Tag Archives: West End

the great white way

This past weekend I went to see Catch Me if You Can, and it was seriously one of the best musicals I’ve seen. Definitely in my top three. That got me thinking about all of the musicals and plays I’ve seen– both on and off Broadway. Not nearly as many as I would like, but I’ve put together a list of everything I have ever seen (that I can remember). I think sometime soon I will go through and state my favorite song and whatnot, but for now…a simple list.

Let’s start with the musicals:

On Broadway

Catch Me if You Can

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Chicago

Beauty and the Beast

The Lion King

Mary Poppins

The Producers

.

West End

Hairspray

Spamalot (x2)

The Sound of Music

Wicked

.

Toronto

The Phantom of the Opera

.

National Tours

Wicked (x2)

The Phantom of the Opera (x4)

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (x2)

Rent

Fiddler on the Roof

Evita

Cats

Oliver

.

High school/University Performances

The Last Five Years

Urinetown

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

And then we have the plays:

NYC—Broadway/Off Broadway

Is He Dead (Broadway)

Through a Glass Darkly (Off Broadway)

.

West End

Hamlet

Rain Man

.

The Globe Theater

Midsummer’s Night Dream

Timon of Athens

.

National Tours/Festivals/Etc.

Peter Pan

Romeo and Juliet (x2)

A Christmas Carol

Hamlet

Two Gentlemen of Verona OR Merchant of Venice  [I can’t remember which one]

.

High school/University Performances

The Importance of Being Earnest

Arsenic and Old Lace

Much Ado about Nothing

Little Women

And lastly, miscellaneous performances:

Broadway

The Rockettes

Blue Man Group

.

National Tours

Blue Man Group

The Nutcracker

Hercules

.

University Performances

Cosi fan Tutte (Opera)

.

I have many on my wish list so hopefully I can update this quite soon!

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“Buy me something pretty…”

I love this movie.

Not a day goes by where I don’t find a way to quote it at least ten or fifteen or fifty times.

Tonight my sister and I saw the Sound of Music on Broadway… or rather in the “West End.” During the underground ride over to the theater my sister was eating a sandwich and there were two guys sitting across from us, talking rather loudly about how every time they are on the last train home and they haven’t had any supper they find that someone is always eating across from them. Then one of them proceeded to explain how he thought it was ok to kill that person and take their food because he was hungry. Survival of the fittest I always say. Then we got off the tube and tried looking for the theater but were a bit turned around. So I went up to the nearest news paper stand and asked the man where the theater was, and as I tried to pronounce the name correctly the man couldn’t tell me because he was too busy laughing at my pronunciation. Then I was all “Or whatever its called…” and he smiled at me and I was laughing too so it wasn’t all that bad. He gave us our directions and found the theater. When they announced for the audience to turn off their cell phones the man speaking welcomed us. Turns out I pronounced the name correctly and Mr. news paper man was mistaken. So point for me.

The play its self was not bad at all; In fact I quite enjoyed it. I don’t think my sister did as much as me though. Oh well. The music was great and the children were AMAZING. Seriously. Little Gretl had everyone in the audience wrapped around her finger. So adorable. And while the woman who played Maria was a good actress, her singing voice was surprisingly so-so at certain points. As for the Captain… well he left a lot to be desired. He overacted, making dramatic facial expressions and hand movements. I was laughing at him more than I was convinced of anything he said. And then there was his singing. My sister is convinced he is getting over a cold. I think she is being nice. He just can’t sing. He is no Christopher Plummer that’s for sure. But like I said, I really enjoyed the play and would def. go see it again (…if someone else paid.)

Also last night we got half priced tickets on a whim and saw Spamalot again. I’m telling you internet, I think it is my new favorite musical. Our seats were actually better last night than our first performance but sadly the original King Arthur and Lady of the Lake were on instead of the understudies. And may I just say it sucked. Just their parts really, the rest was fine as usual.

