New York

#MusicMonday … The Choices We Make

Ok, jetzt mal ehrlich: Wer kennt diese Situation, wenn man einen Ohrwurm hat, zwei bis vier Takte, der einen RICHTIG nervös macht, weil man weder weiß, wie es nach besagten zwei Takten weiter geht, noch den Text gut genug kennt, um von den Wörtern auf den Inhalt zu schließen und von dem wiederum auf die Herkunft oder den Titel des Liedes.

Vergangene Woche traf mich genau so einer wieder – vielleicht war es die Strafe für den lauten und sehr raumgreifenden “She works hard for the money”-Ohrwurm, der mich zum Leidwesen (und der Unterhaltung) meiner Kolleg_innen neulich im Büro heimsuchte. Ich hatte also einen typischen Fall von meinem eigenen Chor im Ohr, mit latent pathetischer Melodieführung (I LOVE me some pathetische Melodieführung from time to time)

Drei Tage später habe ich dann abends durch meine Apple Music Bibliothek – die, wenn wir ehrlich sind, nur aus Showtunes besteht – gescrollt auf der Suche einem Song, der auf meinen Ohrwurm passen könnte. Besonders lang war’s nicht her, dass ich es gehört hatte, es ist kein altes Stück. Durch die #pathetischemelodieführung konnte es quasi nur ein Finale oder zumindest ein Finale 1. Akt sein. Und BOOM plötzlich wusste ich’s: Es ist “The Choices We Make” aus dem Musical A Bronx Tale, das sich überraschenderweise schon relativ lange am Broadway hält, obwohl es bei sämtlichen Awards fast ausnahmslos ignoriert wurde.

Ich finde, das Reinhören lohnt sich – und nicht nur für die letzten Song.

Der Ohrwurm ist seitdem übrigens weg.

 

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#MusicMonday … It’s an ol’ song.

So, nachdem ich vor einer Woche einen Beitrag über gleich drei deutschsprachige Musicalalben geschrieben habe, hat mich Ende der vergangenen Woche eine Neuerscheinung vom amerikanischen Markt erwartungsgemäß total umgehauen – und das sogar obwohl ich die Musik dank verschiedener bereits existierender Aufnahmen relativ gut kenne und ich das Stück sogar im Sommer 2017 glücklicherweise in New York sehen konnte. Die Rede ist von HADESTOWN von Anais Mitchell, das ich im New York Theatre Workshop in einer Inszenierung von Rachel Chavvkin erleben durfte und das mir irgendwie beigebracht hat, dass man offenbar so Themen hat, auf die man immer anspringt (#Leitmotiv). Bei einem Freund von mir ist es die Undine-Rusalka-Meerjungfrau-Geschichte in allen Facetten, bei mir scheinbar Orpheus und Eurydike. Well…who knew…and I really don’t know why.

Die Musik war erst eine Theatermusik, dann gab es dazu ein Concept-Album, dann ist es wieder auf die Bühne gekommen und diese Version hat uns Ghostlight jetzt live konserviert (haha, Oxymoron!) und zwar so sehr, dass ich am Freitag nach einem langen und irgendwie so mittelcharmanten Arbeitstag nach Hause kam und das doch sehr viel sehr viel besser gemacht hat.

Für den Music Monday habe ich heute zwei Songs rausgesucht, die in keiner Veröffentlichung vorher enthalten waren und auf ihre Arbeit jeweils sehr schön den Vibe des Stücks festhalten: zwischen eskapistischem Südstaaten-Sound (New Orleans, my friends…) und Kapitalismus-Fugen lotet Hadestown nämlich irgendwie allegorisch die Geschichte von Orpheus und Eurydike aus, wo es um viel mehr geht als um Leben und Tod und irgendwie auch um weniger, nämlich um Arbeiten, um Arbeitsmoral und Lebensziele, ums Übers-Ohr-Gehauen-Werden und um die Kompromisse, die wir eingehen müssen.

