I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle
I Capture the Castle based on the novel by Dodie Smith Book and lyrics Teresa Howard music Steven Edis

Friday, 16 January 2009

Desperate Romantics

In The Earthly Paradise blog I read that Franny Moyle's book Desperate Romantics is now out. This is the book that the new TV series has been based on. I haven't read the book yet but am certainly rushing to get my copy from Amazon to see what it's all about.

Friday, 2 January 2009

New York Shows

I saw three shows when I was in New York: Spring Awakening, Gypsy and Sondheim's new musical - Road Show.

Spring Awakening, is a musical with book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik. It began life at Atlantic Theater Company and ended up a broadway hit with a raft of Tony awards. It is closing on Broadway in a few weeks and is opening at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith on 23rd Janaury with a new British cast. It is a dynamic production and I urge anyone who is interested in new musical theatre to go and see it. Spring Awakening is inspired by Frank Wedekind’s 1891 masterpiece of repressed emotion and adolescent passion. It is about the way adults abuse teenagers, and is as relevant to modern day as it was when it was banned a hundred years ago. The contemporary score has overtones of Madness, spirituals and Tan Dun and is very exciting. The Lyric production is using the same creative team as the New York production. The choreography by Bill T Jones was spectacular and really made the production come alive.

Gypsy was a revival of the 1959 musical with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by Arthur Laurents. It is based on the 1957 memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous striptease artist, and focuses on her mother, Rose, whose name has become synonymous with "the ultimate show business mother." Patti Lupone was brilliantly funny as well as heart wrenching as Rose, Gypsy's mother. The power of her voice and depth of her performance leaves you wondering how she could possibly give so much every night.

Some of the famous show-stoppers from the musical are: “Let Me Entertain You,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” and “You Gotta Get a Gimmick.” Although you feel that this is an out dated musical it is clear why it remains a classic and will go on and on entertaining audiences.

Road Show had only just opened the day I went to see the musical team at the Public Theatre and so I felt I had to go and see what Mr Sondheim had most recently been turning his hand to. I was really lucky to get what they call "rush" seats for only $20 by queuing up a couple of hours before the performance. The production was directed by our own John Doyle, with his signature single set and inimitable style, although the cast were not playing their own instruments this time. The music and lyrics were by Stephen Sondheim and the book was by John Weidman. Michael Cerveris and Alexander Gemignani are truly magnificent as the leading men in the show. Road Show spans 40 years from the Alaskan Gold Rush to the Florida real estate boom in the ‘30s, Road Show is the story of two brothers whose quest for the American dream turns into a test of morality and judgment that changes their lives in unexpected ways. Road Show explores some of the great American issues: real estate, capitalism and crooks, and feels prophetic, especially because it was written long before the stock market crash.

Most of the other really good musical shows in in New York when I was there were from the UK. I was tempted to go and see Mary Poppins which I didn't get a chance to see here but there just weren't enough days in the end.

Do try and go to the Lyric production of Spring Awakening... I have a feeling that it will do even better over here!