Jump to content


Member Since 07 Jan 2013
Offline Last Active Today, 01:58 PM

#300982 Jersey Boys Cast (And Theatre) Change 2014

Posted John_Rebus on Yesterday, 06:30 AM

Saw JB at the Tuesday Matinee for the first time since its move.

As Murphy is a dear friend of mine, JLY had of course to be off the one time I was seeing the show during his short run (and, if I had booked another date, he would've been off there as well...). So when I read Michael Watson's name on the cast board, I was quite disappointed - especially after having read some 'meh' reviews of his performance on here. However, he wasn't as bad as I feared he'd be. He might not have the strongest Falsetto and sometimes looked at bit uncomfortable on stage, but all in all a solid performance. And while I wouldn't exactly rush back to see his Frankie again, I wouldn't be too unhappy if he was on at my next trip to Jersey (which he will for sure when I want to see Sandy Moffat's Franzie (sic!) Valli. Good performances from all the other cast members; Matt Malton (the new Nick Massi) looks so young...

I don't think the show lost much due to the move. The set pieces are moved to the stage from the side wings or from behind (as there doesn't seem to be a lift below stage anymore), but that worked equally good as before.
View from front row was great (I was 'upgraded' from the now removed row BB to CC) and much better than at the Prince Edwards - I finally could see below knee level.

#300660 The Ongoing Wicked Discussion Thread

Posted John_Rebus on 14 April 2014 - 02:00 PM

View PostArtanis, on 14 April 2014 - 01:07 PM, said:

Willemijns holiday dates were updated, she is now off from today, 14/04-19/04. So Emma is on.

Good to know, thanks. So I can see both Emma Hatton's Elphaba and Oliver Tompsett's Galileo this week - perfect.

#300158 X Factor The Musical To The Palladium

Posted John_Rebus on 11 April 2014 - 06:32 PM

My record (in a negative way) so far was 120€ (around £100) for a ticket for Cirque du Soleil in Frankfurt in 2010 I think. Musical-wise, I remember buying a premium ticket once for £80 for Mamma Mia (back when I re-started watching Musicals after finishing Uni - I was inexperienced and just thought "Premium sounds good"). Never done such a stupid thing again since then...
Paying top-price (but not premium, i.e. £65 plus fees) is fine every now and then - but mostly for "special events" as cast changes or closing nights.

As for I can't sing - I'll be back in town next week and see the show for a second time at Thursday's Matinee - let's see which seat the box office offers me when I pop in during the day :)

#299431 Dream Casts

Posted John_Rebus on 05 April 2014 - 07:08 PM

I'd absolutely love seeing Rachel John as Sherrie in Rock of Ages.

While recently listening again to Bobby Cronin's Concrete Jungle, I somehow saw Rebecca Trehearn as Katherine in Newsies in my mind's eye, so if Newsies transferred over, I hope she'll be cast.

And, of course, there are also a few ladies out there who I'd love to see playing Elphaba, namely Sabrina Aloueche, Rachel John, Natalie Andreou and Rachael Wooding.

I also second Stasia's casting idea of Oliver Tompsett as Elder Price (even though he might be a bit too old to play a nineteen year old).

#298806 Bad Behaviour At A Show

Posted John_Rebus on 30 March 2014 - 05:59 PM

View PostHonoured Guest, on 30 March 2014 - 05:18 PM, said:

11 young teen ????
21 old teen ????

eleven-teen? *shrugging*

sounds pretty logical to me, especially as my beloved French spell say ninety-eight as four-times-twenty-plus-eighteen (i.e. quatre-vingt dix-huit)

#297777 X Factor The Musical To The Palladium

Posted John_Rebus on 23 March 2014 - 08:24 PM

Saw the show yesterday evening. Interval was between 20 to 25 minutes and the show had ended at around 10.10pm.

I really enjoyed the show - they already had me with their first number If that's not entertainment and I was thinking "when can I see this show again?". I haven't laughed that much and that hard in a theatre since my first time seeing Book of Mormon. I was thinking "that's completely odd" and "what a bummer" every other minute, but both in a completely positive way.

I, too, am not British, so I obviously haven't seen your X-Factor (and I've neither seen one single episode of "our" German X-Factor or Idol (or DSDS, as it's called over here)). So I first thought I'd be a bit lost (even though I'm familiar enough with the concept itself, the back stories and the "forced" song choice of the contestants), but the only parts I didn't quite get were Jordy and Louie. Not sure if Simon Bailey/Liam's hugging song is a reference to an actual X-Factor host, but since he also hugged (random) people on stage, it worked without knowing the actual X-Factor show.

