Musicals, stage plays and all live theatre - come share!

Unsling your guitar, pull up a chair, and strum us a chord or two. Come on in to discuss music.

Musicals, stage plays and all live theatre - come share!

Postby JewelSong » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:35 am

I love almost all forms of live theatre - and think almost anything is worth seeing. Sometimes, things are only worth seeing once and sometimes, I have seen something that I am glad I didn't pay full price for (or pay for at all!)

I find the modern "packaged" musicals (ie: Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia, Les Miz) to be much less "organic" (so to speak) than the more traditional musicals and/or the smaller, less mass-produced ones. I do love spectacle, but not at the expense of the show.

The thing I love most about live theatre is that it is (or it should be!) different in each venue and in each incarnation. (And also - anything can happen! It's LIVE!) The huge productions mentioned above - you will see exactly the same show in London, NYC, wherever. It might as well be a film it is so exactly reproduced. (This is not to say I don't enjoy them - I do...as I said, I love almost all forms of live theatre!)

Live theatre should touch you in a way that a film or a recording never can. That is one of the reasons I love little, out of the way productions and enjoy going to community theatre or shows that no one has heard of. It's fun to see something different and real.

This thread is for discussion of live theatre - any live theatre, whether it be a tiny little community production, an avante-garde interactive experimental play, a Shakespearean play or a pull-out-all-the stops Broadway musical.

If you've seen something incredible, if you've seen something horrible, if you've seen something that made you go "wow!" or made you go "yuck!" then this is the thread where you can share and discuss!

:D
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Postby Diamond of Long Cleeve » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:09 am

I love live theatre too. 8) There is nothing like the energy of live theatre ...

I'm not an expert on musicals, but I did really enjoy that production of Sondheim's 'A Little Night Music'. :) Such a clever production, and the music is sparkling and clever too. :)
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Postby JewelSong » Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:22 am

Diamond of Long Cleeve wrote:I did really enjoy that production of Sondheim's 'A Little Night Music'. :) Such a clever production, and the music is sparkling and clever too. :)


That performance made me take another look at Sondheim. Although I had always appreciated his talent, I wasn't a real fan of his music - finding it way too "talky" with no real memorable tunes or phrases (with a few exceptions!)

However, the London production of "A Little Night Music" changed my perspective...and even though I still feel that his music doesn't have those memorable "hooks" the way most musicals do, I now appreciate it for how it helped the dialogue and plot flow together.

And it was a stellar production.
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Postby heliona » Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:10 am

I don't go to the theatre that much anymore, but a while ago I used to go on a fairly regular basis with my parents to the Blackpool Grand, a lovely old theatre.

We saw a few ballets (Giselle, Swan Lake) and some plays.

The Hobbit was amazing - I loved it to bits. How they managed to transpose the book onto the stage was really clever.

I also saw Woman in Black which was fantastic. It genuinely scared me and the two actors were really talented.
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Postby JewelSong » Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:50 am

Giselle is memorable to me and my daughter as "the ballet we fell asleep watching" :D

Seriously, it was just such soothing music and we were sitting way up in the gods and we both dozed off...

Swan Lake is one of my all-time favorites and (IMHO) the quintessential classical ballet. I saw a fantastic production recently at the Royal Opera House in London.

And then, a few months later, I finally saw the Matthew Bourne interpretation of it - the one with the male swans! Spectacular...and...um...hot. ;)

I have never seen the stage play of the Hobbit! Who wrote it, do you remember?
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Postby Morwenna » Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:48 pm

My husband has been in several local productions (but not for many years now), and I used to love to see the ones he was in. I saw him in two different companies' productions. Let's see: HMS Pinafore, Oliver!(both companies), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Guys and Dolls, Evita... I can't remember any others. But it was a blast. These two places were dinner theatre; one of them was where you brought your own food. The scene in Joseph where the brothers are starving, they come down into the audience and go around begging at the tables; he came up to our table full of his friends and we helped him ham it up!
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Postby Gungnir » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:46 am

JewelSong wrote:I have never seen the stage play of the Hobbit! Who wrote it, do you remember?


Er, J.R.R.Tolkien, I believe.

