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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”

Carousel: Review and pics

 

The new “Carousel” has the most glorious singing on Broadway, as well as thrilling choreography and picturesque sets and costumes that seem lifted from great American paintings by Thomas Eakins and Edward Hopper. It also has a surprisingly dark story whose last half hour has aged so poorly it offers a bizarre mix of the ugly and the precious.
Director Jack O’Brien, though he has made some superficial changes to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved 1945 musical, hasn’t solved its dated attitude toward domestic abuse, nor does he take the corn out of the scenes set in Heaven; if anything, he makes more corn, inserting a prologue of angels gamboling in stage smoke, and expanding the role of the Starkeeper, the celestial counselor. But in this fifth Broadway revival, the director does bring us opera star Renee Fleming as Nettie Fowler singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (which she sang at Barack Obama’s inaugural concert) and “June Is Busting Out All Over” – which would be enough right there in my book to make up for any flaws in the show…

Full review at DC Theatre Scene.

Click on any photograph by Julia Cervantes to see it enlarged.

Mean Girls Review: Tina Fey’s Ill-Timed Broadway Musical About High School

At the end of “Mean Girls,” Cady, the new girl in high school who tries so hard to fit in that she’s become phony and superficial, tells her classmates that she’s learned her lesson: “I wanted everyone to like me so bad, I kind of lost myself in the process.” Had Tina Fey and her collaborators learned the same lesson, they surely would not have turned her smart, funny 2004 movie into the overlong, ill-timed Broadway musical that is currently running at the August Wilson Theater.
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Miss You Like Hell Review: Daphne Rubin-Vega on Immigrant Mother-Daughter Road Trip

“Miss You Like Hell,” a new musical by “In The Heights” book writer Quiara Alegría Hudes and singer-songwriter Erin McKeown, depicts the most American of adventures, the road trip. But this road trip takes place in the America of today, and so the discoveries and self-discovery are edged with some dark realities.
Daphne Rubin-Vega, portraying one of her most vibrant original characters since her Broadway debut in “Rent,” is Beatriz Santiago, a Mexican immigrant mother who drives from California to Philadelphia to pick up her troubled 16-year-old daughter, Olivia (the terrific Gizel Jiménez.) They have not seen each other for four years – Olivia’s American-born father has sole custody of her – but Beatriz has been reading Olivia’s blog, in which she asked her readers whether she should jump off the Ben Franklin Bridge. And so Beatriz insists that Olivia accompany her on a cross-country trip over the next seven days.
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Escape to Margaritaville: Pics and Review

Escape to Margaritaville, the new Broadway musical with songs by Jimmy Buffett, promises much the same experience as the week long tropical resort vacation that it depicts — fun, relaxation, even romance. As with such resorts, the musical, opening at the Marquis, has its disappointments, but it largely delivers; all it asks of you in return is that you put your brain on hold.

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph by Matthew Murphy to see it enlarged

Phantom of the Opera Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary on Broadway

Phantom of the Opera opened on Broadway on January 26, 1988. A gala tonight (two days early) celebrates the 30th anniversary of the longest-running show in Broadway history. Watch the Red Carpet live (starts at around 1 minute five seconds.)

Hal Prince at 16 minute mark: “Except for two years and two months, I’ve had a show on Broadway since 1954.” Why has Phantom lasted so long? “It’s a love story. You’d think a lot of shows would be love stories on Broadway. But very few are….”
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Poll: Best Cast Recording of 2017

It’s no secret that original cast albums were the gateway drug for many lifelong theater addicts. Just ask Lin-Manuel Miranda or Todrick Hall.

Choose your favorite recording from among the 10 below, listed alphabetically, which were released in 2017.
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