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.

###

 

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.

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

“Shrek The Musical” Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Giveaway [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

To celebrate the release of “Shrek The Musical” arriving on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD Oct 15th, Media Mikes would like to giveaway a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack of the show. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite character from the “Shrek” series. This giveaway will remain open until November 1st 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.

Featuring a fantastic score of 17 all-new songs,Shrek The Musical was filmed on stage to capture the magic of a Broadway performance and stars an amazing celebrated cast including Brian d’Arcy James (Shrek), Sutton Foster (Fiona), Daniel Breaker (Donkey), Christopher Sieber (Lord Farquaad), and John Tartaglia (Pinocchio). The film was shot live with 10 cameras and directed by Michael Warren.

Now you can bring the magic of Broadway to your home and get the best seat in the house when the Deluxe Edition Blu-ray™ and DVD arrives on October 15th, and on Digital HD September 17th!

Pre-order Shrek The Musical today:
– Blu-ray/DVD: http://amzn.to/14WNO23
– Digital HD: http://bitly.com/stm-itunes

Blu-ray Review “Shrek the Musical”

Starring: Brian d’Arcy James, Sutton Foster, Daniel Breaker, Christopher Sieber
Director: Michael Warren
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: DreamWorks
DVD Release Date: October 15, 2013
Run Time: 120 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of “Shrek”, the first film that is. After the first film I lost interest more and more with the three following sequels. When “Shrek The Musical” came to Broadway, I never really had an interest to run out (spend $200 bucks) and see the show. Now that its been a few years since the last “Shrek” film, the Broadway show is closed and the National US Tour has ended, I figure what could it hurt to finally give this show a try. I liked the idea of being able to watch it in my own living room. Overall, if you haven’t seen the show on stage, you haven’t been missing anything special but it is definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of this franchise.

Official Premise: Featuring a fantastic score of 17 all-new songs, “Shrek the Musical” was filmed on stage to capture the magic of a Broadway performance and stars an amazing celebrated cast including Brian d’Arcy James (Shrek), Sutton Foster (Fiona), Daniel Breaker (Donkey), Christopher Sieber (Lord Farquaad), and John Tartaglia (Pinocchio). The film was shot live with 10 cameras and directed by Michael Warren

“Shrek the Musical” comes equipped as a combo pack with Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet. The Blu-ray transfer looks pretty sharp in its 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Of course, it doesn’t compare to being at the theatre itself and being immersed in the show but it does the trick.  Like the films, the show is very colorful and are presented very clearly here on this release. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 works well with the shows several numbers. The special features are not that impressive. There is a brief “From Swamp to Stage: The Making of Shrek the Musical”, which features Cameron Diaz talks about the show. Lastly there is a “Shrek the Musical Songbook with Sing-Along” with the songs split up, so you can choose your favorite.

“String Theory” An Unconventional Acoustic Musical Drama Debuts Official Trailer

“STRING THEORY” AN UNCONVENTIONAL ACOUSTIC MUSICAL DRAMA DEBUTS OFFICIAL TRAILER 

The Independent Short Film Directed By Jonathan Pezza Stars Abraham Benrubi, NBC’s “The Voice” Contestant Paulina Cerrilla, And Newcomer Thien Nguyen


LOS ANGELES, CA – The trailer for the independent short film String Theory, a heartfelt musical drama that follows the interwoven lives of three struggling musicians, has now been made public. The highly anticipated short, written and directed by Jonathan Pezza, starsAbraham Benrubi (U-Turn, ER, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose), Paulina Cerrilla (NBC’s The Voice, Season 3), newcomer Thien NguyenKee Chan(Mission: Impossible IIStar Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith), and Brad Carter (SmashedJustified).

The film, produced by Paper Windows LLC, is an unconventional “acoustic” musical that follows three singer-songwriters in Los Angeles whose lives collide in a 24-hour period.  Aurora (Paulina Cerilla),  a homeless street musician whose belief in herself carries her through her troubled life, Patsy (Abraham Benrubi) a faded ex-rockstar at a crossroads in his life, and the intensely conflicted Yun (Thien Nguyen), who contends with her father (Kee Chan) over his disapproval of her life choices. All three are strangers, unknowingly connected by their love and need for music. String Theory follows each of their stories, until their lives intersect for a brief moment that changes each in a profound way.

All three actors were drawn to the piece because of the story and its musical aspect. “The script itself is written like a song and I found that to be a really unique and special way to tell the story,” says Abraham Benrubi. At the very core of String Theory lies the music, weaving and guiding the paths of the protagonists to each other and the next step of their lives. Director and writer Jonathan Pezzacomposed the four original songs featured in the film: About Home, Breathe, Ballad of a Falling Star, and the title track String Theory, all of which will be available on iTunes. “I believe that great art comes from challenging yourself to do the things that scare and intimidate you most,” states Pezza. “String Theory is not only a beautiful story about the struggle to define oneself, but the music that the film’s three characters sing and play bears forged and tempered pieces of my experiences.”

The interweaving musical storyline called for a special approach to sound recording as well. Each artist was recorded live on location singing to special click tracks that they heard through earpieces, allowing them to harmonize and perfectly sync with one another, despite being filmed and recorded at different times. “Our approach required lots of rehearsals, however the results are beautiful, honest, and in the moment recordings that heighten the emotion of the piece,” says producer Shaela Cook.

The film was funded through Kickstarter and the generous sponsorships from Imagecraft Productions and HotPixel Inc. Imagecraft providedall the production equipment for the film including: the Sony PMW-F55, lenses, video village monitors, a complete 5 ton grip and electric package, sound and communication equipment, and production support equipment. HotPixel provided DIT services and dailies and will be providing all post production services including color grading and visual effects. President of HotPixel, Art Freed and Jason Been, President of Imagecraft, both serve as Executive Producers on the project. “We chose to be a part of this project not only because of our relationship with Jonathan, but because we believe in fostering independent filmmakers with a unique and creative voice,” stated Jason Been.