**Warning: Lauren is about to go on a rant** May I just say that I do not think it is a good idea, ever, for a reality show to be held where the winner is given a spot in a Broadway/ West End play. Lets examine the evidence shall we? My friend Jessica went to NYC for Christmas/ New Years and saw Grease. In it was the girl and guy who won that reality show “Your the One that I Want” where they found the new Danny and Sandy. I watched one episode of it and said “ew gross.” Jessica said they (mostly Sandy) were not good at all. And why is that? Because they have the contestants sing modern rock/ pop/ whatever songs. That may work for American Idol, but don’t you think if you are going to be winning a spot in the THEATER showbiz you may want to sing some SHOW TUNES???? Seriously. Yes, you may be able to belt out any Mariah Carey song, Beatles song, any song really, but can you belt out Without Love from Hairspray (the musical version not the stupid butchered one they used in the movie)? What about Here I Am from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels? Or Out Tonight from RENT? Can you put the passion in Mama Who Bore Me and Whispering from Spring Awakening without turning it into some rock ballad? Then there is Defying Gravity from Wicked, which only a select few can master like Idina could. What? You don’t know if you can? Because you are too busy cranking out pop songs that don’t have vocal ranges like the majority of the show tunes you are going to be singing??? And don’t even get me started on the fact that they totally neglect the acting aspect of the process.**Abrupt end of rant.**

I said all of that to say the Lady of the Lake became the Lady of the Lake by winning a reality show called “The Search for the next Lady of the Lake” or something like that. And could she sing? Yeah, when it called for her to do impressions of rock stars like Cher or Elvis or whatever. Don’t get me wrong, she had a great voice. But she sounded like she was constantly giving a rock concert. When it came time for her to just flat belt it out and give it that classic Broadway whatever, we found her screeching and just kind of talking her lines out rather than singing them. The previous Lady of the Lake that we saw rocked my socks off. And she was theatrically trained. Not that I am saying you need to be a theater major/minor to be able to get up there, give it your all, and walk away with a Tony. No, no, no, that is not what I am saying. What I am saying is don’t have a contest where you belt out modern songs, win, then can’t hit the range required in the show you are now starring in.

But enough about that. The King Arthur also sucked. Major. At one point Arthur kind of makes a face at the conductor as part of one of the joke in the play. But no. Mr. I-improvise-waaaaaay-too-much broke character and started speaking Indian…because he was Indian… but it just wasn’t funny. Then he improvised a lot more and you could tell the other actors weren’t really playing off of it, because they were smart and didn’t think it was all that funny and the jokes sort of fell flat and were just plain awkward. It didn’t help much that he looked and sounded like and Indian version of Michael Scott with a British accent. That just made me laugh.

A lot.

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I had a dream last night that I met Matt Damon. Twas a good dream. Such a gooood dream.

Last night my sister and I went to see SPAMALOT! and it was unbelievably amazing. Very possible that it may be my new favorite show right now. Here is the basic plot, taken from the main website:


(BTW… if you found nothing funny in that little thing then stop reading right now. Because you wont find this musical funny. At all.) So basically it is about King Arthur looking for knights to sit with him at his “very very very round table” in Camelot. He finds these knights: Sir Galahad, Sir Lancelot, Sir Bedevere, and Sir Robin. They travel on “horses” (consisting of banging coconuts together to create the effect of horses hooves). They soon embark to Camelot. Then God (who is not really “God” but rather a HUGE pair of feet that descend onto the stage) comes to them from a cloud and orders them to find the Holy Grail. And then a bunch of silly/randomness happens while they are searching for the Grail. It was extremely funny and never a dull moment. Add in a good audience and fantastic acting and it was one of the best theater performances.

***WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS.***

Characters/Actors:

King Arthur: King of the Britons. Not the brightest crayon in the box but he is very eager to fulfill his quest from God. He also has trouble counting to three. Oliver Tydman, the understudy, played King Arthur and besides being quite good-looking, he was extremely talented. He turned what could have been a dumb, pious character into something spectacular. The more I remember little scenes where he danced or made certain faces or expressions, the more I think he is one of my favorite Broadway characters.

Sir Lancelot the Homicidally Brave: A knight with a slight anger problem in the beginning. Also many many many questions about his sexuality throughout the entire performance, which only adds humor to the tough “brute” personality he has going. Played by Jake Nightingale, Sir Lancelot was easily one of my favorite knights. And once his characters sexuality was confirmed, he played it up to the best of his ability. And, man, it was some funnnny stuff.

