Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category

Monty Python Hit ‘Spamalot’ Playing on Tour Right Now!

Everyone loves the story of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table; and even more so when it’s “lovingly ripped off from the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” That’s why the current tour of Monty Python’s Spamalot is one of the biggest hits to come to American theaters in a long time. And it might be coming to one near you!

The theater show, which depicts King Arthur and his knights, as well as the honor and loyalty that was the backbone of the Round Table, brings hilarity every step of the way. While the story itself is always a fun one to revisit, Monty Python’s take on it always delivers, and this includes a brilliant cast — not to mention some cows and killer rabbits along the way, as well.

Arthur Rowan and Abigail Raye return to their roles as King Arthur and Lady of the Lake, respectively; and Glenn Giron will also be resuming his role as Patsy, after being on hiatus for a year. Adam Grabau takes on many faces during the play including that of Sir Lancelot, The French Taunter, King Ni, and Tim the Enchanter. Kasidy Devlin will also be back to take up the roles of both Sir Robin and Brother Maynard.

The musical brings an entirely new score created by Eric Idle and John Du Prez; and the book was written by Eric Idle. The show is currently in Raleigh, North Carolina for the next week before heading off to Texas, New Mexico, and Illinois. You can find a full listing of shows here, and then get your tickets to one closest to you. This is one that you can’t miss!

Watch the Story of the Jersey Boys Live on Stage

Come see the Jersey Boys, an award winning musical about one of the biggest musical groups of the 1960s, live in 2013! The Jersey Boys is a musical, done documentary style, about the 1960s musical sensation The Four Seasons.

The show opened in 2005, and has toured America, Europe, Australia, Singapore, and Africa. The Singapore production of Jersey Boys features an all South African cast, and these shows will start in Johannesburg, South Africa in the spring of 2013.
The Broadway production of Jersey Boys has run for more than 22oo performances, the 25th longest running show appearing in the history of Broadway. The first national tour for the production began on December 10th of 2006. After performing in San Francisco and Los Angeles, a second company of actors debuted and performed until September of 2007, before starting a run of performances in Chicago.

December of 2010 was the 4th anniversary of the award winning show, and they kicked off another run of shows in San Francisco’s Curran Theatre. The show has broken box office records in Philadelphia, and has played to crowds of enthusiastic fans in Boston.

The show is frequently performed in Las Vegas, in the recently constructed Jersey Boys Theater at the Palazzo Hotel. The London debut, held in the Prince Edward Theatre, happened in 2008, and this production won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical.

The show was also produced and performed in Australia, and their production has received a lot of praise from audiences there. Shows began in 2009 at the Princess Theatre of Melbourne, and then closed in 2010. That September, they began performances in Sydney, which closed in 2011. From there they went to Auckland, and that production lasted until June of 2012.

The story is that of the Four Seasons musical group and chronicles their formation, rise to stardom, and eventual break up. As such, the show is presented in chapters, called “seasons”, with each being represented by a different member of the group’s point of view. If you would like to see an award winning show, with great music and a compelling story, then go see this one. Tickets are on sale now, and you won’t be disappointed.

What is the Carnival of Wonders?

When you first hear it, “Carnival of Wonders“, the name may sound a bit cheesy.  If you take a moment and give it a chance, however, you will find the name is fitting and perfect for the show, which is in actuality charming and full of class and spectacle.  This is a show you could bring your whole family to and, wonderfully enough, everyone would find something to love about it before the night is through.

The Carnival of Wonders isn’t just a magic show.  Oh sure, there is plenty of magic to go around, but what it really involves is three gifted performers that call on all types of talent within themselves to make for one amazing theatrical experience.  There is drama, there is laughter, there are even gasps and mystery, and by the end of the night, you too will wonder how they put that smile on your face that can’t be erased.

The three stars of the show are Jeff Hobson, Jinger Leigh, and Mark Kalin.  Jinger and Mark are a couple, and founded the show back in 1999.  Jeff Hobson joined the act and brought a good dose of comedy and charm with him.  The Carnival of Wonders has won several awards, and Jinger and Mark have even been bestowed with the title Magicians of the Year, one of the highest honors you can get in the profession.  Other magicians bestowed with this honor include the greats like David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, and David Blain.

The scene is almost that of a long forgotten traveling carnival with all the dark mystery and fun surrounding it.  The show typically runs for 90 minutes, and includes death defying feats, well known and brand new magic tricks, choreographed dance numbers, stories, jokes, and plenty of other wonders to keep you amazed.

The show may be rare to find these days, so be sure to catch the act in your town when they come on tour!  The Carnival of Wonders is set to make its next appearance in Mount Pleasant, Michigan at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort.  Give your family a dose of nostalgia or a brand new experience they will never forget by taking them to see the Carnival of Wonders!

It’s not Christmas without A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story began showing on Broadway on November 7 and audiences only have a chance to see Ralphie nearly “shoot his eye out” for a few more weeks, as this one wraps on December 30.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know how this one turns out. Ralphie gets his tongue stuck to an icy pole, the entire family still makes a mess of dinner at a Chinese place, the big pink bunny still makes an appearance, and Ralphie still gets his BB gun. Much of it is done by 12-year old Johnny Rabe that pulls off a brilliant Ralphie with each and every performance, as well as Joe West who steps in for the role on alternating evenings.

