Sean Yseult Teams with Boyd Gallery and Art for Arts Sake to Present New Photography Series “They All Axed For You”

The Boyd Satellite Gallery in conjunction with Art for Arts Sake, is proud to present artist Sean Yseult’s new photography series They All Axed For You. The new photographs serve as both a love letter and birthday gift for the City of New Orleans on the anniversary of it’s Tricentennial. The inspiration for this show began with this love of Nola, and some very strong images Ms. Yseult saw in her dreams. The show is on display October 2nd – October 31st with an Artist’s Reception October 6th.

One image titled Procession depicts Audubon Zoo animals lined up in pairs on a path through the large Live Oaks. In a dream that came to the artist the day after her mother passed away, the two of them were walking through the animals in the park, as though guided by a light.

Another image, Elephants Storming the Mississippi was also dreamt first – elephants slowly and determinedly trudging through the river in a somewhat ominous manner. Once realizing that these images occurred in two of the Artist’s favorite and most iconic spots of New Orleans, this concept became the basis of the show: the beasts of the Audubon Zoo have a day pass and are hanging out in all of Ms. Yseult’s favorite iconic spots. The show is the perfect way to marry her tribute to the Tri Centennial, her favorite locations in New Orleans for settings, and some colorful local characters for models.

In addition, the Boyd Satellite Gallery will be home to some of Ms. Yseult’s colorful design work, through her new Wallpaper Series acting as backdrop to the photos.

Sean Yseult is best known as the bass player from the multi-platinum, twice Grammy-nominated band White Zombie. Sean spent her formative years at the North Carolina School of the Arts studying ballet and earned a BFA in Photography and Design at Parsons School of Design NYC.

Upon White Zombie’s breakup, she moved to New Orleans and began showing her photography. This is Ms. Yseult’s fourth solo art exhibition series. Her previous work has been shown in solo shows in New Orleans, New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and can be viewed by visiting www.seanyseult.com. In 2010 her autobiographical photo-book I’m In The Band was published (Soft Skull Press). Photos in the 2nd gallery continue the exhibition with Backstage: Rock Shots by Sean Yseult, including the Ramones, Pantera, and the Cramps.

Theatre Review “RENT: 20th Anniversary Tour” Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando FL

FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando presents RENT: 20th Anniversary Tour
Show dates: Tuesday–Sunday, June 5–10, 2018
Show times vary
Tickets start at $34.25

RENT is a Broadway musical that I have seen many many times since 1996. This show is special. It has always been special and it will always be special. It was a show that is ahead of it’s time and still as smart as ever. Having seen this show on Broadway numerous time and now seeing it for the first time at the Walt Disney Theatre at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and it was like I was transported to the first time I saw it over 20 years ago now! I have never been to show where the audience was literally sitting on the edge of their chairs, dancing and singing along like this! The cheers! The applause! It was literally magic! It was like seeing it for the first time again. This show is an experience! Do not miss it!

The cast of the anniversary tour really delivered for me. I had VERY high standards for these songs and the way they are sang specifically. I really love this movie. I have been listening to it for more than half my life. The cast at this theater gave it their all. They knocked it out of the park! Roger was a real highlight for me and Angel, of boy, Angel he was simply amazing! Some notes about the Walt Disney Theater that I have been noting over the last few months, sitting in Orchestra Left in Row J and around there, we had some of the performances cut off due to the angling. It wasn’t anything major but I think it could have been adjusted since orchestra right had a lot of unused space. In the beginning of the performance, there was a little bit of an issue with the music overpowering the singing but over the first song I did not notice it again.

The set this performance did remind me of RENT. It represented the show perfectly but I just miss that Broadway feeling of getting entirely new set each Act. We stay in one scene the whole performance and I was looking for something new each scene with some new objects onto the stage. But don’t let this take away from a magical evening, I can guarantee you there wasn’t a dry eye in the theater. The last thing I want to mention is that the range of age from this performance was outstanding. It ranged from early teens to senior citizens. I mean for a show to have that much range…this many years later is something special. RENT has been touring to celebrate it’s 20th anniversary for the last two years now and I don’t know when I will see it live again…and I encourage you to see this while you can!