;)
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Postby JewelSong » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:47 am

Gungnir wrote:Er, J.R.R.Tolkien, I believe.


Pffffft! I meant the stageplay, obviously!

:nono:
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Postby Hobbituk » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:52 pm

I saw The Hobbit stageplay back in 2002, was that the one you saw Heliona?

I can't remember who adapted it for stage, but actually I thought at the time that it wasn't that great. Mainly because they hampered themselves by having the Ring be all sinister from the moment Bilbo finds it. There were weird touches, like Bilbo dreaming about Ringwraiths and then waking up screaming. These bits weren't explained at all so if you weren't familiar with the story you would be completely lost.

I saw it at a matinee which was full of school groups and the most memorable part for me was when Bard kissed one of his soldiers farewell and all the kids went, "EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!"
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Postby heliona » Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:41 pm

Hobbi, I don't think it was that one. I certainly saw it a few years before that, in the late 90s, because I was still at school. I don't remember Bilbo having any weird dreams, or Bard kissing anyone for that matter!

Jewelsong, I can't remember who wrote the screenplay, but I do still have the program lying around somewhere. When I find it, I'll let you know. :)

Edited to add: I believe it was this one that I saw, judging by the fact that the illustration of what I presume is Gandalf is the same as what I remember being on the program. So it was adapted by Glynn Robbins. Saying that, I've just looked at the slideshow and it doesn't look like anything I remember, so perhaps either it's the wrong one, or else they've changed it massively since I saw it! The sets look a lot bigger (Blackpool Grand is a small theatre and I doubt that set would fit in it!) and there are Ringwraiths which I don't remember. Hmm!
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Life is short; break the rules, forgive quickly; kiss slowly; love truly; laugh uncontrollably; and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

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Postby Diamond of Long Cleeve » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:26 am

heliona wrote:I also saw Woman in Black which was fantastic. It genuinely scared me and the two actors were really talented.


In a moment of madness I watched the ITV film of The Woman in Black, this was about 16 years ago. It was so frightening that I've never been brave enough since to attempt to read Susan Hill's book or see the stage play. :shock: :P

I WATCHED IT ON MY OWN WHAT WAS I THINKING???!!!!!

Scariest thing I've ever seen. *whimpers* No blood, no gore, just increasing eeriness and menace and the most 'bad attitude' ghost you can possibly imagine. Mummy!!!!

Hobbituk wrote:I saw it at a matinee which was full of school groups and the most memorable part for me was when Bard kissed one of his soldiers farewell and all the kids went, "EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!"


:rofl: That's really funny. :lol:
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Postby heliona » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:33 pm

I know, Di, I was really surprised that a play could be that scary! I was with my parents, fortunately. :D I'm not good at those kind of scary films, so I'm very glad I haven't seen the film. Several people in the theatre (including me) jumped several times. :D
Image<-- Sir Gwaine representing the letter "G" in the TVM!

Life is short; break the rules, forgive quickly; kiss slowly; love truly; laugh uncontrollably; and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Grab a chance and you won't be sorry for the might-have-beens. - Arthur Ransome

Just because I have the vocabulary of a well-educated sailor doesn't mean I'm not a lady.

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Postby portia » Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:32 pm

When I was a teenager, I went every summer to the Old Globe, in San Diego. My folks were not much into theater and would not go, and wuld not let me go alone, on the bus, so I usually had to round up some friends to make a group. You wouldn't believe how I pestered them to go, just so I could.

The actors were professional, but the budgets were only so-so, but the stage was Elizabethan-style so little or no scenery was needed. One of my favorite productions was "Richard III" starring Anthony Zerbe. His Richard was very crippled--more than just a hunchback-- but his personality was so strong that his leadership and the winning over of his enemies was believable.

Later, I attended plays at the Globe Playhouse in LA. It was an Equity Waiver house, so the actors were not paid, but good ones came, anyway, to do Shakespeare and get seen. There was almost no budget for costumes or props, but that made everyone more creative. The theater did all of Shakespeare's plays--sometimes only a handful of performances-- but they were all fully staged.

I, too, love live theater.