All in all a good and original score with one or two say improvable songs (not sure anymore which, as there is no song list in the programme, but I think one of them was Brenda's "Tesco" song). I assume a cast album is planned? Any information on a possible release date?

Absolutely enjoyed the cast. Nigel Harman is just perfect as Simon, Simon Lipkin and Barlow stole the show - just looking at him was fun and Cynthia Erivo was amazing. She has such a gorgeous singing voice - her I can't sing gave me goosebumps, especially the final bits - just wow. But: I thought she rushed quite a bit through her spoken parts so that it was sometimes a bit hard (at least for me as a non-native speaker) to follow her. Also liked Simon Bailey as Liam. Found Alan Morrissey a bit bland I must say.

The set (especially in act 2) was amazing; the projections in act 1 worked really well as well. The orchid (?) was just wow.

#296503 Scott Alan At The Hippodrome

Posted John_Rebus on 13 March 2014 - 05:46 AM

Found an email from Scott Alan in my inbox this morning announcing four concerts in London this May. Unfortunately, I won't be able to make any of the dates due to work commitments, but just in case some of you might be interested.


The Hippodrome Casino is proud to welcome back Scott Alan for four very intimate concerts on May 13th (11pm), 14th (11pm), 15th (8pm) & 16th (8pm - a special 'Birthday' concert to celebrate Scott Alan's 36th Birthday).
Each concert will featured some very special 'unannounced' guests and Scott Alan on piano, telling the stories behind some of his most beloved songs.
Don't miss out on booking your tickets now before they sell out !!!

#296180 We Rocked You

Posted John_Rebus on 11 March 2014 - 09:46 AM

View Posttheatrepaul, on 11 March 2014 - 09:14 AM, said:

Well it's had a very good run. I wonder what'll replace it? The Dominion is big place to fill

Dear producers,

if you ever get to read this: Don't you dare to bring Spiderman over.

Thank you.

#295787 Newsies London?

Posted John_Rebus on 08 March 2014 - 04:57 PM

Saw it on Broadway last Sunday and thought it was the best show I've ever seen.

I agree on the casting issue, might be difficult to find a bunch of perfect dancers, but OTOH "they" brought Gavin Creel and Jared Gertner over for BoM, so why not transfer say Ben Fankhauser (Davey) and Corey Cott or even Jeremy Jordan (Jack Kelly)?

However, I don't think that Newsies wouldn't work in Europe (or Britain ;) ). Newsies' message is understood everywhere on the world I'd say. And even if you ignore the book, Newsies has still an amazing score and a simply breathtaking choreography. And quite frankly, I don't believe most Americans do actually remember / know of the original Newsboy strike in 1899 Newsies is based on.
And didn't Legally Blonde (also quite "typical" American) run even longer in the West End than on Broadway?

#294942 Broadway 2014 Master Thread

Posted John_Rebus on 03 March 2014 - 05:02 AM

Playbill: http://s7.directuplo...03/858vprbp.jpg

Since the cast recording was released, I wanted to see Newsies on stage. So once flight and hotel were booked, Newsies was the first show for which I booked a ticket, as I didn’t want to try TKTS for ending up possibly not getting a ticket at all.

To make it short: Newsies is musical theatre as good as it gets. It is the best show I have ever seen, and I couldn’t find one weak point. If I had to rate it, I’d  give Newsies 6 out of 5 stars. At least.

The cast were great, all are amazing singers and dancers. The choreography was simply breathtaking, and I found myself quite often going “WOW” and "How did they do that?"; the one moment that even stood out was Seize the Day. I have never seen anything similar before. I also found Les really cute. Even Medda Larkin fitted in well, as, after listening to the cast recording, I found her part quite misplaced.

Great score, for me personally Menken’s best work so far and rightly won the Best Score Tony.

The staging using three movable metallic frameworks is simple yet effective.

If you came over to New York and could only see one show, make sure to choose Newsies. After finally having seen the show live, I can understand even less why Disney haven’t transferred it to the West End yet. Newsies needs to come over quickly. Yesterday.

