Sunday, May 04, 2008

Broadway '08 - Part 2

Sunday in the Park With George
A couple weeks ago I went to Studio 54 to see the Broadway revival/London transfer of Sunday in the Park with George.

This Stephen Sondheim musical has been updated visually now. When it opened in the 80’s the set and stage of Suarat’s images was illustrated using pop-up scenes. This new, contemporary stage is white, floor to ceiling. The art and imagery is all done with computer-generated images on the blank walls and canvases. The entire staging comes alive as the artist arranges the people in his life into his piece “Sunday Afternoon.”

The musical follows the life (a fictional generation) of artist George Seurat. The show captures his quest to create a new and different type of artwork. Using millions of dots of varying color he discovered that from a distance the overlap created a completely different color and shade.

I can’t say Sunday in the Park with George is a favorite of mine but I was glad I got to see it and I loved seeing this production.

Then there’s Passing Strange

Passing Strange
I kept hearing about this show. It was in Time magazine…Entertainment Weekly…and a dozen more. I didn’t know anything about it except that it isn’t the anti-Broadway show that made its move from the Public Theater to Broadway.

An inexpensive ticket became available, so I decided to check it out.

I was taken by its style and energy. Passing Strange is a hybrid of sorts: a cross between a concert and show. I’m not sure if it’s a Broadway musical, in fact I’m pretty sure it isn’t, but I do think that it brings a unique voice to the table.

When I walked out of the theater I kept thinking that I’d witnessed the evolution of Broadway. I look at the current musicals on Broadway…shows like Gypsy, In the Heights, Spring Awakening, Avenue Q, etc. and I think the genre of musical is hitting a growing spurt in its evolution. Passing Strange is perfect evidence of that.

The show incorporates a wide variety of music styles and performances and spans the globe telling the story of an Artist finding himself and his sound.

Adding Machine
I love dark
I love comedies.
I love dark comedies and dark humor.

Adding Machine is darker than anything I’ve ever seen. It was described as “darkly comic and heartbreakingly beautiful” – so it sounded like something up my alley.

I don’t normally get swayed by reviews but when I saw a 5 Star review from Time Out New York, I thought that, coupled with the description above, should mean that it would be worth checking out.

So I did.

The one-act musical, running off-Broadway down in the West Village lived up to all its hype. It is dark and the whole show seems to be written in a minor key. When the show started I fear that it’s droning monotony would get the best of me. I knew that it was part of the tone of the musical but I wasn’t sure I could take a whole show of it.

But it got me. It pulled me. I can’t remember one song from the score but it moved me.