Potted Potter: 7 Books in 70 Minutes

Take two guys, seven books, seventy minutes and an assorted array of props and you have Potted Potter! This is a show that Harry Potter fans will truly enjoy.

Dan and Jeff take the audience on a hilarious ride from Platform 9 3/4 to Hogwarts as they fearlessly battle dragons, Slytherins and You-Know-Who. There’s a bit of crowd participation with a rousing game of Quidditch and tons of opportunities for laughter. There was hardly a time that I wasn’t laughing!

The one and only issue I had with this show was the closing number – there were times when I couldn’t understand what they were singing, I’m not sure if this had to do with the audio in the theater or the fact that they were singing really quickly and I just couldn’t make out the words, either way, it would have been great to hear all the words of the song! Since this was the very end it felt a bit anti-climactic, which was sad because I thought the rest of the show was hilarious!

Overall, it was a fun experience. I don’t think they are playing in New York anymore, but if you do get the opportunity to see the show in another state/place, it’s definitely a show to watch.

The Not So Amazing Spider-Man

I went to see Spider-Man on Broadway and I was not impressed.

Let me explain.

The set was amazing! One of the best sets I’ve seen on Broadway. Think of a comic book panel; now pull that panel out so that it’s three dimensional. Add some lights, some flash, some bang. This was the set for the show. Spectacular! I loved it a lot. The set was impressive.

The acrobatics was breathtaking. Spider-Man (or men, since there were about 9) swinging over the audience was a sight! I can understand why they had so much trouble opening this show and so many accidents, the actors really do swing over the audience just like you see in the movies. The action was impressive.

What almost killed the show for me were the songs. Personally, when I think of Broadway musicals I think of singing and dancing – a memorable score, maybe a nice dance, but mostly wonderful singing. This was greatly lacking in the show.

I do want to point out that the actors could sing, however, the downfall was not their singing as much as it was the songs that they had to work with. The songs fit more into a rock concert setting than a musical. Some of the songs were a little on the low side (scale-wise) and I can only assume that they were played that way to be edgy, however, by doing so it lost its stage appeal.

There were a few songs – mostly the ones Mary Jane sang – that were good, this was because they were in a scale that matched her voice. I’m not sure I’m explaining it correctly, after all I loved American Idiot (a play based on Green Day songs from the album of the same name) but in American Idiot the actors sung the songs in scales and styles that fit their voices as opposed to trying to be a Green Day concert and that made a world of difference. They owned the music, and I didn’t get that feeling from the soundtrack of Spider-Man.

At first I thought it was just me, but I turned to my friends during intermission and we were all equally baffled at the music. If you must see the show, just make sure you’re not going for the music.

 

Think of Me Fondly

My very first Broadway experience was The Phantom of the Opera. Based on a novel by Gaston Leroux (a French writer), The Phantom of the Opera was adapted for the theater by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The one thing that had been burned into my memory about Phantom was the Masquerade scene and I’ve always dreamed about a masquerade after that. Not a costume party, but a ball with elaborate masks and bright colours and it was just as I remembered it when I saw it again this month.

Next to the songs, the costumes were my favourite part of the play; they were all so fancy and beautiful and just as spectacular as the play itself. The story is always such a moving piece, a disfigured genuis living in the tunnels beneath the Opera House. A person who has never been loved before, falling for a beautiful young chorus girl and doesn’t know exactly how to express that feeling. And Christine, the beautiful young chorus girl, infatuated with her Angel of Music until she finds out that he’s the disfigured genius who lives in the tunnels beneath the Opera House. As the madness of the phantom increases with the body count, Christine finds herself protected by her childhood friend, Raoul, and a great and classical love story is born.

One of the charming things about this play is, while it has an air of seriousness about it, it does not lack humour; the diva-ish doings of Carlotta always brought a smile to my face and the comedic timing of Ubaldo left me in gales of laughter.

The Phantom of the Opera is most definitely a classic show, with its shows within a show, its wonderful costumes and its amazing score. If you find yourself in Time Square, don’t miss out on this gem!

** photo via The Phantom NY site.

My Fondness for Les Miserables

To love another person is to see the face of God.

When I moved to the United States, I took a few months of high school to finish off my senior year and to take the SATs for university. I started in the beginning of the second quarter and choir was one of my electives.

The Music teacher was working at the school for four years, so he started with my class – then freshmen – and they all had a very close bond. I was the new comer and I definitely felt it.

He had us do a lot of Broadway music and a lot of latin songs, so in our final concert, he wanted the seniors in the choir to do One Day More from Les Miserables and he held auditions for solo parts. I remembered hesitating, after all I’d only been a senior for a few months, but, I liked the song so I tried out for a part. He was definitely hesitant about me being in it, I could tell by the way he treated me compared to the others. I had this stern faced man, waiting for me to riot, while all the others had this jovial, kind-looking man. Finally, he let me be a part of his senior choir’s solo piece, I sang a few lines of Cosette’s part as he wanted to “make sure everyone got a part.” Despite his hesitance, I fell in love with One Day More, the song stuck with me and even though the Broadway show closed while I was in college, I always held out the hope that it would play again.

Continue reading

Newsies Seize The Day

I’ve seen my fair share of broadway shows, but there was something special about Newsies. The set was simple; metal stairs and platforms that move around the stage and a few tables and chairs where the only props. The costumes were simple – newsboys garbs and fancy suits. What made it stand out was the singing and more importantly, the dancing.

It’s probably one of the few shows I have seen with a substantial script – compared to the number of songs. It follows the story of a group of newspaper boys who sell The World news for their bread and butter. After an unfair hike in the cost of the paper, the kids decide to go on strike. It’s a very heart warming and relatable story; it also has its share of humour. I must say, compared to the singing and the dancing, the acting didn’t shine as brightly, but it was still good.

Script and songs aside, the thing that was most appealing about the Newsies was the dancing. It was amazing to watch, I found myself smiling thought-out the entire thing. What I found fascinating as well, was the fact that Newsies had a mostly male cast. They had great chemistry between them, and the voices blended beautifully together and the dancing – oh the dancing – it was just brilliant.

One of my favourite dance sequence was Sieze the Day, it had me at the edge of my seat, especially the part with the newspaper pages! You can see them perform Sieze the Day on The View. Another favourite was the King of New York sequence.

Overall, this was a fast moving, high energy, excellent show! If you have the chance to go and see it, you should!