My Weeks #31, Mar 24th – April 6th

what I saw
are you ready for some craziness? As you know I went to New York and we were seeing a bunch of shows.
I saw Once for a second time. Then one of my dreams came true by seeing Bridges of Madison County, Idina Menzel, LaChanze and Anthony Rapp in If/Then, the latest revival of LesMiz, Ryan Scott Oliver and Hunter Foster’s show Jasper in Deadland Off-Broadway, Violet, Bullets over Broadway, Beautiful, Rocky, the concert Aaron Lazar had at 54below and once more The Bridges of Madison County. I’ll try and get thoughts on each and every show up as soon as possible.

what I read    
Jennifer Tepper’s book The Untold Stories of Broadway. Once more, I’ll think about getting thoughts on that up as soon as possible.

what I listened to
mostly Parade and JRB stuff and I kept listening to the four released songs from the Bridges cast recording on Soundcloud over and over again. (I’m obsessed with ‘It All Fades Away’), but I also needed to listen to In The Heights and Violet and the newly digitally released recording of Beautiful.

what I did
Well….with that trip to NYC guess what. 😉 I went to see the city and breathe in the city and had incredibly nice talks and experiences with other fellow theatre-goers and embraced one of the languages I’m so feeling at home in once again. I am so grateful for having this opportunity and having been able to see all these shows and experience all the stuff (thank the Lord, that one day I have to decided to get fluent in English!) – which makes my personal as well as professional live so much richer!
I promise I’ll write a little something about New York outside of theatres. When the time is right.
Plus: I came up with kind of exciting ideas for this blog. Let’s see how they’ll be made real.

 

What did you do?

Are you curious and can’t wait for my posts to see what I thoughts of the shows I saw? On the Theaterkind facebook page I posted pics of the ticket stubs with small thoughts for every show I saw – head over there and check it out!

Have a great new week starting tomorrow!

On My Way

Folks, I’m too excited! Only six months and two days after my first trip to NYC I have the amazing opportunity to go back already!

(Thanks to my AMAZING Mama here!)

I’ll spend the next 9 (10) days over there in this amazing city (I’ll be happy to read any recommendations of you – especially when it comes to eating for eating-autists like I am. Salads? Juices? Smoothies? But also: Record stores, book stores and stuff like that), but I of course also will see theatre. And this is what I’m even more excited for than the city alone.

Last time I went I we saw 7 shows/plays plus a concert: Once, Big Fish, First Date, Newsies, Pippin, Fetch Clay Make Man and Matilda.

This time I have planned a whole lot more and I hope my girls (Mama and my sister) won’t be suffering from a kind of theatre overkill. Especially since this spring on Broadway is very interesting, I’m happy to be able to fly over once more.
The shows I’ve planned to see and write about (so you folks are going to be able to read about them) are in this order:
Beautiful
The Bridges of Madison County
If/Then
Les Miserables
Jasper in Deadland (Off Broadway)
Violet
Bullets over Broadway
Once (once more, because…..it’s just Once)

We are also going to see Aaron Lazar’s concert at 54below on April 2nd which also is the day where I might try to get into Rocky for the matinee. And we kept the last night free for us to each go and see the show again which we liked the most (and which has tickets avaliable). We are also splitting up to see different shows Sunday afternoon – while I go uptown to see Ryan Scott Oliver and Hunter Foster’s Jasper in Deadland, my girls are going to see Matilda, since my sister loves children and the movie and that pretty much makes it the perfect show for her.

So, keep your eyes open if you’re interested in Broadway thoughts over here!

Top 5 Musical Theatre Experiences 2013

Towards the end of the year I can state: My top 5 Musical Theatre Experiences in 2013….in chronological order.

