Sunday, September 11, 2011

Give My Regards To Broadway

I can finally say that after almost 20 years, I have seen a Broadway show in New York City. I believe that this is something everyone should be able to say by the end of their life because it is such a great experience. I have seen one other Broadway show and that was The Lion King (which was absolutely incredible), but it was not in New York. For my first Broadway experience, I picked Chicago. This musical has been going on for a while now, and there's a reason for that. There is something for everyone whether it be the sexy Fosse choreography, the talented singing, the big band music played by a live orchestra, or the comedy throughout the show. I absolutely loved it, and it was interesting to see how certain parts of the movie were portrayed on stage. For example, when the Hungarian women was "hung", she climbed up a tall ladder that was attached to the side of the stage and when the ladder was quickly pulled behind the wings, a rope noose was dropped to the stage. I'm glad that I had seen the movie because the show doesn't go into as much detail in between the scenes and musical numbers. That's the thing with such popular Broadway musicals, you're already expected to know everything about the show.

It was so cool to see "All That Jazz" because as I talked about in my last post, I learned the choreography from the show's dance captain last week during one of our master classes. I was doing the whole dance in my head as I was watching the performers. The difference between the way we danced it in class and the way it was performed on stage was that the dancers in the show were much more subtle. When you think of Chicago and Fosse choreography, you probably think smooth, sexy, and sultry. As dancers, we are trained to make every movement and facial expression large so that even the people in the back row can see. You need to do the complete opposite to pull off "All That Jazz". The dancers had no facial expressions except for the way they spoke the message with their eyes. The movement was very small and isolated, so if there was a hip thrust, the pelvis was the only part that moved. David Kent told us in our master class that the purpose is to make the audience feel uncomfortable and unsure of what is going to happen. I also believe that it is choreographed that way because "All That Jazz" is the first number and so the show grows from that point on. When it starts off so subtle and subdued, the climax and the finale of the show seem much bigger and bolder. This makes the audience even more excited about it compared to if the show were on that level the whole time.

I loved how the show utilized the small cast in so many creative ways. There were the 6 main characters, 6 mistresses of murder row/ensemble dancers, and the same amount of male ensemble dancers. As you can see, they did not have a large number of people to play every single part in the show. The 6 mistresses were the dancers in "All That Jazz", "Cell Block Tango", and they were also reporters whenever Roxie and Billy Flynn were having a press conference. The men also danced in "All That Jazz", acted as reporters, and the man who played Fred Casely (the man who Roxie kills in the beginning) showed up multiple times throughout the show. My favorite example of this is when they used one guy to play the part of 6 jury members during Roxie's trial. He kept rotating chairs and changing costume on stage, and he even had 6 distinct personalities. At one point, he had me laughing so hard I was practically in tears! It is so creative to use something like a lack of more cast members to add a hilarious comedic aspect to the show. Speaking of multiple personalities, the person who played Mary Sunshine, a bright and bubbly opera singing reporter, turned out to be a very masculine dude! I was astonished at how well he sang opera and he hit high notes that I didn't even know were humanly possible for a man to sing. He was probably one of the best singers I've heard live.

Kara Dioguardi as Roxie Hart and Amra-Faye Wright as Velma Kelly

To summarize the show, it was a wonderful first Broadway experience and I am so thankful that I got to be part of the audience. Not only did we get tickets half price by going to the box office the morning of the show, but they were in the second row! It could not have been more perfect. Brody put it this way: "It was like those 2 and a half hours flew by because I was so into it." Kara Dioguardi from American Idol is playing Roxie until the end of October and I would highly recommend seeing her perform. If you can't make it before that time, I would still suggest seeing this show at some point. Just make sure you either watch the movie or read the synopsis before you go so you know what's going on, and then simply enjoy :)

No comments: