Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins

stars

Wednesday June 10. 8pm

New Amsterdam Theatre, 214 W42st New York.

Based on P.L. Travers cherished stories and the original 1960’s Disney film Mary Poppins on Broadway is practically perfect in every way. The story sticks to the much loved original tale. However, despite its predicitablilty there are suprises and shocks in store that will have audiences of all ages on the edge of their seats.

Staring in the lead as Mary Poppins Scarlett Strallen wows audiences with her vocal ability and smooth moves. Making magic with her bag and umbrella she caputures the audiences attention. However there is that sense of her being a supernany like Jo Frost off those tv shows that was not present in the original Disney movie. At times she appears evil summoning the toys to teach the kids a lesson whereas in other scenes her mood is light and uplifting as she goes on that jolly holiday. Mary-Poppins-Broadway-4-web

Adam Fiorentino plays the part of Bert and his character is not far from the original played by Dick Van Dyke. As a chimney sweep he whistles the days away while taking the odd break to dance on the roof top. One thing has to be said however that guy has guts for doing the magical walk high up on the proscenium. An act which left almost every member of the audience on the edge of their seats.

Other parts played included Daniel Jenkins and Rebecca Luker as Mr and Mrs banks and Kelsey Fowler and Zach Rand who play the troublesome Banks kids.

The set is fantastically detailed with a full size house that moves up and down as needed as well as extra sets including a full size roof top, a bedroom  and a park which come and go as needed. The set is amazingly true to life with props and colors as well as a fully functional stair case.

The music brings the story to life with songs of new and old. Composed by the score includes old favourites such as “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious ” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee as well as new songs “Temper, Temper” and “Brimstone and Treacle”. HO

The costumes were equally spectacular from caputuring the traditional dress of Ms Poppins to adding life size cakes onto the dresses of dancers in the candy store scene.

Throughout the show there were acts of magic from Mary Poppins bag to the letter magically flying up the chimney. Acts which even as an adult it is hard to decipher how exactly do they do it.

Mary Poppins brings the young on an exciting new adventure while older viewers are given a taste of childhood nostalgia.

AFTER THE SHOW

After the show all members of the staff were at the stage door. Beginning with the two kids who were keen to talk about the new Harry Potter film then the Mr and Mrs Banks and finally Mary Poppins and Bert.

VIDEO CLIPS

A chat with Mary Poppins

Behind the scenes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL3pLv2OdrM

God of Carnage

GOD OF CARNAGE

stars

Wednesday June 10. 2pm

Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre 242 West 45th Street

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James Gandolfini makes his first performance since The Sopranos in God of Carnage.

A hiliarious play set around talks between two sets of parents this Tony award winning  play of the year provides laughs for all the family.

After their son is injured during a playground brawl wholesaler Michael (James Gandolfini) and writer Veronica (Marcia Gay Harden) invite fellow parents – lawyer Alan (Jeff Daniels) and  wealth manager Annette (Hope Davis) over for afternoon tea while they discuss what led to their son loosing two teeth.

What starts out as a friendly conversation soon turns to turmoil as the parents each take sides and insist that “their son wasn’t to blame”. Added to the tension is the fact that businessman Alan is constantly on the phone doing business and it seems like the whole ordeal has caused him a great inconvenience having to be at the meeting. 5022855.jpg

As the tensions rise the parents fight and the audience is embroiled in the drama as flowers and thrown and books are destroyed. What adds to the comedy is that these are four  experienced actors known to the audience for the performances in shows such as The Sopranos and Angel’s in America. The audience gets to see these actors outside of their usual surroundings and acting terribly out of control!

The set is basic and simly consists of a living room with a couch, a table and a book shelf all placed against a blood red background. It is the simplicity however that adds to the comedy. There are no special effects or props to take away from the real point of the show that is the conversation between the two sides.

An original work by Yasmina Reza this play provides 90 minutes of fun and laughter and a free pass for these four actors to behave badly. Throughout the play the parents take hits at eachother while all three Annette, Michael and Veronica are constantly complaining about Alan’s phone ringing this becomes as laughing point for the audience who each time the phone rings know that trouble is only seconds away.

Phone conversations between Michael and his concerned mother (greatly resembling phone conversations between Tony Sopranos and his mother in The Sopranos) also break up the tension. While his mother is simply calling for an update on their beaten son the conversations appear to be an irritant to Michael while again providing humour for the audience. agespan.jpg

After a while the rum replaces the coffee and the cast begin to strip off outer garments and it is then the audience knows that this conversation may take some time.

This work of carnage is still running on Broadway at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre until November 09. Tickets start at just $66.50

AFTER THE SHOW

After the show Jeff Daniels and Hope Davis signed playbills and posed for photographs. Unfortunately not all the cast wait around after matinee performances and James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden were not present on this occasion.