Sir Robin, the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir-Lancelot: An extremely funny coward. He also knows quite a bit about musical theater. Which comes in handy. Played by Ross Dawes, Sir Robin was hilarious. Such a freaking coward, and his song “You Wont Succeed On Broadway” was so funny he had people in the audience crying (from laughter that is).

Sir Dennis Galahad, The Dashingly Handsome: Can be referred to as ‘the knight formerly known as Dennis Galahad, a politically active peasant’. Until the Lady of the Lake gets her hands on him. Played by Michael Xavier, Dennis was my favorite knight from the beginning. When he sings with the Lady of the Lake… it was amazing. He has a beautiful voice and really mastered the whole “pretty boy/ manly diva” thing. Genius.

Sir Bedevere, The Strangely Flatulent: Kind of self explanatory, no? Played by Adam Stafford. Umm, I don’t think he had a real line apart from singing. At least I don’t remember any….

Patsy: King Arthur’s faithful servant/steed and constant companion. He is part Jewish which comes in handy. Played by Andrew Spillet. Patsy was so cute and nice and fun. I liked him lots and lots.

The Lady of the Lake: An aquatic diva. “Part fairy, part diva and all woman.” The Lady of the Lake is probably the one role on Broadway I would actually have the guts to audition for I want to play her so badly. The understudy was actually on at our performance and she was unbelievably talented. I used to wish I could sing like Sherie Renee Scott (if you aren’t big into theater, you probably don’t know who she is. But, yeah, she rocks). Now she is second to Amy Field. I can’t even begin to describe what her voice was like. All I can use are really repetitive adjectives like “awesome” and “brilliant” and “fantastic” and “superb” and other words that don’t do it justice.  I could go on about how funny and talented she is… but I think this is already boring enough.

Not-Dead Fred: His name is Fred. He’s not dead (yet). He’s getting better. Then poor Fred dies. Aww Not-Dead Fred. He was really funny. Until he died. Then he was even funnier.

Prince Herbert: Loves to sing and “is about as butch as Minnie Mouse.” Played by Gerard Carey. Completely awkward and totally awesome.

French Taunters: French soldiers who enjoy taunting. They also liked to fart in our general direction. Definitely added humor to the play. Oh those crazy Frenchies.

The acting was unbelievable, as mentioned many times above. As were the costumes and the sets were really groovy.  As for the songs:

ACT I:

Overture: It’s the overture. Not much to say. Instruments do their thaang.

Historian’s Introduction to Act I: A fun way to introduce the show. Also a very clever use of the huge gate on screen.

Finland/Fisch Schlapping Dance: The most random/pointless song that has nothing to do with the actual musical but is still fun to see and sing along with.

Monk’s Chant: It’s called a fun scene transition people.

Not Dead Yet: A fun introduction to Sir Lancelot and Sir Robin.

Come With Me: When we first meet the Lady of the Lake. And it is great.

Laker Girls Cheer: The Lady of the Lake has her “Laker Girls” and they sing a fun song while plain old Dennis Galahad transforms into Sir Dennis Galahad backstage. Basically we call this a time-filler.

The Song That Goes Like This: The most amazing song in a Broadway show. Seriously, I had never heard the music to this show before (shocking, I know) and when this song was performed I could not stop laughing. Not only do Michael Xavier’s and Amy Field’s voices sound completely beautiful together, they both have that “diva thing” going on which only adds to the sheer brilliance of the song.

He Is Not Dead Yet – Play Off: Yet another fun scene transition.

All For One: A fun song introducing the other knights. Then they all sing, because they formed a boy band. Because, why not? Did I mention this musical is awesome?

Knights of the Round Table/The Song That Goes Like This (Reprise): What happens in Camelot stays in Camelot. The boys go to Camelot and have fun. Then the Lady of the Lake returns and was obviously imitating Cher. And then she and King A do a little scat. Utterly amazing.

