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Review: Vietgone

Disclaimer: I saw this in previews (yes bad critic me, I know I’m sorry. Don’t yell at me) so if there’s any differences in the final show from what I mentioned that’s why.

First off, yes there is rap, no it is not Hamilton.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started shall we? Veitgone is about the meeting of playwright Qui Nguyen’s parents (Raymond Lee and Jennifer Ikeda) at a refugee camp in Arkansas during the Vietnam War.   It is currently running through November 27, 2016 at Manhattan Theatre Club’s City Center Stage One. I saw it on October Ninth.

Tong played by Jennifer Ikeda is extremely intelligent and sassy and fairly wonderful. However, the real star of the show is Samantha Quan as Tong’s mother. Similar to David S. Pumpkins, it’s difficult to explain how this character is so funny until you’ve seen the show. Of course it could be attributed to funny lines and moments however, the most amusing part is her on point delivery of said lines.

While the play jumps around in time and space, all is made clear by the cool cartoon inspired set projections that add a cool effect to the show. The lighting is the perfect lighting where it just completely complements the story.

Overall, Veitgone is an extremely well-written play, full of laughs, but also serious and pretty wonderful.  Definitely one to catch before the end of its run!

Veitgone is playing until November 27th at Manhattan Theatre Club’s New York City Center Stage One. The Cast includes Jennifer Ikeda as Tong, Raymond Lee as Quang, Jon Hoche as Asian Guy/American Guy/Nhan/Khue, Samantha Quan as Asian Girl/American Girl/Thu/Houng/Translator/Flower Girl, and Paco Tolson as Playwright/Giai/Bobby/Captain Chambers/Redneck Biker/Hippie Dude. Veitgone was written by Qui Nguyen and directed by May Adrales. Set design by Tim Mackabee, costume design by Anthony Tran, lighting design by Justin Townsend. Veitgone runs 2 hours and 20 minutes. Full price tickets available here, You can become a member (or subscribe, I’m not sure) of MTC and see this for a discount here, or if you’re under 30 join 30 under 30 here. All Tickets are $90 plus around $9 in fees. Ages 13+ (PG-13 for sex and strong language)

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My Top 5 Lesser Known Musical Theatre Songs

Today I’m going to be listing my top5 musical theatre songs that get less love than they deserve.

5) Let Me Be A Kid -Runaways

Runaways is a short-lived 1978 musical by Elizabeth Swados that used a combination of musical styles and spoken word to tell the story of child runaways. It premiered at the Public theatre and transferred to Broadway afterwards, playing the Virginia Theatre (now the Schoenfeld). It received a revival last summer at Encores!  Let Me Be A Kid falls in the middle-end of the show and shows the runaways desire to be kids and not deal with the complex issues they’re forced to deal with.

4) Getting There– In Transit

In Transit is Broadway’s first attempt at an acapella musical, and while it closed in April 2017 at the Circle in the Square Theatre. Getting There is sung basically at the end of the show and is about living in the moment. A bit of a cliche sentiment, yes, but it is a gorgeous song. Add an amazing vocal performance from Margo Seibert and this is one great song.

3) I Love A Cop-Fiorello!

Fiorello! is the 1960 bio-musical about Fiorello Laguardia from the team behind Fiddler. It won the Pulitzer, Best Musical, Featured Actor (Tom Bosley), and Direction Tonys and was nominated for Tonys in Featured Actor (Howard da Silva), Choreography, Set, and Conductor and Musical Director. It played the Broadhurst and later the Broadway Theatre racking up 785 performances! In I Love A Cop, Dora, a factory worker, sings about her love for a cop who broke up her factory strike, but the gorgeous melody is really what makes this one worth a listen.

2) I’d Rather Be Sailing– A New Brain

A New Brain is a semi-autobiographical musical by Bill Finn, premiering off broadway in 1998 and it had a revival at Encores! in 2015 starring Jonathan Groff. The show is about Finn’s bout with arteriovenous malformation.  This song is one of the more beautiful love songs I’ve seen out of the modern musical theatre canon.

1) Writing on the Wall-The Mystery of Edwin Drood

This weirdo show within a show premiered on Broadway in 1985 and was revived in 2013 by Roundabout Theatre Company. It tells the story of the unfinished Dickens novel of the same name in a style inspired by English music hall traditions.  Writing on the Wall is the closing number that tells the true story of what happened to Edwin Drood at the end of act one.

