Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Legally Brown: The Search For The Next Piragua Guy

I don't think I've ever laughed so hard.

Watching the first YouTube video of Legally Brown: The Search For the Next Piragua Guy is like a jolt of energy that tickles your funny bone and makes you want to do a happy dance.
No kidding.

This playful series written and directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of In The Heights, is a spoof of MTV's summer snooze, Legally Blonde: The Search For the Next Elle Woods (omg, that takes forever to write out, you're correct Seth Rudetsky).

For Brown, instead of looking for the next Usnavi or Benny, they dig deeper, who can be the next Piragua guy, the scene stealing belter who sells the ensemble icees throughout the show.

Hunter's Condition.
I love how you can tell Seth is cracking up while playing the piano.

Matthew Morrison, Boricua Bad Boy
Definitely my favorite of the videos. haha

At the beginning, my vote was for Mathew Morrison because well, come on.
But as events unfold, only the best man who can serve the icee with ease, agility and spanish will win, stay tuned to see who becomes...the next Piragua guy!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Somewhere - The Palace Theatre, that's where!

West Side Story has a homecoming date and residence. The revival will open on March 19, 2009 at the Palace Theatre, the current home of Legally Blonde. This production will be directed by the librettist Arthur Laurents (who recently mounted the Encores! and Broadway production of Gypsy with Patti Lupone).

"This show will be radically different from any other production of WEST SIDE STORY ever done. The musical theatre and cultural conventions of 1957 made it next to impossible for the characters to have authenticity. Every member of both gangs was always a potential killer even then. Now they actually will be. Only Tony and Maria try to live in a different world" said Arthur Laurents.

The producers are the team Seller and McCollum, among others. They're the ones who brought you In The Heights, Avenue A and Rent.

The production will have a try out in Washington D.C. before heading north for Times Square.

Okay, let's face it: I'm excited. Partly, because I have never seen a live production of this show and hopefully this will be really killer and authentic. Will Puerto Ricans really be Puerto Ricans on stage? Does that matter to the audience? As long as they can sing the Bernstein and Sondheim score?

For me, it's as long as the mambo dance scene is epic.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Legally Blonde - Closing

Another day, another closure.
This time it's for the blondes.

Legally Blonde opened spring 2007 and will officially close on October 19. The show plays at the Palace Theatre in the heart of Times Square. While I have never seen the production, I did watch the MTV broadcast as well as the "Search For The New Elle Woods" show this summer.

I have heard rumors that the new production of West Side Story is eyeing the Palace Theatre when it returns to Broadway in the spring. We shall see.

Bend and Snap people!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spiderman....The Musical?

We have Shrek.
We have Mary Poppins.
We have Dr. Frankenstein and his monster.
We have flying witches.
What else does Broadway need?
Oh but of course.
A superhero!

Grumblings around the Broadway community this past summer have heard casting calls for the new Julie Taymor musical....Spiderman!
Now, when I first heard this news....cue the....eye roll.
But learning that Julie Taymor is attached could make this all very interesting. This could potentionally go in the way of The Lion King or into the direction I am sure many would not like, The Times They Are A-Changin.

But let me ask the question - does Broadway need this show? Are there target demographics out there that have yet to be touched by the already broad spectrum of musicals on Broadway? My answer would be yes and no. This, to my knowledge, is the first an actual superhero will be attached to a musical. Although there aren't many "guy shows" on Broadway (although High Fidelity came to as close as that), will the knowledge of a Superman musical really put men in the seats? Will this be the first show where a man will turn to his spouse or girlfriend or partner and say, "Oh boy! Let's shell out $120 a ticket to see this spectacle on Broadway!"

Oh yes, the music. Who is doing the score....none other than Bono and the Edge of U2. Do they rank higher on the cool factor than say Elton John and Tim Rice (thank you very much Aida)? Will having Bono's ultra cool name attached to this project boost the interest of that male target? As usual, we will have to wait and see how they plan to market....oh yeah and stage this monster of a show.


