Posts Tagged ‘Musical

28
Mar
18

Grand Hotel, The Musical: My Review

Grand Hotel 2With a deeply engrossing book by Luther Davis and the beautiful music and lyrics by Robert Wright and George Forrest, the legend that is Grand Hotel, The Musical has reappeared once more to grace the New York City Center stage in all its glory. Reincarnation is the hallmark of this storied blockbuster. It was first a novel by Vicki Baum in 1929, it then became a star studded legendary MGM film in 1932, its first sadly unsuccessful attempt at a Los Angeles theatrical production followed in 1958, but it wasn’t until Tommy Tune breathed life into this in-depth multi-character story for a Broadway run in 1989 did Grand Hotel come to glittering life.

The setting is Berlin and the year is 1928. The roaring twenties are still in vogue and the world has yet to feel the sting of the Great Depression. On this particular weekend, a particular set of characters make their way through the lobby of the Grand Hotel. As they each check in they have no idea that their lives will be forever intertwined.

Their stories are told to us by the hotel’s unofficial resident doctor Colonel Otternschlag. He’s seen it all because even though he always decides to check out he invariably decides to stay for one more day. In this role the very talented William Ryall, a member of not only the original Broadway production but various incarnations since, serves as a more than fitting tour guide. An aging and failing ballerina Elizaveta Grushinskaya, danced beautifully by acclaimed ballerina Irina Dvorovenko, arrives for yet another tiring tour. There’s perpetual unpaid guest Baron Felix von Gaigern who’s more of a broke and down on his luck thief played with romance and flair by James Snyder.

Grand Hotel 1The voices and talents of the principle cast are all equally powerful but it’s the fatally ill bookkeeper Otto Kringelein, who is seeking a few last moments of living a life of grandeur, and the young typist Flaemmchen, who fantasizes about escape and becoming an American film star, that steal the show here. The performances of Brandon Uranowitz and Helene Yorke in those roles are both funny and touching and can’t help but bring a tear to the eye as they slowly find each other.

The Wright and Forrest songbook, made possible by a show saving assist with additional music and lyrics from theatre icon Maury Yeston, is twenty-four numbers long providing several opportunities for the company to exhibit their considerable skills. The tap dancing duo of James T. Lane and Daniel Yearwood in “Maybe My Baby” are absolutely delightful. “Girl in The Mirror” lets Helene Yorke’s charms shine. Brandon Uranowitz and James Snyder, along with the aforementioned Lane and Yearwood accompanied by the ensemble, tear things up with the raucous antics of “We’ll Take a Glass Together”. The love ballad “Love Can’t Happen” once again highlights Snyder, this time with leading lady Irina Dvorovenko, provides a sincere tug at the heartstrings. And the beautifully staged “Bolero” tango, directed and danced by Junior Cervila and Guadalupe Garcia, is a dark and delicious treat.

Grand Hotel 4Grand Hotel is a luxurious and luscious cavalcade of theatrical wonders. The moment Ken Billington’s deep, rich lightening hits Allen Moyer’s gorgeous set you instantly know you’re in for a treat. Moyer pays homage to this show’s history by once again putting the supremely gifted orchestra, led by Rob Berman, on stage and above the performers, he also retained two chandeliers which marked the original 1989 set, and while there was no revolving door for the characters to sashay through, a large gold framed mirror placed upstage on the upper tier gave an even better way for them to all seemingly emerge. Inhabiting this world of color and light are the equally lush costumes of designer Linda Cho. Her work accentuates and solidifies all the surrounding splendor.

The same remembrances can be said of Josh Rhodes’ masterful direction and equally powerful choreography. Rhodes gives a nod to original director Tommy Tune’s gold painted ballroom chairs that helped to enrich the minimalist world of its predecessor. Rhodes also enlists the aide of an almost ever-present chorus to not only sing and dance their hearts out but to also build an entire world with the use of those chairs and in some cases even their own bodies.

Grand Hotel 3This production of Grand Hotel is not a perfect show. There are a few things that don’t gel, but they’re mere quibbles. Every Encore! show could use a bit more time to achieve true perfection. But the tight rehearsal schedule and immediate on demand delivery provides an electric energy that makes the best productions in their twenty-five seasons leave a lasting impression. In this case Grand Hotel, The Musical shines and stands apart as a true legendary vehicle should.

There’s a mystery that comes with an exceptionally exquisite revival. A kind of ghostly reminiscence that lingers from the magic that brought the original production to life. This new Grand Hotel is haunted in that sublime way. As the character’s first appear, for as long as they stay, and until they all check out you feel their alchemical energy pulse through you. You feel rewarded to have witnessed them again, even if it’s just briefly, and you truly wish they could stay, for just one more day.

New York City Center
Main Stage
131 West 55th St,
New York, NY
www.nycitycenter.org/pdps/grandhotel/
212.581.1212
Mar 21 – 25, 2018

From an original post on TheaterScene.

Edward MedinaEdward Medina is an Amazon KDP bestselling author of high fantasy, dark horror, and epic adventure books, short stories, and poems. To date his combined works have earned over one hundred and fifty Amazon and Goodreads five star reviews from readers, reviewers, bloggers, teachers and fellow authors.

He is a native New Yorker who over time has built a significant and multifaceted career. He has been a producer, director, and writer for both digital media and the New York Off and Off – Off Broadway stages. He also had the honor and the privilege to work for the late great Jim Henson creator of the Muppets.

