I saw 'Spring Awakening' at the Novello Theatre, Aldwych, London WC2 - this was formerly known as the Waldorf Theatre and dates back to the early 1900s (I think)....
Spring Awakening is a new musical. Here's how it's summed up on the website:
"Frank Wedekind’s groundbreaking 1890s play was a daring exploration of teenage sexual awakening set against a backdrop of religious and parental repression"
The action took place in Germany in schoolrooms of tightly segregated girls and boys. Girls were shown to be entirely ignorant of sexual knowledge (as I was at school!), asking questions that were not answered by the parents yet wholly aware of their hormonal changes. The boys were portrayed as boys everywhere, not understanding girls, exploring masturbation by themselves and in the company of others, some being attracted to women (including older women) and others falling into their first relationships with men.
I found it poignant that a boy committed suicide due to pressure of exams and that the lovely heroine, having become pregnant after one session with her clueless lover, was taken off by her mother for an abortion and died as a result.
How lifelike this stage presentation was.
The music was played on stage by four very competent musicians, the lighting and special effects were excellent, the dancing good and energetic.
... unless you wanted to see it yourself, and now the plot is ruined ... !
Last thing I saw at the Theatre was Spamalot with Little Miss G. Previously, it's been mainly Shakespeare, the highlight being Richard Briars in his last ever stage performance outside the West End as Prospero in the Tempest. It was superb, and he even gave a little speech afterwards and came over all Tom Good.
Spinny, I don't know if you recall the actor who played Bullit Baxter in Grange Hill (he also played Man With Beard in the Fawlty Towers episode The Builders), but I saw him as Gloucester in King Lear, having his eyes put out.
When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realized that the Lord doesn't work that way, so I stole one and asked him to forgive me.
I used to have 2 different season theatre subscriptions, which would get me to the theatre about 15 times a year between the two of them. When life became more complicated and unpredictable, I found that I could not commit myself to selecting dates 2 or 3 months in advance anymore.
For years, it was New York City and Broadway. Nothing else existed, which made it difficult to compete with Europe. Over the past fifteen years or so, Regional theatre has really taken off. Chicago and San Francisco -- L.A. is still a bastard cousin -- have really taken off, but one of the best regional systems is in San Diego of all places.
The Old Globe is at the center of it all. Primarily known for its Shakespeare festival, the theatre has also premiered Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Full Monty, and Sammy.
We went to a student production of Three Days of Rain last night at Beloit College. It's a traditional style 2002 three character play by Richard Greenberg, nicely done, and well acted. We enjoyed it a lot.
It was opening night in their black box theater, and the small audience was mostly professor types. There's also a film festival on, so I hope the play gets a better crowd by next weekend.
When I was in London last spring we saw 'Wicked' (absolutely marvelous!), 'Blood Brothers' (superb), 'Billy Elliot' (Quite good, the teenagers I was with loved it), 'Avenue Q' (Quite naughty and rather amusing but not really my cup of tea), and 'Dirty Dancing' (Do not bother, rent the movie, they only just play act, re-enacting the movie about exactly. I do not at all comprehend why you'd want to see this and blubber as most of those who were all thrilled with it how great it was the leads looked like the original movie actors when you can just watch the movie and get the real original leads.)
Glad to hear your report on 'Spring Awakening' Spindrift
Saw a really dark play called "By the Bog of Cats" put on by our high school theater group. Set in rural Ireland, the play is a sort of retelling of Euripides' Medea by Marina Carr. It deals with a lot of rather dark themes like abandonment, self-sacrifice, and suicide. If it is playing somewhere near you, it's quite a show. I was extremely impressed with how well our high school theater group handled the play, but a little shell-shocked to see our young group dealing with these things so well. Our young lead in the part of Hester won state best actress in the school contests.
I saw All my Sons with David Suchet and Zoe Wannamaker at the Apollo theatre in London on Saturday. It was such an absolute delight, I was blown away and can honestly say I have never seen such powerful live performances as what those two gave as the main characters in this. Fantastic. It was so moving that you had to remember to catch your breath during the last half an hour. I looked around as we left and everyone was emerging from the theatre with tears in their eyes. And that was after the longest and most enthusiastic standing ovation I have ever seen!
