Theatre Review “Finding Neverland” @ Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts – Orlando, FL

Finding Neverland
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
Orlando, FL
June 6th, 2017

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Finding Neverland is a story about how author and playwright J.M. Barrie overcame creative struggles when four children and their widowed mother came into his life one day in Kensington Park in London, just after the turn of the century in the early 1900’s. Jack, George, Michael, Peter, and their mother Sylvia Llewelyn Davies broke Barrie out of a creative “slump” he was in by helping him to rediscover his inner child, reminding him that sometimes you shouldn’t take life too seriously and should just have some fun.

Barrie draws his inspiration primarily through Peter, who lost his playfulness and imagination following the passing of his father. Although Jack, George, Michael and their mother tried to maintain positivity following their loss, Peter just wasn’t the same. He had seemed to “grow up” too soon. But when Barrie and the Davies’ all met that fateful day in Kensington Gardens, Barrie couldn’t help but feel like he had to somehow restore Peter to the child he was before his father’s passing. In the process of doing so, Barrie ultimately found the child that had been suppressed within himself for far too long. As a result of Barrie finding that child buried deep inside, he remembered Neverland – an imaginary place he had fashioned in his mind when he was a young boy. That imaginary place, combined with inspiration Barrie drew from his various adventures with the Davies family, is what drove Barrie to give life to the story of Peter Pan as we now know it.

Neverland itself can be summed up as a beautiful story… about how we came to know another beautiful story. There’s laughter, joy, a little bit of sadness, and a whole lot of fun. But Neverland, in its Broadway play format – now traveling North America – is truly a masterpiece of the stage. It’s not just the story that made it such an enjoyable experience – but also the fantastic cast that brings the story to life in front of a live audience.

For just a few short hours, I hung on every line and every lyric of the dialogue and song that projected towards me from the stage. I couldn’t wait for the next witty line, silly joke – or even sad twist in an overall whimsical and upbeat storyline. The four young actors that played the Davies children were wonderful. Rory Donovan, who plays the roles of both Charles Frohman, the man who backed Barrie’s plays, as well as Captain James Hook – was fantastic. His Hook was intimidating yet hilarious at the same time. The entire cast worked so well together, was so polished and really seemed like they were having the time of their lives up on the stage.

Throughout the play I didn’t look at my watch, check my phone, or even have a single thought about anything else in the world outside of that theatre – not even once. When the play broke for intermission I was annoyed; I didn’t want the fun to stop. When it finally ended, I wanted it to start from the beginning all over again. If you have a chance to catch this play while it’s on tour do yourself a favor, and anyone else who you might consider bringing along, and go buy some tickets right now. I promise you that you’ll have a blast, and for at least a few short hours you’ll forget about everything else in the world and do nothing by laugh and smile. And we could all use more of that in our lives.

Theatre Review: Wicked @ Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando FL

“Wicked” opened on Broadway in New York back in 2003 and has since com “a cultural phenomenon” according to Variety and called “the best musical of the decade” by Entertainment Weekly. “Wicked” has been performed in over 100 cities in 14 countries around the world being translated into six languages and is the winner of over 100 international major awards, including a Grammy® and three Tony® Awards. And this month it is in Orlando, FL at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts’s Walt Disney Theater from January 11 – 29, 2017.

If you have never seen or heard of “Wicked” here is a quick premise: The surprising tale of an unlikely friendship between two women in the Land of Oz, Wicked tells the untold story of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good, long before Dorothy dropped in. Elphaba, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. Glinda is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. The remarkable odyssey of how these unexpected friends changed each other’s lives for good has made Wicked one of world’s most popular musicals.

This show was simply outstanding. Simply outstanding! I grew up in New York and visit the theatre district many many many times and have seen hundreds of plays. I loved the grand scale of it all. The sets, the cast, the music! It was all so amazing to me. When I moved to Florida in 2010, I thought I wasn’t going to be  able to see that scale of amazing again in the theatre…and that was true until I found the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts’s Walt Disney Theater. These people put on shows like I have never seen. “Wicked” was so just epic and breathtaking that I feel like I have to see it twice to soak in all the magic that it was!

I am sure that Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth were amazing in their original roles on Broadway. No doubt. But these two leads in Orlando were absolutely breathtaking! Their voices really pick you up and take your through this amazing story behind “The Wizard of Oz”. The talent on this production overall is just A+. With all the shows I’ve seen I have to admit this was in no question of the best in recent year! Must see this show at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts or at least during its North American tour.

Live Review: Ace Frehley, F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes Barre, PA

Ace Frehley, KillCode

Date: April 15, 2016
Venue: F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, Wilkes Barre, PA

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley made a stop at the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes Barre, PA on April 15th, as part of a 12 show east-coast run promoting his latest album release titled “Origins Vol.1” The night was a series of ups and downs which at one point had the near capacity crowd on their feet cheering and the next moment had them scratching their heads while leaving the theater to a slow din of boo’s.

