Musical

Be More Chill

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Be More Chill is a contemporary musical from Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz. In a nutshell it is the story of a high school geek that takes a secret pill to become “cool.” The show bills itself as a mashup of Little Shop of Horrors and Dear Evan Hansen and I can definitely see the influences in some over the top characters and the central character being the outcast.

The songs have a contemporary feel to them with some witty lyrics. The performers were all of Broadway standard and put on a great show. I cannot really say any particular one stood out to me.

Overall the show has a good message “like who you are” and I can see a lot of people really enjoying this show. If you like Mean Girls or Kinky Boots, this might be for you. It seems to be very popular with teenagers as there was one sitting behind me mouthing every lyric. I cannot honestly say this was my cup of tea but it might be a favorite of yours.

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Beetlejuice the musical

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Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetle.... The Tim Burton cult classic movie Beetlejuice is now open on Broadway in musical form, and what form it is in. 

All the classic characters are there as well as special effects from props and the set which bring to life the feel of the movie. Any fan of the movie will have a blast at this new musical on the Great White Way.

Alex Brightman as the ghoulish lead has been nominated for a Tony Award in the Best Actor in a Musical category. As Beetlejuice he gets to flex his creative muscles and have a lot of fun with the character. Much like The Emcee in Cabaret or the Engineer in Miss Saigon, Mr. Brightman gets to break down that fourth wall and include the audience in all his banter and shenanigans. And he does it well. The rest of the cast are no slouches either. Sophie Anne Caruso portraying the death obsessed Lidia is a pint-sized powerhouse, and Leslie Kritzer as the ditzy and over the top Step-Mother Delia gets to play her character with a ferociously funny abandon. This show is not understated whether you are talking about the characters or the scenery. Everything is a little bit cartoony and over the top, but in a good way.

Even if you are not familiar with the 1988 movie, I am positive you will enjoy this fun filled and wacky romp about death. Beetlejuice the Musical is worth repeating not twice, but three times.

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Tootsie the musical

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80s nostalgia has been peaking its head lately. Not too long ago we had American Psycho on Broadway, Ready Player One in books and theaters and even some video games are reverting back to 80s pixelated looks. Tootsie, a hit movie in the 80’s for Dustin Hoffman has just began previews on Broadway in a musical form.  This is a reimagined Tootsie for the “Me Too” age and instead of taking place in an office like the movie, it is taking place on Broadway fulfilling the dreams for the out of work actor Michael Dorsey (aka Dorothy Michaels).  

This is a fun and light-hearted musical comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  It still has the standard tropes of the sleazy Director, a good looking but less than bright beefcake, lazy writer/best friend and hanger on ex-girlfriend.  Tootsie all in all is fun escapism and treat for all audiences. 

Hadestown

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The Road to Hell

So I just saw a preview of the Hadestown, which recently began performances on Broadway. What is Hadestown? It is a musical based on the Greek tragedy of Orpheus & Eurydice and the story of Hades & Persephone but set in Great Depression inspired time. The music is a combination of New Orleans jazz, folk and Americana which to me gives a real American feel.

Performance-wise there are some heavyweights that really make the show a winner. from the moment he comes out and shows off his waistcoat the ageless André De Shields owns the stage. As Hermes he serves as an Emcee/Narrator that moves the story along as easily as his lithe frame glides across the stage. Singer-songwriter Reeve Carney channels the late Jeff Buckley in his Orpheus. Eva Noblezada is as strong a presence vocally as when I last saw her as the title role in Miss Saigon. Amber Gray as Persephone is firecracker and has some great moments where she really gets the audience into it. And then there is Hades, played by Patrick Page (for all you nerds, yes he was also Green Goblin to Mr. Carney’s Spiderman in Turn Off the Dark). Now there has to be some vocal effects on him yes, but still, Mr. Page has that presence and plays the character so well that he could talk you into working in the factory for him.

The supporting cast consisting of the Fates and Chorus rounded out the strong cast. In addition to the actors there are the musicians. I have come to the decision that I prefer having the band on stage with the actors like they are in Hadestown. This allows interaction between the actors and musicians and the musicians become more prominent to the audience. It’s like they are part of the cast. And what a band it was! The Set Design was also particularly well presented and even utilized during some numbers with lamps virtually doing choreography.

Needless to say i really enjoyed this show and think it can enjoyed by a wide range of people. If someone is looking for a Broadway musical that is more on the contemporary side but with classical elements, striking set design and winning performances they should consider going to Hadestown…

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