Xanadu Skating Off Earlier

Xanadu will now end its run at the Helen Hayes Theatre September 28.
Damn the current economic crunch!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

[title of show] & Xanadu to close

The Broadway musicals, [title of show] and Xanadu are set to close on October 12th.

Xanadu opened July 2007 and had a healthy run, with four Tony nominations. I had the pleasure of seeing the show in October 2007 (where a petite Barbara Walters sat in front of me) and laughed my arse off for 90 minutes. I remember not knowing what to expect from the show, having never seen the infamous movie, but curious about the show due to its hot pink advertisements outside the Helen Hayes Theatre (I'm not joking). I've been wanting to see it again, for the pure fact that's it's just a fun show. Kerry Butler is amazing, and I was crossing my fingers for her at the Tonys back in June. Oh, and Cheyanne Jackson, yeah, I think everyone agrees when I say, most deserving of a Tony nom.

Moving onto [tos] as it's affectionately called by its fans. I recall hearing about this show back in it's off-broadway run, having a few friends who had been smitten by it. It's opening this July generated a lot of online buzz. Unfortunately, that didn't seem to cross over into the Lyceum Theatre (where I saw Is He Dead? ...amazing!). I had been planning on seeing the show as soon as I figured out my fall schedule but times are rough, even on Broadway, and the producers posted notice of its closing next month. See me....dashing to Broadwayoffers.com to pick up an orchestra seat for October 2. My first and only time but I truly hope, a memorable one.

According to an article I read last week, there will be 22 new productions this Broadway season. I don't have the stats on last year's season but that seems to be quite a lot. I hope Broadway can handle our current economic crunch and audiences will still flock to see the new and old on the Great White Way. When "little musicals that could" like, [title of show] and Xanadu close, it makes me wonder if the bigger shows like, A Tale of Two Cities and the up and coming Billy Elliot, are a few factors that crush the little guys. Would [tos] still be playing if it was on the west side of Broadway and in a smaller house? Did they need more print advertising? And most importantly, will Cheyanne Jackson be in the tour of Xanadu and wear those short shorts?


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

i wish you could see me, i'm looking so silly

My birthday was this past Monday and there was no better way then spend an evening listening to lovely music.
I've been a fan of John Gallagher Jr. even before I was able to see Spring Awakening over the summer of 2007. I listened to Old Springs Pike and then in turn, Johnny's solo music.
I never had the honor of watching him perform his own music, until this past Sunday at the Highline Ballroom in NYC.
His music is pretty incredible; of the heart.
His lyrics are beautiful; rhapsodic.

I can't wait to see the play Farragut North in November at the Atlantic Theatre Company. A political thriller drama....sounds good!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

it's a list; it's a gift

musicals i've seen.
as of June 2009

Hello, Dolly! (with the one and only carol channing)
The Phantom of the Opera (3)
Thoroughly Modern Millie (2)
The Sound of Music
Rent (12)
We Will Rock You; Vegas (8)
Les Miserables (4)
The Producers
Kiss Me, Kate
Mamma Mia
Aida (2)
42nd Street
The Lion King
Sweeney Todd (3)
The Drowsy Chaperone
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
tick, tick...BOOM! (2)
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Chita Rivera: A Dancer's Life
Jesus Christ Superstar
Altar Boyz (2)
Love, Janis
The Light In The Piazza
Spring Awakening (8)
Is He Dead? (Play)
In The Heights (5)
South Pacific - Bway Revival
The Wedding Singer
My Fair Lady
[title of show]
Gypsy w/ Patti Lupone
HAIR (2)
Next To Normal
Everyday Rapture

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mark Your Calendars!

The Tony Awards will be held June 7, 2009.
The event will once again be televised on CBS.

This season should be an exciting one, with new shows and revivals taking stage. It's shaping up to be a good season!

Hippie Life....to live on Broadway again!

Tommar Wilson and Will Swenson.

