So the blog you’ve all been waiting for… LOTR at Radio City Music Hall. Again I thank Vince for recommending me. So the first day I walked in and received my IPA for Elvish. I could end it there and it be completely worthwhile. Of course as we initially sang though it I was getting little pangs of being overwhelmed. But truthfully it turned out being like a typical choir rehearsal. And I couldn’t tell exactly where in the movie it went and I couldn’t understand exactly it was I was saying. It also got a little frustrating that we were taught the music by the conductor of the base choir (Desoff Choir) , and he received no guidance. So we spent quite a bit of time working on things that the maestro upon our first rehearsal together immediately nixed. He was a funny man. (I actually think he looked a little like Gollum when he was still Smeagol, but don’t tell him that…) It was instantly apparent that he was someone who had music running through his pores. Everything he said showed how deeply he understood this music.
But then came the day we walked in and the orchestra began playing the Rohan theme. That was the first time I lost it. Then they played the opening ring theme, and that was time number two. Many more were had. Once the orchestra was included it was far more clear where all the music fit into the story. The orchestra was an import – the German orchestra that actually toured doing this. It was a truly overwhelming sound.
Radio City is like a maze. It took me two different attempts to get to the choir room. I had to go through the hydraulic room. That was pretty fantastic. One time I got lost I ended up on the stage. Also amazing. We were up in the choir room for a long while before we were brought down, and the movie didn’t work right away. But during the dress rehearsal I ended up watching about a half hour of the movie, my head crained around to watch. When I was facing forward I couldn’t see a thing! What I could see was pretty fantastic.
It is a lot of sitting around, for a three hour movie, the men only sang for about 15 minutes. So all I could do was sit up straight and still. The event was absolutely and thoroughly exhausting. But from the moment you walk on that stage and the audience erupts in applause, you can feel the energy of 5000 people all completely engrossed in this experience. All I can say is wow. They applauded whenever any character was introduced (a bit much if you ask me) but nonetheless amazing. I was sitting next to a gentleman who was a little bit big, fidgety, talky talky, and just generally obnoxious. But I would not let that ruin my experience! (and the guy’s chain wallet got stuck to the chair and he couldn’t get up during a bit section. A little bit vindicating. Very immature, but oh well.) There were certain sections however, that felt like I was living in a dream. The way the sound bounced around, and I could hear the dialogue – Sam’s final speech for example, again, wow. And then when it was over and 5000 people leapt to their feet. As I said in my facebook status – everyone should have a standing ovation at Radio City Music Hall for singing along to their favorite movie.
So… NYMF. We’re already weeks past it but I wanted to say a few words about the shows I’ve seen. I think I actually saw more this year than any year prior. The first of course was I Got Fired. Which I helped produce a bit if you recall. (If not, get reading!) It came at a very appropriate time in my life (I could have written the sister musical – I Quit!). Needless to say it hit very close to home. There was a certain “allegorical” quality. Some of the lyrics were absolutely perfect. The right amount of clever, the right amount of juvenile vulgar. Belting an f-bomb I’m sure can be incredibly satisfying. I knew that boss, I knew that nerdy guy, and boy do I know Jenny. I think especially in this economy, this could absolutely have a low-budget run in the future. Look for it!
I also saw The Tenth Floor, written by my friend J. Sebastian Fabal. He wrote the music for King of Ghosts. I discovered that Cory Pattak, a designer/actor I did a lot of work with in college, was the lighting designer. I actually think that the set and lighting design was one of the highlights of the show. It’s about a prisoner in solitary, and they used some hand held lights to designate the cell as well as a number of different looks. He quite simply used what had to be a very simple plot (think festival!!) and made a number of very strikingly different looks.
I thought there were a number of very beautiful songs. But I was not completely compelled by the story. The plot device was these two “ghosts” of previous inhabitants of the cell, and a number of other amorphous cast members. But I never really understood what they were or what they wanted. The four other ghosts seemed to be little more than the background dance party. If anything, they detracted from the meat of the piece with some frankly pretty silly dance numbers. The two “lead ghosts” wanted something that didn’t really seem to make sense, and it is from that place that the plot develops. The development was relatively lukewarm. It also didn’t seem that the songs did much to actually move the plot along. There was also a very unsatisfying plot development with the prisoner’s mother. I will say that all in all the cast was pretty talented, though miscast I felt in a few instances. Overall all I can say is though there were enjoyable moments, for 90 minutes it felt long.
