Category Archives: Stage

Lady Gaga Jazz Las Vegas

Summation:
  • This is good. This is strong. This is courageous.
  • This is not epic, not a trend, not a blueprint.
  • This is Gaga … with a little help from friends.
Lady Gaga delivered an installment of her “Jazz and Piano” show at Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, June 9, 2019. For well over two hours, Lady entertained the packed audience and entertained the idea that she could, as she explained from the stage, “carry her own torch” to bring this style of music into the 21st-century limelight. Did she succeed?

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Fiddler On The Roof

Why see it:

  • Exceptional storytelling and entertainment value

Fiddler played its way onto the stage in the DPAC Suntrust Broadway Series as the show following Hamilton, after which “the world will never be the same.” This entrant couldn’t and needn’t be the next great thing. It was the old great story, somewhat re-imagined, fairly familiar, vigorously entertaining, and more than worthy of its place.

The most important element of Fiddler was unambiguous telling of story. The bonuses were that it did so with a terrific orchestra, quite excellent dance, and familiar songs. It was quality entertainment.

The acting effort from the touring production was good. Continue reading Fiddler On The Roof

Justin Timberlake Raleigh

The nail that sticks up gets pounded down, as does the audience for Justin Timberlake’s “Man of the Woods” tour.

The show (not a concert) streaks out of the gate onto a stage backlit with bright lights. The use of lasers was grand — they have been too little used for too long. Immediately the lack of audio clarity and the excess of volume overwhelm any sense of ‘song’ or ‘lyrics;’ this remains true for most of the first of two hours.

This show could better pace the crowd rather than continuing to drive the hammer. There have been concerts at PNC Arena, including Billy Joel, where the audio is clear, the stage is lit, and the crowd is managed by the performer throughout the affair, little of which happened on the sixth of January, 2019.

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Rod Stewart Las Vegas

I was drawn into the way-back audio annals to hear Rod Stewart.
Good Knight! Sir Rod is still performing! My friend ‘J’ has a fetish for those she terms “aging British rockers.”

At Las Vegas’ Caesars (is it still a Palace?) for a show billed as “The Hits,” I yearned for Maggie May, Reason To Believe, Stay With Me, (I Know) I’m Losing You, Every Picture Tells A Story, Mandolin Wind, and Twisting The Night Away.

While Maggie may be an essential hit, those others were surprisingly not included in this performance. It would also light my particular fire to have had some Handbags and Gladrags in a Gasoline Alley.

Still, the songs had flair, the night was fun, the arena was filled, the audience was fully participatory, and the festivity of Sin City was brought to bear.

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12 Days of Hamilton

The arrival of “Hamilton: An American Musical” at North Carolina’s Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) on November 6, 2018, inspired a tune, stealing from a song you’ll know. My version starts simply:

On the first day of Hamilton
The Lin-Man brought to me
A tale of U.S. hist’ry!

The tune grows, and the first week ends thusly:

On the sixth day of Hamilton
The Lin-Man brought to me
Six years of writing
Fiiiine King George memes!

Four mates a-warring
Three sisters singing
Two tables turning
in
A tale of U.S. hist’ry!

My tickets for November 18 will be day twelve of DPAC shows. That’s perfect to complete our work:

The 12 Days of HAMILTON

On the twelfth day of Hamilton
The Lin-Man brought to me

Twelve ensemble talents
Eleven Tony statues
Ten duel commandments

Nineties rap references
Eight ways of rhyming
Seven feats* ‘front-a me

Six years of writing
Fine King George memes!

Four mates a-warring
Three sisters singing
Two tables turning
in
A tale of U.S. hist’ry!

*Tonys for Directing, Orchestra, Lighting,
*as well as Dance, Costume, Score, Acting

The DPAC run by the “Philip Tour” cast group continues to December 2nd, with twenty-nine^ shows on twenty-four performance days including two-show days on the weekends.

^29: For Hamilfans, that’s a number in the number “Non-Stop:”

“John Jay got sick after writing five /
“James Madison wrote twenty-nine /
“Hamilton wrote the other fifty-one!”

November 18th will be my sixth viewing encompassing four different cities and casts. Merry Hamilton, everyone.

See these related blog posts for more Hamilton, and please share your thoughts:

Hamilton 1:  Love at First Lyrics

Hamilton 2: May I have 20,000 Words with You?

Hamilton 3: The Third Time and I’m Charmed

 

November 2018: Something “Two-A-Door” at DPAC, Durham, NC

Waitress -Musical by Sara Bareilles

Why see it:

  • Tender story
  • More engaging live than on film

Waitress delivers a wonderful story. It is dramatic, touching, clever, original, and surprising. It transitions well from film to live action. But why, oh why, is this a musical? Nothing is enhanced by mixing tunes into this good drama.

Dare I be critical? What would the creative team say? Perhaps one would answer via song, or Sara-nade me:

  • “Say what you wanna say
  • And let the words fall out
  • Honestly I wanna see you be brave.”

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The Color Purple -Musical

Why see it:

  • Ten Tony nominations in 2005
  • A revival on Broadway a decade later
  • Multiple national tours
  • A blockbuster!

But for me The Color Purple was from the Blockbuster era, meaning this touring show had VHS-like shortcomings and there are now better options. Still, I’m pleased to have seen the landmark musical and know the story, despite critiques you’ll read here.

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