Sunday, May 5, 2013

Big Fish - A Big Flop or a Return to See?

“My father and I were like strangers that knew each other very well.” (Big Fish) The excitement of seeing a product before it goes to Broadway may lead to disappointment. The Adams Family after its pre-Broadway run in Chicago changed much of the story by the time it arrived on Broadway. To know that your reaction to these shows actually helps form them gives you a sense of being part of the creative process. With that being said, I would like to express my concern for the show.
                The first act of the show was a bunch of stores that an old man tells his son. No common thread except for the fathers overwhelming ability to make a simple story a fantastical story that has everyone hooked. The first act felt like CATS, nothing truly bringing these stories together, no purpose no reason for the audience to stay past intermission. I thought about leaving at intermission but felt that there had to be more to this story in order for them to make it into a musical, so I stayed.
                The second act is where all of the important story content is. It is where you learn the son’s true desire to know his father, and a father’s reason for such fantastical tales. I am not sure if there was a dry eye in the audience by the end of the show, as the touching moments at the end are those of a son realizing the fathers need for this stories were not to hide the truth but to inspire and drive the son to greatness.
                While the product 5 weeks into pre-views was plagued with sound issues, a few minor staging issues, and a long production time (2hours 30 minute, not counting intermission) it is a great production. I hope that when they arrive on Broadway that they can find some cliff hanger to hold audiences over to the second act that will ensure that everyone sees the wonderful acting, directing and the final breath taking story.
Big Fish on Broadway will be a must see, hopefully with a few Tony nominations. While I do not think it will last as long as some shows I think it will have a few good years. If possible I would return to see it before I leaves Chicago. I hope that it again will grace a Chicago stage for its national tour as I would enjoy the chance to witness it again.     

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Oz the Great and Powerful....

As I stated before this is my opinion. This also contains spoilers so do not read if you have not seen the movie. OZ the great and powerful in Chad nut shell "Oscar Diggs a womanizing pig, is transported to OZ in a hot air balloon. Lands and is discovered by a witch how instantly falls in love with him. Enter evil sister who doesn't like him, heart broken after a 15 minute lust affair, original witch turns green and tries to rule OZ. Third witch falls for Oscar and tells him he can save the land from evil witch who was just created. Sister witch turns old and runs away with green witch. Oscar, the womanizing pig, is now in love with third witch...." If you like sappy love story set in a confusing world then this movie is for you. If you were hoping that this was about the Wizard’s journey to Oz…. This is not the movie for you. Disney was able to create an amazing visually stunning piece of work that should be appreciated on the big screen. However, it should be treated like a 2012  movie where you are just going for the special effects. What are your thoughts?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Jekyll and Hyde Muscial Disaster

On March 13th I was subjected to the most Horrifying of experiences on stage. The new version of Jekyll and Hyde starting Deborah Cox and Teal Wicks was destroyed by the untalented and completely misdirected Constantine Maroulis. I have a rule of thumb, anytime they put a stars name about the title of a show or movie the producers now they have a pile of crap on their hands. In this case the producers were capitalizing on the Constantine’s American Idol audience. In a hopes to capture more of an audience producers were banking on Deborah Cox’s ability to draw in the  gay audience.
                Let’s start off my telling you what I liked about the show. Deborah Cox and Teal Wicks were amazing. Both ladies were perfectly cast within their roles. The sets, costumes and staging were well thought out and executed well. The use of projection throughout the show for backdrops and visual effects added to the show. I did not even mind the changes to the music, lyrics,  and order of the songs. Truly a wonderful production could have existed with a few changes.
                Whoever, thought to use Constantine was truly trying to capitalize on his American Idol 15 minutes of fame, and  his Rock of Ages experience. However, if Tom Cruise can star in the movie it isn’t like it takes much talent. Constantine’s version of a spineless Henry Jekyll was disturbing. How is the audience to believe that a man clutching a box for the first 15 minutes of the musical has the ability to use himself as a test subject. He whines more than he asserts himself. It is truly disturbing how bad his acting abilities are. When one hopes that Jekyll/Hyde would die before the end of act one there is something wrong. In the original version of Jekyll and Hyde the confrontation song one of the most difficult to perform. With the use of projectors and a prerecorded Hyde  this turned from a vocal master piece to a visual marvel. While I wasn’t sure I was going to like it at first It did turn out well if it wasn’t for the over synthesized voice. However, I can understand why they over synthesize his voice as it was that bad. One thing of the staging and sets that bothered me was the reduction to the laboratory set. It was a chair with a few bubbling beakers with watcher and lights. Nothing that would even suggest that it was more than a show piece. The fact that tubes continued to fall out of his injection points means that it was not even a well thought out set piece.
                My review in a nut shell… If you can go see it do,  if for no other reason than the ladies wonderful performances. However, do not pay full prices. I am sure that this will have discounted tickets until it closes shortly after arriving on Broadway. I would say  wait till you can rent it at the dollar box, but hopefully they will not put this horrid production on DVD/Blu-ray, they already have it on CD and that is truly pitiful. However, if you would care to see a better Jekyll/Hyde performer, just Netflix the David Hasselhoff’s DVD. This version is  more entertaining than Constantine’s version, with two wonderfully talented ladies in the lead roles.
                I know I am opinionated, but seriously he needs to quit. 
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