I hope you guys enjoy these songs as much as I do!! I have new posts every Thursday so keep an eye out for that!!

XO,

Little Miss Broadway

TONY (nomination) PREDICTIONS 2017!!

So the 2017 Tony Nominations come out next week so I thought I would do some predictions. Also, I haven’t posted in literally FOREVER!! I don’t really have a good reason for that but I’m going to try and post more frequently. But anyways, this season has been insane!!! Honestly, making this list was really hard since there are so many amazing shows opening up this season. I also left off any categories that I thought I haven’t seen enough of to be a fair judge. So without further ado I present to you Little Miss Broadway’s 2017 Tony Nomination Predictions!! (winners in bold)

Best Play:

Indecent

Oslo

Sweat

Heisenberg

Best Musical:

Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812

Come From Away

Dear Evan Hansen

Anastasia

Best Play Revival:

Jitney

Front Page

The Little Foxes

The Price

Best Musical Revival:

Falsettos

Hello, Dolly!

Miss Saigon

Sunset Blvd

Best Score:

Irene Sankoff and David Hein (Come From Away)

Dave Malloy (Great Comet)

Justin Pasek and Benj Paul (Dear Evan Hansen)

Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan, and Sara Wordsworth (In Transit)

Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Anastasia)

Best Actress/Leading Role/Musical:

Bette Midler (Hello, Dolly!)

Eva Noblezada (Miss Saigon)

Denee Benton (Great Comet)

Christy Altomare (Anastasia)

Christine Ebersole (War Paint)  

Best Actor/ Leading Role/Musical:

Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen)

Christian Borle (Falsettos)

Andy Karl (Groundhog Day)

Josh Groban (Great Comet)

Jon Jon Briones (Miss Saigon)

Best Actor/Featured Role/Musical:

Lucas Steele (Great Comet)

Gavin Creel (Hello, Dolly)

Michael Xavier (Sunset Blvd)

Brandon Uranowitz (Falsettos)

Ramin Karimloo (Anastasia)

Best Actress/ Featured Role/Musical:

Stephanie J. Block (Falsettos)

Mary Beth Piel (Anastasia)

Rachel Bay Jones (Dear Evan Hansen)

Brittain Ashford (Great Comet)

Jenn Colella (Come From Away)

Best Scenic Design/Musical:

Mimi Lien (Great Comet)

David Rockwell (Falsettos)

Santo Loquasto (Hello, Dolly!)

David Korins (War Paint)  

Best Costume Design/ Musical:

Paloma Young (Great Comet)

Toni-Leslie James (Come From Away)

Tracy Christensen (Sunset Blvd)

Cathy Zuber (War Paint)

Linda Cho (Anastasia)

Best Lighting Design/ Musical:

Natasha Katz (Cats)

Bradley King (Great Comet)

Jeff Croiter (Falsettos)

Japhy Weideman (Dear Evan Hansen)

Best Direction/ Musical:

Rachel Chavkin (Great Comet)

Kathleen Marshall (In Transit)

Michael Grief (Dear Evan Hansen)

James Lapine (Falsettos)

Lonny Price (Sunset Blvd)

Best Choreography:

Sergio Trujillo (Bronx Tale)

Dennis Jones (Holiday Inn)

Sam Pinkerton (Great Comet)

Andy Blankenbuehler (Bandstand)  

Spencer Liff (Falsettos)

Best Orchestrations:

Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Cullen (Sunset Blvd)

Dave Malloy (Great Comet)

Alex Lacamoire (Dear Evan Hansen)

Doug Besterman (Anastasia)

August Eriksmoen (Come From Away)

THE END.

But before the curtain goes down, let me know what you think about my predictions. Did I snub your fave? Do you think someone else should win? Let me know what you think in the comments!! And stay tuned for a response when the actual nominations come out May 2 at 8:30 am*! And if you have any suggestions for posts, shows you want me to review (I’ve seen way more shows than I’ve reviewed. Working on some new ones now.), tips for various theatre going activities, anything please comment. And if you’re reading this far down 1) Congratulations!! 2) type your favorite musical you think is underrated in the comments.

*That’s when the nominations come out.  I’m not writing a post at 8:30 am.

XO,

Little Miss Broadway

UPDATE: As originally posted, this list had Warren Carlyle as a nominee for best choreography. I have since found out that he is not considered eligible and as such replaced him with Spencer Liff for Falsettos.