The last show I saw was Tony Asaro’s Our Country. It is about a gay Country music star’s coming out in the tabloids. I want to say first and foremost that Tony wrote some absolutely beautiful ballads. “Honestly” I could see being covered by a recording artist. The best thing I can say about the show without question if Jeremy Pasha. You can’t take your eyes off of him. He’s always doing something interesting. Now that fact can also be a bit of a flaw. Justin Utley, who plays Tommy Daudry, the singer who fall from grace for being gay, does a good job singing the songs, but doesn’t have the real depth to give the real magnetism that a character like his would need. The structure seemed a little uneven to me. The songs came at odd intervals, and some lasted for too long. The truth is they were all good, they just didn’t flow as well as they could have. It meant that the story took a long time to get going. Truthfully I thought a little more was going to happen, and was a little surprised that it ended when it did. Some of the directing choices surprised me a bit and took me out of it. I was also a little confused about the set. I understand it was simple, but they were posters of boys in leather bars. I ask was that the kind of gay man Tommy Daudry was? I suppose it could have been, but I would have wanted something a little more in the text to suggest that. As I have always said, the one-person show is one of the hardest mediums. I think that this show is well on its way to being a great story.
So there are my 2010 NYMF reviews. Hopefully next year I’ll be DOING something in it!
I guess my first big piece of news is I quit my day job this week. I have found a new job, I start Monday. So send good energy to me! Why? It was simply time. It no longer felt like it was working. So I have leapt, and the net has appeared. I am hoping this is coinciding with the new artistic work that I am doing for myself lately. I still wish I had a little more time to get it all done – but who knows, I may have A LOT more time soon. But I have a feeling also that regardless I will begin to find more time to take care of myself in every way possible. From a writing standpoint, I am continuing to get new pages from Zac, and though its not quite a cohesive draft as of yet, I like the direction that the story is going.
I have so much to say! As Bilbo says… where to begin? I have seen a number of shows since I have written last, and I want to talk about all of them! I saw three of NYMF shows (not as much as I would have liked – I missed Frog Kiss and FELLOWSHIP! How could I miss a LOTR MUSICAL?!?!?! – and on that note – I have to tell you about Radio City!) Get ready for a few entries kids!
I was lucky enough to get a free ticket to Little Night Music again. The Fredrick was a replacement. He did a fine job. But overall, I’d say it definitely felt like a matinee (it was.) It was still very good, Bernadette was of course still wonderful, and Miller’s Son was still an amazing standout number. But it felt longer. Now it is a long show at almost 3 hours, but this time it seemed it. The pauses were a little more pregnant and the deliveries were a little more belabored. The characters I wasn’t as happy with were even less exciting this time around. Dare I say I didn’t like a few performances this time around. Time and a Sunday afternoon will do that to a show.
I was even more lucky to spend the weekend with my mother last weekend and we went to her first broadway show that wasn’t Phantom of the Opera while I was in 5th grade. She came up to see the Lord of the Rings (which I promise I will get back to!) And how proud was I that it wasn’t even a musical. It was Mamet’s Life in the Theatre – which of course I wanted to see because of the legendary Patrick Stewart – and my mother wanted to see because of T.R. Knight from the legendary Grey’s Anatomy (note the ever-so-slight sarcasm – and it is honestly only slight because he really did a great job). What a great play. The nuances of the seemingly simple scenes gave it a fantastic forward motion in spite of it being little more than vignettes. I think the only thing I would have changed is one of the scenes that add a little bit extra to the drama (a certain suggested suicide) I would have placed slightly earlier in the sequence, to launch the vignettes into a further bit of motion that would carry it through to the end. That of course is no comment on the production. What a great treat!
First of all, I Got Fired opens at NYMF tonight! I regret not being able to help out more with the project. I tried very hard to sell ads, but was met with an awful lot of difficulty. Even the promising leads for the ad sales ended in nothing. This is not at all to say that the show isn’t fantastic. I wish them a great opening night!
I’m also very excited that I’ve FINALLY begun developing a show with Zac. We had our first meeting last week where he showed me some pages. Though it wasn’t much, I was definitely intrigued as to “what happens next.” A good step in a show’s development I think…
A big weekend of shows this weekend. I think there will be a lot to report next week.