Being a huge fan of Ace I was certainly well aware of the fact that when it comes to the “Spaceman” you never know what you are going to get and, this night was certainly a testament to that. The show kicked off with the NYC based band KillCode whose modern rock tinged sound was met with a warm response from the Wilkes Barre. This could have been attributed to the fact that one of the bands guitarists was from the rural esque town or possibly that their performance was the most consistent of the night. Either way the band seemed well rehearsed and fit the opening slot well. After a brief set change and following the sounds of “Fractured Mirror” which played over the P.A. Ace and his band consisting of drummer Scot Coogan, guitarist Richie Scarlett and bassist Chris Wyse would take the stage. The group kicked off the set with one of Ace’s signature songs “Rip it Out” which gave way to several Kiss classics such as “Rocket Ride”, “Parasite” and “Love Gun”. It was at the start of “Parasite” that I began to notice that the night was in for an awkward turn. The songs tempo shifted back and forth as it seemed Ace and the rest of the band were clearly on separate pages. Thankfully after a bit of back and forth things leveled out and songs like Thin Lizzy’s “Emerald” and “Rock Soldiers” sounded great. Towards the end of the bands set Ace began to move less and less and at one point he was even sitting on one of his speaker cabinets. After a lackluster solo and his signature smoking guitar trick the band quickly ran through the Kiss/Ace staple “Cold Gin” before immediately leaving the stage. Previous shows on the tour featured a two song encore which the fans were anxiously waiting and cheering for. After several minutes the house lights came fully on and music began playing over the P.A signaling the show was over. As fans made their way out the doors loud boos and other un-pleasantries filled the air. With a set a set that ran just under 90 minutes there was certainly cause for such reactions.

Fast-forward about 12hrs. to when it was announced that immediately after the Wilkes Barre show Ace was rushed to a nearby hospital and treated for exhaustion and dehydration. (As a side note the last show of the tour scheduled for 4/16 was canceled) I understand people get tired and things happen but when you are at the level Ace is at and have been performing as long as he has shouldn’t steps be taken to prevent these types of avoidable occurrences? Especially on a tour consisting of only 12 dates! This however is the typical type of Ace behavior which partly makes him so entertaining yet which has also plagued his career since his early days in Kiss. Will it ever change? That’s very hard to say. What I can say is that on 4/15 Wilkes Barre was treated to classic Ace all the way.

Set List:

1.) Rip It Out
2.) Toys
3.) Rocket Ride
4.) Parasite
5.) Love Gun
6.) Snowblind
7.) Sister
8.) Emerald (Thin Lizzy Cover)
9.) Rock Soldiers
10.) Bass Solo/Strange Ways
11.) New York Groove
12.) 2 Young 2 Die
13.) Shock Me/Guitar Solo
14.) Cold Gin

Concert Review: Slipknot “This Summer’s Last Stand Tour” Darien Center, NY

“This Summer’s Last Stand Tour”
Slipknot, Lamb of God, Bullet for My Valentine, Motionless in White
Date: Wednesday, July 29th 2015
Venue: Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Darien Center, NY

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Slipknot’s “Summers Last Stand Tour” made a stop at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center in Darien Center on July 29th. Along with the masked 9 piece band from Iowa was Lamb of God, Bullet for My Valentine and Motionless in White. With a line up this impressive the energy outside was running high and as the night progressed each act did a great job building on that energy.

Opening up the night was Scranton, Pennsylvania’s very own Motionless in White. The band performed a brief set which included songs off of each of the bands 3 albums. Though fans were still making their way into the venue those who were able to get through the slow moving security lines were treated to a solid performance by the up and coming metal band. Bullet for My Valentine would take the stage next performing a handful of songs off their upcoming album titled “Venom” in between the new tracks were fans favorites such as “Raising Hell” and “Waking the Demon” which both were definite highlights of the bands set.

Virginia metalers Lamb of God were up next and instantly took the night to the next level. Flanked by large video screens and an impressive lighting rig the visual elements of the show seemed much higher than previous shows by the band. Vocalist Randy Blythe stalked the stage like a deranged psycho path stalking his next victim while spewing out thought provoking lyrics. Drummer Chris Adler laid an impressive rhythmic path which guitarists Mark Morton, Will Adler and bassist John Campbell followed beautifully. The band performed a few songs from their recently released “VII: Sturm Und Drang” along with such LOG classics as “Ghostwalking” and “Laid to Rest” with the always prevalent “Redneck” closing out the set. The band sounded and looked better than ever which made for a great show experience. Shortly after the members of Lamb of God left the stage two giant red curtains emblazoned with large black S logos would close of view of the stage. As the anticipation built so did the crowd which seemed to almost double from when the house lights first came on.

Once the lights came back down and Slipknots “XIX” began playing through the PA it was on. Front man Cory Taylor dominated the stage as the band performed a variety of songs ranging from their break out hit “Wait and Bleed” to newer songs such as “The Devil and I” and “Before I Forget”. DJ Sid Wilson provided a bevy of entertainment as he jigged and shook his way around the impressive stage which included a giant devil head. Guitarist Mick Thompson and Jim Root handled the 6 string duties perfectly while new members drum Jay Weinberg and bassist Alessandro Venturella handled a fair share of the rhythmic duties which were highlighted at times by the addition of Shawn “Clown” Crahan and Chris Fehn. The band as a whole sounded better than ever and performed this night at the top of their game.

With a number of dates left on the “Summers Last Stand Tour” you would be doing yourself a tremendous disservice if you don’t catch one of the remaining dates. Each of the four bands leave nothing on the table making the night worthy of the price of admission and then some.