With the recent smash success of HAIR, presented by the Shakespeare in the Park this summer it was a no-brainer that it would transfer to a Broadway house soon. Spring 2009 will see the revival with casting, dates and house to be announced.

This very exciting news to hippies and non-hippies alike. Three extensions of the current version of HAIR, a recent outing in September 2007, and the Actor's Fund Benefit in 2004, what has taken Broadway so long to embrace the epic show? Is it midtown's lack of accessible theatres, location, talent, money? It seems, hopefully, all will fall in place next Spring and a new generation will be exposed to a classic.

Will Jonathan Groff reprise his role as Claude, or will Christopher Hanke take the reins, perhaps a new casting choice? Will Caren Lyn Manuel, Karen Olivo or another actress belt the role of Sheila?


Goodbye, Love....Hello World.

On Sunday, September 7, the final curtain was called on Jonathan Larson's RENT.

I start my Broadway blog, Midtown Utopia, with this poignant event. To say that RENT changed my life would be quite the understatement. I went to see the Benny Tour in Tempe, AZ in March of 2000 on a Sunday. The matinee had me sitting in the first tier of Gammage Auditorium eagerly waiting what I was about to watch. I had no idea what to expect or what, almost 9 years later, would do to my life.

There are only a few moments of that very first show that I can clearly remember. I recall telling my friend at intermission, as we were eating peanut M&Ms that Angel was my favorite and that I couldn't wait to see how it would all pan out. After, my mom purchased the cast recording and I soon had the cd in constant rotation. So much, that it became scratched and would have to be replaced many times. I can recall sitting on my bed, leafing through the the libretto, reading the names of the cast members and picturing how it would look on stage at the Nederlander on Broadway. How intimate the show must feel in such a small house, on such a small stage. How the energy must be bouncing off the walls during La Vie Boheme, how I'll Cover You: Reprise must bring the house down every night, how people must be exclaiming how much they enjoyed the show as they spilled out on 41st street.

As I said earlier, almost 9 years later, and I have been very lucky to see many incarnations of my beloved show. So many different casts, so many different takes on one single line, one single laugh, one single melody, had really taken over how much I enjoyed live theatre. Before RENT, I only had a few shows under my viewing belt. I knew The Phantom of the Opera, I had been able to see Carol Channing in Helly, Dolly but with RENT, it was special. It was different. It was life. It was death. It was funny. It was sad. It was me. And I could not wait to be a part of it somehow.

Since moving to the east coast for school I have been lucky enough to see many new shows open on Broadway. Yet in a way I feel like I've always neglicated that green building. I had only seen RENT in October with Anthony Rapp (Adam Pascal was out that matinee and I was able to see Luther Creek, amazing btw). I guess what I'm getting at, is that is my real regret. I know I'm supposed to "Forget, regret or life is yours to miss." But if I could turn back the clocks, I would have loved to have seen more performances, espcially would have loved to seen Caren Lyn Manuel as Mimi or Maureen. (love love love her!)

So to know that I had tickets to attend the last performance on Broadway was suprisingly bittersweet. Going into the theatre, I had mini spazz attacks because I kept noticing people left and right. And these people I had never seen before in person, these people were my Broadway idols. To know that they appreciated the life and work and integrity of the show meant everything. To be in attendance was just flabbergasting. I am so thankful for everything.

So to come to a close on my first entry, thanks for reading. I'm not sure what to expect from this blog but who knows. The gentleman sitting in front of my friend and I on Sunday turned around and told me I should start a blog. No joke. So here I am. Starting my first Broadway blog. Enjoy!
ps- If you are wondering why I choose to call this blog "Midtown Utopia", I do have a reason. Junior year in high school, we were asked to bring in something that reflected what we felt was our "Utopia". At the height of my RENT craze, I brought in a plywood board, of Midtown New York City. I had styrofoam buildings with the logo of the show on them and in correct position as they are in real life...my utopia.