Posted in dark comedy drama, Gingold Theatrical Group, Inspiration, long running Broadway musical, Long running musical, Musical drama, musicals and dramas, The Long Running AMERICAN Musical

Windy city

ChicagoGTG Everything has an origin story, and Chicago, The Musical, has one in this 1926 play.  Maurine Dallas Watkins provided the inspiration for the show that’s been running on Broadway since forever. Like it’s lead characters, Chicago had a rocky start, opening June 3, 1975 and closing two years later on August 27, 1977; it reopened in revival in November of that year in the West End and then hit Broadway with a flair. Ann Reinking, using the Fosse style, choreographed the revival under Walter Bobbie’s direction to resounding success.

Watkins wrote Chicago for a class assignment at the Yale School of Drama. It, too, went on to have a resounding success, not least because it provided the story for the musical. The story of Roxie Hart and her fellow inmates also inspired a 1927 film named Chicago and in 1942 one named after our anti-heroine. Watkins’ version of her the tale was based on her coverage on the crime beat of the Chicago Tribune, and opened on Broadway in 1926, where it lasted for just 172 performances, under the direction of George Abbott. It’s after-life is a matter of record.

The Gingold Theatrical Group (GTG) will perform the play that spurred the famous Broadway hit on Monday, July 23rd at Symphony Space at 7pm.

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Posted in also a film, Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on a film, film, long running Broadway musical, Long running musical, Phantom, similar to a film plot, The Long Running Broadway Musical

“The music of the night…” plays on

Your assignment, my pets, is to see the 1943 film of the same name as  the long-running Broadway musical.

The cinematic version is not strictly speaking a musical but it is full of melodies. Many a colorful opera is staged during the course of the movie. Nelson Eddy is Anatole, the baritone in love with the soprano Christine Dubois (Susanna Foster), who is also the object of adulation for Raoul (Edgar Barrier), the prefect of the Sécurité– in other words, a police captain.

IMG_7775_PH29_LeadingTrio_JermeyDaniel
Leading ttrio celebrating the 29th year anniversary of New York’s longest running musical. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

She is also adored at a distance by a modest and timid older man, Erique Claudin, played by Claude Rains. Unlike Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom, he is not a singer; he is the first violin in the Paris Opéra Orchestra. Like Broadway’s Phantom he is so obsessed with Christine that he will kill for her advancement. Along the way, this meek and odd little man collects some genuine and deep-seated grievances to warrant his unravelling as well.

Claudin has a champion in the figure of Franz Liszt (Fritz Lieber) who admires the concerto the violinist submitted- without success- to a recalcitrant publisher, Pleyel (Miles Mander). None of this diverts Claudin from Christine. And, oh, do watch out for that chandelier!

Once you have completed your homework, go see #PhantomBroadway again, or for the first time. It is lusher and more layered than the wonderful 1943 film version of Phantom of the Opera.  (Note that if it happens you are not in New York City, you may find Phantom on Tour or in London and Budapest, for instance.)

It is truly a musical, operatically filled with memorable lyrics and superb music. It is also so fantastical as to invite repeated visits to a theater near you.

The production is the longest running Broadway musical, having hit its 29th year mark last January. The Phantom currently in residence is James Barbour, with Ali Ewoldt and Rachel Eskanazi-Gold alternating as Christine. Raoul, who is a Vicomte and not a policeman here, is played by Rodney Ingram.

In the Lloyd Webber incantation, the Phantom is a singer with some of the most gorgeous songs to sing. He is a beautiful, evil-hearted beast. He is Christine Daaé’s Svengali and his melodies haunt as he haunts the Paris Opéra House.

For tickets, please visit the #PhantomBroadway website, which will also guide you to the touring companies.

Posted in Long running musical, musical theater

Vive La Révolution!

There are not many things to inspire the complacent bourgeois to storm the barricades. This musical always has always succeeded in getting my blood up.

RaminKarimloo in "Les Miz"-Photo by Matthew Murphy
RaminKarimloo in “Les Miz”-Photo by Matthew Murphy

Les Miserables, at The Imperial Theatre since March 2014, first opened to Broadway acclaim where it ran until 2003, was revived in 2006, is a 25th Anniversary revival. The original production has been revitalized with a cast too young to remember the first time around.

Les Miz, as it is affectionately called, is a stunning masterpiece combining revolutionary zeal with soulful heartbreak, all set to stirring music and song.

Cameron Mackintosh’s 25th Anniversary production will mark our fourth chance to enjoy the show. We’re looking forward to reviewing (and re-viewing) shortly. In the meantime, for information and tickets, visit http://www.lesmis.com/broadway/