Motionless in White Set List:

1.) Break the Cycle
2.) Devil’s Night
3.) America
4.) Abigail
5.) If It’s Dead, We’ll Kill It
6.) Unstoppable
7.) Reincarnate

Bullet For My Valentine Set List:

1.) Now Way Out
2.) Your Betrayal
3.) Raising Hell
4.) Scream Aim Fire
5.) Army of Noise
6.) Tears Don’t Fall
7.) Waking the Demon
Lamb of God Set List:
1.) Walk With Me in Hell
2.) Now You’ve Got Something to Die For
3.) Still Echoes
4.) 512
5.) Ghost Walking
6.) Ruin
7.) Hourglass
8.) Vigil
9.) Laid to Rest
10.) Redneck

Slipknot Set List:

1.) Sarcastrophe
2.) The Heretic Anthem
3.) Psychosocial
4.) The Devil in I
5.) AOV
6.) Vermillion
7.) Wait and Bleed
8.) Killpop
9.) Before I Forget
10.) Sulfur
11.) Duality
12.) Disasterpiece
13.) Spit It Out
14.) Custer
15.) (sic)
16.) People=Shit
17.) Surfacing

Theatre Review “Slava’s Snowshow” Orlando FL, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Tuesday, February 17, 2015–Sunday, March 1, 2015
Walt Disney Theater
120 minutes (2 hours)

“Slava’s Snowshow” is like nothing I have ever seen before on the stage. I have seen a dozen of the Cirque du Soleil shows and since Slava is the original Cirque du Soleil clown, I knew sort of what to expect. Still I haven’t been to a show that literally it has almost been a week since I saw it and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. This award winning international clown show has been touring for 20 years and I hope it goes for another 20 years. Even though this is a circus show, it is really magical. The set is extremely simple yet so effective. There is so much done with so little. The colors are so vibrant and the use of music blends in so beautifully.

Since this show is called “Snowshow”, I also expected the use of snow but never like this. Watch the 30 second clip below to just get a glimpse of what you can expect. You literally have snow exploded at you like a avalanche and it is breathtaking. Before the break, there is also a part with a spider web that takes over the entire theater. Words connect explain how terrifying yet at the same time exhilarating experience it was. to top it off it end with dozens of balls flying into the audience and the kids went crazy for that!

This was the first time that I got to visit the brand new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, FL and it is a marvel it is own. The parking situation is not great at all though and the staff was also quite nasty and rude. I don’t just mean one person either, I mean every single employee that we encountered was unpleasant. Luckily it got overshadowed by this amazing show. If it comes to your city, I highly recommend.

Orlando MegaCon Returns to the Orange County Convention Center April 10-12, 2015

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 2, 2014) — Orlando MegaCon, the Southeast’s largest comic book, anime, gaming and multi-media event, is returning to the Orange County Convention Center April 10-12.  The popular event promises to be bigger and better than ever with more events, exhibits and the announcement of celebrity guests including comic book icon, Stan Lee (Saturday and Sunday only).

The weekend starts off with the First Annual MegaWalk at MegaCon 2015, hosted by the Hero Initiative. This event will take place on Friday, April 10 at 11 a.m. with all proceeds going towards the Hero Initiative. The Hero Initiative creates a financial safety net for comic creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. The walk’s grand marshal will be comic book legend George Perez.

The festivities continue on Friday night at The Cosmos Party. With DJ performances, dancing, laser light show, VIP celebrities and costume contest, The Cosmos Party is the official launch of MegaCon. The Cosmo Party takes place in Ballroom D and tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.  Attendees must be 18 or older with proper ID to attend this event.

MegaCon’s avid attendees come first and foremost to see the all-star line-up of comic book guests including George Pérez, Ed McGuiness, Mike Perkins, Marv Wolfman, Allen Bellman, Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Frank Cho, Ethan Van Sciver, Andy Smith, Darwyn Cooke, Drew Geraci, Rob Hunter, Katie Cook, Bob Layton, Chuck Dixon, Andy Price, Mike Lilly, Sean Chen, Greg Horn, Dan Parent, Sergio Cariello, Billy Tucci and Brian Pulido

Also big draws at MegaCon are the “media guests” (stars of TV, film and professional sports).  Media guests include:

  • Norman Reedus, Michael Rooker, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies – The Walking Dead
  • Ron Perlman (Hellboy) and Mark Boone Junior – Sons of Anarchy (Saturday and Sunday only)
  • Hulk Hogan – Professional wrestling icon (Saturday and Sunday only)
  • Cary Elwes – The Princess Bride
  • Karen Gillan – Doctor Who, Guardians of the Galaxy (Saturday and Sunday only)
  • Jenna Colman, Arthur Darvill – Doctor Who (Saturday and Sunday only)
  • Summer Glau – Firefly, Arrow (Saturday and Sunday only)
  • Adam Baldwin – Firefly, Chuck
  • Alan Tudyk — Firefly
  • David Ramsey – Arrow
  • Lou Ferrigno – The Incredible Hulk
  • Sean Patrick Flanery, David Della Rocca, Clifton Collins, Jr. – The Boondock Saints
  • Jeremy Shada, Olivia Olson – Adventure Time
  • Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell and Trey MacNeille – The Animaniacs and professional voice actors
  • Grey DeLisle and Troy Baker – professional voice actors

Other weekend events include the MegaCon video gaming with the Supercon 2K series and an arcade room by Freeplay Florida.