Find Your Grail: I have been singing this song all day. It makes me laugh every time, because it is a somewhat serious song… I mean, they just got their mission from God and all… but even when they are being semi-serious it is hilarious.

Run Away!: A nice scene change/ transition into the intermission. Quite clever.

>Intermission<

ACT II:

Historian’s Introduction to Act II: Just a fun little reminder of what happened and an easy way to tell where all the characters are. And that is “a dark and very expensive forest.”

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: May I just say I have never had so much fun with a Broadway song ever before. Let me paint a picture for you. My sister and I are sitting in the Grand Circle section, and to my right there are about four or so rows filled with men in business suits. And they are rather entertaining because this one guy is crying he is laughing so hard, which is causing everyone to laugh a little louder. Enter this song, that happens to involve whistling (which, sadly, I can not do). Once the chorus comes on, all these men- as well as everyone else pretty much- start singing the chorus and whistling along. It was so funny watching them bob their heads to the left and right.

Brave Sir Robin: A song about how not brave Robin is. But boy do they try and make him sound it.

You Won’t Succeed On Broadway (“You Won’t Succeed in Show Business” in the West End production): This is a song about how you wont succeed on Broadway/ Showbiz if you do not have any Jews. Probably one of the funniest moments of the night. Why? Remember those guys from earlier? One of them happens to be EXTREMELY Jewish. He was laughing so loud I heard him over the entire section we were sitting in. Boy he had a good time.

The Diva’s Lament (Whatever Happened To My Part?): I was sitting there wondering what happened to the Lady of the Lake when this song came on. Like I have said far too many times for one single post, it was extremely funny.

Where Are You?: Prince Herbert, trapped in his room, about to marry the not-love-of-his-life sings out of the window to his love. Which just happens to be Lancelot.

His Name Is Lancelot: Lancelot finally confronts his true sexual identity. Basically he bats for the other team. This song is simply amazing. And fun.

I’m All Alone: King Arthur sings about how lonely he is (even though he has Patsy…who lets his true feelings known as well). This song is actually quite sad when you listen to it on your ipod. When it is performed on stage you just giggle throughout the entire thing, until you actually listen to the words. Quite a sad song all around.

Twice In Every Show: The Lady of the Lake returns and cheers up King Arthur. Then they realize, hey! They are in love! Who would have thought…

Act II Finale: A nice way to tell what happens to each character in about 3 minutes and 29 seconds of dancing and singing.

Always Look On the Bright Side Of Life (Company Bow): They put the words up to the song on a giant screen projected off the main gate of the set and the audience sings along with the cast. Then they do a company bow at the end.

And in case you didn’t catch it the thousand times I said it before, I loved, loved, loved, looooooved this musical.

I think someone should buy me a thesaurus. Seriously.

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Please excuse me while I die and go to Heaven…

Today Jess and I decided to spend the day in Piccadilly Circus. We left our dorm around 12pm and got on the tube, and when we got to P.C. we saw a little shop that was selling discounted theater tickets. We wondered in, because I mean, they are DISCOUNTED THEATER TICKETS, so I just had to know how much they were going for. We end up asking about Rain Man, the new play, and the guy told us to go to the theater, that it would be cheaper since the play is still in previews. About ten minutes later Jess and I purchased tickets to see the play. For 20 pounds we got 6th ROW SEATS which means we were THAT close to touching Josh Hartnett. Yes. Josh Hartnett. I’ll give all you girls a moment to take a sigh.

What makes a good movie you may ask? Anything with Josh Hartnett in it. What is better than a movie with Josh Hartnett in it? A West End show with Josh Hartnett in it. And what is better than seeing a West End show with Josh Hartnett in it? Seeing a West End show that has a scene with Josh Hartnett in nothing but his underwear. Yes, I’ll give all you girls another moment to sigh.

The play itself was rather good. It stuck fairly close to the movie it is based on, and the way they changed the scenery was brilliant. This is Josh’s first theater show, and it is def. clear that his first talent is film acting. There is a major difference in film and theater acting. Not to say he was bad; he just messed up quite a few times by stumbling over fast paced lines, his facial expressions need a little work and he needs to be a tad more lively. BUT he was still fantastic. Don’t get me wrong. His role was Charlie, the role Tom Cruise originated. Towards the end he was really getting into it and it was clear he was having fun.