VIDEO CLIPS

Blue man group

BLUE MAN GROUP

stars3

Sunday June 7. 8pm

Astor Place Theatre, 434 Lafayette Place

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Centred around three blue men this show is purely visual. The men don’t speak or even attempt to. This leaves it up to the audience to interpret their emotions and gestures. There is no storyline to follow as the show simply consists of different sketches from the marshmallow catching to the twinky eating. They use familiar objects such as captain crunch, twinky bars and marshmallows to capture the audiences attention although I wouldn’t recommend looking too interested as they may want you to get up on stage and get involved with their games.

The show is overall very interactive and the first few rows are even expected to wear ponchos to reduce the risk of turning blue themselves or being covered in half eaten food.

At times the men pick their victims from the audience whom they then begin to subject to different experiments such as stuffing your mouth full of twinky bars (during which the poor girl looked like she was going to either cry or throw up) and covering your body with blue paint before swinging into a canvas painting.

However as the show does start off exciting promising so much it quickly goes down hill. Do people really need to see three guys regurgitating half chewed marshmallows and chewed cereal. Why they think people want to see a food fights and be covered in half chewed food is questionable. Looking at youtube videos there is a high expectation of their brilliance but those performances are not to be seen in New York instead an amateur show that requires little talent.

Overall the show is entertaining although the novelty wears off mid-way through. If these men weren’t blue it is doubtful the show would have lasted so long off broadway. A good night out for the family but in the small theatre and basic set it is easy to tell why this glorified circus show has been kept off broadway.

This may be entertaining for kids but adults save your money there is much better out there for the same cost. I for one am grateful that our tickets were 50% off.

Overall this show was overpriced and overrated. Tickets to this New York performance are no longer available as the show has been closed down. Other performances are available throughout the US including Las Vegas.

AFTER THE SHOW

After the show the three men came out to autograph (kiss) the playbills and pose for photos.

VIDEO CLIPS

Next to Normal

NEXT TO NORMAL             stars

Friday June 5 8pm

Booth Theatre 222 West 45 St. New York

Next to Normal - Arena Stage

Making its debut on Broadway Next to Normal brings light to the issue of mental health in society. Through the life of  wife and mother Diana (Alice Ripley) the audience gets a look inside the struggles of living with bipolar disease.

Alice Ripley who would three days later win a tony award brought brings the character alive with strong solos and emotional struggles. For 16 years she has been experimenting with contails of pills yet to find one that works. It is only after she starts making mass amounts of sandwiches on the floor that her husband  Dan (J.Robert Spencer)  decides it is time for her to go back to therapy.

As a caring husband Dan has been there for his wife since the beginning. He has stood by herself and he is the one that supports her. Throughout all the struggles he remains by her side and encourages her to accept reality while at the own time he is fighting is own demons.

Next to Normal also looks at the life of teenager Natalie (Jennifer Damiano). The daughter who feels neglected in the shadow of her dead brother. For her, freedom is just a sontata away as she throws herself into her studies and fights to be able to graduate early and escape the turmoil of her home life. Finding love for the first time she is reluctant to let her boyfriend Henry (Adam Chanler-Berat) making every excuse not to invite him home but in the end he is the support she needs to help her through.

In this performance  Kyle Dean Massey played the role of Gabe replacing Aaron Tveit who is on summer hiatus  . This may have been his first perfomrnance but the audience certainly were unaware of his naievity as he bellowed out the strong notes and played the part of the dead son. Fighting for his mother he  is determined not to let the pills destroy him as he battles to sway his mother and fight for his life.

To complete the cast Louis Hobson steps in in the role of Dr. Madden/ Dr. Fine. A self confessed rock star who is determined to find a solution to Diana’s problems. Trying the blue pills and the green pills and then the yellow pills he is not ready to give up and eventually suggests the controversial treatment of electroconvulsive therapy.

The musical is centred around the original soundtrack by composer Tom Kitt (13, Hair) and with songs such as “Superboy and the Invisible girl” and “I am the one” combines both pop and rock genres.

Set in a three story house the set provides a realistic setting for family life. Racing up and down the stairs the family make the most of the setting while providing the audience with action and variety.

Ending on a positive the play emphasizes the fact that there is light at the end of the tunnel and after years of sturrlge there will be light.

Still running at the Booth Theatre Next to Normal is a must see and tickets start at $110

AFTER THE SHOW.

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After the show all cast members greeted fans outside the stage door of the theatre and discussed their excitement over the upcoming Tony awards. Unfortunately Jennifer Damiano (Natalie) was not present.

VIDEO CLIPS

Interview with Aaron Tveit

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/04/16/theater/20090416-aaron-tveit-next-to-normal/index.html

Behind the scenes

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid2648494001?bclid=2652543001&bctid=19183403001