MegaCon 2015 Showroom Dates and Hours:
Friday, April 10:        12 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 11:   10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday, April 12:     10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

MegaCon 2015 Ticket Prices:
Online:  Friday – $30, Saturday – $35, Sunday $30, 3-day – $70
Onsite:  Friday – $35, Saturday – $40, Sunday $35, 3-day –$75

MegaCon 2015 Location:
Orange County Convention Center
West Building – Exhibit Halls A4 through B4
9899 International Drive
Orlando, FL  32819

Saturday tickets are expected to sell out, so guests are encouraged to consider attending MegaCon on Friday or Sunday.

About MegaCon

MegaCon has grown to become one of the largest comic book and sci-fi conventions in the nation with attendance increasing each year. Designed to appeal to all ages and interests, MegaCon allows attendees to meet and mingle with their favorite comic book artists and TV/film stars, buy amazing collectibles from hundreds of vendors and artists, enjoy gaming events, and participate in numerous activities throughout the weekend.

The MegaCon guest list is constantly growing. Check www.MegaConvention.com frequently for more updates.

###

Editor’s Note:

Guest appearances, events and times are subject to change or cancellation. For current information, visit www.megaconvention.com.

Theater Review “Ghost: The Musical” Bob Carr Performing Arts Center – Orlando, FL

“Ghost The Musical”
Bob Carr Performing Arts Center
Orlando, FL
May 13-18, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers is probably one of my all-time favorite long songs. I remember watching the film “Ghost” as a kid (probably too young to even get the film) and I fell in love with that song. The film is such a classic and whew knew that it could ever be turned into a Broadway play. Leave it up to the amazing, Bruce Joel Rubin (original writer of “Ghost”), who gave the words to “Ghost: The Musical” and the very fresh pop/rock score delivered by Grammy winner Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) and Glenn Ballard (writer of Josh Groban’s “Believe” and Alanis Morisstette’s “You Outta Know”). The show is such an experience, that is the only way I am able describe it. It is exhilarating and also at the same time exhausting. They not only capture the essence of the original film but also improve it to make this one of the best plays that I have ever seen on the stage.

We all know the story but just in case you don’t, here is official premise: “‘Ghost: The Musical’ follows Sam and Molly, a young couple whose connection takes a shocking turn after Sam’s untimely death. Trapped between two worlds, Sam refuses to leave Molly when he learns she is in grave danger. Desperate to communicate with her, he turns to a storefront psychic who helps him protect Molly and avenge his death”. What I love the most about this play was that my wife hadn’t seen the film in years and yet she enjoyed it just as much as myself who had just watched the film again to refresh earlier this week.

From the moment the play starts, you are wowed with amazing visuals projected at the stage. You feel like you are being swept through New York City. This video presentation is used throughout the show along with amazing light, smoke and strobe light effects. There is one particular scene that really blew me away, which takes place on a subway car that left me speechless. I have seen many different plays at Bob Carr Performing Arts Center and none of them have ever been like this. I felt like I was literally sitting on Broadway watching this performance. It was so solid and well done that I haven’t stopped thinking about it since and have already looked up tickets for another showing.

Since this show is a musical, I was very interested how they were going to tell the story of “Ghost” through music. Right from the “Overture”, I fell in love with the songs (and even purchased the soundtrack). I loved the spin that they put on “Unchained Melody” and of course it is also cued through the entire show. I cannot get the track “Here Right Now” out of my head. I have had it on repeat. “More” is a tale about the life in NYC really hits home with my having lived and worked there for many years. “Are You a Believer” was a highlight of the show and literally had me rolling in my chair.

Steven Grant Douglas gave life (or after life) to the role of Sam Wheat. He was very strong and easily the best acting performance for the show. Katie Postotnik plays Molly Jenson and this girl can really sing. She nails the song “With You”. I could see her on the stages of Broadway since she really has the chops, so she takes the best singing in the show. Last but certainly not least everyone’s favorite Oda Mae Brown (who won Whoopi Goldberg an Oscar for from the film) is played by Carla R. Stewart. Let me tell you this woman had the audience in tears, laughing that is. She was the perfect comedic relief for this film and was hit for hit with each of the jokes. Put these amazing performance together with a wonderful production and you have a guaranteed hit with “Ghost: The Musical”, do not this miss on the stage!

“Ghost: The Musical” will be at Bob Carr Performing Arts Center from May 13th-18th. If you miss it in Orlando, be sure to check it out on the rest of its US National Tour below:
WORCESTER
HANOVER THEATRE
JUNE 5 – JUNE 8

HARTFORD
BUSHNELL
JUNE 10 – JUNE 15

MINNEAPOLIS
ORPHEUM THEATRE
JUNE 18 – JUNE 23

LOS ANGELES
HOLLYWOOD PANTAGES
JUNE 27 – JULY 13

COSTA MESA
SEGERSTROM CENTER
JULY 29 – AUGUST 10

LAS VEGAS
THE SMITH CENTER
AUGUST 12 – AUGUST 17

Theatre Review “Jersey Boys” Bob Carr Performing Arts Center – Orlando, FL

“Jersey Boys”
Bob Carr Performing Arts Center
Orlando, FL
April 15 – 27, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“Jersey Boys” premiered on Broadway back in 2005 and won a Tony for Best Musical the following year. I have seen many Broadway shows growing up and living in New York but I never did see “Jersey Boys”. Luckily living in Orlando, FL now I am still able to see Broadway quality shows at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center. “Jersey Boys” is the latest show making its limited engagement during its national tour at this theatre.

I have always been a huge Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons fan and have seen them many times live over the years. I thought it was time to catch this show to see what all the fuss was about, especially being a huge fan of the music already. Well I didn’t just enjoy the play I absolutely loved it. I found myself moving my feet along with music and singing under my breath (sometimes louder)…and I wasn’t the only one.

