Opening Night US CTH Review

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Naughty Zoot
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Opening Night US CTH Review

#1 Post by Naughty Zoot »

Billie Trix & cast, in the Opening Number, promised to " light up the night like fireworks ".
Well, The Uptown Players did just that!
From the moment that Morgana Shaw (Billie) appeared, we were in the palms of their collective hands.
Evan Fuller was born to be Straight Dave. By turns, ambitious, sexy, innocent, conflicted & honest. And what a voice!! By the time he sang For all of us & Positive Role Model -- I was reduced to tears.
Jason C Kane (Vic) & Coy Covington (Saunders) were definitely Gay men " of a certain age ", that I immediately recognized. And, as a Gay man of " a certain age ", I alternately sympathised with & disapproved of.
Both these guys did great jobs in their parts but, to digress, I was a bit confused about their physicality. Vic was a heavyset guy & Saunders was thin. I'd always pictured Saunders more in the mold of Tom " Fatty " Watson, which I think would have made the vulgar Sauna scene [ Call me Old Fashioned ] even more unpleasant. Still, Covington's Saunders was Crass with a capital C. And a thin Vic, who smokes " 60 a day " & snorts a lot of cocaine seems more on the money but big ole Kane made In Denial work, so I'm thrilled.
A secondary character } Saunders' Factotum Flynn (Mikey Abrams) was a Comic/ Tragic Goldmine. He did a magnificent job. He deftly, advanced the plot. And he was so Over the Top that Liza would've been intimidated.
Best of all the Performers was: Morgana Shaw as Billie Trix.
I never saw Frances Barber perform Billie but I'm certain that Ms Shaw is her Equal.
Such Stage Presence. Such Comic Timing. Such Pathos. Such ... Humanity !
My Night } BAM.
Caligula, Darling } BAM. BAM!
[ with props to Evan Fuller as Caligula ;) ]
Friendly Fire } BAM. BAM!! BAM!!!
Lee Jamison Wadley was a good if not great Shell. I liked her Nine out of Ten performance but was a little less impressed with her Out of my system. Clayton Younkin did his best but I found him wanting as the Bad Boy Dave desired. He tried but Lee is such a difficult part to play - both Street-Wise yet Innocent - that I'm afraid he was over his head, even though he gave it the old college try.
Speaking of Lee's character ~ I must also fault the Book.
IMO: Dave's " am I Straight or am I Gay " conflict gets short shrift in the first act, despite the Closer to Heaven reprise that ends Act 1. Unfortunately, not enough " Devil on the left shoulder (Lee) / Angel on the right (Shell) foreplay in Act 1 undercuts their clever In Denial reprise in Act 2.
The Book is also @ fault for the lame set-up of Vic confiscating Lee's delivery of Billie's massive drug order. If the stakes were really that high, I doubt the convenient resolution would've resulted in Lee's overdose.

All in all >> Please go see this production if you have the chance.
I like it here ~~ wherever it is ...

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maxboyd
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Re: Opening Night US CTH Review

#2 Post by maxboyd »

NaughtyZoot: Thanks for posting this review! It gave me chills reading it. I love the music from CTH so much I can't wait to see the show. I'm SOOOO glad I didn't schedule this weekend for it. I had forgotten this was OU / TEXAS weekend and Dallas is taken over by 70,000 football fanatics and Dallas will be to crazy this weekend with football debauchery everywhere. Ughh!!
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Re: Opening Night US CTH Review

#3 Post by Naughty Zoot »

maxboyd -- I have much more to say about the show but frankly, I've had a long day so further comments will have to wait.
And you're so right about the T/OU game. I'm not a sports fan but I'm glad that I made my reservations a year ago for this. My hotel was sold out come Fri. night, as I'm sure were plenty of others. These people take their sports seriously! And if they weren't going to the Game there were plenty of folks going to the Fair.
Bravo to the Uptown Players for counter-programming. LOL !
I like it here ~~ wherever it is ...

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maxboyd
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Re: Opening Night US CTH Review

#4 Post by maxboyd »

Nautyzoot: Where would recommend getting a ticket at ... what row & section etc?
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Sandy Shaw
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Re: Opening Night US CTH Review

#5 Post by Sandy Shaw »

Thanks for posting your review. As the London original cast and Brighton amateur premiere proved a great actress as Billie Trix is the key to the showi. All the other characters orbit around her!
What's for supper?

