October 2010 Archives

I wasn't going to review IIOERAM as I recently became friends with show co-creator Jennifer Ashley Tepper, but was actually surprised how little the show was Just-Another-Concert-Of-Songs-From-Musicals (which is a thing that normally bores me).  Before the show I greeted Tepper and referring to the posterboard outside, said, "Dessa Rose is not really a 'flop'."  She corrected my use of the word "flop" with a repeat of the concert's subtitle, "An evening of Rare and Inspiring Songs, Anecdotes, and Photos From Underappreciated Musicals". 

Perhaps the subtitle needs to double-underline the word "Anecdotes", because that's the bit that seals the show's flavor.  Yes, Tepper and Kevin Michael Murphy give comedic and very interesting history on the show we're about to hear the next song from.  Yes, the performers are all wonderful.  But what makes this concert something I'm going to enjoy seeing again in future incarnations is the stories told to us onstage by the original creators and performers of those under-appreciated musical.  Sometimes the stories are funny memories about the audition or that one performance where an actor had some disagreeable Chinese on Third Avenue, and sometimes it's the original composer telling us about how the show's design simply became too large for its quieter material by the time it hit Broadway.  The next concert will be on January 23rd; all new songs, stories, and insights into the Broadway Experience.

http://twitter.com/runsaminute

And that does it for my 2010 NYMF run. One needs to judge the festival shows I see by how much promise they have; and on that scale, most all of the shows I saw this year had something good going for them.  Better record than the other NYMF years I've seen, and better than this year's Fringe Frenzy.  Here's to 2011.

(Or, 2012, when my own next musical will actually be suitable for submission...)

NYMF Review #5: Fellowship!

                                  SAMWISE
            I'm gay.  Isn't this better than a funny Sean Astin 
            impression?

                                  LEGOLAS
            I'm dancing weird.  Isn't this better than a funny 
            Orlando Bloom impression?

                                  GANDALF
            We're in New York City.  That means people want to 
            hear improvised lines about Wicked, right?

                                  AUDIENCE
            You realize we're not tourists, and that we actually 
            came toting copies of Fellowship of the Ring, right?

                                  GANDALF
            Bullshit.

ACTUAL GUY THAT I MET IN THE LOBBY No really, I was skimming through a very well-worn copy of Tolkien while I was waiting for them to let the house in.

NYMF Review #4: A History Of War

                                  KAHN
            My name is Genghis Kahn, Little Boy.

                                  LITTLE BOY
            Genghis Kahn was the emperor of the Mongol Empire.

                                  KAHN
            Attention has been paid.

                                  Kahn gestures.
                                  The other Dictators appear.

                                  LITTLE BOY
            What is this?

                                  KAHN
            The past you never had, the future you'd abandoned --
            It's called War, Little Boy.

                                  CAESAR
            My name is Julius Caesar, I created the Roman Empire.

                                  NAPOLEON
            Napoleon Bonaparte.  French Empire.

                                  BIN LADEN
            Osama Bin Laden. I'm going to try to destroy the
            World Trade Center

                                  FROMME
            Lynette Fromme --

                                  MOORE
            Sara Jane Moore --

                                  FROMME, MOORE
            Gerald Ford.

                                  LITTLE BOY
            I don't get this.

                                  KAHN
            Yeah sorry, accidentally left some "Assassins" bits in.

NYMF Review #3: Pandora's Box

                                  ASSHOLE HUSBAND
            I'm an asshole husband.  I'm cheating on Kerry Butler,
            and I know too many insults for gay women.

                                  KERRY BUTLER
            I feel neglected by my husband.  I'm going to cheat on 
            him with a GIRL.

                                  ASSHOLE HUSBAND
            This angers me not so much because she's cheating on me,
            but because I'm disgusted that she's doing it with a GIRL!
            ....Wait, what?

                                  KERRY BUTLER
            I didn't know that you're cheating on me with all those 
            women.  But regardless, It's okay that I cheated on you 
            when you didn't know. ASSHOLE HUSBAND That's right, I'm an ADULTERER but you're SYMPATHETIC! ALL FEMALES IN SHOW Stupid asshole men. ASSHOLE HUSBAND Oooh, I thought up new lesbian insults!

There are very few musicals out there like Jay Alan Zimmerman's Incredibly Deaf Musical and that is an unfortunate shame, because I can't imagine out there asking for their musicals to be less inspiring, or to have less heart.  Zimmerman has put his entire life into this musical, literally, and what he brings us is his true story of a composer slowly going deaf, trying to grasp onto his songwriting dreams while losing one of his most important tools. 

