Unusually, it is the second act of the current production of EVITA which sold this show to me. The history of musical theatre is littered with the corpses of second act fails, but here, a combination of superb acting and a directorial instinct for the achievement of intimacy brings down the final curtain with pathos and that inescapable excitement of having been thoroughly entertained.
This production is a big event as only a grand musical can be. Banners throughout the city and a front page introduction from the Minister for Tourism and Events in the program and, realistically, if you are reading this you will go and see this production. In the lead up I asked a range of people why and the answers were, unsurprisingly, related to age. Younger people going because of the star, mid-range to see what the Madonna film is like live and elder citizens because we can sing along with every word: having worn out the Julie Covington record before the invention of a repeat button. A manifold and challenging set of expectations for a 2 hour and 20 minute revival of a 1978 West End production. Continue reading EVITA: BIGGEST OF BIG, YET STRONGEST WHEN INTIMATE→
Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s London Palladium Production of THE WIZARD OF OZ is a breathtaking musical revelation, that significantly improves upon the screenplay of the 1939 the all-time classic technicolor MGM musical movie. Keeping to the original storyline by cleverly adding three new enchanting and unforgettable songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and also contains the well-beloved songs of the Oscar®-winning movie score by Harold Arlen and E Y Harburg. Continue reading THE WIZARD OF OZ @ THE CAPITOL THEATRE→
For those few not in the know the the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical CATS is drawn from the whimsical verse of TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and a few other choice bits of the great British poet’s works. The musical is arranged around a dozen or so scenes. Continue reading CATS @ CAPITOL THEATRE→
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA , Lloyd-Webber’s musical based on the French novel by Gaston Leroux , opened in 1986 in London. By 2011 it had been seen by over 130 million people in 145 cities in 27 countries, and it is now one of the world’s most popular musicals. Most of the performances of this season at Parramatta are extremely heavily booked, if not already sold out.
Manly Musical Society is currently presenting JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1971 rock oratorio. The play covers the last week of Jesus’s life, showing the Passion and the Crucifixion. All of the score’s tonal variations has been brought to new life on the stage, on the Northern Beaches of Sydney for a limited season.
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR was a best-selling record album in the 70s, and was London’s longest running musical, running for eight years. Written when Andrew Lloyd Webber was just 21 with lyricist Tim Rice, originally a concept music album, then a USA arena tour, before it went to Broadway and the West End.
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s groovy Genesis musical can be a tricky chameleon making its way across the desert. It contains back to back changes in musical style. Directors are challenged to draw countless caricatures. There are also shifting inspirations for ensemble or solo movement.
These requirements are met and celebrated in the current Chatswood Musical Society production. An enjoyable, expressive telling of the biblical story about the dream interpreter Joseph, son of Jacob, bursts forth with technicolour success.
The orchestra is led through changing musical styles clearly. It provides a controlled accompaniment for the cast. There is a good balance between voices of all ages and the instruments.
A big Old Testament shout must go out to the inexhaustible, well-costumed adult ensemble. We see securely characterised brothers, wives, and palace attendants manage several styles of music and comedy with clear, well-trained delivery. The slick full-ensemble choreography has impressive unison moments.
The omnipresent role of Narrator by Kathy Xenos is incredibly engaging. She is a natural singer and storyteller. Nathan Stark’s focused vocals, dancing and presence as Joseph are a gift to this production. Stark’s fresh, modern interpretation of Close Every Door from his prison cell, and the depths of Neil Shotter’s innovative set illuminates all darkness anywhere.
The role of Pharaoh has a cool Graceland edge in the hands of Brian M Logan. Briana Scutts prowls above the pyramids as Mrs Potiphar with her evil eye fixed on the latest slave to arrive in Egypt.
For my biblical buck, the beret goes off to the brothers’ Those Canaan Days, a great moment of chanson triste, complete with a dance duo at its climax. The famous Benjamin Calypso was another fine creation from this ensemble, with Edwin Estanislao joyous as brother Judah.
Take the time to see this colourful and talented cast of all ages tell a bit of the Bible through the styles of pop, calypso, rock n roll, country and western and more. It could fill a larger venue, perhaps without the use of a less than contemporary curtain to pull back when negotiating full cast on stage.
JOSPEH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT opened at the Zenith Theatre, Chatswood on Friday 10th May and is playing until Saturday 18th May, 2013.
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