Kansas City Stage Review: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – the Musical

  • “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”
  • The Kauffman Center – Kansas City, Missouri
  • January 21, 2020 

Oh, how sweet it is! Filled with colorful costumes, magical set designs, and wonderful songs that will put a smile on your face, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” now performing at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center in Kansas City, Missouri, is a terrific musical the whole family can enjoy. Based upon the 1964 children’s novel of the same name by British novelist Roald Dahl (1916-90), “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was first adapted for the silver screen in 1971 and then again in 2005 before premiering as a musical in 2013 in London.

 The musical version takes us to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory where, after being shut up for 40 years, the legendary chocolatier (Cody Garcia) decides to venture out into the real world to find an heir. Disguised as a chocolate shop owner, Willy ends up befriending, in a small way, a local boy named Charlie Bucket (Ryan Umbarila). Charlie lives an impoverished life just down the block with two sets of grandparents, who never leave their bed, and his widowed, overworked mother. 

Charlie is a dreamer to the tenth degree and so, it’s only natural that he becomes enamored with the idea of getting a Wonka chocolate bar in order to get a golden ticket. The five lucky recipients of which will get to go on a tour of Willy’s factory with the chance to win a lifetime supply of chocolate. Of course, the whimsical and quirky Willy has other plans. Charlie ultimately proves himself to be a good-hearted lad, especially when compared to the other four children who reveal themselves to be brats, each meeting their own unique, laughable fate during the tour. 

The first half of the show contained a couple of heartfelt moments between Charlie and his Grandpa Joe (Steve McCoy) that pulled at the heartstrings. Umbarila had an overall nice stage presence but was overshadowed a bit by McCoy’s charismatic delivery of his comedic lines. Despite Charlie’s underdog nature, the most fascinating character remained Wonka himself. However, his portrayal during the first act was a little flat, which was accompanied by a sluggish pace even with a few entertaining dance sequences. 

The true highlight of the night’s show was the second act. It was fun, lively, colorful and thoroughly entertaining. Garcia delivered a superb performance down the stretch run with a portrayal that was reminiscent of a blend between Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp. Supported by a solid orchestral performance, the musical’s second act was punctuated by well-choreographed Oompa Loompas who generated the biggest laughs of the night. 

In the end, don’t wait for a golden ticket in a candy bar to see “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” because it will be gone before you know it. 

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” runs in Kansas City at the beautiful Kauffman Center through January 26th. For tickets in KC or for the rest of the tour, click HERE.

THE ULTIMATE MUSICAL ADVENTURE ON THE HIGH SEAS KISS KRUISE X RETURNS OCTOBER 30 – NOVEMBER 4, 2020

QUEENSRŸCHE, RATT, AND CHRIS JERICHO’S BAND FOZZY ARE SET TO JOIN KISS AS THEY CELEBRATE A DECADE AT SEA

The most popular Gold Record Award winning American group of all time and iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Famers KISS have once again partnered up with the industry leaders in music festivals at sea, Sixthman to announce the upcoming voyage of The KISS Kruise X. The KISS Navy will set sail for their tenth mission from Miami to Harvest Caye, Belize & Roatan, Honduras from October 30 – November 4, 2020 aboard Norwegian Pearl.

The announcement comes on the heels of 2019’s sold-out KISS Kruise IX, from where the band announced live onboard that their final show of all time will take place in July 2021Fans can go to TheKissKruise.com for more information on pricing and availability. From KISS’s electrifying shows and exciting activities with each member of the band to autograph sessions with artists from the lineup and much more, the tenth adventure is sure to be an experience of a lifetime.

Beyond their onboard rock shows, KISS is bringing their rare memorabilia collection, the KISS Expo, back to the high seas. Additionally, Queensryche, Ratt, and Chris Jericho’s band Fozzy are set to join KISS as they celebrate a decade at sea with more to be announced in the near future.

A destination of her own, Norwegian Pearl offers guests Norwegian Cruise Line’s signature freedom and flexibility to enjoy 11 onboard bars and lounges, 15 dining experiences, a casino, one outdoor pool, hot tubs, and a full menu of spa treatments. Prices for the cruise start at $1,380 with flexible payment options available and a low deposit of $250 per person. 