For more information and for the latest news on String Theoryvisit www.StringTheoryTheMovie.net, on Twitter @StringTheoryMov or on Facebook.com/StringTheoryTheMovie

About Imagecraft Productions | www.ImagecraftProductions.com   
Imagecraft (IC) is a full service rental house providing crew and production equipment rentals to the film and television industries. We offer personal service, expert advice and maintain a full staff of production managers, crew, and equipment technicians. We strive to be best the rental house in the industry by offering state of the art production equipment, exceptional field crews, and 24/7 production support. For more information on Imagecraft visit ImagecraftProductions.com or call 818.954.0187.  IC can also be found onFacebook.com/ImagecraftTV and Twitter @ImagecraftTV.

“Shrek The Musical” arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD Oct 15th

Featuring a fantastic score of 17 all-new songs,Shrek The Musical was filmed on stage to capture the magic of a Broadway performance and stars an amazing celebrated cast including Brian d’Arcy James (Shrek), Sutton Foster (Fiona), Daniel Breaker (Donkey), Christopher Sieber (Lord Farquaad), and John Tartaglia (Pinocchio). The film was shot live with 10 cameras and directed by Michael Warren.

Now you can bring the magic of Broadway to your home and get the best seat in the house when the Deluxe Edition Blu-ray™ and DVD arrives on October 15th, and on Digital HD September 17th!

Pre-order Shrek The Musical today:
– Blu-ray/DVD: http://amzn.to/14WNO23
– Digital HD: http://bitly.com/stm-itunes

 

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Theatre Review “Footloose: The Musical” Starlight Theatre – Kansas City, Missouri

Footloose: The Musical
Starlight Theatre
Kansas City, Missouri
August 5th, 2013

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

On a muggy night in the Heartland, it seemed fitting that the production of “Footloose” would be sweat inducing and, for female attendees, steamy. As the title song belted out and a company of extras began to dance to the iconic pop-rock beat of the 80’s, my ears perked up. I’m well versed and cultured enough to know about previous generations, but I’ve never seen the movie “Footloose,” nor had I ever a care to. In that moment of cutting loose and kicking off the Sunday shoes, I found myself interested. I was ready for this glimpse into the 80’s. My expectations jumped up to the par with everyone else that night as the cast showed off their best moves during the opening number. Boy did those hopes fizzle out.

Ren McCormack (Max Clayton) and his single mom, Ethel (Paula Leggett Chase), are heading from the city lights of Chicago to the humble countryside of Beaummont. A stereotypical middle-American small country town. The kind that is drenched from hillside to hillside in golden wheat and pristine corn fields. The residents are set in their ways and are already weary and gossiping about Ren and his mom the morning they arrive at church. Despite the police and other community leaders, Reverend Shaw Moore (George Dvorsky) is the overriding moral, spiritual and political leader of this town. Years ago, a tragic accident took the life of four teens, including Shaw Moore’s son. Since then, the Reverend has imposed a strict no-dancing law in the town. As absurd as this sounds, this has actually happened in the U.S. (the town of Elmore City, Oklahoma banned dancing for over 100 years and was Dean Pitchford’s inspiration for his script for “Footloose”). For the energetic Ren, who expresses his emotions through dance, this is a nightmare. He manages, though, with the help of classmate and friend, Willard Hewitt (Matthew Dorsey Moore) and the pastor’s daughter, Ariel (Taylor Louderman).

For a musical called “Footloose”, it really seems like the big dance numbers are kept to a minimum and dancing in general through the middle part of this story is stifled. It seems like the dance choreographer is playing the part of Reverend Moore during half these songs. If there were more songs like “On Any Sunday”, “Footloose” and “Let’s Hear it for the Boy”, this would have been a grand dance and song musical on par with other greats. That doesn’t mean the other songs aren’t good. When you have Kenny Loggins, Sammy Hagar and Jim Steinman sharing the writing credits, you can’t go wrong with some rockin’ songs and love soaked ballads.

The show has a problem settling on a main idea. On one hand it could be a time capsule of an aging era. On another it’s the story of young vs. adult and traditional vs. new. It also tries to be a sexy, hip look at the lives of teenagers in a small town. Some of those ideas will grab hold and really stick with a viewer. But as for me, I was a bit overwhelmed by all three together and underwhelmed by each on their own. My personal preference would have been a time capsule. Every generation has the conflict of “parents just don’t understand” and very few stories actually have a whiff of creativity when it comes to exaggerated teen comedy/dramas. If these two ideas took a seat back to fun dance numbers and this musical’s catchy 80’s music, “Footloose” would have been a memorable evening at Starlight.

As I stated with Starlight’s previous iconic 80’s musical “Flashdance”, I may have been created in the 80’s, but I’m a product of the 90’s. I haven’t seen the 1984 movie, nor its 2011 remake. Some of the older people in the audience seemed to really dig it, but this is not my cup of tea. I loved the music, the dancing (when it happened) and the creative set pieces by Robert A. Kovach. My view of the 80’s is that it was the last generation with a true rebellious nature. The music struck a nerve in an era of growing morality and Reaganomics. Genres like punk rock, grunge and some sultry pop icons like Madonna festered and spoke to a confused and rambunctious generation. I wasn’t hoping for that style of music or any blatant liberal ideology. I was simply hoping for it to touch upon these ideas in a sentimental manner and sometime comical fashion.

“Footloose” will be at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City until August 11th.