1) The last ever episode of Smash – I LOVED the first season of Smash and I liked the second one or, let’s say – I ‘lived’ with it until it got its sh*t together towards the end of the season and than the last two episodes happened and … let’s be honest here … that was some pretty girly cheesy stuff going on on there and everyone was a little too happy and/or too at peace with his/her fate, but it was super sweet and lovely. And Joshua Safran did some pretty nice acceptance speech writing there. And TONY AWARDS. 😉

2) 54below – back then I was all over the place for my mom’s and my night out at 54below back in NYC and I still think it was one of the better nights of my life. It was having a super nice night out (which I tend to have sometimes….) with my mom, our first night out in NYC and my first cabaret-style concert in a while. Plus: Stephanie J. Block, Brian Stokes Mitchell, LaChanze, hearing so many tunes for the first time (introduced me to Ragtime and Man Of No Importance) and crying over Liz Callaway singing Journey to the PastI guess that was when I realized I finally was in New York, the city I had been obsessing about for six years or more and now taking in the vibe of Broadway in that lovely (and I’d say except for us tourist-free) venue was a little too much for…

3) Seeing Broadway shows – as I just stated from age 16 on I was thinking about how I’d travel to New York one day and see all these Broadway shows I read about on the internet and in magazines. In January I had this crazy idea about me earning my BA’s degree this year (by the way…I’m not even an official Bachelor of Arts yet….and I handed in my thesis three months ago and it’s not that long) and wanting to treat myself with that trip. My mother came along and saw six Broadway shows, two of which will close in the next week (Big Fish and First Date) and I can say that what I saw over there got a totally new perspective on musical theatre and what people call “mega musicals”. Especially Big Fish and Once moved me in a way it wasn’t even funny anymore and I just heard First Date‘s Krysta Rodriguez say “And now I’m in a Broadway show that’s like a TV show” – and she’s right. Yes, there is such a thing. But basically almost every show was special, too special and too dear to pick one or two to make it into my favourite musical theatre experiences.

4) Next to Normal in Germany – coming back from NYC I had a two week long break before my next adventure, travelling to the south of Germany to see the German version of Next to Normal. And coming back from New York I had this “Well….I’ve seen Broadway….I’ve seen musical theatre at its best” kind of attitude. I knew it featured my favourite two musical actresses in Germany and I was beyond excited for the translation. I’ve always loved the Broadway Cast recording and I knew I’d love the German version of “Wish I were here” music-wise and so it was. In addition to that I never knew “Maybe” could move me the way it did. Sabrina Weckerlin who played Natalie sang like three notes and I totally burst into tears – like she pushed some random “Lisanne cries”-button. Vocally it was overall a genuine performance of mostly everybody involved. Let’s just leave it at that.

5) Bundeswettbewerb Gesang – as you could just read in my two blog post about that competition (Part 1 and Part 2) I really loved working there and it was worth taking 5 days of my annual leave at my job at university even though it meant long hours very little to no private life – I mostly enjoyed working with all these people. It showed me a lot about musical theatre and how people working in there are.

Sadly I didn’t have that great experiences with opera – just because I didn’t see too much of it. But of course, Katie Mitchell’s Le Vin Herbe at Staatsoper Berlin as well as Caroline Melzer and Nurit Stark’s version of Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments were pretty amazing, too – just not Top 5 2013-amazing. 😉

Now I’m eager to learn about your favourite musical theatre experiences of 2013! What concert did you like most? What show? A stage door experience you’d like to share? I’d be happy to read some of that in the comments below or on my facebook page. Or, new since last Wednesday, you can write me an email in English or German to mail.theaterkind[at]web.de

I do have a good excuse!

I do have a good excuse!

The last three have been quite a tour de force! All I did was working and working and riding my bike to and from work and I had not time to write about my weekend away seeing Next to Normal in German. But I’m still there and this picture is kind of a teaser to what will be soon up: A nerd’s guide to NYC! 🙂

Broadway Up Close

IMG_2545After I published my Broadway thoughts/reviews/whatever you wanna call it here, I thought I’d share a Broadway-related activity with you I really enjoyed.

