Tuesday, April 22, 2014

6 broadway show reviews; starstruck and back home

Hello hello!! I'm back from NYC. :) I've already started putting a vlog together, but I thought before I posted it I'd give you all an update. 

NYC was AMAZING!!! As in, a turning point, life-changing experience. I usually have one or two of these turning point experiences a year, and I've been waiting awhile for the next one to happen. I didn't care if it was good or bad- my life was boring and I was due for a turning point! This was by far very very much on the "good" side. I have new career ideas, fell in love with new things, and have a brand new social circle of friends. I'm sad the trip is over, but then I think about how coming home wasn't the end- it was only the beginning! 

Since my vlog documents everything from eating to shopping to hanging out, I thought I'd use this post to sit down and do actual reviews on the shows we saw. (These will contain spoilers.) 

If/Then // starring Idina Menzel

Although I'm a "theatre kid," there are honestly very few shows I fall in love with. I really don't "geek out" over musicals the way my friends do. Although I'm an actor, I really don't care about them much from the audience's perspective. People see musicals for the dancing and singing and stage lights, but I see them for an emotional movement. Musicals have this dynamic that no other performance can capture, and if it's done right, then the actor's spirit comes alive. 
If/Then is a new musical set in New York in the present day. It follows the story of Elizabeth, a 40-year-old woman navigating her way through her career and love life. It explores how the little decisions we make are so important and simple actions can determine our future. Elizabeth spends the musical questioning the "what ifs," until she finally learns to live life in the present moment.  
The part that moved me the most was the song "Always Starting Over." Elizabeth had been married and gotten divorced and wanted to stay away from having a love life. She then ends up falling in love with Josh, who had just gotten home from the army. She's apprehensive at first, but then risks everything to jump into the relationship. Later, Josh has to go back and ends up dying. Elizabeth sings the song about how different her life would be if she hadn't met Josh and she's so grateful that he was able to be in her life for the time she was. She finishes the performance with the conclusion that she's "always starting over." 
There were literal tears streaming down my face! I think there were two parts to my emotional movement. The first was being completely starstruck by Idina Menzel. She is SUCH an incredible performer. There is just something so special about her. The second was I really loved the messages of the show. These concepts are something I think about on a daily basis, and Idina Menzel carrying them out was just absolute perfection. 
I would give this show a 9/10. (I'm refraining from 10/10 because the first act was slightly long and it sometimes got confusing.)

The Cripple of Inishmaan // starring Daniel Radcliffe

Ok, so this show was starring Daniel Radcliffe. I don't even like Harry Potter....but come on. It was Harry Potter. So it was cool. 
But the show? I honestly hated it. It dragged on and on and the humor was stupid and offensive. Daniel Radcliffe was good, but he honestly wasn't anything special- anyone else could have played his role just as well. This show was basically about a crippled dude in 1930s Ireland and how everyone makes fun of him. The show ended with him kissing the girl he liked and giving her tubercleosis. Because apparently that's funny?...
I think I may have gotten into this one a bit more if I wasn't tired and the audience wasn't extremely annoying (it was basically full of Harry Potter fangirls and old people.) I would give this one a 5/10

Kinky Boots // starring Billy Porter

This musical was good. It was the traditional Broadway musical type, with lots of lights and dancing and belting out high notes. It was the story of a transgender man who teams up with a shoemaking guy to make shoes for transgender people. It's a unique idea for a musical. All my theatre kid friends loved it, but I personally didn't get into it as much- I thought the storyline was predictable and the message (be yourself) was a little cliche. But the dancing and singing was phenomenal and I definitely appreciated the show for that if not anything else. I would give this one a 7.5/10
(Crazy story: someone had a heart attack during this show! They had to stop and the paramedics had to come. It took about 30 minutes. It was craaaazzyy.) 

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder // there was no one famous in this but James Franco and Chris O'Dowd were in the show across the street so we saw them afterwards

I liked this show. It had all the awesome singing and dancing, but also a complex storyline that was extremely funny. It didn't drag on like some of the others did, which I liked. This show was set in the early 1900s (I think) and followed the story of a guy who ends up murdering a bunch of people by accident to try to put himself in a high position in society to attain love. The coolest part was that we got to meet the playwright and two of the stars after the show and talk to them! I'd give this an 8/10

The Realistic Joneses // starring Tracy Letts, Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, and Marisa Tomei

I had mixed feelings about this show. I wouldn't say I didn't enjoy it, because I did. The dialogue was extremely funny and the acting was great (everyone in this was somewhat famous.) But the show it self in regards to the storyline....I just didn't get it. It was very anticlimactic, but didn't even have any sort of message. It was literally just some neighbors talking to each other the entire time. I'd give this a 6.5/10

Bullets Over Broadway // starring Zach Braff

The last show we saw was Bullets Over Broadway, another classic Broadway-style musical. It was basically about an aspiring Broadway actress in the 1920s and the show she's trying to be in. The plot wasn't anything special, but the dancing was AMAZING. Since I'm a dancer, I appreciate that kind of thing, and although I wasn't crazy about the story or anything I enjoyed it for that aspect along with the singing. I love 20s-style musicals and this was no exception. I'd give this a 7.5/10

Overall, I'm so lucky that I had the opportunity to see 6 (6!!!) Broadway musicals whether I liked them or not. My favorite was by far If/Then, but each one was an experience and I learned so much about theater by watching them. 

xx Signe

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