Falsettos Review

You know when you see those shows that remind you why you love theater? The ones where every single aspect of the show works together? That one show where you could see it every single day and still love it?

For me that show was is Falsettos.

I was not part of the original Falsettos generation, the people that fell in love with it in the original production. My main motivation to see this originally was the casting. The day they made that announcement I ran around my room screaming about how Andrew Rannells and Christian Borle were going to be in the same show and oh my goodness and I absolutely need to see this! I then later found out that Brandon Uranowitz was also in it and repeated the same process, only now it was Andrew Rannells and Christian Borle AND Brandon Uranowitz were going to be in a show.  So that’s the reason I wanted to see it. But I was not expecting the glory that is Falsettos.

For one, the casting was perfect (thank James Lapine or Tara Rubin or whoever did the casting for this because you are made out of magic). I have legitimately never seen a show better cast than Falsettos. And I’ve seen a lot of shows, so that’s saying something.

SECOND: THE SET. A) David Rockwell is a genius B) He designed the set for Falsettos so C) The Falsettos set is amazing!! I don’t want to give to much away but it involves giant cubes and cubes are awesome so.  Yeah.

Also, William Finn’s music is freaking amazing. Obviously. Like if I need to be somewhere I can’t listen to Act 2 because all the feelings. I don’t know how he does it but it’s awesome. If you need proof go on Spotify (or Youtube shhh!) and listen to the cast albums. Then go buy a ticket to Falsettos playing until January 8th at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

Do I even really need to say that the acting is absolutely incredible? Because it is. Everything about this show is amazing.

So get a ticket and go to Falsettoland because this production finishes its limited run on January 8th at the Walter Kerr Theatre (my personal favorite Broadway theatre).  The cast includes Stephanie J. Block as Trina, Christian Borle as Marvin, Andrew Rannells as Whizzer, Anthony Rosenthal as Jason, Tracie Thoms as Dr. Charlotte, Brandon Uranowitz as Mendel, and Betsey Wolfe as Cordelia. Directed by James Lapine and choreographed by Spencer Liff with book, music and lyrics by William Finn. Ages 13+

PS: Go check out Anthony Rosenthal’s Youtube channel.

Review: On Your Feet!

Broadway’s funnest jukebox musical and the only Broadway show I’ve seen more than once other than The Lion King. On Your Feet!is currently playing an open run at the Marquis Theatre. I saw it on July 13 and February 17.

On Your Feet! follows the life story of Gloria (Ana Villafañe) and Emilio (Ektor Rivera) Estefan going from their teenage years in Miami to international stardom. Production notes state “ON YOUR FEET! is the inspiring true story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan—two people who believed in the power of their music, their love, and the American Dream. ”

Ana Villafañe’s Gloria is smart, spunky and all around amazing. OK, I’m slightly in love with Ana but I’m trying to be unbiased. Her performance in the second act is so powerful. As Gloria’s (Villafañe) mother Gloria Fajardo (Andrea Burns) Burns completley stops the show with her number “Mi Tierra.” In addition, Eduardo Hernandez is a bundle of joy as Jeremy the dancing Bar Mitzvah boy during “Conga”.

There were many elements of the Scenic Design (by David Rockwell) that were stunning, for one the Large billboard-column thing that changed Gloria Estefan tour posters and the movement of the bus in Act 2’s defining moment. The costumes (by ESosa aka Emilio Sosa) are absolutely stunning. The lighting (by Kenneth Posner) does a good job to create the feel of a concert but is slightly overdone to the point where you’re focusing on the lighting instead of the acting.

Overall, On Your Feet! is ridiculously entertaining, jam packed with Estefan hits,  And a true crowd pleaser.