Playbill: http://s1.directuplo...03/4ouat7r2.jpg

Rock of Ages was, besides Newsies, the one show I definitely wanted to see on Broadway. I hadn’t seen the show since closing night in London exactly four months ago, and man have I missed it.

Kate Rockwell was a sweet Sherrie with some amazing vocals, and Aaron C. Finley was quite a strong Drew (and I actually preferred him over Ross Hunter). Both Klineman’s were really weak. Paul Schoeffler had strange unrecognizable accent which was anything but German, and Cody Scott Lancaster’s Franz was extremely overacted cliché gay and not German with an accent that sounded gay – Rohan Tickell and Sandy Moffat were way more believable as Germans (and who if not me could judge this). Genson Blimline sang Lonny pretty well, but did almost no Ad-Libs and there was no programme scene (i.e. going through the programme and faking a show where Drew was in) at all towards the end which was really disappointing. Simon Lipkin and Nathan Amzi were way more hilarious. All the others did a good job, even though I preferred our West End casts.

The Broadway production was identical to the one in the West End (or, more precisely, the other way round). The only big difference I noticed (letting aside minor changes as Ja’Keith Gill instead of Paul Gill, Alan Parsons Project instead of Baycity Rollers and so on) was Regina preparing to set herself in fire as opposed to jumping from Chateau Marmont. Soaked with petrol, she was then accidentally set on fire by a barbecue grill and did the final number bandaged.

Rock of Ages is still a great show and a fun evening out, but I very much preferred it in the West End. So let’s see how the UK tour will be.

#294788 Broadway 2014 Master Thread

Posted John_Rebus on 01 March 2014 - 03:16 PM

View PostSam4God, on 01 March 2014 - 01:16 AM, said:

Great to read such a positive review about Aladdin. I'm off to NY for a few days next week and Aladdin is one of the shows I'll be seeing. I'm even more excited about it now :)

Sam, make sure to bring your arctic clothes, as it is freezingly cold here. I haven't (I mean, we had +15°C when I left home, who could have thought it'd be -15°C a "few" miles west), and now I'm skipping most of my sightseeing plans as I'm only rushing from Starbucks to Starbucks to reheat.

Enjoy Aladdin and make sure to see If/Then (which I'll be missing by a few days, as I'm flying back home Monday Evening).

Anyway, here's the next show.

Playbill: http://s14.directupl...01/iv7uszn5.jpg

Even though I had seen Wicked 70+ times in the UK, I had to see it on Broadway as well. And I also wanted to see Lindsay Mendez’ Elphaba, as she seemed so likable and funny in Broadway.com’s Fly Girl series. So you can surely understand how disappointed I was when I found out that Lindsay and Alli Mauzey (Lindsay’s Glinda) had left the weekend before I arrived. But OTOH seeing a fresh cast wasn’t that bad too, I thought.

Quite strangely, yesterday was one of the few times where I didn’t enjoy Wicked at all (the other time I can remember was seeing the show in Germany), and it was all due to the cast. I really enjoyed K. Todd Freeman’s Dillamond and Michael Wartella’s Boq, but all the other main cast were just OK which IMO isn’t enough for Wicked. As for the two leads (Christine Dwyer as Elphaba and Jenni Barber as Glinda), I somehow thought they were two understudies and not the main cast (yes, I know it was only their fourth performance, but the current London cast were in a much better shape when I saw them similarly early). I think Christine will improve over time and become a rather good Elphaba once she gets her breathing right – you could hear her breathing in quite loudly every few words, as she had a few nice riffs. Jenni however was just not funny and her American accent sounded really strange. Both are also extremely young and looked more like teenagers than students at university.

Compared to London, I noticed three differences (letting aside the bigger stage at the Gershwin Theatre): There was an actual air balloon(ey) coming down during Wizomania, Glinda, Elphaba and later the Guards climbed to the attic in DG from below the stage through a trap-door (which I really liked and worked much better than in London), and some of the Monkeys were flying through the audience once Elphaba sets them free after Wonderful.

From the outside, the Gershwin Theatre looks just like a huge concrete block, but it was really nice inside. I’ve never seen escalators in a theatre before. It was extremely cold inside the theatre, many people sat there with scarves and jackets on, and when Glinda said to Elphaba during Defying Gravity that she was trembling, I actually considered shouting “So are we – turn the aircon off” (which I didn’t).