We have a good community theater, here. They do mostly musicals because that is what people want to see, but they did a good production of "A Lion in Winter" that I saw twice.
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Postby portia » Mon May 07, 2012 7:18 am

Friends off the mountain wanted to buy series tickets for A Noise Within, a 20 year old theater company that does "classics" It sounded good, so I did it.

Our series included "Desire under the Elms," "Noises Off," "Antony and Cleopatra," Moliere's "The Bungler," and Corneille's "Illusion". All of them were worth seeing, except "Illusion." It was too talky and dragged and was unpleasant, without the saving grace of being a tragedy.

Live theater is worth taking a chance on, because when it is good it is really something special.
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Postby Morwenna » Tue May 08, 2012 3:02 am

There used to be live Shakespeare here in CT regularly years ago when the Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford was operating. When I was in college (late '60s) it was, and when I had a Shakespeare class the professor got us group matinee rates for performances; he would have us study at least one that they were doing that season so we could go see it after (or while) studying it in class. I got to see As You Like It that way.

That theatre was used for other things too; our university Concert Choir appeared there in various things during my stay (yes, I was in it). The local concert hall also hosted the choir in larger things. This was before our campus had a decent performance hall; we used to perform smaller things in the student center social room! I was so used to the pits and green rooms that I used to tease dates who took me to the concert hall or theatre, "So that's what it looks like out here in the audience!" :)
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Postby portia » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:47 pm

Has anyone seen "The Book of Mormon?"

The road company is coming to LA in the Fall, and tickets are being heavily promoted, here. It is described as the funniest musical ever, and in similar terms. It got a bunch of Tonys, but I do not know anyone who has actually seen it.
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Re: Musicals, stage plays and all live theatre - come share!

Postby earendil81 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:20 am

So I went to see Jekyll & Hyde on Saturday with Constantine Maroulis & Deborah Cox (and Teal Wicks)...

In short, I am glad I did not pay full price for the tickets... I found the production lacking and the lead weak. There was no nuances and shades in his interpretation of the Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Thank the director that he lost the glasses and the ponytail to let us know he was changing from Jekyll into Hyde.
As Doctor Jekyll I found Constantine Maroulis wanting... he lacked the richness in interpretation. There was no tenderness or gentleness in Dr Jekyll and I find myself bored with people who only play an affectation of a whisper when they try to interpret gentleness or any softer emotion (I felt the same when I saw My Fair Lady at the Shaw Festival two years ago). He was more convincing as Hyde but it might be because it suits his vocal range better.

Deborah Cox faired better though struggling with the accent required of her Lucy. Still vocally she was amazing; one struggle during the In His Eyes duet where she had a hard time hitting one of the highest notes in the first verse, but she found the proper breathing on the second verse and hit it. And the reason I know is because I sang that song at a recital in 2010 :P :P. The rest though was great; her voice was really suited for the songs and she did show some beautiful interpretation of the character.

Teal Wicks on the other hand was amazing through and through. Vocally amazing and spot on in her interpretation, she even made Maroulis look better in their shared scenes forcing him to give more of himself as Jekyll. That is true talent to me. She was the highlight of the night to me :)

The production use of screen and pre-recorded voices was disappointing. It gives the entire thing a fake feel that the male lead was too weak to render real or more relevant to the story. The murders have something comical instead of horrible...
The production might be doing better with another male lead I don't know but really not worth spending too much on this show. I know it's heading to Broadway but in truth I don't know if it'll remain there for long.
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Re: Musicals, stage plays and all live theatre - come share!

Postby portia » Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:57 pm

That illustrates how different productions can be with different casts.

I have seen actors do what a famous actor (oh, Heavens, was it Jack Palance?) did with Jekyll and Hyde, which was do the changeover with no change of costume, makeup or anything else but lighting (and excellent acting, of course). It is amazing to see.

Christian Kane, of the show "Leverage" can do it. I have seen him look loveable and funny and, later, downright Satanic. There was also an actor on, I think, "Bones" or "The Mentalist" playing the murderer. The character pretended to be mentally disabled, and was VERY convincing. But when the character was caught, he was also very convincing as a smart, evil, man. His changeover also was something to watch.