Now obviously, I can’t compare the performances to the Broadway cast since I have never saw it but if I could I am sure that this National tour cast would really give them a very strong run. I was extremely impressed with Hayden Milanes in the role of Frankie Valli, that with an “I” not a “Y” because everyone knows “Y” is a bullshit letter. The guy has a voice of angel (sound familiar?) and really nailed this role. Nicholas Dromard was perfect as Tommy DeVito and really had the audience by the balls like woman type number 1 (or was it number 2?)

Quinn Vanantwerp was funny, charming and very charismatic. I really enjoyed his performance of Bob Gaudio. I am sure Bob himself would be impressed. Last but definitely not least Adam Zelakso playing Nick Massi was the quite one but delivered a surprising end performance and I am glad he didn’t start his own band. Adam will also be appearing in Clint Eastwood’s film adaptation of this play, though in a different role, which comes in this June in theaters (and I will be first in line for this movie). I also never knew that THE Joe Pecsi was involved with crew, you learn something new everyday.

Let’s get back to the music now. Oh the music…so many amazing tracks sung during this show. If you are a Frank Valli and the Four Seasons fan how can you not be screaming along from your seat to hits like “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Walk Like A Man”, “Sherry”, “Earth Angel”, “December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)”, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, “My Eyes Adored You”, “Rag Doll” and “Bye Bye Baby”, which like always hits me very hard. Such beautiful music. Such wonderful talent. This is a show that is not to be missed.

“Jersey Boys” will continue at Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre through April 27th, 2014 (click here for tickets) and see below for future dates from the National tour.

Orlando, FL
April 15 – 27, 2014

Knoxville, TN
April 29 – May 4, 2014

Cleveland, OH
May 6 – 18, 2014

Sioux Falls, SD
May 21 – 25, 2014

El Paso, TX
May 28 – June 1, 2014

Fort Worth, TX
June 3 – 15, 2014

Tucson, AZ
June 17 – 22, 2014

Costa Mesa, CA
June 24 – July 13, 2014

San Jose, CA
July 15 – 20, 2014

Tempe, AZ
July 22 – August 3, 2014

Los Angeles, CA
October 1 – 19, 2014

San Diego, CA
October 21 – 26, 2014

Sacramento, CA
November 5 – 22, 2014

Reno, NV
November 25 – 30, 2014

Event Review “Disney on Ice: Princesses & Heroes” Amway Center – Orlando, FL

“Disney on Ice: Princesses & Heroes”
Produced by: Feld Entertainment
Amway Center
Orlando, FL
September 13, 2013

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

I have been attending Disney on Ice events ever since I could barely walk.  Now with a 15 month old daughter of my own, I have new reason to enjoy and experience these shows. Last year, I was blown away with Feld Entertainment’s presentation of Disney On Ice with “Rockin’ Ever After”, which was a blend of hip music with Disney classics, basically it was like a big dance party. Tons of fun. The latest show “Princesses & Heroes” sang a bit of a different tune. It was much more minimalist performance. Each set was quite simple and there wasn’t much in terms of a big production. Don’t get me wrong we were still singing along and having a grand ‘ole time but the “WOW” really wasn’t there for this show.

The show starts off with just Mickey and Mickey introducing each set along with Tinker Bell to sprinkle her fairy dust. We to see our favorites like Aladdin, Jasmine and the Genie from “Aladdin”, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Belle from “Beauty and the Beast”, Ariel, Ursula and Prince Eric from “The Little Mermaid”, Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog”, Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent, Cinderella and closing the night with Rapunzel from “Tangled”. Easily the best out of these in terms of production was Maleficent’s dragon, which looked great and, of course, breathed fire. My person favorite was Rapunzel, I love this movie and I am glad that they have my best for last. The others like Tiana and Snow White were very simple and didn’t really seem to catch the audiences attention.

If you are looking for a more contemporary Disney experience with the classic stories and songs, then you should enjoy this show but those looking for a fun and exciting experience, I found myself checking my email a few times throughout.  My 15 month old daughter enjoyed herself but after Tiana leading into Cinderella, she definitely started to loose interest, despite the fact that it was past her bedtime. I hope that Feld Entertainment is planning on bringing the Sofia The First and Jake & The Never Land Pirates – Disney on Ice show to Orlando soon because we will be first in line and running to the merchandise stands for sure.  Till next time, see ya real soon!

If you are interested in catching this great event while it visits the Amway Center in Orlando FL from September 13h-15th, 2013.  Click here for tickets and more details.

Theater Review "Hair" Kauffman Center For the Performing Arts – Kansas City, Missouri

Hair
Kauffman Center For the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Missouri
February 5, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Welcome to the 1960’s, the decade of free love, flower power, psychedelics, the Vietnam War, and long flowing hair! Even though it was written in 1967 and debuted on Broadway in 1968 the story and underlying symbolism of the musical “Hair” holds true even in this decade and for my own generation.

“Hair” is an ensemble/audience interaction event and an experience all in its own. Credited with being the first “Rock Opera,” “Hair” is the story of a group of young adults who are living the life of freedom, drugs, love and no responsibilities or, as they were better known at that time, hippies. Their only job is to live their life and protest the ideas of the conformist government and their conservative parents. Their retaliations range from protesting and draft card burning to something as simple as growing their hair long… the longer the better.