Somewhere in spring I read on playbill.com (best website yet, where I get all my B’way-knowlegde) about Broadway Up Close Walking Tours and since I enjoy Broadway and walking tours I booked a tour for my mother and myself. (small disclaimer here: Broadway Up Close is in no way sponsoring me, all thoughts are my own)

On Oct. 1st, 1pm we met Tim, owner of BUC and our guide, in front of the Nederlander Theatre (currently home to Newsies, the show we saw the night before) along with our two fellow tour-goers, a married couple from San Diego (I believe). From there we started our almost two hours long tour into Broadway history. I consider myself to be some kind of Broadway-“expert” (as far as being an expert can go living on another continent….), I’m a frequent visitor to playbill.com and broadway.com and I spend hours and hours on gaining more knowledge of Broadway-repertoire because someday it will come in handy when I might be a dramaturg for musical theatre. But almost everything of what Tim told us was completely new to me. Mostly historical stuff (which I love.) and the magical things about Broadway’s early history. I’m very into digging up old pieces of information or discovering new things about old stuff like Tim did at Belasco Theatre (also known as Broaway’s most haunted theatre).

All the time during the tour you can definitely see Tim loving what he does and loving Broadway (‘s history). He knew that my mother’s English wasn’t that good and he talked rather fast and at one point he walked up to me and asked “How’s mom doing?” which I found very caring (she was doing just fine, she loved his way to talk and act something out from time to time….). For everyone who wants to take the tour I don’t want to spoil anything so I will not go into detail here, I’ll just end saying for Broadway lovers it’s definitely worth the money and the time.
I loved it!

Once on Broadway

ImageAs I already stated in an earlier post Once was (and ever will be) the first show I ever saw on Broadway. Exciting, right? And it was a good choice for my ‘first time’.

I didn’t know the movie, I own the original Broadway recording, but I never really loved it because basically if you just listen to it it’s only a collection of folk songs. So I never had a TOTAL blast listening to it. Another but: BUT I literally cried back then when I saw the trailer for the first time. Well….everything was fun and games until the guy danced while playing his cello. 

So we got our tickets at the TKTS booth down at South Seaport (because we basically wanted to go downtown that day anyways plus there was that free open air concert “Broadway on Hudson”…) which was rather convenient.

So after a whole day of walking we hurried over to the theatre (basically only one block to the west) not knowing that poeple would actually line up in front of the theatre. So we went past the whole line and sneeked in without waiting (to our defense: we did not know – and yes, we felt bad) and when we entered the stage was already filled up with performers playing their instruments and singing to each other as well as with audience members just chilling over there watching them. It was a chaotic, a little bit like watching musicians rehearse or developing something new.

Later on the two stage managers asked the audience members to leave the stage, but the jam session continued until Arthus Darvill (playing GUY) suddenly stood there (alone) playing Leave with the lights in the audience still on. Only when his song was almost finished the lights slowly went off. That way it wasn’t like “Shut up, the performance starts!”, the performance slowly fought its way into the audience and that was kinda brilliant. And it made it so much about the music right from the beginning.

And as of today I can totally localize my urge to cry at that exact spot. I mean the story of course is sad and I totally cried about that, too, because after all I’m a girl but I’ve never seen anything more about pure music and the joy it can bring to the people than that! Wow! Every instrument to hear throughout the performance is played by the actors on stage: violins (the actresses playing the violins actually sing while playing the violin….just sayin’), the already mentioned cello, a number of guitars, bass, the piano, various percussion, accordion…it was pure joy to watch them performing and embracing the music in every possible way and it actually showed me again why I love musical theatre so much and why I chose (or better: want to choose) it as my business in the first place.

I could go on and on about that and about those small fabulous things that are going on during the show. I love the characters especially those of GUY and GIRL, they are great and lovable and kind of true to life although I had a feeling I couldn’t really ‘grab’ them as characters – which actually is a good sign of true to life characters, right? They just “felt right” (BOY, that is a poor discription for someone who just finished her BA studies in theatre studies!).
I really don’t want to go into all the other small details (like this scene when GUY comes home with GIRL or her great way to talk and her dry humour), because then I’d totally write a performance analysis and that’s not for a blogpost. That’s a whole paper for university (no, more like two thirds).

So, read you later!

Big Fish on Broadway

Big Fish Playbill and Ticket

Although Big Fish has been only the second Broadway show we saw in the past days I’ll write about it first because they officially open on Broadway tonight!

