Thursday, November 28, 2013

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: First Date

I am so excited that First Date got to perform for this years parade (even if it wasn't at the parade).  I always thought it was a clever show and, while I haven't found a place online to listen to the entire soundtrack, I've liked the music I've heard from it thus far.  It has a pretty great cast (including Krysta Rodriguez [Addams Family] and Zachary Levi [Tangled]), a witty book, and some darn catchy music!  What's more, they chose a really smart group of songs to do for the parade medley.  Not only did they avoid using the song that seems to be on every promo they ever do ("First Impressions"), but they opened it with the opening song of the show and what is my favorite song from the show that I've heard thus far ("The One") which featured the entire ensemble and was catchy, relatively well staged (I could've used a bit more action) and engaging.  Then, they followed that up with what I think is the finale song from the show, a duet from the two main characters.  By doing the first and last songs of the show, they did a good job of encompassing the entire show and the entire experience of a first date.  I also appreciated that I got to hear a new song, "Something That Will Last," which was different but still really sweet (but I did think it was funny that they sang "Something That Will Last" when the show has already been set to close next Spring).  All in all, this was my favorite performance because it was high energy, it used the whole cast, it showed me something I haven't seen before, and they edited out the language that I know was previously in the song, so now there's a clean version on Youtube.  So congrats to the entire company of First Date, I'm sorry that they have to close, but I'm really glad that they got to perform on this year's parade!

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Cinderella

It's not as well publicized, but in addition to the shows that perform in front of Macy's Square, there are always a couple of Broadway shows that perform at a secondary location (aired on CBS as opposed to the more popular NBC).  This year the first of those performances were Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Now, if you read my Sound of Music post, you know that I'm not a huge fan of Rodgers and Hammerstein, and I'm also not a fan of the Cinderella story at all (it's a bit cliche).  So, while I believe the Broadway version of Cinderella to be the best one out there, the show itself still doesn't do much for me.  That being said, my obsession with Larua Osnes has made a fan of at least parts of the show.  And, in fact the Producers were pretty smart in that they chose what is likely the catchiest number of the show ("It's Possible") and the song that used several special effects, took place at a part in the story that is easily recognizable, and showcased Laura Osnes.  Now, they did in fact follow suit with a lot of the other shows this year and perform the same number that they did for the Tony Awards, but it was a little different this time.  For one thing, they performed one full song instead of the medley they did at the Tony's this past year.  Additionally, because they performed in (what I think was) their home theater, They were able to go all out with their special effects (including a flying fairy Godmother and an erupting pumpkin).  This made for the right blend of familiar with new surprises.  Although it certainly wasn't my favorite performance of the morning, I enjoyed watching it and think it was a very good performance.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: The Sound of Music

(This is the last live one, so I get to spend more time on it :) )

This performance took me by surprise (because Wikipedia didn't list this in the Broadway performances).  However, I'm not against the idea of them performing.  While it's no secret that I usually don't care for Rodgers and Hammerstein (and, while Sound of Music is better than most, it's still not great).  However, I'm always a fan of these "one night only" performances because they always get huge talent and the performances are usually pretty spectacular, and this is no different. Even with my disposition against The Sound of Music, this show is featuring Audra MacDonald, Laura Benanti, Christian Borle, Christian Noll, (oh yeah, and Carrie Underwood) and is going to be pretty cool.  However, that being said, their performance was less than invigorating.  I mean, their performance of "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" was good, but it just should've have been what they performed.  I mean, there are so many famous, wonderful group numbers in the Sound of Music (So long Goodbye, Doe A Deer, and The Lonely Goatherd come to mind), but they didn't do that...they chose a song with very little dancing that used absolutely no big stars, no cute kids, and...well..just nothing really.  I mean, yes, they didn't do a bad performance (except Ralph was a little old in my opinion) but it was just disappointing.  What made this especially disappointing, was the fact that right after this there was a commercial promoting the show where they all sang Doe a Deer (which looked really good actually).  So, I suppose the point I'm trying to make is that even if you didn't care for this performance (as I didn't) you should really still watch the live Broadcast because, if nothing else....CHRISTIAN BORLE!!!!

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Pippin

Pippin always wins! I always think that one day I might be bored by Pippin, but it hasn't happened yet!  Granted, like many of the performances this year, they took their performance straight from the Tony Awards, however, they've shown some variety on talk shows and stuff, so it's a tad bit more forgivable.  However, even though I've seen this exact medley several times (although, again, a bit shorter), I'm still enchanted every time!  For one thing, they were really smart with the way they shot it.  Having Pippin start in the audience (side note - I don't approve of the blonde hair) and then panning over to the Leading Player (wearing a snappy jacket to cleverly hide her unfairly muscular arms) while still avoiding the rest of the ensemble in the frame (an affect that, in the show, takes a giant curtain) was a really smart idea.  That smart filming, in addition the catchy song, the wonderful performers, and the always spellbinding circus stunts made this the best performance of the year!  As I said, Pippin wins...PIPPIN ALWAYS WINS!!!!!

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Kinky Boots

I actually really did enjoy Kinky Boots' performance.  Their song choice was perfect!  They didn't do "Everybody Say Yeah" which they did on the Tonys, and they chose a song that showcased all of their big stars, had a catchy tune, and showcased the themes and morals of the show really well.  Their song was relatively "family friendly" and I think definitely would've inspired perspective show goers to see Kinky Boots.  I was a little bit disappointed in the dancing....there wasn't any.  Visually, it really wasn't very interesting (except for seeing all the people in the boots, that was kinda fun).  However, I still think it was a really good performance and, while it wasn't as high energy as Matilda and Motown, it was a better song choice and I really enjoyed it.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Matilda The Musical

Matilda is always a cute show.  Whenever they perform, it's always nice and entertaining.  Of course, I'm not going to lie, this wasn't their best performance.  For one thing, we've seen this performance before (it's almost word for word what they did in the Tony Awards.  Only they added the Trunchbul in the last song where she really didn't fit).  Their energy seemed a little bit low and the song in general lost a little bit of the magic without the sets and everything.  Especially because the show has such a strong score all around, I would've really loved to see a song we hadn't seen before (Perhaps the School song).  I still enjoyed the performance....but it wasn't up to my expectations.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Motown The Musical

Motown didn't really give any surprises, using the same song that they've used at just about everything (Tony Awards, Today show, etc.).  However, that being said, that really is a good song for them.  It includes their biggest star (Charl Brown) and one of the more recognizable songs.  It also includes a really healthy balance of singing and dancing.  The performance was high energy and very entertaining.  I'm still not a fan of Motown, and their performance here was really the same thing they did at the Tony Awards (only it was shorter because they did just the one song instead of a medley).  However, in my opinion, Motown, despite being a show I didn't care for, did an ok job in choosing their song and a really great job performing it!