My seat was BB6 in the Stalls Orchestra on the first row on the far right side, which was sold as “Limited Visibility”. I knew the Limited Visibility seats from London, which usually offer a fairly good view (and even better given their price), but the view from my seat on Broadway was twice as worse as from similar seats in London, and, for compensation, they were also twice as expensive.

So I think won’t be seeing Wicked on Broadway again until their next cast change, given how expensive their tickets still are and that they are never available at TKTS. And now I’m even more looking forward to seeing Wicked again in London on Saturday in two weeks.

#294598 Broadway 2014 Master Thread

Posted John_Rebus on 28 February 2014 - 05:14 AM

Playbill: http://s1.directuplo...28/p6cp5lpl.jpg

I remember that I really enjoyed the Aladdin movie as a kid back when it was released. So when I found out that the Aladdin musical was in previews during my stay in New York, I knew I had to see it. As I had already booked Kinky Boots for Wednesday, I could only make it to today’s second preview.

The cast are great. It was really nice seeing Jonathan Freeman return as Jafar from the Movie. Courtney Reed and Adam Jacobs had such a great chemistry as Jasmine and Aladdin. Courtney’s voice however wasn’t as strong as it should be for a leading actress; Adam is really charming and sweet as Aladdin and had a good voice. The star of the show was James Monroe Iglehart as Genie. He carries the whole show and is so hilarious you can’t help yourself grinning once he is on stage (even without him saying a single word). If he doesn’t win the Best Featured Actor Tony, then something is really wrong with the Tony voters.

Costumes and sets are amazing. Show is really funny and luckily the jokes aren’t as kids-oriented as in similar shows.

Great score as well, but what else to expect from Alan Menken (letting aside Leap of Faith). A Whole New World was a truly magical moment when Aladdin and Jasmine were flying above the stage on the carpet next to a huge blue moon and lots of stars. I couldn’t figure out how the flying was done as I didn’t spot any lifts or bars or so. Friend Like Me, Genie’s big number towards the end of Act 1, is a real showstopper and got well deserved standing ovations. Genie also included a short Disney Princess Medley in it and I really enjoyed the tap dancing part. I talked to the guy at the merch stand, and he told me the cast recording is currently planned to be released mid May. They were already accepting pre-orders but aren't shipping overseas.

Given that it was only the shows second preview, it was in a really good shape and there weren’t any technical problems or mid-show stops.

The show could perhaps need a few tweeks here and there, but all in all I thoroughly enjoyed Aladdin and can only recommend you seeing it if you get the chance. Hopefully Disney transfers this to the West End at some time (and doesn’t hesitate as long as they seem to be with Newsies).

#294524 Broadway 2014 Master Thread

Posted John_Rebus on 27 February 2014 - 11:28 AM

Playbill: http://s7.directuplo...27/eqb7kgzo.jpg

The cast recording left me slightly underwhelmed and I hadn’t listened to it again since it was released last year, but as I wanted to see some new shows as well, I nonetheless booked a ticket for Kinky Boots – the show couldn’t have been awarded six Tonys for nothing, right? And I also wanted to see Annaleigh Ashford on stage for quite some time now.

Even after sleeping over it, I still haven’t completely made my mind up. Parts of the show were great and funny, but some scenes were dull and I wished I had a remote control to fast forward. The book has also a few lengths I thought. The score works well on stage (better than I thought after the cast recording), but is still only an average score with one or two stand-out numbers; in my opinion definitely not worthy of a Best Score Tony.

Billy Porter as Lola is phenomenal, even though his Lola is sometimes a bit too over-the-top and a bit too annoying. I also thought that (as a guy) running and dancing in these high-heel boots was pretty impressive. Luckily, Annaleigh Ashford was on (apparently, she’s leaving soon), and I thought she was amazing. Great voice and acting and I really enjoyed her History of Wrong Guys. However, while all of the cast used (kind-of) British accents, she totally overplayed it and her British accent sounded totally weird and fake as if a (bad) American comedian would imitate a Brit.

Am I glad I went? Yes. Would I see it again? I don’t think so. If it ever transferred to the West End, I’d only see it if they cast someone I really want to see.