Connect with the KISS Kruise at TheKissKruise.comand on FacebookTwitter and Instagram #TheKISSKruise

Review: Wicked the Musical – A Brilliant Retelling of the Classic Story

Wicked the musical first opened on Broadway back in 2003. Since then it is one of the top-grossing musical of the twenty-first century. The production features several elements that make it a mega musical. Which includes its spectacular visual effects, musical themes, and capable cast.

Overall, wicked is a masterpiece which navigates us around racism against what’s different. It remarkably presents to us a retelling of a story we all are used to love but never paid attention to its other perspective. Its protagonist a socially isolated class and how impressive a bond can be to remove such differences. It speaks to its audience by telling a fresh and progressive story.

For more information

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicked_(musical)
https://www.tickets4musical.com/wicked-tickets

Wicked the Musical – Storyline:

Wicked the musical is an inspiring adaptation of a classic story and movie “The Wizard of Oz’. The 1900 novel by L. Frank Baum and the film is a production of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

The story we all know is the story of ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’. However, this musical sheds light on a slightly different person ‘The Wicked Witch of the West’. For those who had not seen the musical before can get tickets from tickets4musical.com. The musical shows the relationship of Glinda, the Good Witch, and Elphaba, the wicked green witch. They meet for the very first time at the Shiz University and from there grow into characters we know from the original story.

We can say that the story empathizes Elphaba. An outcast and shamed witch only because she has green skin. She possessed unusual magic skills perhaps that is the reason nobody was willing to accept her. Yet there are some truly kind and loving people still alive. Who despite the initial awkwardness accepted her and offered their hand in friendship.

Wicked An Audience Favorite To Date:

The musical has broken every record of musical theater. Since opening, it’s been loved and has had many successful, long-running productions all over the world. Which includes on Broadway on the West-End, and one to many tours.

The show is a must-see and shines through in every scene, every staging. The overgenerous shine of the stage during musical’s #1 score ‘One Short Day’ is incomparable. Plus, the attire of the cast during this song fabulously detailed with gowns and suits complements the scenery. Another same popular show is the Lion King musical https://www.tickets4musical.com/the-lion-king-tickets of same time.

The scenes where Glinda descends in her fascinating bubble from the ceiling, and at the start of the show in her breathtaking gown will always be our favorite.

Every moment, every character brings the fantastical world of Oz to life. The whole group of cast and creative have such bright energy that shines through their work and captivates the audience. 

Wicked The Musical – Achievements:

The Wicked Broadway original production was nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 2004. Which includes Best Musical, Book, Orchestrations, Original Score, Choreography, Costume Design, Lighting Design, and Scenic Design. It also received two nominations for Best Actress the same year for Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. The award was for their respective roles as Elphaba and Glinda. In which, Menzel won the award.

Then the show went ahead and won the Tony Awards for Best Scenic Design and Best Costume Design. In the same year, it won 6 out of 11 Drama Desk Awards nominations. Which included Outstanding Musical, Book, Director and Costume Design. Moreover, the production has also received 4 Outer Critics Circle Awards. Aside from this, the original Broadway cast received the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.

Awards And Nominations Received According To Subsequent Productions:

Wicked’s West End production received 5 Laurence Olivier Award nominations. Later it won the Audience Award for Most Popular Show at the 2010 award ceremony. Likewise, the original Australian production won 6 out of 12 Helpmann Award nominations, counting Best Musical. Jesus Christ Superstar is also the best show now a days and its cheap Jesus Christ Superstar tickets can be purchased online.

Critical Acclamations:

Other than receiving nominations and reward the musical has been widely acclaimed by critics. Entertainment Weekly magazine entitled it the Best Musical of the Decade. While Variety magazine called it “a cultural phenomenon”.

In the Entertainment Weekly’s list of The 100 Greatest Characters of the Past 20 Years, the character of Elphaba was ranked at #79.

