Thursday, November 05, 2015

Theatre Weekend in NYC !

Oh fair blog, I have deserted you.

A rachel in times square 

But, I did want to touch base about my amazing Broadway weekend.  What is a broadway weekend, you might ask?  Well, it’s when you go to New York City ,stay at a hotel just off Times Square and see a bunch of theatre.

My friends and I met in NYC on a Friday morning. Went to the Strand bookstore and then commenced a theatre weekend.

I saw Amazing Grace Friday Night

Tosca at the MET on Saturday afternoon, the King and I at the Lincoln Centre Saturday night

Daddy Long Legs Sunday afternoon

The Fantasticks Sunday night .

L: Lincoln Centre R: The STRAND BOOKSTORE

The great thing about this weekend was that the theatre was varied!  An opera, 2 off-broadway shows presented in intimate spaces and two big budget musicals.   

And what about these shows?

Amazing Grace is a passion project  and as a long time student of hymnody and the history of the great hymnists it was a must see for me. It was closing weekend for the show and the cast was had some of the best voices I have ever heard on stage.   While the story of John Newton is a fabulous subject, I couldn’t help but think that the musical would’ve been even better had it had a more competent score and stronger lyrics.  The staging ( including one impressive shipwreck scene ) transported you back to 18th Century England.   A nod to the musical’s focus on Mary Catlett who really is in a wonderful and unexpected way, the heart of the story.
Broadway night L: with Sonja at AG!

Tosca was an exercise in marathon singing featuring some of the world’s most renowned operatic voices.  Puccini is all romance: swooping and sighing and long recitatives and the MET auditorium and its almost ethereal acoustics was the perfect house for this epic exercise in song.  While opera is not my favourite medium, I loved the experience.

The King and I had some of the best staging I have ever seen for a musical.  As Anna and her young son arrive in 19th Century Siam, their boat steers a clear path, overtaking the stage and covering the orchestra pit underneath. The dancing, singing, choreography and magnificently buoyant and intelligent Kelli O’Hara gave this classic musical a modern and feminist slant.  I really appreciated seeing it anew.

Daddy Long Legs was my favourite show of the weekend.  It is a chamber musical playing off-broadway and based very closely on the epistolary novel by Jean Webster. I was familiar with the concept recording which I have been listening to non-stop and was delighted to hear that most of the music had been preserved in the broadway production.  A cast recording featuring the actor and actress we saw will release next week.   It is just a perfect musical. Basically tailor-made for Rachel.  Sweet and scholarly with dollops of literary infusion and a really careful and smart romance. I loved the writer heroine and the kuntsleroman sentiments and I loved the clever way they interwove Jervis’ reactions to her beguiling letters.   This musical is a kind, small world of its own with fantastic singing, perfect staging, a charming book-filled set and nuanced humour.  It really is the coziest cashmere way to spend an afternoon at the theatre.
a rachel at lincoln centre

The Fantasticks was a show that everyone knows and it is a staple of musical theatre but that I was pretty much unfamiliar with. A sparkling, well-sung allegory, it reminded me of the vaudevillian tropes of old: paper moons and streamers, hats and a mime, a magical trunk that provided all of the props and costumes needed to collectively imagine the myth of Pyramis and Thisbe with a sometimes mournful, always light and airy musical score.

A perfect little confection with plenty laugh-out-loud moments

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