Erin Dilly dons the role of Ralphie’s mom, the first to warn him that he’ll “shoot his eye out” with the beloved BB gun; and Zac Ballard plays the role of Ralph’s little brother Randy. The play also features Eddie Korbich as the Santa Claus that gets Ralphie all tripped up on his Christmas list, Dan Lauria as Jean Shepherd, and John Bolton as The Old Man.

This isn’t the first time the story has made it onto the stage. In 2011 it was on tour before settling down in Chicago for a small run. Now after seeing the success on the Chicago stage, it can be seen at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway.

The Phantom of the Opera: The Play vs. the Movie

If you’ve heard anything about The Phantom of the Opera on the Internet then you’ve probably been directed to the Joel Schumacher-directed film starring Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson and Gerard Butler.  The film actually helped to catapult these newcomers into movie stardom, particularly Patrick Wilson who went on to appear in dozens of non-musicals playing angsty older white men facing a midlife crises.  (If not Little Children check out Watchmen)  Gerard Butler’s best triumph post-phantom was possibly PS I Love You, costarring Hillary Swank.

Of course, we have nothing to say about the movie.  It was arguably Schumacher’s only great film, as he delicately balanced adherence to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music and also delivered a visionary experience, even going so far as to give us a final ending to the age-old story, visiting Phantom and Raoul long after Christine’s death.

However, you have never truly experienced Phantom unless you’ve seen it in the theater–that is the “theatre” where music is sung live, and painstaking efforts are put into the choreography and the set decoration.  While much has been written about “The Music of the Night”, “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Learn to be Lonely”, which was actually written for the movie and not as part of the musical play, don’t forget to listen for the brilliant subtleties of “Think of Me” and “All I Ask of You.”

“Think of Me”, sung twice in the play, including by the show stopping Christine character, is particularly chilling and poignant, as it speaks to any lover who has left someone dear behind.  “All I Ask of You” is also a triumph of music, as it celebrates the emotional and spiritual bliss of coupling, only to be reminded of darkness, as a vengeful Phantom laments Christine’s betrayal in the same tone.

Of course, the main reason to see the play live and in person, instead of flipping on a DVD or Blu-Ray of the film, is to enjoy the music live–delivered in person and with amazing power by real singers and not Hollywood-embellished actor-singers.  The Phantom of the Opera was certainly Andrew Lloyd Webber’s creative peak, and for an illustrious career spanning Jesus Christ, Superstar and Evita, that certainly says a mouthful.

The Book of Mormon – Go Down and See It!

Well, if you saw the “Broadway Bro Down” episode of South Park then you are probably very excited to see a Broadway play this season. It’s as much fun for guys as it is for girls! And that’s just the South Park brand of humor you can expect when you go to see Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s ode to Mormonism in The Book of Mormon.

A small curiosity for you: The “Broadway Bro Down” (probably the greatest anti-commercial for a musical Comedy Central has ever aired) was actually co-written by Robert Lopez, a Broadway veteran who also worked on Avenue Q (another foul-mouthed singing satire) and The Book of Mormon.

Lopez is also no stranger to mainstream success. The Book of Mormon and Avenue Q, both of which he won Tony Awards for, were scored and partly written by him. The Book of Mormon, despite its edginess, was actually a big Tony Award winner last year and took home several awards including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Original Score.

The Book of Mormon is not just a two-hour South Park episode with music. It is a satire on all organized religion following the adventures of two Mormon missionaries sent to a remote village in Uganda. Coming from US roots, they immediately have problems identifying with the locals who face issues of war, famine, poverty and AIDS.

Since the play took seven years to develop, it’s safe to assume Parker and Stone probably got musical fever as early as the big South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut movie, which featured several Broadway-worthy moments. (Including the song, “Blame Canada”, which was actually nominated and performed at the Academy Awards)

You may be surprised to learn that Stone and Parker are not as liberal-minded as it might appear. Sure, they are vulgar and purposely offensive, but they actually do find Mormons “fascinating” and both have confessed that they are not liberal, nor necessarily atheistic. How are their personalities manifested on stage and in song? The unique voice does come through, and like the South Park show, it is full of offensive humor, deep questions and a bit of silliness.

If you can only see one musical this year then go down and see The Book of Mormon, featuring the most creative minds on television and on Broadway.

Celebrate a Great Year with the Heart of Christmas

There are few things more magical to a child than Christmas. If you are looking for some new ways to make memories with your children this holiday season you may want to check out “The Heart of Christmas” show playing at the Crown Theatre in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

This is a fast-paced show that is sure to keep the attention of little ones and grownups alike. You’ll see a light show, hear songs, see costumes, and really get into the holiday spirit. This is a show all about the real meaning of Christmas, and it helps us all to stop and take a moment to really enjoy the season with our loved ones.

