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Pretty Woman: Photos, Video, review

Vivian (Samantha Banks) is a hooker, Edward (Andy Karl) is a killer corporate raider who meets her on Hollywood Boulevard, and if the ensuing romance is no less a fable than it was in the hit 1990 movie, there are fewer charms and almost no surprises in Pretty Woman The Musical.

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph by Matthew Murphy to see it enlarged.

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2018 New York Musical Festival NYMF Awards for Excellence

Four musicals in the 2018 New York Musical Festival tied for the most awards, five apiece: Between the Sea and the Sky, Emojiland, Interstate and Pedro Pan. Below the list of winners and nominees.

 

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NYMF Review Sonata 1962: A Lesbian Daughter, A Mother’s Mistake

Margaret, a widow and well-meaning mother, is dressed in pearls while making her special buttermilk biscuits for her daughter Laura, who’s back home listless with severe memory loss after her mother sent her away to be tortured.

That of course is not how Margaret sees it in “Sonata 1962,” one of the last of the shows in the 15th annual New York Musical Festival. Written by Patricia Loughrey and Thomas Hodges, the musical takes us back to an era when suburban housewives baked with Crisco, watched Jackie Kennedy give a White House tour on a black and white set, shopped at the Green Stamp store in town, and believed the family doctor that their daughter’s lesbianism was a mental illness, but one that could be cured.
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NYMF Review Between the Sea and Sky: Two Sisters Lured and Trapped by a Mystery

“I am tall when I’m young but short when I’m old. What am I?”
That’s the first of the three riddles that Sam (short for Samantha) poses to the mysterious woman in white in order to free her sister Emily from the woman’s clutches.
“A candle,” the woman answers in triumph.
What’s not as easily solved is the riddle of “Between the Sea and Sky,” a musical written by an Australian named Luke Byrne being presented in a competently directed (and lovingly lit) production as part of the New York Musical Festival. Byrne’s music is impressive in its variety and appeal – from a classical-sounding art song to 1930s song-and-dance number to funky jazz to sea shanty, many suggesting the mysteries and allure of the sea. His lyrics are largely straightforward if undistinguished, except when he tries for the lyrical; then they’re incoherent. But his book is all over the place — an over-flavored stew of young adult novel, mystery, Grimm’s Fairy Tale, satire, even a primer on Shakespeare’s The Tempest – and winds up making no sense at all.
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NYMF Review ’68: A Musical about the 1968 Chicago Convention and the Limits of History

 

Before the musical “’68” begins, newspaper headlines are projected on the stage, marking some of the tumultuous events in the year 1968 — the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr and Robert F Kennedy, campus protests and city riots across the United States….and the events surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

But, despite the title of their musical,  which is an entry in the New York Musical Theater festival, librettist/lyricist Jamie Leo and composer Paul Leschen focus on just one of those events; the NYMF program bills “’68” as “inspired by the volatile events of the 1968 Democratic Convention and their place in history and our future.”
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Head Over Heels: Review, Pics

“Head Over Heels” is a mash-up that sounds weird and unworkable: It’s a jukebox musical using 18 songs by the 1980s all-female L.A. punk band The Go-Go’s. But it’s also a loose adaptation of Arcadia, a 1580s work of literature by Philip Sidney, a contemporary of Shakespeare.

Dressed in Elizabethan doublets, ruffs, crowns and long gowns, the performers speak in iambic pentameter when they’re not singing lyrics like “We got the beat/we got the beat/yeah we got it” and dancing the Cool Jerk.

This is silly, but the show doesn’t pretend otherwise, and, given the right mood, one can revel in its silliness. “Head Over Heels” is happy to be a musical comedy that winks at us, while under Michael Mayer’s fast-paced direction a ton of talented performers energetically deliver the songs, the shtick and the story in 19 colorful and sometimes off-color scenes.

But the musical also attempts something more beneath its busy surface

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged

NYMF Review Interstate: Trans Man and Lesbian Asian Musical Duo in a Road Trip Musical

“Interstate,” an entry at the New York Musical Festival, is about two New Yorkers who form a band called Queer Malady and tour the country: Dash is a Chinese-born trans man and spoken word poet; Adrian is an Asian-American lesbian who is a gifted composer and guitarist. The show is written by Kit Yan, a Chinese-born trans man and spoken word poet, and Melissa Li, an Asian-American lesbian who is a composer and guitarist; the two formed a band called Good Asian Drivers and toured the country.

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NYMF Review Pedro Pan: A Cuban Refugee Child Adjusts to NYC

The title of this musical, a selection of the 2018 New York Musical Festival, comes from Operacion Pedro Pan (Operation Peter Pan),  which between 1960 and 1962 brought more than 14,000 children from Cuba to the United States without their parents.

“Pedro Pan” is the (fictitious) story of one such Cuban kid, Pedro, and his adjustment to life in New York City, living with his aunt, who herself left Havana just two years earlier.

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4th of July Poll: Favorite American History Musical

On the Eve of the Fourth of July, my biannual poll: What is your favorite Broadway musical that takes actual American history as its subject.

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The Band’s Visit on NPR’s Tiny Desk

Eighteen minutes from The Band’s Visit, via NPR. The first Broadway musical ever to get the Tiny Desk concert treatment.

SET LIST
“Soraya”
“Omar Sharif”
“Itgara’a”
“Haj-Butrus”
“Answer Me”