Thursday, November 26, 2015
So it came a little bit later than the rest of them, but School of Rock still got it's moment on the Parade. I'm still not sure if I'm in favor of this musical adaptation of the Jack Black movie, but Andrew Lloyd Webber has written the music and Alex Brightman is staring, so they're at least doing some things right. They've released a few a few songs that are alright so I think that there is some hope for it...but this was not a point in it's favor. It was an interesting choice to put the show on a float instead of having it perform at the start, and I don't think it particularly worked. I'm not sure that everybody is going to realize that this was a Broadway performance instead of an odd little rock group sponsored by a record store. I suppose that the thought behind it was that School of Rock doesn't have any dance numbers so they justified a stationary song by putting it on a float, but it did make it pretty underwhelming compared to all of the rest of the performances. I do still like Alex Brightman in the role (I've been a fan for some time and I'm excited to see him get his big break) and I think it might be a "cute" show, but I don't expect to love it and I definitely didn't love this performance.
I for one am really a fan of these new "live on tv" musicals and I think it's really smart that NBC is using their own network to plug their show. And, in my opinion, these performances have improved every year (going from a disappointing Sound of Music, to a kind of fun Peter Pan, to a fully fleshed out and enjoyable Wiz). I'm a little neutral on the Wiz as a show, but I am excited about this performance. They chose the perfect (albeit obvious) song, "Brand New Day," that not only highlighted the ensemble, each of the main stars, and had some high energy dancing. While I don't really understand the neon orange gym clothes as a costume choice, I thought the dancing was fitting, and I really liked the other costumes (although my family was a bit frightened by the scarecrow's). They weren't able to include any of the Cirque Du Soleil parts of this collaboration (which is probably largely do to the space limitations), which disappointed me because I'm really curious to see how that plays in, but that just makes me want to tune in more to the performance. All of this performance, in conjunction with the first trailer for the show that performed directly after the performance, got me excited to see The Wiz (despite the unforgivable lack of Christian Borle) and I think it'll be NBC's best live musical yet.
Again, I'm not a huge fan of Fiddler in general, and I don't know if I'm glad that this revival is existing, but I have to admit that this was a good performance. They highlighted their big star (Danny Burnstein, who seems to have become Broadway's quintessential old Jewish guy, and I've no doubt that this revival was created with him in mind), used a well known song from the show (my grandmother even commented on how she was a fan of this song), and it was a good high energy dance number. This was also my first time seeing anything from this new revival, and it was interesting. The costumes and such were a little abnormal from what I saw (more modern than I was expecting) but it looks like they may be doing some cool things with this revival. Again, I think this performance (and maybe this whole revival) is aimed at Broadway buffs who remember loving the original show, and this performance did get me in the "Fiddler Spirit." I still don't plan on enjoying the revival, but if I was the kind of person who was, then I think I'd be very pleased with this performance.
I've said it from the beginning, Something Rotten is all that I love about Broadway! It's one of the most brilliantly original musicals that Broadway has seen in a while and I'm so glad that it's still popular. The song they performed on the parade, It's A Musical, is the song that they performed on the Tony's (which, as always, disappointing me a little, because I always prefer to see something new), but they've done a good job at using a plethora of different songs at all of the talk shows and stuff, so they're forgiven. Because this song really was a brilliant choice. It's a hilarious song, has all of the musical references (And I got to feel smart as I explained a few of them to my family), and is a great representation of the fun silliness that is this show. Of course, I'm very sad that we didn't get to see my favorite person ever, Christian Borle, perform (hopefully he finds a way to weasel himself into the next NBC live show...I could see him in the Wiz), but aside from that, full points to Something Rotten, they did something beautiful!
Finding Neverland, is an interesting case, it's kind of the Broadway show that refused to believe they weren't the best. Like, when it was being pitched, it was expected to be stellar, then it came out, got mixed reviews and no Tony Nominations, but it's as if nobody told them, for they kept going and are still grossing high on Broadway! I think this performance is one of the reasons they've been able to be so successful. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I had to stifle a laugh when I heard Matthew Morison's accent, but, that being said, he did give a good performance. This song did a great job of blending the two aspects of the great previous performances (family fun and high energy) and was an excellent example of why this show is still kicking. I loved the song choice (I know they've performed it on talk shows before, but I appreciated it not being the one they did on the Tony's). All in all, I think it was the best performance of the Morning so far!
Friends of mine (or anybody who listens to me when I rant), knows that I'm not a big fan of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, so The King and I is nothing special to me. That being said, this new revival has done a really good job and I'm glad it's been successful. This year, the producers were smart by putting all of their best feet forward (Cute kids, gorgeous costumes, and Kelli O'Hara being brilliant) with their performance of "Getting to Know You." It was a kind of boring performance, but a sweet one. It definite contrasted On Your Feet, the energy dropped a lot, but you know, that might be ok. Like I said, it's a cute song, so if they were targeting the familys (who are probably the ones watching), it's a nice calm talented number. And for a long running Rodgers and Hammerstein show, that's not a bad route to take.
Last year, On The Town started a cool trend by starting off the parade broadcast with a performance. This year, that honor went to the new Latin pop musical On Your Feet (the story of Gloria Estevan), who performed a fun medley of several songs. While I'm not a huge fan of Latin pop music so I don't foresee being a big fan of the show, I thought the performance was great! It was a good, high energy way to start the show, they did a good job of featuring several characters (or at least several soloists), and the dancing was cool too! I get the feeling that the target audience they were going for is not Broadway enthusiasts like me, so I understand why they didn't chose a song that told the story or carried the plot or anything, if I was a person who just liked to see cool Latin music, this performance would definitely make me want to buy tickets! Well done On Your Feet!