There will be snow fluttering across the stage, funny and touching Christmas songs will be sung, a Grinch will appear, and 30 dancers, some in reindeer costumes, will parade across the stage, there will even be a Christmas Elvis! You’ll see a live full manger scene, you will hear “Silent Night” being performed, and the main act, the Voices of the Heart singers will belt out your favorite Christmas songs. Kids of all ages are sure to love this fun, often touching show. This is truly a variety show with something for everyone.

If you are looking to do a little charity this season, you can also start by seeing this show. All the weekend proceeds go to children’s charities in the area. So far the show as donated over $350,000 dollars to charity! The funds go to Friends of Children Foundation, Fayetteville Autism, The Child Advocacy Center, and more. Not only do you get a fantastic show, you also get to give the gift of charity to needy boys and girls, and perhaps teach a good lesson to your own little ones.

Those in, or who will be visiting, the Fayetteville area should book their tickets early as this beloved show can sell out quick! The scheduled dates for the performances this year are November 24th and 25th. Start your season out right by seeing The Heart of Christmas show with your loved ones.

“Smoke on the Mountain” is Back!

Step into Mill Town Music Hall on Saturday, October 27, to see Smoke on the Mountain, and you’ll instantly step back in time to 1938 and become a member of the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. If that doesn’t seem strange enough for you, wait until Paster Oglethrope and the Singing Sanders Family try to bring you into the “modern” world!

It’s the first annual Saturday Night Sing at the Baptist Church, and you’re invited to join them! Paster Oglethrope has brought along a family of bluegrass singers in order to bring a refreshing twist to the usual doldrums of church. He thinks the Sanders Family are the ones to help him do the job, but soon finds out that the family might be more than he can handle. And they might be more than you can handle, too!

It’s laughs for a congregation of all ages, as the Sanders Family cousins give their fiddle, bass, guitar, and mandolin a real workout singing some of the best gospel songs you’ve ever heard. Church in the Wildwood, Wonderful Time Up There, No Tears in Heaven, Jesus is Mine, and of course, Smoke on the Mountain are all just a few of the tunes you’ll hear.

“Smoke on the Mountain” is the most-often revived off-Broadway show, so don’t miss your one-day chance to see it! It’s fun for the entire family!

What is Batman Live About?

Chances are, you saw The Dark Knight Rises and were blown away by the spectacle that was Batman on screen. However, Batman has been a comic book icon long before he was ever a movie star or a TV series hero. And we’re guessing that you still haven’t seen Batman as imagined by Broadway! With the success of the Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark musical, not to mention those Jim Henson Muppets and Disney figure skaters that make it look easy, perhaps it was only a matter of time before the caped crusader would get his own “live” production.

What can you expect from Batman Live? This touring stage show is not just a dramatic journey into the mind of Batman. It is also a production that gives kids and adults what they’re expecting from seeing such a popular myth come to life. Expect circus acts, stage magic show elements and non-stop action!

The production debuted in Manchester of the UK last year, but it was so popular that it found touring interest in the United States, not to mention throughout England and Ireland. In the summer of 2012, it finally came to the states and made a big splash.

The story follows the origins of Batman as well as Robin, who had a stint in the circus. From there, the plot unravels and we also get a glimpse into Batman’s psyche and origin. Alfred, Commissioner Gordon and all your favorites are in the stage play and you get to watch as pivotal comic book continuity scenes take place, such as the death of Robin’s family, as well as a modern day crime plot by Arkham’s notorious inmates.

Expect to see all of your favorite villains as well as heroes, such as the Penguin, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Riddler, Scarecrow, Harley Quinn and even Catwoman. It may not be as dark as the Christopher Nolan directed film, but the stage play is true to the comic right down to the scowl of the Dark Knight himself. The show will be touring in major American cities throughout the rest of 2012. Show your love of Gotham and see Batman in person!

The Best of Off-Broadway this Fall

Off-Broadway shows get a bad rap. They’re not eligible for Tony awards, they’re usually not filled with huge star names, and well, let’s face it. They’re not on Broadway. But these are rather poor arguments that, should you heed them, will make you miss some really great shows. Here’s a lineup of the best that Off-Broadway is offering this fall. And they’re all must-see shows!

Bullet for Adolf
Written by Woody Harrelson, this is the story about two men who strike up an unlikely friendship in Houston before meeting up with a New Yorker who’s obviously running from something. Those who love a true story will love this one as it’s based on actual people (whose names have been changed.)

Sleep No More
If you love shakin’ up Shakespeare, Sleep No More is the show that you have got to go see! It’s an adaptation of Macbeth but, is that a Chelsea warehouse you’re seeing? You bet it is, and this setting is just one of the things that will let you know you’re seeing The Bard the way you never have before. And if Macbeth isn’t really your thing — in any form — go for the bar anyways. It’s open on the rooftop of The McKittrick Hotel after every show!

Roman Tragedies
And if you really love Shakespeare, you can’t miss Roman Tragedies. This play blends the best of Bill, spinning Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus into one giant six-hour play. Think you’ll feel restless during that time? Don’t worry about it. You can stretch your legs when you walk up on stage to buy a drink!

Which, if any, of these shows will you be going to see?

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