80s pop music depends on studio embellishment for its sound – the Footloose songs just don’t have the bones of The Who’s Tommy…The band had plenty of talent, but the sound was thin and rhythms awkward, often out of synch with the performers.
We were lucky to get the cast we have, 17 performers, many of whom have carried previous shows on their own…there has never been such a qualified musical cast in Central New York.
On cue, I stepped onto the historic Stanley stage. Butterflies rose up…I could do this. I’d taped a few cheats to my handheld microphone – keywords for lines I tended to mix up. I never looked at them.
Sarah brought a striking reality to her key scenes. She introduced an element of danger, the sense that what was happening on stage had real consequences – something was at stake…I have to think others in the audience shared my sense – before everyone sung Happy Birthday during the bows, there was a subtle gasp from the audience when it was announced that Sarah was celebrating her 16th birthday.
Award lists always say more about the writer or the awarding committee than the subjects of the awards themselves. They are always limited – nobody sees everything, and what is seen might have been affected by an off night, a bad seat, a bad mood. None of which means we shouldn’t take a moment to celebrate our favorites. And so…
The piece’s themes are interesting – guilt, revenge, submission, and how all are mixed into lust and love. Although Japanese representations of those can seem kinky/bizarre, they are truer to real human emotional lives than most Western depictions, which value bland propriety above all else (think Hallmark).
It turns out that adapting a dud, winking and nudging the audience the whole time, is a more satisfying recipe than adding music to old TV shows or dumb movie comedies. Sure, it’s a jukebox musical, that artistically dubious form, but the players are in on the joke (with dozens more where that came from.)
Barbara Pratt mesmerized a packed house last night with a tour de force performance of William Luce’s one-woman play The Belle of Amherst.
What I really want out of a review is “I saw this, I felt this, and THIS IS WHY.” Criticism needs to be more than reporting, more than a PR opportunity for the theater group, more than pap for the incurious masses.
Hana Meyers gave the best performance I’ve yet seen from her… Sweet, self-effacing; powerful vocals. I’d recommend seeing this production just for her, but I wish she had a better showcase.