Adam Godley was brilliant in the part of Raymond (originated by Dustin Hoffman). Had I not seen him in previous films (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Love Actually) I would have thought he really did suffer from Autism he was just that good. I don’t believe he messed up once, and his comedic timing is insane. Cheers all around.

So today was pretty unbelievable. After the play we ran to the stage door and got to meet the hottie!! He signed my program and I really wanted to just take him home with me where we could do all sorts of inappropriate things. Sigh.

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Mind the Gap!

Well internet, I am here, in London, and it is fantastic. I am living in Kensington, a rather rich neighborhood, in a very small dorm room. But I must say it is rather cozy. We sleep with the windows open so we don’t suffocate in our sleep, and the noise outside is rather calming. Sometimes around 1am we hear a drunken couple shouting, or cars whizzing by, but for the most part it is quite. Though this morning we woke up to very loud construction work. Very loud and very annoying.

I suppose I should explain who “we” is. I am rooming with a girl named Whitney, who is really cool. She is from Chicago but goes to school in Arizona. She is really funny, and I am glad I am rooming with her… never a dull moment.

So far I have been down Kensinton High Street more times than I can count, been to Royal Albert Hall, Harrods, Harvey Nichols (Harvey Nicks to the “regulars”), Sloan Street, and West End. Plus a bunch of other shops that I can not remember the names to. One department store I was looking for lotion, and found some I liked, and so I started talking to the sales lady and this conversation happened:

sales lady: “hello, can I help you?”

me: “hi, I was just wondering how much this lotion was”

sales lady: “that one there is 22 pounds. And this one is 19.50 pounds”

me: “hmm. ok thank you!”

sales lady: “is it for a friend; a gift? Or for you?”

me: “its for me”

sales lady: “oh you should treat yourself, don’t worry about money then”

me: “well I am trying to sick to a budget… everything back home is double for me”

sales lady: “oh thats right! Your accent should have given it away. I understand then, everything is a bit more for you”

me: “yea”

sales lady: “well I should have known you were from the states, but it seems like you have been in here before; I think that is why I thought you were from here. Have you been to this store before? You look so familiar!”

me: “no”

sales lady: “You just look so familiar. Have you been to the UK before?”

me: “no, this is my first time here!”

sales lady: “oh, you look so familiar. Have I seen you on tv before?”

me: “ha, I wish”

then we laughed and I ended up not buying the lotion. Oh well. $44 for a thing of lotion is a bit much. The weirdest thing about that entire conversation is it is not the first time someone has mistaken me for someone they know. The conversation always ends with “have I seen you on tv before?” So maby that whole everyone-has-a-twin-somewhere- theory is true. That night a group made entirely of girls got together and went to see a West End play… Wicked! I was overly excited and the play was brilliant.  Of all the times I have seen it, this Elphaba was by far the best singer. Her voice was so strong they had to turn her microphone down a few times. She really didn’t need one. Her acting on the other hand… not my favorite. Glinda was fantastic; loved her voice and her portrayl of the character. Of the three I’ve seen I can not decide who is my favorite. Though you can’t really compare all this with the previous times I have seen it, because everything is different with British accents. Speaking of which, there are far more various types of Europeans in Kensington than there are Brits. So I have heard a lot more French accents and stuff. Which is sad. Because half of the appeal of the UK is the British accent. But the farther we get into central London the more we hear which is fine with me.

And may I just say, quickly, that I have been here for five days and it has not rained once. I think the whole weather thing is a myth to keep people away.

Today is just a relaxing day, as I am terribly tired. I have library orientation at 2:45, fun times, then I think I am going to the London Eye tonight! I’m so excited! And now I am going to put up some pictures. There aren’t that many, but I will be taking more tonight. So for the time being, enjoy these.

Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Gardens

Princess Di and Dodi memorial at Herrods. She was killed 11 years ago this week.

I live just round the corner from here!!

My first West End show!!

Jess and I going to see Wicked… I had gray tights and ridiculously cute heels on but alas, they did not make it into the picture. So sad.

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