On Your Feet! is playing an open run at the Marquis Theater. The Cast currently includes Ana Villafañe as Gloria, Ektor Rivera as Emilio, Andrea Burns as Gloria Fajardo, Alma Cuervo as Consuelo, Alexandria Suarez (Fabi Aguirre at certain perfrmances) as Little Gloria, Eduardo Hernadez (Kevin Tellez at certain performances) as Nayib, Jeremy, and Young Emilio. The Ensemble consists of David Baida, Henry Gainza, Linedy Genao, Carlos E. Gonzalez, Nina LaFarga, Omar Lopez-Ceparo, Marielys Molina, Doreen Montalvo, Genny Lis Padilla, Eliseo Roman, Luis Salgado, Marcos Santana, Brett Sturgis, Eric Ulloa, Lee Zarett, Yassmin Alers, Angelica Beliard, Shani Talmor, Karla Choko. On Your Feet! features a book by Alexander Dinelaris, Music and Lyrics by Emilio and Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, direction by  Jerry Mitchell, choreography by Sergio Trujillo, Scenic Design by David Rockwell, Costume Design by ESosa, Lighting by Kenneth Posner, Sound Design by SCK Sound Design, Hair and Wig Design by Charles LaPointe.  Full Price Tickets here, lottery here, tickets start at $55 plus fees. I would reccomend this show for ages 8+.

Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Broadway’s Tony winning drama The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Simon Stephens based off of brings the audience into the mind of Christopher a fifteen year old autistic boy through inventive sets, lighting, and staging. It’s also incredibly  moving and just fantastic! I saw it Thursday June 23, 2016 at 7 pm and it’s running until September 4, 2016 at the Barrymore Theater. It brings to light the challenges of autism and still tells a beautiful story.

Christopher Boome is a autistic fifteen year old boy who falls under suspicion for murdering his neighbor, Mrs. Shears, dog. What follows is a long bit of detective work leading to enormous discoveries.

The conviction throughout the show was fantastic and all characters were played excellently. A standout performance was from Andrew Long (Ed, Christopher’s father) who was good in Act One, but completely blew it out of the water in both Act Two and the end of Act One as he tries to hold his family together. In addition, Tyler Lea’s performance as Christopher was phenomenal going from tear-jerking moments to laugh out loud hilarity. Another performance highlight (Yes, another one. It was really good!) when Mercedes Herrero (as Mrs. Gayscoyne, the principal of Christopher’s school) repeated the lines previously said by the narrator. The volume and articulation was some of the best that I’ve ever seen in a play.

The set design (by Bunny Christie) looks like a graph with several blocks and one red plastic chair which shows the organization of Christopher’s mind.  In addition, the screens on the side and back of the stage, LED lights built into the stage, and straight up normal lighting design and well as sound design creates a complete sensory overload at many points in the show. Now normally this doesn’t work and is just overwhelming, but in this show it somehow works and gives you no choice but to experience what Christopher is going through.  The costuming in several scenes has the ensemble in grey and black while Christopher is costumed in bright colors throughout, highlighting his difference from most people. Below: The set at the top of the show.

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The movement sequences throughout the play add another interesting element to the play through dance, a medium not usually used in straight plays. The direction (by Marianne Elliott) incorporated the sets in interesting ways, such as when Christopher climbs up the back wall and runs down the wall with an escalator projection.  The language used by the playwright, Simon Stephens, is contemporary in the best possible way. Though one should note that there is some strong language. If you’ve seen Jersey Boys, there’s about one fifth of the cursing that goes on in that show.

Overall, it was a fabulous production of a beautiful show. 9/10 do recommend! Entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time. A tip- stay after the show until Christopher comes out again after curtain. It’s worth it.

Curious Incident is playing at the Barrymore Theater through September 4,2016. The cast currently includes Tyler Lea as Christopher, Benjamin Wheelwright as Christopher Wednesday evening and Saturday matinee performances, Rosie Benton as Siobhan, Enid Graham as Judy, Nancy Robinette as Mrs. Alexander and Andrew Long as Ed. The Ensemble consists of Mercedes Herrero, Ben Horner, Richard Hollis, David Manis, Keren Dukes, Stephanie Roth Haberle, Tom Patrick Stephens, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart, and Tim Wright. The play was written by Simon Stephens based on the novel by Mark Haddon, directed by Marianne Elliott, Scenic and Costume Design by Bunny Christie, Lighting Design by Paul Constable, Video Design by Finn Ross, Movement Direction by Scott Graham and Steven Hodgett (for Frantic Movement), Music by Adrian Sutton,  Sound Design by Ian Dickinson (for Autograph), and Casting by Daniel Swee and Cindy Tolan. Curious Incident runs 2 hours and 30 minutes with one 15 minute intermission. Full Price Tickets available here, Chance it with the lottery here, and check out the shows website for more information here. Tickets start at $27  and Lottery Tickets are $30. I would recommend this show for ages 12+ as there is some discussion of sex (no innuendo) and strong language. Buy the novel by Mark Haddon!

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