I guess this kind of counts: Hannah and I went to the outdoor Municipal Opera (aka Muny) tonight to watch Damn Yankees from the free seats in the back. Such a St. Louis thing to do. Big open amphitheater, oaks towering over the huge stage, the glow of sunset behind, people fanning themselves.
We had never seen it before. We left at intermission, 10 PM on our bikes, underwhelmed with the musical itself I guess, maybe drained with the heat. They used the original Fosse 1950's choreography.
I'll bet you didn't run across the sad trend of trying to reproduce movies onstage, K. So odd. At the Muny, for instance, if they're doing The Wizard of Oz they'll sound and look just as much like Garland, Lahr, etc, as possible.
I'm glad the occasional new musical if being produced, like Spring Awakening, and the occasional new Broadway play. It's too sad to keep reproducing hits from the past.
My daughter H and I went to Richard III last night at BAM. Thanks so much to NYCgirl for the heads up on that. I was able to get us tickets online awhile back for our last night in NYC. The amazingly funky Harvey Theater in Brooklyn was sold out for opening night.
This is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and H played RIII a few years ago in a local high school performance, so we were already interested in seeing it done well.
My daughter hadn't been really clear on who Kevin Spacey is, getting him confused with, for some reason, his fellow old guy actor Robert DeNiro. But she knows great acting when she sees it. He illuminated that role, brought out the humor in it, made you think this was a real person.
Sam Mendes' directing was brilliant. The set design and lighting were especially good. Live music from a drummer and maybe vibes was effective.
This is one show I wish I'd sprung for good seats, though, to see the facial expressions. As it was, to get to the gallery we climbed a long steep staircase. I sat next to an older woman with a thick Russian accent who was there with her family. When we started chuckling early on she got restless, then throughout the first act when people laughed she kept muttering in her Russian way, "Is this a comedy? This isn't a comedy!"
I am so thrilled to hear this report Lola!! Live theater doesn't get a whole lot more exciting from my standpoint then seeing Shakespeare performed in NYC. I have read brilliant reviews of Spacey's performance under Mendes's direction. I don't know that particular theatre but so many of them do remain funky and well worth a visit to see a performance. (Chuckle,chuckle at H's likening Spacey to the other old dude DeNiro.... ;D)
I'm so glad to hear you liked it! I'm going next week and I'm so excited. The last time I went with my husband to see a Shakespeare play, it was a dismal staging of Othello, starring an uncharacteristically flat Philip Seymour Hoffman as Iago. My husband gamely sat through the whole thing, even though tons of people went running for the hills during intermission. But based on your testimony and others, I have high hopes that this one will be much better.
I'm pretty sure I have nosebleed seats as well. Wish I had binoculars.
Your daughter played Richard III in high school? Impressive, that's quite a weighty role for a kid.
I went to the aforementioned production last night. An excellent performance,cast of 4,a tad on the abstract,and quite lengthy. (3 acts,total performance time was almost 3 hours). It was performed in an old warehouse in Mid City NOLA,in a neighborhood that had been severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina and has made a dramatic comeback. (no pun intended... )
Does Cirque de Soleil count as live theater? My sisters and I will be meeting in San Francisco in March with my niece - who's majoring in theater and set design - to see Cirque and we'll also pick up a play.
spindrift - i read "spring awakening" in school (it is one of the typical books to read in school here) and then we went to see it with our class - though not as a musical, but as a normal theatre piece...
now, i haven't been to the theatre in ages. last time i think was several years ago when an argentian friend of mine (who is an actress) was here and we went to see the three penny opera together.
So after my sister bought tickets, she realized they have an age restriction of 21 years, even though she'll be accompanied by a parent my niece doesn't make the cutoff! Maybe a note from her professor?
I had the pleasure of seeing Richard III starring Kevin Spacey recently. What a performance! He seduced, cajoled, bullied, and connived non-stop for almost 3 hours and kept the audience captivated. Like Lola mentioned before, he also wrung a lot of unexpected humor out of his lines. There was a particularly funny scene when Richard, in a hammy show for the media, pretended he was reluctant to be king when clearly it was his most desperate desire. The sword fight at the end was rousing, and even Spacey's portrayal of a corpse at the very end was attention-grabbing.
The set was simple and effective and the live drums created a sense of urgency. Lit-up title cards on the stage told audience the name of the character who was the focal point of each particular scene, which I found helpful. The rest of the cast did very well, but obvious Spacey was the star of the show.