I have no words for this

In case the weather and illness has gotten you down (like it has me). Here’s a video for all the dog and cat lovers out there. Just try not to smile.

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I have no words for this

A Christmas Story

It’s a little early for Christmas (in my opinion) but that doesn’t mean I won’t embrace it wholeheartedly when given the opportunity. Which is to say when you get tickets to go see A Christmas Story on Remembrance Day, you go. So I went.

I have to warn you, I was never really a fan of the movie. Too many childhood viewings of parts of it and not seeing the whole thing all at once made me averse to actually sitting down and watching the movie in its entirety. So I did not have high expectations. I went with a friend who was really excited which made me more excited but my actual expectations for the show were minimal.

My first thought about it was that it was fun. There were catchy (if mostly predictable) songs, lots of flashy costumes and a good dose of humour.

The story was the timeless adventure of a boy who wants a BB gun for Christmas and his quest to convince his parents of the value in buying it for him. It’s nothing new if you’ve seen the movie. The addition of the musical element was pretty standard for a movie to musical adaptation. The one reprised song “Ralphie to the Rescue” is pretty catchy and the flashy costumes definitely lend themselves to the fun of the song.

I did think that the young actors of the cast were great! I really liked their choreographed numbers and their singing was wonderful. I’m not always impressed with kids on stage, but these ones definitely had it all. Triple threats, the lot of them!

It was an enjoyable show. It’s definitely one way to really get into the Christmas spirit. Also if you’re not into A Christmas Story the Arts Club is also putting on It’s A Wonderful Life, which opens November 25th.

A Christmas Story

Disgraced

A friend and I went and saw the opening night of Disgraced at the Arts Cub and I don’t know that I have too much to say about it other than that it was certainly an experience.

The thing about Disgraced is that it’s like being punched in the face with emotions after being slapped. It is a roller coaster of emotions that takes you to new lows. As a play about racial tension set in New York, it was to be expected that there would be moments of discomfort for the audience.

I admit that although it was hard to watch and felt a little like when you see a car wreck, it was still a play that I am glad that I experienced. I think enjoyed would be the wrong word, not to say it was good, just that it wasn’t really something one enjoys.

The only real problem that I had with the production was the blond wig worn by the character of Emily. The wig wasn’t as hard to watch as the slurs being thrown but it did take away from the realism of the scenes.

Disgraced

Nuts for TUTS

This year I went to Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) for the first time. Crazy, I know! How had I never been to TUTS? Well this year a friend of mine had some comp tickets so I finally got to go and it was amazing! I have seriously been missing out, a mistake I won’t make again.

We saw Hairspray which is a super fun show, it was the first time I had seen Hairspray live and I loved it. It’s such a fun and energetic show and a lot of the time it makes you want to get up and dance . The atmosphere was also out of this world, everyone there was having a blast which really elevated the whole experience.

The best part of the show was the incredible pool of talent they had. I was absolutely blown away by the whole cast; the dancing was great, the singing was amazing, and the acting was wonderful. Seeing a show like this really reminds me how much talent there really is in this city. Marisa Gold, as Little Inez, was the real stand out for me but the whole cast was amazing.

The whole night was wonderful and a lot of fun. I even had someone help me out with bug spray (a rookie mistake) so that I didn’t get eaten alive. It was a great night and I definitely won’t miss TUTS next summer.

Nuts for TUTS

Canada Day fun

So it was Canada Day yesterday, and it was a beautiful day to celebrate! My friend and I went and saw Godspell and hung out around Granville Island. Granville Island is always faun place to wonder around and just enjoy the sunshine but it was crazy for Canada Day.

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W grabbed lunch downtown but we couldn’t resist some of the snacks on Granville Island, things like iced white tea lemonade (super delicious) and tire d’erable (maple syrup on a stick, always amazing). It looked like almost everyone from the market had a booth outside and there were tons of people everywhere so it was hard to navigate the island.

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We saw the matinee of Godspell which was good. I saw Godspell in New York a couple of years ago with Hunter Parrish playing God. It was interesting to see the differences in the show. When I saw it in New York it was at Circle in the Square Theatre which was a larger but more intimate venue. It was also a much lighter and more humorous show in New York. The show here while not terrible dark was still much heavier than the last time I saw it. I did enjoy the casting in the Arts Club version and thought their staging was well done.

All in all, although we missed the fireworks, I would say we had a terribly enjoyable Canada Day. Good food, good friends, and good theatre; that’s all I ever need.

 

Canada Day fun

Stunt Casting in Musicals

If you don’t know what stunt casting is, it’s pretty simple. When famous actors are hired on to shows to generate more media or fan attention, that is stunt casting. This is a pretty simplistic view of it but moving forward.

I am not overly fond of stunt casting or at least I don’t consciously admit to it but I have definitely been lured into seeing many a show based on the famous name attached to it. Here are some  examples of stunt casting in theatre that I have fallen victim to.

-Al Pacino in Glengarry Glen Ross on Broadway. This one is interesting in that Al Pacino was in the movie version of Glengarry Glen Ross, only he played a different character. As he had aged out of his original role of Ricky Roma, Pacino played Shelley Levene. He was wonderful though so I can’t say that I was disappointed.

-Scarlett Johansson is Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Playing Elizabeth Taylor’s role of Maggie ScarJo was actually pretty great (minus the terrible Southern accent). I can’t really complain about anything besides the accent and she’s certainly not the first with that problem.

-Hunter Parrish in Godspell. This is a show I am really excited to see again because I enjoyed it thoroughly the first time so obviously Hunter didn’t do a bad job. This was when he was almost straight off the set of Weeds so probably the height of his popularity, which is funny because I actually had no idea who he was until after the show.

-Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart in Waiting for Godot and No Man’s Land (they were doing 2 plays in rep, it was amazing). This was amazing! Billy Crudup was also in these, it was crazy. I’m sure much of the success of these plays came from the Sirs but they were so great that it really didn’t matter what drew you into the theatre.

-Zachary Quinto in The Glass Menagerie. This is a play that I was a little bit drawn in by the name and I ended up really enjoying it. It should be noted that Zachary Quinto’s accent was also a lot better than ScarJo’s Southern sham of an accent.

-Daniel Radcliffe in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (short form H2$). This show is the only show on Broadway I have seen more than once and I have seen it three times. Only once was with Harry Potter  Daniel Radcliffe even though he was really wonderful.

-Darren Criss in H2$. The show was all about stunt casting, after Daniel was Darren and after Darren was Nick Jonas (I think I’m glad I missed that). Darren was also a really great J. Pierpont Finch.

-Ricky Martin in Evita. So good! Ricky Martin played Che and he was amazing. This was probably one of the most ridiculous stage doors I’ve ever seen. This was great casting.

Some stunt casting makes you shake your head (Carly Rae in Cinderella after Laura Osnes?) but a lot of it is really great actors (some of whom started in theatre) having fun on the Great White Way.

Stunt Casting in Musicals

A twist on a classic

I don’t know that the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is really a classic, but it’s a classic to me.

I obviously grew up on Fresh Prince, just like most of my generation probably did. I can probably sing along to the entire theme song, without thought. I just love this blues version of a favoured childhood song.

I don’t love the ad at the end, but what can you do?

A twist on a classic