Official Synopsis: In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway…and forever changed the landscape of American theatre. Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s RENT continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world. And now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. A re-imagining of Puccini’s La Bohème, RENT follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters—love.

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

Waitress: The Musical
Show dates: Tuesday–Sunday, March 20–25, 2018
Tickets: start at $34.25
Walt Disney Theater at @ Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
445 South Magnolia Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801

Let me just start my saying that I have never seen or even wanted to see the 2007 film, “Waitress” starring Keri Russell, which this musical version is based on. I wouldn’t have ever even seen the play if it wasn’t for a few of my friends who say the play on Broadway over the last few years and RAVED about it! Suddenly my interest was kicked off and to top it off the musical features music and orchestration by Sara Bareilles. From the opening scene of the “Waitress”, I knew I was hooked.

Here is the official premise of the show: Inspired by Adrienne Shelly’s beloved film, Waitress tells the story of Jenna – a waitress and expert pie maker, Jenna dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life.

Like I mentioned “Waitress” features original music and lyrics by 5-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles and I really enjoy the music (listening as I type as well). The songs were strong, uplifting and really beautiful. Desi Oakley, who played the lead Jenna, has an outstanding voice. She really blows you away with some of her songs. They have such range and perfectly pitched. Jeremy Morse, who played the role of Ogie, easily stole the show and was extremely funny. He has previously starred in the same role back in 2015 in the American Repertory Theater staging of “Waitress”. Also really dug that there was a live band on the stage in the background throughout most of the show, which blended in so well I forgot they were their sometimes.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts delivered another winning show for me. Being from New York originally and missing Broadway a little, shows like this makes me miss it much less. Here is a little tip since I believe I found the perfect seats for this theatre. We were in Row Q in the Left Orchestra and we had perfect seats, it is at the divide, so no one in front of you and plenty of leg room. Definitely will look for these seats again in the future.

“Waitress” has a lot of heart. It plays to your funny bone the first Act and just kicks you in the stomach for the second Act and delivers a great finish. I believe shows like this are important because they feature strong women and have a positive message of love and the beauty of life. I have to admit one thing that after this show I REALLY wanted me some pie! So make sure to not go hungry because this show will leave your mouth watering.Now if you excuse me I am craving some pie and I need to watch the movie finally!

Hamilton, 2017 Tony®-winning Best Musical, Leads the 18/19 Fairwinds Broadway in Orlando Season at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

 

HAMILTON,

2017 TONY®-WINNING BEST MUSICAL AND
2018 GRAMMY® AWARD WINNER DEAR EVAN HANSEN

and

TONY®-WINNING BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL HELLO, DOLLY!

Starring Broadway Legend Betty Buckley

to anchor

18/19 FAIRWINDS BROADWAY IN ORLANDO SEASON

AT DR. PHILLIPS CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

 

Current subscribers may renew their seats for the upcoming season beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, March 9

 

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 9, 2018) — Hamilton will headline the 2018–2019 FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando series at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to Hamilton the season includes the six-time 2017 Tony® and 2018 Grammy® Award winning Best Musical Dear Evan Hansen and the 2017 Tony® Award-winning Best Revival Hello, Dolly! starring Broadway legend Betty Buckley.

The arts center joined Florida Theatrical Association and Broadway Across America today to announce the full line-up.

18/19 FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando series:

  • Hello, Dolly! — November 27–December 2, 2018
  • Irving Berlin’s White Christmas The Musical — December 18–December 23, 2018
  • Hamilton — January 22, 2019-February 10, 2019
  • Fiddler on the Roof  March 5 –March 10, 2019
  • Dear Evan Hansen — April 16 –April 21, 2019
  • Anastasia — May 14–19, 2019
  • Come From Away  June 11–16, 2019

The season will also feature the return of audience favorite as a Season Option:

  • Jersey Boys — October 30–November 4, 2018

Subscribers will have first access to purchase tickets for Jersey Boys once they have renewed their seats for the 18/19 season.

