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Broadway Banter 2014: Starting off with book recommendation

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Feb 18th, 2014, 12:59 PM
  #1
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Broadway Banter 2014: Starting off with book recommendation

Time for a new thread. And, I'm starting it off recommending a must-read for theater affectionados. It's called Song of Spider-Man by Glen Berger. It's a most interesting and detailed saga of the much publicized trouble-laden trip of the show through its long, long, long developmental and preview stage to its opening. The writer is the co-author of the show.
I never saw the show and found it interesting (or is the word "fascinating"?).. I can imagine that those of you who did see the show would enjoy it even more.
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Feb 18th, 2014, 01:57 PM
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Well, I'll start the rest of this thread by saying that I mentioned before how much I LOVED After Midnight when I saw it with Fantasia. This weekend I saw it again, this time with k.d.lang. Wow. The two guest stars sing the same four songs but there is not a shred of comparison between them -- they couldn't be more different. But both work, and I'd be hard pressed to say which one is better. I think overall I did enjoy k.d.'s a lot because it was such a contrast to the rest of the show -- not simply because she is the only white performer, but because her style is so completely different from any other performer in the show and so "unexpected".

In any case, I think this is perhaps the best "juke-box" musical ever -- one with no original songs, but rather classics and no real story or plot either.
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Feb 18th, 2014, 02:16 PM
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The NYC Fringe festival did a parody of the saga of Julie and Spiderman that was wonderful. I didn't have to go to see the real thing. Two theatre books that I would recommend are The Jets and the Sharks - Our Story and Our Musicals Ourselves. I won't be able to go on Sunday (funeral) but if you can make it way uptown go see Rita Moreno introduce West Side Story (with Spanish Subtitles) here (post has a link to the Jets and the Sharks)

http://thestarryeye.typepad.com/expl...f-culture.html

This post is older but has useful book and essay links.
http://thestarryeye.typepad.com/expl...he-mosque.html
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Feb 18th, 2014, 03:50 PM
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Patrick, your comments only add to my yearning to see After Midnight......just waiting for the snow and cold weather to go away!

Adding to Sue's and my list of recommended reading are these two:

1. Backstage Pass to Broadway: True Tales from a Theatrical Press Agent, by Susan L. Schulman. This is a delightful paperback in which the author recounts her experiences with a host of celebrity performers. A real fun read.

2. Anything Goes: A History of American Musical Theater, by Ethan Mordden. A most interesting history of the musical theater dating back to its American origins. I especially loved the discussions shows that I've seen over the years.
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Feb 18th, 2014, 05:40 PM
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And speaking of juke box musicals, let me say Beautiful is just that! I always thought of Carole King as a sort of dull female Barry Manilow (and I don't mean that in a good way). But I had no idea about all those dynamite songs she wrote in the 60s and 70s. The show is not unlike Jersey Boys, but a lot better put together in my opinion. Beautiful is breaking records at the Stephen Sondheim.
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Feb 18th, 2014, 08:37 PM
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You all are making me want to get back to NYC to see some shows. We go a few times a year but my son has not been doing well so we have not been since last May. These days my husband and I can not be away from home at the same time.

Beautiful and After Midnight both sound interesting. And I am looking for some new reads so will be checking out the books recommended above.

Neo, was this last weekend your anniversary weekend in they city?
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Feb 19th, 2014, 05:21 AM
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Yes., emd, which reminds me. I'll go do a trip report now.
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Feb 19th, 2014, 07:33 AM
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And so I did, but failed to mark it as a trip report. Just click on my name if you want to find it.
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Feb 20th, 2014, 07:04 PM
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A small group of us are visiting NY in May and are interested in seeing A Raisin in the Sun at the Barrymore Theatre. Anyone had seats in the rear mezzanine there?
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Feb 21st, 2014, 04:13 AM
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It's not that large a theater, so you should be okay.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 05:31 AM
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ksera, many people sit in the rear mezzanine of many shows (and Howard is right that this isn't a really large theatre) and are perfectly happy. For me, with a non musical that depends on acting which includes things like facial expression -- I feel I miss too much. From that distance could I see an actor make a "knowing glance" to another actor? Or raise an eyebrow at something someone else says to indicate that he doesn't agree? No way. But the if you're not into the intricate subtleties of acting, you'll certainly be fine.

I'm not sure what else might be available or if it is a matter of cost, but frankly for a more intimate show like Raisin in the Sun, I'd rather be down in one of the front rows even at the extreme side where I can really see faces than up in the back of the mezzanine, but that may just be me.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 10:23 AM
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Great feedback. Thank you! I hadn't thought about that level of facial expressions. Broadwaybox has rear mezzanine discount seats, so it was a matter of cost. The play itself is the one we all agree to see while we're there. I will likely reconsider the seat selection and fork out the extra money.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 12:44 PM
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While Patrick has certainly made some good points about those seats, at the same time, don't feel that the seats are lousy. I can say from experience that there have been times when I've thoroughly enjoyed "small shows" from the rear mezzanine of a small theater. And, hey, with the price of theater tickets today, I welcome any discounts offered!
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Feb 22nd, 2014, 02:26 AM
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I'm so disappointed. I was supposed to be there this week. I decided to cancel, for what I thought was a good reason, but turned out I should have gone anyway.

Back to good stuff - this popped up on my news feed today.

Wish I had been there to see k d in person -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnHyS...sxhjsKGs9uiECA
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Feb 22nd, 2014, 05:47 AM
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yep, starrs, she is GREAT! But the show stopper for her is her rendition of the Cab Calloway number Zaz Zuh Zaz.
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Feb 23rd, 2014, 06:11 PM
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Neo, I am glad you enjoyed Beautiful. We saw it in its trial run in San Francisco and loved it. The actress playing Carole King is so talented and I, too, was surprised how many songs Carole had written. I hope she show does well on Broadway.
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Feb 23rd, 2014, 09:07 PM
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Wow, thanks for that starrs. My share of it on the other side of the world! Looks fabulous.
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Feb 24th, 2014, 05:21 AM
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ksera, I just got an email for discounts for A Raisin in the Sun. Did you book yet? If not, go to Broadwayoffers.com (which is Telecharge, the official booking for the show. Enter promo code RSNDRLNDR2 and pick your seats. Discounts extend through May!
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Feb 24th, 2014, 12:53 PM
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Are there any other shows those in the know have really enjoyed recently? We will be there towards the end of April and are hoping to see a few shows. Thanks!
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Feb 24th, 2014, 01:03 PM
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Musicals? Plays? Comedy? Drama? Things you like? Things you've already seen?
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