Since I spent about 5 minutes, years ago, thinking about becoming and actor, I am interested in these things.
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Re: Musicals, stage plays and all live theatre - come share!

Postby Corsair_Caruso » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:03 pm

I love opera, and have been watching and performing in them for the past nine years. I know many people view them as snobbish or "hoidy toidy," but people forget that this was one of the dominant forms of entertainment for centuries in Europe. These stories are all about the dramatic interpretation of the human experience, and include sex, violence and all of those other messy, exciting, wonderful parts of human drama that we expect from entertainment today. I, for one, cannot imagine my life without opera and plan on spending the rest of my life performing and teaching others to perform in it.

My favorite opera is "Susannah," by the American composer Carlisle Floyd. I've also become a huge appreciator of Charles Gounod and Giacomo Puccini because of the repertoire and history classes I've taken this semester.

The Silmarillion has also been set as an opera cycle: http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/956 ... odfrey.php
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Re: Musicals, stage plays and all live theatre - come share!

Postby earendil81 » Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:06 pm

Corsair_Caruso, I understand perfectly well. Though my voice is not suited for opera songs (I'm a belter what can I say :P ?) I love listening to it. I can still recall my first experience in an opera house. March 1992 Das Rheingold from Wagner's Ring Cycle; I fell in love with opera then. The ouverture is marvellous and the bass - don't ask me the name I can't remember the performer I was way too young to care on top of that - just gave me goosebumps. Ever since I have something for low voices... No voice touches me more than a beautiful baritone/bass.

I don't think that opera is snobbish; I think it's mostly that it is not easily accessible. And I don't mean that people don't understand I mean that it is expensive to go to an opera performance: here in Toronto the least expensive tix are at $150. A $300 night is not in everyone's budget. It is something that is hard with the arts now; they have so little money from the government and their fundraising campaigns sometimes are not enough to cover cost so they get pricy. The price makes it snobbish rather the art itself; opera has so much to say about life and society. As you said the dominant form of entertainment but also a major form of political discourse if one cares to look beyond the superficial layer ;) . I tend to think that price is more the issue for live performance, whichever form it takes. I would not spend $200 to go and see a pop group and I can see why people decide not to spend $200 to go hear Puccini or Wagner. It's the same with musicals: I find it pushy to sell balcony tickets at $90 a piece.

Talking of musicals, I eventually went to see Les Miserables about a month ago. I expected to be blown away; I wanted to be. I was disappointed; it was good but I needed it to be extraordinary. I apologize because I think I may already have said it elsewhere but I wish I would see a production that showed the Thenardiers as the evil and plain mean couple they are instead of turning them into the comic relief of an otherwise terribly sad story. They are part of the reason Les Mis is such a tragedy because the only character that brings light to the story is Cosette. My main issue for all the characters - except Javert and Enjolras - was the complete absence of nuances... they all felt unidimensional to me in their interpretation
I was disappointed by the lady playing Fantine; no emotion in her I Dreamed A Dream, which played way too early, just after she is being sent away from Madeleine's factory. She sang it safe, beautiful instead of the despair that should inhabit the song...
Valjean was too loud; all the effin' time. Come on! Did your singing teacher never tell you about soft and loud?
Cosette... the one challenge of that character is to be the silver lining of the story without being perky and to hit that one note in A Heart Full of Love; she could not even do it. On neither occasion :roll: .
The redeeming elements of the play were Javert and Enjolras (the students in general); I enjoyed the fact that they really showed the fact that the students also have a sense that they fight for love. Whether it's the love of liberty or love life there is that research of happiness in society or private life. It is something that was lost in the movie that they kept here; so there really is this sense that the rioters do not want Marius to get hurt much as they want him to fight with them. And Javert was great: the conflict within was well worked out, which is a failing of many interpretations of that character. His Stars was beautiful: the one song that made me cry in the entire show.
All in all though it was too loud all the time losing some of the softness of the story... too bad.
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Re: Musicals, stage plays and all live theatre - come share!