Conclusion:

Wicked the musical offers an experience that leaves a mark in your hear for a lifetime. As I mentioned earlier it is one of the longest-running show but despite all that, each experience is fresh as it was the first time. From the original cast member to ensembles and new troupes every single one of them is iconic.

Each of them offers their own respective grace to their characters. Still, they work together to bring the production to success. Despite its bittersweet ending, the show a nice reminder to treat each other with kindness and accept them without judgment.

If this review piques your interest I suggest go and watch the show right now. Click Here to Get Your Cheap Wicked Tickets from Tickets4musical. Pick your favorite seats and have fun experiencing a no-hassle purchase.

Theatre Review “Escape to Margaritaville – The Jimmy Buffett Musical” @ Walt Disney Theatre – Orlando, FL

Escape to Margaritaville is a musical that was first performed in 2017 in New Orleans and premiered on Broadway in 2018. The show features music and lyrics by legendary singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett and is based on a book of the same name by Emmy Award® winner Greg Garcia (My Name is Earl, Raising Hope) and Emmy Award® nominee Mike O’Malley (Survivors Remorse, Shameless). The show features both original songs and Jimmy Buffett classics, including “Fins,” “Volcano,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, “A Pirate Looks at Forty” and many more.

The show focuses on Tully Mars, who works as a singer at run down hotel on a small island in the Caribbean called Margaritaville. He is always meeting new girls but never has any intention of keeping relationships after the tourists leave…that is until he meets Rachel. She comes onto the island with her friend for a Bachelorette party and a mind focused on her career. With the help of Tully, Rachel lands on island time and the two fall in love…but what happens after her trip comes to an end. Can the couple stay together or is it just another week long fling?

FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando Presents Escape to Margaritaville – The Jimmy Buffett Musical is playing at the Walt Disney Theatre at the Dr. Phillips Center from November 12-17, 2019. This is a show that I have been waiting to see since it first premiered in New Orleans in 2017…and I was not disappointed. I consider myself a Parrothead and I have seen Jimmy Buffett live as often as I can. There were a few of us “crazies” in the audience tonight, I caught eye of a lady dressed in a cheeseburger costume. This is not your typical play audience. The songs screams to be sang along to and the the music makes you move around in your seats. It should not be taken seriously. It is cheesy, dumb and self aware of how silly it is in certain parts. I had a lot of fun with this show and it is definitely a fun time to be had.

I want to point out that the sound at the Dr. Phillips Center was on point and the music was perfectly balanced. I remember seeing shows on the Bob Carr Theater and if you were too far back it was very hard to hear. The sets were simple but definitely delivered the vibe of Jimmy Buffett and his lifestyle. The bar set was my favorite. I loved the new originals songs as well. They blended well with the classics. If you are a Jimmy Buffett fan, this is a must see for any Parrothead. But don’t worry even if you are never heard half these songs before, like my fiance, you could still enjoy the show. My fiance is new to the music of Jimmy Buffett music and she still enjoyed the show just as much as I did. So if you can don’t miss this show. Grab a margarita and kick back and relax!

Act I
“License to Chill”
“Fins”
“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”
“Ragtop Day”
“It’s My Job”
“Why Don’t We Get Drunk”
“Three Chords”
“We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About/The Natives Are Restless”
“Son of a Son of a Sailor”
“My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink and I Don’t Love Jesus”
“Medley: Coconut Telegraph/Last Mango in Paris/Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes”
“Margaritaville”

Act II
“Volcano”
“Grapefruit—Juicy Fruit”
“He Went to Paris”
“Cheeseburger in Paradise”
“Tin Cup Chalice”
“Love and Luck”
“Come Monday”
“A Pirate Looks at Forty”
“One Particular Harbor”

Theatre Review: “Flashdance: The Musical” @ Garden Theatre – Winter Garden, FL

“Flashdance the Musical” is a stage adaptation of the 1983 musical film “Flashdance”. The show features original music by Robbie Roth and lyrics by Roth and Robert Cary. It originally had its world premiere in 2008 as part of a ten-month UK tour, followed by a London West End run in 2010. It also had a US tour in 2012-2014, but never made it to Broadway.

“Flashdance: The Musical” premiered at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden, FL on July 5th and will continue there until the 28th. When I attend a show, I try and stick around and listen to everyone’s comments when they leave. I love hearing everyone’s thoughts, which also helps me properly form my thoughts as a critic. Some of the comments, I heard was “felt like a high school production” and “lead girl couldn’t even dance”. I enjoyed the show for the most part but did agree with some of what I heard.

From discussing with my date, we decided we agreed with some of the comments we overhead. I do not feel like the actress that played Alex Owens was the best choice. Her profile said she was dancing for 17 years but she was definitely not great in my humble opinion. The ensemble cast stole the show for me and had the best dancers by far. As far as the high school production comment, the Garden Theatre might not have scene changes like Dr. Phillips Center but it has charm and delivered a good set for “Flashdance: The Musical”.

Official Synopsis: Dance like you’ve never danced before! FLASHDANCE: THE MUSICAL tells the inspiring and unforgettable story of 18-year-old Alex, a welder by day and ‘flashdancer’ by night, who dreams of becoming a professional dancer. When a romance complicates her ambitions, she harnesses it to drive her dreams.

The show was jam packed with the classic pop hits from the movie including “Maniac,” “Gloria,” “I Love Rock & Roll” and everyone’s favorite by Irene Cara, “Flashdance…What a Feeling.” I wasn’t a huge fan of the original songs from the show but when these classics came on, I perked up and definitely wasn’t the only one. Overall, I enjoyed the show. Ensemble dancing and supporting cast definitely delivered another winner for the Garden Theatre. Look forward to their next performance.

Once again, “Flashdance: The Musical” will be playing at the Garden Theatre from July 5th-28th, 2019. Support local theatre and buy tickets here: https://www.gardentheatre.org/play/flashdance-the-musical/

Kansas City Theater Review: “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”

  • BEAUTIFUL – THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL
  • Starlight Theater, Kansas City, Missouri
  • June 24, 2019

REVIEW BY J.R. DEETER

An amazing thing happened as I watched “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” this past Tuesday evening at Starlight.  I realized that the songs being played had been some of my favorites, starting from childhood.

  Opening at Carnegie Hall, circa 1971, King (played beautifully by Sarah Bockel) sings “So Far Away,” which takes us back to the beginning of the story of the rise of one of pop music’s icons.  It’s 1958 and 16-year old Carole has found her way to the offices of one “Donnie” Kirshner hoping to sell him a song she has written.  Kirshner likes what he hears and signs her up.  He teams her with an aspiring lyricist named Gerry Goffin and soon the hits begin to flow.  Songs like “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Up on the Roof” and “The Locomotion” are soon climbing the charts.  The partnership soon becomes much more and King and Goffin marry. 

But they weren’t the only ones toiling in the Brill Building.  We also meet Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who created such hits as “Walking in the Rain,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” and “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.”   Eventually, Carole and Gerry’s love fades and, when she discovers Goffin is cheating on her, King and her children leave New York for California.  She begins writing new songs, using the highs and lows of her own life as inspiration.  History is made when King, now singing her own songs, releases the album “Tapestry,” still one of the biggest selling albums of all time.  

The performances across the board were excellent, with stand-out work delivered by Dylan S. Wallach (Goffin), Alison Whitehurst as Ms. Weil and Jacob Heimer as Barry Mann.  The musical ensemble was also quite entertaining, portraying such 60’s performers and groups like The Drifters, The Shirelles, Little Eva and The Righteous Brothers.   “Beaufiul” runs at Starlight through Sunday, June 30th.  For information and tickets for these shows, or future performances, please click HERE.

Film Review “An American in Paris – The Musical”

Starring: Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope
Directors: Christopher Wheeldon, Ross MacGibbon
Producer: Stuart Oken
Trafalgar Releasing
Running Time: 2hr 40mins
Release date: September 20, 2018

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

In the mid 90’s, I was working at a old school mom and pop video store, which is where I also happened to meet my wife, I remember us having Gene Kelly binge fests before binging was a thing. We rented all of this movies including “An American in Paris”, the 1951 movie. The dancing! The music! This film was always a favorite of ours and it still stands the test of time. When the play was set to open a few years ago in Paris December 2014. I knew I had to see this production for sure. I was able to catch it on a National Tour and it was unforgettable. This live taping was filmed during the award-winning musical’s London run and features original stars Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope. If you haven’t had a chance to see this on a stage, I would say make that a priority but this filmed version is also so beautifully done and packs the magic that was brought from the stage performance. Worth checking out!

