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BROADWAY

Directed by Diane Chevrier
Starring various singers and dancers

A selection of songs and dances from Broadway productions.

 

 

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August 11th, 2005

 
    Over the years, we've seen a variety of musical theatre productions, and although I don't profess to have seen a lot of them, we've seen enough to know what we like. This production took some songs from a lot of the productions that we've seen, and others that we have not, though the latter are typically from before our time.

Strangely enough, I knew a lot of songs from the earlier productions, like Hello Dolly and Annie Get Your Gun. There was a lot of scene switching from one song to another, as they went through 39 songs from 25 productions.

The show started off rather rocky, with cracking voices from a few of the singers and dancers, but I wonder if it was supposed to seem that way, now. Once they moved into the jazz-type songs, they were amazing. To stand still through each song made some of the people look like wax figures, resuming their "daily lives" only at the required time in the songs. Although I was not a fan of Chicago, these dancers and singers did the Cell Block Tango with an energy that made me tap my feet.

The more recent productions, like Evita, Cats, Les Miserables, Grease, Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast, Mama Mia and The Lion King, made me want to see those again, in some form or another. Quite impressive. I can't understand why they only did one song from Phantom, however, as the singers did so well -better, in fact, than the actors in the recent movie. Grease got the most songs, and was one of the most fun. Beauty and the Beast was a little lacklustre, though the singers for the theme song from that show did a great job.

Some of the songs from Mama Mia were cut short, and I wonder at some of the choices. There were certainly other songs that were more representative of that show. Some of the shows chosen seemed strange, too. Having never seen Chess, I wasn't tempted to do so after this preview, though their rendition of Hair, which I also haven't seen, was entertaining. It didn't seem to be worth Jesus Christ Superstar, as they simply stood around, giving no idea how that production proceeds at all.

The true star of the show was the finale, of course, where they repeated the costumes and energy of The Lion King, even moving through the crowd as in the original production. I would love to see that show again.

There were two or three singers who did most of the voice-work, and they were great, even though we could tell who they were under their costumes. One reminded me, in voice and appearance, of Celine Dion. The voices, naturally, didn't match what we remember from the originals, but we didn't expect them to. This was put together to give us a taste of everything, and it did an admirable job.

I wonder about the use of microphones during the production, however. Sometimes the voices could not be conveyed properly through the speakers, especially in high-pitched sequences. I think it would have been better to have at least the main singers without microphones around their heads. A simple set of mics around and above the stage might have been more effective, and made it feel more live, without booming the music and voices into every little corner.

I always enjoy live shows; I think there is nothing like them. Seeing some of the best shows rendered here kept me more than entertained; I went home singing the songs, while I was tapping my foot through most of the show. Given the small stage and the number of stage changes on the rotating platform, they did a remarkable job transforming into so many characters in so many scenes from so many shows during an hour and a half.

Consider this show a recap, whetting the appetite for what we haven't seen, and allowing us to relive the shows we have seen previously. I can't wait to see the originals again.

 
   

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