American Idiot: Abridged

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aiticket.jpg
Special thanks to American Edit for the soundclip.

La Bete: Abridged

Dear William Shakespeare,
You have an excuse for your writing often being inaccessible.  It is about 400 years old.  At the time, it was more accessible.  So, good job.
Sincerely,
Broadway Abridged.

Dear David Hirson,
You wrote La Bete 19 years ago.
We just thought that you might not have been aware.
Sincerely,
Broadway Abridged

Lombardi FAQ

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It has recently come to the theatrical community's attention that the new Broadway Play, Lombardi, is expecting non-typical theatregoers to the point that their Frequently Asked Questions page included questions assuming that the theatregoers had the intellectual capacity of small children.  Before some of the more ridiculous ones were removed, Adam Feldman of Time Out New York was able to nab them to bring us such gems as:

What happens when I get to the theatre?
An usher will greet you, ask for your ticket, and show you to your assigned seat. Be sure to sit in the seat you are given so that you don’t cause confusion for other audience members.
The usher will also give you a printed program. Be sure to arrive early enough to read it, so you have an idea of what to expect during the show.

Well, folks, turns out there were a whole slew of questions that never even made it on the page in the first place!  But Broadway Abridged has them, because we have magical powers.  Here are the rejected Lombardi Frequently Asked Questions.

When the Curtain goes up, am I allowed to text?
That depends on how the producers are feeling this week.  Last week, maybe that was a no-no.  But this week, they may have run out of Advertising money, so in lieu of real publicity they may be inviting people to text during the play, and in fact encouraging it.  Be sure to go online to check what cheap-ass promotion is happening on the date that you're seeing your show!  And since this is invariably the first time you're in a theater, do take this texting habit with you to any future shows you go to!  Your fellow audience members will appreciate the small rectangular LCD shining in their faces.

Can I bring food into the theater?
A wonderful selection of candies and wine is available in our lobby during "halftime".  Laughing Out Loud!  Regular waits in the concession line can range up to 10 minutes.  This will give you a minimum of five minutes to quickly scarf down your entire box of Sour Patch Kids and your poorly-mixed Mojito, as you cannot then bring either of these to your seats.

When the Curtain goes down, am I expected to stand as I applaud?
A standing ovation is a special, rare thing that is only left for the most fantastic and amazing of shows or performances.  Do applaud for the work of the actors, but don't stand up unless you've experienced a--
Oh wait, you're not in London.  Yeah, stand up.  Because the guy in front of you is going to stand up, so you might as well get it over with.

A Master. Also, Class.

2161323masterpre.jpg I had the thrill last night of attending the New York Musical Theatre Festival's Master Class with Baz Luhrmann, who has only directed four films and yet is one of the most influential film directors of recent time.  An hour listening to the man, and you start to understand why. 

Baz Luhrmann is a sort of genius savant.  He's the kind of guy who, when asked questions from the audience like, "when you double the speed of playback of so and so character in Romeo and Juliet, did you decide that beforehand or during editing", is utterly incapable of giving a simple answer.  Instead, the man rambles on for ten minutes about how fast-forwarding lets him escape the dreariness of waiting for a character to slowly exit before the next line can be said, and that he was doing Romeo and Juliet for an audience that grew up on fast-forwarding past boring bits, and... by the time he's ten minutes in, finally remembering what the original question is and stopping himself to actually answer it, you don't want him to.  You want him to keep on going.

The best moment was when someone asked him about his inclusion of the awesome Moulin Rouge version of Roxanne, how he came to that choice.  A few minutes into his 10-15 minute long answer, we were treated to Baz's improvised fast-forward runthrough of the love medley from that same movie. 

I only wish the entire thing was an hour longer.  Now I have a sudden craving to watch Moulin Rouge with the entire director's commentary.

RECENT BLOG ENTRIES

NYMF Performance #6: If It Only Even Runs a Minute, Plus Wrapup
I wasn't going to review IIOERAM as I recently became friends with show co-creator Jennifer Ashley Tepper, but was actually…
NYMF Review #5: Fellowship!
SAMWISE I'm gay. Isn't this better than a funny Sean Astin impression? LEGOLAS I'm dancing weird. Isn't this better…
NYMF Review #4: A History Of War
KAHN My name is Genghis Kahn, Little Boy. LITTLE BOY Genghis Kahn was the emperor of the Mongol Empire.…
NYMF Review #3: Pandora's Box
ASSHOLE HUSBAND I'm an asshole husband. I'm cheating on Kerry Butler, and I know too many insults for gay…

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