31 January
ibrews

B+

John Mulaney and Nick Kroll wind their comedic stylings into a tight satire of Broadway and the people who go to it  (seen 12/21/2016)

Hoo-rah!

  • High production value– actually quite the visual treat, from the hodgepodge of ‘discarded’ sets to the rather lovely use of lighting to evoke various sentiments (in itself a sending up of that technique)
  • Comedic genius– these are two of the best joke-tellers working today and it shows (also nice little in-jokes for those familiar with their stand-up routines)
  • Surprisingly well-scripted– I was expecting something more loose and improvisational and this was better

Blech…

  • The interview segment, while a fun chance to let these characters riff, goes on for too long. (we had Rob Corddy and he was very serviceable)
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19 December
ibrews

B

The Imperial Theater becomes a giant set for a love story straight out of War and Peace (seen 12/15/2016)

 

Hoo-rah!

  • Amazing commitment from the theater to transform the entire room to fit this one show perfectly.
  • Sitting on stage (Banquet B12) was fun and interactive and a constant thrill. The woman sitting next to me on the aisle got to be hit on by Anatole, whispering in her ear “I love you and I hope you enjoy the show.”
  • Nifty mixes of more traditional Broadway music, traditional Russian music, and, erm, rave music?
  • Scott Stangland was fantastic as Pierre– by far my favorite character. I wish he played a bigger role in the show, and I didn’t miss Josh Groban at all.
  • Also really enjoyed Lucas Steele as Anatole and Lauren Zakrin as Natasha.

Blech…

  • It… really should not be compared to Hamilton. I mean, it’s fine, good even. But the comparison does not help this show when comparing the stakes and quality of songwriting. After one listen of Hamilton I was able to quote at least a dozen moments verbatim, whereas by the time I got home after The Great Comet I could maybe give you three. Ultimately it felt… insubstantial.
  • I wasn’t invested in the love story. I felt like a stern parent the whole time just thinking “come on, you’re adults. You should know better.” I forgot while watching the show that Natasha is fifteen years old (making this similar to a Romeo and Juliet kind of thing), but considering we’re adapting a section of War and Peace here, I just wanted the show to feel more important.
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19 December
ibrews

A

The closest thing I’ve ever seen to a VR theater piece. Totally immersive, engrossing, riveting, captivating… and months later I still can’t stop thinking about it (seen 10/15/2016)

 

Hoo-rah!

  • Macbeth told with every character given equal weight.
  • I like how I could be in the same area multiple times and not realize at first that it was the same area (yay lighting)
  • Reminded me of my thesis
  • Loved all the details in the building. There were rooms I would have been happy to spend an hour in just reading letter and examining trinkets.
  • Not since Matthew Bourne have I seen a story told so well through choreography (it’s almost entirely silent!)

Blech…

  • Constant sense of FOMO
  • It was tricky to decide whether to follow a character (who you may lose) or just keep exploring. Once I realized the show was repeating (though with interesting little changes– nurse B being present for nurse A’s fit the second time), I wish I had a better sense of new places to go. Like during the banquet hall scene, seems like everyone is there so it’s a good opportunity to go read a letter or something. And apparently the banquet hall scene ends differently the third time. I wasn’t looking out for that, so I didn’t notice. But really this is all just a good reason to go again!
  • Don’t buy the $20 book they offer afterwards. They make it sound like it’s going to be a the equivalent of the second disc of a blu-ray where you’d get all the ‘Behind the Scenes’ and ‘Making Of’ content. Not even remotely true.


Continue reading…

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19 December
ibrews

B

Classical music circles the Park Avenue Armory with some extraordinary guest singing (seen 10/13/2016)

 

Hoo-rah!

  • Loved the visuals that accompanied the music
  • Amazing guest singer who had to perform a very long walk without tripping
  • Very cool having audience down on the floor looking up at the musicians and singer (oh hey– that was all Josh and I’s doing 🙂 )

Blech…

  • Saw it at a dress rehearsal with high school students who clapped after every pause and just couldn’t stay quiet when there was  technical fix needed.
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19 December
ibrews

B+

An important show that drives home themes of teamwork, being part of something larger than yourself, living in the moment, life vs. death, talent vs. commitment, and mentor/mentee relationships (seen 7/13/2016)

 

Hoo-rah!

  • A story worth telling. I was rooting for them the whole way!
  • Some amazing choreography and lighting (Jules Fisher– the train sequence!)
  • I saw the show after the closing had already been announced, and that added a heartbreaking but powerful meta-commentary; the original Shuffle Along was such an underdog and ran for years. This was an amazing show that was only just getting its feet.
  • Love me some Brian Stokes Mitchell (who also happened to be on that night’s episode of Mr. Robot)

Blech…

  • The pace of the storytelling felt a little… haphazard. Probably due to cuts to make the show shorter, but it was difficult to follow where we were in time.
  • Despite the incredible voices of the two female leads, both were missing a certain… star power I guess? I had trouble believing either of them would become famous. Audra McDonald was absent this day and maybe that’s something she brought more of.
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