And while most of my crying during Once (the first show we saw) was about “Oh my gosh, it’s soooo good. It’s soooo good it restores my faith in musical theatre!” my crying here was less about how good it was (after Once the expectations were pretty high, though), which of course it was, too, but more about its actual sadness. And oh yeah – it was sad. And beautiful. And sad again. And, Lord, it was good! (and sad again. and beautiful. and …)

To start: I kind of was (and still am) obsessed with only one little riff Norbert Leo Butz (playing Edward Bloom) does in Moving too fast from Jason Robert Brown’s The Last 5 Years (which Seth Rudetsky talks about in one of his videos around 3:40 to 4:15), so seeing him perform in Big Fish was kind of a big deal.
Next: I haven’t seen the movie or read the book. So I was a complete Big Fish-Newbie.
I’m not very keen on theatre productions (be they with or without music) displaying a lot of stuff on stage. Costume-wise, set-wise, fancy effects – that kind of things, you know.

And that was my first thought about Big Fish, when in the witch scene the ensemble-members start moving and that makes the trees look like their roots are moving and people in the audience were applauding. I’m not really into applauding for ‘computer tricks’. Along that the show offers a huge repertoire of bigger and smaller effects I really don’t wanna spoil, but let’s just say: Yes, of course there is a giant and there are quite a few super nice video animations that work great as a set. And while the show went on I realized as little as I like this ‘over the top’-stuff (as I want to call it) in general I really (really. REALLY) liked it in Big Fish. After all it’s a story about dreaming big and about imagination, so it really calls for imagining things and helping a audience to dream big. So I made officially peace with it.

And it was worth it! Wow! Not only is Norbert Leo Butz a phenomenal actor in that show – he really gets to show off a lot. Going from the old, dying man to the young, active version of that very same man in a second without giving the audience a chance to doubt that chance or one or the other interpretation is accomplishment I’ve never seen before and believe me or not: I’ve seen a lot.
Earlier that day when I met my best friend and I was telling him about the show I said: If that doesn’t win him a Tony Award I’ll do something crazy – I’m not settling on what I’ll do, but I’ll think of something when the time arrives. And I’ll stand by my word.

Next on: Kate Baldwin. Boy, she is great as well. She can play the taken back wife that gives all the stage to her husband, the caring wife when he’s close to his death and when the circus scene comes along when she ‘auditions’ with two of her girl friends for a part in that circus she’s so adorable young, naive and very true to life that you’d never get the idea of laughing at her in that rather corny trio-singing-dance-number they do.

Along with the two of them there are two versions of their son Will. The young one portrayed by Zachary Unger who gets to say many funny and precocious comebacks to his father’s over the top-stories seems to merge into the older version played by Bobby Steggert who is singing two of the most touching numbers of the show (Stranger was the first time I fought my tears this evening. It was hard but I was successful).

These actors are accompanied by a number of great ensemble-performers taking smaller and larger parts in the ‘stories’ Edward Bloom tells along the way. (among them I really, really liked Ciara Renée as the Witch)

About the music: I really like The Addams Family and I love Andrew Lippa’s version of The Wild Party. That being said it’s safe to say that I LOVE the music of Big Fish. I literally can’t wait for a recording to come out (which hopefully will happen rather sooner than later although it’s not even announced yet). Sadly I haven’t heard so much music of so many different styles that I can’t remember exactly what the music was like in general, I’d need to listen to a recording or something to write a real discription (but: I remember that I really loved Stranger, I know what you want sung by the Witch and Fight the Dragons. – especially the last one is an extremely beautiful song!). But the sound of that music goes really well with the direction (or better: the other way round), one thing suits the other. Susan Stroman’s direction kind of seems to be an absolute necessity of dealing with the music. I repeat myself but: Music and direction seem to be a dream team over there.

And before I write another paragraph about how beautiful and great everything was, only thing I really want to say: I am so grateful I had the opportunity to see it already (thanks to my mom here, for the trip and the company) and everyone else – please, go see it. Or if you can’t go because you’re in good old Europe or something: At least you and youtube the trailer and some songs they put online!

Read you soon!