“This will be a stand-out season on so many levels,” said Dr. Phillips Center President and CEO Kathy Ramsberger. “Hamilton has become a theatrical phenomenon, and three of the seven shows made their debut on Broadway just last year, so the content is fresh and relevant. The other big benefit is that we’ve had great success securing show performers for special appearances and educational workshops in our local schools, including our own School of the Arts. Extending the arts beyond our facility and into the community is one of our top priorities.”

“We are proud to partner with Dr. Phillips Center and Florida Theatrical Association for what is sure to be a record-breaking season in Orlando! This is going to be an unforgettable season of the best that Broadway has to offer,” said Susie Krajsa, EVP of Presenting for Broadway Across America.

“We’re excited to continue bringing special, one-of-a-kind experiences to our members through our continued support of the FAIRWIINDS Broadway in Orlando series at Dr. Phillips Center,” said FAIRWINDS President and CEO Larry Tobin. FAIRWINDS recently signed a multi-year agreement with the arts center, which includes naming rights to the series.

Current subscribers can renew their seats starting at 10 a.m. Friday, March 9, 2018 through April 13, 2018. Subscribers who renew early before March 23, 2018 can guarantee the lowest price for their subscription by taking advantage of our new loyalty pricing. FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando will first send renewal information via email and encourages renewing online for ease and convenience. This electronic communication will be followed up with an invoice and brochure sent via posted mail to all subscribers.

While new subscriptions cannot be offered at this time, interested parties may join the subscription information list to be notified if any subscription seats become available. Groups of 10 or more may begin placing for most shows in the new season beginning March 9, 2018. Group minimums and discounts vary by show. Seating locations for group orders may not be confirmed until later this year.  Group tickets may not be available for Hamilton. For more information, email groups@drphillipscenter.org or call 407.455.5550. Tickets for individual shows in the 2018–2019 season will be made available at a later date.

For more information and to renew a subscription for the 2018–2019 season, visit OrlandoBroadway.com.

 

 

ABOUT THE SHOWS

 

Jersey Boys

October 30–November 4, 2018

Walt Disney Theater

Season Add-On

They were just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their very first note. They had a sound nobody had ever heard… and the radio just couldn’t get enough of. But while their harmonies were perfect on stage, off stage it was a very different story — a story that has made them an international sensation all over again.

Go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the Tony®-winning true-life musical phenomenon, JERSEY BOYS. From the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this is the musical that’s just too good to be true.

FEATURING THE LEGENDARY TOP TEN HITS:

“Sherry” • “Big Girls Don’t Cry” • “Walk Like A Man” • “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” • “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night)”

 

Hello, Dolly!

starring Betty Buckley

November 27– December 2, 2018

Walt Disney Theater

Tony Award®-winning Broadway legend Betty Buckley stars in HELLO, DOLLY! – the universally acclaimed smash that NPR calls “the best show of the year!” Winner of four Tony Awards® including Best Musical Revival, director Jerry Zaks’ “gorgeous” new production (Vogue) is “making people crazy happy!” (The Washington Post). Breaking box office records week after week and receiving thunderous raves on Broadway, this HELLO, DOLLY! pays tribute to the original work of legendary director/choreographer Gower Champion – hailed both then and now as one of the greatest stagings in musical theater history. Rolling Stone calls it “a must-see event. A musical comedy dream. If you’re lucky enough to score a ticket, you’ll be seeing something historic. Wow, wow, wow, indeed!”

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas The Musical

December 18–December 23, 2018

Walt Disney Theater

This holiday season, discover the perfect gift for everyone on your list.  Start with a timeless tale of joy and goodwill, fill it with classic Irving Berlin songs, top it off with glorious dancing and lots of snow and come see Irving Berlin’s WHITE CHRISTMAS!  It’s a must-see classic in a lavish new musical that the New York Times says to “put on your wish list.”  Irving Berlin’s WHITE CHRISTMAS tells the story of a song-and-dance team putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and falling for a stunning sister act in the process. The show is full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written. The gift everyone is dreaming of is this merry and bright holiday musical.