#294478 Broadway 2014 Master Thread

Posted John_Rebus on 26 February 2014 - 10:18 PM

I planned flying over to New York for quite some time now but kept on postponing it from year to year, but when I found quite reasonably priced flights on Singapore Airlines (whose SIN-JFK direct service is scheduled to stop in Frankfurt for refuelling and whose second leg can be bought separately) last November, I couldn’t help myself and booked flight, hotel and show tickets immediately after my leave was approved. And now, three months later, I finally made it to the city that never sleeps!

The main purpose of this trip is to watch as many shows as possible (what else could it be...), and I’ll fill the spare time with a bit of sightseeing and shopping. My first idea was to post short reviews into the existing threads on here, but as some shows aren’t running (yet, hopefully, or anymore, unfortunately) in the West End, I thought to start a Broadway 2014 Master Thread and to post the reviews simply there. In case any of you come over here as well, feel free to re-use this thread :)

And now, enough of introduction and let’s start with my first show on Broadway, which was Forbidden Broadway.

Playbill: http://s1.directuplo...26/n4eh3gak.jpg

I hadn’t originally planned to use this time slot at all, as my flight was scheduled to arrive at JFK airport at 11.05 am and as I was unsure how long immigration, waiting for luggage and transfer into town would take. Unexpectedly, I was quite lucky and arrived at my hotel in Chelsea at 1.10pm, dropped my luggage in my room and rushed over to the Davenport Theatre, where I arrived at 1.40pm to get a ticket for the 2pm Matinee. So technically, my first show on Broadway was actually Off-Broadway.

Forbidden Broadway is known for parodying Musical Theatre, especially Broadway shows, for which it also won a special Tony Award. The current production (named Alive and still Kicking) included songs from Pippin, Aladdin (A Whole New World became A Disney World), Matilda (e.g. Revoltin’ Children became Exploitin’ Children), Once, Wicked, Cinderella, Lion King, Cabaret, Newsies, Book of Mormon, Annie, Wicked, Jersey Boys, Motown, Les Mis (Bring Him Home became Bring It Down (Song is too high, change the key), One Day More became One Run More and On My Own became On My Phone), Sound of Music.

I really enjoyed the show, even though I did not get all of the references and jokes. Some parts were not to understand without having seen the show (e.g. Pippin and Cinderella and two songs/jokes in the second act (one was apparently about Mandy Patinkin (?)) where I had not the tiniest idea what they were about), others worked fine without knowing the show (Aladdin, Cabaret, Annie), but the funniest parts were the shows I already knew (Matilda (!), Book of Mormon, Once, Les Mis). The program wasn’t completely new, as I did know some of the songs from their earlier cast recordings (Jersey Boys, Once, Book of Mormon). But at least with Aladdin and Les Mis, they were ahead of their time.

The four cast members were brilliant and it was fascinating how they could play so many different parts in that short time. They were accompanied by the MD on the piano, which was more than sufficient for the show, as an orchestra would have been too much. The theatre was with about fifty people roughly half full. Only disadvantage is the rather short running time. Including a ten minutes Interval, I had left the theatre again at 3.35pm. But still, if you get the chance, go and see it. And we definitely need a Forbidden Westend or a revival of Jest End in town.

#294215 The Ongoing Wicked Discussion Thread

Posted John_Rebus on 25 February 2014 - 08:10 AM

As promised last week, here are my thoughts for Wicked on last Sat Eve.

Willemijn was on fire. Her final bits of Wizard and I gave me goosebumps - as did her whispered “Wicked” in “I’m Wicked through and though” in No Good Deed. Phenomenal.
Star of the evening however was Savannah. I absolutely adore her Glinda and love all the bits she adds here and there; her Popular is always one of my highlights in the show. Also love her chemistry with Willemijn.
Can the two ladies please stop ageing and play their roles until - well - forever?

As for Martyn Ellis, I must say I wasn’t too impressed. He did an overall good job and sang the part well, but rushed through his lines as if he needed to catch an earlier train. I also had the feeling that he sometimes stood a bit helplessly on stage not knowing how/if to interact with the other actors and just watching the show as if he were an audience member.
I can’t understand why Paul Clarkson wasn’t promoted to full time Wizard, as I preferred his take on the role.

The only understudy was Sam Edwards who was an OK Fiyero. I’ve seen better, I’ve seen worse. Seemed also quite arrogant in the first act which kind of suited Fiyero well.

Also: What’s going on with the day seat queue? As it was half term, I arrived at around 6.45am as I assumed it’d be much busier than usual (and was only second in line), but it wasn’t much different to a normal Saturday.