Monday, May 26, 2014

Heathers the Musical

Inspired by the entertainment value of Rocky the Musical, I got tickets to the off-Broadway production of Heathers the Musical. I figured that no matter what it would have to be fun, even if not great theater. Well, I was wrong. It was a giant mess of schlock. I felt embarrassed for the performers, who seemed competent and talented. They just had to work with a big chaotic ridiculous joke of material. It was frenetic and unfunny. Shrill and flat at the same time. The music and lyrics were cringe-worthy.

It was so bad that we left after intermission!!! I don't think I've ever done that with live entertainment (just movies). I'm glad I didn't punish myself by staying for the whole thing.

Friday, May 16, 2014


A couple of nights ago I watched Alexander Payne's Nebraska starring Bruce Dern. I was really mesmerized by this bleak and beautiful movie.

It tells the story of a cantankerous older man, possibly losing his faculties, who becomes convinced he's won a million dollars from a magazine sweepstakes. Unable to convince him it's a scam, his two sons and wife join him on a journey from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska to collect his winnings. On the way they stop for a couple of days at his family's home where he grew up in small town in Nebraska.

The relationships are all tense and empty. There a large chasms of lost connections. However, the movie slowly takes it's time to illuminate the these connections, and it gradually, tentatively reveals the love, fragile as it may be, between the four central characters.

Filmed in black and white, Nebraska is visually as well as emotionally beautiful, and each frame is stunning.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Rocky The Musical

What an exciting musical! Rocky tells the story of the 1976 movie, which I barely remember, about a down and out local boxer struggling to find respect -- from himself and others. The opportunity to fight the leading champion falls in his lap, and presents him with an opportunity to prove himself.

The narrative is pretty straight-forward. What really made this show dynamic was the production. The sets were dramatic and atmospheric. They made great use of film, particularly during the training montages, and used large screens to project actors playing broadcasters.

However, they brought all the bells and whistles out for the finale. Audience members in the first ten rows were led up to the stage to fill bleachers. The excitement of the fight was enhanced through extra large screens showing close ups of the match. And the ring was extended out into the orchestra so everyone felt close to the action. Totally fun!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I Puritani

I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of incredibly beautiful singing today. I saw the Met production of Bellini's I Puritani. Every principal gave a stunning performance. The music was just wonderful.

The plot however was a little bland -- not much happens -- and also a little murky. It was hard to keep up with some of the allegiances. The set was dull, dark and grim.

As I said all the singers blew me away. I was particularly moved by tenor Lawrence Brownlee as Arturo and Olga Peretyako as Elvira. The two of them delivered several show-stopper arias.