 

Hamilton

January 22, 2019–February 10, 2019

Walt Disney Theater

HAMILTON is the story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway, HAMILTON is the story of America then, as told by America now.

With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical supervision and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, HAMILTON is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

Fiddler On The Roof

March 5–March 10, 2019

Walt Disney Theater

 

Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher and the team behind South Pacific, The King and I and 2017 Tony-winning Best Play Oslo, bring a fresh and authentic vision to this beloved theatrical masterpiece from Tony winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. The original production won 10 Tony Awards, including a special Tony for becoming the longest-running Broadway musical of all time. You’ll be there when the sun rises on this new production, with stunning movement and dance from acclaimed Israeli choreographer

Hofesh Shechter, based on the original staging by Jerome Robbins. A wonderful cast and a lavish orchestra tell this heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and the timeless traditions that define faith and family.

Featuring the Broadway classics “Tradition,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and “To Life,” FIDDLER ON THE ROOF will introduce a new generation to this uplifting celebration that raises its cup to joy! To love! To life!

Dear Evan Hansen

April 16 – April 21, 2019

Walt Disney Theater

DEAR EVAN HANSEN is the winner of six 2017 Tony Awards including Best Musical and the 2018 GRAMMY award for Best Musical Theater Album.

A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. DEAR EVAN HANSEN is the deeply personal and profoundly contemporary musical about life and the way we live it.

“One of the most remarkable shows in musical theater history,” says The Washington Post. The New York Times calls DEAR EVAN HANSEN “a gut-punching, breathtaking knockout of a musical” and NBC News says the musical is “an inspiring anthem resonating on Broadway and beyond.”

DEAR EVAN HANSEN features a book by Tony winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy, Tony and Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La LandThe Greatest Showman), and direction by four-time Tony nominee Michael Greif (RentNext to Normal).

The Original Broadway Cast Recording of DEAR EVAN HANSEN, produced by Atlantic Records, made an extraordinary debut on the Billboard 200 when released and entered the chart at #8 – the highest charting debut position for an original cast album since 1961—before going on to win the 2018 Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. A special edition coffee table book authored by Levenson, Pasek, and Paul, Dear Evan Hansen: through the window (Grand Central Publishing / Melcher) is now available, offering an in-depth, all-access look at the musical, including never-before-seen production photos and cast portraits, behind-the-scenes stories, and a fully annotated script by the authors.

 

Anastasia

May 14–19, 2019

Walt Disney Theater

From the Tony Award-winning creators of the Broadway classic Ragtime, this dazzling show transports us from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing conman and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love, and family.

ANASTASIA features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally, a lush new score by Stephen Flaherty (music) and Lynn Ahrens (lyrics) with direction by Tony winner Darko Tresnjak.

 

Come From Away

June 11–16, 2019

Walt Disney Theater

On 9/11, the world stopped. On 9/12, their stories moved us all.

Broadway’s COME FROM AWAY has won Best Musical all across North America. The New York Times Critics’ Pick takes you into the heart of the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.

Don’t miss this breathtaking new musical written by Tony nominees Irene Sankoff and David Hein, and helmed by this year’s Tony-winning Best Director, Christopher Ashley. Newsweek cheers, “It takes you to a place you never want to leave!”

 

For more information and to renew a subscription for the 2018–2019 season and Broadway in Orlando, visit OrlandoBroadway.com.

###

 

FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando is presented at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in partnership with Broadway Across America and Florida Theatrical Association.

Florida Theatrical Association (FTA) is a non-profit civic organization with a volunteer board of trustees established to ensure the continued presentation of quality touring Broadway productions and the promotion of arts education throughout the state of Florida. For more information, visit FloridaTheatrical.org.

BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA (BAA) is part of The John Gore Organization family of companies, which includes Broadway.com and The Broadway Channel.  Led by 11-time Tony-winning producer John Gore (Owner & CEO), BAA is the foremost presenter of first-class touring productions in North America, operating in 44 markets with over 400,000 subscribers. Current and past productions include BeautifulCats, Chicago, Dear Evan Hansen, Groundhog Day, Hairspray, Hello, Dolly!, Million Dollar Quartet, On Your Feet!, The Producers, School of Rock and Waitress. Broadway.com is the premier theater website for news, exclusive content and ticket sales. For more information please visit BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com and Broadway.com.

About Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization operating the state-of-the-art performing arts center in downtown Orlando, Florida. With its opening in November 2014, the performing arts center launched its vision of Arts for Every Life by being a gathering place for creativity and discovery; a vibrant urban destination where artists, audiences and students come to experience, explore and learn. The two-block community destination features the 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater, 300-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, Seneff Arts Plaza, Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts, the DeVos Family Room, and other event rental spaces. Future expansion includes Steinmetz Hall, a 1,700-seat acoustical theater, along with rehearsal, classroom, office space and commercial development spaces. The Dr. Phillips Center is a private non-profit collaborating with the City of Orlando, Orange County, the State of Florida and generous donors.

About FAIRWINDS

FAIRWINDS Credit Union, headed by President/CEO Larry Tobin, is the largest financial institution headquartered in Central Florida, with assets of $2.2 billion, more than 177,300 members and over 510 employees. The financial cooperative established in 1949 is open to anyone living or working in Central Florida. Membership also is available to family of members who live outside Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Osceola, Polk, Brevard or Lake counties.

 

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Theatre Review “The Lion King” @ Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts – Orlando, FL

The Lion King
Show dates: February 14–March 11, 2018
Walt Disney Theater at @ Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
445 South Magnolia Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
Tickets: start at $35.25

I remember like it was yesterday when “The Lion King” opened up on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theater in October of 1997. I saw it that year and was mesmerized by the outfits and the set, just beautiful! Years later I had a chance to see it again in Las Vegas in 2009 and again I experienced that wonderful same feeling. Last night, I experienced that same feeling again. From the moment the lights went down, I immediately got the chills! The music came on and the cast come flooded through the seating area in full costume, singing at full volume. This was magic!

The Walt Disney Theater at @ Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is a wonderful spot to enjoy theatre. Coming from Broadway, this theatre easily rivals the experience for me personally. The sound is fantastic. The seating is so comfortable much better than a ton of the old Broadway theaters, I can recall. They even utilized two of the box seating areas and had musicians playing living music throughout, which really added a nice 3D sound. I have to admit though, they seemed a little distracting during the song, “Be Prepared” since it seemed a little out of sync.

Buyi Zama has played Rafiki in the stage production of “The Lion King” since day one and it was such an amazing experience to get to see her again in this role, now for the third time. She doesn’t miss a beat and she is on point from seeing her over 20 years ago! Coming off the last ‘Gazelle’ National tour, Mark Campbell, returned a Scar and easily commanded the stage. Besides a little technical difficulty with his mask, was on par if not better than John Vickery in the Broadway production! Literally gave me chills when he spoke!

Buyi Zama as “Rafiki” in THE LION KINGNorth American Tour. ©Disney. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Having seen “The Lion King” live on Broadway and in Las Vegas, this easily one of my most enjoyable to see how it came to life. This felt like a full Broadway production. Even after the show, we got a chance to go backstage and got to view how everything is stored and all the costumes and how the set works. It was amazing. I also got some insight from Mark Campbell, who describes some difference in how the sets move in and out of place and how climbs up the set pieces during the herd sequence, so it really just showed how much goes in behind-the-scenes.

The ensemble cast should also get a shout out here because they were just amazing, when we were backstage we saw how easy of the ensemble cast has 10-15 outfit changes per show. It was simply extraordinary. “The Lion King” started its nearly one month run on February 14 and runs till March 11, 2018, so if you can catch a show I would highly recommend it. Tickets can be purchased here!

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.

 

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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.

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.

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

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