Official Premise: This breathtakingly beautiful Tony® Award-winning Broadway musical, inspired by the Oscar® winning MGM film, tells the impassioned story of discovering love in the ‘City of Light’. Featuring the gorgeous music and lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin (including the classic hits ‘S Wonderful and I Got Rhythm), stunning designs, and show-stopping choreography. With a record-setting 28 five-star reviews from critics, An American in Paris is coming from London’s West End to a cinema near you. 

One of the items on my bucket list is to definitely catch a play in West End. This recording came from a 2017 performance there and even though I couldn’t make it, we are able to still enjoy it at your local theater. I have been noticing that the recording of stage shows have been show in theaters much more commonly like last year “Disney’s Newsies” was released also in the same fashion. This production is simply beautiful. I have seen A LOT of shows on Broadway in NY and quite a few in Orlando, FL area also. But London is on point and really delivered such an beautiful magical journey with this play.

Honestly, I am just happy that the memory of people like Gene Kelly are still being preserved in today’s time where the old timers are fading away.  The music is so wonderful and I love how the songs are perfected for the musical format. The stars, Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope, have great chemistry together and what talent actors they are! If you don’t catch a chance to see this musical, I have feeling it is not going away anytime soon. Hopefully, a Blu-ray release will follow these screenings and I have a feeling we are going to have several more tours and revivals over the years for this musical. Experience the Broadway hit An American In Paris in cinemas September 20 & 23. Click here.

Kansas City Theater Review: “Hairspray – the Musical”

“Hairspray – the Musical”

Starlight Theater – Kansas City, Missouri

July 27, 2018

 

I spent 13 years living in Baltimore.  As a movie theatre manager I was very fortunate to manage the theatre of choice of local filmmaker John Waters.  He was a frequent guest and, when I asked, would stop by the office for a few minutes after his film just to talk about what he had coming up.  Of course, I was glad to play the original film “Hairspray,” and am proud to be friends with some of the local talent used in the film.  Years later, Mr. Waters took the film to Broadway, where, 15 years ago, the musical version earned 13 Tony Award nominations, winning 8, including Best Musical.   This week, the fun and energy you can only find in Charm City is on display at the Starlight Theater as “Hairspray – the Musical” arrives.

Baltimore 1962.  Like many cities in America, civil rights are on the front burner.  We meet Tracy Turnblad (an outstanding Jessica Alcorn) as she greets the day, and the audience, with the bouncy “Good morning, Baltimore.”  Tracy is a fan of the Corny Collins afternoon dance program on television and secretly dreams to not only be a dancer on the show, but to end up in the arms of the show’s best male dancer, Link Larkin (Eric Geil).  Tracy lives at home with her parents.  Mother Edna (Brad Oscar) takes in washing and hasn’t been outside the apartment in years.  Her father, Wilbur (Bruce Roach), runs a joke shop called the Har-Har Hut.  Tracy has a friend named Penny, who encourages her to follow her dream.  And so she does.

First off, I must comment on the energy the entire cast brought to the show.  It’s always a plus when you can sense that the cast and crew WANT to be there.  The musical numbers were infectious.  If you knew the words (guilty) you quietly sang along.  If you didn’t, you were dancing in your seats.  As Tracy, Ms. Alcorn soars.  She is the heart and spirit of the show and she shines in a role that a lesser actress could easily dilute spirit-wise.  Supporting roles played by Katie Karel (Penny), Cathy Barnett (Velma Van Tussle) and Erin Riley (Amber) stand out here, as does Regina Levert whose Motormouth Maybelle steals the scenes she is in.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t note that Kansas City audiences are having the rare treat of seeing a true Broadway legend in Brad Oscar.  Ever since Harvey Fierstein first originated the character, Edna has been played with dignity.  Mr. Oscar continues that tradition here.

