several years ago. It was, indeed, a thoroughly enjoyable show. The movie version was a little underachieving, but the stage version is excellent.
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#20 Post by tlynn78 » Mon May 13, 2019 9:09 am

Wow, that's a gorgeous venue!
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#21 Post by Ritterskoop » Mon May 13, 2019 5:51 pm

Jersey Boys is loaded with some F-words, but it seems organic, as if this is how folks really talk. I most loved about it the emphasis on how a song is written, and how Bob Gaudio got his time in the spotlight as a songwriter and guy who holds things together.
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#22 Post by Vandal » Mon May 13, 2019 9:17 pm

I was a little surprised at the amount of swearing, but it did seem to fit with the story.

They managed to give each of the band members a chance to narrate the story, which I thought was cool. Nick Massi (bass player) was definitely low man on the band pole (he even made a Ringo joke in regards to his band status), but he got in his shots. Tommy definitely got in the best lines (and swears).

I know the writers wanted historical accuracy, but this an all-white play with not a POC to be found. It doesn't bother me since it has been that way since its inception. More recent plays (like Hamilton) have embraced a more diverse cast. Leslie Odom, Jr, won a Tony playing the very white Aaron Burr. Traditional roles are often recast with non-traditional actors.

I'm not saying Jersey Boys should change and I'm not saying they're wrong. It's just noticeable.
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#23 Post by Vandal » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:11 pm

Not quite "the theatre," but certainly a departure for us with a dose of much needed culture. My wife and I went to see the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra perform a free concert in Bristol, Rhode Island.

We were in the back, so this is not a great shot:

Image

They played for about 90 minutes and included some recognizable songs, like Star Wars theme, Apollo 13 theme and selected 2001: A Space Odyssey songs (as a salute to the 50 year anniversary of Apollo 11). They finished off with 1812 Overture and Stars and Stripes Forever, much to the delight of the crowd.

I've never been a big fan of classical music, but as I've gotten older, I've learned to appreciate more types of music and musicianship. As I looked around the crowd, I first thought they were on the older side. Then I realized many were just like us:

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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#24 Post by silverscreenselect » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:49 am

Mrs. SSS and I went to an interesting show last night at one of the local theater companies (small theater with about 100 seats). It was called 12 Angry Jurors, and it bore a considerable similarity to a well-known Henry Fonda movie called 12 Angry Men. I have seen both the Fonda movie and a 1990s TV movie with Jack Lemmon in the Fonda role, and the differences and similarities among the three productions provided an interesting commentary on changing attitudes over the years.

The plot is virtually the same, although this play, with a 75 minute running time, probably edited some of the original screenplay out. A young man (who was identified as Puerto Rican in the Fonda film but never clearly identified here) is accused of killing his father in an argument and the jury originally votes 11-1 for conviction with the Fonda/Lemmon character the only holdout. Eventually, he persuades the others to change their votes. The jurors were all white, all male in the Fonda version, but racially mixed in the Lemmon version and in the play I saw. I thought it would be interesting if the Fonda/Lemmon character were played by a woman (there were four women in the jury in the play), but it was a man and he wasn't all that good because he acted like somewhat of a smarmy jerk at times.

The one actor I really liked was the main antagonist, played by Lee J. Cobb in the Fonda film and George C. Scott in the Lemmon film. This guy was actually channeling Lee J. Cobb; he had the mannerisms and voice patterns nearly perfect (I don't know if he deliberately patterned his performance after Cobb or not, but it was quite an impression). He didn't try to mimic Cobb's voice but he had the right vocal pacing.

The other interesting character was the one out-and-out bigot on the jury, who lashes into a tirade about "those people." He was played in the Fonda film by Ed Begley, and, interestingly enough, in the Lemmon film by a black actor, Mykelti Williamson. Here, it was a middle-aged man who wore a cowboy hat and talked with a western drawl (the show is set in New York City), which I thought made things a little bit too obvious.

All in all, it's still a great drama, and both the film versions are well worth seeing.
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Re: Ignoring Politics -- The Theatre

#25 Post by Bob Juch » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:55 am

I played Juror #2 in my freshman English class. It wasn't fun.
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