Edward founded a successful independent production company dedicated to family entertainment and children’s causes. He also established a multimedia company in order to assist nonprofits achieve their own cause related goals. He went on to become a theme park designer. For fun he became a steam train engineer and has been since childhood a sometime magician.

Currently Edward is a critic and feature entertainment columnist covering Broadway, Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, Clubs and Cabarets for TheaterScene and The Fire Island Sun. He also maintains his love of theatrical production by continuing to create new works for both stage and screen. And his dream of building a fully realized world of fantasy on tropical shores is still very much alive and well.

If you’d like more detailed information on Edward’s work, visit his LinkedIn profile or his website. You can also explore his books, follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook, and subscribe to his blog on WordPress.

Edward Medina is proud to be a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and the Horror  Writers Association.

14
Mar
18

Wicked Clone: My Review

Wicked Clone 1Take equal doses of Transylvanian folklore, Goethe, Faust, Ibsen, Dante, booming Werner Herzog like voice overs, stock footage movie moments projected on a supposed magic mirror, club dance moves, electronic beats, roller blades, circus arts, daddy dom issues, notions of sin and redemption, and overt sexuality. Now toss it all in a blender, hit frappe again and again, and once properly mixed, hurl the resulting concoction all over a black box stage. This will give you an approximation of the gloriously spectacular, misguided avant-garde, multimedia, passion project being served up at the Davenport Theatre.

Let us begin at the beginning of this torrid tale. Wicked Clone is the story of two identical twin sisters born in Transylvania in 1483 to Vlad the Impaler himself. Mihaela and Gabriela are opposite acorns not falling far from the same blood-thirsty tree. Mihaela is the somewhat good girl who questions her existence and is always in search of love. Gabriela is the totally bad girl that always seeks vengeance and is constantly jealous of her sister’s ambitions. Both being undead daddy’s girls they can’t help but do battle with each other.

Mihaela flees from Transylvania to 2018 New York and pulls her fangs out in order to find love and become a human. She then writes a book and mounts a Broadway show based on her life and writings. Twin sister Gabriela also follows Mihaela through space and time to return her sister to her vampiric roots and back under now actually dead daddy’s demonic control. Mihaela falls in love with a human poet who, in the midst of being killed by Gabriela, manages to bite Mihaela which turns her human. That doesn’t stick though, since no plot point lingers in this story, so her fangs start to grow back and soon enough both sisters are at each other’s throats again. If this all sounds like a confused and convoluted mess it’s because that’s exactly what this is.

Wicked Clone 2Wicked Clone is performed, choreographed, scored, designed, and teched by Transylvanian born American artists Mihaela and Gabriela Modorcea. Mihaela wrote the novel, Wicked Clone or How to Deal with the Evil on which her script for the show is based. Both sisters traveled to America and ended up creating Wicked Clone as a production to showcase their many skills and find fame and fortune on the Great White Way. If this all sounds familiar that’s because it is indeed all too familiar. In an extreme case of life imitating art, these multi-talented identical twin sisters have birthed what they call a cinema musical, which they believe is a new genre that projects the audience into an immersive blend of theater and film projection.

According to the program Wicked Clone was directed by God. If true the Creator has much to answer for as far as his, or her, theatrical choices are concerned. The music is the stuff of dance floor fodder, but as a musical there’s not a hummable memorable tune in the entire lot of nineteen original pop-gypsy compositions imbedded in the drama. The sisters Modorcea are not without talent. They can sing. They can dance. They can write pop happy electronic dance music. They also managed to mount what is an ambitious production. Their faith in themselves to create something artistically grand is heroic and an argument can be made here for experimental theatre reminiscent of the Warhol crowd. The shear audaciousness of the thing makes one want the sisters Modorcea to succeed at their attempt to create dark cinema theatre magic, but there are a mountain of obstacles rising against them and many are self-perpetuated.

Davenport Theatre
354 West 45th St
New York, NY 10039
www.wickedclone.com
212.956.0948
$69
March 8 – May 27, 2018

From an original post on TheaterScene.

Edward MedinaEdward Medina is an Amazon KDP bestselling author of high fantasy, dark horror, and epic adventure books, short stories, and poems. To date his combined works have earned over one hundred and fifty Amazon and Goodreads five star reviews from readers, reviewers, bloggers, teachers and fellow authors.

He is a native New Yorker who over time has built a significant and multifaceted career. He has been a producer, director, and writer for both digital media and the New York Off and Off – Off Broadway stages. He also had the honor and the privilege to work for the late great Jim Henson creator of the Muppets.

Edward founded a successful independent production company dedicated to family entertainment and children’s causes. He also established a multimedia company in order to assist nonprofits achieve their own cause related goals. He went on to become a theme park designer. For fun he became a steam train engineer and has been since childhood a sometime magician.

Currently Edward is a critic and feature entertainment columnist covering Broadway, Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, Clubs and Cabarets for TheaterScene and The Fire Island Sun. He also maintains his love of theatrical production by continuing to create new works for both stage and screen. And his dream of building a fully realized world of fantasy on tropical shores is still very much alive and well.

If you’d like more detailed information on Edward’s work, visit his LinkedIn profile or his website. You can also explore his books, follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook, and subscribe to his blog on WordPress.

Edward Medina is proud to be a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and the Horror Writers Association.




Edward Medina Author

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