“Hairspray – the Musical” plays at Starlight through August 2nd.  For tickets to those shows click HERE.

S’ Wonderful News! Iconic Musical AN AMERICAN IN PARIS Comes to Movie Theaters September 2018

Tickets on sale across the U.S. from July 12, 2018

May 2018: Trafalgar Releasing has announced the North American theatrical release of the highly acclaimed musical, An American in Paris, coming to movie theaters across the USA on Thursday, September 20 and Sunday, September 23.This new rendition of An American in Paris premiered in 2014 at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris to ecstatic reviews before transferring to the Palace Theatre on Broadway, where it became the most awarded musical of the 2015/16 season, including four Tony® Awards. While the U.S touring production continues to see great success with performances booking until July 2018, theater enthusiasts across North America can now experience the magic of the hit Broadway Musical performance from London’s West End in their local movie theater this fall.

With the gorgeous music and lyrics of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin (including the classic hits ‘S Wonderful and I Got Rhythm), book by Craig Lucas and direction and choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, this breathtakingly beautiful new musical is inspired by the Oscar® winning MGM film and tells the impassioned story of discovering love in the ‘City of Light’ in 1945.

Jerry Mulligan is an American GI striving to make it as a painter in a city suddenly bursting with hope and possibility. Following a chance encounter with a beautiful young dancer named Lise, the streets of Paris become the backdrop to a sensuous, modern romance of art, friendship and love in the aftermath of war…

The film stars Tony Award nominees, New York City Ballet principle dancer Robert Fairchild as Jerry Mulligan and British Royal Ballet dancer Leanne Cope as Lise Dassin, reprising their roles from the original Broadway production and a company of over 50 actors, dancers and musicians including Haydn Oakley as Henri Baurel, Zoë Rainey as Milo Davenport, David Seadon-Young as Adam Hochberg and Jane Asher as Madame Baurel.

The company also features Julian Forsyth and Ashley Andrews, Sophie Apollonia, Zoe Arshamian, Sarah Bakker, James Barton, Alicia Beck, Chrissy Brooke, James Butcher, Jonathan Caguioa, Jennifer Davison, Katie Deacon, Rebecca Fennelly, Sebastian Goffin, Alyn Hawke, Nicky Henshall, Genevieve Heron, Amy Hollins, Frankie Jenna, Justin-Lee Jones, Robin Kent, Kristen McGarrity, Julia J. Nagle, Daniela Norman, Aaron Smyth, Todd Talbot, Max Westwell, Jack Wilcox, Carrie Willis, Stuart Winter and Liam Wrate.

“An old-fashioned, big-hearted, spare-no-expense Broadway romance”
~ THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
.
An American in Paris is directed and choreographed by the internationally renowned, British-born Christopher Wheeldon, recipient of the Tony® Award 2015: Best Choreographer for this production. An Artistic Associate of the Royal Ballet, Wheeldon received an OBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours ‘for services to promoting the interests and reputation of British classical and theatrical dance worldwide’. The set and costumes are designed by the celebrated West End and Broadway designer Bob Crowley (The Audience; Mary Poppins) with projections by the prominent British designers 59 Productions (War Horse; London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony), lighting by Natasha Katz and sound by Jon Weston.The musical score is adapted, arranged and supervised by Rob Fisher with orchestrations by Christopher Austin and Bill Elliott; dance arrangements by Sam Davis; musical supervision by Todd Ellison; and musical direction by John Rigby.

Tickets for An America in Paris will be on sale starting Thursday, July 12 and can be purchased at AnAmericanInParisCinema.com.

For information regarding the National Tour please visit AnAmericanInParisBroadway.com.

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.