The main characters of the story are two young men: Claude (Noah Plomgren) and Berger (Brian Crawford Scott). They both find themselves attracted to young socialite Sheila (Mary Kate Morrissey). The struggles in conflict arises when Claude is drafted by the U.S. Army to serve his country in Vietnam. He struggles with the life he has led vs the life and path ahead of him.

The cast in this production of “Hair” was downright amazing, with every cast member in stunning form vocally. Unlike some touring productions, this cast is much more than just decent actors with good voices, Plomgren and Scott also show a fantastic gift for comedic timing as well as captivating emotion. Sheila and Woof (Jason Moody) were the two performers who really stood out to me. While many of the songs in the show are so familiar as to encourage the audience to sing along, when those two sang the audience sat silently and took their voices in.

What I enjoyed more than anything else at this performance was watching the audience. You could see the majority of the crowd were the same age as the cast during the”age of Aquarius” Being 28 I really got a kick watching the sixty-somethings with their gray hair and tied ties, now seemingly professional and clean cut, as they filled the auditorium. You could see them having literal flashbacks as the show progressed. A good laugh here at free love, a snicker there at a reference to “getting stoned” and even a whispered conversation between husband and wife during the song “Hashish” (the only lyrics being the various drugs popular in the 1960s) ending with an audible laugh. By the end of the show the audience was captivated by the story, the music and the cast. The show ends with a grand performance of “Let the Sun Shine In” with the cast inviting the audience to join in the fun and dance with them on stage.

The audience consisted of people of all ages, proving that after all these years “Hair” has stayed relevant from generation to generation…passed on from parents to their children (although as a child I never believed my parents were as cool as they said they were). This show offers an opportunity for any parent or grandparent whose kids always doubted their cool stories to introduce them to the life and times that now can only being read about in history books.

This show definitely earned 5 out 5 stars in my opinion, especially taking in the whole experience of the cast, the music, the performances, the venue and the people I shared this show with. It is an experience that I won’t forget and I’m sure in 40 more years the story of “Hair” and its ideals will still hold strong. “Hair” continues in Kansas City through Sunday, February 10. Below is a list of cities the show will visit soon.

For more information or to purchase tickets go to www.hairontour.com

February 19 – Opelika, Alabama
February 20 – Montgomery, Alabama
February 24 – Columbia, Missouri
February 26-27 – Kalamazoo, Michigan
February 28 – Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
March 1 – Toledo, Ohio
March 2-3 – Detroit, Michigan

Exhibit Review "Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination" Orlando Science Center

Orlando Science Center
777 E. Princeton Street
Orlando, Florida 32803
Saturday, October 13, 2012 – Sunday, April 7, 2013

I first received a flyer for this exhibit while attending 2012’s Star Wars Celebration VI at the Orlando Convention Center. Being a life-long “Star Wars” fan, I was immediately interested.  Science mixed with fantasy? Where do I sign up.  This exhibit was developed by the Museum of Science in Boston along with the collaboration of Lucasfilm Ltd, which makes me more excited. “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” is not just a couple of props, it is a 10,000 square-foot exhibit that transports you into the world of “Star Wars”.

This wonderful exhibit not display costumes and props from all six Star Wars films but it blends them with current technologies. Besides just viewing the exhibit you can also go one step further and get the inside world with many kiosks setup throughout with extensive video interviews with the filmmakers and even scientists and engineers. Even being such a big fan myself, I actually learned a lot of things that I never knew because of this.  To be honest it is a bit overwhelming when you realize that you are literally standing right next to these props that really have been used on screen for these films.  Of course, who doesn’t want to see the real Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder, Yoda puppet and Han Solo costume, just to name a few of the amazing sites included.

One aspect, I would like to focus on with this exhibit is the presentation from the Orlando Science Center.  They really gave this exhibit a lot of respect and care.  When you walk into the doors, you are put into a room with black sheets hanging from the ceiling.  Then like the black sea, the curtain part like a theater and you are revealed to see the original and breath-taking Millennium Falcon.  It was very well presented and a great way to start this tour.  I also loved the complete atmosphere in the exhibit.  The lights were dim but the props where perfectly lit.  You are not allowed to use flash photography in the exhibit but you honestly do not even need it in order to get that perfect shot.  It is setup so well that each item on display is surrounded by a wonderful halo of light.

As much as I love “Star Wars”, I love the science behind. I mean who doesn’t spaceships and mechanical robots, just to start with? But like I said the exhibit doesn’t stop at displaying some amazing props from the “Star Wars” saga, it delivers much more.  There are a lot of “real-life” aspects with that gives its visitors some real hands-on action. There are two Engineering Design Labs, where you can actually build and and play with your own speeders and robots.  Does it get cooler than that? This is also not just for kids, there plenty of fun to have for us big kids as well! There is also a simulated ride where you can see what it is like to actually drive your own speeder, this was very cool!

The price of admission to the Orlando Science Center will run you a little steep $27 dollars per person, but it will also include entry into “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination”.  I have to say as much as I liked it, I feel like it is a little pricey especially for a large groups of families. If you are a hardcore fan though, you will leave this exhibit very satisfied and believing you still got your money’s worth for sure. So with all that being said…Orlando, you still have two months left to experience this great exhibit before it continues its museum tour.  It’s next stop will be at the Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis, IN from Saturday, May 25th – Monday, September 2nd.  I would highly recommend catching this.