Postby Caelithllae » Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:38 pm

Hello!
I love musicals, particularly Les Miz, The phantom of the opera and The Lord Of The Rings.
I've discovered recently- I don't know if you know about it- the musical of the lord of the rings.
It not exactly a musical, it's a theatre with musical pieces, but it is beautiful. The elves' songs are beautiful, and the Hobbits' fun and happy. I just love it!
Just thought I would share it with you, if there's people who doesn't know about this fantastic musical!
Earendil81- Which production did you see? The London one, or the Broadway one? I've seen the London cast this summer (I live on the other continent) and I thoguht they were splendid! Wish I could see them again.
:)
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Re: Musicals, stage plays and all live theatre - come share!

Postby Morwenna » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:18 am

Back in 1971 I was in the chorus of Mame in a community playhouse, strictly amateur.

I do enjoy seeing live performances, but I don't get to very many. Hubby, obviously with his training, wishes we could get to more! There are plenty of plays around our area, but not very many musicals. Hubby wants to see them in New York. I think that's a great idea, but it would be a greater idea if he were more able to walk very far/long! And even cheap seats there are ex-pen-sive!! :shock:
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Re: Musicals, stage plays and all live theatre - come share!

Postby earendil81 » Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:28 pm

Caelithllae wrote:Hello!
I love musicals, particularly Les Miz, The phantom of the opera and The Lord Of The Rings.
I've discovered recently- I don't know if you know about it- the musical of the lord of the rings.
It not exactly a musical, it's a theatre with musical pieces, but it is beautiful. The elves' songs are beautiful, and the Hobbits' fun and happy. I just love it!
Just thought I would share it with you, if there's people who doesn't know about this fantastic musical!
Earendil81- Which production did you see? The London one, or the Broadway one? I've seen the London cast this summer (I live on the other continent) and I thoguht they were splendid! Wish I could see them again.
:)


Hello Caelithllae, welcome to these wonderful boards :D :D :D

I knew about the LOTR musical but didn't get a chance to see it; must also admit that I am not sure I want to have my sense of the story turned into a musical. I'm not convinced a musical can carry the depth of the story... one of the shortcomings of the art form (musicals that is ;) )

To answer your question, I saw the London production of Les Mis though with a mostly Canadian cast as they tend to do in Toronto ;) . I found some of the same weaknesses in Billy Elliot, which I saw a couple of years ago I believe.
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Re: Musicals, stage plays and all live theatre - come share!

Postby Caelithllae » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:25 pm

I did not get the chance to see the musical neither, though I would have certainly wish to!
It is sure different, and less complicated and complex and deep then the books, and even (It's my opinion) then the movies, but it is a fantastic musical piece.
I got to see Les Misérables at Toronto, because I live in Quebec (The french area of Canada). I can't stop liking this musical, it is so good!
Thanks for the welcome,
Lae. :)
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Re: Musicals, stage plays and all live theatre - come share!

Postby Morwenna » Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:15 am

earendil81 wrote:

I knew about the LOTR musical but didn't get a chance to see it; must also admit that I am not sure I want to have my sense of the story turned into a musical. I'm not convinced a musical can carry the depth of the story... one of the shortcomings of the art form (musicals that is ;) )


Well, as for depth (no I haven't seen LOTR the musical either), one must recall Carousel. And Show Boat. They're very poignant stories. Not to mention West Side Story. I'm sure there are others.
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Re: Musicals, stage plays and all live theatre - come share!

Postby earendil81 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:27 am

I must admit I didn't see either Carousel or Showboat though I've heard they were amazing.

I guess I was talking from an adaptation point of view based on my latest experiences; I probably should have said that it's not so much a shortcoming of the art form but rather something lacking in some of the productions...
Not sure I'm clear... and that doesn't change the fact that I love musicals :P :roll: (go figure my logic there ;) )
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earendil81
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Re: Musicals, stage plays and all live theatre - come share!

Postby Morwenna » Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:10 am

I guess there's an expectation that they're all going to be upbeat like Oklahoma or The Music Man or something. But when I look back at the plots, I think it's more like half and half. Fiddler on the Roof doesn't end very upbeat either. And then there's Les Mis.
Morwenna
Ranger of the North


 
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