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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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DVD Review “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Monster Musical”

Actors: Bret Iwan, Tony Anselmo, Russi Taylor, Tress MacNeille, Bill Farmer
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: September 8, 2015
Run Time: 115 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“Mickey’s Monster Musical” is the latest special released out of “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”. This combined two of my daughters favorite things “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and Halloween. This DVD includes four very fun episodes that work great getting you into the Fall mood. My daughter has already been singing the songs from this special and has watched it numerous times already. I know that “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” is not in production any more, which is sad, but I hope they continue to release DVD sets like this one for a while. Hopefully they have them stored up somewhere. A must for any fan of “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and Halloween.

Official Premise: Put on your favorite Halloween costume and get set for a spooktacular full-length adventure! Visit the creaky castle of kindly “Count Mickula” and help your Clubhouse pals solve a puzzling riddle: Who, or what, is making a curious clanging, banging noise? With the right Monster Mouseketools and help from YOU, this mystery will soon be history! Then, enjoy two more exciting episodes as you search for pirate treasure with Captain Mickey and don your dungarees for delightful fun down on the farm. Packed with singing, dancing, laughter and surprises, MICKEY’S MONSTER MUSICAL is a high-spirited treat that can’t be beat!

The four episodes included are the main showcase special “Mickey’s Monster Musical”. The premise for this one is that Clubhouse gang visits Count Mickula and his friends, who are full of mystery and fun spooks. Next up is “Mickey’s Pirate Adventure”, where Goofy gets a letter from his Grandpappy, Captain Goof-Beard (voiced by Dick Van Dyke) taking the gang on a fun pirate adventure. “Mickey’s Farm Fun Fair” follows the gang as they enjoy a fun farm celebration. Lastly “Minnie’s Bow-Tooons Tricky Treats” is a bonus included with Minnie and Daisy handing out sticky treats for Halloween.

Theatre Review “Once: The Musical” Tour – Kansas City, MO

Once: The Musical
June 17th, 2015
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Kansas City, Mo.

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

A few years ago I was given the chance to watch the movie “Once”. I had never heard of it and I didn’t know a single thing about it. From the first song of the movie, I was hooked and within its 85 minutes, I fell in love. Now, fast forward to the present and I, once again, had no idea that there was a stage adaptation of this movie and that it was wildly popular ever since the first curtain call on Broadway. I know that a transition from film to stage is difficult, so I quelled my expectations. Luckily they were exceeded.

Just like the movie, “Once” follows a scruffy faced street musician, who works at his dad’s shop repairing household items. The repair business is a simple side project to his passion. He performs soothing toe tapping songs and soulful songs about love loss. His name? Not necessarily given. He’s simply known as Guy, but he represents so many disenfranchised musicians hoping to make it big, his story is fairly common, so his name isn’t required.

Whilst performing, he’s approached by Girl, who, for lack of a better word, is a girl. She eagerly plays piano alongside him and they quickly connect through their tune, “Falling Slowly.” He’s obviously smitten, but she isn’t as interested. She has a kid, lives with her family, and has a husband. She also notices that all his music, which comes from the heart, is linked to a girl in his past. Girl knows that Guy can still go back to that long lost love, and she doesn’t believe he should go chasing after her.

So it comes down to if they hook up or not. And obviously I’m not going to tell you because that’s part of the charm of this production. The story mainly stays intact and hovers closely to its source material. Certain aspects are changed because you don’t have the luxury of having multiple, expansive scenes. The only problem is the characters. The characters have been tweaked a bit to be more humorous and more relatable.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a nagging aspect in the back of my mind because these are two characters that I remember fondly for the story that they tell. When some jokes are thrown in to help break up the tension between the two, it feels out of place. The other characters that provide comedic relief also provide some cheap laughs that don’t fit in with the musical as a whole.

But what makes “Once” truly outstanding is the cast and crew. This is a musical that requires our singers to play instruments, interact, and constantly be moving. The choreography to change sets within the confines of a stage while swinging instruments to and fro is perfect. So every bit of praise that I have goes to the people who helped bring “Once” to life. And despite my disappointment with their characters, I’m very pleased with how well they handled the material.