For more information on the exhibit, please visit: www.mos.org/star-wars.

All photos are courtesy of the Orlando Science Center:

Level Up! Otronicon Returns to Orlando Science Center

It’s Year Eight for Orlando Science Center’s Otronicon

Friday, January 18 through Monday, January 21

 ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 7, 2013) – For the eighth consecutive year, multiple industry partners join Orlando Science Center to celebrate the role interactive technology plays in the way we live, learn, work and play during Otronicon January 18–21, 2013.

This year, partners including EA SPORTS, University of Central Florida and Florida Hospital for Children demonstrate Orlando’s impact on the world of entertainment, simulation, education, training, health care and more.

Otronicon is the Science Center’s largest annual event with an average of 2,500 visitors each day – more than 10,000 guests for all four days. The experience has the opportunity to inspire a child’s interest in science and tech careers through the appeal of video games, interactive technology and virtual reality.

There are classes in video game creation as well as exclusive peeks at simulators created by local experts. Simulation areas will examine how video game technology is being used in the military, medical, sports and entertainment industries as a training and design tool. Plus, connect with local simulation companies to learn about exciting careers in the field.

The event promotes the concept of “made in Orlando, played in Orlando” with many chances to interact with the creative professionals that make the games you enjoy and discover the growing career opportunities in your own backyard.

And special to this year’s event:  experience the blockbuster exhibit Star Wars®: Where Science Meets Imagination with admission to Otronicon!  Developed by the Museum of Science, Boston in collaboration with Lucasfilm Ltd. and presented by Bose Corporation®, the 10,000-square-foot exhibit explores the fantasy technologies depicted in the Star Wars films, as well as the real science behind them, and the current research that may someday lead to real-life versions of the technologies seen in the film series. The exhibit includes more than 80 screen-used props, costumes and models, in addition to extensive video interviews with filmmakers, scientists and engineers, and hands-on components, including two large Engineering Design Labs, where visitors can build and test their own speeders and robots.

EA SPORTS returns to Otronicon for the third straight year and will spotlight the many exciting aspects of game development. This year, EA SPORTS places fun sports games in the palm of your hand using augmented reality to create a mobile game environment, nearly anywhere you go. And once again, EA SPORTS will invite attendees to “get in the game” with sports cover photo-ops, a 3-D technology demonstration called “Be 3-D” (showing guests how they might look in a video game) and plenty of games available for open play.

Also returning to Otronicon is Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, which will be showcasing how they use simulation to design rides and attractions. Included is an Audio-Animatronic Droid from Disney’s Hollywood Studios attraction Star Tours: The Adventures Continue set in the Star Wars universe.

In addition, explore the virtual reality environment of the Virtusphere or play outdoor laser tag courtesy of Battlefield Live Orlando. There will also be open play for video games on multiple platforms and areas to explore video games as art.

And for the first time ever at Otronicon, guests will be able to see a Hollywood movie in the new Digital Adventure Theater, “TRON: Legacy 3D.”

Cost and Hours

Admission to Otroniconis $27 for adults and $20 for youth (ages 3-11). Tickets also include access to Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination, films and live presentations. Science Center members can experience Otronicon for free and see Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imaginationfor $12 for adults and $9 for youth (ages 3-11).

Otronicon is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18 and Saturday, Jan. 19; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20 and Monday, Jan. 21.

For more information, please call 407-514-2000 or visit www.osc.org and www.otronicon.org.

Star Wars®: Where Science Meets Imagination

Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination, presented by Bose Corporation®, was developed by the Museum of Science, Boston and Lucasfilm Ltd.

Lucasfilm, the Lucasfilm logo, STAR WARS® and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0307875. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendationsexpressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Otronicon v.8 Partners

University of Central Florida Research & Commercialization; University of Central Florida Institute for Simulation & Training; University of Central Florida College of Engineering and Computer Science; EA SPORTS; Bright House Networks; Florida Hospital for Children; Eyetech Digital System; Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy; Lockheed Martin; Florida High Tech Corridor; Engineering and Computer Simulations; Seay Business; National Center for Simulation; Walt Disney Park & Resorts; Advanced Materials Professional Services, LLC; Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission; Orange County Arts & Cultural Alliance; City of Orlando; United Arts of Central Florida; n-Space; Phyken, Inc.; GameSim Technologies; and DeVry University.

Complimentary Passes to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex screening of “Forbidden Planet” [ENDED]

For your chance to receive event passes, log on to www.GOFOBO.com/RSVP
Enter RSVP code: MEDIAMKBTC
Saturday October 13, 2012,
Kennedy Space Center, FL
Passes are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Turner Classic Movies and DIRECTV are bringing the Road to Hollywood tour to Florida in celebration of the TCM Classic Film Festival next April in Hollywood. Join TCM host Ben Mankiewicz for a free screening of FORBIDDEN PLANET on Saturday, October 13 at 7:30PM at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Come for a night under the stars – Enjoy free parking, popcorn & soda!

Concert Review: Kiss, Motley Crue, The Treatment “The Tour”
 Darien Center, NY

“The Tour”
Kiss, Motley Crue, The Treatment
Date: Saturday, September 15th 2012
Venue: Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Darien Center, NY

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The 2012 Darien Lake concert series came to a thunderous close on Saturday, September 15th as “The Tour” featuring Kiss, Motley Crue and The Treatment performed to a near capacity crowd. As fans of all ages many adorned in Kiss makeup gradually filled the venue the UK hard rock band The Treatment took to the stage and performed songs of their debut release “This Might Hurt”. The band had a really great sound and was full of energy. It’s always great to see up and coming bands on these larger tours come out and really give it their all and The Treatment did just that.