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York Minster
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Re: Opening Night US CTH Review

#6 Post by York Minster »

Thanks for the review, please tell us more about how the music production itself sounded. Did it sound similar at all to the cast recording? Was it orchestrasted with live instruments? Please go into some detail about that if you can!
And tryin' to figure out what happened to 'Germaine Propaine'
"He couldn't have fell off that hard" Ain't no way
"What happened to the way you was rappin' when you was scandalous
That Canibus turned into a television evangelist"
Plus he raps with his regular voice [BOOSH! BOOSH!]
[BOOSH! BOOSH!] (What was that?) Pet Shop Boys

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Naughty Zoot
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Re: Opening Night US CTH Review

#7 Post by Naughty Zoot »

maxboyd > there are no bad seats in the house but I would recommend the audience left side of the stage. I was in the 4th center aisle right & there's one scene thay was rather poorly blocked & I missed one of Billie's great comic takes about the Viet Nam war. So I'd sit 4th row @ the closest & off to the left of the stage.
I like it here ~~ wherever it is ...

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Re: Opening Night US CTH Review

#8 Post by Naughty Zoot »

Sandy > so true! Everything in the show revolves around Billie @ one point or another. And I really can't say enough about how strong Morgana Shaw was a Billie. Brilliant - as you Brits say ....
I like it here ~~ wherever it is ...

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Re: Opening Night US CTH Review

#9 Post by Naughty Zoot »

Fof > the music was very faithful to the OC album. Nort nearly as rich because it was live & couldn't be studio polished but all in all they used some electronic instruments & I was truly impressed. I've done lots of musical theater ( in a early period of my life, anyway ) & to get such a nice sound from such a small group - 2 keyboards, bass, guitar, percussion & cello - was another triumph. I believe Neil tweeted that they had a bigger band then the London cast.
I like it here ~~ wherever it is ...

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maxboyd
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Re: Opening Night US CTH Review

#10 Post by maxboyd »

Naughty Zoot wrote:maxboyd > there are no bad seats in the house but I would recommend the audience left side of the stage. I was in the 4th center aisle right & there's one scene thay was rather poorly blocked & I missed one of Billie's great comic takes about the Viet Nam war. So I'd sit 4th row @ the closest & off to the left of the stage.
NaughtyZoot: thanks for the seating feedback. Excellent having the inside scoop. The subsequent postings about CTH are only increasing my anticipation of experiencing this production.

Was it good enough production to have seen it twice. IE, Would you have went Friday & Saturday night both?
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Naughty Zoot
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Re: Opening Night US CTH Review

#11 Post by Naughty Zoot »

Was it good enough production to have seen it twice. IE, Would you have went Friday & Saturday night both?[/quote]

Left to my own devices, I probably would ...
But then I love live theater, PSB & now Morgana Shaw so I'm not exactly unbiased, as they say. Still, this cast really does do the show proud. And tix are only $35.00! A Bargain @ twice the price ...
I like it here ~~ wherever it is ...

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rabagast
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Re: Opening Night US CTH Review

#12 Post by rabagast »

Naughty Zoot wrote:I believe Neil tweeted that they had a bigger band then the London cast.
The London production had just two keyboard players and a sequenser, so in terms of minimalism, that's hard to beat :D

It mostly worked great (as it was mostle Chris and Neil's backingb tracks anyway), but on the songs without backing tracks (In denial, For all of us etc.) it was actually a bit thin. Addition of a cello and percussion sounded wise

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Young Offender
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Re: Opening Night US CTH Review

#13 Post by Young Offender »

How did the crowd like it and how was their reaction?

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Re: Opening Night US CTH Review

#14 Post by InDenial »

maxboyd > Stick around after the show and say Hi to us! I'll be the only guy who isn't stick-thin in the cast (and the one who gets to sing "Vampires" every night :) ).

Jason

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Re: Opening Night US CTH Review

#15 Post by Naughty Zoot »

Young Offender > the audience was very supportive. Frankly, this didn't attract the usual " Patrician Subscriber " crowd. The audience skewed young & edgy. And, as this show is basically an unknown commodity here in the States, I believe we were all ready to be a part of History. Our reaction?
A Standing Ovation during Bows ....
I like it here ~~ wherever it is ...

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