Theatre Review “A Christmas Story, The Musical” Orlando Repertory Theatre

A Christmas Story: The Musical
November 10 – December 28, 2014
Orlando Repertory Theatre
1001 East Princeton Street
Orlando, FL

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

You know those flyers that you get in the mail and just throw away cause they are usually garage? I think I will be taking a closer look at them now. I received one a few days again and it was holiday themed, my favorite holiday, so I decided to give it a look. In there I found an advertisement for the Orlando Repertory Theatre (The REP) presenting a production of “A Christmas Story, The Musical” based on the story by Jean Shepherd with book by Joseph Robinette, and words and music by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. I have seen this production before and have been dying to see it again since. Now I had the chance!

Official Premise: A Christmas Story, The Musical is the classic account of Ralphie Parker’s hilariously desperate quest to ensure that the most perfect of gifts ends up under his tree this Christmas – a Red Ryder® Carbine-Action BB Gun! All the cherished moments are here – the Old Man’s leg lamp, the tongue-on-a-flagpole, the bunny suit, the Santa slide, and all of Ralphie’s extravagant daydreams! Enjoy the perennial favorite in a new way with this Tony-nominated Best Musical.

Turning a classic movie like “A Christmas Story” into a musical was definitely a definitely task I am sure. The songs are good. I have to admit though. I have the soundtrack but it has never been a must-listen for me. “Counting Down to Christmas” is a catchy one. “What A Mother Does” is sweet and had the wife sniffing a little bit. “A Major Award” is definitely a real hoot.  The cast for this production was also good. Highlights for me were Clifford Lyons as Jean Shepherd, Candace Neal as Mrs. Shields, and my favorite Sage Starkey as The Old Man. At first I thought that Sage was too young to play the Old Man, to be honest, but once he stepped on stage, I knew he was going to nail it. Gavin would have been proud!

I thought the production itself was very well done. It really represented “A Christmas Story” very well. It also felt very festive. I have seen many plays in my time and they could have gotten away with much less here. They really had great sets and really get design for this one. I also love the range of these actors. The dialogue and songs were perfectly balanced throughout the theater. I was seeing in Row I, if I remember correct, closer to the top of the theater, centered, and we really enjoyed the entire presentation of the play. I have seen shows at Bob Carr Performing Arts Center and sat 10 rows from stage and couldn’t hear them as well as this theatre.

Prior to this, I have never visited the Orlando Repertory Theatre. Following this, this theatre is going to be in my spotlight. From the moment the wife and I stepped into this theatre, we both just looked at each other and said “Wow!” I loved the vibe of the theatre and I love how intimate it felt. I also appreciate that in addition to productions, The REP conducts community engagement initiatives and the REP Youth Academy provides classes and workshops for children, along with professional development opportunities to classroom teachers. I will be returning to this theatre in the very near future. And if you are looking for a way to get into the holiday spirit, you have your answer right here!

A Christmas Story, The Musical runs Saturdays and Sundays from November 10 – December 28, 2014 at 2pm and 5:30pm. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for students, seniors (55+), and members of the military with valid ID, and $12 for the youth (ages 3 to 17). All performances of A Christmas Story, The Musical take place at the Orlando Repertory Theatre at 1001 East Princeton Street, Orlando, FL 32803. Tickets may be purchased online, over the phone, or at the Box Office. Please visit www.orlandorep.com or call 407-896-7365 for more information. Don’t miss it or you might shoot your eye out!

 

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Enter to Win Horror Musical “Stage Fright” on Blu-ray [ENDED]

To celebrate the Blu-ray release of “Stage Fright”, Media Mikes is excited to giveaway one (1) copy of the Blu-ray to our readers. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of this prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite musical. This giveaway will remain open until July 18th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

The Stage Is Set For A Bloodbath In The Terrifying Thriller Featuring Minnie Driver And Meat Loaf, Arriving July 8 On Blu-ray™ and DVD From Magnolia Home Entertainment Under The Magnet Label

Starry-eyed teenager Camilla Swanson wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a Broadway diva, but she’s stuck working in the kitchen of a snobby performing arts camp. Determined to change her destiny, she sneaks in to audition for the summer showcase and lands a lead role in the play, but just as rehearsals begin, blood starts to spill, and Camilla soon finds herself terrified by the horror of musical theatre.