25 April 2010

In the Heights/Some End of Season Thoughts

It's been nearly 2 seasons since IN THE HEIGHTS more or less swept the Tony Awards.  Though Michael Reidel may kvetch, I have listened to the HEIGHTS recording with great regularity from the moment I got home from seeing it.  Though its detractors say the book is hoakey and old-fashioned, as a friend of my succently put it, "I have no complaints."  Was I able to predict the outcome of most story lines?  Sure--but rare is the musical that actually suprises me, and character is usually more compelling than story anyway.  And that score.  That score.  I'm sorry, after a character gets an introductory song like this, I care what happens to her--even if the same problem might not seem as big a deal to me.  Honestly, if, after this song, I heard that Nina's big conflict was lactose intolerance, I would still be on board for the ride.  Here is a great video of Mandy Gonzalez singing "Breathe".  I can't imagine this will stay up for long, so grab it whilst you can.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how you end Act I.  (The first 5m57s aren't entirely necessary in this context)

As we approach Tony Nomination time, I look at these and find this season completely lacking.  Only 2 shows (MEMPHIS and ADAMS FAMILY) have scores written explicitly for the stage (I hesitate to call MEMPHIS "original"; I have not heard ADAMS), and many of the others barely have books worth mentioning.  In my mind, BLOODSONG OF LOVE, currently scheduled to play at Ars Nova until May 9th, is not only the best new musical of the theatrical season, it's the ONLY new musical of the theatrical season.

22 April 2010

I Loves Me...

...a vocal arrangement for chorus that features a (mostly) a capella breakdown (at 2m17s).  Thought what is it about (mostly) a capella breakdowns that seems to mandate the company stand in a straight line downstage?  Eh bien, I have nothing to complain about here. 

19 April 2010

That special something

"Schadenfraude", aside from being a delightful number from Avenue Q, is a word that falls into a distict linguistic category of "untranslatables"--words that exist in one language which have no analogue in another.  I wish there were a untranslatable meaning "that unique and special joy and sense of discovery upon watching a truly exciting NEW musical."  It is difficult to define this word beyond that rudimentary definition, other than to say it falls under the category of "you know it when you see it".  In recent memory, this would would, in my case, apply to my viewings of PASSING STRANGE, IN THE HEIGHTS and NEXT TO NORMAL.  And now I can whole-heartedly add BLOODSONG OF LOVE to the list.

This engaging and entertaining work boasts book, music and lyrics by Joe Iconis, an emerging music theater writer who, with this show, seems pretty damned emerged to me.  The show was a total package: tuneful, funny, smart and, by its last quarter, genuinely moving.

One of this conditions of this "special something" for me is that my affection for this show often supersedes my ability--or desire--to identify said shows faults.  So while I will not assert that BLOODSONG is flawless, I have no interest in seeking out or discussing its flaws.  I'd rather focus on planning a second visit.

For more information about BLOODSONG OF LOVE, go here http://arsnovanyc.com/bloodsong.html

DISCLAIMER: After a lot of thought I decided that I don't really want to write reviews any more.  However, as a member of the ITBA, I get free tickets to shit all the time, and thus feel obligated to write about it.  But, starting with this, those shows I do cover will probably be much more anecdotal or, like this piece, using a show as a jumping off point for a slightly larger conversation.  So a lot of the details (like names of actors or whatever) typically obligatory in a review may not be present here.  Partially because I'm lazy, but mostly because I work in the theater, often with these people, and don't necessarily want to be putting stuff out there--even if it is complimentary--that they will stumble upon if they're googling themselves.  I will try and include a link to this pertinant information.  If I don't, that is just the laziness talking.