The kings of the sunset strip, Motley Crue were up next and proceeded to make an entrance like no other. Clad in hooded robes, masks and with scantily clad girls on their shoulders members of the band made their way through the crowd before walking up onto the stage. This seemed to really catch the crowd off guard and helped set the stage for the bands performance. Each song in the set was accompanied by pyro, water cannons, arial performers and at one point Tommy Lees very own roller coaster. These things all sound great on paper but at times during the show there seemed to be just too much going on which I felt took something away from the music. Vince Neil’s limited movement due to an injury sustained a few nights before requiring him to wear a walking cast didn’t seem to hurt the bands performance but it surely wasn’t helping. At times the members seemed distant and uninterested in each other. At the start of “Home Sweet Home” several sour notes rang out over the crowd and though the band quickly recovered you could surely tell each member was on a different page.

Kiss closed out the night performing a 13 song greatest hits set dressed in their iconic make up and signature platform boots. Though the set list was made up mostly of classic Kiss gems the band did
perform one new song. “Hell or Hallelujah” the first song to be released off the upcoming album titled “Monster” gave a little bit of fresh air to a set list which has gone relatively unchanged since the 1996 Reunion tour. The band sounded great and despite my extreme dislike for current members wearing past members make up the band looked just as good. Even though I would liked to have seen some different songs make their way in to the set it’s still always good to hear the classics performed live and loud!

With “The Tour” wrapping up just a few remaining dates in September I will be very curious to see what each of the bands have in store for the coming months. It would be great to once again see what each of these bands can do on their own separate headlining tours.

Kiss Set List
1. Detroit Rock City
2. Shout it Out Loud
3. I Love it Loud
4. Firehouse
5. Hell or Hallelujah
6. War Machine
7. Shock Me
8. God of Thunder
9. Love Gun
10. Lick it Up
11. Black Diamond
12. Calling Dr. Love
13. Rock and Roll All Night

Motley Crue Set List:
1. Saints of Los Angeles
2. Wild Side
3. Shout at the Devil
4. Same Ol’ Situation
5. Sex
6. Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
7. Home Sweet Home
8. Live Wire
9. Primal Scream
10. Dr. Feelgood
11. Girls, Girls, Girls,
12. Kickstart My Heart

The Treatment Set List:
1. Drink, Fuck, Fight
2. World on Fire
3. Get the Party On
4. I Fear Nothing
5. The Doctor
6. Departed
7. Nothing to Lose But Our Minds
8.) Shake the Mountain

Event Review: Disney On Ice Presents Rockin’ Ever After – Amway Center, Orlando FL

Disney on Ice presents ROCKIN’ EVER AFTER
Sep 7 2012 at 7:30 pm
Amway Center, Orlando FL
Produced by: Feld Entertainment
Running Time: 2 hours with intermission

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

I have been attending Disney on Ice events for about 30 years now and I still enjoy them every time. Now having a daughter of my own (only 3 months old though), I am looking forward to introducing her to this event next year, hopefully just like my parents did for me. “Disney On Ice Presents Rockin’ Ever After” was the perfect event for any little girl…oops sorry, I mean Princess. There were many little princesses all around the Amway Center, I just couldn’t help but thinking about my daughter in those costumes. This event honestly though has been my favorite in many years.  There was something about it that just really engaged the audience, yes even the adults too!  The songs are just amazing and timeless. I can’t wait to see what they do next with Disney on Ice. I am not sure how they will top this one though?!!

The basis story for the show features Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy introducing different talent as they “compete” to be the next superstar.  The princesses that take the spotlight in this show are Ariel, Rapunzel, Belle, and Merida from Disney•Pixar’s BRAVE in her ice debut!.  Like I said this show was amped up from last year.  There was something about the costumes that just really stood out and shined.  I really enjoyed the re-imagination of the characters wardrobe, especially for “The Little Mermaid” section. While on “Little Mermaid”, it stood out from the others being the only part of the show that used non-Disney music.  They had a nice blend of 80’s music including Madonna, with the classic songs.  “The Little Mermaid” also really stood out for its great use of black light on the environment and its skaters.

I am a huge Rapunzel fan personally, I feel that they did the “Tangled” portion up really well.  I thought the way they changed up the “The Ugly Duckling” scene into a dream sequence was very clever.  I also really enjoyed the way the lantern scene was presented. Merida from Disney•Pixar’s BRAVE was up next after the intermission in her ice debut!  They did a good job of working this section into a story being told by Mickey to his friends.  This way they were able to tell the story and leave out the witch and the bear aspects of the film.  It really flowed well.  Lastly, what better way to end then with “Beauty and the Beast”, one of my favorite films of all time.  This story is timeless and always warms your heart.  I should note it is also the only one out of the four that included the final showdown between good and evil, or Beast and Gaston in this case.  Of course then as usual Mickey and his friends closed the show and what an ending it was.  I had a hard time getting up, hoping that there would be more.  Oh well, have to wait till next year.

If you are interested in catching this great event while it visits the Amway Center in Orlando FL from September 7th-9th, 2012.  Click here for tickets and more details.

Here are a few pics that we were able to snap throughout the show, hope you enjoy!

For more information, visit us at: http://www.DisneyOnIce.com
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