Category Archives: Stage

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
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
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.”

Continue reading Waitress -Musical by Sara Bareilles

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.

Continue reading The Color Purple -Musical

Frozen -Musical

Disney delivers a classic with impressive staging.

The Frozen musical began previews when I visited New York City. It was elected (1 in favor, 1 abstention) that I should see the Broadway creation drawn from this modern film classic.

The show began eagerly, with costumed characters taking their positions … in the seats! Scores of children came dressed as Anna, Elsa, and Olaf. Staff passed out booster cushions. “Abracadabra.” There was magic in the air from the outset.

Act 1: The cast had their roles honed.
Act 2: Some roughness showed the necessity of previews.
Continue reading Frozen -Musical

Party Face -Drama

Off-Broadway drama cast with characters to savor

    Why see it:

  • Acting!
  • Character(s)

Summary and thoughts:

Dramatic plays have been my favorite stage craft. In this era they are drowned out by musicals, but some digging may uncover a gem.

The shiny object drawing me to Party Face is Hayley Mills, who acquired fame in movies as a child. A handful of partners glow equally under these lights, each a unique character. Six actresses give a solid effort.
Continue reading Party Face -Drama

Come From Away -Musical

Those grounded without choice meet those grounded with character.

    Why see it:

  • Entertainment, culture, and history
  • Emotion, energy, and efficiency
  • There, but for the grace of Gander …

Summary and thoughts:

This is a musical to be seen and a story to be known. The non-stop performers wonderfully portray the actions of plain and plane folk under extraordinary stress.

The term “Come From Away” refers to the unexpected influx of 38 aircraft with nearly 7,000 international passengers to Gander, Newfoundland, diverted there September 11, 2001. The Canadian town’s population is only slightly greater than the guest list, but it has one out-sized asset and discovers another.
Continue reading Come From Away -Musical

Les Misérables -Musical

> > >  humor on  < < <

Paris: The City of Light
-Les Mis tour: Not enough light.

Les Misérables aficionados talk about it “24 / 7”
-Les Misérables fanatics rave about it “2,4 / 6,0,1”

> > > humor(?) off < < <

“Les Misérables” returned to the DPAC stage in early February, more familiar and more reliable than any groundhog (American cultural reference for February). This show is partly spectacle, reminding me that it was the first on Broadway to stun me with its staging. It is mostly classic musical theater, reminding me that I’m not a pure fan of that genre (see below). This night there was much to like.
Continue reading Les Misérables -Musical